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 the upcoming season.
Yahoo DFS Bargain Bin. What cheaply priced QB/RB/WR/TE will turn the biggest profit in Week 1?
Brad – JOHNNY MANZIEL ($22). The dual-threat is one of the cheapest QBs on the board. Similar to Tyrod Taylor last week he allows you to maximize affordability and stack other positions. Admittedly, he's a bit of a wildcard but the TItans defense isn't the '85 Bears. Tally roughly 200 passing, 50 rushing with a TD and he'll turn a friggin' profit. Like those odds, assuming McCown is out.
Andy – This is a week loaded with bargains, so there's no shortage of solid answers here. I'll take BISHOP SANKEY for $16 all day, facing a Cleveland defense that ranked dead-last in the league against the run last season (and that didn't exactly shut down Chris Ivory in Week 1). I'm a little worried about West poaching goal-line carries, but I nonetheless have to think Sankey will earn a profit on his modest salary.
Scott – I fully realize why everyone is down on CHRIS JOHNSON. But he's a mere $10 and he's up against a Chicago front seven that's been mediocre in run-stopping for several years in a row. The moment you deplane at O'Hare, they hand you four yards and change on every rushing attempt. David Johnson is more exciting, sure, and the better long-term play. But for this Sunday, I expect CJ-OK to be a sneaky fantasy profit player.
Liz – TEVIN COLEMAN ($17). I’ll admit I was not high on the rookie coming out of college, but he shut me up in his regular season debut. Carrying the rock twice as many times as the incumbent Devonta Freeman, Coleman showed off his trademark speed against a respectable Eagles defense. The rookie appears to have won himself the RB1 gig, more than doubling Freeman’s YPC. He’ll face a Giants defense that surprised in Week 1, allowing just 80 yards via the ground. Let’s not forget, however, that was opposite the likes of Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden. Coleman is an ascendant talent who could very well finish among the top twenty RBs this week.
Brandon – CARLOS HYDE ($23) How can 20 running backs be more expensive than Hyde this week? He was the Week 1 leader in fantasy points at RB, and he was also first in Yards After Contact and second in Missed Tackles. And that 49ers offensive front, with three-TE sets much of the time, looked fantastic, blowing up Minnesota's D front on the edges. Am I supposed to be concerned about a Pittsburgh defense that allowed 4.6 yards per carry to Dion Lewis? Well, I'm not. Hyde goes for at least another 100-plus total yards and a TD.
Dalton – TERRANCE WILLIAMS ($21). Dez Bryant is out, and the Eagles allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season. The over/under in this game is a league-high 55.5 points. Williams is going to be a huge fantasy asset with Bryant down.
Conversely, what player, at any position, are you fading hard in Week 2?
Andy – TOM BRADY at $45 is ... well, that seems nuts. He's facing arguably the league's best defense, a group that just stymied Andrew Luck & Co. I'm not interested in Brady at his price, nor do I want GRONK at $37.
Dalton – TOM BRADY ($45). I'm still picking the Pats to win this game, but it's strange Brady is the highest priced player this week. Buffalo's defense allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs last year, including a 16:19 TD:INT ratio. The Bills also held Andrew Luck to just 5.0 YPA last week.
Scott – We saw Vontae Davis hurl a bagel at Sammy Watkins last week, and for Monday I expect him to take dead aim on BRANDON MARSHALL ($24). I'll be fading Marshall in DFS, and looking to bench him in standard leagues as well.
Liz – A.J. GREEN ($29). Green is certainly an elite receiver, but he’s surrounded by other healthy playmakers, which means he’s not going to be as much of a ball hog this year. Plus, the Chargers have two top CBs in Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. I'd rather gamble on a gimpy Mike Evans at the same price or pay up for a chalk play like Antonio Brown.
Brandon – Keenan Allen ($29) Allen had the true pleasure of being chased around the field by Detroit 35-year-old has-been corner Rashean Mathis in Week 1, which obviously led to a huge performance from Allen. But daylight won't be so easy to find against corners Adam Jones, Leon Hall and a Cincy defense that ranked second last season in fewest fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Allen is one of the biggest WR rollercoaster rides in fantasy, and has often followed up huge games with duds the following week. I see that being the case again in Week 2.
