Richardson may soon look smooth in his new digs. (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.
When asked whether Trent Richardson would play this week in San Francisco, Chuck Pagano responded “We didn’t bring him here to be the waterboy.” With that in mind and given what’s transpired over the past couple days, total touches for T-Pain against the Niners 14.5
Brandon – UNDER. Pagano's comment gives the 49ers something to think about, which is what coaches like to do. But T-Rich can't be expected to pick up much of the playbook in a few days. When he is on the field, the 49ers can bank on a running play, because the Colts will be loathe to risk a big hit on their franchise QB because T-Rich blew a pass pro assignment. I'll put him down for 8-10 touches, at most.
Brad – OVER. Several reports have surfaced over the past 24 hours suggesting "the rolling ball of butcher knives" will see abundant snaps in his Colts debut. Because he likely isn't familiar with the protection schemes, Bradshaw will supplant him on passing downs, but he could be deployed almost exclusively on early-down work. Still, it's wise to find a suitable alternative if you have him in your lineup. San Fran is no joke against the run.
Andy – UNDER. Not that it matters much. This is a terrible match-up and T-Rich is new to the team. I wouldn't feel bullish about him in Week 3 if you guaranteed that he'd see 20 touches.
Scott – Have to go UNDER here. Not a lot of prep time, obviously, and I expect the Niners to win the game comfortably, to the detriment of the Indy rushing game.
Dalton – UNDER. Right after the trade I would've been far more confident, but it sounds like the Colts are going to throw him in the fire immediately. Still, this could be coach speak. Moreover, the Colts could be down early and forced to pass a lot. And even if I'm wrong here, and TRich gets 17-20 touches, there's a real chance fantasy owners who benched him are still happy because of his matchup.
Philip Rivers, on fire to star the year totaling 614 passing yards and seven touchdowns, final Week 3 fantasy rank among QBs 12.5
Scott – UNDER. I'm all-in with another Mike McCoy miracle.
Brandon – OVER. I'm down with the Rivers revival, in general, but I don't think the matchup this week has huge upside - the Titans have allowed the ninth-lowest QB rating (76.6), and they've been solid at rushing the QB (7 sacks). There's definitely 12 quarterbacks I'd prefer to start this week.
Brad – UNDER. Tennessee surrendered 298 yards and three TDs to Matt Schaub last week. Rivers, who's releasing the ball quicker and more accurately to avert pressure, should keep the hot hand even down Malcom Floyd. Roughly 275-plus yards and 2-3 TDs are entirely possible.
Brandon – UNDER. Minnesota is really not that friendly when it comes to defending long-ball threats like Gordon. Vikings safety Harrison Smith is one of the best in the business at his position when it comes to pass defense, and as a by product, Minnesota has done a good job limiting big pass plays. With Brian Hoyer at QB for the Browns, and little to worry about in the backfield with Trent Richardson gone, Gordon is going to have a hard time breaking free.
Brad – OVER. Minnesota corners Josh Robinson and Chris Cook have allowed 20 receptions on 23 targets to their assignments. Granted it's Hoyer, but Norv Turner will take shots downfield to his electric weapon. Smart money says he creeps into 70-yard territory in his first game back.
Andy – UNDER. I realize he'd only need one big play to get there, but I don't think I can make myself go "over" on any Browns-related number this week. Let's hope you can stay away from this team until maybe October.
Brad – UNDER. Bush returned to practice on Friday, meaning he should be available for Sunday's incredibly favorable clash against Washington. Though Bell will likely finish in the 85-90 total yard range, he's still a viable RB2 play in 12-team PPR leagues. A performance similar to Week 1 is entirely possible (92 tyds, 2 TDs).
Andy – OVER. The most recent blurbs on Bush seem promising, but I still find it tough to believe he'll be more than a supporting player. Bell is in line for a large workload against a defense that's offered little resistance.
Dalton – OVER. I'm guessing Bush misses a week, resulting in 20-25 touches for Bell. He should be plenty productive against a Washington defense that has allowed an almost unfathomably high 511.5 yards-per-game this season.
Coby Fleener, off an impressive game against the Dolphins and with Dwayne Allen out the remainder of the season, receiving yards in San Francisco 54.5
Andy – OVER, though not by a lot. I'm not incredibly bullish about Indy's skill players facing the Niners, but this is an inviting number. Fleener has a clear shot at top-12 value, rest-of-season.
Dalton – OVER. This number seems about right, but I expect Indy to have to pass a lot while playing catch up, and Fleener is going to see an uptick in targets with Allen sidelined. The 49ers secondary has some holes.
Scott – OVER. Andrew Luck probably throws 45 passes in this game, and the San Francisco linebackers can be beaten in coverage.
