10 NFL Players Difficult to Predict
by Utter-Fantasy writer & illustrator Doug Bowles
10 NFL Players Difficult to Predict
Players are tough enough to calculate, guesstimate and prognosticate for, when they are star veteran players returning to their team from the year before. When you get into the players, who have had injuries or who have moved to another team, figuring them out pre-draft can be challenging.
Here’s my 10 players that could be studs, or not studs…..in 2015
1) TE Jimmy Graham (SEA) – We know that the Seahawks are a run first team, which is the opposite of what Graham was used to in New Orleans. Additionally, Jimmy Graham has stated that he expects to be blocking 75 percent of the time in Seattle. He will definitely be a red zone target, but how much he’ll be used between the 20s is very hard to predict. Because of his amazing athletic talent, Utter- Fantasy ranks Graham as the #3 TE overall, but this will likely end up being way too high at the end of the season.
2) WR Sammy Watkins (BUFF) – QB E J Manuel has dropped down on the Buffalo depth chart to the #3 QB, leaving journeyman Matt Cassel as the starter. This shouldn’t give anyone a good feeling about Buffalo’s passing game in 2015. Watkins is a gifted freak, so he’ll be drafted early, just not by me.
3) RB Latavius Murray (OAK) – Everyone remembers his break out game vs KC last season ( only 4 carries, 112 yards and 2 TDs) and everyone is excited for him too succeed. His next 4 games in 2014 however ( Weeks 14-17) were much quieter, not topping 86 yards in any of them, nor scoring any TDs. I want him on my fantasy teams for his potential, but I cannot use an early pick on Murray. It’s Oakland after all, but what helps is that he has very little competition ( his back ups are RBs Roy Helu and Trent “the Bust” Richardson)
4) RB Todd Gurley ST L) – HC Jeff Fisher is a smart guy. HC Jeff Fisher is a really smart guy, so if he says RB Gurley is a worth the Ram’s 1st Round pick, 10th pick overall, I have to trust that Gurley is the big time play maker like Fisher says he is. ( I thought the Rams had more pressing needs, rather than at running back) Gurley (ACL) will miss the “first couple games” of the season so he drops down on my draft board. ( For the record, WR O Beckham dropped off my draft board last year for the very same reason, and I missed out on him.)
5) Josh Hill (NO) – Word out of New Orleans is that Hill won’t be playing the same role in their offense as TE Jimmy Graham did. In the preseason opener, Hill played with the second-teamers, and is even listed behind TE Ben Watson on Saint’s depth chart. Hill has had a quiet camp and his role in the Saints’ offense has been downplayed by pretty much everyone covering the team. Once as high as #4 on Utter-Fantasy’s TE rankings, we got more conservative and rank him #8. We still like him as a 2015 TE Sleeper.
6) WR Brandon Marshall (NYJ) – QB Geno Smith took a right cross from a teammate and now he’s out for 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw. I am not glad his jaw is broken but I am glad that now QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the undisputed starter because in my opinion, Fitz is a huge upgrade over Geno. Marshall’s fantasy stock rises considerably for me, but also is tougher now to predict, because before with Geno Smith as QB, I didn’t want Marshall at all.
7) RB Joique Bell (DET) – I participated in a fantasy draft back in June, and was pretty happy about my RB Joique Bell selection in Round 6. I can admit that am not as happy as I was. Bell is still recovering from an ankle injury (Achilles’) and says that he doesn’t know when he’ll resume practicing. Meanwhile rookie Ameer Abdullah continues to impress in camp and in his first preseason game (rushing for 67 yards on seven carries, including a nice 45 yard run between the tackles.) DET also likes RB Theo Riddick, so this backfield is a fantasy challenge for certain.
8) QB Nick Foles (ST L) – Foles is the Roddy Dangerfield of the NFL. He’s getting no or very little respect. On October 6, 2014 Foles became the starter for the Eagles after Vick suffered a hamstring injury and Foles led the Eagles to a 36-21 win over the Giants. The next week, Foles would get the start Week 6 vs the Bucs and had one of the best starts of his career, completed 22 for 296 yards and 4 total touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) and the win, which earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week. On March 10, 2015, Foles was traded to ST L, where he is the immediate starter. Many sites are ranking QBs Winston, Mariota, Hoyer, A Smith and Bortles ahead of Foles. Utter-Fantasy is not one of them. We rank him conservatively at #18. QB Rankings.
9) Travis Kelce (KC) – Yes, he had some pretty good games last season, but none of them were spectacular, and I am still trying to figure out the excitement over him. 15 other TEs had more targets than Kelce in 2014 and 14 other TEs had as many or more TDs than Kelce had. Despite all this, and a conservative KC offense, Kelce is ranked on average at #4 TE for 2015. ( maybe because Kelce only played 67% of snaps in ’14 and that number projects to be higher this season) He is Utter-Fantasy’s #9 TE. TE Rankings.
10) WR Jordan Matthews (PHIL) – Only in his second year, Matthews was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Playing opposite WR Jeremy Maclin, Matthews had a great rookie season, but now the question is…”can he have the same success as the #1 WR, where defenses will game plan for the “Maclin-less Matthews” more than they did in 2014? We believe he can, and think that his fantasy success is easier to predict than the previous 9 on this list.
What’s your prediction on these guys Amazing Karnac?