NFL Predictions 2009: Give Away The Farm

The NFL season is nearly here, and it’s time for all of us to point to the smart things we said last year and desperately hope nobody remembers the dumb things.

I’m pretty good at finding fantasy sleepers, especially at wide receiver; in my fantasy advice thread last year I successfully predicted Antonio Bryant’s big year (drafted in <1% of leagues), for example.

I also correctly predicted that Kurt Warner would have a huge year…

…that Donte Stallworth would bomb in Cleveland…

…that Aaron Rodgers would be pretty good

…Derrick Brooks’ looming retirement

…that Carolina would win the NFC South

…that the Lions would draft Kevin Smith

…that Chris Brown wouldn’t do anything for the Texans

…that Chad Johnson would not sit out the season (before the Bengals turned down the Redskins’ two first round picks)…

…that it was a great year for first-round tackles…

…that Tom Brady’s stats would take a hitfrom 2007 (;))…

… and, of course, I also predicted that Detroit would finish 8-8 and that Kevin Smith would lead all rookie running backs in yards from scrimmage (he finished fourth).

Anyway, on to this year’s general predictions:
San Diego will defeat Carolina in the Super Bowl
Anquan Boldin will be offensive POTY
Asante Samuel will be defensive POTY
DeAngelo Williams will be MVP
Two NFC South teams will make the playoffs
Al Davis will be cryogenically frozen, making him indistinguishable from his players
Andy Reid will retire

Fantasy sleepers:
Greg Olsen, Bears TE - 750 yards, 7+ TDs
Whoever is the #2 Browns tailback behind Jamal Lewis
Anthony Gonzalez, Colts WR - 1,200 yards
Pierre Thomas, Saints RB - 1,000 yards
Brian Robiskie, Browns WR - 800 yards
Packers D/ST - lots and lots of interceptions
Matt Schaub, Texans QB - 4,000 yards, 30 TDs
Kevin Smith, Lions RB (this time I mean it- 989 rushing yards for a team that was down by 14 by halftime almost every week?) - 1,300 yards, 13 TDs
Jason Campbell, 'Skins QB - 3,500 yards, lotsa TDs
Steve Smith, Giants WR - 100+ catches
Ben Watson, Pats TE - 10 TDs

Based on the way Jake Delhomme played in the last 1/4 of the season and the playoffs, I seriously disagree.

Isn’t everyone (and their mother) predicting success for these two? I don’t disagree, but they’re not sleepers.

With his receiving corps, and an improved Skins defense? I’d be surprised.

Like Drew Brees, I feel he’ll benefit from quantity over quality- when you have that many young receivers running around, one or two of them have to turn out good. Plus he’s already got Santana Moss and Chris Cooley.

Not sure if these are out-on-a-limb predictions, but I think that MJD is going to come back extremely strong, as Jax’s O-line injuries can’t be any worse than last year, no more Fred Taylor taking away carries, and a Tennessee defense that should be somewhat easier to run on with Fat Albert gone.

I also think that Michael Turner is going to have a significant regression from 2008 (see Football Prospectus’ Rule of 370). Of course, that may mean that Atlanta will “finally” give Jerious Norwood the touches I’ve felt he’s deserved the past two years.

Agree with the Schaub prediction, provided he can stay healthy. Houston has a lot of weapons on the offensive side. Not sure if this is the year where Felix Jones really starts to push Marion Barber for the #1 RB spot, or if Dallas is content to use him as the 10-15 touch change-of-pace back. I also think that Buffalo is going to surprise quite a few people with their improved defense; on the flip side, I think that TO is going to be an unmitigated failure in Buffalo, and it will be noisy and messy. He’s lost his top end speed, which never was that great, and I don’t think his hands have really recovered from that broken hand in 2006 (look at his high drop rate).

I think Buffalo knew exactly what they were getting with TO- headlines and scorelines. T.O. will never post another 100-catch season, but he’s certainly capable of a couple more 10-touchdown seasons. He might even teach James Hardy how to score, and it will be very interesting to see what Lee Evans can do without having to cope with double teams on every single down.

