Please allow me to be so bold….These are some “bold” predictions for fantasy (and real) football for 2011. Just fodder for you to rip apart, but fun to check back on in 2011. These are just gut feelings and you know we don’t make cut predictions. Again, just for fun!
Listen to Busts here:
Chad Henne will be a top 15 QB
Right, we know….he barely has a job as it is. But he has the faith of Sparano for the time being and the fans are off his back for now.
Henne had a solid preseason game Saturday night at Tampa Bay. Henne was 10 of 13 passing for 175 yards and a touchdown. He completed two passes to Brandon Marshall for 90 yards and a touchdown, and he led the Dolphins to 10 points in the first half. Henne has now played well in back to back preseason games.
Henne posted seven 15+ fantasy point games in 2010. To give you perspective, Jay Cutler was a top 15 back in 2010 and scored 16 fantasy points a game.
Regardless of how you feel about SOS, this year Henne has the second easiest projected strength of schedule. Poo-poo these ranks if you want, but they NEVER move from second easiest to the bottom of the pack. His toughest opponent this year, the Jets, are on his schedule for the fantasy-irrelevant week 17.
He has solid targets in Marshall, Davone Bess and Reggie Bush, and the Dolphins will be more pass-oriented this year due to their new offensive coordinator and his hybrid west coast offense.
His 502 attempts came in 14 starts/15 games played. That means a 16-game season with Henne could reach the 550-attempt mark, which is near-elite territory (only eight quarterbacks reached that mark in 2010).
Manningham will outscore Hicks in fantasy PPR scoring:
If you read the articles on this site, yo know we love Manningham, but to add to his value, no other NYG WR has stepped up to grab the slot position this preseason. What this means, is that Manningham is now being used in 3-wide sets in the slot and other formations where he would have normally come off the field.
This makes him not only a deep threat (2nd in the NFL in bomb attempts), but now a possession guy who you can rely on in PPR. We feel this gives him the PPR edges over his teammate Hakeem Nicks, who will again be the second most double covered WR in the NFL. Think Hakeem Nicks meets Steve Smith (when he was good).
Gary Kubiak will be fired
After week 17 of 2010, and yet another missed playoff opportunity, the Associated Press reported that Kubiak could keep his job but be forced to fire several defensive assistants. Which he did, and should shave because they were one of the worst defenses in NFL history.
Under the coaching of Kubiak, the Houston Texans reached a maximum of 9 wins in 2009. From 2006 to 2008 there was a steady increase in wins.
Looking at this data, you can see that Kubiak has to outperform his top year in 2009, and show the fans (and owner) that the potential must get transformed to nine or more wins in 2011. Realistically, he needs to make the playoffs. He has an entirely new defensive staff, new scheme and is even moving one of his best defenders (Williams) to a new position. This is likely something that will take more than one year.
All roads still go through a banged up Peyton Manning (who they play in week one-allegedly) and if they fail one more time, Kubiak is gone. We say they miss the post.
Bernard Scott will overtake Cedric Benson, not because of injury
New OC Jay Gruden will run a more traditional west coast style offense which really doesn’t suit the current Bengals starting personnel very well at all. The good news is that the offensive line remains strong despite under-performing last year and if they can get that unit back on track it will allow for better offense in Cincinnati in 2011.
The Bengals have the #1 rated SOS for RBs this year and although that looks good for Benson, we think it will be even better for Bernard Scott and his 4.6 yards per carry career average. He is a deal for a guy with at best 12th round value. What we should note here is that all the value for Scott is the same for Benson, just vastly different price points. We really like Benson as an undervalued take this summer, but Scott is a really cheap flier with the same upside. Go grab Scott and stash him because we think he will be a viable RB2 with upside by the send of the season.
Jared Cook will be a top 10 TE:
We have been talking about this for weeks and some of our thunder was taken away when Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt indicated last week that he believes Cook will lead the Titans in receptions.
In 2010, Cook played 53.9% of the TEN snaps over the last 5 games and ranked as a top-10 fantasy TE during that span. New Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer has been very complimentary about Cook. The Titans still may add TE depth in free agency, but Cook is entrenched as the starter. He caught 26 passes for 303 yards with a touchdown over the final 8 weeks of 2010.
Chris Palmer will have no problem drawing up plays for Cook as the primary receiver, making the third-year pro a serious fantasy sleeper. You also have to like a TE on a team with QB issues. So far in camp Cook has been splitting out wide as ”Y” tight end. You gotta love it. Also don’t worry about the acquisition of TE Daniel Graham..he had only 31 targets all of 2010, he is there to take blocking duties off Cook’s plate. Best of all, Cook will have the second easiest schedule of any TE in 2011. Make him the first TE you look for off waivers if you hit early TE troubles.
These are just our bold predictions and off the radar thoughts. Check back at the end of the season or feel free to leave your comments or your own bold predictions.