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 13.
Cecil Shorts, the No. 5 wideout in scoring since Week 8, receiving yards versus Buffalo 84.5
Dalton — OVER. The Bills' defense has played better of late, and they have allowed a modest 7.3 YPA on the year, but Shorts has emerged as Jacksonville's clear WR1, and Chad Henne has been a big upgrade at QB. I actually expect the Jags to be close in this game, but it may require a lot of pass attempts with such a bad RB situation.
Scott — UNDER. I hate saying this, I feel like I'm testifying against my son. You play Shorts this week, absolutely. He has a solid chance to score again, or make a big play. But when the number gets into this territory, I can't rubber stamp an over.
Brad — OVER. The lukewarm reception Shorts has received since busting out in Week 7 is completely unwarranted. He's eclipsed this number in three of his past five and should do so again with ease against Buffalo's sketchy secondary.
Raider Rumble. Which Oakland RB will prove more valuable in Week 13, Darren McFadden or Marcel Reece?
Scott — REECE me, please. I'm always betting against Walk DMC unless there's a strong case against it. I can't trust that guy on spec.
Brad — REECE. Prior to exiting stage left with a foot injury in Week 9, McFadden resembled a Galapagos tortoise without legs. His very pedestrian 3.3 yards per carry and sorrowful after contact numbers are evidence. Right now, Reece is the best back in black. After his sterling run as the starter, I find it hard to believe DMC will regain the lion's share immediately. Expect a 60-40, Reece-McFadden split against Cleveland.
Brandon — McFADDEN This is assuming Run-DMC plays. If he does, he'll be the featured guy, but probably not by much — Reece has earned his place at the table. In my rankings I'm giving the ever-so-slight nod to McFadden.
Tony Romo passing yards against the Eagles' checked-out secondary 279.5
Brad — OVER. Mentally, Philly defenders are soaking up the sun on Waikiki Beach. They've given up. Though Cam Newton is the only passer to surpass this number versus Philly over the past five weeks, Romo, and his high-volume, sails past it.
Brandon — OVER. Romo was able to play it conservative a few weeks ago when these teams met because Dallas spotted him two defensive TDs and a special teams score. Romo probably doesn't receive that level of gift this time around and he'll have to air it out a bit more. And against this free fallin' Philly secondary, that should prove lucrative.
Andy — Is this a trap? Strangely low number. OVER. Way OVER. Romo is averaging 305.2 yards per game this year.
Bryce Brown, off a stunning starting debut, total yards at Dallas 94.5
Brandon — OVER The past four lead backs to face Dallas (Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, Michael Turner) have averaged 98 rushing yards, and each one of them topped 100 yards from scrimmage. Brown's a legit talent. He should get it done in this one.
Andy — Again, OVER. I expect Brown to be the centerpiece of Philly's attack, now that it's just a bunch of junior varsity kids. The talent was apparent on Monday night. Just please protect the ball, 34.
Dalton — OVER. Brown looked like the real deal Monday night, although there's some worry one more fumble would relegate him to the bench. But the talent is evident, and he's going to rack up a lot of touches in an offense with no Michael Vick or DeSean Jackson. Brown can be a major difference maker down the stretch.
Pick a passer, 'On the Road Again' version: Andy Dalton (at SD), Colin Kaepernick (at StL), Matt Schaub (at Ten) or Josh Freeman (at Den)
Andy — DALTON, because I think this could be a shootout. AJ Green should be good for one score, and maybe Jermaine Gresham for another.
Dalton — KAEPERNICK. He's the biggest threat with his legs among this group, and he's also been highly impressive with his arm since taking over for Alex Smith. None of the other matchups are particularly favorable other than Tennessee, but that just means Schaub won't throw much. Kaepernick's upside is very high from here on out.
Scott — DALTON gets the check mark. It's not just the A.J. Green show anymore; Jermaine Gresham is a solid tight end and Mohamed Sanu is spiking often with those oversized mitts of his. Enjoy the ride.
New Steelers starter Jonathan Dwyer total yards at Baltimore 84.5
Dalton — UNDER. I actually think Dwyer is Pittsburgh's best running back without question, but the safest bet here is to go under, since there's so much uncertainty with Ben Roethlisberger. It should be a low scoring game either way.
Scott — I need Dwyer to come through in the Stopa 5K, but nonetheless I go UNDER here. If Dwyer has a fumble or a missed assignment, who's to say the gig isn't opened up again? And we know the Ravens play their best ball at home.
Brad — UNDER. With Big Ben's odds of returning slim, I don't trust the Larry King of Quarterbacks, Charlie Batch, to keep Baltimore from creeping an extra defender in the box. The final result will be very close, but my gut says 82 total yards and a touchdown. The Ravens have allowed a mere 3.9 YPC to rushers over the past five weeks.
Jacquizz Rodgers, who is slowly overtaking the Model T, total yards versus New Orleans 69.5
Scott — OVER. The changing of the guard is not far away; I'd play Rodgers over Michael Turner in any PPR format this week.
Brad — OVER ... by one of the thin whiskers on my chiny-chin-chin. Dirk Koetter needs to park the Model T permanently. In a game that should resemble a track meet, 'Quizz logs at least 12 touches.
Brandon — OVER The Quizz Show had 62 yards on just seven touches in their last meeting, and he came up big last week against Tampa with a touchdown and 49 rushing yards on 10 carries (compared to 13/17/1 for Turner). I'm guessing Rodgers gets 15-plus touches this week, and goes over.
After his triumphant return to the lineup last week in Dallas, receiving yards for Pierre Garcon against New York 74.5
Brad — OVER. Garcon shook off the pain like a heavyweight fighter last week, blasting Big D for 93 yards and a touch. His numbers in the followup could be even better. Corey Webster, who's surrendered 17.0 yards per catch to his assignments, is known for getting burned.
Brandon — OVER He certainly didn't look like his foot was bothering him on his 59-yard TD on Thanksgiving — that was an explosive run. The Giants have given up a ton of long pass plays this year. Garcon will add to their woes in that department on Monday night.
Andy — Hmm. I'll take the UNDER on this one, though I think there's a decent chance he'll find the end zone. Let's recall that Garcon isn't fully recovered from his injury just yet. He's simply managing the pain.
Massive disappointment, Aaron Hernandez, receiving yards at Miami 59.5
Brandon — OVER To be fair, he hasn't exactly been healthy. At least he played last week, and his ankle didn't suffer a setback. Miami allows the sixth-highest yards per game rate to TEs (63.0). The Pats need more from Hernandez with Gronk out, and I think they'll get it this week.
Andy — OVER. He played 57 snaps last week in his return, clearly a positive sign. This seems like an easily attainable number. I expect the Pats to fill up the box score this week (and most weeks).
Dalton — OVER. Hernandez hasn't surpassed this number all season, so I'm probably crazy. But with no Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd being such a disappointment along with Miami having a solid run defense, I'll predict Hernandez has his best game of the season Sunday.
Which high-profiled RB blessed with an unfortunate matchup drops the biggest BOMB (Underperforms) on his owners: Marshawn Lynch (at Chi), Chris Johnson (vs. Hou) or Stevan Ridley (at Mia)?
Andy — RIDLEY. There's too great a threat that other New England backs will poach touches.
Dalton — LYNCH. Chris Johnson has averaged 137.2 yards from scrimmage since Week 5, while New England is a big favorite over Miami, which helps Stevan Ridley. Meanwhile, the Bears have allowed the third fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Scott — JOHNSON seems to fit the Gap Band better than the other mates. He's a boom-or-bust fellow, and the Texans have allowed a scant two rushing touchdowns all year.
Brad — CJ2LAME. The last time he faced Houston he cranked out 157 total yards. Expect the Texans to learn from their mistakes. Throw in uncertainty surrounding a new offensive coordinator and the fact Houston has conceded the fewest fantasy points to RBs this year, and Johnson finishes behind Lynch/Ridley.
Brandon — RIDLEY I have these guys ranked back-to-back-to-back, so there's only a slight discrepancy between them. But Ridley gets no love in the passing game and we're seeing Shane Vereen encroach on his backfield touches (combined 26 touches in the past two weeks).
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