Last week in this bold prediction series, the claim was made that the NFC South in Tom Brady’s division and everyone else is just playing in it. This week, we are looking at the AFC East which is starting to feel like Josh Allen’s division and everyone else is just playing in it. The Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots did make significant strides to improving this offseason, though. Even if they are unable to dethrone the Buffalo Bills, there will be some fantasy football talent to target from this division.
Each week, I will continue to highlight one bold prediction from each team, division by division, until the start of the 2022 NFL season. These predictions will hopefully get the gears in your head turning. Most are positive while others may be negative. The likeliness that every single one of these predictions hits is certainly not 100%. However, they should generate some buzz or cause you to think twice about each player. Just be confident in your feelings when you’re on the clock. Be sure to check out www.FantraxHQ.com for bold predictions from the other divisions all summer long as well as follow me on Twitter @Colin_McT for plenty more fantasy football content.
A Fantasy Football Bold Prediction for Each AFC East Team
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Gabriel Davis finishes inside the top-15 wide receivers
I feel like there is a line in the sand with Gabriel Davis ahead of this season. On one side of the line are people who are all in on Davis’ ascension to fantasy football stardom. The other side believes his four-touchdown performance against the Chiefs in the playoffs last season is a fluke. They think he is going to be one of the bigger busts in 2022. I think it’s clear which side I am on with my bold prediction.
In 2020, Davis’ rookie season, in eight games where he played 74% or more of snaps, he scored double-digit fantasy points in five of them. He scored a receiving touchdown in three of them. All in all, Davis scored seven touchdowns with just 35 receptions on 62 targets. That means 11% of his targets and 20% of his receptions resulted in a score.
Looking at 2021, in 17 total games, including playoffs, Davis caught a touchdown and/or logged over 100 receiving yards in eight games. Two of his top competitors for targets, Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley, are no longer on the team, leaving behind 29% of last year’s targets between the two of them.
Since Davis joined the Bills two seasons ago, the team has targeted their wide receivers 72.96% of the time. That’s more than any other team in the league. Their WR2 is also tied for the sixth-most routes per team dropbacks in the league. Davis figures to be their WR2 this season with Stefon Diggs as the lead pass catcher.
All things considered, I expect an increase in snaps and targets for Davis in 2022. With that, a natural boost in receptions, touchdowns, and scoring is sure to follow. He will be a top target for Josh Allen, the consensus fantasy football QB1. While there are still nonbelievers, don’t let the opportunity to draft him this year pass you by.
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Chase Edmonds records 250 touches
This bold prediction would be a professional career-high for Edmonds. It’s also the most touches a running back in Miami will record since Jay Ajayi’s 287 in 2016. Edmonds is no stranger to the workload, though. At Fordham University, Edmonds hit the 250 touches mark in each of his first three seasons on just carries alone.
There is a misconception that Edmonds is only valuable because of his ability as a pass-catching back. What people should be saying is that he’s that much more valuable because of his ability as a pass-catching back. Edmonds has 461 total touches in 57 games over four NFL seasons. Nearly 30% of his touches are in the form of receptions.
Looking at 2021 specifically, Edmonds and James Conner generally shared the Arizona Cardinals’ backfield. Even in a partial committee, Edmonds still logged double-digit touches in six of 10 games played with Conner. More significantly, in Week 16 and 17, when Conner missed time due to injury, Edmonds logged 24 and 23 touches respectively in those two games. On 16 carries with eight receptions in Week 16, Edmonds found the end zone and ranks as the sixth-best PPR back of that week with 26.2 fantasy points. I expect more games like that in 2022.
So, now we find Edmonds on a new team: the Miami Dolphins. His new head coach, Mike McDaniel, is the former run game and offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. Furthermore, Edmonds is by far the highest-paid running back on the team, securing a two-year/$12 million contract in free agency. Behind him on the depth chart are Sony Michel, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, and Raheem Mostert. It’s yet to be seen which of this group will make the final roster. Edmonds is the only roster lock and, at 26-years old, should have a breakout season with a career-high in touches.
