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 entering the mock draft season.
Now ex-Saint Chris Ivory, traded from New Orleans to the New York Jets in exchange for a fourth-round pick, rushing yards this fall in the Big Apple 1,099.5
Brandon – UNDER. I like Ivory's motor, but I also like Mike Goodson, who has been productive when healthy. And Bilal Powell was at least serviceable working in tandem with Shonn Greene last season. I expect we'll see a rotation of these guys, something that Ivory should be very used to coming from New Orleans.
Andy – UNDER. I would have struggled with this one if the number was, say, 849.5 rushing yards, but 1,099.5 seems crazy. To approach this total, Ivory would need to play all 16 games, plus he'd need to dominate the backfield touches, leaving little for Mike Goodson. I think we've set this line at something close to Ivory's ceiling.
Scott – I want to say over, I really do. Ivory brings a 5.4 career YPC to the mix and the Jets, largely to their detriment, can't quit the ground and pound motif. But Ivory would have to shove Mike Goodson completely out of the way to get into the 1100s, and I wonder how much of his New Orleans effectiveness was built on context (running late in games, and against defenses designed to stop an elite passing attack). UNDER is the only reasonable ticket.
Sam Bradford, who was gifted Jared Cook via free agency and Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in the draft, passing touchdowns this upcoming season 26.5
Andy – UNDER. I like Bradford a fair amount, plus I like what the Rams did on draft day. (You can have Jared Cook, though. What a dog. Worst hype-to-stats ratio in fantasy history.) But in each of the past two seasons, only eight quarterbacks have topped 26 TD passes. This number is no layup, and St. Louis' offense is full of new pieces.
Scott – I love that the Rams are giving Bradford a chance, but I look at the division and have to say UNDER. The Niners and Seahawks have elite defenses, and the Cardinals are pretty nasty, too. And heck, when has Jared Cook ever justified his pre-season hype?
Dalton – UNDER. I can see the case for Bradford continuing to improve, but he'd have to stay fully healthy to beat this mark, and this is a QB who got just 6.7 YPA last year. He'd need to show major strides to approach 30 passing TDs. Facing the Niners, Seahawks and Cardinals defenses six times sure doesn't help either.
Presumed starter in Pittsburgh Le'Veon Bell final fantasy rank among RBs in standard scoring leagues 15.5 (Will he be a top-15 RB?)
Scott – Have to shade OVER here. I don't like the offensive line and the backfield still has some other reasonable options.
Dalton – OVER (as in, no he won't be a top-15 RB). The Steelers ranked second to last in run blocking according to Pro Football Focus last year, and Bell isn't exactly an elite prospect. He's the obvious favorite to lead the team in touches, but Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have both shown flashes at times when healthy.
Brad – UNDER. Bell is a runaway armored bank truck, a blend of Jerome Bettis and Steven Jackson. The workhorse is easily the best RB currently on the Steelers roster and should easily tote 20 touches per game in Todd Haley's offense. Pittsburgh's O-line is rickety, but Bell's YAC and receiving abilities should tuck him inside the RB top-15.
Pick a Packer (For PPR): Eddie Lacy or Johnathan Franklin?
Dalton – FRANKLIN. He's the superior pass catcher, so the PPR angle here matters greatly. Moreover, many draft pundits had Franklin ahead of Lacy on their boards outright, and there's legit concern about the latter's health (his big toe has been "fused"). But bottom line, Green Bay drafting both really hurts the fantasy value of each back.
Brad – FRANKLIN. A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report Sunday revealed concerns over Lacy's toe/foot explained why the Steelers refused to touch him, a reason other teams likely circumvented the rusher. I'm convinced Franklin is not only the better fit for Green Bay's zone-blocking scheme, but also the better all-around back. If he keeps Lacy at arm's reach, he could finish inside the RB top-24 in PPR formats.
Brandon – LACY. The Alabama bulldozer should get a much bigger chunk of the carries, including the goal line carries, and he's got at least some promise as a receiver – and he's also decent in pass pro – so it's not like Franklin will be an automatic substitution on every passing down situation.
