Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fantasy Football 2020: An offseason prediction for all 32 teams

With a couple of weeks of no football, I thought I would take some time to write about one or two offseason moves that each NFL team might make...or at least something for each team that is relevant in fantasy.  I don't have any inside information here, so these are just guesses other than my experience in reading the tea leaves.  But who knows?  A couple of these might even happen!  This is also my first dive into looking at rookies for 2020, and I've picked quite a few to go to various teams.  It's a fun exercise, but it's January.  A fun exercise is mostly all it will be.

Since I'm talking about every team, this is a long article.  So I've highlighted team headlines in fun colors and text in BOLD in case you just want to scan and find my key points/players for each team.

Let's get to it!

AFC East

Buffalo Bills add a bruiser to their backfield
It's going to happen: Frank Gore will finally retire.  It has to happen, right?  Right?!?  The Bills will then use one of their many 5th/6th round draft picks on a running back to complement Devin Singletary.  I'm thinking it'll be a between-the-tackles guy like Najee Harris if he falls that far or more realistically someone like AJ Dillon.  In addition to drafting a RB, Buffalo could muddle this backfield even further by adding a veteran like Jordan Howard.

Miami Dolphins make a big splash in the 1st round of the draft
Image result for tua dolphinsWith Chan Gailey coming out of retirement to be the OC for the Dolphins, I think the front office actually exercises the option to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick around for one more year.  Does that mean they won't draft a QB with their 1st round pick?  Not at all.  I think they'll still draft Tua at #5, and since he's recovering from a hip injury, I say Fitzpatrick is still the starting QB in Week 1 next season.  And if Fitzmagic is at the helm, you have to like DeVante Parker to build on the success he had this season.  Also keep an eye on the running back situation in Miami because this is wide open.  And even if this team is still bad in 2020, it would be interesting if they use a first rounder on D'Andre Swift.  They have the #18 overall pick (from the Steelers) and the #28 pick (from the Texans).  I think one of those will grab the running back of the future to go along with Tua.

New England Patriots address their need at tight end
I'm hoping for Tom Brady to finally retire this offseason, but I wouldn't count on it.  What I do expect to happen is the Patriots fix their tight end situation with more than a band aid.  I think they'll scoop up a free agent like Tyler Eifert in March, and he'll magically stay healthy and be amazing in New England.  I also think it's possible they use another 1st round pick to find Julian Edelman's ultimate replacement in Justin Jefferson.  The LSU product has likely sent his draft stock into the first round with his postseason play, and he looks like he might be worth it.

New York Jets replace free agent RBs and WRs
Image result for adam gase eyes jetsThis team has a lot of unrestricted free agents who I expect will be elsewhere this year including: Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Bilal Powell, and Ty Montgomery.  With virtually no outside receivers left, I think the Jets will sign Emmanuel Sanders and then draft Jerry Jeudy with the #11 overall pick a month later.  As far as the running back position, Adam Gase has made it abundantly clear he's not the biggest fan of Le'Veon Bell, so I think the Jets could draft a running back in the 3rd round.  Depending on who is available when they pick there, maybe J.K. Dobbins could land in New York and push Bell a bit.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens build the best fantasy defense

Let me take a moment to give fantasy defense some love.  The Ravens tend to do a good job of rebuilding their D through the draft and free agency, and they've already started by signing Marcus Peters to a contract extension.  With Jimmy Smith surely gone this offseason and Brandon Carr a potential cut due to cap space, I wouldn't be surprised to see Baltimore draft a corner in April.  In fact, they may even move up a bit to take one because teams like the Niners and Saints may also be looking at that position in Round 1.  I also expect Baltimore to retain Matt Judon for at least a season (franchise tag) if not a longer term contract extension (which I'm hopeful for).  Keep in mind that with the best rushing attack in the NFL led by Lamar Jackson, the defense benefits from being off the field and usually playing from ahead.  All of this to say that if this top-5 defense improves this offseason, you could be looking at the #1 fantasy unit in 2020.

Cincinnati Bengals draft Burrow, lose A.J. Green
Joe Burrow is probably already looking for an apartment in Cincinnati, and everyone knows that's happening with the #1 pick.  And with that shiny new toy, I expect the Bengals to draft some offensive lineman this year.  They could even bring back fan favorite Andrew Whitworth if he's not quite ready to retire and the Rams let him walk.  They could move him inside to the guard position, and he'd help their interior a great deal for the next year or two.  I do think A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will be gone though (both are unrestricted free agents), so I'll say Cincy adds a free agent to a decent receiving core anchored by Tyler Boyd and John Ross.  I think they might bring Breshad Perriman back to Ohio, and he'll just love playing against his former team (the Browns) twice a year.

Cleveland Browns cut Kareem Hunt
Image result for cleveland browns kareem huntSpeaking of the Browns, they cleaned house with Kitchens and Dorsey now gone, so predicting what they'll do in 2020 is tough.  They finally hired a new GM in Andrew Berry, and his first big decision will be what to do with Kareem Hunt.  My guess is they'll put a tender on him and trade him for a 3rd or 4th round draft pick.  I have no idea what they'll do with him, but I have a feeling they'll mess it up somehow.  And with this latest drama with Hunt's traffic stop and having a bit of marijuana on him, I think the Browns could end up just cutting him.  Hunt's fantasy value would certainly be a lot higher somewhere else where he'd have a better chance to be the feature back, but he could also be starting the 2020 season serving another suspension.  If Hunt is out of Cleveland, Nick Chubb could legitimately have a shot to be the #1 fantasy RB this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers draft Big Ben's successor in the middle rounds
This is a team without a 1st round pick in 2020 due to the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and they only have 5 picks in the draft currently.  But hey...they have Minkah Fitzpatrick!  Like the Ravens, I expect the Steelers to focus on their defense this offseason.  I'm not sure they'll re-sign Bud Dupree, but I'm sure they'll fill some holes through free agency and use their 2nd rounder on a defensive position need.  After that, I could see them using one of their 4th round picks on a QB like Jake Fromm.  It didn't look like Mason Rudolph or Duck Hodges were the answer to the question about who takes over when Ben retires, and that could come sooner than Steelers fans would like.  Fromm could fall into the 4th round and has the potential to end up as a franchise QB.

