Bold predictions for the fantasy rookies

How will the NFL newcomers fare this season? Tyler Loechner goes bold in forecasting their futures.

| 10 months ago
(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Bold predictions for the fantasy rookies

We’ve been making bold predictions all week, and in a bid to top all my coworkers — who have been making some pretty dang bold predictions — I’m going to be making bold predictions exclusively about the hardest group to predict: rookies.

We’ll get the boring, bonus sixth bold prediction out of the way first, which is that no rookie quarterbacks or tight ends will be worth starting in fantasy this year.

As such, these five bold predictions will focus on rookie running backs and wideouts. We’ll also stay away from Ezekiel Elliott predictions, since a couple of other already made the bold prediction that he’ll finish as the No. 1 overall running back.

And at the end, I’ll be giving my single boldest prediction, so stick around.

1. The Giants give Paul Perkins 12-plus touches per game by Week 8.

When was the last time anyone said, “Wow, that Rashad Jennings guy is a really good running back”?


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Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

  • DEV00100000

    I wouldnt be so fast to lay the whole “no QB or TE will be worth starting this year” (really though, is that suppose to be a bold statement?)

    I think if you look closely you can find a rookie TE out there that has a chance of being start worthy.

    Bold. :)

    • Tyler Loechner

      The QB/TE statement was more of an explanation as to why I was only going to be discussing RBs and WRs in the piece. That’s why I called it a bonus! Which rookie TE do you like? There are a few intriguing options – but still none I’m drafting.

      • DEV00100000

        I won’t be drafting any either. But the name I am keeping a close eye on is Tyler Higbee. It all depends on whether or not the NFL disciplines him, but so far he looks like he can make an impact and has virtually no competition for the job. I can see him breaking out and being a hot add at some point in the year.

  • Danimal

    My boldest call on the season: Michael Thomas finishes outside the top 50 WRs while Cooks, Snead, AND Fleener all finish as a WR1, WR2, and TE1 respectively.

    • Tyler Loechner

      Drew Brees would be breaking all kinds of records!

      • KWS13

        Not necessarily; for starters Colston was in the 55 range among WRs, so literally just outside the top 50, Snead was a borderline WR2 while missing a game and being hurt and ineffective for another, Cooks was a WR1 near top 10 last year, and Watson was a solid TE1 despite putting up 31 yards in the first two weeks and waning down the stretch with an injury limited 5 yard week 16. With theoretical “upgrades” in Fleener over Watson and Thomas over Colston, Brees just has to repeat last season which was, laughably, one of his least productive (volume) seasons, albeit missing one game of course but that’s beside the point. If Brees puts up 5100 yards and 35 TDs on about 430 completions it would be surpirsing if those predictions didn’t happen

        • phil

          If Brees puts up 5100 yards with 35 TDs on 430 completions then its almost statistically impossible for Thomas to NOT be in the top 50. Lets say Cooks and Snead have the exact stat line as last year and Fleener duplicates Watsons stats from last year as well, who are the players receiving the remaining 2100 Yards and 17 TDs?

          • Nelson Cobb

            Odds are he doesn’t throw for 5,100 yards. Odds are his yardage comes down a little from last years 4,800 if Ingram stays healthy. Josh Hill is gonna get some. Mark Ingram was on pace for a big receiving year last year before getting hurt. CJ Spiller in year 2 is likely gonna be better. Brandon Coleman is gonna get some. I predict Thomas has around 500 yards and 4-5 TDs.

          • KWS13

            McCown added 320 when Brees was hurt so NO threw for 5200 last year, which is what Brees was on pace for. So 5100 is down from last year, even with slightly increased efficiency that I expect. Brees had a 16 game pace of 669 (!) attempts and I think he’ll be around 635-640.

          • Phil

            Here are the projections as of 8/22:

            Drew Brees – 412 COMP / 14 INT / 4799 YDS / 31 TD
            Luke McCown – 4 COMP / 0 INT / 49 YDS / 0 TD

            Running backs: (Receiving Only)
            Mark Ingram – 46 REC / 411 YDS / 2 TD
            C.J. Spiller – 39 REC / 301 YDS / 1 TD
            Tim Hightower – 10 REC / 116 YDS / 0 TD
            Travaris Cadet – 4 REC / 50 YDS / 0 TD
            Total: 99 REC / 878 YDS / 3 TD
            Total For RB:

            Wide Receivers:
            Brandon Cooks – 82 REC / 1152 YDS / 7 TD
            Willie Snead – 68 REC / 882 YDS / 4 TD
            Michael A. Thomas – 54 REC / 724 YDS / 5 TD
            Brandon Coleman – 7 REC / 98 YDS / 0 TD
            Total For WR: 211 REC / 2856 YDS / 16 TD

            Tight Ends:
            Coby Fleener – 74 REC / 874 YDS / 6 TD
            Josh Hill – 13 REC / 116 YDS / 1 TD
            Michael Hoomanawanui – 9 REC / 88 YDS / 0TD
            Total For TE: 96 REC / 1078 YDS / 7 TD

            Complete Total: 406 REC / 4812 YDS / 26 TD

            The totals don’t quite add up but are fairly close and should be taken with a grain of salt. Might be on purpose to account for some players to perhaps out performing their projections but I don’t really know.

          • KWS13

            Well for one it is key to remember, and maybe I should’ve added, that Luke McCown added 320 yards, so NO threw for 5200ish yards last year anyway, though I think you accounted for that in your numbers (?). I actually project passing numbers to go DOWN from last year, just with more TDs. 2nd it would be odd for another year with Cooks and Snead in their newly established roles and assuming fully healthy for 16 games and yet produce EXACTLY what they had last year. Another consideration is that as recently as 2013, Brees’ last monster year, NO RBs combined for about 1200 receiving yards. Working with the number of NO having 5200 last year and 5100 next year, and assuming Watson/Sneads 16 game healthy paces from last year, I indeed still get 2100 yards to split up. If RBs combine for a healthy 1000 next year which is about what they had last year, and Coleman and Hill combine for 500 yards, less than they had in 2015, that leaves 600 for Thomas. As for TDs, RBs Hill and Coleman should combine for about 7 or so, Snead is definitely getting more than the 3 had had in 2015, and Fleener is a good bet to get possibly much more than the 6 Watson had. If they combine for 15 instead of the 9 TDs that Snead/Watson had, that leaves 4 for Thomas. 600 yards and 4 TDs puts him a good bet to be near 45 catches. 45-600-4 compared to Colston’s 45-520-4. And that’s assuming Cooks, Fleener and Snead plateau from Cooks/Watson/Snead last year in terms of yardage. To be fair it also assumes no regression or loss of target share, but his ceiling, barring injury, can’t be much higher than that while his floor as a rookie could be even lower.