For my AFC predictions, click here.
1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 9-7
3. Washington Redskins 4-12
4. New York Giants 4-12
Comments/Fantasy Predictions: They need Carson Wentz to stay healthy, but the Eagles have a loaded roster, are coached well and are going to win the NFC this season … Miles Sanders is a borderline top-20 RB on my board, but it should be noted Jordan Howard is arguably the league’s best blocking back (and paradoxically, is an extremely poor receiver) … DeSean Jackson is a perfect fit for Wentz’s love of the deep ball, making him an intriguing WR to target who’s cheaper now thanks to a broken finger that shouldn’t matter.
Amari Cooper saw a big upgrade at QB after getting traded to Dallas last season (the Cowboys are 32-16 with Dak Prescott under center, which is the NFC’s best record over the last three years), but he’s battling plantar fasciitis and should see a hit in target share with Michael Gallup looking poised to break out in Year Two, and Dallas still figures to remain run-heavy once Jerry pays Ezekiel Elliott … Jason Witten won’t be missed in the MNF booth.
Jordan Reed is the only Washington player worth targeting in drafts, especially since he’s cheaper after suffering another concussion recently. Reed finally wasn’t rehabbing from surgery during the offseason, is still just 29 years old and could easily lead his team in target share like few other tight ends in the league ... Washington was already in trouble even before Trent Williams’ holdout, as Jay Gruden is the first coach fired in 2019.
Saquon Barkley’s talent wins out, but he’s not a slam dunk as the top overall pick thanks to the tough situation around him. That said, he’s going to get all the touches he can handle … Daniel Jones impressed during the preseason (finishing with the second-best YPA over the last 10 years!), but the Giants have one of the shakier QB situations in the league this year, and the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. certainly doesn’t help.
1. Green Bay Packers 10-6
2. Minnesota Vikings 9-7
3. Chicago Bears 9-7
4. Detroit Lions 5-11
Comments/Fantasy Predictions: Freed from Mike McCarthy’s archaic offense, Aaron Rodgers bounces back with a big year, while Aaron Jones enters 2020 as a consensus first-round fantasy pick. Jones is a good blocker who leads the NFL in YPC (5.5) and is tied with Todd Gurley for second in rushing success rate over the last two seasons. Jones is an absolute steal if you can land him in the third round ... Davante Adams isn’t a top-five fantasy WR, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling finishes top-25.
Adam Thielen, who posted a 39-448-3 line over the second half last season, fails to live up to his ADP and finally ends the year behind teammate Stefon Diggs in the WR rankings, while Dalvin Cook provides first-round fantasy value thanks to Minnesota’s ground-heavy attack (and if he can’t stay healthy, Alexander Mattison becomes a major difference-maker in fantasy leagues).
The Bears were a big beneficiary of injury luck last season when they also led the league in takeaways while winning 12 games despite having a quarterback who PFF ranked 32nd among passers from a clean pocket, so it’s safe to expect some healthy regression in Chicago … Mitchell Trubisky continues to struggle, holding the Bears offense back as a whole, while Tarik Cohen disappoints fantasy gamers … With a solid offensive line (and very strong defense), a shaky QB, and an innovative offensive mind at head coach, expect David Montgomery to be featured heavily. I’ve moved him to RB13 on my board.
Kerryon Johnson didn’t have a drop his rookie year and takes advantage of Theo Riddick’s departure, finishing as a top-12 back, while T.J. Hockenson struggles to produce fantasy value as a rookie.
1. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
2. New Orleans Saints 9-7 (Wild Card)
3. Carolina Panthers 8-8
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9
Comments/Fantasy Predictions: Outside of Week 17, the Falcons play just two games outdoors this season, and they enter 2019 as the first team in more than 30 years to fire all three coordinators during the offseason but return their head coach … Julio Jones records a career-high 12 touchdowns, while Devonta Freeman finishes as a top-10 back thanks to a bolstered offensive line featuring two first-rounders from this year’s draft … Drew Brees is being drafted too high at this stage of his career, while Michael Thomas finishes outside the top-five WRs ... Few mid-round picks can match Latavius Murray’s upside.
Christian McCaffrey played the second-most snaps by a running back over the last decade last season despite sitting most of Week 17 and committed zero drops while setting an NFL record for RB receptions with 107 … Curtis Samuel finishes with more fantasy value than more expensive teammate D.J. Moore, who’s still recovering from Steve Smith’s punishment.
Peyton Barber was the first RB in five years to total fewer than 1,000 yards from scrimmage despite seeing more than 250 touches, so I have Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale ranked ahead of him. If there’s a worse way to spend draft capital than on Barber, I can’t think of it … Jameis Winston is a top-5 QB, Chris Godwin is a top-10 WR, and O.J. Howard enters next season as the first tight end off draft boards.
1. Los Angeles Rams 10-6
2. San Francisco 49ers 9-7 (Wild Card)
3. Seattle Seahawks 8-8
4. Arizona Cardinals 5-11
Comments/Fantasy Predictions: The Rams take a step back but counter with more 12-personnel, resulting in more action for Gerald Everett and fewer three-wide receiver sets … If Aaron Donald wins Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season, he’ll be the first to ever to do so … Darrell Henderson has become cheaper at draft tables thanks to a quiet preseason, but he just set a college record for best YPC throughout his career at Memphis (also leading the nation in yards created per attempt and yards per route run last season), and he’s ostensibly a perfect fit for the Rams’ outside-zone scheme. It’s an LA system that’s the most productive in the league with only an arthritic Todd Gurley standing in Henderson’s way of becoming a league-winner in fantasy this year.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a top-10 QB, while Tevin Coleman, who got 5.3 YPC last season when under center (fourth-best in the NFL), emerges as San Francisco’s lead back, as Matt Breida’s constant battle with injuries continues … Dante Pettis led all wide receivers in yards after the catch average (7.9) last year, while George Kittle had the most yards after the catch by any player since 2010 ... San Francisco made big improvements to its front seven during the offseason, making its defense a sleeper ... I got SF at 40/1 to win the Super Bowl, as they are my favorite long-shot bet of the year.
Rashaad Penny takes over for an injured Chris Carson and produces RB1 numbers, while Will Dissly becomes a popular waiver wire add early in the season … The Cardinals don’t win many games but are helpful to fantasy gamers thanks to a breakneck pace, resulting in a top-25 WR campaign from Christian Kirk and a Rookie of the Year award for Kyler Murray, who enters 2020 drafts as a consensus top-three fantasy QB.