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 15.
C.J. Spiller, now locked in the pole position, total yards versus Seattle 109.5
Scott — OVER is the only logical way to play this. Chan Gailey is finally saved from himself, and even if the Seahawks control the game, Spiller can make hay as a receiver. The Bills are going to have to bite the bullet on Spiller as a pass blocker (something that's made the team nervous); it's sink-or-swim time.
Dalton — OVER. Spiller has averaged 92.3 yards from scrimmage on just 15.8 touches over the past four games, so I expect a big performance with increased volume, even if it's a tough matchup.
Brad — OVER. The Seahawks run defense has been rather unimpressive in recent weeks, evident in their 4.4 yards per carry allowed to RBs since Week 10. Spiller is a special talent who is finally getting his just due with Jackson shelved. It would be no surprise if he finished as the total yardage leader at RB in Week 15.
Andy Dalton standard league fantasy points (1 pt/25 yards pass, 4 pts/pass TD) against the 'vacationing' Eagles 21.5
Dalton — UNDER. It was only one game, but the Eagles secondary played better against the Bucs, and these short weeks often lead to sloppy play.
Brad — OVER. Raggedy Andy's Heatmiser hair and accurate arm will surely have their way against a Philly defense that threw in the towel weeks ago. Fantasy QBs are averaging 28.1 points against them over the past five weeks based on the scoring system listed above. Meanwhile, Dalton has eclipsed this number in three of his past five.
Brandon — UNDER. It's a good matchup, and A.J. Green is due for a big game, but the short week has not been kind to QB production. I have Dalton ranked No. 10 this week, a spot that doesn't usually reach the 21.5-point threshold.
Brad — WILLIAMS. Bombs will be dropped on the bayou this week given the joke-worthy play of the Tampa and New Orleans secondaries. Moore won the first head-to-head battle by a significant margin (9-121-0 vs. 4-36-0), but the Buccaneer skewers him in the rematch. Regardless, both are top-20 plays.
Brandon — WILLIAMS. Wait … no … Moore. Nevermind, give me Williams. Or do I want to go Moore? Really, this is a pick'em if ever there was one. The pass defenses on both sides are simply atrocious. Gun to my head, though, I'll take Williams because QB Josh Freeman is less inclined to spread the wealth than Drew Brees.
Andy — MOORE. Appreciate the touchdowns, Mike, but Moore gets the edge in both year-to-date catches and yardage. Close call, but I'm leaning toward the receiver tied to the higher-volume passing game. New Orleans puts the ball in the air nine more times per week than Tampa.
David Wilson, off a mesmerizing 327 all-purpose yard, 3-TD explosion, total yards at Atlanta 74.5
Andy — OVER. As of this writing, it's not even clear that Ahmad Bradshaw will play. Atlanta's defense has allowed 4.9 yards per carry and 127.0 per game this season.
Scott — Gotta push it OVER here. The Atlanta front seven has been leaky against the run and the linebackers are nothing special in coverage. Wilson looks like a time-share back even if Ahmad Bradshaw can go, and he might have the stage to himself.
Dalton — OVER. The thing is, this is hardly a sure thing even if Bradshaw is out. And Wilson still isn't necessarily trusted in pass protection. Regardless, I'm going to guess Bradshaw is either inactive or extremely limited, and Atlanta has allowed 4.9 YPC this year. Wilson will be a big beneficiary.
Pierre Garcon, possibly minus RGIII, receiving yards versus Joe Haden and Cleveland 79.5
Scott — Garcon has passed that number three times in a row, and I'll call for another OVER here. Haden is a fine player, but we're not talking about Revis 2011 here. He's someone you can beat. And even if Haden is on his game, I assume the Shanahans will find creative ways to get Garcon unleashed.
Dalton — UNDER. Too much uncertainty. I'll probably have Garcon as a top-10 fantasy WR entering 2013, but even if RG3 suits up Sunday, he may be very limited, and 80 yards receiving is no sure thing regardless.
Brad — UNDER. RGIII's practice Wednesday was encouraging. He cut smoothly at times according to local reports, boosting his chances of starting. I fully expect him to be under center Sunday, which greatly enhances Garcon's value. Haden and his very underrated tag-team partner, Sheldon Brown, have grounded many receivers this season. Combined they've allowed a 68.6 QB rating. Garcon posts a serviceable line, but fails to surpass 70 yards.
Which Lion roars loudest against the league's softest run defense since Week 10 (Arizona): Mikel Leshoure or Joique Bell?
