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Craig Rondinone's Bold Predictions - 2019 Fantasy Football


Go bold or finish in last place in your fantasy football league. That’s what I always say.

The crystal ball has been dusted off, the tarot cards have been shuffled and the spirits of fantasy football seasons past have been summoned to clue me in on what’s in store for the 2019 NFL campaign. There is no sense in predicting the predictable, such as Drew Brees throwing for 4,000 yards or Julio Jones racking up 1,000 receiving yards. Patting yourself on the back for predicting something that everyone knew was going to happen is akin to cooking a TV dinner in the microwave and taking all the credit for it when it comes out tasting great.

So what do I believe is going to happen in fantasy football in 2019? Without further ado, here are my bold predictions for 2019!

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Sam Darnold Will Throw More Touchdown Passes Than Tom Brady

Tom Brady is Tom Brady. He keeps stiff-arming Father Time and winning Super Bowls. But now at age 106 (OK, 42), Brady is not going to post a 40-TD season. In fact, he has failed to throw 30 touchdown passes in three of his past six seasons. And entering this season, Brady no longer has Rob Gronkowski to toss to, his offensive line is in a state of flux due to injuries and roster changes, and if his receiving corps was a rock band it would be called Julian Edelman and the Question Marks.

I know Darnold does not have the Hall of Fame pedigree that Brady has, nor does he have a Hall of Fame head coach like Bill Belichick orchestrating things. The Jets did add ultra-fresh Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder to their offense, however, and those are two big additions that can only help Darnold’s fantasy value reach another level. Darnold showed plenty of promise over the final month of last season when his TD-to-INT ratio was 6-to-1 and he completed 64 percent of his passes. The bottom line is the fantasy elevator is going up for Darnold while it is going down for Brady, and 2019 will be the year Darnold passes by Brady on it.

 

Leonard Fournette Will Have 2,000 Combined Yards and 12 TDs

I know what you are thinking. Fournette has been a fantasy fiasco. After a solid rookie season that saw him barrel for 1,040 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, Fournette fell off the fantasy map quicker than Tekashi 6ix9ine fell off the Billboard charts. Injuries and the ineffective offense around him caused him to be one of the biggest busts in fantasy football last year. He only played in eight games and gained a paltry 439 yards on the ground. Big whoop.

You would have thought Jacksonville would have invested a high draft pick or a couple million dollars in salary cap room on a decent backup running back considering Fournette’s checkered past, yet the Jags decided to keep go with veteran Alfred Blue and fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead as his understudies. Neither is a threat to Fournette’s starting spot. Jacksonville’s offense should be improved in a big way just by having ultra-accurate Nick Foles as the quarterback instead of scattershot Blake Bortles behind center.

Fournette will be the workhorse in an improved offense that will be playing in a decimated AFC South due to the Indianapolis Colts losing Andrew Luck to retirement and the Houston Texans losing Lamar Miller to injury. I predict he will stay as healthy as he did during his rookie campaign (I sent him a season supply of milk and vitamins to assist with this) and run and catch his way to 2,000 combined yards and a dozen scores this season.    

 

Christian Kirk Will Finish With Over 1,200 Receiving Yards

I am drinking the Kool-Aid with the craziest straw you have ever seen. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has brought a passing attack with some swagger to the desert. His “Air Raid” offense could very well overwhelm mediocre defenses and confuse coordinators until they get a hang of what the heck his innovative system is all about. So everyone involved in Arizona’s passing attack, including No. 1 pick overall Kyler Murray, Larry Fitzgerald, Keesean Johnson and Kirk, should flourish fantasy-wise.

Kirk showed several flashes of brilliance during his rookie season before having his season cut short due to injury. His 43 receptions for 590 yards and three touchdowns might slip under the radars of those at your fantasy drafts and auctions, but they do not slip by me because I know those numbers are going to double and then some in Kingsbury’s ingenious offense. Fitzgerald will be phased out as he takes a last lap on his farewell tour. Seals-Jones can only do so much at tight end. Running back David Johnson will snag 80 passes out of the backfield, but Kirk will emerge as the go-to guy when Murray wants to air it out and make big plays downfield. You will look like a jerk if you pass on Kirk.

 

Eric Ebron Will Score Fewer Touchdowns Than Mike Gesicki

While fantasy owners last year were lauding San Francisco’s George Kittle for setting the all-time single-season record for receiving yards for a tight end, Ebron was just as valuable if not more so because he topped all tight ends with 14 total touchdowns. A change of scenery (and quarterbacks) was all Ebron needed to go from fantasy dud to fantasy stud.

The problem for Ebron is that he has lost the aforementioned Luck and has Jacoby Brissett as his QB for the 2019 season. Considering Ebron only averaged three touchdowns per season during his four years with Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, why would fantasy owners be inclined to think Ebron would do better with a Luck-less Colts squad?

Gesicki was as worthless as flip-flops during a winter in Siberia during his first season (22-202-0) as he needed time to get acclimated to the NFL and was lost inside a lost Miami Dolphins offense. He should be much better in Year 2, though, especially with either Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen throwing the passes instead of Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. Tight ends normally need a year before they take their talents to the next level (look no further than Kittle), so I see Gesicki having 550 yards and five touchdowns, which will be a TD or two more than Ebron.

That’s all I got, fantasy folks! Hope your 2019 fantasy football season is fun, profitable and better than my fantasy basketball season was last year. Good luck, everyone! Time for me to go back to rubbing my crystal ball to see who to start and sit Week 1.

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