In this article we are going to be talking about...well it's pretty obvious if you read the title...but we are going to be doing a hot take article. In the Fantasy Football community among analysts, I think sometimes they take this article to 1000 and just throw stuff against the wall hoping it sticks, or they throw predictions out there that have less than a 5% chance of happening. I'm going to be coming in with something a little bit different. I want to give out takes that I truly believe can happen. Every NFL game starts with a coin toss, so that's what I want my hot takes to be. Basically, we're looking at some hot takes that still have a 50/50 shot of happening, but aren't a wildly popular take in fantasy. I'm not coming out here to just write an article saying Kirk Cousins will throw for 5000 yards and 50 TDs. People want something believable, and that's where we will jump into the article with a believable but hot take.
Trey Lance will be a Top 5 Fantasy QB and rush for 700+ yards and 6+ TDs
I know I'm not alone in the people who love Trey Lance, but to me, it seems like there was so much more love for him last year. There were so many more question marks about this offense and him last year than this year. Going into this season, he has two top 5 weapons at their positions in Deebo and Kittle. The O-Line is still great, and the coach has an amazing mind for the offensive side of the ball. We've seen this happen multiple times in the last 5 years with Mahomes in his sophomore year, Lamar in his as well, and Josh Allen in his 3rd year. I think it could either be the Lamar route with the 1000-yard rushing season or the Allen route with an 8-10+ rushing TD season. I think this is easily in the realm of possibility, but no one else must be thinking this when his ADP is still QB13, he was going higher last year when people thought he was just going to win the job in the first couple of weeks. This is his job and sure he's going to have some plays that make you scratch your head...but he is going to save most of his days with the rushing upside. Look at Jalen Hurts last year in an average offense and half the raw arm talent of Lance. Plus, the offensive system in San Fran is just more efficient and scores more often. I'm betting on the talent of Lance and the minds in San Francisco just knowing what they're doing. Lance got a full year in the system already and learned from sitting behind a very smart QB. Take advantage of the unknown, grab Lance before all these predictable pocket passers QBs like Brady, Rodgers, and Stafford. Then grab one of them as a safe backup or wait a little while longer and take a Cousins or Carr as your safe backup just in case. In each of those years where Mahomes, Lamar, and Allen all went nuclear, they were being drafted around the same range with a lot of the same question marks. This is the hot take I probably feel the best about happening.
3+ teams with RB duos finishing in the top 25 RBs
I think there are a ton of talented RBs in the league right now, and with how many RBs go down due to injuries, this is a very volatile position. Teams have started to try and take a 1-2 punch action with this position. We were close last year but I think it will happen this year. There are a ton of teams that could pull this off. Denver did it last year and all the reports are that they will split the RB duties there still. The Rams are an option with how McVay has talked about his backs. The Browns could do it as well even if Hunt leaves. We saw some of D'Ernest Johnson and he was a beast out there. Miami is an option with all the back they have in what should be an exciting offense. Green Bay could easily do it as they almost did last year, and I think Dillon will be even more involved this season. Dallas was almost just as close last year and again Pollard should get a little more work while Elliot the veteran back gets a little less. People forget Elliot was the RB6 last year.
This should barely be considered a hot take but almost no rankings have two RBs from the same team in the top 25 and it doesn't show that way in ADP either. These number one running backs are going to split time in more places than you would think. There are very few teams that use the bell cow method anymore. The only team that still truly implements it is Pittsburgh where Tomlin has done it for a decade, and the Titans with Derrick Henry. We should expect the same from the Colts, but they always talk up their backup RBs. The Vikings have said Cook will get a majority of the work still, and maybe Cincy or the bears with Mixon and Montgomery still as workhorses. But all the other teams want to use multiple backs. The Patriots and Raiders are two other teams that will be running split backfields with Harris and Stevenson in one and Jacobs, and Zamir White in the other. This year might be the start of the trend by teams to use multiple backs in the regular season splitting carries to keep two players fresh for the playoffs. We could even see the Rams get in on this as McVay has talked a lot about how he wants both Akers and Henderson on the field. For this to be a "Scorching Hot" take it has to have some more heat to it. We're going with 3 teams that have duos in the top 25 RBs this year, and I'll even add my predicted duos. I think we see Denver's, Green Bay's, and Dallas.
