Wilson's 84-yard TD dash against the Jets catapulted his ADP. (USAT)
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 this week.
David Wilson's torching of the hapless Jets Saturday gave owners a glimpse of a star-in-the-making. Some, including the Noise, have described him as the Chris Johnson of the NFC, a hit or miss scorer. Total touchdowns for New York's G this season 8.5
Dalton – UNDER. I'm actually a big fan of Wilson and expect him to surpass 1,250 yards from scrimmage, but 6-8 touchdowns are a much safer bet than more. But this is an explosive back primed for a breakout.
Scott – UNDER. Basically I'm singing the same song that Dalton is - I'll buy into the Wilson breakout, but I'm not going to be aggressive with the touchdown projection. His scores will usually have to come from distance, and that's a tricky thing to rely on.
Brandon – UNDER. The yards from scrimmage should be healthy, but I'm under no delusions that Wilson will steal goal line touches away from Andre Brown, who was straight cash money from point blank range last season - 12 goal line rush attempts, resulting in eight touchdowns.
Kenbrell Thompkins, the apple of Tom Brady's eye against the Lions (12-8-116), might be having the most value-impacting preseason of any player. Total receptions for the youngster in his inaugural campaign 59.5
Scott – UNDER. Still a skeptic here; after all this is a rookie, undrafted no less, tied to an offense known for spreading things out. Pass me those noise-cancelling headphones, the buzz is getting too loud for me.
Brandon – OVER. I don't think he'll go over by much, but you figure that there'll be around 400 receptions distributed around between Pats skill position players, and Thompkins should figure heavily into that mix. To go over, he needs to average only 3.75 catches per game, which I think he can do.
Andy – OVER, probably comfortably. At this point, it's not a stretch to think he can approach Brandon Lloyd's 2012 production (74-911-4). I was a skeptic, but the numbers keep rolling in.
It's shocking Matthew Stafford kept arm in socket last year after setting an NFL record for attempts in a season (727). Still, his fantasy effort was soured by misfires and close calls, evident in his 20 passing TDs. Aerial strikes in the followup 31.5
Brandon – UNDER. I've operated this preseason with the expectation that Stafford will finish halfway between his TD pass totals of the past two seasons, which puts my projection at 30.5. I expect Stafford to rebound nicely in '13, especially with the addition of Reggie Bush, but 32-plus TDs is a very big number, one that typically only 3-4 QBs reach, if you look at the breakdown over the past decade.
Andy – This is a tough number ... almost too close to call. I'm gonna go UNDER, but by perhaps only one or two, assuming good health. We're basically requiring Stafford to play 15-16 games (and be great) if he's going to top 30 TDs; only five QBs got there in 2012.
Brad – OVER. Stafford was repeatedly dealt seven-deuce off-suit last year. Megatron was tackled a ridiculous amount of times inside the five, end-zone connections were often dropped and numerous TDs were called back. Considering he's just a year removed from a 41-TD campaign and after throwing 1,390 passes the past two years, his luck is bound to change. Roughly 33-36 TDs are attainable.
Once again Jermichael Finley is having the greatest training camp of any player in the history of professional football. Though completely unreliable a season ago scoring just two touchdowns, he remains high on owner wishlists. TDs for the TE this year 6.5
Andy – OVER, please. Finley caught a career-high 61 balls last season, which we used to consider decent for a tight end. I challenge you to find anyone affiliated with Green Bay who's had a negative word to say about Finley's camp. With Jennings gone and Jordy gimpy, I'm expecting a nice year from Jermichael.
Brad – UNDER. If you read the propaganda coming out of Green Bay, Finley is about to make Jimmy Graham completely obsolete. The hype is typical. Every year it seems, the tight end is destined to shatter records, heal the sick and save the world. However, in five years he's eclipsed the above number once. With Jordy Nelson likely for Week 1 and Eddie Lacy now spearheading a revamped ground game, he's bound to finish in the 4-6 range.
Dalton – OVER. I'm aware I may end up looking like a sucker for buying into Finley's latest hype, but the tight end surpassed this number two years ago, and that was before the light bulb supposedly went on. At 6-5, 250, he certainly has the size to be utilized more inside the red zone.
The Cardinals offensive line suffered a catastrophic blow over the weekend losing prized rookie Jonathan Cooper to a broken leg. Keeping his loss in mind, Rashard Mendenhall total yards this season 1099.5
Brad – OVER. Mendy's knee "loosening" is a bit unnerving and the loss of Cooper smarts, but if he can hold up over at least 13 games, he should surpass the 1,100 total yard mark. Alphonso Smith and Stepfan Taylor pose little threat. Expect right around 16-19 touches per game for the veteran.
Dalton – UNDER. I know he projects as the clear feature back in Arizona, but I can't see him holding up physically, and the sledding will be tough running behind that offensive line and in that division full of strong defensive teams.
