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Jason Katz's Bold Predictions - 2019 Fantasy Football


In my group of friends, I am known for making outlandish claims that, most of the time, even I don't believe. It antagonizes the hell out of them because they know I'm just complaining about how LeSean McCoy is going to finish with zero touchdowns because I'm annoyed it's Week 3 and he hasn't scored one yet, even though I know my claim is absurd. It's kind of my gimmick.

It is only fitting that I convert my ridiculous claims into actual bold takes posted on the internet for the world to see. You will surely scoff at many of these now and start preparing for how you plan to lambaste me in December when none of them pan out. Except, I am planning the exact same thing for all of you when I bat 1.000.

If nothing else, bold predictions are fun. There's little downside because they're not supposed to be likely outcomes, but when you get one correct, the feeling is euphoric. I will preface my claims with this: I truly believe everything I say here. I will put my money where my mouth is, and, if you ask, I will gladly show you the proof in my drafts that I follow through on what I think.

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Jason Katz's Bold Predictions for 2019

Before we get to my 2019 bold predictions, allow me to toot my own horn for my 2018 bold predictions. Given that these are "bold" predictions, getting even one or two correct is a win. How about 4/6? That's pretty good right?

2018 Bold Predictions

  1. Tyreek Hill will finish as a top-eight wide receiver...again.
  2. Jay Ajayi finishes as an RB4.
  3. Alex Collins is not the Ravens starting running back by the end of the season.
  4. James White will lead all Patriots RBs in fantasy points.
  5. Jordy Nelson scores more fantasy points than Amari Cooper.
  6. Marquise Goodwin finishes as a top-15 wide receiver.

 

Kyler Murray finishes as a top-six fantasy QB

I will admit my enthusiasm for Kyler Murray has waned a bit after the Cardinals' dismal preseason. However, if you look around the league, every team's offense sputtered in the games before the games. With starters playing fewer and fewer snaps each year, the preseason matters less and less. Murray is going to run a lot more during the season than he did in the preseason, which I believe was by design. He has the rushing upside of Lamar Jackson and is a much better passer.

The Cardinals will have some ugly drives where they go three and out in a span of about 18 seconds, but their play speed will allow them to have more drives and run more plays. They may not be super efficiency, but the overall offensive volume will be there. Far worse rushing quarterbacks have finished as QB1s. If Murray is as good as a first overall pick should be and this offense clicks, he has overall QB1 upside. If not, he should still be able to compile enough on the ground to reach mid QB1 status.

 

Ezekiel Elliott plays zero games in 2019 (and Tony Pollard is an RB1)

Melvin Gordon's ADP steadily dropped as it became more and more apparent that he isn't playing football to start 2019. Yet, for some reason, Ezekiel Elliott's ADP hasn't moved. The fantasy community is so sure Zeke is signing. I'm not. In fact, I'm quite confident he is not signing. Zeke is not going to take a deal that is anything less than what Todd Gurley is making. Jerry Jones is not going to offer him more than Gurley. We are at an impasse.

How does this get resolved? I only see one realistic solution: Jerry pays Zeke more than Gurley. If he doesn't do that, then Zeke doesn't play. If Zeke doesn't play, the Cowboys have shown that they are going to make Tony Pollard their three-down back. He played every snap with Dak Prescott this preseason. The Cowboys' starting running back is an RB1. Therefore, Pollard is an RB1.

 

Curtis Samuel scores more fantasy points than D.J. Moore

This was much bolder a month ago when Curtis Samuel's ADP was four rounds lower than D.J. Moore's ADP. Either way, Samuel appears to have taken a massive step forward as a route runner in his third season. Moore and Samuel are the locked in starters, but this assumption that second-year Moore is the alpha and third-year Samuel is the beta is really based on nothing. If Samuel is the better player, then he will command more targets.

 

Leonard Fournette plays 14+ games and finishes as a top-eight RB

There are a few things in fantasy football that don't make sense this season. One of them is the love for Dalvin Cook and the hate for Leonard Fournette. Aren't they the same? Well, they're not the same in the sense that Fournette is way more talented, but their situations are quite similar.

They are both locked into tremendous volume and guaranteed to be RB1s when they actually play football. Yet most fantasy gamers are dismissive of Fournette as injury-prone. He's only been in the league for two seasons. He played 13 games as a rookie and struggled with soft tissue injuries as a sophomore. Why can't he play 13 games this season?

I don't think there is another running back in the league with more job security than Fournette. No running back depth chart is weaker behind a locked-in starter. I can go on about Fournette's ability and his underrated receiving skills and the improved offense, but none of that really matters. If Fournette stays healthy, he will be an RB1.

 

Patrick Mahomes does it again

Obviously, that's a pretty vague prediction. What exactly is "again?" I am not predicting Patrick Mahomes to throw 50 touchdowns, but when fantasy analysts throw out the word "regression," they often times don't explain what that is. Yes, Mahomes will regress from a production standpoint in 2019. However, he should progress as a quarterback in his second year as a starter. So if Mahomes gets better as a player, that is going to offset some of the natural regression of trying to achieve 50 touchdown passes again.

This idea that Mahomes will regress to the "mean," as in somewhere around the league average or a little better, is the same nonsense that was spewed last year about Mahomes' top receiver, Tyreek Hill. The "mean" for Mahomes is not the "mean" for everyone else. The Chiefs are loaded offensively and will remain a top-five offense. Mahomes may not throw 50 touchdowns, but this idea that he can't even get to 40 is baseless. Mahomes is going to throw for over 40 touchdowns and push 5,000 yards again, justifying his third-round ADP.

 

The most valuable rookie RB isn't Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, or Miles Sanders.

I will qualify this prediction by stating that Tony Pollard does not count. If Zeke doesn't play, Pollard is the heavy favorite to lead all rookie running backs in fantasy points. Let's leave him out of this. Someone else is going to outscore Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, and Miles Sanders.

Jacobs is the clear starter for the Raiders, but people expecting him to be a three-down bell cow are going to be disappointed with how much the Raiders use Jalen Richard on passing downs. Jacobs is also a Raider, which limits his upside. Montgomery is getting all the buzz because he scored a nifty touchdown in a preseason game, but he's still sharing a backfield with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis on a team I expect to regress from last season. Sanders is going to open the season firmly behind Jordan Howard and while Sanders has the ability and opportunity to take over the Eagles' backfield, Doug Pederson has always implemented a three-man committee. I don't expect that to change regardless of how well Sanders performs.

There are a bunch of late-round dart throw rookie running backs that could emerge. Damien Harris is one Sony Michel knee flareup away from heavy usage. Darwin Thompson should open the season with a 30-40% opportunity share in the league's best offense and only has a 27-year-old UDFA with fewer than 300 career touches to beat out for more work. Darrell Henderson is on the NFC's best offense and is one Todd Gurley knee flareup away from having a prominent role. And there will likely be some other running backs completely off the fantasy radar that will emerge at some point because... football.

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