5 Bold Predictions for the 2019 Fantasy Football Season

41%. Forty-one percent is the average attrition rate for the top 100 Fantasy Football Rankings every year. The NFL’s Top 100 players, as voted on by their peers, sees 20-40 new faces each year. The NFL itself has so much parity, it shocks me how often fantasy owners rely on the past year to repeat itself. It’s a better assumption to think the only consistency in football is no consistency. With that being said after finishing my preliminary research for the upcoming season, I have listed 5 predictions that will surprise you today, but not at the end of the year. 

*WHY SHOULD YOU BELIEVE ME: To support this insight, I have included a screenshot of first 6 rounds of my 2018 Draft Script AUDIT below. My 2019 Matrix (and 2019 Auction Scarcity Matrix) is available for free to anyone that shares this post on social media, and sends a request to RyanNewman20@gmail.com.

1. The Colts TE situation is flopped. Ebron is undraftable/Doyle will dominate

There are a lot of forces at play here. 

  • The Colts have a strong, pass reliant offense, with a veteran QB and healthy LT in the critical year 2 for the scheme
  • A QB who loves throwing to TEs. Beyond the Colts finishing as a top 3 TE position cumulatively the last 3 years, Luck has been heard on the sideline literally saying “I love TEs”. The Colts threw 20 total TDs to the TE position last year alone
  • With those 2 points we know the TE position itself in this offense is a good target
  • According to Football Diehards, the Colts have a top 5 adjusted TE strength of schedule for the upcoming year

So why Doyle (going at pick 158 according to ESPN ADP today) instead of Ebron (going at 94)?

  • Look at Ebron’s production with Doyle on the field: In the 6 games Doyle played, Ebron was on the field for less than 50% of the snaps and only had 3.7 targets/gm. 
  • Although Ebron finished the year as a top Fantasy TE, looking at true value Ebron was not ACTUALLY (vs. fantasy) good last year for the Colts. According to Football Outsiders as the primary TE Ebron average -73 DYAR (including postseason) on 9 targets a game (3rd worst among TEs). And the Colts KNOW this
  • Anyone that has played fantasy football before knows that Ebron’s fantasy production was vaulted up by his ridiculous TD rate (scoring 90 points more than has previous 3 year average), which absolutely must regress this year
  • Doyle is healthy this year, and although 29 (which is the year TEs typically start to see their fantasy numbers drop) has established a strong connection with his QB 

Doyle will finish as a top 3 fantasy TE in 2019, and Ebron will be irrelevant except for 1-2 games where he unpredictably catches 1-2 scores.

2. Lamar (BAL QB) will be the next Running QB to fall in Year 2

As I have mentioned before in Evidence you should NOT draft Lamar Jackson, there is a small, albeit 100% correlated history of modern NFL teams having success with running QB schemes in year one, and regressing in year 2. Whether its an injury or simply the fact the defenses will have time to prepare for this unconventional offense this year, Jackson is undraftable. Have we forgotten Miami’s Wildcat? Tebow Mania? RGIII? Exotic Smashmouth with Marriota? They never can sustain success in Year 2.

This is all not to mention the likelihood of Lamar making it unscathed through 16 weeks is next to zero in this offense. The Ravens ran him into the ground in 2018, setting a all-time QB rushing attempt record of 147 carriers in 8 starts! Extrapolated over a total season, Lamar’s rushing load would have outpaced every RUNNINGBACK in the NFL, except Ezekiel Elliott’s!

Jackson (currently going as QB18) will not finish the 2016 season healthy, and be unplayable by midseason.

3. Bell (NYJ RB) is just too scheme dependent

Although there is some empirical evidence to this claim…

  • Matt Forte averaged 5.5 receptions for Chicago BEFORE Adam Gase (new OC supposedly known for throwing the ball to a RB) got there, then dropping to 3.4 catches/game
  • Miami (Gase’s offense last year) being dead last in snaps/game, yet Bell’s best 2 seasons happened when the Steelers were top 10 in the NFL in snaps per game
  • Football Diehards, among many, rate the Jets OL poorly at 27th in the NFL

…A lot of the reasoning behind this is less empirical and more based on visual evidence. Bell has a very particular running style behind the line. RBs at a young age are taught to “Run slow TO the hole, and fast THROUGH the hole”, which Bell takes to a whole new level. Many, if not most, of Bell’s runs see him almost at a full stop behind the line of scrimmage, which puts an extra onus on the zone blockers in front of him (having to hold a block longer). This is not a knock on Bell, he is an elite player, it’s that a RB’s success is so dependent on the OLine. And assuming this OLine will have the right scheme, and be able to execute their blocks to fit this “ONLY GUY IN THE NFL TO DO SO” type style in year one is a stretch.

Although holdouts historically do nothing to diminish RBs production in the next season, I don’t think Bell can can bring his style to a new team overnight (2020 is another story).

Bell’s production won’t match his ADP, and will end the year as an RB3.

4. Chris Godwin (TB WR) will be this year’s “JuJu”

This is another projection that simply has too many forces behind it that we can’t ignore.

  • Back in March, new Tampa Bay Coach, Bruce Arians, said Godwin can do “what Fitzgerald did”, even saying he would catch 100 balls this year (he won’t catch 100, but an uptick in targets is very likely)
  • WR entering his key 3rd year
  • The Bucs have 179 targets up for grabs in 2019
  • In most cases it’s tough to project where those displaced targets will go, Godwin has averaged 4 catches for 73 yards in games DeSean Jackson didn’t play.

Tampa Bay, which led the NFL in passing yards last year, with a new coach that compares him to Larry Legend, who already has factors pushing his projection up, will be a top 12 WR in Fantasy Football this year.

5. Hunter Henry (LAC TE) will lead TEs in Fantasy Points in 2019

Henry has flashed talent for years now, but has been hampered by injuries. He’s in a contract year this season, and reports out of camp say he looks healthy. More specifically, there are some strong indicators of a big season for Henry:

  • Football Outsiders project a 17.2% DVOA for 2019. 
  • With Gates gone, and Rivers proclivity to get the TE involved Henry should expect to get a lot of looks his way
  • Add to that the Chargers ALREADY have 109 targets displaced from last year
  • Where will they go? Gordon is possibly holding out
  • The top WR Allen an injury case himself
  • WR2, Williams mathematically needs to regress, a WR with a 15.2% TD/touch rate is likely to see a 23% dip in production the next season
  • The targets have to go somewhere right?

Henry has flashed talent for some time now, just hasn’t been able to stay on the field. If he can, there is just too much mathematically pointing towards Henry having a monster season. Henry will be the top Fantasy TE in 2019.

I hope this information helps your draft. Again, my 2019 Draft Script/Matrix (and 2019 Auction Scarcity Matrix) is available for free to anyone that shares this post on social media, and sends a request to RyanNewman20@gmail.com.

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