James Starks, the first Green Bay running back to reach 100-yards on the ground since Week 5 2010, total yards in follow-up in Cincy 79.5
Dalton – OVER. I get that Starks has looked extremely pedestrian during the brief times he's played during his career, but he looked good last week, even if it came against a weak defense. Bottom line, the Packers have a terrific passing attack, and I expect Starks to surpass 20 touches
Scott – UNDER. This is the same Starks no one thought too much about for a couple of years. I credit his big Week 2 to the Washington defense.
Brandon – UNDER. After a softball matchup against Washington last week, Starks is headed for the school of Hard Knocks this week against the Bengals. The Bengals have allowed 2.8 yards per carry, or about three yards less per tote than the Redskins (5.5).
Will NFL's Hamburg Sea Devils do anything offensively in Seattle? (USAT)
What does the Jaguars (+20 according to bookies in Vegas) offense tally more of against the Seahawks in Seattle: Turnovers, points or sacks?
Scott – POINTS. I'm giving them one touchdown, probably a late score after the Seahawks have called off the dogs. But I'm avoiding all Jags this week, even my best pal Cecil Shorts III.
Brandon – POINTS. I think the Jags will score 6-10 points, somehow, someway.
Brad – TURNOVERS/SACKS COMBO. Roughly three turnovers and five sacks are entirely within reach. That happens and it will best the Jags' lone score notched in garbage-time. In its current capacity, this is a team that would probably finish third in the SEC. The Road to Bridgewater will be filled with potholes.
Brandon – OVER. With Jackson out, it's doubtful that Atlanta will even rush the ball more than 15-20 times. They'll be even more pass happy than usual, especially since that's where S-Jax replacements Rodgers and Jason Snelling really excel. Rodgers caught four balls last week in relief of S-Jax. I'm guessing he'll get to five this week with S-Jax out from the get-go.
Brad – OVER. Jason Snelling will also receive plenty of run this week, but look for Dirk Koetter to employ a handful of designed screens for 'Quizz. He may only total 7-9 carries, but 5-7 receptions are in my fearless forecast.
Andy – OVER. I think he catches five balls in this one, yet is probably held under 50 scrimmage yards. He is not a recommended play.
TE Tussle. Pick one: Tyler Eifert (vs. GB), Martellus Bennett (at Pit), Antonio Gates (at Ten), Kellen Winslow (vs. Buf), Charles Clay (vs. Atl)
Brad – EIFERT. Last week's 3-66-0 line against Pittsburgh was only a sneak preview. In a game with shootout potential, the Eifert Tower breaks out a paddle and spanks the Pack. Numbers in range of 5-70-1 are in his immediate future.
Andy – UNICORN. I don't know how you can veer away from Bennett after his fantastic start. Best bet from this group for a Week 3 score.
Dalton – GATES. He's looked spry early on, leading all tight ends in broken tackles over the first two games of the season in a revamped San Diego passing attack.
Stevan Ridley, killing owners slowly after two awful games, rushing yards versus Tampa 69.5
Andy – UNDER. The Bucs D is the wrong unit to face if you're a running back who's trying to get right.
Dalton – OVER. Tampa Bay has allowed just 3.4 YPC so far after leading the category last year, but New England should feature Ridley with such depleted options in the passing attack. The Patriots still have one of the best offensive lines in football.
Scott – OVER. The Patriots still have plenty of offensive issues, but I expect a smoother ride in Week 3 after extended rest time and prep time. The Patriots rarely play two choppy games in a row. And for all of Ridley's fumbling issues, he's clearly the best back here (so long as Shane Vereen is injured).
Pick a player. What early season breakout WR will continue to roll in Week 3: DeAndre Hopkins (at Bal), Eddie Royal (at Ten), Marlon Brown (vs. Hou) or Julian Edelman (vs. TB)?
Dalton – EDELMAN. He won't see another 18 targets like last week, but Edelman is still the favorite to see the most looks among New England wideouts this week, and I doubt Tampa Bay shadows him with Darrelle Revis.
Scott – With Malcom Floyd expected out, I'm voting for the ROYAL TREATMENT. While he doesn't have a skill set that translates to continued red-zone dominance, those lateral-agility slot guys are awfully difficult to cover.
Brandon – HOPKINS. He's for real, and he's at least part of the reason why Houston is throwing much more than they have in recent years (second in total pass attempts). The matchup against Baltimore shouldn't dissuade the team from continuing down the pass heavy path, as the Ravens have allowed a 120 QB rating, second wrost in the league.
Brad – HOPKINS. Royal is a very close second in this race, but likely matched against Corey Graham, who's given up a 71.2 catch rate to his assignments, and with Andre Johnson drawing so much attention, the rookie keeps on rolling. Fearless Forecast: 6-75-1.
Andy – ALL? I like every name on the board here. Why pick just one? If I had to take one guy for the rest of the season, it might be Hopkins. They can all make noise in Week 3. I don't see any wildly overrated names in this group.
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