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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 4.
Doug Martin, who's tortured owners with injury and ineptitude, combined yards in his return against the Steelers 79.5.
Scott – UNDER. Martin showed us nothing in Week 1 and nothing last year (and he's dinged up now). At what point do we accept that maybe he became significantly overrated after a couple of huge games in his rookie year? Oakland's rushing defense isn't walking through that door. I do like Vincent Jackson to have a big game, and Mike Glennon has to be better than Josh McCown. But I'll need a prove-it game from Martin before I step up with a strong ranking.
Andy – OVER, probably with ease. After last Thursday's disaster, I can't get too excited about Bobby Rainey. He's not a worry for me. Martin is facing a Steelers defense that's allowed 5.1 YPC on the season, so the opponent isn't a concern, either.
Brandon – UNDER. Martin is coming off a knee injury, not to mention he ran for nine yards on nine carries when last we saw him in Week 1. And, of course, let's not forget the traveshamockery that was the Bucs last week, losing to the Falcons 56-14. Tampa Bay has generated the third-fewest yards per game in the league. On the road in Pittsburgh, I'm not expecting much from anyone on the visitor's side of the field.
Steve Smith, who promised "blood and guts" against his former employer, receiving yards against Carolina 84.5
Andy – OVER. I don't think I even need data to back this up. Smith has warned of a reckoning, and it's now upon them.
Brandon – OVER. You have to love how Smith has meshed with QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, thus far. And I've said before that Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown reminds me of a younger Smith, and Brown just got done torching Carolina for 90 yards and two scores. I think Smith at least matches that yardage total, if not the touchdowns.
Dalton – OVER. Smith has seen 32 targets this year and has averaged 96.7 yards per game, as he's taken over the "X" position in Gary Kubiak's offense that resulted in Andre Johnson averaging 1,502.5 yards over the past two seasons. But even if Smith Sr. was off to a slow start with his new team I'd go with the over here, as he's dead-set on punishing Carolina after he feels like he was slighted by them. Never bet against a determined Steve Smith.
Post-game press conference fashion mogul Cam Newton standard fantasy points scored in Baltimore 18.5
Brandon – OVER. With Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart out of action, I think Cam is going to end up calling his own number at the goal line. I think we'll see him run more, in general. Head coach Ron Rivera understands that the dual-threat abilities of Newton is what makes his offense go. Although he's banged up, Newton is going to have to start using his legs. And I think his rushing totals this week help push him beyond this O/U number.
Dalton – UNDER. Newton is still clearly not 100 percent and isn't running nearly as much as in the past. The Ravens have allowed two total touchdowns (and just seven rushing yards) to opposing quarterbacks on the year and play especially tough defense at home. I wouldn't be expecting Newton to be a top-10 fantasy QB in Week 4.
Brad – UNDER. Placed under intense heat by opposing pass rushes (38.3 pressure percentage) and not running the ball like his old self, Cam is avoidable this week in a tough road matchup with the Ravens. Dalton and Hoyer barely eclipsed the number above. Big Ben, meanwhile, went way under. Given the downsides attached, put your eggs in another basket.
First-round abomination Eddie Lacy, who's averaged a lovely 3.1 yards per carry through three weeks, total yards against the rival Bears 84.5.
Dalton – OVER. I had Lacy ranked very high entering the year, and I'm going to stick with the excuse behind his slow start being such a difficult schedule while expecting him to bounce back in a big way moving forward. The Bears’ run defense has improved this year, but they have still yielded 5.0 YPC, while Lacy's 2.5 YPC after contact is actually better than last year’s mark (2.3).
Brad – OVER. Called out by his head coach, Lacy, who believes poor pad level is to blame for his early season woes, is primed for a strong bounce back week. The Bears, yielding 4.89 YPC to RBs, are wounded defensively. Rodgers should have a field day against a bruised secondary, setting up the RB with numerous TD-scoring opportunities. Roughly 90 total yards and 1-2 TDs are completely attainable.
Scott – OVER. The schedule from hell is finally over, and let's be fair here, the entire Packers offense laid an egg at Detroit. The Pack will be back in Chicago, scoring 30-plus - and Lacy will be in the mix, with 100-plus yards and at least one score. He did too many things right last year for us to completely bury him now.
Andy – This isn't even a question after the past two weeks. RIDLEY will probably see three touches to every one for Vereen. The touches are 45 to 17 over the past two games, in Ridley's favor. The carries are 44 to 13. The only way Vereen gets an edge is if you think KC will get up big, early.
Brandon – RIDLEY. The Riddler has nearly three times as many touches as Vereen over the past two weeks. I do think Vereen will see an uptick in touches this week, but by the nature of the roles the two play, it's too much of an uphill climb to expect Vereen to match Ridley's touches, unless, of course, Ridley coughs up the football early against KC (always a plausible scenario).
