The first freelance fantasy article I ever had published appeared in Metro Newspapers in 2006. I never thought it could become a full-time job.
But here we are as I’m now writing my last fantasy article for Metro. Thank you to everyone who has read over the years, even those who reached out to tell me how dumb I am. I’ll leave you with three of my hottest takes for the 2016 NFL season, fiery enough for you to remember me by.
TAKE 1: KIRK COUSINS WILL LEAD THE NFL IN PASSING YARDS
The Redskins’ run game projects to be more inept than it was last year, when they ranked 30th in yards per carry, 20th in TDs scored and 20th in yards per game. Feature back Matt Jones has major ball security, injury and efficiency concerns – which leaves Chris Thompson as their most talented back. His best skill is in the pass game and that’s where the Redskins’ personnel leads us. Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Niles Paul and Thompson are a formidable unit for Kirk Cousins to fling it to. This is a guy who already averages 279.8 yards per day in his 24 full NFL games. That would be good for second in NFL history, behind only Drew Brees’ 280.7. In Cousins’ 26 overall NFL starts, he’s been over 300 yards 12 times – a higher rate than Brees, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
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TAKE 2: JARVIS LANDRY WILL SET THE NFL RECORD FOR RECEPTIONS
Under new coach Adam Gase, the Dolphins are upping their pace in a big way by moving to no-huddle as a base. They are also fielding one of the worst defenses in the league, highlighted by an inept cornerback crew. So if we mix those new factors in with Jarvis Landry’s 110 catches from last year, we get a boost into the 130 range. On top of that, Ryan Tannehill’s affinity for targeting Landry has only increased and Gase is encouraging it. Given how often Miami will be playing from behind and the high catch-rate Landry achieves by running routes close to the line of scrimmage, Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 catches in the 2002 season is in play.
TAKE 3: DONTE MONCRIEF FINISHES AS A TOP-5 WR
Vontae Davis’ latest injury, continued offensive line misery and zero depth behind grandpa Frank Gore at running back leaves everything on the shoulders of Andrew Luck. He’s a strong candidate to lead the NFL in pass attempts and will need to get the ball out quickly to adjust for all the pressure he’ll face. Enter Donte Moncrief, bigger than T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett but nearly as fast. Moncrief runs the more physical routes, the ones Luck will need to move the chains. He’s a fourth-round pick with first-round upside.