Bold Predictions: 1-12 Locked In (and refreshed!)

smitty fantasy football advice

As you all know by now, each year I release my top Bold Predictions for the upcoming fantasy football season. Well, this year is no different, and while I have a grip of predictions on the books heading into the 2016 fantasy football season, I have locked in my Top 12 Bold Predictions, aka Upside Board picks, and those 12 are below. Enjoy!

While I have all of the original write-ups below, I have reordered the below into my new and reorganized Top 12 Bold Predictions heading into 2016. Enjoy.

1. Josh Gordon will be the biggest steal in all of 2016!

(9/1/16) Ok, this is not a new prediction. In fact, Josh Gordon was the very first 2016 bold prediction added (back in 2015 for this season… yep, we have been saying ‘grab him’ back when he was not only undervalued, no one wanted to own him as even a bench stash). The guy could soon command RB1-type value via trade (if you’re stacked at WR and you smartly still rostered Gordon. Enjoy the steal, even at his current 60ish overall value in redraft. I just drafted him in the 58-65 range overall in two drafts this week.

2. Blake Bortles will be a top 2-5 fantasy QB in 2016 and is one of the biggest steals in all of 2016!

(9/1/16) He still has 7th-round ADP, which is madness. This guy should explode in 2016 and post even better numbers than last year, which was a fantastic 4428/35TDs/18INTs (310ru/2TDs). Even if he just replicates those stats, he is one of the biggest steals in 2016!

3. Amari Cooper will be a top 3WR in 2016!

(9/1/16) As written below, I think Amari Cooper takes a huge step forward in 2016, and at his current 22-26 overall value in most leagues/drafts (redraft), he has explosive upside given the value.

4. Devonta Freeman is one of the biggest steals in 2016 at his 14-17 overall value!

(9/1/16) As written below, this guy not only finished as the No. 1 overall player in 2016, during his so called ‘drop off in production’ at the end of last year, he would have finished as the number one overall runner on those extrapolated stats. Yep, if you take/pace out his last five games in 2015 (and pace those stats across 16 games), when he so called ‘dropped off’, he would finished only second to his actual stats. At 14-17 overall value, via trade or draft, you can’t ask for much more upside with minimal risk. Handcuff him to Tevin Coleman given the situation will produce, but grab Freeman at this value via trade if you can!

5. Jarvis Landry will be a top 5-7WR in 2016!

(9/1/16) Given his current redraft ADP has him locked in around the 19th-22nd WR in fantasy in 2016, you can absolutely call Jarvis Landry extremely undervalued in 2016. He can be a WR1 but is easily had, in draft or trade (so get him!) at middle-range WR2-type value. Steal!

6. Dak Prescott will be a top 5-10 fantasy QB in 2016!

(9/1/16) Some see him as a nice sleeper, sure, but he is going undrafted in leagues I’m drafting in right this very minute. No one believes in this guy in redraft. I do. He is my backup QB in 3 leagues already, and I picked him up in 2 dynasty leagues before it was too late. We could be looking at the next Russell Wilson/Cam Newton passer, folks! Dez Bryant has the same value, if not better, with Dak under center, so buy-low on both Dak and Dez anywhere you can.

7. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will be a high-end RB1 slot this year in 2016!

(9/1/16) If either gets hurt, the other won’t miss a beat and a single starter could flirt with top 5RB numbers all year. If both stay healthy, sure they could share some carries, but there should still be a lead dog and things should be predictable, so even with a slight sharing situation in TEN, the owner of this duo can still get top 5-10RB numbers by using just the ‘lead dog’ each week (the other will be flex worthy, too). I may have questions about Henry’s long term value given his size, but I’m changing my tune on him thriving in 2016 if ever starting. This duo is so undervalued in redraft, as Murray is often grabbed in the early 4th-round, or near the 3.10 at the earliest. Steal, especially if paired with 6th-round (redraft) rookie Derrick Henry.

8. Melvin Gordon will be a top 6-10RB in 2016!

(9/1/16) He was on my Bold Predictions last year, yet he failed to deliver. He looks the part this time around, though, and I envision a HUGE season out of the guy I liked near as much as any rookie to ever come out of college. Do some damage, Gordon! Read more on him below.

9. Jeremy Langford should be a top 10RB this season!

(9/1/16) Handcuff the guy to Jordan Howard if possible, as the situation is sneaky-good in CHI this year. But, I love Langford and if healthy, I see him having a HUGE season in 2016!

10. Spencer Ware/Charcandrick West will be a huge RB stash to own in 2016!

(9/1/16) I have been talking this duo up for weeks now, before the recent buzz yesterday suggesting that Jamaal Charles might not be fully healthy right now for Week 1. Still, this duo is cheap in redraft and dynasty. Owning this duo could secure you a strong RB2 down the stretch in 2016.

11. Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers will play like first-rounders in fantasy in 2016!

(9/1/16) These two passers had bad years last year, so take full advantage via trade (or draft if you still draft). These two QBs have no business being ranked in the 3rd (Rodgers) and 4th (Luck)… sometimes Luck can be had in the 5th! Crazy-good value! Given both have 40TD potential, they could play like first-round talents in fantasy (in hindsight) and they can potentially win you a league at this value!

12. Jared Cook will finally explode at the TE position in 2016!

(9/1/16) He flunked out of Bold Prediction School in previous years, but I still believe he is an elite talent and physically gifted. In GB, he might finally shine, and given he can be a late round pick in many drafts, and traded for at back-up type value, he is a steal with no risk and monster upside!

More Bold Predictions

Jay Ajayi, if given a chance, could shine.

