Preseason Bold Predictions Revisited: AFC North
The NFL season is at its halfway point and it seems just like yesterday we were making our bold preseason predictions for this year. As the season continues at a relentless pace we wanted to revisit our preseason predictions. Find out in this 8-part series what we got wrong, what we got right, as well as a new bold prediction for the second half of the season. In part two we will focus on the NFC North. The division itself is currently wide open and everything is up for grabs in the second half of the season.
Original Prediction: Najee Harris finishes outside the top 12 RBs
Currently - This one seems to be one nailed on the head. Najee is currently RB 23 in PPR formats and hasn’t had a top-10 finish on the entire year. The Steelers offensive line has been dreadful and Jaylen Warren has actually outproduced the former first-round pick.
New Prediction - George Pickens will continue to gain more rapport with Kenny Pickett and will finish the season as a top-30 WR. Pickens has seemingly supplanted Diontae Johnson as the top option in this offense and now Chase Claypool has been traded to the Bears. The Steelers' schedule down the stretch is much easier and should put Pickens in a prime position to climb the rankings.
Original Prediction - Rashod Bateman finishes as a top 15 WR
Currently: Shoddy B got off to a good start on the year catching TDs in his first two games. It looked like he would be catching long bombs from Jackson all year. Unfortunately, he has been banged up after week 2. He has missed multiple games and been limited in others. He is currently WR 51 in standard formats and WR 64 in PPR. He just reinjured his foot and is expected to miss more time.
New Prediction - Devin Duvernay will finish in the top 20 WRs. Duvernay is currently WR 31 and with Bateman slated to miss more time Duvernay should receive the volume necessary to continue to climb up the ranks. Double D has been impressive this year and has found the endzone 4 times. If his target share minus Bateman is any indication he should see an increase over the next several weeks which should allow him to climb the ranks quickly.
Cincinnati Bengals -
Original Prediction -Joe Burrow will finish outside of the top 12 QBS
Currently - Joey Too Cold wasn’t worried about a Super Bowl hangover as he is currently QB2 on the season, behind only Josh Allen. He has this offense firing on all cylinders, and despite a weird blowout against Cleveland, looks prime to continue to separate himself from the pack down the stretch.
New Prediction - The Bengals will finish with 3 WRs in the top 15. As it currently stands the Bengals have Ja’Marr Chase (WR 7), Tyler Boyd (WR10), and Tee Higgins (WR16). Ja’Marr Chase is likely to miss a few more weeks which should allow both Boyd and Higgins to continue to climb up the rankings. Ja’Marr Chase is the top option on this offense so regardless of how far he falls he should be able to quickly make up ground and climb back into the top 10 upon his return.
Original Prediction - David Njoku will finish as a top 8 Tight End
Currently- This one was right on the money. Through week 7 David Njoku was sitting at TE 6 on the season. Unfortunately, he went down with a high ankle sprain and missed Monday's game against the Bengals. His original diagnosis was missing 2-5 weeks in recovery, although he has been seen without a walking boot which could be an indication that he’ll be back soon.
New Prediction - Doubling down on this one as well. Njoku has been a focal point in this Brown’s offense while Jacoby Brissett has been holding things down at Quarterback. Deshaun Watson will be returning in a few short weeks which should give Njoku an even bigger push. Look for Njoku to finish as a top 5 tight end on the year even with the injury.
That’s it for the AFC North. Join us tomorrow as we break down the AFC South. Make sure to leave your comments below, we would love to know what you love, what you hate, and what you think we’re completely out in left field on.