Jonathan Bales is the founder of TheDCTimes.com
and writes for the New York Times and Dallas Cowboys. He’s
the author of Fantasy
Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.
Every year, I make a list of “outrageous” fantasy
football predictions. They’re often
pretty accurate. Let’s get right into my predictions
for 2012. . .
Fitzpatrick was averaging 280 passing yards and three touchdowns
per game through the first three games in 2011. He broke ribs
early in the season, however, and wasnít the same player
down the stretch.
Nonetheless, Fitzpatrick threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Heíll give you some points on the ground, and with Buffalo
transitioning to a high-tempo offense in 2012, I like Fitzpatrickís
chances of landing in the top 10 among all quarterbacks.
Even throwing out Schaubís injury history, he simply wonít
pass the ball enough to be a legitimate fantasy option in 2012.
There were signs of it last year, as Schaub was on pace for just
467 attempts before going down in Houstonís 10th game. If
he throws 475 passes in 2012, he would need to average 8.42 yards-per-attempt
to reach 4,000 yards. His career mark is 7.87.
Prior to his injury, I had Mathews rated fourth in standard scoring
leagues. Following his injury, I still have him rated fourth.
Thatís way higher than most, but donít forget you
donít ďloseĒ every point Mathews would have
scored in the seasonís first few weeks. Instead, youíll
lose the difference between Mathews and a replacement player,
which is probably just around 15 points or so.
Mathews will be fourth in fantasy points among
running backs, even if he misses two games.
His rushing efficiency is likely to decline in 2012, but I can
pretty much guarantee that Bush surpasses his 43 receptions from
last season. With Ryan Tannehill named the starter and likely
to check down quite a bit in his in rookie campaign, look for
Bush to approach 60 receptions.
Bush will finish in the top 11 running backs in
Am I the only one scared that Jackson is 31 years old? In the
Billsí new offense, Spiller will see plenty of time on the
field, even if Jackson is in the lineup as well. Plus, Jackson
wonít come close to averaging the 5.5 yards-per-carry he
totaled in 2011.
Perhaps this one isnít as bold as the others, but everything
is lined up for Jones to dominate in 2012: a new offensive philosophy,
a solid quarterback, a dramatic increase in targets. Oh yeah,
heís pretty good too.
I think Harvin is the most underrated player in all of fantasy
football. That may be the result of his rushing totals, which
many owners either overlook or ignore. Those 300 or so rushing
yards can bump Harvin into the top tier of receivers, even if
he posts only 1,100 receiving yards and six touchdowns (my projections
for him). His versatility also makes him one of the rare low-risk/high-reward
Harvin: The most underrated player in
Harvin will be a top five wide receiver in all
I obviously have Cruz rated ahead of all of those players, but Iíll
be shocked if this actually happens simply because I listed so much
competition. You wonít see predictions this bold from anyone else,
DHBís receptions have increased from nine to 26 to 64 in
his three NFL seasons. I expect another jump in 2012.
Holmesí ADP (10th round) in particular amazes me, because
he has just one career 1,000-yard season in six years. Heís
caught more than 55 passes just once, and heís unlikely
to match his eight touchdowns from 2011. Heís a low-reward
player getting drafted in an area where you should be maximizing
Statistically, tight end is the most consistent position in fantasy
football, with 63 percent of fantasy points carrying over from
year to year (and the rest regressing toward a league mean). That
means youíre very likely to see the positionís top
fantasy performers stay at the top in 2012.
I feel like Iím the only one on the Pettigrew bandwagon.
Heís a legit No. 1 tight end in PPR formats, however, and
his numbers will improve this season. Remember, Pettigrew averaged
only 9.4 yards-per-reception in 2011. Most see that as a negative,
but I see it as an opportunity for increased receiving yards this
year. With Calvin Johnson opening things up outside, look for
Pettigrew to at least repeat his 117 targets and 70.9 percent
catch rate from last year.
Kellerís catch rate of 59.6 percent was the second-worst of any
tight end in the NFL last year. Heíll see just as many targets,
catching a minimum of 70 of themóno matter who is playing quarterback
for the Jets.