East Coast Offense: 20 Bold Predictions

East Coast Offense: 20 Bold Predictions

This article is part of our East Coast Offense series.

East Coast Offense Year 13

Back by popular supply, this column survived final cuts this summer which is more than I can say for some receivers like Martavis Bryant and Corey Coleman, who prior to the first waiver period, still reside on a few of my rosters.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's where I share my ideas and observations mostly relating to the NFL each week and always by Tuesday night. The column varies in length, topic and tone so much that it's hard to get more specific than that. Suffice it to say, so long as the Supervolcano doesn't arrive before January, there will be something in this space each week - for better or worse.

One feature I'm adding this year is a weekly trivia question. I got so hooked on Sporcle quizzes the last couple years I can now name all 197 countries (the key is to get the 14 in Oceania and 23 in North America - oddly the hardest continent once you get past the big three) and name the top 100 career home run leaders without wrongly typing a single member of the 101-200 list. I see no reason not to share this affliction with you.

(Incidentally, we're not getting any compensation from Sporcle, something I'd disclose if we were. My idea - besides trivia being something I enjoy - is to make the case for us building our own in-house version, keeping track of who does well at it and rewarding people with free subscription time, free entries into DFS contests, etc. We're a long way from that happening, but this could serve as proof of concept, so to speak.)

For links to the Draft Prep Trivia, I posted all summer, click here and here.

This Week's Trivia:

Players I don't Own

I'm in eight leagues this year, not including a best ball draft, and one of which I'm doing later this week. You can view the seven I've drafted to date here.

Here's who I don't have on any of them:

David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Melvin Gordon, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Julio Jones, Jordan Howard, Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Devonta Freeman, Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kenyan Drake, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Demaryius Thomas, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson.

How is it possible none of these players landed on any of my six teams? They fall into two categories: (1) Players I didn't get due to draft/auction circumstances; and (2) Players of whom I wanted no part at their ADPs.

The first category players are Johnson, Elliott, Brown, Jones, Cook, Howard, Thomas, Adams, Hill, Thielen, Diggs, Smith-Schuster, Thomas, Kelce and Ertz. I like all of them just fine where they typically go, and I expect most of them to have good seasons, though obviously I hope they do not.

But I think Kamara is too pricey given his lack of a full-time role once Mark Ingram returns, Hopkins is likely to see less volume and score fewer TDs, Gordon is an average talent with an injury history and huge workloads, McCaffrey is not a workhorse, coach-speak notwithstanding, Freeman is one concussion away from an extended break, Mixon's upside is capped by pass-catcher Gio Bernard, and his floor in the NFL has yet to be established, Drake is on a bad team with a autocratic and unpredictable coach and the QBs are rarely good values given how deep this year's crop is.

While my Category 2 list from 2016 was good, last year's had too many stars on whom I missed out: Melvin Gordon, LeSean McCoy, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill and Larry Fitzgerald. The only early-round players I was really right to avoid were Mike Evans and Lamar Miller.

20 Non-Obvious Predictions for 2018

I've done this each of the last few seasons with mixed success. That's another way of saying success mixed with failure or just mixed failure. Here are last year's for point of reference. Remember these are non-obvious, and no amount of mixed failure will deter me from making them in 2019, either.

1. Leonard Fournette will be a top-three non-PPR back

It's not a huge leap because his ADP is seven, but it's hard for anyone to get into the top three with Todd Gurley, Zeke Elliott, David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell, among others, around. But Fournette projects for as much volume as anyone, lost 20 pounds this offseason, enters 2018 healthy and plays on a team that should have short fields and plenty of red zone chances thanks to its defense. He also recorded the two fastest game-speeds for a ball carrier all of last year, beating out burners like Tyreek Hill and Marquise Goodwin. And that was before he lost the weight.

2. Christian McCaffrey will get fewer than 200 carries

His coach said said he "can be a guy who gets the ball somewhere between 25 and 30 touches per game," and some are convinced Ron Rivera meant it based on McCaffrey's preseason usage. I'm dubious. Carolina brought in C.J. Anderson for a reason, and if you read the quote and article, Rivera simply states what McCaffrey "can be" not what he will be. Moreover, McCaffrey is tall (5-11) for his weight of 205 pounds, so he's not naturally suited to the role.

(Incidentally, McCaffrey as a late first-round pick is probably my hardest fade given he'll also have to compete for targets in field that now includes a healthy Greg Olsen, a healthy Curtis Samuel (last year's second-round pick), Anderson (who's also a decent pass catcher) and first-round rookie D.J. Moore, in addition to No. 1 target Devin Funchess. And both Cam Newton and Anderson are threats to take goal-line work.)

