The Purple Jesus has looked far from holy of late (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.
Adrian Peterson, who admitted Thursday he's run too cautiously after he suffered a hamstring bruise Week 3, total carries Sunday night against Green Bay 19.5
Scott – OVER makes sense. When a star player is underutilized in a week, he normally gets fed the following Sunday. And obviously the Vikings need to hide Christian Ponder as much as possible.
Andy – OVER. This should be a classic make-good game, where a player who was underutilized the prior week gets a double-helping of opportunities. Plus he's been a monster against the Pack over the years (5.6 YPC, 120.2 YPG, 10 TDs).
Brad – OVER. Peterson realizes he's been timid the past few weeks, which, when accompanied with unfavorable game flow, explains his recent string of hiccups. However, under the prime time lights he's sure to get fed early and often. And unlike blanks-shooter Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder may actually keep the Packers secondary somewhat honest. Minimum 20 carries for the Purple Hey-Zeus Sunday night.
Michael Vick, in line to start despite ongoing hamstring limitations, combined yards against the rival Giants 309.5
Andy – UNDER. I hate betting on the Giants stopping someone, but I also hate betting on an injured player. I think this will be close, but doubt the rushing yards will be there
Brad – OVER. Yes, I realize Vick could snap his hammy in half midway through the first quarter, but assuming he holds up, odds are strong he eclipses this number, likely on his arm alone. The Giants could be down their best pass defender Corey Webster and even with him in the lineup they've allowed 262.5 yards per game. Vick throws for 290 and chips in 20 rushing.
Dalton – OVER. He's averaged 298.4 yards from scrimmage this season despite leaving his last game against the Giants early. New York has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs, and the over/under for this game is 51.5 points.
Fantasy whack-a-mole Jason Witten, who has only two 10-point performances under his belt this season, receiving yards in Detroit 54.5
Brad – UNDER. The human yo-yo has gone under this number in four of seven games this season. The Lions, meanwhile, are surrendering 51.4 yards per game to TE1s. It will be close, but Sharpie me in for five catches for 50 yards.
Dalton – OVER. He's averaging more than this (55.4) on the year, and I fully expect better production moving forward. This game definitely projects as a shootout, and who knows how healthy DeMarco Murray will be, which should lead to a lot of targets Witten's way.
Brandon – OVER. The Lions have allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to the tight end position and with Miles Austin not looking like he'll play this week, Witten will play an even bigger role than usual – he received a season-high 10 targets in both Week 4 and Week 5, the two games that Austin missed.
Dalton – MORRIS. I have Morris ranked higher this week, but this one was very close for me. Washington will try to keep the ball away from Denver's offense with a lot of Morris early, but they will likely be playing from behind much of the second half, and Helu is the team's primary back on passing downs.
Brandon – MORRIS. Even though Washington is likely to be in passing situations often on Sunday, I'll still give the slight edge to Morris. After all, opposing backfields are averaging 20 rush attempts per game against Denver, and Morris is getting 5.2 yards a carry on the season, so trying to keep Peyton Manning off the field with a ground-heavy approach early makes sense. Ultimately, they'll have to scrap that plan but, before things get truly out of hand, I think Morris, who is fifth in the NFL with eight carries of 15-plus yards, will do enough damage to beat out Helu.
Scott – I'm still going MORRIS, impressed by that shiny YPC. He'll get 12-15 touches in this game and it's not like he's lacking when it comes to short-yardage ability. But Helu should play enough to enter the flex argument.
The Blue Rhino, Peyton Hills, slated or another hefty workload with Brandon Jacobs looking increasingly doubtful, total yards at Philly 79.5
Brandon – OVER. Since he won't likely be in Giant blue very long, I like to refer to Hillis as Ram Man. As for his Sunday prospects, I think he's good for another 40-plus yards through the air, and 40-50 on the ground. He won't clear this number by much, but he should go over.
Scott – OVER. Last man standing in New York. David Wilson might not play again this year and Brandon Jacobs is too busy shooing away the fantasy public. Hillis is a legitimate Top 20 factor this week.
Andy – UNDER. The way he ran on Monday Night Football, he might need 40 touches to reach 80 yards.