Brad – JEREMY MACLIN ($25). Chris Harris hasn't surrendered a TD to an assignment in 17 straight games. Last week, he and Aqib Talib clamped down on Steve Smith. This time around, Maclin will be victimized. There are better, cheaper deals out there at the Chief's price point.
Peyton Manning, who the denizens of Fantasyland are FREAKING OUT about, standard fantasy points scored (4 pts/pass TD, 1 pt/25 pass yds) 14.5 fantasy points.
Dalton – UNDER. He's looked disturbingly in decline for a while now, as clearly health and age are a major issue. Moreover, the Broncos' defense is one of the best in the NFL, so Denver isn't required to throw as much either.
Scott – UNDER. The wrong opponent, the wrong time, the short turnaround. Perhaps the Broncos will get this fixed for the long haul, but I expect a modest return Thursday.
Brandon – UNDER. Peyton Manning has finished below this number in six of his past seven games (counting last season's playoff loss), and one of those Unders came at KC. This is the new norm for one of the greatest QBs of all time - one that is dealing with trying to process a new offense, not to mention seriously diminished arm strength. I think this season will be Peyton's farewell tour and, unfortunately, it's not going to be very pretty.
Scott – I explained my Chris Johnson beliefs above, and stand by them. If you need a receiving Johnson, Stevie is your huckleberry. The Chargers passing game is underrated for the 59th year in a row.
Brandon – CHRIS JOHNSON. For $10, you are getting a guy likely to get 15-plus touches against the Chicago Bears defense. I don't care who the RB is, that's the definition of a bargain.
Liz – STEVIE JOHNSON. Don’t call it a comeback. Johnson was awesomely efficient in Sunday’s tilt vs. the Lions, hauling in all six of his targets for 82 yards and a touch. With Antonio Gates serving a four game suspension and Malcom Floyd looking like an afterthought, Johnson is back on the fantasy radar. The Bengals defense put up some good numbers in Week 1, but San Diego’s starting roster boasts oodles more talent than Oakland’s. Johnson is a solid WR3/Flex option for this Sunday’s slate of games
Carlos Hyde, who ripped off 168 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota on MNF, combined rush/receiving yards in the follow up at Pittsburgh 99.5.
Brandon – OVER. Oh, man, what a performance in Week 1 (see my write up on him in the first question). He's a YAC machine, and the O-line looks much better than most expected. And Pittsburgh's defense is certainly not scaring me off.
Liz – OVER. Reggie Bush’s expected absence (calf) in Week 2 should certainly help Hyde retain a high volume of touches. While I don’t normally like chasing points, I do think the power back will run well against a Steelers defense that let Dion Lewis (who earned the first start of his pro career last Thursday night) rack up a total of 120 combined yards.
Brad – UNDER. Again, love the player. In Hyde's smashing of Minnesota he gained over 50 percent of his yards after initial contact. The Niners' offensive line was also highly impressive. However, on the road, against a fast, active Pittsburgh front is more difficult matchup than most think. Pats backs registered just 3.5 YPC against the unit last week. He's a great buy at $23 in Yahoo DFS and his chances of finding the end zone are strong, but I believe he finishes in the 85-95 total yard range.
Sammy Watkins, amazingly shutout by Indy in Week 1, receptions in a crucial early-season matchup against New England 4.5.
Liz – UNDER. The Bills offense has been entirely remade under Rex Ryan. And Watkins is no longer its centerpiece. While the Pats secondary may be without Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis, I still expect Buffalo to challenge New England on the ground. Watkins – who was wrapped up by Vontae Davis last Sunday - should bounce back in Week 2, but he’s not going to be a target monster. I’m projecting 4 receptions for 62 yards and a score.
Brad – OVER. Hard to pinpoint exactly why Watkins was barely targeted in Week 1. Given his talent in the screen game at least draw up a couple designed plays specifically for him, Gregory Roman. TWO TARGETS?! It's doubtful lightning strikes twice, especially with New England in town. This week the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Mark me down for 5-70-1.
