Hello friends, it’s been a long time.
I feel like I should reintroduce myself. Maybe you forgot about me, maybe this is our first meeting. Regardless, I’m Mike (@FFMilkman), and I aim to be the guy that will give you a good idea of what to expect in the NFL for 2017. Whether you’re a degenerate like me or just enjoy witnessing a (sports) prophet work his magic, I hope to keep you entertained. Speaking of entertainment, I’m now going to a short, potentially true, story in order to tug on those heartstrings.
A dedicated follower reached out to me last year. He was in a bad, bad place. Broke and down on his luck, he desperately needed to find a win in his life, if only just once or twice a week. He explained to me that his job just wasn’t paying enough for him to cover his bills and just recently, he found out his girlfriend was cheating on him with a guy driving a Bentley. He needed help and was desperate for some positivity.
He asked me to help him, so I obliged. He was willing to let everything go, bet it all on my words, and I knew I just couldn’t let him down. After some initial back-and-forth Twitter messaging, I hadn’t heard much from him. I feared the worst. Then, that one fateful day, I received the first message from him in weeks.
Him: “Will the Steelers be over or under the 10.5 wins predicted by Vegas odds?”
The story above is potentially true, just with a few metaphors. The girlfriend whom the dedicated follower trusted is simply any major outlet in a mask (ESPN Chalk, CBS, etc.). They make you pay for their services and for tips, but they can’t guarantee success. The guy driving the Bentley is Vegas bookies, the ones making all of the money by paying these media outlets to give out poor information, highlight unfavorable trends, and generally mislead the public in order to make money. The big media outlets are literally and figuratively in bed with these big-money odds-makers. The dedicated follower is you, the individual entrusting me and the rest of the FantasyFusion staff with their passion. We thank you.
Now, let’s begin:
The following 2017 season win over/unders information is provided by Forbes:
Arizona Cardinals 8.0
Atlanta Falcons 9.5
Baltimore Ravens 9.0
Buffalo Bills 6.0
Carolina Panthers 8.5
Chicago Bears 5.5
Cincinnati Bengals 8.5
Cleveland Browns 4.5
Dallas Cowboys 9.5
Denver Broncos 8.5
Detroit Lions 8.0
Green Bay Packers 10.0
Houston Texans 8.5
Indianapolis Colts 9.0
Jacksonville Jaguars 6.0
Kansas City Chiefs 9.0
LA Chargers 7.5
LA Rams 5.5
Miami Dolphins 7.5
Minnesota Vikings 8.5
New England Patriots 12.5
New Orleans Saints 8.0
NY Giants 9.0
NY Jets 5.0
Oakland Raiders 10.0
Philadelphia Eagles 8.0
Pittsburgh Steelers 10.5
San Francisco 49ers 4.5
Seattle Seahawks 10.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.5
Tennessee Titans 8.5
Washington Redskins 7.5
Arizona Cardinals (8.0)
Arizona is coming off a disappointing year with a quarterback who is one year closer to death than last year. Ok, that was too much, but Palmer is getting old, as is Larry Fitzgerald. There’s still plenty to be excited about when it comes to talent, but I don’t know if they can put it together this year. It seems like Arizona struggled every possession last year, but oh yeah they have that David Johnson guy: decent football player. I actually guestimated 8 wins when looking at the schedule, but we’ll go with the over with 9.
Atlanta Falcons (9.5)
Will there be another Super Bowl hangover for the NFC representative? I think so. The departure of Kyle Shanahan is going to be missed more than people realize. Without that offensive play calling last year (minus the second half of the Super Bowl), Atlanta could have struggled to close games out with their defense. I’m going with under 9.5, only because I think it should be 8-9.
Baltimore Ravens (9.0)
Will Danny Woodhead literally carry the team on his back after he gets 20 2-yard check-downs per game? This team is terrible offensively. The only thing I can think that would make a 9-win season possible would be the addition of Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker, preferably the latter. As of this writing, neither have signed, but I’m assuming they will acquire one. The defense should be better this year, despite losing All-Pro Zachary Orr. Jimmy Smith will undoubtedly get hurt mid-season, and we’ll slide into a deep 5 game depression, finishing 9-7 exactly, so I'm probably avoiding this bet. Progress! (?)
*Note: Maclin signed for Baltimore. I feel more confident of this 9-win projection.*
Buffalo Bills (6.0)
Here we have a new coach, confusion at QB, and not a good defense. The only weapon on offense is LeSean McCoy unless Sammy Watkins can find a way to stay healthy. The Bills also play the last four Super Bowl teams in Denver, Carolina, Atlanta, and New England (twice). Rough year for Bills fans, I’m sure they’ll find a way to cope. Under 6.
