Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco): Alright, guys. It’s Week 1. No turning back. Let’s hear one bold fantasy prediction from everyone.
Here’s mine: Doug Martin will stay healthy and have a big year. Like borderline-RB1 big. He’s coming off a monster preseason (20 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown) and has that “hungry for my next contract” look in his eyes. Forgive me for not having much faith in backup Charles Sims, but when Chris Wesseling calls you a “slow-motion C.J. Spiller,” that’s probably not a great sign.
That’s my shameless Muscle Hamster plug. Who are you guys feeling good (or bad) about?
Evan Silva (@evansilva): My bold prediction is Leonard Hankerson has a big Week 1, emerging as this year's Kevin Ogletree/Frisman Jackson. Roddy White is well short of 100 percent, the Eagles are weak at Nos. 2 and 3 corner, and Atlanta will likely go heavy on three-receiver formations due in part to their tight end shortage. Doesn't hurt that Eagles-Falcons has the highest Vegas total of the week.
Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin): I think Chris Ivory is a top-ten back Week 1 and will be a RB2 all season. The Jets’ offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback should at least be competent, and the defense is good enough to keep them in games. New York is not a likely playoff team, but they have a decent shot at 8-8. That means Ivory will get more chances to play ahead this season, and I fully expect him to set a career high in carries. For Week 1, Ivory draws the bad Browns’ run defense in a game the Jets are favored in. A great matchup plus a great potential game script equals fantasy success. I expect Ivory to get close to 20 carries Week 1 and crack the top ten at the position. He is my favorite DFS play of the week.
Silva: You better be right about this, Ray. I'm on Ivory everywhere. #PocketsOnBroke if Ivory doesn't hit.
Jeff Brubach (@Jeff_Brubach): My bold prediction is Tyler Eifert finishing as a top-five tight end this season. Hue Jackson's offense will remain primarily run-focused, but the potential for an improved passing attack is certainly present in Cincinnati with both Eifert and A.J. Green fully healthy this season. Eifert should be the number two receiving option for Andy Dalton and I can see him easily blowing by the 2014 production levels of former Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham, who hauled in 62 receptions and five touchdowns. Eifert lost the chance to show the league his talent last season when he was injured in Week 1, but 2015 will be a different story.
Rich Hribar (@LordReebs): My bold call is that Marcus Mariota will be a top-12 fantasy scoring quarterback. At first I was a little gun shy on Mariota given the recent struggles of the dual threat quarterbacks, but Mariota is such a clean prospect and so much better as a pure passer than those players that I’ve skirted my skepticism. The one concern with him is that dual threat quarterbacks need positive game script to access their true ceiling and this is a team projected for five or six wins, but there’s hope they can maintain positive script often. That same issue could be said for Robert Griffin and Cam Newton’s rookie teams as well and they were top five fantasy options. From weeks 5-14, the Titans face just one playoff team from 2014 and that was a team that actually had a losing record in Carolina. After possibly a slow burn getting his feet wet (and hopefully the Titans getting Dorial Green-Beckham involved by then), I’m looking for Mariota to have a big final three fourths of the season.
Pantuosco: We’re sharing a brain on Mariota. I’ve loved him since Oregon. He checks off all the boxes: cerebral, athletic, big arm, doesn’t make mistakes. He put on an absolute clinic during the preseason (21-for-30, 326 yards) and I think that will carry over into the regular season.
Nick Mensio (@NickMensio): Not sure this is that bold, but judging by all the complaints sent into the Rotoworld email account, people are really down on DeMarco Murray this season. Really can't believe it. I'll venture out and predict Murray finishes the season as the overall RB1. I think Le'Veon Bell would take that spot if he were eligible to play right out of the gate, but by season's end, Murray will be the one with the most fantasy points. Doubters cite Murray's expected dip in carries and no longer running behind the elite Dallas offensive line. Well, Murray will get fewer carries, but nobody else in the NFL is getting 350-plus carries, and Chip Kelly's offense maximizes talent and knows its players' strengths. Murray isn't going to be pulled from goal-line situations, and the Philadelphia offensive line isn't far behind Dallas'. I'll say Murray stays healthy and leads the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. For DFSers, his Week 1 matchup can't get much better. The Falcons allowed a league-high 19 rushing touchdowns last season, and the Eagles have the highest projected team total of the week at 29 points.
Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat): I predict a black hole will form and swallow us all in Week 11. If that doesn't happen, I think Lamar Miller could finish as a top-five running back. Miller essentially cloned Jamaal Charles' stats last season, but unlike Charles, he's headed into his prime. Miller is finally ticketed for an every-down role, and is running in OC Bill Lazor's Eagles Lite offense.
And as everyone knows, I'm all in on DeMarco Murray. Think I wrote something like 75,000 words on him this summer. That people are concerned about a player who is: 1. In his prime. 2. Coming off an RB1 finish. 3. Playing for Chip Kelly ... astounds me.
Hribar: I believe that black hole swallowing us has already happened and we're living in it now.
Pantuosco: I see what you did there, Evan. Hill is the name I'm circling. I know I'm probably violating the sanctity of the "Bold Predictions" Roundtable by choosing Hill, but here's why he's the right play. Oakland, punching bag that they are, will not be in this game for long (Bovada has the Raiders as 3.5-point underdogs, which I think is generous). I see the Bengals killing clock in the second half and giving Hill as much as he can eat. Remember, Hill averaged 119 yards on 20 carries per game the six times Cincinnati won by 10 or more points last season. Sunday should be more of the same.
Daugherty: Obviously I'm all in on Hill, but I agree with Evan that Green might be the play. This guy was the WR5 in both 2012 and 2013, and highly productive on a per-route basis last season. He's going to shoot back into the top five as long as he stays healthy.