AFC South

Houston Texans replace boring RBs with more boring RBs

Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde are both unrestricted free agents and also dangerously close to the old age of 30 (old for a running back, of course).  While it's possible they re-sign one of these guys, I think it's more likely they don't re-sign either.  They traded some of their high 2020 picks for guys like Leremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, and Duke Johnson.  But they still have plenty of picks, including some 3rd round compensatory picks for losing guys last year in free agency.  It was apparent this season the Texans don't trust Duke to a workhorse role, so I fully expect them to draft someone and/or bring in a veteran.  I'll say they use a 3rd or 4th round pick on Lamical Perine or J.J. Taylor and sign someone like Peyton Barber to compete for a share of the early down work.

Indianapolis Colts draft Andrew Luck's replacement
Image result for jacob eason coltsThe Colts have already signed former VCU basketball standout Mo Alie-Cox to a 1-year contract extension, which tells me they're preparing for life after Eric Ebron.  They also re-signed Zach Pascal to a 1-year extension, which tells me they're probably not planning to make Devin Funchess or Chester Rogers a priority this offseason.  That leaves the Colts with a WR trio of T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell.  But it also means they'll be looking to add more depth if they let those other guys walk.  I'd look for the Colts to acquire someone like Demarcus Robinson or Tajae Sharpe via free agency and add a receiver at the end of the draft.  I'm burying the lead though because the big move in Indy would be for them to use their 1st or 2nd round pick on the real successor to Andrew Luck.  They signed Jacoby Brissett to a 2-year contract worth $30 million, but I think they'll draft Jacob Eason.  So their QBs would then be...Jacob and Jacoby!

Jacksonville Jaguars draft a RB with Fournette threatening a holdout
Sure, this is a total guess that Leonard Fournette decides to hold out.  But if recent history holds true, he feels like the next guy to do it, right?  I mean, the Jags currently don't have the cap space to give him a bigger contract, so this would be a mess that likely would end in Fournette not playing in Jacksonville ever again.  Ryquell Armstead would certainly be an interesting name in 2020 drafts if something like this actually happens, but I think the Jags would also be wise to draft someone like Cam Akers to add to the mix.  And we all know they can't go a year without drafting a wide receiver, so I'll take a guess and say they land Tyler Johnson.  I assume none of these draft picks happen in the early rounds though because with Jalen Ramsey gone, you have to think the Jags use a 1st or 2nd round pick on a cornerback.

Tennessee Titans re-sign both Tannehill AND Henry
I'm not sure if the Titans have the cap space to sign both Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill this offseason, but I'm sure both will be a priority.  I'd say Tannehill has made himself the higher priority, but I'd expect them to have both players next season.  I'll say they re-sign the QB to a long term deal and slap the franchise tag on Henry.  The Titans will then sign one of the ex-Texans: Carlos Hyde or Lamar Miller in case Henry holds out himself or if they lose him after next season.  Just please give me Tannehill so A.J. Brown can continue to develop into the next T.O. slash Andre Johnson.  Thank youuuuuu!

AFC West

Denver Broncos sign A.J. Green AND draft a stud WR

Image result for aj green broncosDrew Lock seems to be the guy moving forward in Denver.  I mean, did you see him rapping on the sidelines in Week 17?  There's no going back to Flacco after that.  Courtland Sutton is a guy I was very wrong on in 2019, and he has developed into a legitimate #1 WR.  But with Emmanuel Sanders no longer in Denver, the Broncos don't really have a #2.  It's possible DaeSean Hamilton develops into that, but I also think it's very possible John Elway makes some moves to get that #2 for his young QB.  I expect them to add a receiver in free agency, and they could even be in the market for A.J. Green.  But Elway grabbed Noah Fant in the first round last year, and it's possible he takes a receiver with the #15 selection if someone he really likes is there.  Jerry Jeudy is the big name in this draft, but most expect he'll be gone by the middle of the 1st.  I could see the Broncos taking CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma or maybe stick with a local guy in Laviska Shenault, Jr.

Kansas City Chiefs draft a RB in Round 3 and he's a top-12 fantasy RB in 2020
I was surprised the Chiefs didn't take a running back until Round 6 last year (Darwin Thompson), but I'm doubling down and saying they'll draft the next Kareem Hunt in the 2020 draft.  LeSean McCoy was a 1 year rental and looks like he's about done at this point in his career.  Damien and Darrel Williams both looked OK at times this year, but neither could stay healthy.  Both are signed through the 2020 season though, so it's possible KC rolls with this same backfield.  But I'm not buying that.  I think they'll draft someone like Zack Moss out of Utah, and Andy Reid will turn him into a star.  And if it's not Moss, just pay attention if they take a guy in the 3rd or 4th round (especially if they decide to trade another late pick to move up a few spots to take "their guy").

Oakland Raiders add multiple receivers through the draft and free agency...again
Antonio Brown was obviously a huge bust in Oakland (and New England...and probably anywhere else he exists these days).  Tyrell Williams is the de facto #1 in for this team, but there's no way this team starts their new season in Vegas with that guy as their best receiver.  I could see them throwing a ton of money at a guy like Robby Anderson.  It's also highly likely Gruden watched the National Championship game and fell in love with another Clemson Tiger like he did with Hunter Renfrow last year.  Keep in mind the NFL draft is IN VEGAS this year, so I fully expect Oakland to draft an offensive position player with one of their 1st round picks.  Tee Higgins could be that guy in 2020.