Carolina Panthers (8.5)
Cam Newton is currently recovering/rehabbing from off-season surgery, which is something that may happen every summer because the Panthers continue to ignore the offensive line. Carolina did pick up a late second rounder in Taylor Moton, but that should just be a depth add for now. The key here lies in the resurgence of their defense and the emergence of Christian McCaffrey. I have Carolina winning 9 games this season, which will put them barely over the hump.
Chicago Bears (5.5)
The saying goes “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” First, the Bears go out and make Mike Glennon rich (bad), then they trade up to get Trubisky who has played only a few more college games than I have (probably also bad). Assuming the NFL doesn’t get any more bizarre than it was in previous years, I assume the only games Chicago will has a chance against are SF and CLE. I’m sure they’ll get one more somewhere in there, but I still say under 5.5.
Cincinnati Bengals (8.5)
If you read the article from last year, I was big on the Bengals. Just ask Donald how much I love Andy Dalton for fantasy purposes (do it, send him a bunch of tweets). He’s not great, but he's not bad. Looking at the schedule, I see 10 wins for the Bengals assuming they sweep the Browns and have a 50/50 record with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Joe Ross will help AJ Green’s numbers, which helps the team. Plus, they have that controversial Joe Mixon guy who has the skill of a first-round pick.
Cleveland Browns (4.5)
Remember when Donald said he expected the Browns to have over 4 wins last season? Let’s all take the time to point and laugh. Simply put, the Browns stink. They’re not good. Poo-poo platter. Safest bet of the century, under 4.5 (again).
Dallas Cowboys (9.5)
Zeke’s got the freaks and that’s a known fact. Dallas has a tough schedule this year. They have games at Oakland and Atlanta, with home games against Green Bay and Seattle. 9.5 seems a little low for a team who finished 13-3 and who has so much hype heading into the new season. Maybe Vegas knows something we don’t? I’ll say over, but just barely with 10 wins.
Denver Broncos (8.5)
Two quarterbacks, neither are good. Even with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, both QBs had trouble completing passes which is alarming. The defense is great, but will they score enough points to keep up? I’m seeing regression with Denver finishing under at 8-8.
Detroit Lions (8.0)
I never get Detroit right. When I think they’re playing well, they lose four straight. When I bet against them, they win five in a row. Who knows, under? Under, 7-9.
Green Bay Packers (10.0)
Green Bay is one of the two most consistent teams in the NFL, the other being New England, as GB has had 10 wins or more for three straight seasons. Green Bay’s trouble has been their defense, which they addressed in the draft (again). Even with a middle-lower end of the league defense, Green Bay has the firepower to win 10-13 games this season. Easy pick for me, especially with their schedule. Over 10, and I could see 12 wins.
Houston Texans (8.5)
Houston made it to the playoffs with Brock Osweiller. Let that sink in. DeShaun Watson (or whoever is starting) should be able to find success in the offense if THEY JUST THROW THE BALL TO DEANDRE HOPKINS. Sorry, just giving you the keys to victory, but I digress. They’re going to have to score better than 17 points a game like they did last year, but if that running game stays on track, Houston’s defense is good enough to close out enough games. I’m not a big believer in the Texans, as I project 8 wins, but there is a chance at another playoff run with a measly 9-7 record.
Indianapolis Colts (9.0)
The Colts were my value-pick for the Super Bowl last year, and boy was I wrong. It’s ok, it was a longshot anyway. The problem? The defense. It’s hard to win games when you give up an average of 24.5 points per game. It’s nice to have a top five passing attack, but if you can’t keep a lead, it doesn’t really matter. Indy addressed their defense through the draft, but they tend to every year. Look for Pagano to be on the hot(ter?) seat yet again this season when the Colts finish 8-8 again.
Jacksonville Jaguars (6.0)
Yeeks, the Jaguars continue to stink. Blake Bortles went from having the potential of a young star to fighting for his job in a little over a year. Jacksonville did get Tom Coughlin on board, and he knows what moves to make in order to have success. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, they just don’t have the talent. Leonard Fournette could be the new Zeke Elliott, but without an offensive line able to block at all, it’s going to be tough. Finishing 25th in both points for and points against isn’t a great game plan to win games. I’m going to say Jacksonville pushes with 6 wins. This is assuming splits with Houston and Indy. If Jacksonville can beat the worse teams in Cleveland, LA Rams, and the Jets, they should be able to make 6 possible.
