I hate making NFL predictions. Mostly because the NFL is so hard to predict. It’s also hard reading most of them, as many writers sound so sure of themselves when anyone with a brain should know that there are so many factors that will affect the outcome. Every pick involves weighing probabilities and risks.
It’s particularly frustrating in the first couple of weeks in the season, when people who should know a lot about the NFL and football in generally get sucked in by the hype created by the media. Did you hear about Russell Wilson, and how all of a sudden everyone was picking this short, 3rd round pick to have one of the best rookie seasons?
By reading this week’s Bill Simmons article, I learned that he picked the Seahawks as his sleeper Super Bowl pick. I love reading Simmons, but this is another example of how emotion and hype are thrown into the mix whenever he provides “analysis.” He can really break down certain situations, but since he manages to write about practically everything, we often get excited observations that he pulls out of his ass.
Wilson might go on to have a good year for the Seahawks, but the fact remains that Pete Carroll has taken a huge gamble starting this rookie over Matt Flynn as I pointed when earlier in the preseason. The Seahawks do have a shot at the playoffs, but they pretty much gave away game 1 when Wilson completed only 18 of 34 passes for 153 yards and was sacked three times. The icing on the cake was watching Braylon “stone hands” Edwards drop the last pass. They’re just not good enough to give away games.
Now, I’m not going to completely write off Russell Wilson after one game, just like I won’t write off Brandon Weeden after his horrific debut performance. But at least Weeden has a big arm and is closer to 6′ 4″ as opposed to 5′ 11″. The odds are stacked against Wilson, and that’s just a fact. He may overcome them, but the odds for Seattle this season were probably a little better with Matt Flynn running the offense.
Check out all the lines for this weeks games here.
Jordy Nelson- Since the 2010 playoffs, no WR has been more productive than Nelson. After a 15 TD 2011, some owners are scared he can’t match that production. But with Aaron Rodgers t QB, why can’t he?
Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz is arguably the best WR in the NFL- but in fantasy he isn’t thanks to another year of his career foreseeably wasted (or at least compromised) by substandard QB play in the desert.
Wes Welker- There are sexier WR out there, but over the last 5 years no one as consistent. 110 rec, 1,221 yards, 6 TD per season over the last five.
After “Megatron” is gone, who do you take next? I’m going Marshall.
Yes, he’s human. Andrew Luck threw a couple of picks tonight against the tough Steelers defense, but he also rebounded to throw some great passes throughout the ballgame. Like all of the rookies he’ll go through some growing pains, but we can see many of the tools that have had scouts excited for years.
Meanwhile, Robert Griffin III had a tougher evening the other night as he took some sacks and coughed up a fumble. Naturally, everyone got overly excited by his performance in his first preseason game when he face little pressure, but the Bears weren’t as accommodating, and Griffin seemed to rely too much on his feet as he felt pressure. Fans shouldn’t overreact to these setbacks in preseason just like they shouldn’t overreact to his first game, as the coaches will be hammering Griffin to make better decisions. He was able to rely on his feet in college from time to time, but he’ll probably get banged up quickly if he tries to keep that up in the pros. Shanahan will push him to be very selective on when he decides to take off.
With fantasy football and 24-hour Twitter comments, fans can’t help but hang on every preseason pass, but time is a critical component in the development of NFL quarterbacks, and the amount of time needed is usually hard to predict. Luck seems to be the most ready as everyone expected, but we’ll have to see how it plays out. For some fantasy football owners, both Luck and RG3 will seem very tempting during the draft, but I’ll probably focus on a proven quarterback instead.
Ryan Mathews aims to look tough in this Twitter photo as he flexes his bicep and flashes his arm tattoo, but he got injured again in the first preseason game for the San Diego Chargers, shaking things up in the top 5 in many drafts.
Fantasy guru Evan Silva addresses this in one of his ongoing drafts where Mathews was the overall #2 pick before news broke of his injury. Now you grab him later as a value pick as he should be back by week 2-4.
Another injury involves Trent Richardson, who went #17 in this draft. It’s not clear whether this pick was made before or after his latest injury news. Richardson, however, is expected to be back in week one. He’ll certainly slip a bit in many leagues, but he has looked great in camp and should get a ton of carries in the Browns offense this year.