Sunday, May 26, 2024

NFL Predictions: 4 Bold Fantasy Football Hot Takes for 2024 – Russell Wilson’s Retirement, Ja’Marr Chase’s 2,000-Yard Season, and More

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One person’s fantasy football bold prediction is another’s laughable conjecture. Speculating about the NFL in mid-May regarding games four or five months away is an exercise in futility. Yet it’s also highly entertaining.

Looking ahead to this season, intriguing storylines are already percolating. For instance, Jared Goff inked a contract extension with the Detroit Lions, netting him four more years for $212M, with $170M guaranteed. His annual average salary? A whopping $53M.

This for a QB the Rams traded away, along with two future first-rounders (2022 & 2023) and a 2021 third-rounder. Follow what transpired with those picks – some hits (netting more picks), misses (some still to pan out) and home runs (Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta). Rare to see an NFL trade benefit both teams and fantasy players so lucratively.

So while the Lions extend their star QB, the Cowboys dawdle with Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons all on expiring deals. The risk here is immense. What if injuries strike? Trade values plummet, forcing Dallas to re-sign players post-injury, impacting new contracts.

Or what if all three have monster years, yet Dallas can only retain one? I pity dynasty managers rostering this trio, navigating fluctuating fantasy values – let alone the real-life ramifications for Dallas brass.

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I delve into salary caps and contracts because they’re overlooked fantasy football factors impacting my bold predictions.

Ja’Marr Chase Shatters 2,000 Receiving Yards

After trading Tee Higgins before the 2024 deadline, Cincinnati runs its offense through Chase in the second half – rocketing him past 2,000 yards and shattering the NFL record.

Even with 17 games, no wideout has hit 2,000 yards. Calvin Johnson came closest in 2012 (1,964), Cooper Kupp next in 2021 (1,947).

The past three years saw five 1,700+ yard seasons (Kupp, Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill twice, CeeDee Lamb).

Chase’s career-best was 1,455 as a rookie, so 2,000 is a massive leap. But with no standout tight end and a Zack Moss/Chase Brown committee, if Higgins departs, the offense falls squarely on Chase’s broad shoulders.

Brock Purdy Leads NFL in Passing Touchdowns

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers must be peeved. They looked like the NFL’s best or second-best team all of 2023, only to again fall to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl – their second such loss in five years, sandwiching two NFC Championship game defeats.

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San Francisco has been knocking, and I expect them to kick the door down in 2024. With Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and emerging Ricky Pearsall, Brock Purdy will torch the league.

Purdy’s over/under TD total at DraftKings is 28.5. Their book has just three QBs higher (Mahomes 34.5, Prescott 32.5, Love 29.5) and three matches (Burrow, Stroud, Goff). Fair, but they’re selling Purdy short, ranking him just 12th in passing yard odds, tied with Trevor Lawrence.

I’m forecasting San Francisco running up scores galore; it has that feel.

Two Teams Produce Two 1,000-Yard Rushers

I must be vague, saying “players” because one duo includes a quarterback.

It’s happened seven times in NFL history but just once in 15 years (2019: Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram). In 2024, Jackson and Derrick Henry replicate the feat, as do Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery.

Detroit’s offensive line is football’s best. I’d have said Philly, but the Lions edged them after Jason Kelce’s retirement.

Gibbs (945 yards) and Montgomery (1,015) nearly did it last year.

Embedded in this – two teams, two 1,000-yard rushers – is what I believe previews a new NFL era: a shift back to powerful ground games. Defenses now prioritize the pass, getting ever faster. Offenses will counter with smash-mouth, run-heavy attacks led by elite lines and backs.

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After Being Benched, Russell Wilson Retires Midseason

RIP and salute to Vontae Davis, who amazingly retired at halftime of a 2018 game. He’ll be one-upped as another bizarre chapter in Wilson’s quirky career unfolds. After Justin Fields enters a game, the 35-year-old Wilson will quit on the season.

On a one-year, $1.21M “prove-it” deal with Pittsburgh, Wilson has $266M in career earnings. Another hiccup may be enough for him to hang ’em up on his own terms.

I’m not saying Fields sparks Wilson’s retirement by lighting it up. Many fantasy managers want a Fields renaissance post-Chicago. The same could be said for Wilson, who’s had more rocky than smooth seasons recently.

Many modern athletes inspired by longevity merchants like Brady and LeBron think they can play forever. This delusion has only worsened – guys sticking around too long. Wilson turns 36 this year; most QBs are washed by then. I think he sees the writing on the wall.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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