Brandon — BELL. I'll ring the Bell on this one. Bell is averaging 1.7 yards more per carry than Leshoure, and he's fourth among RBs in receiving yards. His production is gaining him playing time — season-high 44 snaps last week compared to 31 for Leshoure. I expect the changing-of-the-guard in the Lions backfield to continue.
Andy — BELL. These are two fantasy stocks trending in opposite directions. Bell has gained 198 total yards over the last two weeks.
Scott — Apparently Joique is of French/Greek origin, meaning "Conqueror." Silly me, I thought it was short for "joystick." Ring the BELL, as the Lions are finally accepting their best back isn't Leshoure.
Stevan Ridley rushing touchdowns versus San Francisco .5
Dalton — UNDER. The 49ers have allowed an NFL-low two rushing touchdowns to running backs this season, and while New England will be their toughest opponent yet, they are unpredictable with their backfield usage anyway.
Brad — UNDER. Ridley, in the midst of a five-game TD streak, is about to hit a brick wall. Ahmad Bradshaw and Steven Jackson are the only rushers to hit pay-dirt against the Gold Panners this season. Eventually all good things must come to an end.
Brandon — OVER. I'll always bet the over on this one. Pats lead the NFL in trips to the red zone per game, and as a result, Ridley has 10 TDs in 13 games, all of those scores from inside the 15-yard line, and six of them from three yards out or less. San Fran's a tough defense, but it's tough to stop a point-blank range bullet.
Aaron Rodgers, who hasn't totaled 20 fantasy points in four weeks, passing yards at Chicago 249.5
Brad — UNDER. Rodgers, who's reeked of Limburger cheese over the past three weeks, has averaged 243.9 yards per game in nine career starts versus his arch-nemsis. With Tim Jennings optimistic about a return, expect another deflating effort. Keep in mind, the Bears have conceded a mere 6.1 yards per attempt to passers this year.
Brandon — UNDER. Rodgers is averaging just 253.6 yards passing per game, and the Bears allow just 220.6. Then you have the fact that Rodgers was under this number against the Bears in Week 2 (219 passing yards). Rodgers can certainly go over this number, but the odds aren't in his favor.
Andy — OVER. As a Bears fan, I'd love to confidently predict the under here. Heck, Chicago held him to 219 earlier this season at Green Bay. But the Bears' defense is obviously banged up right now, just as the Pack is getting healthier. And, despite some low attempt totals over the past few weeks, Rodgers is still averaging better than 250 passing yards per game.
Miles Austin, alongside a limited Dez Bryant, receiving yards against Pittsburgh 69.5
Brandon — OVER. I don't think it is a coincidence that Danario Alexander (88/2) posted the best WR game against the Steelers last week with Pittsburgh corner Ike Taylor out. Taylor is expected to be sidelined again, making go-to guy Austin a good bet to go over this number.
Andy — UNDER. Perhaps just under, but it's hard to predict a big receiving total for a guy who hasn't topped 70 yards since Week 9.
Scott — UNDER. Austin's had few productive games of late, and I still trust the depth of the Pittsburgh secondary, even without Ike Taylor. (I know, I know, Alexander went off last week. So it goes.)
TE Tussle. Pick one: Martellus Bennett (at Atl), Dennis Pitta (vs. Den), Kyle Rudolph (at StL) or Vernon Davis (at NE)
Scott — BENNETT is the play. Looks like a shootout cooking in Atlanta, and Eli Manning has been clicking with Bennett lately.
Dalton — DAVIS. I'm already all in when it comes to my fantasy teams, so why not. He's obviously been a massive disappointment this year, averaging just 23.7 yards over his past seven games, but the 49ers are going to have to pass the ball a lot Sunday night, and New England has allowed the fourth most fantasy points against tight ends this season.
Brad — BENNETT. Since Week 9, five oversized targets have surpassed the 50-yard mark against Atlanta. With Hakeem Nicks ailing and Victor Cruz drawing plenty of attention, the Black Unicorn could take owners to mythical heights. A final line around 5-65-1 is very attainable.
Brandon — BENNETT. The big man has got his groove back with 2 TDs and an average of 57 receiving yards in his past two games. Atlanta allows the ninth-most yards per game to TEs, and with Hakeem Nicks still not 100 percent, I expect Eli Manning to continue to seek out Bennett.
Andy — BENNETT. Gruden calls him "Marcellus," and he calls himself a unicorn. Fantasy owners can call him money in Week 15. He's facing a defense that's allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends, so the match-up works. Bennett has also visited the end zone each of the last two weeks.
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