There is one thing I think all fantasy football participants can agree on. Fantasy football is hard to predict. With breakout seasons, unpredictable slumps, and injury risk there is no such thing as a sure thing. But still, all of our analysts, podcasters, writers, and gut-handicappers do their best to make good fantasy football predictions that will help you win. This article will take a look at some of our staff’s best calls. Don’t worry, we know we’re not perfect. We’ll also throw out some of our worst calls.
EXCLUSIVE SGPN CONTENT
Injuries Don’t Count
Something to keep in mind when talking about predictions is that an injury can throw a prediction completely off. It’s almost impossible to predict an injury, except for one person, but stay tuned for more on that later in the article. Therefore, I’m not going to point to things such as us calling Clyde Edwards-Helaire a top 15 running back. Sure he finished 38 in non-PPR leagues, but who’s to say where he would have finished had he not missed seven games.
The Long Shots in Fantasy Football Predictions
Long-shot predictions as taken in our sleeper articles and podcasts are also omitted because when we call somebody a long shot or a long-term dynasty stash, we’re not stating guarantee success. I touted Tommy Tremble after Dan Arnold got traded as a dynasty sleeper on the Fantasy Football Podcast. He didn’t have the immediate involvement I thought he’d get, but that doesn’t mean he won’t hold future value after another year of development. Taking those types of situations out of the conversation, let’s take a look at our top 10 worst and top 10 best fantasy football predictions.
The Bad Calls
We’ll start with the bad calls. Part of what we do is admit when we were wrong. Some calls we made were a little off, but the following 10 were some of the calls that we wish we could take back. Without further ado, here are the top 10 worst fantasy football predictions of the 2021 season.
10. Bears Players In The Top 10?
We’ll start with our 10th worst fantasy football prediction looking at the Top 10 Lists released on the main Sports Gambling Podcast. Keep in mind these were released in July, prior to training camps. Another thing to think about is how difficult it is to narrow down the top 10 at each position accurately. However, listening to the takes from the Top 10 podcasts several bad calls stood out. One bad call was putting both Justin Fields and Allen Robinson in the top 10. Maybe it’s Nagy’s fault, but Fields didn’t excel as Bears fans hoped, finishing as the 31st QB. And despite missing 5 games, Robinson didn’t look like a guy who even wanted to be in Chicago. He finished 84th among wide receivers. It was also a bad call leaving Tom Brady and Dak Prescott out of the top 10 for QB’s.
9. Amari Cooper is Better Than WR16
For the 9th worst we turn to an early episode of the Fantasy Football Podcast. There was a discussion surrounding if players were being drafted too high or too low. One player discussed in depth was Amari Cooper and whether his WR16 ranking was too high or too low. Jesse Marcella argued that WR16 was too low for Amari Cooper and that people shouldn’t assume that CeeDee Lamb would be the favorite in the passing offense. Lamb did outrank Cooper slightly, but both of them finished in the twenties. Cooper’s final spot in a PPR league was 27th, making his WR16 spot too high, rather than too low.
8. Daniel Jones: Bounce Back Candidate
On an episode of the Fantasy Football Podcast, talking about bounce-back candidates, one call, in particular, stuck out as a bad call. Daniel Jones was labeled by guest Bo as a bounce-back candidate after a disappointing 2020 season. Now I know what you’re thinking, Jones finished the season injured, missing the last six games. Still, in his first 11 games, Jones had four games with 10 fantasy football points or less, and only four games over 20 fantasy football points. At his time of injury, he was ranked 19th. This falls into the bad fantasy football predictions and hopefully, you were able to avoid him.
7. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott: Busts!
The busts podcast put out by Sean and Kramer had a lot of good calls, some of which we will discuss later. However, this one lands as the 7th worst call. This particular bad call stems from some hatred for the Cowboys. Don’t blame Sean and Kramer for hoping the Cowboys’ players would fail. There was also a lot of controversy over Dak Prescott’s health coming into the season. This led the guys to pick both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot as busts. As much as they were probably hoping for this to be true, both players finished 7th at their position. Zeke ran over 1000 yards, even with Tony Pollard getting involved, and had 10 rushing touchdowns. Prescott finished with 4,449 yards and 37 passing touchdowns. Fading the Cowboys seemed like the thing to do, but it was a bad fantasy football prediction.
