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.
Frankenstein-like tight end Rob Gronkowski, finally reanimated (Then again, maybe not), receptions in his possible return against the Saints 5.5
Dalton – OVER. This is obviously an optimistic view for someone who will be making his season debut, especially against a New Orleans defense that has allowed just 16 catches to tight ends over five games this season. But the over/under for this game is 50.5 points, and Gronkowski is set up to be targeted heavily right away. Assuming he's active, I'd start him with confidence this week.
Brad – UNDER. Sadly, those who've patiently waited for Gronk may have to hold out one more week. His status for this week's mammoth game against New Orleans remains extremely cloudy. If he does suit up, expect the Pats to limit his snap count and his targets. A final tally in range of 4-5 receptions for 50 yards would be likely, though any contribution appears to be a long shot. Even Derrick Rose thinks this is getting ridiculous.
Scott – UNDER. My stock play in these cases is to stay grounded with expectations. Considering this is a late game, I would keep Gronkowski benched for any other Top 10 option at the position.
PPR Pimpin.' Which sticky-fingered RB is the stronger play in Week 6: Pierre Thomas (at NE) or Danny Woodhead (vs. Ind)?
Brad – WOODHEAD. Both backs are sure-fire RB2s this week, but possible sans Ryan Mathews, the mop-haired RB, on pace for 99 receptions, could put together his finest fantasy performance of the season. Roughly 100 total yards and a TD are completely fathomable against a middle-of-the-road Indy run D.
Scott – WOODHEAD has become the sheriff in the San Diego backfield, with his pass-catching skills and lateral agility. I wish the Patriots still had him. He has a much clearer path to weekly touches.
Andy – WOODHEAD, and I don't think it's so close. PT just delivered his biggest game of 2013. It won't get that good again.
Garrett Graham, who should see a heavy dose of targets with Owen Daniels sidelined, receiving yards versus the rancid Rams 59.5
Scott – OVER. Everyone knows how Matt Schaub struggles to throw outside the numbers, and Andre Johnson is no sure thing to play.
Andy – OVER. Graham is legit, and he's now in line for a double-scoop of targets. If both Daniels and Andre Johnson are out in Week 6, Graham will really make noise.
Brandon – UNDER – I think he'll be close, but 60 yards is a big number for any tight end, and I have a feeling the true blow-up game in the Texans' receiving corps is going to be DeAndre Hopkins. Put me down for 50-55 receiving yards, a hair shy of this number.
Chad Henne, projected by a few risk-taking pundits to explode in Denver, passing yards in the 'Spread Bowl' 324.5
Andy – UNDER. We've all ranked Henne as a plausible starter this week, in consideration of his garbage-time potential. But everyone also needs to recognize that he's still Chad Henne. I'm not going to assume that every sketchy quarterback is going to torch the Broncos this season, especially in Denver. I can easily see an empty 310 yards or so from Henne, with, say, two TDs and three INTs.
Brandon – OVER. The Broncos allow 347 passing yards, so he could finish with 20 yards under that average and still beat this number. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which the Jags wouldn't be forced to pass early and often in this game.
Dalton – UNDER. I like Jacksonville to cover the NFL's highest ever spread ever this week, and the Broncos have allowed the most passing yards (thanks to their incredible offense) in all of football so far this year. Moreover, Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are two dangerous weapons on a team that can't run the ball. Still, the Jags are likely going to be way down on TOP and Henne always posts poor YPA marks, so getting to 325 passing yards will be a challenge (I wouldn't be that surprised if he reaches it though, to be perfectly honest).
Le'Veon Bell, fresh off the bye and still glowing from his breakthrough performance in London two weeks ago, total yards in the encore against the Jets 84.5
Brandon – UNDER. The Jets are allowing just 80 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields, and Fred Jackson is the only back they have faced that has succeeded in topping this number. Pittsburgh just doesn't have the talent up front to help Bell to the over here.
Dalton – UNDER. The Jets have allowed an average of 80.0 total yards to opposing running backs this season, so I expect this to be close. I like Bell as a top-15 type fantasy back moving forward, but it's a tough matchup this week and the Steelers' offensive line remains a problem.
Brad – UNDER. The Jets stuff the run like few others. Only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed fewer yards per carry (2.9). On the season, only Fred Jackson in Week 3 surpassed the proposed number. I've waxed poetically about Le'Veon numerous times this year, but, speaking as a matchup advocate, he's only a back-end RB2 in Week 6. Approximately 80 total yards on 17-20 touches are in my fearless forecast.
Wide receiver roulette. What standout Week 5 target continues to sport the hot hand in Week 6: No. 83 (Terrance Williams), No. 13 (Kennan Allen), No. 86 (Vincent Brown) or No. 18 (Austin Pettis).
Dalton – 13 (ALLEN). The third-round pick has seen 15 targets over the past two games, resulting in 195 yards and a TD (he had another score that was questionably overturned Sunday night). With Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd out for the season and Eddie Royal’s hot start coming to a predictable screeching halt, Allen is the favorite to lead a pass-happy SD offense in targets moving forward.