I think I won’t be drafting Brandon Marshall in my Fantasy League.

Is that a comment on him, or on Orton?

Do you think that because TO will have to share receptions with a high quality wideout like Evans, or because of TO’s age? Or is it an offensive system thing with the Bills?

I think TO is still capable of that, for a couple more years. The guy is an amazing physical specimen and a hell of a wideout, despite his baggage.

Mostly age. He’s still built like a tank, and I have no doubt he can outmuscle any corner or safety in the league, but his legs just aren’t there anymore.

You saw it last year- he just couldn’t get behind coverage the way he used to 3-4 times per game.

Maybe man, but he did have over 1,000 yds receiving, 10 TD’s and over 15 yards per reception average just last season. That’s all still right in his career stat wheelhouse.

And somehow, that still didn’t keep him from whining about not getting the ball enough*. I am SO glad he’s somewhere else now.

TO is a fantastic player with tons of talent. He’s got a boatload of charisma, too. Unfortunately, he’s also a malcontent and a diva. I believe he’s a good 1-2 year player for a team–sign him for only that long, and he behaves better, knowing he could be dumped the next season. Sign him for a longer term contract, and he soon starts up with the moaning and groaning, feeling that he’s safe for a while.

*Yeah, yeah, I know, EVERY player wants the ball on EVERY play. Difference is, they know it’s not going to happen and they accept it without all the drama.


I’d thought that his production was all in the first half, and tailed off dramatically in the second, but in fact he did quite well at the end of last season. His bad games were nearly all during the Brad Johnson segment in the middle.

I could be wrong. Still, age has to catch up with him sooner or later, and 35 might be to wideouts what 30 is to running backs. He’ll turn 36 in December.

Tim Brown’s last 1,000 yard season: 2001, age 35
Marvin Harrison’s last 1,000 yard season: 2007 (probably), age 35
Isaac Bruce’s last 1,000 yard season: 2006 (probably), age 34
James Lofton’s last 1,000 yard season: 1991, age 35
Cris Carter’s last 1,000 yard season: 2000, age 35

Torry Holt, for the record, is 33, so in theory he could have two more good years.

No, no, no! Romo and Witten were actively plotting against him, trying to steal his catches, stats and glory!


It’s a combination of both, but mostly I’m of the opinion that Marshall was wholly a product of Cutler’s arm strength and the Shanahan offense. I think Orton is an OK game manager and a good OC can get good numbers out of him if he’s got WRs who can get yards after the catch. The Bears had the wrong system for him and the wrong WRs for him. I don’t think Marshall will be worth a damn this season. The new offense and new QB will hurt him and the off-field drama will finish the job. Marshall knows this and that’s why he was agitating for a trade and a new deal so hard.

Oh, yes, silly me to have forgotten! Of course, TO is the martyr, sacrificed on the alter of Romo, who favored his BFF Witten on nearly every play!

I’d roll my eyes at this, but I’m afraid I’d roll them so far back that they’d get stuck!

I’m a horrible prognosticator, so if you are a gambling man you can bet the farm against the following:

Steve Slaton will be a top 7 fantasy back this year.
Darren McFadden will be a top 12 fantasy back this year.
Drew Brees will be a fantasy disappointment.
No Dallas RB will get 200+ carries
Matt Cassell will be a major disappointment for hopeful KC fans
The Raiders will stink (ok this isn’t really a prediction, just a miserable reality for us Raiders fans)

I agree with you on Slaton and the Raiders. Definitely disagree on McFadden.

I’d have more confidence in McFadden if the Raiders showed the same. They are keeping too many other options on the team (Michael Bush specifically, who I would think would have substantial trade value), which makes me think they are worried about McFadden’s health or talent.

Then again, they drafted Heyward-Bey when they did, so maybe I shouldn’t analyze their intentions. I might go blind.

  1. The Steelers take #7.
  2. Nothing else matters.

It’s totally crazy for the Raiders to keep two different style backs - NO ONE does that.:rolleyes: