Forte should flourish in Marc Trestman's up-tempo offense (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.
Supremely versatile rusher Matt Forte, whose single-season career high in receptions is 64, total catches in Trestman's first year calling the shots 59.5
Dalton – OVER. Forte has averaged 53.4 catches over his career, and that includes him missing five games over the past two seasons. Marc Trestman plans on him being highly active in the passing game too, maybe more so than ever. The only way Forte goes under here is because of injuries.
Scott – OVER, perhaps by a silly amount. Trestman loves to use his backs in the passing game (we've seen it in the NFL and the CFL). Look what he did for Charlie Garner in 2002.
Brad – OVER. In terms of skill set, Forte is futon flexible. The Bears' centerpiece can do it all. Trestman will take advantage of what the defense gives him, likely shifting Forte around to create mismatches. In what should be a pass-first scheme, the RB will not only exceed the number above, he obliterates it. Think 70-75 receptions.
Kenny Britt, oddly obeying the law this offseason, receiving yards this fall 999.5
Scott – UNDER. I need to see him straighten up and fly right before I take anything on spec here.
Brad – UNDER. It's beyond strange, Britt, a law-enforcement magnet, hasn't been cuffed once this offseason. Then again, the summer is still fairly young. The threat of suspension, injury and ineptitude of Jake Locker are major turn-offs. When focused and upright, he's extremely talented, but in what will be a conservative system, Britt won't be a fantasy hit.
Brandon – UNDER. Nothing about Britt's career, or Jake Locker's career, for that matter, to this point inspires the kind of confidence to take the over here.
Because the pool of uninjured, possibly non-incarcerated TEs is shrinking rapidly, Dennis Pitta, who's reportedly become Joe Flacco's 'default' receiver in minicamp, final fantasy rank among tight ends 5.5 (In other words, will he be a top-5 TE?)
Brad – UNDER. After Jimmy Graham, Pitta might be the next best thing at tight end. Without Anquan Boldin in the picture, his on-field relationship with Flacco should continue to blossom. Expect Pitta to build off his strong finish (Scored a TD in three of his final four games last year), finishing in range of 75-800-9. He's a bargain buy at his current 83.2 ADP.
Brandon – UNDER. Including the postseason, he had eight touchdowns in his final 11 games of '12. And with the team losing Anquan Boldin, his role as a chain mover should only expand.
Dalton – OVER. I imagine I'll be in the minority here, and it's not like I'm down on Pitta, who should benefit from Anquan Boldin's departure. But there's a reasonable argument Graham, Gronkowski, Witten, Davis, Gonzalez, Olsen and Rudolph enter 2013 favorites to finish ahead of him. And Hernandez may very well not be imprisoned, and there's always a few players who surprise and come out of nowhere. In other words, I give Pitta slightly worse than 50/50 odds of finishing as a top-five fantasy tight end.
Still bumping in Baltimore, Noted earlier this week by Ravens.com, Bernard Pierce is expected to slice a sizable chunk off Ray Rice's workload. Average touches per game for the sophomore back 11.5
Brandon – UNDER. I figure Pierce will average in the 10-12 touch range. But he's not likely to have much of an impact on passing downs, and that limits his workload upside.
Dalton – OVER. Pierce averaged 10.3 touches over the final 12 games last season (including the playoffs), and that was with Ray Rice staying fully healthy (although he did rest for most of Week 17). Pierce is highly talented and should easily surpass this number if he stays healthy. Rice is still worth a pick around No. 10, but I wouldn't go much higher than that.
Scott – UNDER. Teams always sing this happy dance in the offseason, but when push comes to shove, it's funny how they rely on the main backs.
Despite his advanced age and high odometer reading, Steven Jackson is finally in a favorable environment. Total touchdowns this season for the battering ram 12.5
Dalton – UNDER. Jackson has averaged 5.7 touchdowns over the past six seasons, and while he's undoubtedly improving his situation going from St. Louis to Atlanta, he's never been a great goal-line runner and is entering this season with a whopping 2,395 career carries.
Scott – I'll go UNDER on that, but not by a lot - he should be around 10 scores. Jackson has only missed two games in four years (he's wrongly considered a major injury risk) and the Falcons will feed him plenty of cheapies around the goal. The only downside: I'm not a big fan of the offensive line here.
Brad – OVER. Amazingly, SJ39 has crossed the chalk more than 10 times in a single-season only once. But no longer trapped in St. Louis' offensive quagmire, he should flourish in Atlanta. If human slug Michael Turner can plod his way to 10 scores in the Falcons' offense, the still spry veteran should easily splash six 13-plus times.
