Touchdown totals can be pretty fluky in football (ask any Fantasy Football owner). Some years you get to double-digits and sometimes you can only score a handful of times. Who will lead the league in touchdowns (among non-QB’s) this season?
Here are the players to hit twelve or more touchdowns in 2013.
- Jamaal Charles- 19
- Jimmy Graham-16
- Marshawn Lynch- 14
- Demaryius Thomas- 14
- Dez Bryant- 13
- Vernon Davis- 13
- Knowshon Moreno- 13
- Matt Forte- 12
- Calvin Johnson- 12
- Brandon Marshall- 12
- Julius Thomas- 12
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was both lucky and good as he led the league in touchdowns (among non-QBs). He scored 12 rushing touchdowns and seven receiving touchdowns.
Next on the list is “Superstar” Jimmy Graham, who scored a whopping 16 receiving touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints tight end (or pass catcher as he would say).
Then there is a bit of a drop-off.
Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch and the first wide receiver Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas both are in the next tier.
Then come a variety of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends to round out the top-11 who “bottom out” at 12 touchdowns on the season.
Let’s take a look at these contenders and a couple of dark horses, to see who will score the most touchdowns in 2014.
Charles had a few big games and a small dry spell in the middle of the season, touchdown-wise. Next year, he could easily be less boom-or-bust and more consistent for a touchdown total of 15.
Graham was not at his best as he was banged-up throughout the season. He could potentially improve his touchdown total by one to 17 by season’s end.
49ers tight end Vernon Davis will probably see a regression as number one wide receiver Michael Crabtree is now healthy, and therefore Davis’ touchdowns will go down a bit. He’ll end up with 11.
Lynch has used up a ton of tread on his tires as it were. He had 301 carries last season, which was second in the league behind LeSean McCoy. He’s been carrying a heavy load since he came to Seattle and it could catch up with him. He’ll regress to 12 touchdowns.
Demaryius Thomas is the number one option for one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Peyton Manning. Of course, Manning’s touchdown total will regress from the ridiculous NFL-record 55 touchdown season. That could trickle down to Thomas, causing him to lose a few touchdowns. However, I think Wes Welker doesn’t stay healthy, boosting Thomas to 15 TDs.
The same logic applies to Broncos’ tight end Julius Thomas. He’ll probably end up at 13 touchdowns next season.
In terms of Bryant, I’m sensing a big year, and predicting about 14 touchdowns. Opposite Bryant, Terrance Williams will have a breakout year, taking defensive pressure and attention away from Bryant, enabling him to take advantage of single-coverage.
Matt Forte as the running back for the Chicago Bears will have a monster year in 2014. With two elite wide receivers to keep defenses from stacking the box, he’ll be able to easily run between the tackles and score a bunch of touchdowns. He’ll finish with 14.
Brandon Marshall is one of those Bears wideouts. He’ll have about the same year as in 2013. Twelve TDs for Marshall like last year sounds about right.
Calvin “Megatron” Johnson scored 12 TDs while banged up, missing a few games. With Golden Tate as the competent wideout opposite Johnson the Lions have been desperately searching for, Johnson won’t be swarmed on nearly every play. Maybe he’ll be able to break free for touchdowns more frequently. He could increase his total to 14 in 2014.
Knowshon Moreno was the Broncos main running back last year. In that pass-heavy offense, Moreno had an easy job of carrying the ball. Now that job goes to Montee Ball, with Moreno going to the Miami Dolphins. Ball is younger with a higher ceiling than Moreno and could be a dark horse in the TD race. If everything goes right, Ball could get lucky and score in the realm of 17 touchdowns.
Another dark horse to lead the non-quarterbacks in touchdowns is Rob Gronkowski. He’s huge, he’s fast, he’s good. As long as he can stay healthy, he can easily take the crown.
I’m leaning toward Jimmy Graham. He just got paid and will go out there and produce like it. With the addition of rookie wideout Brandin Cooks to take pressure away down the field, Graham will be more open.