With one week left until the NFL season opener, I've got no start 'em/sit 'em suggestions for you. There's not a lot of breaking news happening, and I cover most of that in my morning blog.
All things considered, this week seems like a good time to offer some predictions for the fantasy, er, NFL season. They're not too outrageous, but they're not simplistic, "Peyton Manning should be a fantasy starter" types of predictions, either.
Please note that if any of these predictions are incorrect and cost you a fantasy league title, FOX & Friends host Brian Kilmeade has agreed to personally pay your league entry fee. OK, I made that up, but you could always ask him and see what happens.
— Adrian Peterson will rush for 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns.
One more time – Purple Jesus is your top overall fantasy pick. Don’t come back around here if you pick Michael Turner or Maurice Jones-Drew. I mean it – I’ll see to it that you’re banned from FOXNews.com.
Peterson has Hall-of-Fame talent, and his third season is when he’ll put up the accompanying mind-boggling numbers. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your 2009 NFL MVP.
— Tony Romo will be better off without Terrell Owens – think 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
If Romo didn’t break his pinky last year, he’d have thrown for 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns, so this one isn’t a huge stretch. Preseason results don’t always mean a lot, but they can offer clues about a team’s approach, and the Cowboys have stepped up their offensive tempo, with Romo spreading the ball around liberally. Who needs a diva wide receiver yapping in your ear all the time, anyway?
Romo is going eighth among QBs in FOXSports.com drafts right now, and that’s too low. He could be a bargain. As a Cowboy hater, that was really tough for me to write, so maybe that tells you how much I believe in Romo this season.
— Andre Johnson will lead the league in receiving yards.
I’m not just on Johnson’s bandwagon – I think I’m driving it. Over the past two seasons, Johnson has averaged a terrific seven receptions and 97 yards per game. He was second in the league last season in both overall targets and red zone targets, so you can count on the Texans to pretty much force-feed him the ball no matter where they are on the field. Johnson is a beast, a monster, a flat-out stud. This may sound crazy, but I have him second on my draft board behind Peterson. Go get him!
— Marques Colston will catch 100 passes and a dozen touchdowns.
In 2007, Colston had 98 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 TDs. Last year he had trouble staying on the field, missing a month with a thumb injury that required surgery. But Colston got into a groove at the end of the season, hauling in 22 passes for 306 yards and four TDs in his final three games.
Colston is more physical than he is fast, but we’re talking about a guy who just might be the primary target in the league’s top passing offense. He’s going 18th among wide receivers now in FOXSports.com drafts, and if he’s your No. 2 fantasy wideout, you’re going to be ecstatic.
— LeSean McCoy will amass more total yards for the Eagles than Brian Westbrook.
I’m not a fan of old running backs – especially when they’re trying to come back from two offseason surgeries. Westbrook did have 14 touchdowns in an injury-plagued 2008, but he notched 1,338 yards from scrimmage after combining for 4,020 in 2006 and 2007. I’m no doctor, but I think Westbrook is breaking down, and the Eagles will use top draft pick McCoy to fill the void during Westbrook’s inevitable absences.
— Darren McFadden will break out for the Raiders, with 1,500 total yards and 10 touchdowns.
McFadden hasn’t been great in exhibitions so far, partly due to some issues with fumble-itis. Preseason, shme-season. McFadden is a supremely talented back who can catch the ball, and he showed flashes of his ability last season, most notable in a 164-yard outing against the Chiefs in September.
Keep in mind that the Raiders really don’t have much at the wide receiver position, so using McFadden liberally in the passing game seems like an obvious tactic. Think Reggie Bush, but as a more powerful runner.
— LaDainian Tomlinson’s slide will continue.
See Westbrook, Brian. Tomlinson was fantasy football’s king for about five years, but he’s got a lot of tread on his tires, and I think his decline to only 1,536 total yards and a dozen touchdowns was more the start of a decline than an aberration. Stay away, folks.
— The Packers will have a top-10 fantasy defense.
Last season, the Packers ranked 22nd in the league in points allowed, and 20th in total yards allowed. This season, with a new 3-4 alignment and blitz-happy defensive coordinator Dom Capers on the sidelines, look for them to rack up more sacks and more turnovers while making an overall improvement in the rest of the fantasy defensive categories. Double down on the Pack’s D when they play the Vikings, when they’ll be salivating at the chance to make Brett Favre’s life miserable.
— Knowshown Moreno will be a top-15 fantasy running back.
Moreno has been bothered by a knee injury in the preseason, but he’s practicing again, and will be a solid fantasy contributor if he stays healthy. He’s an all-purpose back who can run, catch and block, which increases his likelihood of staying on the field instead of falling prey to one of those damned committees, which started under former Broncos coach/fantasy hater Mike Shanahan.
With Kyle Orton’s job description reading as “game manager,” and petulant WR Brandon Marshall pouting his way out of the Mile High City, head coach Josh McDaniels is going to need someone to depend on. Why not a talented rookie like Moreno?
— Tom Brady may be back, but he won’t post a 2007 repeat, and he won’t be a better fantasy quarterback than Drew Brees.
I love Brady – all things considered, he might be the best quarterback I’ve ever seen. But if you think he’s throwing for 48 touchdowns again like in 2007, you’re crazy.
I know Brady never had Randy Moss before that all-timer of a season, but he also never threw for more than 30 scores in his previous six years, and surpassed 4,000 yards only once. Brady is a great QB, but he’s almost certainly never going to stuff the stat sheet like that again. I’ve got Brady ranked third at his position, so it’s not like I’m killing the guy.
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John Halpin writes Wide Write and hosts an accompanying video blog every week throughout the NFL season. He also writes fantasy columns and four days a week at FOXSports.com/fantasy.
For more fantasy sports coverage, visit FOXSports.com/fantasy.