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THE FIRE SALE: Predictions and Week 1 Sneaky Starts

The preseason is over and fantasy drafts are in the books. It’s time to put up or shut up. We don’t have to hear “ADP” again until next summer. That makes me happy.

So what? So, let’s dance.

We made it everyone. Summer is finally over. Officially. We don’t have to pretend that we like to go outside anymore. We don’t have to pretend we like to go on boats, go fishing, golf or any of that other nonsense people do when the sun is out. Now we all have a built-in excuse to sit in our recliners and eat meatball subs for the next six months. It’s football season. All is right with the world.

Next week I’ll get back to my normal format with players going up and coming down. This week I wanted to give you my predictions for the upcoming season. Most are fantasy predictions, along with a few NFL predictions. At the end of the article I have my Week 1 Sneaky Starts.

Enjoy the season everyone and remember, football it’s just a sport. Don’t get too crazy over it. And if you believe that I’m still trying to unload Spencer Ware in one of my leagues. Drop me a line.

You can follow my crazy ramblings and fantasy observations on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I never sleep and I respond to every tweet. Hit me up with fantasy questions or just to tell me I’m a remarkable human being.

2017 Fantasy/NFL Predictions

Dak Prescott will be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback and win NFL Most Valuable Player. Come on, you’ve read this column in the past. Are you surprised? The guy is mustard.

–If you drafted Andrew Luck, don’t panic. Sure, he may miss a few games but now people are going too far the other way and acting like his career is over. Let me ask you a question: If you were the Colts would you rush Luck back? Luck will play this year and help some owners to fantasy titles with a big second half of the season. Book it.

Pierre Garcon will be a Top 12 fantasy receiver. Garcon was targeted 184 times in Washington when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. He finished with 113 receptions for 1,346 yards and five scores. Shanahan’s No. 1 receiver has led the league in targets three times (2009, 2013, 2015) and finished second once (2008). Garcon is clearly the No. 1 receiver on a team that’s going to score points. There’s talk about the 49ers defense being improved. We’ll see. I also like Aldrick Robinson to be the 49ers second-most fantasy relevant receiver. No one is talking about Robinson. I had him as one of my sleepers this year. He’s the starting slot receiver now. Robinson will get Garcon’s scraps. You’ll be picking him up off the waiver wire.

Allen Robinson will once again be a big fantasy bust. I don’t see him being more than a WR4 most weeks. We know about Robinson’s major problem: quarterback. However, don’t forget about offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Long-time Fire Sale readers will remember how for years I tried to hunt down Nathaniel’s father, Paul, for being so conservative. Well, like father, like son. Nathaniel loves to run the ball. After Hackett took over play-calling duties in Week 9 last season, the Jaguars improved from 30th (72.6) to fifth (124.8) in rushing yards per game and went from 26th (3.79) to 13th (4.35) in yards per rush. In Hackett’s first season as the Bills offensive coordinator the team ranked second in rushing and 28th in passing. Robinson is a great receiver but he simply has too many obstacles standing in his way to produce consistent fantasy numbers.

Derrick Henry will lead the Titans in rushing. I love DeMarco Murray but his touches over the last three yards are 449, 237 and 346. Only Chip Kelly’s insane view of NFL running backs gave Murray a little break. I’ve watched Murray closely since he was a freshman at Oklahoma. He’s a great player but Murray has very little wiggle to him. He takes a lot of hard shots. I believe that workload will start to catch up to him. At the very least, Henry will see more touches this season. My money is on Henry being the lead dog come fantasy playoffs.

Adrian Peterson is going to be a fantasy disaster. Guys like Peterson don’t thrive on 10-15 carries a game. Peterson’s fantasy value will be tied to him scoring touchdowns. When do you start him? If you start him and he gains 38 yards but doesn’t score, you’re sunk. Peterson was a fine champion but his time has passed. I wish him luck.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.