It is still early in the 2018 NFL season but patterns are already beginning to develop. Several teams have already surprised us and even more individual players have completely changed their games. But how many of these players will be able to keep up their success for the entire season? The meaning of certain statistics have changed over time but the benchmarks for a good season are still: 1,000 yards rushing for a running back, 1,000 yards receiving for a wide receiver, and 4,000 yards passing for a quarterback. This article will talk about 7 RBs And 7 WRs Who Won't Crack 1000 Yards This Season (And 7 QBs Who Won't Throw For 4000 Yards).
There are obviously hundreds of players who will meet this criteria every year, so I have tried to limit the players talked about in this article to ones who have reached these milestones in previous seasons, or players who were widely expected to surpass those marks this season. If you can think of any running backs, wide receivers, or quarterbacks who you think will fall short of these milestones in 2018, feel free to mention them in the comments section.
21 RB - Le’Veon Bell
Before NFL preseason began, it would have been unthinkable for someone to suggest that Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Le’Veon Bell would not surpass 1,000 yards rushing in 2018. I don’t think that anyone outside of Pittsburgh understood how volatile Bell’s contract situation had become and he has now sat out the first two weeks of the 2018 season. Bell only has to play in a handful of games to keep his free agent status in 2019 and it appears that he is willing to do just that. John Connor has played well in Bell’s absence, so it is unclear how many carries Bell will get when he finally returns to the team.
20 WR - Robby Anderson
Robby Anderson was one of the top breakout players of 2018. He, along with Josh McCown, provided a spark to the Jets much maligned offense. This kept them from picking first overall, which they were almost unanimously projected to do heading into 2017. With a new quarterback under center in 2018, however, I have doubts about Anderson’s production. Early on, it seems like Sam Darby favors Quincy Enunwa and it is unclear how many balls will be thrown in Anderson’s direction. Even great wide receivers are reliant on the favor of their quarterback, and without Darby’s attention, Anderson will not surpass 1,000 yards receiving in 2018.
19 QB - Dak Prescott
One of the biggest storylines to start the 2018 NFL season has been the poor play of the Dallas Cowboys. This certainly does not look like the team that dominated the NFC East two years ago, and a lot of that is due to the declining play of Dak Prescott. Prescott looked like a world beater behind Ezekiel Elliot and that huge offensive line but as the team around him has gotten worse, some of the holes in his game have become more apparent. He is still a young player, so there is still time for him to improve.
18 RB - Marshawn Lynch
The Oakland Raiders are an absolute dumpster fire. Instead of adding stability, the addition of veteran coach, Jon Gruden, has only exasperated the problems that already plagued this franchise. One of the players who was most supposed to benefit from Gruden coming in was Marshawn Lynch. After two games, however, I think that we can fairly say that Gruden is not doing Lynch, or this offense any favors. The problems with Gruden aside,Lynch himself has slown down since his heyday with the Seahawks. There are just too many things weighing down this rushing attack for me to predict a 1,000 yard season for Lynch.
17 WR - Marvin Jones
One of the biggest questions in fantasy football this year is which Lions' wide receiver would have a better year, Golden Tate or Marvin Jones. This next entry should give you a clue about which camp I was in. Despite the fact that he ended up with more fantasy points last season, Jones is a significantly inferior player to Tate. I watched a lot of games last season and it seemed like Jones was constantly scoring fluky touchdowns. Throw in the fact that Kenny Golladay should be healthy this season, and it is fair to predict that Jones won’t surpass the 1,000 yard mark this season.
16 QB - Marcus Mariota
The Tennessee Titans offense is in transition mode. Ever since the franchise selected Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick, he has been the focal point of the offense and he has had to do a disproportionate amount of work to make this offense run. Thanks to new (or recently developed) offensive weapons like Derrick Henry and Deion Lewis, this should no longer be the case. If the Titans run more it should bring down Mariota’s passing numbers. This is especially true given the fact that Mariota has already had to miss one game due to injury.
15 RB - Carlos Hyde
It hasn't been that long since the Cleveland Browns have had a 1000-yard rusher but I do not expect Carlos Hyde to have the same amount of success this season. No knock on Hyde, but he is a volume runner. He needs a certain number of carries per game to really get going and I do not think that he will get this many touches in Cleveland. The Browns defense is still a work in progress which will cause them to play catch-up and for a lot of games this season. This is not conducive to a lot of running plays and I think Hyde’s numbers will suffer.
14 WR - Chris Hogan
After Julian Edelman got suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season, fantasy owners were quick to jump on the Chris Hogan bandwagon. Hogan runs a lot of the same routes as Edelman does and it makes sense that Hogan would fill in as Tom Brady’s primary target. After the first two games of the 2018 season, however, I am beginning to have serious doubts about Hogan’s ability to fill in for Edelman. Brady is consistently throwing balls to Rob Gronkowski, and once Edelman comes back and Josh Gordon officially debuts as a Patriot, Hogan's numbers should decrease big time.
13 QB - Alex Smith
I think that it is time that we can fairly begin to compare Alex Smith to Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe wasn’t a bad quarterback, but he is most famous for preceding multiple future Hall of Famers at quarterback. Smith was replaced as the starting quarterback of the 49ers by Colin Kaepernick. Kap didn’t last as along-term option but he did lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first year as a starter. Smith was then pushed out by the Chiefs in favor of Patrick Mahomes, who has been absolutely dominant to start the season. The reason why teams have more success after Smith leaves is that he is only a mediocre quarterback.
12 RB - Alfred Morris
When Jerick McKinnon went down with a season ending injury right before the season began, Alfred Morris became one of the most added players on the waiver wire. People were optimistic about the 49ers offense with Morris and Matt Breida leading the charge. The problem is that this is the same Alfred Morris who has struggled in the NFL ever since his first two seasons with the Washington Redskins. Morris does not have the burst to surprise NFL defenses and this will not change.
