I started a column of fantasy football predictions at the beginning of the season a few years ago for the Austin American-Statesman. The predictions column and my regular column have moved here to gatosclub.com.
Last season I was right on 11 of 21 predictions for the '21 fantasy season.
I didn't have the same success this season, but injuries killed a good amount of my bold calls. See how close I was on the misses for full context. Final tally: 8.5 correct, 13.5 incorrect.
Let's have a look:
1. Derrick Henry will miss out on being a top-3 running back in half-ppr leagues.
Well, I just did get this one right as Henry came in as the fourth-best running back in half-ppr leagues. He didn't slow down as much as I thought he might, and he even increased his receiving production by a lot. Henry trailed Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey and Josh Jacobs. (Correct)
2. Austin Ekeler will finish ahead of Christian McCaffrey in fantasy production.
Nailed this prediction as well. Ekeler finished with 915 rushing yards and a career high in receptions with 107 on his way to 722 receiving yards. McCaffrey rushed for more yards but caught more than 30 fewer passes. (Correct)
3. Joe Burrow will be a QB1 but outside the top 8.
I underestimated Burrow going into the season and he proved me wrong as he finished as the QB4. The biggest reason he improved on his fantasy numbers this season was he rushed for career highs in attempts (75), yards (257) and touchdowns (5). He threw for fewer yards than last season but one more TD pass and two fewer INTs. (Incorrect)
4. Allen Lazard will prove to be a decent flex in half-ppr leagues, finishing as the best pass catcher for the Packers.
Lazard did lead the Packers with 60 receptions and 788 yards. He also added six touchdown receptions, one behind Christian Watson's seven scores. Lazard finished as the WR33, two spots better than Watson and in flex range. (Correct)
5. After being dethroned last season as the TE1, Travis Kelce will reclaim his status.
I couldn't have been more correct on this one. Kelce made a career-high 110 receptions for 1,338 yards and another career-high 12 TD receptions. His yardage was second only to his 2020 season and he finished far ahead of second place T.J. Hockenson in fantasy scoring. (Correct)
6. Michael Pittman will catch passes for 1,200 yards and eight scores.
I didn't think Matt Ryan's skills would erode so quickly, thus leaving Pittman with fewer opportunities to have big games. He did catch 99 passes for 925 yards and four touchdowns, well short of my predictions. (Incorrect)
7. Antonio Gibson will remain the Commanders top scoring back and finish as at least an RB2.
Gibson finished as the RB31 in half-ppr leagues while Brian Robinson finished as RB41 despite having a solid rookie year. While Gibson led the Commanders, he didn't reach RB2 status with Robinson cutting into his production. (Incorrect)
8. Dameon Pierce will break 1,000 yards from scrimmage and score at least six touchdowns.
This one really hurts as Pierce rushed for 939 yards and caught 30 passes for 165 yards and five touchdowns. While he amassed 1,104 yards from scrimmage, he came one TD short of my prediction. Missing four games really hurt. (Incorrect)
9. Marquise Brown won't be a top-24 wide receiver.
I had a feeling the Cardinals would struggle without DeAndre Hopkins to start the year, but I didn't realize they'd fall off so hard later in the season as well. Kyler Murray's injury was a big factor. Brown finished as the WR46. (Correct)
10. Lamar Jackson will bounce back with a QB4 or better finish.
Jackson ended up the QB14 as he played in just 12 games. It will be interesting to see how his time with the Ravens plays out. (Incorrect)
11. Jerry Jeudy will lead the Broncos receivers in fantasy points.
While the Broncos struggled with Russell Wilson at the helm, both Jeudy and Courtland Sutton had productive seasons. Jeudy had 67 receptions for 972 yards and six scores while Sutton had 64 catches for 829 yards and two touchdowns. Jeudy finished as the WR21 while Sutton notched a WR43 season. Jeudy proved to be the better value as he was drafted later than Sutton in most drafts. (Correct)
