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Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 3.
No passer has surpassed 20 standard fantasy points in Seattle in 14 straight games. With that in mind, Peyton Manning fantasy points at the Left Coast Link 19.9.
Scott – UNDER. I don't want to hear any of the "but he's Peyton Manning" arguments. Our game is about numbers, not names, and Seattle's defense is ridiculous at home. Yes, Phil Rivers solved this unit last week (helped by the ridiculous Antonio Gates). But remember what Aaron Rodgers did in Seattle on opening night, and what teams usually do in this hornet's nest. Welcome to the Boomtown.
Andy – UNDER, slightly. I think Manning will deliver individual numbers that look something like his Super Bowl performance (but without the lopsided final score), finishing in the 250-280 yard range, with either one or two scores and two turnovers. Against the Seahawks defense, in their building, that's a heckuva day.
Brandon – UNDER. That's not an easy O/U number to top. Nick Foles scored 19.9 fantasy points in Week 1 with a line of 322 passing yards, two TD passes and one interception. At Seattle, with the Seahawks licking their wounds after a loss in San Diego, I don't expect Manning to be able to do better than that Foles line.
Sticking with Denver, freshly reinstated slot machine Wes Welker receptions in his return 5.5
Andy – UNDER. I'll pencil him in for five, but I'm not going to bet on a heavy-usage game in his 2014 debut. We all know how difficult the environment and coverage are going to be.
Brandon – UNDER. Welker was under this line in six of his 13 regular-season games last season, so it's almost a coin flip bet. But this is his first game of the year, and I doubt he'll emerge in mid-season form out of the gates.
Dalton – UNDER. Welker averaged 5.6 catches per game last season, is coming off yet another concussion and returned to practice for the first time in weeks after getting cleared from his PED suspension. He’s also going against the NFL’s best secondary in the league’s toughest venue in Seattle.
The 'Butter Squirrel,' Darren Sproles, who's been spectacular in the first two weeks ranking only behind DeMarco Murray in points per game, standard league (non-PPR) fantasy points versus Washington 9.9.
Brandon – OVER. Philly is second in the league in offensive snaps, so there's plenty of workload to be passed around. And employing Sproles in the same backfield as LeSean McCoy is genius as it makes it hard for defenses to key on Sproles. Philly tires out defenses, and then unleashes Sproles - he has 173 of his 263 YFS in the second half.
Dalton – UNDER. The non-PPR issue is huge here. There’s no question Sproles has looked terrific so far this season, but he’s done so while averaging just 11.0 touches-per-game and now faces a Washington defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this year, including just four receptions for 26 receiving yards.
Brad – UNDER. Sproles' fantasy points per snap (0.57) isn't of this world, a stat that's completely unsustainable. He should again log 11-13 touches, but Washington's much improved defense, which has limited opposing rushers to a mere 3.47 yards per touch, bottles him up.
Dalton – OVER. Floyd didn’t average much more than this during last season’s breakout campaign (65.1), and he caught just 1-of-6 targets for 19 yards last week with Drew Stanton at the helm. But San Francisco has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts (while defending the run well) over two weeks, and I’m a big believer in Floyd’s talent.
Brad – UNDER. With Carson Palmer again likely on the sidelines, Drew Stanton is expected to man the controls in a tough matchup versus San Fran. Just 7-for-27 on pass plays beyond 20 yards in his career, Stanton chucks butterflies downfield. Bank on another quiet Sunday for the supposed 'breakout' wide receiver.
Scott – UNDER. Floyd heads to the restricted list (or the WR3/flex list) until Palmer is back and hale again. Stanton ruins the party for all of us.
Travis Kelce, who continues to see his role grow in a Chiefs offense desperate for reliable downfield weapons, receiving yards in Miami 54.5.
Andy – OVER, slightly. If they just let him play roughly 40-45 percent of the snaps, that could be enough. I keep waiting for Alex Smith and Kelce to connect on a field-flipping seam route, like Alex and Vernon used to do. The Chiefs receiving corps is not exactly littered with talent; Kelce has a clear opportunity to stand out.
Brandon – UNDER. Miami held Gronk to 40 yards and all other tight ends it has faced to 27 yards or less. And assuming Jamaal Charles doesn't play, that frees up the defense to focus a little more on Kelce - Davis is a serviceable receiver, but he doesn't present the same problems as Charles does in the passing game.
Dalton – UNDER. Don’t get me wrong, as I love Kelce’s talent. I also hope I’m wrong, as I have him on a couple of my teams. But asking him to maintain his current 11.8 yards-per-target is simply unreasonable, so until there’s an assurance of more volume (16 other tight ends have been given more looks so far), I’m betting the under here.