Brad – 86 (BROWN). The Colts' umbrella-like defensive scheme has prevented many explosive pass plays this season, the name of the game for Allen. Brown, who typically works in-tandem with Antonio Gates underneath, should again flirt with double-digit targets. Another 100-plus yards are entirely conceivable.
Scott – Only two of these numbers show up on the wheel, so eliminate Brown and Williams. I'm plunking down chips on 13, Allen, after watching him leap off the screen against Oakland. He looks capable of winning on vertical and horizontal routes, a nifty combination of speed, size and agility.
Lame horse Trent Richardson, who hasn't eclipsed 80 total yards through six games, combined yards Monday night against the Bolts 79.5
Brad – UNDER. So far this season, T-Pain has logged 29 carries of one, zero or negative yards. For the mathletes in attendance, that's 35.3 percent of his attempts. He recorded a couple nice runs late last week, but, for the most part, he's resembled an octogenarian on a Hoveround. The Chargers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. This week, they hold the Colt to 75 total yards.
Scott – UNDER, though he'll probably scare the number. The Colts are going to give Richardson weekly volume. But those three-yard plunges take a while to add up.
Andy – OVER. For the record, I've been as critical of Richardson's talent as anyone – the guy has only two career runs of 20-plus yards. He's not an elite NFL back. But San Diego's defense gives up whatever you need, and I expect the Colts to lean hard on Richardson this week. He'll pay the fantasy bills in Week 6, no doubt.
Joe Flacco, on the fringe of the QB1 class according to our ranks this week, passing yards in a potential shootout against Green Bay 284.5
Scott – UNDER. The Ravens probably won't ask Flacco to carry the offense unless things get dire immediately. It's a shame Baltimore doesn't have a prominent second option to run with Torrey Smith.
Andy – UNDER. If you need to start a QB from the discard pile this week, make it Henne or Pryor. The Ravens better hope they don't fall into a shootout with Green Bay, because they couldn't possibly win a game like that.
Brandon – OVER. This one is easy. He's averaging over 300 yards in his past two game and gets a Packers defense allowing 289 passing yards per game – and that was with their best pressure man, Clay Matthews, who is now out with a thumb injury.
DeSean Jackson, 'gifted' Nick Foles and a Darrelle Revis escort, receiving yards in Tampa 79.5
Andy – UNDER. It's not as if Revis will be in man coverage on D-Jax all day, but that defense has done a nice job limiting passing stats all year. It's likely to be a rough day for various Eagles.
Brandon – UNDER. Last week, Michael Floyd became the only receiver to top this number against Tampa Bay this season, and he's not the go-to wideout for his team – Larry Fitzgerald finished with 68 yards. Fact is, this entire Bucs secondary is talented, and free safety Dashon Goldson along with a strong pass rush is a key reason why the team has allowed just one pass play of 40-plus yards. That spells trouble for a big-play specialist like D-Jax.
Dalton – OVER. Revis hasn't shadowed opponents' No. 1 WRs since joining Tampa Bay (although there's a real chance he does Sunday), and Jackson has averaged 105.0 yards receiving per game so far. This is another close one, but with so few other options in Philly's passing attack, many targets to DJax should result in him surpassing this number.
Shocker Special showdown. What barely started RB has the best chances of puncturing the RB top-20 in Week 6: Ronnie Hillman (vs. Jax), Zac Stacy (at Hou), Brandon Bolden (vs. NO), Andre Ellington (at SF) or WILDCARD
Brandon – HILLMAN. He's had at least 10 touches in three straight games and he could be in the position of playing second-half milkman with Denver sitting on a big lead. There's a strong likelihood that he'll see 15-20 touches against a Jacksonville defense allowing 4.9 yards per carry. Hillman has a decent shot at 70-80 YFS and a TD.
Dalton – WILDCARD. I like Stacy as a possible flex option down the road, although the Rams are the only team in football without a rushing TD and will likely be down early against a desperate (and superior) Houston team. So my answer here is "wild card." If that means pick one for this week, I'll say Willis McGahee.
Brad – HILLMAN. The backup should see extensive action as a member of Denver's cleanup crew. Quietly, he's played well in a limited role, averaging over 60 total yards per game on roughly 11 touches per game over the past three weeks. Jacksonville's dreadful run D (4.9 YPC allowed to RBs) combined with a probable 15-18 touch workload make Hillman a borderline RB2 in Week 6.
Scott – Always pick WILDCARD when you can. I'm surprised to see Willis McGahee at 24-percent started for this week. We know the Browns will run him into the ground, and the Lions are handing out 5.3 a carry. Sign me up.
Andy – WILDCARD. I'll take MONTEE BALL here, assuming he gets a whole bunch of drain-the-clock carries against the pitiful Jags D.
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