• Sat. May 27th, 2023

10 BOLD Predictions

by Bob Miller

10. Brandon Cooks will finish as a top-15 WR in PPR.

104 receptions. 150 targets. 1165 yds with 7 touchdowns. That’s what DeAndre Hopkins' numbers were last year. Now he’s gone, leaving all those targets behind. By now everyone knows that you can’t count on Will Fuller to play in more than a handful of games each year, which opens things up for Brandin Cooks. Don’t worry about Randall Cobb. Deshaun Watson doesn’t look at the slot. He looks down field, and that’s where Cooks will be. Watson averaged 36 passes a game last year and ranked 4th in deep ball attempts. With Watson’s ability to extend plays and Cooks’ route running, you can expect a very productive season from a WR going in the 9th round and outside the top 40 WRs.


9. Cam Akers will finish as an RB1 this season.

If you think that Darrell Henderson or Malcom Brown will be a factor, stop kidding yourself. If the Rams thought that, they wouldn’t have drafted Cam Akers so high. The Rams ran the ball 25 times a game, and that shouldn’t change with them lining up more in the 12 personnel this season. Todd Gurley finished as a top 15 RB last year, and LA was conservative with him. Akers is explosive and has good hands. I predict him to finish with 1,027 yds, 8 TDs with 41 rec, 287 yds, 2 rec TDs. That’s RB1 numbers.


8. Austin Hooper will finish outside the top-15 TEs

69. That’s usually a good number, but not in this case. Unfortunately 69 is the total amount of passes thrown to Tight Ends last year in Cleveland. Hooper finished as a top 10 TE last year in Atlanta on 97 targets. He’s not getting those targets in Cleveland folks. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry get the targets. They had 271 between them, and no other pass catcher had even 30 targets. He’s going to be one of those very good NFL players but an average fantasy asset. With a top 10 TE ADP, I’m staying far far away. In fact, if you own him in dynasty I’d strongly recommend cashing out on him while you still can.


7. Daniel Jones will finish as a top-7 QB

Jones looked great as a rookie. He put up some strong numbers with a limited cast around him. This year will be different. A healthy Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram with the emergence of newcomer Darius Slayton will provide plenty of weapons for the 2nd year quarterback. Oh, and let’s not forget about that running back for the Giants. What’s his name again? Oh yeah. Saquon Barkley, who is as good of a running back as we’ve seen in years. Don’t listen to the Madden Rankings. Those rankings are an embarrassment. Don’t be afraid of taking a chance on Danny Dimes. The Giants will be involved in a lot of shootouts. It’s going to pay off.


6. Kenyan Drake will finish as a top-6 RB

Let’s hope you weren’t playing against Drake in the fantasy playoffs last year. If that’s the case, then you probably lost. Drake was a league winner last year posting 39.50 points in week 15 and 33.40 points in week 16. It took Drake a little while to adjust after being acquired by the Cardinals mid season last year. He had 151 touches in the final 8 games. Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com believes that Drake could surpass 350 touches this season. The acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins is going to open things up even more for Drake. He is excellent in the open field. With all of the receiving threats the Cardinals have, he will see a lot of touches in the open field. He is in the perfect situation, and very well could be this year’s Aaron Jones and lead the league in touchdowns. If Drake is your RB2 consider yourself lucky. If you have an opportunity to get him in dynasty, I’d strongly advise it. 


5. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will be a WR1 this season

Here’s a popular name as of late. There are quite a lot of people on the Hollywood Brown hype train, and for good reason. I have been high on Hollywood all off-season. Brown played with a screw in his foot last season and caught 7 touchdowns. Things are different now. Hollywood is healthy and motivated. He’s in the best shape of his life after adding 23 pounds of muscle this offseason. He has spent quite a bit of time with Lamar Jackson working on routes and timing. I expect big things from Brown this year as the Ravens’ clear number one wide receiver. With Lamar’s ability to extend plays, you can expect Marquise Brown to break free for a lot of big plays. Brown should exceed 70 rec, 1,000 yds, and 9 TDs. With players like Julian Edelman and Keenan Allen falling out of the top 12 WRs, expect Hollywood to join the WR1 club this season.


4. Leonard Fournette finishes as a top-8 RB

Pretty bold. I know, but I’m sticking to it. Jacksonville shopped Fournette this offseason with no takers. That’s good news for you Fournette owners out there. Last season, Fournette had 265 carries for 1152 yds and only 3 TDs. He also added 76 rec for 522 yds. That was good for 6th overall in PPR leagues. Just like last season, he is going to see a lot of touches. Expect similar carries and yardage with positive TD progression. He won’t have as many receptions due to the addition of Chris Thompson, but with Thompson’s injury history I’d still expect 50+ receptions for Fournette. He is an RB1 that you can get in the 4th or 5th round. Draft Fournette with little concern. 


3. Mike Evans will not finish as a top-24 WR.

This could be the boldest prediction of them all. The truth is that the addition of Tom Brady is bad news for Mike Evans owners out there. Brady just doesn’t throw the ball to outside WRs. The last outside WR to have any fantasy relevance was Josh Gordon a few years ago. Before that it was Randy Moss way back in 2007. Brady just doesn’t go that direction. In fact, no outside WR saw more than 54 targets last season in New England. Brady only works the middle of the field due to his loss of arm strength. None of this is good for Evans. I predict 56 rec, 928 yds, and 5 TDs. Finishing outside the top 24 WRs.


2. Cooper Kupp finishes as a top-3 WR in PPR. 

Kupp finished as a top 6 WR in PPR last year, so is this considered bold to say he finishes top 3? I’d say yes, because finishing top 3 puts you into elite status. Kupp had 94 catches on 134 targets last season with 1162 yds and 10 touchdowns. With Brandin Cooks gone I fully expect Kupp to see over 150 targets. As Jared Goff’s top red zone target, Kupp should eclipse double digit touchdowns again. The Rams should use more two tight end formations, but that won’t affect Kupp at all. He is Goff’s favorite target and will be peppered with targets again. I expect Kupp to have over 150 targets resulting in 111 rec, 1257 yds, and 13 touchdowns. With a 4th round ADP, he is an absolute steal similar to Chris Godwin last season.


1. Chris Godwin finishes as the overall #1 WR in PPR.

Tom Brady in Tampa is bad news for Mike Evans owners but it’s fantastic news for Godwin owners. We all know that Brady loves his slot receivers. Julian Edelman has flourished in Tom Brady’s offense for years. Edelman had 100 rec on 153 targets last season with 1117 yds and 6 touchdowns in New England. Last season in Tampa Godwin had 86 rec on 119 targets with 1333 yds and 9 touchdowns. That was good enough to finish #2 in PPR leagues. With Godwin expected to see 150+ targets this season I have him finishing as the #1 overall WR with 125 rec, 1475 yds, and 11 touchdowns. He is currently going in the 2nd round in most drafts. Take advantage.

*All predictions are based on PPR scoring.

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