Measuring public perception can be a fool’s errand, but I believe everything I’ve listed in this article is more likely to happen than the public consensus feels. It’s a nebulous measurement, so perhaps you might have some nits to pick. Catch me on Twitter with that.
Hunting for a long-shot pick is like playing trifectas at the horse races; you don’t need many to click to make the season worthwhile, and profitable. Let’s see if any of these tickets are worth holding in 2020. At minimum, hopefully there are some worthwhile fantasy takeaways in this mix.
Russell Wilson wins MVP
The Seahawks have never had a losing record on Wilson’s watch, and while wins aren’t entirely a quarterback stat, they are correlated to some extent. Maybe it’s wish-casting to dream about what Wilson could do with an extended role, but with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in the prime of their careers, Wilson doesn’t need much more volume to smash the stat sheet. Wilson has never received an MVP vote, a crying shame. That gets fixed this year.
Ben Roethlisberger wins the passing yardage title
Roethlisberger was the QB3 just two years ago, and although the Steelers no longer have the Antonio Brown circus, they’ve added receiving reinforcements. Big Ben’s reasonable ADP was all about injury uncertainty, but all summer reports (for whatever they mean) have been positive. Pittsburgh generally tells the truth more often than other clubs.
D.J. Chark and Terry McLaurin make the Pro Bowl
Gardner Minshew arrived in Jacksonville as a long-term project, but an immediate Nick Foles injury pushed him into the starting lineup. His passing efficiency was roughly the same as Kyler Murray’s. Chark will be the first read on a chase-the-game offense, and although opportunity vs. protection is a chicken/egg thing for receivers, I will take opportunity when it’s available.
Scott Turner, Washington’s new play-caller, is the same guy who loaded up the truck for Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore last year, despite poor quarterback play and a 5-11 record. McLaurin has already shown he can succeed in a bad environment, and maybe things are on the upswing. Dwayne Haskins showed improvement at the end of 2019.
Chris Herndon is a Top 8 tight end
Jamison Crowder is established as the No. 1 Jets receiving option, but it was a messy liftoff for all of Sam Darnold’s other primary wideouts this summer. Enter Herndon, who had a splashy rookie year before everything went wrong last year. You can dislike Adam Gase and Le’Veon Bell all you want, but Darnold still looks like a future star — if the Jets can make the right hire next year. Crowder and Herndon were proactive picks for me all draft season.
Mark Andrews outscores all the tight ends
Only three players had double-digit touchdown catches last year, Andrews being one of them. And while his insane efficiency is almost guaranteed to drop, look for a jump from last year’s piddly 98 targets; Hayden Hurst is gone, and Baltimore probably won’t go 14-2 again. Working with Lamar Jackson and OC Greg Roman, that’s the catbird seat.
Cam Newton isn’t a Top 20 QB, then leaves New England
Newton’s already had a great year in a weird offseason — he took the NFL by storm in 2011, despite a truncated preseason. But his odometer is in a troublesome area — for a player who needs to proactively run to be effective — and New England’s offensive skill talent is below average. Josh McDaniels, you have your work cut out for you.
Detroit doesn’t have a Top 40 running back
Maybe this isn’t especially bold, given that Detroit currently has three backs jostling for position. I suppose it’s my way of saying I think Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank, and yet we know he’ll rarely catch the ball. When it comes to the Lions, I’m willing to bet on Matthew Stafford and his three primary pass catchers; all of them have fair ADPs. But I’ll leave the backfield for you.