11 WR - Calvin Ridley
I read an article right before the season began which wondered if this year's Atlanta Falcons would be the first team to boast two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers. The Falcon’s offense will surely be prolific this season but I am not convinced that there will be enough touches to support this many players. If one of these players will fail to meet expectations this season, it will be Calvin Ridley. Ridley is immensely talented but he is in his first year in the league and wide receivers tend to have a sharper learning curve than other positions. With so many other Pro-bowl caliber players on the team, I don’t envision Ridley getting enough touches to surpass 1,000 yards.
10 QB - Eli Manning
You can say what you want about Eli Manning but he has had some productive seasons throughout the course of his career. But Eli has always been a volume passer, and in those seasons where he hasn’t had to shoulder the load for his offense, his passing numbers have been less than prolific. Which brings us to this season. The Giants selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The franchise realized last season that they cannot rely solely on their passing attack and hope to succeed. The Giants will go to their running game early and often this season, which should have an adverse impact on Eli’s passing numbers.
9 RB - Frank Gore
There are three certainties in life; death, taxes, and Frank Gore rushing for over 1,000 yards. Gore is one of the most consistent players in the history of the NFL. He is on the cusp of being the league’s 4th all-time rushing leader. He has accomplished these feats by consistently going over 1,000 yards every year that he has been in the league. As he has gotten older, however, his numbers have decreased. This season in Miami might be his last hurrah but don’t expect him to put up any miraculous numbers. Kenyan Drake will be the focus of the Dolphins rushing attack.
8 WR - Amari Cooper
You can officially put me in the camp of people who have absolutely no faith in Amari Cooper. It seems like I have been hearing about his immense potential for years without ever seeing it culminate on the field on a consistent basis. The Oakland Raiders claim that they have not given up on Cooper as their number one receiver but his usage in the first two weeks of the season says differently. Even without Michael Crabtree on the field, Cooper is still not lighting up the scoreboard. Do not expect this to change as the season progresses.
7 QB - Mitchell Trubisky
Most of the quarterbacks on this list who I have predicted will not surpass 4,000 yards passing this season are not secure in their jobs. Either because of injury concerns, or another qb breathing down their neck, it is doubtful that these players will start all 16 games. Such isn’t the case with our next entry. Mitchell Trubisky would have to be an absolute dumpster fire before the Bears would even consider benching him. He is viewed as the future of the quarterback position in Chicago and the team does not have a viable backup. His starting job may be secure but Trubisky isn’t yet a prolific enough passer to surpass the 4,000 yard mark.
6 RB - Joe Mixon
One of the saddest truths of the NFL is that talent does not always translate into production. This theory will certainly be tested this year with Joe Mixon and the Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon is one of the most electric players in the NFL but the rest of that Bengals offense doesn't exactly set him up to succeed. They have a decent passing attack but their offensive line is awful. If Mixon is going to do anything this season, it will have to all be because of his own immense talent - his injuries certainly won't help, though.
5 WR - Michael Crabtree
Michael Crabtree was a popular player in fantasy football drafts prior to the start of the 2018 season. He had just come off of a season where he was the number one receiver for the Raiders and he was joining a Ravens team that was desperate for receivers. After watching the Ravens in preseason and in week 1, however, I highly doubt that Crabtree will cross the 1,000-yard mark this season. There are too many receiving options on the team and Crabtree is not athletic enough to steal touches from these players.
4 QB - Sam Bradford
Through the first two games of the 2018 season, the Arizona Cardinals have struggled. A big part of those struggles has been their complete ineffectiveness on offense. David Johnson seems less explosive than he was before his injury and the passing game has been a complete mess since making the switch to Sam Bradford. Unless the Cardinal’s passing attack improves dramatically going forward, Bradford will not surpass the 4,000-yard mark this season. Even if he does improve, there is the very real possibility that he doesn’t play all 16 games. There are few other players who have the lengthy injury history that Bradford does.
3 RB - Rob Kelley
This next entry should not come as a shock to anyone. Despite being the top rusher for the Washington Redskins in 2017, and their presumptive top rusher in 2018, I don’t think that anyone is overawed Rob Kelley’s athletic talent. He is definitely a plodding runner and he will need a ton of carries to get to 1,000 yards this season. Chris Thompson is being used in a lot of different situations and it would not be surprising for Samaje Perine to also siphon carries from the premier back - and that's not even mentioning Adrian Peterson. Kelley is not talented enough to gain 1,000 yards while splitting carries with two other backs.
2 WR - Mike Williams
It was a bit of a head scratcher when the Los Angeles Chargers selected wide receiver Mike Williams with the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After 19 weeks of the NFL regular season, this selection is still a bit of a head scratcher. Not that Williams isn't an immensely talented player, it is just that the Chargers are not particularly in need of his talents. They already have Keenan Allen, who when he is healthy is one of the best wide receivers in the league. This team also throws to its tight ends and running backs a lot, which doesn’t leave very many passes to go to Williams.
1 QB - Nathan Peterman
It was recently announced that the Bills would make the switch from their week one starter, Nathan Peterman, to their first-round pick Josh Allen. After Peterman's awful week one performance, Buffalo fans are applauding this decision. But if I were them, I wouldn't get too excited. I would be willing to bet that for whatever reason, Peterman will start again at some point this season. Whether it is due to injury to Allen, or maybe just poor play by the rookie quarterback, Peterman will get another chance to stink up the field this season. If Buffalo is going to have a revolving door quarterback, there is no way that any of these players will get enough snaps to have a 4000-yard season.