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Bold Predictions Week: Bold fantasy calls by degree

Dec 10, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks on during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

(This is PFF Fantasy’s Bold Predictions Week. All week long, members of the fantasy staff will be making their biggest predictions for the season to come, with various approaches.)

Predictions are a fickle business. Make a few good ones and you’re a genius; make a few bad ones and you’re a fraud. All that when the truth is that you’re just analyzing the information available to you and making the best educated guess. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it doesn’t. This is true of fantasy football and … well, just about everything.

Two years ago, my bold predictions worked out. Check it out — 12 predictions, and other than “Jared Goff will be a top-20 QB in 2016,” I either nailed them all or came close enough that no one is complaining. Then last year, it went mostly the other way. Even my accurate calls (like Tevin Coleman outscoring Devonta Freeman in the second half) feel a little off.

The process for both, though, was the same. Take the information you have, make your conclusions, and then see what stands out.

This is my annual bold predictions pick. I do my predictions a little differently. At each position, there is a bold, bolder, and boldest call. The bold call is one I believe in, but it’s not some crazy call, and as such I don’t think I need to go in great depth on my rationale. “Bolder” means I do genuinely believe in, but it’s a little less popular and perhaps more detail is warranted. The “boldest” calls are out there. Maybe they’re crazy, maybe they’re not. And maybe they won’t come true — the point of the “boldest” calls isn’t to get them exactly right; it’s to indicate a direction the stock is pointing in.

That’s how this works. Below are my predictions, and at the end is my single boldest call of the year.

Running back

Bold: Jordan Howard finishes as a top-15 back … even in PPR

In his two seasons, Howard has finished 10th and 13th, respectively, in PPR scoring. He did this despite not taking over the starting role in 2015 until a few weeks into the season and being a subpar receiving back on a Bears team that has a combined 8-24 record in his two years. Now he’s the definite early-down back on a team that should be much improved, giving him better gamescripts in which to run. He’s not going to challenge for the league lead in targets by any stretch of the imagination, but Howard’s ground game will be more than enough to keep him in the RB1 conversation.

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