3. Rex Burkhead will not be a top-40 RB.

Burkhead saw more than a third of his snaps last year on special teams, and the Patriots drafted a running back in the first round this year. Moreover, Burkhead, who has never had even 100 carries in a season, had a knee injury this preseason.

4. Tarik Cohen will be a top-20 PPR running back.

He's too good of a player not to get extensive use in a better system and could come close to Christian McCaffrey's numbers.

5. The Giants will make the playoffs.

Pat Shurmur coaxed career years out of Case Keenum and Nick Foles as offensive coordinator for two different teams and got Trent Richardson to 1,300 YFS and 12 TDs as a rookie with the Browns. Now he's got Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard with which to work, and he'll make lemonade out of Eli Manning. The defense should also be better with a new coordinator, scheme and Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins healthy again.

6. Jameis Winston will be a top-10 QB on a per-game basis when he returns.

Winston got 8.7 YPA in the second half last year, and he'll have a loaded passing game (Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate) waiting for him when he comes back. He's still only 24 years old and has room to improve.

7. Jarvis Landry will be a top-10 PPR wideout.

Landry isn't big or fast, but he has a particular skill that is gold in PPR: he's able to convince QBs and coaches to call his number often. Not all receivers have this skill, and while it requires a floor of basic competence, I suspect it also has to do with personality and confidence. Landry is still only 25 and should get 100-plus catches yet again on his new team.

8. Baker Mayfield will be a top-15 QB for games he starts (minimum 5 starts)

Tyrod Taylor will begin the season as the starter, but he's injury prone and would have to play out of his mind to keep the No. 1 overall pick off the field all year. Mayfield is polished and accurate and will have a receiving corps loaded with talent from Josh Gordon to Landry to Duke Johnson to tight end David Njoku.

9. Adrian Peterson will score 10 TDs.

The Redskins have no one else of note, and Peterson, after a light workload the last couple years, has one more solid season left in the tank.

10. One of the following teams make the playoffs: the Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Browns, Raiders, Cardinals, Bears or Buccaneers.

Last year, the list looked even more bleak, but the Bills came through. Uncertainty plus quantity is a good formula.

11. T.Y. Hilton (minimum 14 games) will be top-three in receiving yards.

The Colts have no one else of note, their defense is terrible, and Andrew Luck is ostensibly back. Hilton also led the NFL in receiving yards two years ago.

12. JuJu Smith-Schuster will lead the Steelers in receiving TDs

He's bigger and more physical than Antonio Brown and was the NFL's best per-play receiver with more than 75 targets as a rookie.

13. Matthew Stafford (minimum 15 games) will finish top-three in passing yards.

The Lions have three viable starting wideouts, an elite pass-catching back and a schedule that should put them in passing situations.

14. Tom Brady will not be a top-five fantasy quarterback

He doesn't get any points with his legs, his receivers have dropped like flies this preseason, Julian Edelman (suspended four games), Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski are three of the more injury-prone targets in the league and the schedule is the league's softest, allowing the team to run more often.

15. Robby Anderson will be a top-15 non-PPR WR on a per-game basis.

I only used "per-game basis" due to suspension risk. He's 6-3, runs a 4.33 40 and has made plays no matter who is under center. Another year under his belt and with a potential upgrade at QB can only help.

16. Dez Bryant won't play a snap in the NFL this year, (or ever again.)

If WR-needy teams like the Patriots, Seahawks, Cowboys, Raiders and 49ers have passed so far, it's unlikely they'll jump in later. It's hard to pick up a modern passing offense on the fly, and Bryant isn't the type to accept a depth role.

17. One of the following teams will miss the playoffs: the Patriots, Vikings, Rams, Saints or Eagles.

They all seem like sure things, but injuries, harder schedules and uncertainty make this a decent bet.

18. At least one running back scores 20 times this year. (Most likely Elliott or Fournette.)

19. Alshon Jeffery is a top-15 non-PPR receiver on a per-game basis once he returns from his injury.

Jeffery's slated to miss two games, but it's not as if he had a setback or his recovery is off track, He's slow getting back only because he had to wait until after the Super Bowl to get surgery, and he should be healthier this year than last when he produced with two different quarterbacks while playing hurt. This is still one of the league's top offensive systems, and Jeffery is a freakish specimen with the wingspan of a power forward and 4.5 speed.

20. Some of these predictions will be wrong.

Hopefully, it's only No. 20.

If you enjoy this column, check out my weekly podcasts A Real Man Would and Talking Yang

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Chris Liss
Chris Liss was RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio from 2001-2022.
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