12. AJ Dillon will keep Aaron Jones from RB1 status.
While Dillon nearly had an RB2 season, Jones still maintained his RB1 status with the help of a career high in receptions (59). Jones surpassed 1,000 rushing yards and finished as the RB9 on the year. Dillon had more rushing TDs than Jones and finished as the RB25. (Incorrect)
13. Dalton Schultz will repeat as a top-6 tight end.
He only played 14 games that would count for fantasy and he ended up with a line of 53-544-5. Kelce, Hockenson, George Kittle and Mark Andrews could be expected to finish ahead of Schultz. But players like Taysom Hill, Evan Engram, Cole Kmet and Pat Freiermuth also ended the season with more fantasy points. Tyler Higbee also had a couple more points than the Cowboy. (Incorrect)
14. Trey Lance will be at least a QB8 but could be even better.
An early injury killed this prediction before it had a chance of ever becoming correct. And now Brock Purdy has thrown a real onion in the ointment for Lance. It'll be interesting to see what Kyle Shanahan does with the QB position next season. (Incorrect)
15. Malik Willis will take over for Ryan Tannehill sooner rather than later, probably before Week 8.
I'd like to take credit for this one, but Tannehill's health had more to do with Willis getting playing time than his talent. Willis struggled mightily through the air, connecting on just 50% of his passes in the eight games he played in. He through for 276 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Willis rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown, but he never came close to being relevant for fantasy. (Incorrect)
16. No Bills running back will finish as an RB2 or better.
I think I'll give myself half credit on this one as Devin Singletary finished as the RB25 in standard leagues and RB24 in half-ppr leagues. Josh Allen is a big part of the running game when the Bills actually have a running game. Singletary had 819 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground while catching 38 passes for 280 yards and one more score. (Half correct)
17. DK Metcalf won’t be better than a WR20.
Here's another really close one. Who among us thought Geno Smith could support two productive wideouts for fantasy? Metcalf caught a career-high 90 passes for 1,048 yards and six touchdowns while Tyler Lockett caught 84 passes for 1,033 yards and nine scores. Metcalf's numbers were good enough for WR18 status. Perhaps I should have simply predicted that Lockett would be more productive as he finished as the WR13. (Incorrect)
18. Tua Tagovailoa will break out and be a QB1.
Well, he was the QB10 among quarterbacks who played in at least 11 games. Unfortunately, Tagovailoa only played in 13 games and finished as the QB15 in overall points. He had an amazing start to the season, throwing to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Tua had eight TD passes through the first three games, including six scoring tosses in Week 2. Concussions cut out some of his playing time. (Incorrect)
19. Ezekiel Elliott‘s downward trend will continue as he fails to achieve RB1 status for the first time in his career.
I got back on track with this prediction as Elliott ended up as the RB19 while teammate Tony Pollard ended the year as the RB7. Zeke saw lows in rushing attempts (231) and rushing yards (876) but he did amass 12 rushing touchdowns for a potent Cowboys offense. He had career lows in receptions (17), receiving yards (92) and TD catches (0). (Correct)
20. Kyle Pitts will lead the Falcons in fantasy production through the air.
Pitts, though he had an excellent rookie year, had a highly disappointing second season. His campaign ended in November due to a torn MCL. Pitts' production was hurt by poor play from Marcus Mariota and the emergence of rookie Drake London. Pitts finished with 28 catches for 356 yards and two TDs. London led the Falcons with 72 receptions and 866 yards. (Incorrect)
21. DeAndre Swift won't rush for more than 650 yards, nor will he gain 500 yards receiving, as he finishes outside RB1 status.
I didn't buy the hype in the offseason and though Swift played in 14 games, he rushed for only 542 yards and gained 389 yards through the air. He did score eight times, but Jamaal Williams had his first 1,000-yard season and 17 rushing TDs. Swift was the RB20 last year and finished as the RB22. (Correct)
22. Javonte Williams will take the lion's share of touches and lead in production out of the backfield.
Williams had a good start to the season and led the backfield by rushing 37 times through the first three games. He started strong, rushing seven times for 43 yards and catching 11 passes for 65 yards in the season opener. Williams tore his ACL in Week 4, however, and ended the year with 204 yards and 16 receptions for 76 yards in just four games. Latavius Murray joined the team in October and ended up leading with 703 yards. (Incorrect)