Number of touches Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will net per game 13.5
Brandon – UNDER. Bernard is my favorite RB in this class, but I don't see him going over this number as a change-of-pace complement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who averaged 20 touches a year ago. I expect 10-12 touches with return work thrown in for the Tar Heel rookie.
Andy – UNDER. So many things can derail our plans for the best rookie backs. I really like Bernard, so I don't think he'll miss this number by much. It's the right neighborhood. Bernard caught 92 balls in his two collegiate seasons; he definitely gets a value bump in PPR.
Scott – Given that he's 5-10, 205 and will play more as a change-of-pace and satellite player, I have to shade UNDER. But I'm still excited to watch Bernard and draft Bernard, especially in PPR formats.
Fill in the blank: E.J. Manuel starts Week _____ and from that point on throws for ________ passing yards, chips in _______ rushing yards and posts a _______ TD:INT split (All scores).
Scott – 5; 2,242; 191; 14:20
Dalton – 4, 2,340, 180, 15:19
Brandon – Week 2 (after Kevin Kolb is waxed by New England in the opener); 2,500 pass yards; 375 rushing yards; 15:17 TD-to-INT split (but 5 rushing TDs as well)
Former Baylor wide receiver and new Cowboy Terrance Williams receptions 49.5
Andy – UNDER. Williams found a great landing spot, and he's one of my favorite WR prospects. I'm a fan. However, he'll enter the season as presumably the fourth option in this passing game, so it's tough for me to project more than 42-45 catches for his rookie campaign.
Scott – UNDER. Too many wranglers already in place here. It will happen eventually, but I'm not going to chase it for 2013.
Dalton – UNDER. Barring health, the rookie wideout will at best be the fourth option in Dallas' passing attack. It wouldn't shock if he goes over with injury-prone WRs ahead of him on the depth chart, and Williams' strength (going vertical) seemingly a fit in the Cowboys' scheme, but the safer bet here is the under.
Regular season week Geno Smith supplants the ButtFumbler, Mark Sanchez, on the Jets' depth-chart 3.5
Brad – UNDER. The Jets say they will hold onto Sanchez through the preseason, but, unless Rex Ryan wants a premature vacation, Smith starts the year under center. What a circus Jets HQ will be this fall.
Brandon – WEEK 11. This would come after the bye week, with the Jets likely to be no better than 2-7 or 3-6 going in. He'd get two weeks to prepare, and it'd be a relatively soft launch coming out of the bye with his first matchup being the Buffalo Bills.
Andy – UNDER. It should happen as soon as possible. Everyone can see where this thing is headed. No reason to delay the inevitable
RB rank 'em (For standard leagues): Le'Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard, Montee Ball, Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin and Zac Stacy
Dalton – Ball, Bell, Lacy, Franklin, Bernard, Stacy.
Brandon – Bell, Lacy, Ball, Bernard, Franklin, Stacy.
Brad – Bell, Ball, Franklin, Bernard, Stacy, Lacy.
Andy – Bell, Ball, Franklin, Bernard, Stacy, Lacy.
Scott – Bell, Ball, Lacy, Bernard, Franklin, Stacy.
TE/WR wrangle. Rank for PPR: Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins, Robert Woods, Cordarelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter, Tyler Eifert, Zack Ertz and Aaron Dobson
Brandon – Austin, Eifert, Hopkins, Dobson, Hunter, Allen, Patterson, Woods, Ertz
Brad – Austin, Hopkins, Dobson, Eifert, Woods, Ertz, Hunter, Patterson, Allen
Andy – Austin, Dobson, Hopkins, Woods, Hunter, Patterson, Ertz, Allen, Eifert.
Scott – Austin, Dobson, Hopkins, Woods, Patterson, Ertz, Hunter, Eifert, Allen.
Dalton – Austin, Dobson, Hopkins, Patterson, Woods, Hunter, Ertz, Eifert, Allen
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