Los Angeles Chargers draft Justin Herbert
Image result for justin herbert oregonThere will be a lot to figure out with this team in the offseason.  Philip Rivers is likely gone, and I'd expect Melvin Gordon to be as well.  Austin Ekeler is a restricted free agent, so I'm sure the Chargers will keep him around for at least another year.  Hunter Henry is an unrestricted free agent though, so he could very well be gone.  Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be back, but who will be throwing them the ball?  Tyrod Taylor?  I don't think so.  I think the Chargers will try to sign someone like Teddy Bridgewater, and I think they'll also use their high draft pick on Justin Herbert.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys extend Dak and franchise Amari

With Jason Garrett FINALLY gone, the Cowboys will now shift their focus to making Dak Prescott a rich man this offseason.  I don't think they'll do the same with Amari Cooper though (at least not yet).  Amari Cooper could be gone but more likely hit with the franchise tag.  Either way, I think Jalen Reagor out of TCU might be a name to know when looking at the first couple of picks for the Cowboys.  The guy can blow by defenders, and if he could do it in college, he can probably do it in the NFC East.  Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin are free agents, so adding Reagor to replace Cobb in the slot makes some sense.

New York Giants sign Blake Bortles
I realize that's not much of a headline, but I kind of think the Giants don't need to make a ton of moves this offseason in regards to the main fantasy positions.  If I were to take a guess at an offseason move for the Giants, it'll be for them to sign a veteran QB like Blake Bortles or Blaine Gabbert (or some other former bust for the Jags) to backup Danny Dimes.  The biggest news of the Giants offseason has already happened from revamping their coaching staff to Eli Manning's retirement.  Other than that, I don't think there will be much to talk about.  I will say that Daniel Jones is actually going to be an interesting late round quarterback for me in 2020 drafts though.  He has some great weapons and isn't afraid to sling it.  If the Giants continue to improve their offensive line, this is a guy you'll be able to draft in Round 9 or 10 and has top-5 potential.

Image result for henry ruggs iiiPhiladelphia Eagles draft a WR in the first round
You know what the Eagles need to do this offseason to improve?  They need to get healthy!  Well, that and improve their secondary.  It'll be interesting to see if they re-sign Jalen Mills, but even if they do, that unit is still suspect.  Opposing teams are going to put up some points against Philly, so they're going to need to add weapons for Wentz to keep up.  The Eagles used some draft capital on WR last year, but I think they'll have to do the same in 2020.  I could see them drafting a guy like Henry Ruggs in the first round, and he could have an instant impact on this team and in fantasy.

Washington Redskins sign Melvin Gordon to the dumbest contract in NFL history
So long, Bruce Allen. Actually "good riddance" is way more fitting.  With a new GM and head coach (love the Ron Rivera hire), this team is likely to make even more changes this offseason.  Dan Snyder tends to treat the Redskins like a fantasy team, so I fully expect them to make a big signing or two in free agency.  I actually think it's possible they try to get Cam Newton to reunite with his old coach, and if they strike out there, I could see them making an offer to an older QB like Philip Rivers.  Even worse than that would be paying way too much to a running back like Melvin Gordon.  So I'll say the Cam Newton thing doesn't work out and the Redskins will get either Rivers or Gordon this offseason.  I also expect us to address the tight end position, so someone like Jared Pinkney or Brycen Hopkins maybe?  I assume we'll take Chase Young with the #2 overall pick, so getting an offensive weapon after that pick makes sense.

NFC North

Chicago Bears cut Tre Burton and sign a big free agent tight end

Speaking of tight end, Tre Burton has been mostly a bust in his time so far in Chicago.  I think it's possible the Bears move on from him, as they have a potential out with his contract this offseason.  If they do that, I could see them trying this thing again and sign Eric Ebron or Hunter Henry.  They seem to be committed to Trubisky, and they already have some great receiving weapons for him on the outside (and out of the backfield in Tarik Cohen).  Adding someone like Ebron or Henry makes sense to me if it makes sense to them financially.

Detroit Lions draft a cornerback high and a QB late
This is more of a personal aside, but I'm very interested to see where Logan Thomas ends up this offseason.  Before he was a QB at Virginia Tech and then later a QB converted to TE in the NFL, he was a star QB at Brookville High School in Lynchburg, VA.  That's my home town, and my mom used to work with his mom back in the day.  In fact, I'm so old that my brother and I babysat for Logan a couple of times, and I've been following his career closely.  I hope if Detroit doesn't re-sign him, he lands with another team where he has a chance to at least be the #2 tight end.  In fact, I'd be ecstatic if he ended up in Washington.  I might even get a new jersey if that happens!

Back to an actual offseason move by the Lions (other than letting Logan walk).  While it's certainly early, most mock drafts have them taking CB Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State with the #3 overall pick.  That would be a nice duo with him and Darius Slay, at least for the one year left on Slay's contract.  That pick just makes too much sense.  But if you look at the rest of the picks for the Lions, I wouldn't be surprised to see them use a later pick on a QB.  Jeff Driskel was serviceable this season once Stafford was out with the injury, but Driskel is a free agent.  Stafford is signed through 2023, but if his injury is more serious/chronic, the Lions do have an out after next season.  All of that to say I think they could use their 2nd round pick on Jordan Love, and if they're more confident in Stafford's health, it's likely later than that...maybe a 6th or 7th round shot on someone from the state of Michigan: Shea Patterson or Brian Lewerke.

Green Bay Packers bring back Cobb AND draft an impact WR
Image result for kj hamler penn stateIf it wasn't obvious through 17 games of the regular season, I think it has been painfully obvious in the postseason that the Packers need another reliable wide receiver other than Devante Adams.  I could see the Packers bringing Randall Cobb back to be that safety valve in the slot, but they have to draft a WR in April as well.  And if they don't bring in someone like Cobb, then K.J. Hamler might be able to fill that void.  Maybe the Packers fall in love with a different WR, and there are so many that I'm just throwing a dart here.  But I think they have to use one of their first three picks at the WR position.