Constantly dissed Colston hopes to silence critics once again (USAT)
Marques Colston, a popular 'bust' selection on pundit preseason lists, receiving yards 1,099.5
Brad – OVER. Every year 'experts' predict a Colston demise. And every year he proves them wrong. Maybe the pundit community is still bitter about his TE eligibility from 2006. In the league's most explosive passing offense, another 80-1150-9 campaign is in the cards for numero doce.
Brandon – OVER. Not sure why he's a popular bust pick – nothing ever changes with Colston. That said, he's finished right around this number in six of his seven seasons, going slightly over in three and slightly under in three. I'll say he tips the balance to the plus side this year, as he's still the clear go-to wide receiver for the league's most prolific passing offense.
Dalton – UNDER. For whatever reason, Colston is someone who never ends up on any of my fantasy teams. He's now on the wrong side of 30 and barely surpassed this number last year while playing in all 16 games. I'd actually happily take this prop.
Given the numerous uncertainties at tight end/wide receiver for the Patriots, Tom Brady total touchdowns in 2013 30.5
Dalton – OVER. Brady could be losing an unprecedented amount of WR/TE production from his previous year, but then again, Amendola and Gronkowski could play more than the outlook currently appears. But more importantly, Brady is an inner-circle Hall of Famer playing in a terrific offensive system, and quarterbacks make wide receivers far more than vice versa. Brady has averaged 39.0 touchdowns over the past three seasons, and that's including playing for a team that attempted the second most rushing attempts in the NFL last year. This is an easy "over" for me.
Scott – UNDER. Obviously Brady can make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what, but they've lost too many resources. Additionally, there's a strong stable of running backs here, three very talented options.
Brad – UNDER. Excluding 2008, Brady ranked outside the top-6 among QBs in per game average only once over the past five years. However, the possible long-term absences of Gronk combined with Hernandez's release and Amendola's health concerns paints a bleak picture for Brady. The man is a magician – he's like Scott Bakula in 'Necessary Roughness' – but he doesn't have enough tricks up his sleeve to pull off the proposed number. With that in mind, it's entirely conceivable Stevan Ridley becomes the focus of the Patriot's offense. Bank on 28-30 total TDs.
Brandon – BRYCE. Given Chip Kelly's history in the running game (he ran one of the most run-heavy offenses in NCAA at Oregon), and his desire for a break-neck paced no-huddle offense, Bryce is going to be needed often to give an exhausted LeSean McCoy a break.
Dalton – BRYCE. But this was basically a coin flip. I worry about Andre's ability to stay healthy, and while Bryce struggled with fumbles last year and had a few duds at the end, he also looked fantastic at times and will now be playing in what might amount to the most extreme run-heavy system in the NFL under Chip Kelly.
Scott – Give me ANDRE THE GIANT, in part because Bryce Brown can't be trusted to hold onto the football. The Eagle is also working behind a much better starter.
At his current price point (ADP: 83.5, QB12) is Tony Romo OVERRATED or UNDERRATED?
Dalton – UNDERRATED. He threw for the ninth-most yards in NFL history last season and will be in a ton of shootouts in a high-powered NFC East. Dez Bryant has emerged as the second most talented WR in the NFL, and what if Miles Austin actually stays healthy? If you can really draft Romo with the 83rd pick, it's truly insane to take a QB early.
Scott – A little UNDERRATED, given the video game mode Dez Bryant flashed in the second half of 2012.
Brad – UNDERRATED. The last time Tony Romo didn't finish inside the QB top-10 in per game average (2006), Brett Favre was still chucking passes for the Green Bay Packers. Love or hate him, the man is a consistency king. Equipped with several viable weapons and with Bill Callahan now calling the shots on offense, he should easily turn a profit at his current price point.
Who will be the bigger sophomore sensation: Lamar Miller or David Wilson?
Scott – MILLER has a clearer path to touches and a better body for week-in, week-out running between the tackles.
Brad – MILLER. This is no contest. Miller is the unrivaled starter in a rising offense. Most encouraging, he could soon sprint down paths carved by the league's best blocking back, Vonta Leach. His top-10 potential is palpable. No wonder the bandwagon is growing.
Brandon – MILLER. A lot of people don't realize that Miami was top 10 in fantasy backfield production last season. And, with Reggie Bush gone and Daniel Thomas still struggling with being Daniel Thomas, Miller, who has continually drawn raves this offseason, should own the real estate behind QB Ryan Tannehill.
Dalton – WILSON. But this is a true toss up (and a great question). I don't feel especially strongly either way. Wilson is the better raw talent, but Miller is the safer bet for more touches (at least as of now).
Want more pigskin picks? Tune into to 'The Fantasy Freak Show' this Friday at 8 PM ET, 5 PM PT on Yahoo! Sports Radio
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Matt Forte
- Dennis Pitta
- Marc Trestman
- Anquan Boldin
- Bernard Pierce
- Marques Colston
- Kenny Britt