6. Robby Anderson > Adam Thielen
Touting so many correctly picked players to bust later on in our best calls section, we have to continue talking about some that were incorrect. In episode 1072 it was a shock to hear Sean’s take that Robby Anderson would have a better year than Adam Thielen. Sure, nobody could predict the inconsistency at the quarterback position that turned into a revolving door for the Panthers, but still, it was a hot take that never got hot. Robby Anderson finished 49th ranked while Thielen, who missed four games, finished 28th. Hopefully, this wasn’t a fantasy football prediction you took to heart. Here’s how their seasons played out.
|Player||Games Played||Catches||Targets||Yards||Touchdowns||Fantasy Football Points (PPR)|
5. Trade Antonio Gibson Now!
For the 5th worst call I’ll turn to my own article. While my first article pointed out some good players that were trending down, one particular person I said was trending down was a bad call. Antonio Gibson looked to be losing work on the field and to be trending down after two weeks of football. In fact, in my first article, I said you should trade him while you can. He was even labeled a bust as the RB12 off the board on the Sports Gambling Podcast busts episode. Hopefully, those were both fantasy football predictions you didn’t listen to as he turned his season around. Even with missing a game, Gibson finished his season as the 10th ranked running back in a PPR league and 9th in non-PPR.
4. Cam Newton is Good!
Again, we are fully willing to admit when we make a bad prediction. Show me a person that makes 100% correct predictions and I’ll show you somebody that’s been to the future. However, we did have a particularly bad fantasy football prediction on an episode of the Fantasy Football Podcast that falls to our 4th worst. For all the good takes that were on it, guest Herms even started to convince Rod on the idea that Cam Newton got a raw deal in 2020 and would bounce back. The take was that Mac Jones wouldn’t play this year and Cam Newton was better than he appeared the previous year. Of course, we saw Cam Newton get released by the Patriots and Jones started the entire year. Hopefully, this fantasy football prediction was one you took with a grain of salt.
3. Don’t Draft Najee Harris and Joe Mixon Too High!
For the 3rd worst we turn to talk of running backs on the Fantasy Football Podcast. While discussing too high or too low candidates there were two takes on two particular running backs that stood out. Terrell Furman said Najee Harris was being drafted too high as RB11. He also thought Joe Mixon was too high at RB13. Though to be fair on the same pod Jesse argued RB13 was too low for Mixon, but it was 2 to 1 at the end of the discussion for calling Mixon too high. Mixon finished as the 3rd ranked RB and Harris finished as 4th, both outperforming their draft position. Hopefully, you still drafted one of them and weren’t hesitant from this fantasy football prediction.
2. Joe Burrow: Bust!
The 2nd worst call was found in multiple areas. Both in an article on injured players to avoid and on the busts episode we had multiple staff doubt this quarterback coming off a bad leg injury. Sean, Kramer, and even our football doctor cautioned against him. To be fair, Joe Burrow himself said he didn’t trust his leg yet and was pulling it up in practice. All this talk made us hesitant, and it was said multiple times that he should be avoided. Burrow proved doubters wrong by having a comeback of the year-like performance, leading the Bengals to a 10-win season, their first playoff victory since 1991, and finishing as the 5th ranked fantasy football quarterback. Hopefully, you didn’t fade Burrow and took a chance on him.
1. Saquon Barkley: Top 5 Back
Look, nobody wants to be labeled as making the worst fantasy football prediction of the 2021 season, but we can’t tout all our successful predictions without calling out the bad ones as well. This year, prior to the season beginning, multiple members of the SGPN staff repeatedly sang the praises of Saquon Barkley. Despite him not practicing to start the offseason, despite coming back from the injury, and despite very little upgrade on the offensive line. He was being drafted with an average draft position as the 5th ranked running back and while one Giants fan, in particular, Kramer, had him ranked higher than that, multiple members of the staff agreed he would be around the top 5 running back position. I know Barkley missed four games, but I don’t think that’s the reason he finished as the 31st running back. Barkley finished 50% of his full games under 10 fantasy football points in PPR leagues. At only one point, in Week 4, did he look like a top running back option. Unfortunately, putting Barkley as a top 5 running back was a bad fantasy football prediction.
The Good Calls
Now that we’ve got the bad out of the way, let’s break down some of the best calls. Of course, we had some bad takes, but we also had some really good ones. In fact, some of these calls like our top call even went against the grain but helped you in your fantasy football leagues.