Kansas City Chiefs (9.0)
People forget that the Chiefs finished 12-4 last season. I am one of those people. KC was able to finish with a top 10 points against with their stout defense, but they were also a little better than average in points for, partially due to spectacular special team play. KC is another one of those unpredictable teams because of an inconsistent offense. Jamaal Charles is gone and Alex Smith will be looking over his shoulder at first round pick Patrick Mahomes II. Could this affect his play? Maybe, but I still see 10 wins if that defense is as good as they’ve been over the years.
LA Chargers (7.5)
Hmm, 7.5? The Chargers went 5-11 last season and 4-12 the season before. Aside from a massive amount of defensive upgrades, with no one particularly great, and Mike Williams through the draft, the Chargers haven’t really done anything to expect a significant win increase. Rivers is another year older and now the team has kind of lost some home field advantage by moving into a significantly smaller stadium for the time being. The Chargers can score (9th last year), but they just can’t defend worth shit (29th in points against). I don’t see it; they still stink. Under 7.5.
LA Rams (5.5)
Remember when the Rams were on Hard Knocks and everyone who watched got a little excited about the idea of how young and good the team can be in the future? Well it isn’t far enough into the future, at least not yet. Jared Goff struggled last season due to not having any weapons. Like none. Kenny Britt would have been a decent weapon in what, 2010? To be fair, Britt did have his best season in yards and receptions, but he’s still not a viable option. The coaching staff has yet to find a way to get Tavon Austin the ball consistently, with some games Austin getting 10 receptions and other having 0 with 3 rushes for negative yards. LA Rams were ranked 32 in points for, averaging just 14.0 points a game. There’s some hope in the defense with Aaron Donald and company, but this team just can’t figure it out. I see maybe 3 wins if the Rams can’t make strides in the offense.
Miami Dolphins (7.5)
Miami had a pretty good year last year, finishing 10-6 in their division. The Dolphins began surging when Jay Ajayi broke onto the scene and was used as the main back, but began to falter when injuries to the offensive line limited Ajayi’s ability and forced Ryan Tannehill to pretend to be good. It didn’t look great, but the Dolphins rolled into the playoffs before eventually getting ass-rammed by the Steelers in the post-season. At the end of the season, Miami finished in the middle of the pack in offensive and defensive categories. A tough schedule makes me think Miami wins under 7 games, with the two annual games versus the Patriots, along with a matchup versus the Titans, Broncos, Falcons, Raiders, and Chiefs, along with an away game at Baltimore.
Minnesota Vikings (8.5)
Remember last year when I wrote that article about favorites to win MVP at midseason? Yea, Sam Bradford was actually a candidate according to Vegas. Well after that, it didn’t work out too well. Minnesota finished 8-8 despite boasting a top 10 defense with a mediocre offense. After their bye week in Week 6, the Vikings lost 8 of 11 games to close out the season. Did they do anything to fix their offense? No, not really aside from adding Dalvin Cook. Still, I see this team finishing with 9 wins, mostly due to my boy Kyle Rudolph.
New England Patriots (12.5)
It’s not fair. The Patriots are too good. First, they win another Superbowl after trading one of their best young defensive players. Then, they go out and trade for Brandin Cooks, a legitimate deep threat, to go along with Gronk , Edelman, and that other guy. Finally, they signed Stephon Gilmore, a VERY talented corner, away from a division rival. I don’t get it, why does any team continue to do deals with New England? New England always wins, everyone else loses. Anyway, I honestly just went through their schedule and marked them down for 16-0. I’ll be a little more realistic with a 14-2 projection, but don’t be surprised if there's talk of another perfect season.
New Orleans Saints (8.0)
As of this writing, there are new reports about Terron Armstead, one of the team’s premier lineman, tearing his labrum in practice. That isn’t good for a team who relies on the offense scoring about 30 points a game in order to make up for their atrocious defense. Lattimore was added as the new corner through the draft, but can one man really do that much? When your fantasy receiver is playing the Saints, you know there’s a very good possibility of him going off. How does that translate to betting? Well the Saints Defense just stinks, plain and simple. Cooks is now gone from their weaponry of receivers, but I’m sure Brees will be able to find another short, shifty receiver to make up for Cook’s production. I’m going to remain positive and say 8 wins for the Saints.
New York Giants (9.0)
I just had a double-take when I saw that the Giants had the second-best points against last season. A team with a strong defense, no rushing ability, and about average passing attack finished 11-5. Hmmm, maybe Vegas is thinking a couple wins were lucky (ahem, Baltimore) by having the line at 9.0? I see 10 wins, but you never know. The NFC East is the one division you can’t ever predict. Can you imagine OBJ’s meltdowns with a losing record?