S-Jax is back in action. Can you trust him? (USAT)
Steven Jackson practiced without suffering a setback this week and is expected to see his first action since Week 2. Total yards for the old workhorse at Arizona 79.5
Andy – UNDER. I'm kinda pessimistic this week, huh? Again, I don't like taking the over on a player coming off a multi-week injury, plus the matchup is rough. I'm expecting we'll see plenty of 'Quizz mixed in this week.
Brad – UNDER. Based on the rusher's comments this week and considering the extended hiatus it seems pretty clear he's not 100-percent. Couple that with a matchup on the road against a defense allowing a mere 3.36 yards per carry to opposing RBs, and S-Jax will be fortunate to break even the 70-total yard mark.
Dalton – UNDER. I'd probably go under here even if Jackson were 100 percent healthy. At best Jackson sees limited snaps, and the Falcons are on the road against an Arizona defense that has ceded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to enemy backs this season.
Kendall Hunter, a viable sleeper in a potential lopsided affair across the pond, total touches against Jacksonville 11.5
Scott – I'm going to shade UNDER, but I also see a few red-zone carries for Hunter, which makes him worth considering as a deeper flex. The Niners are hitting their stride and can probably name the score against Jacksonville.
Andy – UNDER. To me, 6-8 sounds about right. Enjoy some Anthony Dixon, London.
Brad – OVER. In the Land of Crumpets and Tea Hunter will be the definition of Garbage Time All-Star. He's only achieved this number once, but in what surely will be a one-sided affair, he'll total 12-13 carries salting away the clock late.
Brad – UNDER. Campbell graduated from Auburn with a degree in checking-down. Cameron, Fozzy Whittaker and Chris Ogbonnaya will be your leading receivers for the Browns this week. If only Gordon was a Colt ...
Dalton – UNDER. I love Gordon's talent, but he's saddled by an awful QB situation while playing on the road against the NFL's best defense. Who knew how ruinous the Brian Hoyer injury would be to Gordon and Jordan Cameron's fantasy owners?
Brandon – UNDER. The Chiefs are on a historic QB sack pace, Cleveland has allowed the third-most QB sacks and Jason Campbell is no Dan Marino when it comes to getting rid of the ball (he was sacked an average of 40.5 times in his only two full seasons as an NFL starter, in '08-'09). It's a terrible set-up for Gordon, frankly.
Dalton – ROETHLISBERGER. He's quietly playing well, getting 8.4 YPA over his past four games. He also has the easiest matchup among this group, although that may not result in a ton of pass attempts
Brandon – BIG BEN. Roethlisberger torched Oakland last season to the tune of over 380 passing yards and four touchdowns. The Raiders are allowing the third-highest completion percentage (68.3) and Big Ben is completing well over 70 percent of his passes in his past three games.
Scott – PRYOR for the rushing kickback, not to mention the sneaky emergence of Denarius Moore. I can't trust Dalton against that nasty Jets defense, and Tannehill's protection has been a mess all year.
Shocker Special Showdown. What under 10-percent started WR serves owners best in Week 8: Kris Durham (vs. Dal), Kenny Stills (vs. Buf), Cole Beasley (at Det) or WILDCARD?
Brandon – JEROME SIMPSON. I like Simpson this week, as the matchup is friendly (Green Bay allows the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs) and I think the Packers will be most focused on not letting former teammate Greg Jennings show them up on the national stage. Simpson has had two 100-yard games already, one with Christian Ponder behind center. With Ponder back behind center, replacing the wildly off-target Josh Freeman (a little more accuracy last week from Freeman would have went a longs ways for Simpson fantasy numbers), don't be shocked if Simpson pushes the century mark again in this one.
Scott – With Jimmy Graham dinged up and Marques Colston struggling to separate, it's a good time to kick the tires on STILLS, an intriguing field stretcher on the bayou. Out of a bye week, I expect Brees and Payton to have something cooked up for the vertical threat.
Andy – DURHAM. Follow the targets, kids.
Brad – BEASLEY. All three possess measurable upside based on the friendly matchups, but I'll go against the grain and saddle up the Cowboy. Bill Callahan loves the plucky slot receiver's ability to create mismatches against zone coverage, comparing him to Wes Welker. In a game with high shootout potential, he musters a 6-60-1 line.
Dalton – STILLS. I prefer teammate Lance Moore, who's available in 75% of leagues, but Stills is a good bet this week as well with Jimmy Graham likely out (or badly hobbled) and facing a Buffalo secondary that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
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