10. Diontae Johnson and Austin Ekeler: Top 10!
For the 10th best call we’ll go back to the top 10 lists discussed in the 10th worst. Not counting guys that were injured, Sean Green and Ryan Kramer called a lot of top 10 guys at their positions accurately. Making it even more difficult, twenty-six of the guys that were called out between the two of them dealt with multiple game injuries. 8 of the 20 running backs Sean and Ryan talked that fell outside the top 10 missed multiple games. There were also two quarterbacks, four wide receivers, and five tight ends that dealt with injuries. Two of the best calls were Sean putting Diontae Johnson at number 9 and Kramer putting Austin Ekeler at number 4. They finished 8th and 2nd respectively. Take a complete look at their lists here: Top 10 Lists.
EVERY RETWEET COUNTS AS 1 VOTE #ProBowlVote + Austin Ekeler
— Austin Ekeler (@AustinEkeler) December 12, 2021
9. Kenny Golladay and Julio Jones: Busts!
For the 9th best we’ll turn to episode 1072 of the Sports Gambling Podcast, where Sean and Kramer discussed who they thought would be fantasy football busts this year. They each hit a wide receiver accurately as a bust. Much to Kramer’s disliking, Sean called out Kenny Golladay, pointing to his injury history and Daniel Jones’ previous year only throwing 11 touchdowns. Sean stated even being drafted down at WR22, this was too high for Golladay. He hit the nail on the head as Golladay finished as the 85th best wide receiver. Not to be outdone, Kramer also had a hot take on a wide receiver. He said Julio Jones was a bust at his current draft position of WR15, and that he’ll most likely miss games due to injury. Jones did miss games due to injury and finished as the 93rd ranked wide receiver. If you listened to this fantasy football prediction and avoided both of these players, you wound up happy you didn’t take a chance after their disappointing seasons.
Giants 2021 Most Underwhelming Player votes
Kenny Golladay 46
Will Hernandez 14
Saquon Barkley 10
Logan Ryan 8
Matt Peart 5
Congrats to Kenny Golladay on having more awards than Touchdowns. I'm just surprised how many people expected the Year 4 Will Hernandez jump. pic.twitter.com/rGvFHmM3Bo
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) January 17, 2022
8. Baker Mayfield: Bust!
Our 8th best fantasy football prediction involves a quarterback a lot of analysts on other sites were touting as a sleeper candidate. On the busts episode of the Sports Gambling Podcast, the guys both agreed Baker Mayfield was a bust at his draft position of QB15. Mayfield had 11 games under 20 fantasy football points. He finished the season with just 17 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions and 3 fumbles. Picking him as a bust at QB15 was spot on as he finished as the 25th ranked quarterback.
Baker Mayfield watching OBJ in The Playoffs: pic.twitter.com/y0ng58ECbr
— treylancesburner (@igburner) January 18, 2022
7. Avoid Michael Thomas!
Switching gears from podcasts to one of the many fantastic articles the SGPN staff puts out, we turn to our very own doctor for the 7th best call. Sebastian Fearon, the SGPN Football Doc, wrote an article before the season, looking at players who had an injury either last year or coming into this season that you may want to avoid. He nailed one, in particular, that was being drafted as a sleeper in the mid-rounds. Due to his injury, our doctor recommended avoiding Michael Thomas, who has loads of talent and who many people thought would be a steal. Thomas ended up not playing a single down of football. The doc nailed this fantasy football prediction, and we hope you listened and avoided Thomas.
Michael Thomas has announced that he will miss the remainder of the 2021 season pic.twitter.com/9qnEvGpxDE
— PFF (@PFF) November 3, 2021
6. Trade Allen Robinson Now!
What’s a fantasy football prediction article without a little self-touting? Since I already called myself out for a bad call, I had to at least give myself some props for a good call. I joined the SGPN staff in September, having been a long-time fan. My first article was taking a look at players trending up and trending down. In the article, after two weeks of football, I pointed out Allen Robinson was trending down and that it may be a good idea to try and trade him now. Even as a Bears fan, I re-iterated that opinion twice, once on a Trade Talks episode with Rod on the Fantasy Football Podcast and again on an episode discussing who is droppable. Inconsistent quarterback play has been present throughout Robinson’s career and he’s still made an impact in fantasy football. This year that was not the case. Hopefully, you listened to the fantasy football prediction at Week 2 and you were still able to get some value in a trade, based on his talent and history.
