Before the 2016 NFL season kicked off, I made my preseason predictions here on the DK Playbook. Now it’s time to make some mid-season revisions on all of my picks.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Dak Prescott — QB, Dallas Cowboys (Preseason pick: Ezekiel Elliot)
So I wasn’t wrong on Zeke – he’s leading the league with 891 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns through eight games. He’s going to have a monster season and is worthy of this award. But who saw Dak Prescott doing this? He’s got the Cowboys at 7-1, hands down the best team in the NFC to date. He deserves this just a hair more than Elliott, who was expected to dominate.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Jalen Ramsey — DB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Preseason pick: Ramsey)
The Jags have been a disappointment on both sides of the ball thus far. Maybe they’re still a year away, but the defense hasn’t suffered because of Ramsey. He’s shown signs of being a future lockdown DB and hasn’t backed down from a challenge yet.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Matt Ryan — QB, Atlanta Falcons (Preseason pick: Julio Jones)
Julio and Matty Ice really go hand-in-hand here as co-offensive POYs. Both lead the NFL by a wide margin in their respective fields — Ryan with 2,980 passing yards and Jones with 970 receiving. The way things are going, it’d take an injury to derail this duo from continuing its dominance.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Von Miller — DE, Denver Broncos (Preseason pick: Kahlil Mack)
I backed away from Miller as the “sexy” preseason pick in favor of Mack, who’s been great, but Oakland just finds itself in too many shootouts. Guys like Aaron Donald and Lorenzo Alexander deserve mention, but Miller’s been as advertised despite Denver’s recent slip ups. His 9.5 sacks and constant QB pressure are unmatched.
Coach of the Year:
Jack Del Rio — Oakland Raiders (Preseason pick: Bill Belichick)
Like my ROY pick on Elliott, Belichick certainly hasn’t done anything to not be the Coach of the Year, with the Pats at 7-1. But what Del Rio and the Raiders are doing has been fantastic, and has them sitting at 7-2 – just behind New England in the AFC. Everything is clicking and a lot of it has to do with Del Rio’s gutsy decision-making.
Comeback Player of the Year:
Melvin Gordon — RB, San Diego Chargers (Preseason pick: Andrew Luck)
After a disappointing rookie season that didn’t see Gordon even reach the end zone once, the RB has thrown San Diego’s offense on his back in his second season. Gordon’s been an absolute workhorse, carrying 193 times for 768 yards and nine touchdowns, while hauling in 28 passes for 284 yards and another two scores. As you may imagine, Gordon has transformed himself into a top-10 fantasy talent this season.
Tom Brady — QB, New England Patriots (Preseason pick: Aaron Rodgers)
The lack of real candidates opens the door for Brady after just four games … ridiculous, but true. Brady’s on pace for 3,957 yards, 36 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions in just 12 games (which translates to 5,276 yards and 48 TDs in 16 games). On top of that, Brady’s completing 73.1 percent of his passes, has a 92.9 QBR and a 133.9 QB rating. New England seems poised to win 13-15 games and defend the weak AFC in the Super Bowl. So why not Brady?
Division Winners AFC:
AFC East — Patriots (Preseason pick: Patriots)
It’s practically clinched. As I mentioned, I could see New England winning out pending their need to compete in the final week of the season.
AFC West — Raiders (Preseason pick: Raiders)
Nailed it! This could be the best division in football (along with the NFC East) and the Raiders are rolling. No reason they shouldn’t finish on top with the way Derek Carr and Co. are playing.
AFC North — Steelers (Preseason pick: Steelers)
Pittsburgh actually sits outside of the playoffs at the moment, but I’m sticking to my guns here. Both the Steelers and Ravens are 4-4, Sunday’s head-to-head win for Baltimore breaking the tie. With Big Ben back, Pittsburgh will be back to the team we thought they’d be and gain an edge in the division.
AFC South — Texans (Preseason pick: Colts)
I really want to stick with the Colts, but they’re going to have a tough time getting to 8-8, which Houston should be able to stumble to. It’s possible, but Houston’s lead just looks too big right now in this horrid division.
Division Winners NFC:
NFC East — Cowboys (Preseason pick: Giants)
At 7-1 and playing like one of the best teams in the NFL behind two rookies, it’d be silly not to admit that the Cowboys are going to march to a division title at this point. There’s a chance this division sees a wildcard or two, too.
NFC West — Cardinals (Preseason pick: Cardinals)
A win would have been huge for the Cardinals in the head-to-head with the Seahawks, but a tie is better than a loss. With Seattle two wins ahead of Arizona, a loss to the Patriots next week and a loss in the rematch with the Cardinals could even the score between these two teams. The Cards could gain an edge on the Seahawks during the other weeks in which they have a slightly easier schedule. It’s a long shot, but I’m talking myself into it.
NFC North — Packers (Preseason pick: Packers)
R-E-L-A-X. Sam Bradford and the Vikings are starting to play like Sam Bradford and the Vikings, while the Lions are tough to take seriously in the long run outside of a wildcard run. The 4-4 Packers will get it together and leapfrog both teams.
NFC South — Falcons (Preseason pick: Panthers)
Carolina doesn’t have the firepower to make up three games in the second half. With the Bucs and Saints too inconsistent, the Falcons should hang onto the division by default (not to mention their offense has been elite).
AFC West — Chiefs (Preseason pick: Chiefs)
KC is the quiet team that nobody’s talking about. But at 6-2 they’ve proved to be the real deal and are as balanced as they come.
AFC West — Broncos (Preseason pick: Jaguars)
Yeah, the Jags aren’t quite in the picture. With the Steelers overtaking the Ravens, Baltimore will have a hard time catching the defending champs for the wildcard spot. The AFC West has to be the best division in football with three playoff teams in this scenario and the Chargers in the picture.
NFC West — Seahawks (Preseason pick: Seahawks)
Seattle is making the playoffs. The question is just if they can hang onto the division or not. Frankly, a wildcard berth would be a disappointment at this point. Wilson looked more mobile on Monday night, which is a good sign going forward.
NFC East — Giants (Preseason pick: Cowboys)
Flip flop these two NFC East teams, but the Giants are good enough to get in. We know what they’re capable of as a wildcard team if they do …
Super Bowl Prediction:
Patriots defeat Cowboys (Preseason pick: Patriots defeat Cardinals)
Prediction: This would simply be known as “America’s Game,” and might be the most hyped Super Bowl of all time. For that simple reason, I have to pick it as we all pray for it to become a reality. When it does, I’ll take the Pats by a touchdown.
For questions or comments hit me up on Twitter: @julianedlow.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.