Scott – OVER. The Patriots don't have a Vontae Davis in their secondary, and they probably won't go all-out to delete Watkins in the first place. I also don't expect Buffalo to have such a positive game script this week - they'll actually need to attempt some passes in the fourth quarter.
Best TE DFS value in Week 2: Tyler Eifert (vs. SD, $17), Jordan Reed (vs. StL, $14) Eric Ebron (at Min, $11), Ladarius Green (at Cin, $12) or Austin Seferian-Jenkins (at NO, $12)?
Brad – ASJ. He was the epitome of 'Garbage Time All-Star,' but I like the second-year TE to play a prominent role moving forward. In order to stave off pressure, Jameis Winston must lean on the plus-sized target. Against a New Orleans pass defense that was bombarded by Carson Palmer in Week 1, Seferian-Jenkins should surpass 50 yards with another score.
Dalton – ASJ. He got hyped all preseason and then gained 110 yards with two touchdowns in Week 1. The Bucs should be mostly playing catchup in this game, having to throw a lot in the second half.
Andy – None of the above. Give me VERNON DAVIS at $10. He didn't make a ton of noise in the opener (in one of the ugliest games ever played by professionals), but he was targeted six times, including a deep shot. He's facing a user-friendly Pittsburgh defense this week; don't be surprised by 60-ish yards and a spike.
James Jones, who has scored 20 touchdowns in the past 24 games with Aaron Rodgers under center, TDs against Richard Sherman and the 'Hawks .5.
Andy – OVER. I'm not going to assume that Sherman will occupy Jones. Rodgers doesn't seem to require his trusted receivers to separate from defenders, so our usual worries with JJ don't apply.
Dalton – UNDER. Twenty TDs in his last 24 games with GB is pretty crazy, but I'm still going under here, even though I do like the Packers to win this game and cover Sunday night.
Scott – OVER, because I expect Sherman to see plenty of Randall Cobb, and I'm not sure Davante Adams is fully ready for prime time.
Ameer Abdullah was the ultimate Swiss Army Knife in his regular season debut at SD accounting for 194 all-purpose yards. Unbelievably, though, he logged just three more grips than Joique Bell. Total touches on the road in Minnesota 14.5?
Andy – OVER, but not by a lot. I'd say 13-16 is a good number going forward. Detroit is going to continue using more than one back. Get used to it. In the long run, this probably benefits Abdullah.
Dalton – OVER. He's too good not to be heavily involved. The Lions are underdogs, which should help Abdullah's usage as the more effective receiving back.
Brandon – OVER. Jim Caldwell said that his 11 touches in Week 1 is going to be Abdullah's standard role. And I say that if that is the case, Caldwell's job security will be in serious jeopardy come season's end. Abdullah is a big-play waiting to happen and I have little doubt that the team will start adding touches to his workload as the season progresses, starting with at least an extra four touches this coming weekend.
Fill in the blank. _________, under 50-percent owned in Yahoo leagues, has the most shocker special appeal in Week 2 (Any position).
Brad – BRANDON COLEMAN. Owned in less than one-third of Yahoo leagues, the long, lanky red-zone threat should splash pay-dirt for the second consecutive week. Tampa starting corners Jonathan Banks and Alterraun Verner ranked outside the top-75 Week 1 in pass coverage. In the third-highest projected points game of the week according to Vegas (48.5 O/U), he should finish in range of 4-50-1, at a minimum.
Andy – I'll go CHRIS JOHNSON here, with DAVID JOHNSON in the running as well. And RONNIE HILLMAN and NICK FOLES and PHILLIP DORSETT and TYLER LOCKETT. Plenty of nice options, lightly owned in Yahoo leagues.
Liz – NICK FOLES. The former Eagle actually looked quite good in the season opener. He finished the week among the top ten QBs in fantasy and was ranked the eighth best overall signal caller by Pro Football Focus… and that was opposite the Seahawks. In Week 2 he’ll have a plus matchup against a Washington squad that gave up the most fantasy points to the position in 2014. Priced at $29 in DFS and owned in just 13 percent of Yahoo leagues, Foles is more likely to boom than bust come Sunday.