Pigskin pick ‘em. What newfound starter, excluding Knile Davis who we consensusly ranked top-10 this week, will score the most points in Week 3: Donald Brown (at Buf), Lamar Miller (vs. KC) or Matt Asiata (at NO)?
Brad – MILLER. The elevated rusher may lose some short yardage work to Damien Williams and/or Daniel Thomas, but he should shoulder at least 15-18 touches against a KC D that's surrendered 5.25 yards per carry to RBs thus far. A final line in range of 80-90 total yards with a touchdown is in my fearless forecast.
Andy – I'll say MILLER, because there's nothing intimidating about his matchup. I don't think there's much chance that KC will roll up a huge point total on Miami, taking away the run. I'll be surprised if Miller doesn't see 16-plus touches. I like Brown as well (and his upcoming matchups are mostly fantastic), but Miller gets the nod this week.
Scott – I hate when we all agree, but it's MILLER time. Home game, friendly opponent, improved offensive line, legitimate OC calling the plays (finally), Moreno out of the way. Everything's coming up Lamar.
Pick a passer: Tony Romo (at StL) or Tom Brady (vs. Oak)?
Brandon – ROMO. The Patriots ran 35 times in a Week 2 drubbing of Minnesota and I don't think New England is going to havce to change things up at all against an Oakland defense that has allowed a league-high 363 rushing yards to the RB position. I don't see huge upside for Romo this week, either, but I think his matchup is more likely to be a close game, which should keep the pass in constant play.
Dalton – BRADY. Both are off to slow starts, although Brady especially, as he has a pathetic 5.2 YPA. Both also have favorable matchups Sunday, especially against the run, as New England gets a Raiders’ defense that has yielded the third-most fantasy points to opposing RBs, while Dallas faces a St. Louis front seven that has allowed a whopping 5.5 YPC. Ultimately, I’m siding with the Cowboys sticking to their strong running game, while Brady bounces back playing his first home game of the year.
Brad – ROMO. Because of Dallas' defensive transgressions, I could see St. Louis hanging around, forcing Romo to the air often. If he and Dez are on the same page as last week, 250-plus yards and two TDs are achievable. As mentioned previously, Brady's managerial role will continue this week versus Oakland, limiting his fantasy scoring chances.
Sammy Watkins, off a breakout Week 2 performance, receiving yards in the followup versus San Diego 74.5?
Dalton – OVER. He looked really good Sunday. Like a (not-so-distant) future star. Of course, there’s the E.J. Manuel worry, but San Diego hasn’t exactly shut down opposing wide receivers this year (only six teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing WRs).
Brad – OVER. San Diego corners Shareece Wright, Jason Verett and Brandon Flowers have each allowed a QB rating over 100.0 in the early going. Watkins' size/speed combo will be problematic for the underachieving, undersized unit.
Scott – UNDER, though I still want to play him for the touchdown upside. I guess I don't want to fully trust Buffalo's game planners and offensive schemers until we see one more hit. But I wrote plenty of Watkins propaganda over here.
Swiss Army Knife Showdown. Pick one: Cordarelle Patterson (at NO), Brandin Cooks (vs. Min) and Percy Harvin (vs. Den).
Brad – COOKS. Forget last week's snooze fest, the rookie rebounds in a major way on the Superdome fast-track. In a game I fully expect the Saints to unleash hell, he's a strong candidate for 80-90 combined yards and a score.
Scott – COOKS me. The Saints are going for 40-plus this week, unleashing hell and fury back in the Dome. Get a piece of this (even if it means streaming the defense - hello, Matt Cassel).
Andy – HARVIN, please. You have to toss out last week's individual numbers for Seattle, because the team possessed the football for less than 18 minutes. You'll see a heavy dose of Harvin in a variety of roles this week.
Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 3.
Scott – 1) Carolina -3.5, 2) Cowboys/Rams under 45, 3) Colts/Jags under 46, 4) Broncos/Seahawks under 49, 5) Bears/Jets over 45.5. Bonus: U2's new record, under 1.5 listens.
Andy – 1) Den (+4.5) at Sea, 2) Hou (-2) at NYG, 3) Det (-2.5) vs. GB, 4) Cle (+2) vs. Bal, 5) Dal (-1.5) at STL
Brandon – 1) Ari (+3) vs. SF 2) NO (-9.5) vs. MIN 3) GB (+2.5) at DET 4) DEN/SEA (49 OVER) 5) BUF (-1) vs. SDG
Dalton – 1) SF (-3) at Ari 2) WAS (+6.5) at Phi 3) K.C. (+4) at Mia 4) NYG (+2) vs. Hou 5) CIN (-7) vs. Ten
Brad – 1) NO/Min (51 OVER), 2) Hou (-2) at NYG, 3) Arizona (+3) vs. SF), 4) Car (-3) vs. Pit, 5) Den (+4.5) at Sea
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