Minnesota Vikings draft a QB who can develop behind Cousins
This is a team that is pretty well set at their skill positions, and they have basically no cap space for 2020.  So I'm not going to project them to sign any high profile free agents.  But Kirk Cousins is only signed through the 2020 season, so they need to be planning for life after him just in case they don't sign him to another contract.  It makes a lot of sense for them to spend a later round pick on someone like Tyler Huntley.  He could backup and learn from Kirk for a year, and he just might be the starting QB for this team in 2021.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons re-sign Hooper, not Freeman

Image result for devonta freemanThe Falcons will have to get creative in order to sign Austin Hooper to a long term deal.  But I expect them to do that and keep him around for at least as long as they have Matt Ryan (currently signed through the 2023 season).  The real question is whether or not they move on from Devonta Freeman and his hefty contract.  In fact, that might be where they make the room for a contract for Hooper, so I say it happens.  Even if they somehow keep both guys, it's possible they draft another running back to complement Freeman.  Ito Smith has been the best of the bunch to be that guy, but he was placed on IR after a concussion (which doesn't sound good at all).  Brian Hill didn't look like that guy, and Qadree Ollison looked like nothing more than a goal line bowling ball.  I say the Falcons try again in this draft to find that Tevin Coleman replacement, and it could be Kylin Hill out of Mississippi State in the middle of the draft.

Carolina Panthers draft Jalen Hurts to be the next Cam Newton
I fully expect Greg Olsen to retire this offseason, and I'm not sure Ian Thomas will just step right into 100 targets at the tight end position.  I assume the Panthers will draft a tight end and maybe add a veteran too.  The Niners probably won't re-sign both Garrett Celek and Levine Toilolo, so maybe it'll be one of those guys.  The real question mark in Carolina is obviously the quarterback position.  If he's healthy, Cam should be back.  He still has one year left on his contract, and I don't see why the Panthers would just let him go elsewhere with the way Kyle Allen and Will Grier looked in his absence.  Of course it's possible a team like the Redskins offers a first round pick for Cam because they make bad decisions and want to sell jerseys.  But no matter what happens with Cam, I think the Panthers would be wise to take a QB in this draft.  I'd love to see them take Jalen Hurts, who could spend a year as a backup and then takeover in 2021 when Cam goes somewhere else.

New Orleans Saints lose Bridgewater to free agency, add a WR in the draft
The biggest question for the Saints is what to do with Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater this offseason?  I think in a perfect world, Brees retires and they sign Teddy to a long term deal.  In a complicated world, Brees plays a couple more years in New Orleans and then maybe they franchise Bridgewater or try to sign him to a long term deal?  I don't know how that works out, so if Brees wants to play one or two more years, I think Bridgewater is gone.  This is another team that should probably take a WR in this year's draft, and I could see someone like Brandon Aiyuk or Bryan Edwards fitting into their offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise Jameis & trade for David Johnson
Image result for david johnson tampaAs a Chris Godwin owner in a keeper league, I sure hope Jameis is back in Tampa, but it's not a sure thing.  I think he'll be there one more year, but if they let him leave, wouldn't it be ironic if Marcus Mariota ended up with the Bucs?  That would be an interesting storyline since Jameis was the #1 pick and Mariota #2 in the 2015 draft.  More likely is the Bucs sign someone like Case Keenum to a 2-year deal, and Arians turns him into Carson Palmer Lite midway through the 2020 campaign and beyond.  While Bruce stuck with Jameis through thick and thin in 2019, RoJo doesn't appear to be "his guy" at the running back position.  That being said, I think the Bucs will swing a trade to get David Johnson and his hefty contract out of Arizona, and he could take over this backfield if he can get/stay healthy.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals trade DJ, re-sign Kenyan Drake, draft Jonathan Taylor

I was a little surprised to see Larry Fitzgerald come back for another season, but I expect the Cardinals to draft another receiver regardless.  I haven't mentioned Antonio Gandy-Golden out of Liberty yet.  I don't know if he's a good fit for this offense or not, but he'll certainly get drafted and could make an impact right away.  The second (and more important guy for fantasy) is Kenyan Drake who was beyond impressive upon arriving in Arizona.  I don't see how the Cardinals don't at least try to re-sign him, and I think they'll make it happen and trade David Johnson to Tampa like i mentioned above.  I'd also love to see them draft Jonathan Taylor because he could be a good back for this high powered offense.  Kenyan Drake could actually flourish in a complementary role, and the Cardinals could build an offense that rivals the running game to their division rival 49ers.

Los Angeles Rams find a replacement for Brandin Cooks toward the end of the draft
Like the Bucs, the Rams are fairly loaded at receiver but have a QB who likes to give the ball to the other team.  Except Goff likes to do it by fumbling the ball from his tiny hands.  Complicating matters is the poor offensive line play this season, and I think they'll lose Andrew Whitworth (who is likely to retire but who I said could return to Cincy earlier).  If they want to compete in this tough division, they'd better solidify that O-line or else Nick Bosa and company will mop the floor with them.  Back to the receivers though, I do think it's possible one more concussion for Brandin Cooks could be his last in the NFL.  His concussion history is similar to that of a guy like Jordan Reed, so I could see the Rams adding someone like K.J. Hill on Day 2 or even 3 of this year's draft.

Image result for michael pittman uscSan Francisco 49ers add another receiver in the draft
Deebo Samuel is looking like a great pick in last year's draft, and with Emmanuel Sanders likely not sticking around, maybe they go back to the WR well in this year's draft.  I'll say they wait a while and get Michael Pittman out of USC in the later rounds, and he could be a good possession style receiver to complement the big play ability of Deebo.

