The Gut Check No.482: 2019 Bold Predictions

Matt Waldman makes eight bold predictions for the 2019 fantasy season.

We're now at the edge of the cliff. Whether it's one player or several, you've had to make the leap if you've come to play.

After spending the summer studying 2018 and 2019 tape, monitoring personnel changes and consulting with the local psychic down the street from the Pho joint, it's almost time to unveil my bold projections for the 2018 NFL season.

First, let's look back at last year's disaster:

  • Chris Godwin will have more touchdowns than Mike Evans: Close, but nope...Godwin earned seven, Evans earned nine total.
  • Patrick Mahomes II will be a top-five fantasy quarterback: NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Fantasy QB1 by a margin of 66 points. Bull's Eye.
  • Dallas Goedert will lead the Eagles in touchdown receptions: Goedert tied for third on the team with four but with at least 55 targets less than the top three.
  • Tarik Cohen will be a top-20 PPR fantasy running back: Boom...No.11 in PPR formats.
  • Mitchell Trubisky will earn fantasy-starter production in a 12-team league: No.15 and 33 points off the 12th spot.
  • Jamaal Williams will be the Packers most productive fantasy running back since 2014 Eddie Lacy: Ha! I don't even have to look this up.
  • Carson Wentz will not finish the year and only start eight games, maximum: He started 11 games but finished like he only played eight—fantasy's No.23 QB.
  • Jordy Nelson will be a top-15 PPR fantasy receiver: Swing and a miss.

Two out of eight (25%) is failing if this were a quiz with equal weight given to each prediction. However, I think we all know that the Mahomes could get me to 50% in a weighted format of my own fantasy.

Let's see if I can crawl out of last year's hole without mailing-in easy predictions.

1. Patrick Mahomes II Breaks Peyton Manning's regular-season touchdown (55) and Yardage (5,477) Records

Yeah, I'm doubling down. Wouldn't you in this scenario?

Manning broke records in Year Two of his tenure with the Broncos after spending a year working with his young and talented receiving corps. If you're looking for a reason Manning retains those records besides the fact that Captain Obvious says records are difficult to break, it's Manning's ability to be a coach on the field and his penchant for drilling the smallest details with routes and target placement that set him apart.

Still, Mahomes gets a second year with the essential members of the band still together and the addition of LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson will keep the offense as multiple and dangerous as it had been with Hunt and Damien Williams as the sole options from the backfield. The real differentiator will be a healthy Sammy Watkins. If you're seeking a team with the potential to deliver two fantasy WR1s and a TE1, Kansas City is the easiest choice.

2. T.J. Hockenson Earns the best fantasy production for a rookie tight end since Mike Ditka

Ditka earned 56 receptions for 1,076 yards, and 12 touchdowns during his rookie year for the Bears in 1961. That's right, Dikta averaged 19.2 yards per catch and didn't fall below 12 until 1966. Hockenson is no Ditka and I'm not calling for him to best Iron Mike's NFL-best rookie season at the position.

I am willing to predict that Hockenson earns at least 850 yards and 7 touchdowns. If he hits those marks, he's outperformed Jeremy Shockey, Keith Jackson, Charlie Young, and John Mackey. No, Patriots fans, I haven't forgotten Aaron Hernandez's 563 yards and 6 scores and Rob Gronkowski's 546 yards and 10 scores.

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