Scott – UNDER. I've seen Mendenhall break too many times in the past, and this offensive line is once again a joke with the Cooper loss.
Man, JaMarcus Russell dropped some serious lbs. (USAT)
Terrelle Pryor, who could sew up the Raiders starting QB gig with a strong effort Thursday against Seattle, combined passing/rushing yards this season 2,999.5
Dalton – UNDER. That sounds about right if he can play the whole season, but any QB behind Oakland's offensive line is going to have serious trouble staying healthy. It's a pretty ugly situation.
Scott – UNDER is the call because I expect Matt Flynn to get some action, too. But on a per-game basis, the run-happy Pryor has a good chance to be a steady QB2. It's not going to be pretty, but trust the algebra. Rushing production really pays the bills.
Brandon – UNDER. It's going to be ugly in Oakland this season, and when a team is down in the dumps, the QB usually pays the price. So, to expect Pryor to play a full season and, say, rush for 600 yards and throw for another 2,400 (average of 150 per game) is a bit presumptuous given the sorry state of the Raiders. Matt Flynn will likely figure into the mix, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a full-blown QB carousel here.
Brad – OVER. Dalton, Scott, Brandon, you guys do realize the Raiders will be playing from behind in every game this year. Plus the offensive line is in shambles, meaning Pryor will break contain often. Garbage. Time. All-Star. #TeamHuevos
With Arian Foster in street clothes, Ben Tate, arguably the most sought after handcuff in drafts this year, ran roughshod over the Saints, collecting 74 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Average touches per game this year for the backup 13.5
Scott – I'm going OVER on any Tate proud because I see countless red flags on Foster 2013. Workload, declining efficiency, summer aches and pains, there's much to worry about.
Brandon – UNDER. If Foster is healthy, Tate's not going to make this number - he'd have to finish with 224-plus touches over a 16 games to eclipse this mark. And I think Foster is going to be just fine. Besides, Tate's hardly an iron man, as he's flirted with the questionable tag often in his short career.
Andy – UNDER. And I really like Tate. But he doesn't get many targets in the passing game, so that's not a path to touches for him. The only way he averages better than this number is if Foster misses multiple games, and Tate gives us a few 20-25 carry lines.
Outside Tate, which handcuff do you value highest: Bernard Pierce, Christine Michael or Bryce Brown?
Brandon – PIERCE. I think Michael has the most upside if he were to ascend to a lead role because of an injury to Beast-Mode, but Pierce is best positioned given each player's current situation. Baltimore always carves out 100-130 carries for other RBs besides Ray Rice, and they like Pierce more than what they've had backing up Rice in the past, so it wouldn't be surprising if Pierce totes it 140-150 times in concert with Rice. That's flex appeal.
Andy – Well, it's complicated. I can't guarantee that MICHAEL will have the same week-to-week value as Brown and Pierce, while Lynch is operating at full capacity. But if for some reason Beast Mode were to malfunction, I just have zero doubt that Michael could be a star. So he's my guy. (Also, no Helu? No Bush? No Joique?)
Brad – MICHAEL. As stated before, the ex-Aggie is one Marshawn Skittles disaster away from becoming a top-15 RB. His stout build (5-foot-10, 220-pounds), unfazed attitude and quick feet are admirable traits. Pound-for-pound he might just be the most talented rusher in this year's rookie class.
Josh Gordon, likely Brandon Weeden's weapon of choice once he serves a two-game suspension, receiving yards per game this fall 74.5
Andy – OVER, slightly. I like that it's a per-game number, so I don't have to sweat injuries. This kid gave us a few wow moments last year, and his targets should trend up in year two.
Brad – OVER. During a nine-game stretch (Weeks 5-14) last year, Gordon averaged just shy of the proposed number (71.0 YPG). With a year under his belt and likely the primary option in an improved offense, he's definitely capable of racking 75 yards per game. Going as a back-end WR3, he could easily finish as a mid-level WR2.
Dalton – OVER. It's projecting a lot of growth, but Gordon has the talent to do it, especially in Norv Turner's vertical system. Plus, this metric won't hurt him if he gets suspended again. Seriously, Gordon is going to be plenty useful in fantasy leagues after he returns in Week 3.
Fill in the Blank. Lamar Miller, who the Miami Herald believes has multiple legs up on the RB competition on South Beach, racks _______ yards from scrimmage, scores _______ total touchdowns and finishes ______ in fantasy points per game among RBs in PPR formats.
Brad – 1,388 yards from scrimmage, 9 total TDs, No. 14
Dalton – 1,400 yards from scrimmage, 7 total TDs, No. 14
Scott – 1,319 yards from scrimmage, 7 total TDs, No. 18.
Brandon – 1,250 yards from scrimmage, 7 total TDs, No. 19
Andy – 1,299 yards from scrimmage and 6 total TDs. Those numbers are consistent with Reggie's work. Let's not overrate the offense too much. (I will not rank him for PPR, because I do not endorse PPR.)
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