Seattle Seahawks sign Phillip Dorsett to improve their receiving corps
This team has some important decisions to make in regards to re-signing guys on the defensive side of the ball.  They also have a lot of receivers who will not be under contract after the 2019 season.  Lockett and Metcalf will be there, but who else?  They'll probably keep David Moore and/or Malik Turner around, but I think they'll also add another receiver.  They always seem to draft a receiver, and that seems to be the theme here in the NFC West.  But I'll say they also sign former first rounder Phillip Dorsett this offseason, which would make a solid trio of Lockett/Metcalf/Dorsett for Russell Wilson.

So how many of those predictions will be right?  I'm sure a handful. I mean, some aren't even that bold.  It'll be interesting to see as the offseason plays out.  But first, we have a Super Bowl to play this Sunday!  I'm pretty excited for that, and I'm all over the Chiefs to win it all.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.  I'll be posting my initial 2020 rankings in the next week or two, so keep on the lookout for those!


Friday, January 3, 2020

Fantasy Football 2019 End of Year Review

Last week I posted Week 17 rankings for the first time ever I think, so if you read those then you know I won my main/money/home/keeper league this year.  It obviously felt great, but it was especially nice because I lost in the playoffs the last couple of seasons by the slimmest of margins.  Last year I lost by less than a point in the semi finals, and the year before that I lost in the championship by a point and a half to the guy I beat in the finals this year.  So it was some sweet revenge for my team: Dead Kickers Society.
Image result for lamar jackson sunglasses"

FantasyPros has already released next season's ranking tool, so I'll work on those in the next week or so and post a super early edition of my 2020 rankings soon.  But before we get to that, I'd like to look back at my preseason articles and see what I got right and what I got wrong.  I do this every year, and be warned: this will be a long article.  So if you have some time to kill and want to see me pat myself on the back and also point out where I totally screwed up, this is for you!

I won't recap my articles in July: "Someone to draft on all 32 teams" & "My Ideal Draft and the Worst Possible Draft", but I'll review/discuss the other three I posted after those.

RECAP: Who is this year's Zac Stacy?

I'll start with my favorite article to write each year, which is "Who is this year's Zac Stacy?"  There are several trends I've noticed in recent seasons, and I hand pick a guy to fit each category below.  It's a Q&A format that includes some of my preseason picks for "sleeper", "bust", "long shot", etc.   Let's see if I got any of these right this year, shall we?

Q: Who is this year's Alfred Morris (2012), Zac Stacy (2013), Tre Mason (2014), David Johnson (2015), Jordan Howard (2016), Alvin Kamara (2017), or Phillip Lindsay (2018)?
[Description: A rookie NOT taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft who is virtually UNDRAFTED in fantasy leagues.  He's not expected to be the Week 1 starter, but he could really help your fantasy squad by mid-year.]

My preseason Answer: Damien Harris 
Actual Answer: Devin Singletary
Image result for devin singletary bills"Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, so they were out for this category.  David Montgomery and Darrell Henderson were drafted way too high back in August to be in the mix too, but that still left plenty of options for me to choose from.  I liked Damien Harris, but he got zero playing time with the Patriots this year.  Devin Singletary is the closest to fitting the category, but he still finished outside of the top-25 RBs in standard scoring.  But if you look at his production, he actually had a decent game in Week 2 before dealing with an injury until Week 7.  At that point, he was eased back into the offense and was a solid RB2 in Weeks 8-16, so I feel like he qualifies here.  If you held onto him through his injury/bye week, you were rewarded with a guy who certainly helped your fantasy team down the stretch.  Looking forward to next season, Frank Gore likely will finally retire (or is at least out of Buffalo since he was only on a 1 year deal).  That leaves Singletary as easily a projected top-20 RB next season, and he might even be drafted in the third or fourth round.

Q: Who is this year's Danny Woodhead (2013), Darren Sproles (2014), Danny Woodhead (2015), Theo Riddick (2016), Chris Thompson (2017), or James White (2018)?
[Description: Shifty veteran who sneakily finishes in the top-20 overall fantasy RBs.]

My preseason Answer: Duke Johnson
Actual Answer: Raheem Mostert
I wrote this article before Lamar Miller was lost for the season, and it STILL didn't happen!  I could talk up Austin Ekeler here because he was drafted around RB27 in August, and he finished as a top-10 RB in standard scoring and top-5 in PPR.  But he didn't sneak into the top-20 like Mostert did.  Mostert flashed at times early in the year, but it was his late season run that propelled him into the top-20.  The guy had a touchdown in 6 straight games to close out the season!  So yeah, he fits the category.

Q: Who is this year's Keenan Allen (2013), Odell Beckham, Jr. (2014), Tyreek Hill (2016), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017), or Calvin Ridley (2018)?
[Description: Rookie WR with playmaking ability and a solid QB, who is a late-round fantasy pick or even undrafted in most leagues but ends up being a top-20 fantasy WR.]

My preseason Answer: D.K. Metcalf 
Actual Answer: A.J. Brown
Image result for a.j. brown titans"Metcalf seemed like the obvious choice because he was drafted in the double digit rounds and is tied to a future hall of fame quarterback.  He didn't have much issue passing guys like David Moore and Jaron Brown on the depth chart, and he looked like he would be the answer to this question through Week 9 or so.  But while Metcalf cooled off after his Week 11 bye, A.J. Brown did the complete opposite and exploded with Ryan Tannehill under center.  Brown had over 100 fantasy points in standard scoring during Weeks 12-17 (17 PPG average), and he ended up as a top-10 WR in that format.  I'm pretty pumped about his strong finish because I can keep him for my 9th round pick next year in my main league.