New York Jets (5.0)
It’s official, I feel bad for anyone who is a Jets fan. Is anyone even on this team anymore? Marshall – released, Decker - released. Fitzmagic – retired/dead(?) Tell me if this offense gets your dick moving: Josh McCown, Bilal Powell, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Quincy Enunwa. GROSS. This offense may score 50 points all year. Under 5 games for sure. Let’s all mark our calendars for October 8, 1:00 PM, when the Jets battle the Browns in the official Toilet Bowl.
Oakland Raiders (10.0)
I don’t know what it is, I just don’t trust them. Maybe it’s Mark Davis’ hair, maybe it’s because pirates aren’t trustworthy, maybe it’s because I often confuse Derek and David Carr. Regardless, I’m going to say last year was a fluke and back that up with absolutely zero evidence to support my claim aside from the defense isn’t great and I’d hate to have to rely on an un-retired Marshawn Lynch in the run game. Under 10 wins, 9 to be more exact.
Philadelphia Eagles (8.0)
Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and a supposedly impressive Nelson Agholor are going to be the deal breaker in this offense without a typical NFL running back. The Eagles are currently listing Darren Sproles as the starter, who is about a decade into his career and has never been a 20-carry RB. I think Carson Wentz can use these guys effectively enough to spark a Wild Card berth, but the NFC East is always tricky. I see a 9-7 record, with key wins versus the Cardinals, Broncos, and Cowboys.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10.5)
I hate when the Steelers are good so I’ll keep this short. They won’t win 11 because Big Ben will undoubtedly get hurt and miss 3-5 games at some point, which will impact the offense significantly. I say this after the 2016 in which Big Ben got hurt, impacted the offense significantly, and the Steelers still won 11 games. That won’t happen again, I (definitely don’t) guarantee it. Under 10.5.
San Francisco 49ers (4.5)
There’s a lot of hype building in San Francisco which is weird because the 49ers currently list Brian Hoyer, Pierre Garcon, and Marquise Goodwin as their starters. Maybe Kyle Shanahan can turn gun-slinger Brian Hoyer into a decent starter, but they need more weapons to succeed in a division dominated by the Cardinals and Seahawks the last handful of seasons. The only realistic wins I see are versus the Rams (twice), the Bears, and the Jaguars. Assuming the 49ers win all of those, that is still less than 4.5 wins, so take the under.
Seattle Seahawks (10.5)
Plain and simple, Russell Wilson needs a running back and an offensive line that can protect him. We all know the defense will be there, but are we going to see early Russell Wilson who struggled mightily last year, or will we see the second-half Russell Wilson who went on a dominate run to close out the season? I’m betting on history and saying Russell will figure it out, whether or not the line is able to protect. If you look at history, the Seahawks offense is able to dominate when they have a power-back (see Lynch, Marshawn). Signing Eddie Lacy could prove to be a great move for Pete Carroll as the Seahawks look to reestablish themselves as a power-back offense. Seattle will win 11, bet on it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8.5)
The Bucs seem to be a sexy pick this year and I honestly couldn’t agree more. Tampa Bay finished the season strong, winning 6 of their last 8 after starting the season 3-5. Jameis Winston is actually looking like a decent quarterback - of course it can’t be hard to throw to that freak Mike Evans. Adding Desean Jackson will only help Evans establish separation and I really do think this offense could be one of the most productive in the league, especially if O.J. Howard is what scouts are saying he is. The only question mark is the defense, which didn’t do bad last year, they just couldn’t stay healthy. I’m going with 9 wins, which is over what Vegas is predicting.
Tennessee Titans (8.5)
This number seems low to me, but maybe I’m just really high on this team. Mariota looked GREAT last year, especially in the redzone. Mariota was able to accumulate a 65.2 QBR without many weapons aside from Delanie Walker and dump offs to Demarco Murray. All of the sudden, this team has a lot of weapons. Factor Eric Decker and Cory Davis into the mix with the two players above, and this team could be something the Titans haven’t had since the McNair/George/Mason years. The defense wasn’t spectacular last year, but they don’t seem to be the type of defense to worry too much about. A tough schedule with games versus the AFC North, the Seahawks, the Raiders, and at Houston will make or break this team. I have a lot of high hopes and I seem to have some evidence to back me up. I’ll say over with 9 wins.
Washington Redskins (7.5)
Remember last year when I criticized Vegas for projecting Dallas to finish over the Skins? I thought they were going to ride Cousins to at least the playoffs. If you didn’t know, they didn’t. Cousins isn’t happy with his contract, he lost both starting receivers to free agency without making any key signings aside from Terrelle Pryor, and the defense was addressed in the draft and free agency but still have to prove me (and Vegas) wrong. 7 wins for fat-faced Gruden.
Any Questions or Comments? Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @FFMilkman or leave a comment below!