Long Term Outlook
DeAndre Hopkins at Buffalo
Where will Hopkins be ranked heading into next season? Has he done enough to prove that he can produce at a WR1 level with really any resemblance of quarterbacking? Could he potentially improve or even regress taking into consideration any moves that are made in the offseason? There’s a lot in the balance here as we don’t know exactly what is going to happen after this year. Maybe Brian Hoyer is brought back. Maybe Houston goes after a high-priced name like Drew Brees. Maybe Houston goes early on a Top 3 quarterback in the 2015 draft. Whatever route the team ultimately takes, Hopkins would do himself a huge favor by going off this week. Buffalo is weaker against the pass than most would expect. This is a great chance for Hopkins to create optimism and provide a “Look what he did last year with so-and-so at quarterback” debate. He needs to have a Julio Jones–type of day in order to push for a Top 5 wide receiver ranking next year.
Anquan Boldin at Chicago
Does Boldin have enough in the tank to do something else somewhere else next season? Carolina? Baltimore? New England? He’s had an OK season considering the circumstances surrounding San Francisco, even at his advanced age. It’s clear that Boldin is not going to be playing for San Francisco next season given the team’s direction, his age and his pricetag. The question becomes, “Can Boldin do enough to earn a look from a different team next season?” Is there anything left in the tank or is this Boldin’s last go-around? This could very well be the end of a very productive era.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Baltimore
There are two contradicting points of view concerning Tannehill heading into 2016. The first is that he is still young enough and potentially good enough to live up to his unrealistic contractual expectations. The second is that Tannehill’s contract will continue to be one of the worst offers ever given to an “average at best” option, regardless of position. Tannehill has to break through this week for huge numbers. Baltimore has been most favorable against the pass so this is the end of the road for Tannehill. Tannehill needs a win, 300 yards and three touchdowns in order to even deserve a high ranking heading into 2015.
Chris Ivory at New York Giants
How high in the first round should Ivory be selected next season? After guys like Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley are off the board, names like Chris Ivory will surely follow. Can Ivory do enough to deserve being selected this closely to these studs? Has Ivory joined the best of the best? Or will Ivory become the 2016 version of C.J. Anderson, being more presumed risk? The New York Jets runner has to continue his play for the remainder of the year without missing a beat. Ivory needs to finish the season strong and this game is no different. A let down here could turn into a average draft position a full round later in 2016.
David Johnson at St. Louis
No more Chris Johnson. No more Andre Ellington. It will be the David Johnson show for what could quickly turn into the rest of 2015. Johnson has shown glimpses of being able to grow into a force at running back in the league. He just needs the carries and touches to do so. Well, they’ll be at a premium this week as they could easily break the 30 total touch mark. If Johnson were to excel here, and in doing so, enable Arizona to avoid larger contracts to both Chris Johnson and Ellington, David Johnson may have earned himself a dynasty gig out in the desert.