Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's July 27, and I think we're all ready for football to start. That's OK, because I've brought Bill Lumbergh from "Office Space" to talk to the Roger Goodell on our behalf.
Lumbergh: "Hello Roger, whaaat's happening? Um, I'm going to need you to cancel training camp, so if you could just move the cut-down day up to tomorrow, that would be great, mmmkay?"
(Lumbergh starts walking away while Goodell wonders to himself where this guy buys his snappy wardrobe and whether he should hire him to break discipline rulings to NFL players).
Lumbergh "Oh oh, and I almost forgot ... I'm also going to need you to cancel the preseason too, OK? Thanks."
Seriously, it's time for football to begin. I can only do so many mock drafts on fantasyfootballcalculator.com before I start making decisions like Mark Sanchez against a zone blitz. I just accidentally drafted a kicker in the second round (the good news is that the Raiders just hired me to be their new vice president of football operations).
To help you with these summer doldrums, here are some bold predictions for the 2013 fantasy football season that will get that brain of yours working again.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will finish as a top-three fantasy QB ...
Kaepernick has the goods to bring home the fantasy bacon. Here are his numbers from his 10 starts last year (playoffs included), extrapolated over 16 games: 3,850 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, eight picks, 803 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, two lost fumbles. That translates to (roughly) 8,000 fantasy points.
... but teammate Vernon Davis still won't be a top-five tight end.
Fantasy owners think he will be -- Davis' current ADP places him fourth at the position. But here are Davis' numbers in the final six regular season games last season: six catches on 12 targets for 61 yards and zero touchdowns. In Kaepernick's 10 starts, Davis averaged 2.4 receptions and 39.8 yards and caught a total of two scores. The freak athlete will certainly do more than that this season because Anquan Boldin cannot do the same things Michael Crabtree did for this offense, but there's a lot of distance between averaging 39.8 yards per game and being a top-five tight end.
Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta, however, will finish in the top five ...
Pitta's ADP is a round later than Davis' and places him sixth at the position, but I think he'll round out the top five. He quietly caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven scores a year ago on just 94 targets. With Boldin and his 112 targets gone, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will need a new security blanket in the middle of the field, and Torrey Smith is not that guy.
... and Pitta's teammate Torrey Smith won't reach 1,000 receiving yards.
In two seasons, Smith has recorded a subpar 48.3 percent catch rate on his 205 targets. Not including Week 17 last season, when Baltimore rested its regulars, Smith had seven games with two or fewer receptions. I just don't think he'll be targeted more than 125-130 times in 2013, which puts him in line for about 60 receptions. He'd have to average 16.7 yards per reception to reach 1,000 yards in that case. His career rate is 17.1, but he's going to have a hard time sustaining that if his reception volume increases. Sixty-three catches, 977 yards and nine touchdowns sounds about right.
Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush will catch 80 passes ...
Matthew Stafford set a single-season record with 727 pass attempts last season, and he threw 663 the year before. You don't bring in Reggie Bush because you want to throw the ball less. Last season, Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure and Kevin Smith combined for 96 catches on 132 targets.
... while New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen will grab 60 and produce 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
Vereen will step into Danny Woodhead's old role that allowed Woodhead to catch 40 balls for 446 yards and rush for 301 yards on 76 carries. Those numbers were already his floor. Then Aaron Hernandez had to go and get arrested, Rob Gronkowski had four or five surgeries (I lost count) and injury-prone Danny Amendola replaced reliable Wes Welker. The Patriots' other receivers: rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman.
New York Jets running back Chris Ivory will rush for 1,200 yards and 10 scores ...
It's simple -- the Jets gave Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell a combined 386 carries last season, and they produced 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ivory is better than both of those guys and will get at least 270 carries. Once again, the Jets gave SHONN GREENE 276 carries last season.
... and New York Giants RB Andre Brown will score 12 touchdowns
I had Brown down for 10 and I changed it to 12; these are supposed to be bold predictions, after all. David Wilson may be the first-round pick and Brown the player who has been cut about eight times in his career, I don't get the sense that Tom Coughlin, Kevin Gilbride and the New York Giants are ready to hand the keys to Wilson entirely. Brown rushed for eight touchdowns last season, and Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for six of his own, was let go. Brown will receive all the goal-line carries and is a lock for double-digit scores.
Eric Decker will catch 10 touchdowns and Wes Welker will catch 100 passes, but Demaryius Thomas still will be the most valuable receiver on the team and a top-five receiver overall
Peyton Manning is great at many things -- throwing a football, running a two- minute drill, hilariously selling everything from televisions to cars to pizzas -- but one underrated thing that he does well is keep his stars happy and well fed. Manning threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns last season; Thomas and Decker accounted for 2,498 and 23 of them. If there's anyone who can find a way to fit Wes Welker into the offense and have everyone still produce big numbers, it's Manning. I expect most of Welker's targets to come from the 201 that Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen and Brandon Stokley saw last year, leaving plenty for Thomas and Decker to star.
C.J. Spiller will produce 2,359 yards from scrimmage, moving ahead of Barry Sanders' 1997 season for the fifth most in a single year.
A crazy report from buffalobills.com Saturday has Spiller potentially receiving 30 touches per game if coach Doug Marrone's offense is working efficiently. While that's wishful thinking for fantasy owners, it's not inconceivably to think the explosive Spiller will at least reach 23-25 touches per game, which would give him 365-400 touches for the year. He averaged 6.8 yards per touch last year ... just sayin'.
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