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Bold Predictions Week: Forecasting the fantasy rookies

Aug 18, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman (37) celebrates after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-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.)

As has become an annual tradition here at PFF Fantasy, we’re bringing you a week filled with bold predictions. We’re getting things started with a round of predictions focused on this year’s crop of rookies.

Predicting rookie production is always tricky. Predicting to put up big numbers is even trickier. But that’s exactly what we do in this piece, as I make bold predictions about five rookies that could have a big impact in fantasy this year.

Let’s start with the rookie everyone already knows is going to be good. My bold prediction? He’ll actually beat his sky-high expectations.

Saquon Barkley finishes as a top-three fantasy running back

The top of this year’s fantasy draft boards comprised — in some order — Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliott. These four running backs have been called the “Big 4” this year, and while Barkley has drawn praise, he’s on the outside looking in when it comes to the elite tier.

Here’s my bold prediction: Barkley won’t just join the tier as a rookie — he’ll outscore at least two of those players.

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