Q: Who is this year's Andrew Luck (2013), Russell Wilson (2014), Derek Carr (2015), Kirk Cousins (2016), Carson Wentz (2017), or Patrick Mahomes (2018)?
[Description: A young starting QB ready to jump from one fantasy QB tier to the next.]

My preseason Answer: Lamar Jackson
Actual Answer:  Lamar Jackson
I obviously nailed this one, and it's crazy now to think that Lamar wasn't getting the love he deserved before the season started.  Once Jackson took over in Week 11 as the starter in 2018, he was a QB1 for the rest of his rookie season.  Obviously most people didn't think he would produce that way over the course of an entire season, but I thought he could.  It seems unbelievable in hindsight, but very few experts were talking him up as a  top-12 fantasy QB in the preseason.  But I was, so I'm going to pat myself on the back for this one,  No, I didn't say he'd finish as the best player in fantasy football this year, but did anyone?  Probably not.  If you paid attention to my Lamar love back in August, you probably also had a good season.  I know you did, Carl!  ;)

Q: Who is this year's Cam Newton & Andy Dalton (2013-2014), Ben Roethlisberger (2014-2015), Carson Palmer & Cam Newton (2015-2016), Matt Ryan (2016-2017), or Carson Wentz (2017-2018?
[Description: A top-5 fantasy QB who finishes outside of the top-15 the following year, and not due to a serious injury that season.]

My preseason Answer: Ben Roethlisberger
Actual Answer: Andrew Luck
Image result for andrew luck retirement"To be fair, Luck was my honorable mention because at the time I wrote the article, there was concern he might miss a handful of games to start the season.  No one saw it coming when the guy straight up RETIRED before the season started, but I suppose that fits into the category of "not due to a serious injury".  Big Ben on the other hand did miss nearly the entire season due to injury, so I'm not counting this one as a win.  Maybe I should just change the category description in 2020 because the point is, there are always QBs who finish in the top-5 one year and don't the next.  And often it's multiple guys.  Spoiler alert, next year one of them will likely be Jameis!  So just don't draft a QB early.  Don't do it.  As much as I love Lamar, just let someone else take him in the first round next year.  I realize the temptation because the dude is awesome.  But NFL teams adjust.  Guys get hurt.  Try to remember that guys like him and Mahomes were LATE round fantasy draft picks during their breakout seasons, so don't reach for them in the first couple of rounds when you should be taking RBs and WRs.  Instead, draft a guy like Kyler Murray or Josh Allen later who could end up as a top-3 QB at a way lower price.

Q: Who is this year's Joique Bell (2013), Giovani Bernard (2014), Devonta Freeman (2015), Tevin Coleman (2016), Alex Collins (2017), or Tarik Cohen (2018)?
[Description: A second year running back (mid to late-round draft pick) who is likely the #2 in a timeshare situation but will still find himself as a top-20 fantasy RB in 2019.]

My preseason Answer: Rashaad Penny
Actual Answer: N/A
Penny missed some time early in the season and then finally had two big games in Weeks 12 and 13 before going down against the Rams in Week 14 and landing on IR.  Derrius Guice suffered a strangely similar fate with nearly the exact same timeline, but Ronald Jones almost fit this category.  If Bruce Arians had trusted the second year back a bit more this year, he certainly could've cracked the top-20.  As it was, Jones finished outside of the top-25 in standard scoring, so none of these sophomores fit the bill in 2019.  Looking foward to 2020, maybe Damien Harris will actually get some playing time in the Pats offense and fit this category.  Maybe I was just a year early on him.  If not, keep an eye on other second year RBs like Darrell Henderson, Ryquell Armstead, and Myles Gaskin.

Q: Who is this year's Julius Thomas (2013), Antonio Gates (2014), Gary Barnidge (2015), Kyle Rudolph (2016), Evan Engram (2017), or Eric Ebron and Jared Cook (2018)?
[Description: A tight end who is virtually undrafted in fantasy leagues and ends up being a top-5 TE.]

My preseason Answer: Jordan Reed 
Actual Answer: Darren Waller
Image result for darren waller raiders"Obviously I knew this was a risky call because everyone knows Jordan Reed is never healthy, and he actually never returned after a concussion in a preseason game this year.  It's possible this guy never plays another NFL snap again, and I hope he does whatever is best for him and his family.  Anyway, Darren Waller is the clear answer here as he was typically drafted way later than Mark Andrews (who I think was drafted too highly to fit the category).  While Waller was certainly a sleeper for some after being featured on Hard Knocks, he was still undrafted in a majority of leagues.  He was quickly scooped up off waiver wires early in the season, and he was a consistent tight end at a position that was anything but consistent for most.

RECAP: Top-12 Preseason Position Predictions
The next thing I'd like to revisit are my preseason predictions for who could finish the season in the top-12 at each position.  These were NOT my rankings (which have risk, injury, RBBC considerations, and a ton of other things built into them).  These were my best case scenarios with fully healthy seasons (at least for these guys) in an attempt to predict the final top-12 at each position when you look at end of season ranks.  I've noted the picks in bold that I got right, and I have some notes below each list.

My preseason top-12 QBs
Deshaun Watson
Patrick Mahomes
Carson Wentz
Jared Goff 
Kirk Cousins 
Baker Mayfield 
Cam Newton 
Lamar Jackson
Aaron Rodgers 
Kyler Murray  
Matt Ryan 
Dak Prescott

Actual top-12 QBs (8 of 12 correct)
Lamar Jackson
Dak Prescott
Russell Wilson
Deshaun Watson
Jameis Winston
Patrick Mahomes
Josh Allen
Aaron Rodgers 
Carson Wentz
Kyler Murray   
Matt Ryan
Tom Brady

Like pretty much everyone, I had Mahomes as my #1 QB in my preseason rankings, but I didn't have him there in these predictions.  No one has repeated as the #1 fantasy QB since Daunte Culpepper in 2004, and I don't think it'll happen next year either.  Prove me wrong, Lamar!