5. Daniel Jones – E.J. Manuel 2.0?
Our SGPN managing editor Adam Pelletier appeared on Episode 10 of the Fantasy Football Podcast talking about bounce-back candidates and lands with our 5th best call. Like a master carpenter, Adam hit the nail on the head multiple times with his takes. He called out that Daniel Jones would struggle, even referring to him as E.J. Manuel 2.0. While the reference may be harsh, Jones did struggle. Adam also said Paris Campbell would struggle with injuries, and Michael Pittman would be the Colts’ top wide receiver. Campbell missed eleven games, and Pittman finished as the 16th ranked receiver. Adam made a bunch of good fantasy football predictions in a row and hopefully, you listened!
4. Jimmy Garoppolo: Season Starter
For our 4th best call we turn to our Fantasy Football Podcast’s fearless host. Rod Villagomez was talking about the impact of Trey Lance and he suggested people be cautious drafting him with the expectation that he would become the starter. He expected Jimmy Garoppolo to start most of the year. Jimmy G only ended up missing two games on the year. Sure, Jimmy G only finished as the 17th ranked quarterback, but if you drafted him, he got you a lot more fantasy football points than Trey Lance did. This was a spot-on fantasy football prediction by the 49ers fan himself, Rod.
If Jimmy Garoppolo can consistently hit layered throws like this on Saturday, the 49ers have a very legitimate shot at pulling off the upset in Green Bay pic.twitter.com/dX2LCND89w
— Jordan Elliott (@splash_cousin) January 19, 2022
3. Don’t Waste a Top Draft Pick on Barkley
On his Fantasy Football podcast, Rod had another spot-on fantasy football prediction that lands as the 3rd best fantasy football prediction. He said he was hesitant on Saquon Barkley as a fantasy football 1st rounder. Anybody that listened sure wound up happy that they did. Those that didn’t listen were left frustrated and wishing they had. Rod pointed out his injury history and the offensive line woes as some things that just made him a little more cautious on Barkley than others were being. Sean reiterated this on the busts episode, though part of that may have been fueled by his love for the Eagles and dislike of the Giants. Barkley missed 4 games and finished as the 31st ranked running back.
Saquon Barkley's 2021 season (Year 4) : 162 carries for 593 yards, 2 TD's & 1 lost fumble; 41 catches for 263 yards, 2 TD's & 6 drops on 57 targets in 13 games (Career-low in rushing yards when playing more than 10 games) pic.twitter.com/yFcBHFSMJ1
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) January 14, 2022
2. Joe Burrow: Good Value
For our 2nd best prediction, we’ll turn back to a debated quarterback. The benefit of having so much talent on our SGPN staff is some fantasy football predictions counter each other. While some said to avoid Burrow, Jeremy Popielarz wrote an article on mid-round targets. He suggested grabbing Burrow in the 9th round. Burrow wound up throwing for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns. If you listened to Jeremy’s advice, you were very happy nabbing him in the 9th round. This was an excellent fantasy football prediction.
The last playoff game Joe Burrow played in pic.twitter.com/tgqFAzO4hd
— Not Zac Taylor (@NotZacTaylor) January 11, 2022
1. Injury Cautions: Christian McCaffrey
I said at the very beginning of this article that it is hard to have every fantasy football prediction be correct due to injuries. Nobody can predict injuries. Or can they? Every time in my drafts this season when this player was drafted, I snickered to myself a little and thought, “These managers should listen to Sean”. Sean said it on the Sports Gambling Podcast, once, or twice, or three times. Okay, he said it over, and over, and over. Sean gave us this year’s best fantasy football prediction when he said, Christian McCaffrey will get injured. Sure, he didn’t wish an injury on anybody, but he looked at the turf, the history, and the over usage and predicted CMC would get hurt. It was completely accurate as he exited in Week 3. McCaffrey returned in Week 9 and was injured again by Week 12. He was then put on the injured reserve and missed the rest of the season. If you were like me and listened to Sean, you were happy you avoided spending that first-round pick, or top auction cash on Christian McCaffrey.
Tried to warn people about Christian McCaffrey. https://t.co/PFQFcpyWCW
— Sean Green (@seantgreen) September 24, 2021
That’s it. The top 10 Worst and Best Fantasy Football predictions. The SGPN staff continues to research, study, and analyze to try and bring you the best predictions we can. Nobody can be right all the time, but we strive to try and be right most of the time in all the content. The fantasy football off-season is here, outside of DFS and Best Ball drafts. And I’m already studying my dynasty and keeper leagues for potential keepers and trades. The grind never stops. Feel free to tell me your best or worst fantasy football prediction of 2021.