(11/14/15) Jay Ajayi is a serious talent, and despite smaller rushers now having fantasy relevance, there is still something to having that ideal NFL running back frame… and Ajayi has that ideal size at 6-0, 228 pounds. Now, let me start off by saying this… I love Lamar Miller, that hasn’t changed. The guy has been inside my Bold Predictions in the past, and he is finally (proudly) looking the part and should continue to crank out borderline RB1-type numbers for as long as he stays healthy and getting touches. Sometimes in fantasy football, though, elite rushers land behind other elite rushers, and while we hope that we never have wasted talent sitting on the bench somewhere in the NFL, Ajayi could remain a backup for years and years and never thrive as a starter. This is possible. On the flip side, for Ajayi to thrive, Miller has to fall (unless traded or signed elsewhere). So, sometimes there is an overlap of talent in the NFL, that’s just the way it is. So, will Miller remain the starter in Miami for years and years and be an elite rusher? I hope, but it’s my job to say “hey guys, I think that Miami has a runner just as talented, if not more, right behind him!” Jay Ajayi has an elite frame and monster upside if given starter carries. You may have time to grab him after this week, heck, he might not do much all year long. That said, he did get five carries last week and looked fantastic (5/41 yards)… that is not a lot of film to look at, and he may NEVER get a shot to start in Miami… know this! However, from a ‘trying to be ahead of the curve’ vantage point, I see something in his style… I know it’s short notice tonight prior to Week 10, but go get this guy in dynasty while he is still somewhat affordable to acquire via trade. And, in redraft, grab him, as he is available in over 50% of all redraft leagues. Hey, Lamar Miller, put on your ear muffs! I have a funny feeling he starts some games this year.

Close Runner-Up Candidates: Christine Michael, one of the first players added to the BOLD predictions list (his write-up is below, is still on this list below.. Rob Kelley will prove to be a crazy-good stash RB to own in 2016! Kenneth Dixon becoming an elite RB also cracked the runner-up list. More Bold Predictions are below!

Below are some of the original write-ups as they unfolded throughout the year. There were all reorganized in a final write-up above, but some of the raw write-ups, and ‘just missed the cut’ names can be found below!

Read Original Writeups


  1. Smitty on September 2, 2016 at 1:03 am

    How you like that group?

  2. Randy Madrid on September 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I always follow my gut so I usually like to target only 1 or 2 of your bold prediction players each year. I think the scary part is this year I like almost all of those players. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The day I seen Jared Cook get picked up by Arod and the Pack i’ve been all over that, especially being non existent in early drafts. I also love Langford. I only wanted him on 1 or 2 rosters this year but he kept popping up in the 6th round which is absurd to me, so he’s on all of my rosters so far. Nice list this year Smitty! Well done, and just in time for my last 3 drafts, I’m ready for this long weekend.

    • Smitty on September 4, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Thanks, Randy! Keep up the great comments and posting!

  3. Sean Connors on September 7, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Huge fan of our work and as we agree on a lot of things I feel great about this list.

    • Smitty on September 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Awesome, Sean! Thanks, man!

  4. Dan Honney on September 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t think any of those predictions are shockers or even Bold.
    I would say Cook was close but everyone is high on Cook.
    How about these 5 predictions (I want to add my .02 cents)

    ●D. Funchess will have more receiving yds/catches than K. Benjamin
    ●Moncrief will finish as a top 20 wr.
    ●Tajae Sharpe will be a top 20 wr.
    ●Rob Kelly & Eli Rogers are names you need to know & will help you win some games
    ●Dion Lewis will have a huge impact down the line (grab him & stash him)
    ●Marcus Mariota will be right outside the top 5 in QBS this yr.
    ●Jordy Nelson will NOT produce numbers based on where he is being drafted

    So I actually gave you 7, could give more but don’t want to give out too many of my secrets

    • Smitty on September 8, 2016 at 2:41 am

      Solid sleepers. Did you read the entire post, though? Rob Kelley, and a bunch of ‘deeper’ calls are on the extended list. The bigger write up linked via Read Original Writeups button has the categoriezed by “Big Names”, “Middle Round” and “Deep”.

      You also have to separate “unknown” from ‘Bold’, as Bortles being top 2-5, Cooper being top 3, Dak being a huge steal that can win leagues, if these weren’t bold, why are their ADPs in the 7th (Bortles), 3rd or very late 2nd (Coop) and undrafted (Dak)? It’s bold when they jump out and can win leagues at their current ADP/trade values. Bold does not have to be unknown, I think you are seeing big names and identifying them as not bold. Bold can be big name to little.

      Good list, I”m on board with Moncrief and Rob Kelley, and like Dion as an add/stash.

      • Dan Honney on September 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

        I drafted Dak in the 13th rd (our draft was after the Romo injury), & I believe Romo may have lost his job. My league is “deep”, we start 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs, 1 wr/te flex, 1 k, 3 DL, 3 LB, 3 DBs. So I was thinking Bolder.
        I like Bortles, but I don’t think he will be a top 5 QB this yr. I can see him top 10, easily.
        I would rank them (for the yr) in my opinion
        1. C. Newton
        2. A. Rodgers
        3. A. Luck
        4. D. Carr
        5. D. Brees
        6. R. Wilson
        7. B. Roethlisberger
        8. T. Brady (even with the suspension)
        9. B. Bortles/ J. Flacco
        10. M. Mariota

        • Smitty on September 8, 2016 at 2:19 pm

          Nice. Carr is in for a big year.

  5. Smitty on November 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Melvin Gordon, Spencer Ware, Dak Prescott, DeMarco Murray and Amari Cooper are all coming in strong. Jay Ajayi in the alternate group just below the top 12 is looking fantastic. Of course, with bold predictions, there are fails, like Bortles above (so far), Josh Gordon. So far, though, through 10 weeks, a great list this year on the Bold Predictions!

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