Dalton – RIDLEY. He has 45 touches over the past two weeks compared to 17 by Vereen, so this seems fairly obvious, and this is admittedly coming from someone who was much higher on Vereen entering the year. Belichick's offensive game plan changes on a weekly basis, and it wouldn't be shocking if New England was playing from behind at some point Monday night, resulting in more Vereen. But at this point, the safe bet is Ridley, at least until he fumbles again.
What underachieving wide receiver wakes up from his statistical coma this week: Keenan Allen (vs. Jax), Vincent Jackson (at Pit) or Cordarrelle Patterson (vs. Atl)?
Brad – V-JAX. Don't worry about the small fracture in his wrist. Jackson says he's good to go for Week 4 and probably won't need a protective brace. He and Mike Glennon were in sync last year, connecting eight times for touchdowns. Jackson also averaged 73.7 yards per game with the QB under center. Expect the pair to take advantage of a Pittsburgh secondary down Ike Taylor.
Andy – ALL. There isn't a receiver listed here that I don't like in Week 4. Allen gets the league's worst team/defense, Jackson gets the QB who targeted him a billion times last season, and Patterson is Patterson. Also, Cordarrelle gets an upgrade at quarterback. You're all gonna love Teddy, soon.
Brandon – PATTERSON. I think Patterson and Allen both come alive in Week 4, but I like Patterson's upside a bit more. We have seen the socialist tendencies of Philip Rivers, so you can't guarantee heavy targets for Allen, even in the softest of matchups versus Jacksonville. With Kyle Rudolph and Adrian Peterson out, Minnesota is going to have no choice but to feed the most explosive offensive talent they have. Patterson has had just five touches in each of his first three games. I think he gets at least double that on Sunday, and I think at least one of them turns into a score from long range.
Fearless Forecast time, project the lines (attempts-completions, passing yards, TDs, INTs, rushing yards) for Teddy Bridgewater (vs. Atl) and Blake Bortles (at SD) in their first NFL starts?
Brandon – Bridgewater: 20-34, 233 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 FUM, 20 rushing yards…Bortles: 24-38, 272 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 20 rushing yards.
Dalton – Bridgewater: 18-32, 220 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 25 rushing yards…Bortles: 20-35, 250 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 10 rushing yards.
Brad – Bridgewater: 19-34, 234 passing yards, 1 TD, two INTs, 18 rushing yards ... Bortles: 25-40, 288 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 7 rushing yards
Khiry Robinson, currently started in under 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, rushing yards Sunday night in Little D 74.5?
Dalton – UNDER. Dallas has allowed 4.5 YPC this season but also the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Robinson’s 69 rushing yards last week were a career high, and while he’s still in line for plenty of carries with Mark Ingram out, the Saints are far less favored this week compared to last. I do think there’s a good chance he hits paydirt though, making him a fine flex option.
Brad – OVER. No rusher has gone over 70 yards against the 'Boys this season, but if Robinson logs another 18 carries, I foresee a handsome yardage total Sunday night. As Dalton mentioned, Dallas has surrendered a generous YPC this year. Bank on 75-80 yards and a score.
Scott – UNDER. I'm starting to wonder what the big deal is with Robinson. YPC is usually around four, which is fine, but where are the splash plays? He'll probably need 18-20 carries to make this number, and I never want to trust any back to get that much work from Sean Payton.
BOLD PREDICTION. The one running back under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to exceed 14.9 fantasy points (.5 PPR) is ____________.
Brad – CHRIS IVORY. The matchup is rather daunting (at Det), but if Rex Ryan continues to feed the bulky back on the ground and in the pass game (Still stunned he caught four balls last week), there's legitimate 70-1-3-20 potential here.
Scott – This is the week SHANE VEREEN finally has a big receiving game for the puzzling Pats. Tom Brady isn't comfortable holding the ball for long; this week, he won't have to.
Andy – I'm expected to look up percent-started info? Really? Bah. This is where I draw the line. Here are the running back ranks, you guys. Figure it out.
Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 4.
Andy – 1) GB/CHI OVER (50), 2) SD -13 vs. JAX, 3) KC +3.5 vs. NE, 4) NYJ +1.5 vs. DET, 5) PHI +5 at SF.
Brandon – 1) MIA/OAK OVER (40), 2) IND (-7) vs. TEN 3) GB (EVEN) vs. CHI. 4) CAR (+3.5) at BAL 5) DET (-1.5) at NYJ
Dalton – 1) K.C. (+3.5) vs. N.E. 2) PHI (+5) at S.F. 3) JAX (+13) at S.D. 4) MIA (-4) at Oak 5) NYJ (+1.5) vs. Det
Scott – 1) OAK/MIA over 40, 2) NYJ/DET under 44.5, 3) GB/CHI over 50.5, 4) Bucs +8, 5) NO/DAL over 54.5. Bonus: Europe over U.S. in the Ryder Cup.
Brad – 1) Jax (+13) at SD, 2) GB/Chi UNDER (50) 3) KC (+3.5) vs. NE, 4) Det (-1.5) at NYJ, 5) Hou (-3) vs. Buf
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