Michael Pittman is a top 5 fantasy Wide Receiver and DJ Moore is top 10
Let's start with DJ Moore since my love for Pittman has not been hidden and I have talked about him in depth in past articles. Moore has been a top 22 WR in fantasy in half PPR Leagues. If you haven't watched him play football on the abysmal Panthers the last 3 years (I don't blame you), but you need to watch his highlights. He is something special to watch on a football field, and he has been doing all he can for that team with just awful QB play from Kyle Allen to Bridgewater and finally to Darnold last year. Baker will be a massive upgrade compared to any of those three guys, and they are already developing chemistry in RZ situations at practice. He just needed to score 3 more touchdowns last year to be a top 10 receiver, I think that is a very achievable number to hit this year with an actual starting QB who took a team as bad as the Browns to the playoffs in his 2nd season. Baker is a 100% healthy QB coming into this year, who gave his entire body to the Browns last year and they decided with all their wisdom that they would rather give a man who sexually assaulted multiple women 200+ million dollars.
So, Baker is coming in with a chip on his shoulder like he has had his whole career to this point. He is a guy who wants to prove everyone wrong, and I think he will have the best season of his career with DJ Moore as his leading receiver next to CMC (assuming CMC can stay healthy). I think you can copy DJ Moore's stat line over and add 3-5 more receiving TDs.
Now onto my guy Michael Pittman Jr, this guy is going to eat, and honestly, I feel like I can almost guarantee a top 10 season from him as long as he stays healthy. I think top 5 is very attainable. He had a breakout sophomore year with the sorry QB play of Wentz throwing him uncatchable balls for most of the year but still managed to pull down 88 receptions with hat 6'4 230 lbs frame. The biggest reason for this top 5 jump is the recent rumors of him being part of an early morning breakfast club of him and Ryan and we saw how well that worked out last year for Stafford and Kupp. But in all seriousness, the reports out of camp have been very strong chemistry with each other and a lot can be said about Matt Ryan at this point in his career but inaccurate and reckless are not what he is. For DJ Moore, this is a massive QB upgrade and might be an even bigger gap going from Wentz to Ryan, than Darnold to Baker. Pittman has the opportunity and talent in spades. He got a 24% target share with no additions at receiver other than rookie Alec Pierce. I'm seeing a 100+ rec, 1200+ yard, and 10+ TD year from the kid in this top 5 scenario and I think it is an attainable goal for him.
Quick Hitter Hot Takes (<15% chance it happens, but I think it's possible)
Robert Woods finishes as a top 20 wide receiver
He has got the opportunity there as the clear-cut #1 receiver, even coming off the injury he is going to be on the field a lot due to his blocking ability, and in the play-action Derrick Henry offense he should get some open deep looks. If Treylon Burks starts off slow and can't get it going, it is not crazy to think that Woods could catch 80+ balls and 6+ TDs. A lot of targets are up for grabs with Brown, and Jones both gone from last year, I think a lot could go to a sure-handed receiver like Woods who will be on the field all the time with his blocking ability.
Dameon Pierce or Brian Robinson Jr finishes as a top 20 RBs
Both of these guys have been getting amazing reports out of camp and we have seen the fair share of reports about them taking over as starters in these roles sooner that one would think. We've even seen Robinson and Pierce getting a lot of work with the first team in camp, and they both are looking like they'll both at the very least be the goal line backs. I think Pierce is a lock for the starting back job in Houston, but to hit that top 25 range, he'll need to have the James Robinson season where he gets all of the work. Brian Robinson could be taking over as the starter, but his money will be made in the RZ, and they love his strong hands in Washington. It's a long shot but if either of these can be full time starting backs then they could be looking at the top 25. I talked about both of these guys even more back in early August in my "Guys that deserve the final bench spot" article.
Allen Lazard finishes as a top 15 WR
I know Lazard got all of the early hype, but then it all started going to Romeo in camp and preseason. Guys, I love Romeo, but if you're trying to tell me that he is going to be the #1 receiver in this offense, you are crazy. Aaron has talked up Dobbs and Watson, but he has also talked about how inconsistent they've been. The top options in this receiving core will be Lazard, Jones, Dillon, Tonyan, Cobb, Watson, and Dobbs. Lazard will be the #1 with an already developed chemistry with Rodgers, years in this offense, he blocks tremendously well so he will always be on the field and Rodgers has already said that Lazard is the top dog. I did into more depth on Lazard in my "Criminally Underrated Players That Could Win Your League" article.
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