Image result for kyler murray cardinals"Speaking of Lamar Jackson, I said he and Kyler Murray would get so much yardage with their legs, they'd both crack this list if they play 16 games.  That was spot on.  I also had Kirk Cousins in my top-5 (who no one was talking about in the preseason).  It turns out this wasn't a terrible call because while you don't see him on the top-12 list, he was there before Week 17 (in which he didn't play), and he ended up right near the bottom of that list.  No, he didn't finish in the top-5, but this was a bold prediction about a guy who was getting virtually zero preseason talk.

Really the only miss that I feel like I should've gotten is Russell Wilson.  Outside of him, I guess Josh Allen almost fits into that Kyler Murray rushing QB category, so I'll note that for 2020.  The funny thing is, I drafted Jared Goff late in the league I won.  He was a big miss, but I picked up Jameis in the middle of the year.  He somehow carried me to the promised land.

My preseason top-12 RBs
Alvin Kamara
Christian McCaffrey 
Ezekiel Elliott
Marlon Mack 
Saquon Barkley
David Johnson 
Chris Carson
Dalvin Cook
Nick Chubb
David Montgomery
Aaron Jones 
Kerryon Johnson

Actual top-12 RBs (7 of 12 correct)
Christian McCaffrey 
Derrick Henry
Aaron Jones
Ezekiel Elliott
Dalvin Cook
Nick Chubb
Austin Ekeler
Mark Ingram
Chris Carson
Saquon Barkley
Joe Mixon
Todd Gurley

I didn't include guys like Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley or even James Conner in my projected top-12.  I thought all of these guys would miss a big chunk of games this season due to holdouts or injury, and I was right on 2 of the 3.  Gurley wasn't as great as he was in previous seasons, but he still had a solid RB1 year and just barely made this list.

Marlon Mack as a top-5 RB was bold, but with Luck's injury I thought it would mean even more Mack early in the year behind a great offensive line.  That part was right, and if it weren't for his own injury, Mack might've finished in the top-12.

Image result for j.k. dobbins"
A rookie tends to crack the top-12 every year in recent history, and I thought this year it would be Montgomery and not Josh Jacobs.  I was wrong there, but I had the right idea because Jacobs was close to a top-12 finish.  Like Mack, he likely would've been in there if not for a late season injury of his own.  Depending on his landing spot, keep an eye on J.K. Dobbins next year and potentially other rookies like Jonathan Taylor or Travis Etienne as well.

Derrick Henry was probably my biggest miss here, but he was a pretty big question mark heading into the 2019 season.  Now he's solidified himself as a first round pick in 2020 fantasy drafts.

My preseason top-12 WRs
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Davante Adams 
DeAndre Hopkins 
Amari Cooper 
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Michael Thomas 
Tyreek Hill
Julio Jones
Robert Woods
Jarvis Landry
Stefon Diggs
D.J. Moore

Actual top-12 WRs (4 of 12 correct)
Michael Thomas 
Chris Godwin
Kenny Golladay
Cooper Kupp
Julio Jones
DeVante Parker
Amari Cooper 
DeAndre Hopkins 
Mike Evans
A.J. Brown
Julian Edelman
Keenan Allen

I had a couple of long shots in my preseason list, but my boldest prediction was definitely Jarvis Landry, especially because everyone seemed to be fading him this year.  He was my WR version of Kirk Cousins if you will.  I thought Baker would be able to support two top-12 WRs, but it turned out he didn't even support one.  But Landry finished better than OBJ, and he was a top-15 WR in standard scoring (just missing this list).

Image result for d.j. moore"
D.J. Moore was another interesting name on my preseason list, and he kind of turned into a star in 2019 (even without Cam).  He didn't crack the top-12, but some of that was due to being limited the last couple weeks of the season.  He ended up with 1175 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns, which isn't too shabby with Kyle Allen throwing to you most of the season.  McCaffrey certainly overshadowed his season, but I'll likely pick Moore to crack my top-12 receivers again in 2020.

The fact that I only got 4 of 12 right here shows it was a bit of a crazy year for this position.  I feel like usually the RB group is less predictable, but this year it was the WR position.  Sure, I could've predicted Mike Evans and Keenan Allen in the top-12.  But the fact that JuJu, Tyreek, Adams, and OBJ all finished outside of the top-12 is kind of wild.

My preseason top-12 TEs
Travis Kelce 
Evan Engram
Zach Ertz
Vance McDonald
O.J. Howard
Hunter Henry
George Kittle
Austin Hooper
Jack Doyle  
Jordan Reed
Jared Cook 
Rob Gronkowski

Actual top-12 TEs (6 of 12 correct)
Travis Kelce 
Mark Andrews
George Kittle
Darren Waller
Zach Ertz
Jared Cook 
Austin Hooper
Hunter Henry
Tyler Higbee
Dallas Goedert
Mike Gesicki
Jason Witten

O.J. Howard and Evan Engram were huge busts for nearly every expert, but Vance McDonald in my top-5 was a big miss for me.  Big Ben screwed me twice in this piece because I also liked JuJu as my potential #1 WR this season, and that was also (partially) derailed by Ben's injury.  You may have also noticed Gronk on my list.  Yeah, that didn't happen, but whatever.  It was fun to think about, and there was speculation about it during the first 8 weeks or so of the season.

The key takeaway for me with the tight end position for 2020 is if you don't draft Kelce or Kittle early, just wait.  Getting someone like Austin Hooper in the middle rounds would be fine, but that didn't work out for O.J. Howard and Evan Engram in 2019.  So yeah, maybe just wait til the later rounds if you don't get Kelce or Kittle.

RECAP: Real Football Predictions & Bold Fantasy Predictions

Below is who I predicted to win each division and wild cards before the 2019 season started.  I also added some BOLD fantasy predictions in each division that I felt like no one was talking about in the preseason.  Let's find out together whether or not any of those were right.

AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Houston Texans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card1: Jacksonville Jaguars
AFC Wild Card2: Cleveland Browns
[Chiefs over Texans in AFC Championship Game]

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings
NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West: LA Rams
NFC Wild Card1: Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card2: New Orleans Saints
[Rams over Cowboys in NFC Championship Game]

Super Bowl Prediction: Rams over Chiefs

So...wow.  I totally whiffed on the Rams this year.  I thought they'd keep rolling in that division, and the 49ers were a big surprise.  I also missed on the Packers, Seahawks and Ravens being better than I thought they'd be.  By the way, I realize the Vikings didn't win the NFC North, but I wanted to highlight the playoff teams I got right (which was half).  I actually think the Chiefs could make a run at this thing though.  Since I picked them to lose to the Rams in the Super Bowl, I'll roll with them as my Super Bowl pick.  That seems fair, right?  Again, I hope I'm wrong because obviously I'm rooting for the Ravens to win the whole thing, but I feel like I should somewhat stick to my preseason prediction.

Below is my preseason commentary on my predicted standings and one BOLD prediction for each division.  I also provided results as to whether or not I got any of these right...

AFC East
Real Prediction: The Patriots easily win the division again (BOOOORING!).  The Jets improve and can't wait for Tom Brady to retire.
Real Prediction Result: NAILED IT! (this one was easy though)

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: I initially had in this spot "The Bills trade or waive Shady McCoy, and Devin Singletary finishes as the best fantasy RB for the Bills this season."  McCoy was cut before I wrote this preseason article, so that wasn't bold by that point in time.  So I went with DeVante Parker finally breaks out in Year 5 and finishes as a top-20 WR. 
Image result for devante parker dolphins"BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: NAILED IT!

AFC North
Real Prediction: The Steelers actually win the division (NOT Cleveland like everyone seems to think), and the Browns just barely get a Wild Card spot over Baltimore.
Real Prediction Result: MIXED BAG  I was wrong about the Steelers over Ravens, but I think this division could've been a lot different if Ben doesn't get hurt in September.  Also I was right about the Browns not winning the division. Way too many people thought they would just magically be amazing, and I wasn't quite buying it.

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: A.J. Green pulls a Doug Baldwin. He plays just a handful of games this year and retires in the offseason.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: Maybe NAILED IT?  Green sat out the entire season, so we'll see if he ever plays another snap in the NFL.  Stay tuned...

AFC South
Real Prediction: Watson is a legit MVP candidate and leads the Texans to win the division this year.  The Jags start of slow but ultimately grab a Wild Card spot behind their defense.
Real Prediction Result: MIXED BAG  I was right about the Texans but wrong about the Jags.

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: Duke Johnson hits the ground running and finishes as a top-10 fantasy RB with Lamar Miller lost for the season.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: WRONG!

AFC West
Real Prediction: The Chargers miss the playoffs on the heels of the Melvin Gordon holdout.
Real Prediction Result: NAILED IT!  Although to be honest, they missed the playoffs more so due to a ton of early season injuries on the defensive side of the ball and bad play from Rivers.

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: Speaking of that Melvin Gordon holdout, it lasts all season and Justin Jackson (not Austin Ekeler) finishes as a top-15 fantasy RB.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: WRONG!  But I did stash Justin Jackson for 2020 because he could be an OK (super cheap) keeper assuming Gordon is elsewhere.

NFC East
Image result for sad jason garrett cowboys"Real Prediction: The Eagles will win the NFC East, but the Cowboys are right behind them and grab a Wild Card spot with the same record.
Real Prediction Result: MIXED BAG  The Cowboys were right behind the Eagles, but both had terrible records so the 'Boys didn't snag a Wild Card (which makes me very happy).

BOLD Fantasy prediction: Carson Wentz is the #1 fantasy QB in PPG this season.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: WRONG!  But the guy did a lot with virtually no receivers most of the year.  In fact, he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards while having no WR over 500 yards for the season.  That's strangely impressive to me.

NFC North
Real Prediction: The Vikings win the division, and the Bears shockingly miss the playoffs.
Real Prediction Result: MIXED BAG  The Vikings were close to winning the division (and they did get a Wild Card).  Tons of people were picking the Bears in the preseason, so I was right to say they'd miss the playoffs.

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: Marvin Jones finishes well ahead of Kenny Golladay in total fantasy points this season, but neither ends up in the top-15.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: EXTREMELY WRONG!

NFC South
Real Prediction: The Bucs surprise and win this division behind a great new coaching staff.
Real Prediction Result: WRONG!  But they DID improve...this was always a bold prediction.

BOLD Fantasy Prediction: Alvin Kamara only misses one or two games, but Latavius Murray still finds a way to finish as a top-20 fantasy RB.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: SO CLOSE!  Kamara missed two games (Weeks 7 & 8), and Latavius had 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns in each of those games.  He didn't do a whole lot outside of those games though, and he finished as the RB30 in standard scoring.  He showed he's one of the top handcuffs in fantasy, but I thought he could be more than that this year.

NFC West
Real Prediction: The Rams steamroll the competition in another one bid division.
Real Prediction Result: VERY WRONG!
Image result for chris carson seahawks"
BOLD Fantasy Prediction: Everyone had been talking about Rashaad Penny breaking out in Year 2, but no one seemed to be envisioning a scenario in which Chris Carson is a top-5 fantasy RB.  I said it would happen.
BOLD Fantasy Prediction Result: Almost NAILED IT!  He was top-10, not top-5.

If you've made it this far, I appreciate it.  Even if you just clicked on this page, thanks!  I'll get some 2020 rankings out soon enough, and I have a new offseason article I'm working on as well.  Until then, enjoy some playoff football!