New England Patriots
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: DeVante Parker leads the team in receiving touchdowns
DeVante Parker, a former 2015 first-round pick, is now a New England Patriot after he, along with a fifth-rounder, was sent to Miami in exchange for a third-round pick this off-season. Miami is clearly revamping their offensive personnel. The addition of Jaylen Waddle in last year’s draft and trading for Tyreek Hill this off-season are clear examples of that. So, I’m not ready to call Parker’s career over. In fact, my bold prediction suggests he resurges with second-year quarterback, Mac Jones, in New England.
Mac Jones is the first rookie quarterback to start a playoff game for New England. His 3,801 passing yards in 2021 are the most amongst his 2021 rookie quarterback peers. So, what does head coach, Bill Belichick, do to build upon Jones’ solid rookie season? He adds a 6’3″ 219-pound receiver in DeVante Parker to Jones’ arsenal.
Parker is not far removed from a 2019 career-best season. His 72 receptions, 1,202 yards, and nine touchdowns, on 128 targets, are all career highs. That was with a combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen (yes, Josh Rosen) throwing the ball his way. The list of quarterbacks who Parker has caught passes from includes Ryan Tannehill (before his Tennessee success), Jay Cutler, Matt Moore, Brock Osweiler, Jacoby Brisset, and Tua Tagovailoa. It’s been more bad than good quarterback play for Parker down in Miami.
Last season, Patriots tight end, Hunter Henry, caught nine touchdowns. That equates to 41% of Mac Jones’ touchdown passes. However, Henry only saw 14.5% of the team’s targets. Parker, with his size and skill, should cement himself as a top red zone threat for this team. Additionally, Parker, with the investment of a third-round pick to get him, should play a majority of the snaps at wide receiver. A healthy DeVante Parker should find the end zone plenty in 2022. That alone is worth a fantasy football draft pick. He’s generally coming off of the board in the 13th round. He’s a low-risk pick with a high-reward return especially if my bold prediction hits.
New York Jets
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Breece Hall rushes for 1,250 yards
Giddy up! Breece Hall rushing for 1,250 yards exactly would place him in the top-25 of all-time rookie rushing totals. In fact, cracking 948 rushing yards would break the Jets’ franchise record of most rushing yards as a rookie set by Matt Snell in 1964! I have no doubts he at least does that. My bold prediction is that he makes his number tougher to beat.
Hall enters the league as the highest-drafted running back of the 2022 class. His workload over the last two seasons at Iowa State is that of a professional with 21 or more carries per game per season. He has over 800 total touches in just three collegiate seasons. So, I don’t expect Hall to ease into playing time with a Jets team that desperately needs a run game to give their passing game some breathing room.
What’s important for fantasy football managers to know about Hall is that he is a formidable pass blocker, even for a rookie. This nearly guarantees he will be on the field in a three-down role. Sure, second-year back, Michael Carter, will be in the mix then, too, for his receiving skills. That’s something Hall lacks a bit. Regardless, he is a volume-based running back that should see close to, if not more than, 250 carries.
If you look at Hall and the Jets’ early schedule, it’s a doozy. Week 1 may even draw a negative reaction from managers with Hall as they face a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense. They allowed the second-least amount of rushing yards per game in 2021. It will be one of the toughest tests for this Jets offense in 2022, especially right out of the gate.
Be patient, though. It’s a long way away, but Hall’s fantasy football playoff schedule is probably the best for any running back. The Jets host the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15 and 16 who both allowed at least 125 rushing yards per game to opponents in 2021. If the Jets realize what they have in Hall, and I think they do, having used a second-round pick on him, they will establish the run and he should give life to my bold prediction.
Got a few bold predictions of your own? Drop some names in the comments below and then head on over and check out our 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!