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.
Ryan Mathews combined yards versus Atlanta 109.5
Brandon — UNDER. That's a pretty big number for his first game. I do think he'll get close, and a TD will put him in the top 15 RBs this week, but I have to go a bit under here.
Brad — OVER. Mathews was a monster in a full-time role down the homestretch last season averaging 117.4 total yards per game from Weeks 12-16. Provided his clavicle doesn't explode on first contact, he should exceed this number with ease. As Willis McGahee proved last week, the Falcons' defensive line nowhere near the impenetrable fortress it was a season ago.
Dalton — OVER. Maybe he won't get a full complement of snaps during his first game back, but Mathews was able to stay in condition while out with his injury, and the Falcons have struggled against RBs this year. Mathews should immediately have a positive impact.
Ben Roethlisberger passing yards at Oakland 279.5
Andy — OVER, potentially by a lot. The re-watch of OAK-MIA was...well, alarming. There's no way Oakland's corners can handle Wallace, Brown and Sanders.
Brandon — OVER. Pittsburgh has one of the worst rushing offenses in the league. I think Big Ben will be pushing this number most weeks to cover for the anemic ground game.
Brad — OVER. Big Ben could do this without the benefit of either arm. Oakland's secondary, already down starter Shawntae Spencer, is completely vulnerable. The Steelers' lack of an effective ground game only enhances the QB's chances.
Michael Bush standard league fantasy points versus St. Louis 13.5 (Non-PPR)
Brad — OVER. Bears sound guys should have Sam Elliot's voice queued for Sunday's tilt against St. Louis. It's quite possible the Soldier Field faithful hear "BUSSSSHHHHH!!!" over the loudspeakers multiple times. The Rams have allowed 4.9 yards per carry to opposing RBs. Sensing a 20-100-2 day could be in the offing.
Dalton — OVER. This is of course assuming Matt Forte is out. St. Louis has allowed an NFL-high 5.5 YPC this year, and Bush should get a ton of touches in a game the Bears will likely be playing the majority of the time with the lead. Bush is an RB1 this week.
Scott — OVER, easy. One touchdown is just about a lock, and I'm expecting two.
Larry Fitzgerald receiving yards against Philly 69.5
Brandon — UNDER. Given Arizona's QB/O-line issues, and Philly's two play-making corners (DRC, Asomugha) it'll likely be another tough outing for Fitzgerald.
Brad — UNDER. The last time Fitz tangoed with Nnamdi Asomugha and company he thumped them for 146 yards and two touchdowns. However, with Kevin Kolb under center and Nnamdi being deployed differently, the receiver underwhelms one last week. Consider this your final opportunity to buy low.
Dalton — UNDER. The Eagles' secondary has allowed an NFL-low 4.5 YPA and an anemic 35.1 QB rating so far, including a league-low 12 catches to opposing wide receivers. Fitzgerald should make for a nice buy-low opportunity after another disappointing game this week.
Jamaal Charles total yards at New Orleans 99.5
Dalton — UNDER. There's just no knowing how healthy his knee is. I like Charles on turf in a favorable matchup otherwise, but the risk is he doesn't see enough touches to break the century mark this week.
Scott — OVER, though it would be nice to have his health status now. The Saints defense is a giveaway, game is on the carpet.
Andy — UNDER. It's a nice sign that he's practicing, but Charles clearly did something to his knee in Week 2. I'm not bullish until we see him put in a full game.
RB Roundup — What unheralded rusher scores the most fantasy points this week: Pierre Thomas, Mikel Leshoure, Ben Tate or Andre Brown?
Andy — PIERRE. This should be a good week for the Saints, and they clearly need to help the defense by playing keep-away. Obviously Brown is a strong candidate to put up a big number, too.
Brandon — THOMAS. Great matchup for PT, and I think he gets a bump in playing time this week after his 13 touch, 143 yards from scrimmage effort last week. He's been so good in this offense, even on limited touches, and, at 0-2, the Saints can't afford to give ineffectual Mark Ingram a dozen-plus carries a game right now.
Brad — BROWN. The PT Bruiser is a close second, but I have to follow the volume. Without Ahmad Bradshaw in uniform and with David Wilson still banished to Tom Coughlin's doghouse, the journeyman should net upwards of 15-20 total touches in Charlotte. He totaled a rock solid 2.9 YAC/ATT working in relief versus Tampa. If he displays similar power, he's destined for 80-plus total yards and a score. Carolina has given up 5.2 YPC to RBs this year.
Tom Brady passing yards at Baltimore 259.5
Brad — UNDER. Betting against Brady is usually an unwise exercise, but the Ravens defense, despite its advanced age, continues to perform at an elite level. That combined with New England's suspect pass-blocking holds Mr. Bundchen under this number. Recall, he only totaled 239 yards versus Baltimore in last year's AFC title game.
Dalton — OVER. Even while struggling, Brady has averaged 276.0 passing yards this season. Baltimore's defense remains solid but isn't what it once was, actually ceding 8.6 YPA so far this year. Brady should easily eclipse this number as the offense gets back on track.
Scott — OVER, because I trust Brady and Belichick in a bounce-back game. The TD upside isn't here, however.
Chris Johnson rushing yards versus Detroit 49.5
Scott — OVER, because they'll probably give him 18-20 carries. I still want no part of this guy.
Brandon — UNDER. He's been under this number in 14 of his past 20 regular season games and he hasn't even sniffed the neighborhood of this total in two games this year.
Tight end pick 'em: Martellus Bennett (vs. Car), Dennis Pitta (vs. NE), Owen Daniels (at Den) or Brent Celek (at Ari)?
Dalton — I'll give the slight edge to BENNETT over Celek. Bennett is just such a beast in the red zone.
Scott — I ride with BENNETT, who is needed more in the absence of Hakeem Nicks. You can beat the Panthers down the seam.
Andy — CELEK. Philly will need him desperately this week, assuming Jeremy Maclin can't go.
Matchup mash-up — What high-profiled back with a difficult opponent cashes in: Adrian Peterson (vs. SF), Michael Turner (at SD), Darren McFadden (vs. Pit), Stevan Ridley (at Bal), Steven Jackson (at Chi), or Cedric Benson (at Sea)?
Andy — ALL-DAY. He emerged from Week 2 feeling great, so I find him difficult to bench. As great as the Niners are, I don't think they'll run away from many teams this year, so the run will be in play.
Brandon — RIDLEY. You have to defend the pass first against the Pats, which will always benefit Ridley. And Baltimore hasn't proven to be a dead end yet in '12 for RBs, as The Law Firm and LeSean McCoy have both netted 80-plus rushing yards and a TD against them.
Brad — MCFADDEN. The popular first-rounder's has performed miserably between the tackles. Oakland's newly installed zone-blocking scheme is a work in progress for all Silver and Black parties. Like death, taxes and Raiders coaching changes, Pittsburgh is an elite run D, but DMC's contributions in the pass game will separate him from the above group.
Dalton — MCFADDEN. I like the fact he's at home and catches so many passes. The latter really helps backs in difficult matchups.
Scott — It's just a matter of time before MCFADDEN figures out the zone-blocking scheme, and he obviously has the pass-catching backdrop. I'd still dial him up in Week 3.
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