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.
According to several scouting services, newly anointed starter Mike Glennon is Joe Flacco-like in style and substance, a check-down maestro. With that mind, Doug Martin receptions versus Arizona 4.5
Scott – I'm going OVER and in general I expect Martin to be fine this week, as a volume play. Glennon hasn't been getting work with the two primary receivers in Tampa, so it's going to need to be the Martin Show. Arizona's defense has been stingy against the run, which hopefully will push the Bucs to be more creative with how they use their featured offensive player.
Andy – OVER. Without question, it's going to be the Doug Martin show this week. I'm actually not overly confident that Martin will feast in this match-up, with Arizona presumably focused on stopping him. But workload certainly won't be an issue.
Dalton – UNDER. I expect Martin's receptions to definitely go up moving forward, but the sophomore back has just four catches combined over his first three games, so this would be a big jump.
Staying on the ship, Larry Fitzgerald is expected to draw Darrelle Revis this week, the third-ranked corner in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Receiving yards for the multi-time Pro Bowler 69.5
Andy – OVER, but not by much. A total in the 70s seems right. If you own him, you're really hoping for a house call.
Dalton – UNDER. It's good news Fitzgerald is back practicing fully this week, but he's averaged a modest 59.0 receiving yards so far this season, and as mentioned, gets the tough task of going against Darrelle Revis in Week 4.
Brad – OVER. Fitz, limited by a hamstring setback, has been in quite the funk of late, barely registering a blip, even in competitive formats. Revis has surrendered only 8.0 yards per catch, but he hasn't faced a target the caliber of Fitzgerald. On double-digit targets he surpasses this number by a hair.
Same game, different names. Pick one: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce
Dalton – SPILLER. I don't feel great about the matchup, but I have Spiller ranked highest among this group for this week. His recent injury doesn't appear to be serious, and I fully expect his YPC to start rising soon. Spiller is due to break a long run.
Brad – PIERCE. There's no guarantee Rice will get his usually 15-18 touches, even though he's practiced consecutive days this week. Pierce is healthy and more than capable of carrying the hefty side of the timeshare until Ray Ray is at 100-percent. Considering the Bills have conceded 4.6 yards per carry to RBs this year, he could be in line for another 65-75 yards and a score.
Brandon – SPILLER. Not sure how the Baltimore backfield split will ultimately play out, but neither Rice (nursing a hip injury) nor Pierce is averaging 3.0 YPC, so it hasn't been a very lucrative backfield for fantasy purposes. Spiller's knee injury was minor, and I expect him to push 20 touches again in Week 4. Even against a touch Ravens run defense, I like the game-breaking upside of Spiller over the others.
Tony Gonzalez, currently ranked outside the top-20 among tight ends, TDs Sunday night against New England .5
Brad – UNDER. New England has faced a hodgepodge of mediocrity at TE thus far, giving up zero TDs to the position. Still, Gonzo, who's been negatively impacted by Roddy White's limitations, may be starting to show is age. Play the odds. Another goose egg awaits the future HOFer.
Brandon – OVER. Gonzo is 4th among tight ends in red zone targets, and I'm predicting a 28-27 victory over the Patriots so, yeah, I think Gonzo will be good for one of the four touchdowns I'm expecting the Falcons to score.
Scott – I'll give Gonzalez a prime-time spike, put me down for OVER. I'm not going to give the Patriots any major props for shutting down Kellen Winslow, Scott Chandler and - geesh, look at Tampa Bay's tight ends. This is a step up in class, and I expect New England's primary concern to be Julio Jones.
Maurice Jones-Drew, drawing what many consider a favorable matchup against the Colts, total yards in Week 4 84.5
Brandon – OVER. I find the history card hard to ignore for MoJo. In 13 career meetings with Indy, he has 13 touchdowns and has averaged over 130 yards from scrimmage. That the team seems to be ready to move away from the new zone blocking scheme it has been trying to implement should also be a positive for MoJo's fantasy value.
Scott – Have to push it UNDER. Indy's defense impressed me with its speed and physicality last week at San Francisco, and MJD hasn't been close to that total all season.
Andy – Hopefully everyone appreciates the phrasing of this over/under: "...what many consider a favorable matchup." Indy has not exactly stuff the run this year — the team allowed 7.5 YPC to Frank Gore just last week. MJD should get his this week. Gimme the OVER.
Ryan Broyles, playing his second game of the season and first without pizza hero Nate Burleson in the lineup, receptions against the Bears 5.5
Scott – Mmmmm, falling pizza. Broyles is ready to storm OVER this number. He secured all three of his targets last week (for a credible 34 yards) and obviously the Lions pass to set up the pass. Opportunity meets talent meets health. And if you can protect, you can make plays against the Chicago corners.
Andy – Ugh. Tough one. The number is gonna come in at five or six. Broyles barely played last week (17 snaps) and he managed to finish with three catches on three targets, so I'll take the OVER here.
Dalton – UNDER. I'm just not sure how healthy Broyles is, and I'd like to see him with the bullets flying before projecting six catches in a game against a decent defense.
Le'Veon Bell, who proclaimed his tender foot 100-percent Thursday, total yards in his regular season debut versus the Vikes in jolly old England 79.5
Andy – OVER. He will finish with 81 total yards and no scores. With 14 yards negated by penalty. This one I feel really good about. Nailed it.
Dalton – OVER. The Steelers' alternatives are just so bad, I wouldn't be surprised if Bell immediately becomes something of a workhorse. He gets a Minnesota front seven this week that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing backs this season.
Brad – OVER. It's true I dream of hugging Le'Veon's waist while riding on the back of his Harley at sunset, but he should earn at least 18-22 touches in his initial effort. Dwyer, Redman and Fragile Felix have done absolutely nothing to spark the ground game. And keep in mind, the Steelers O-line, which ranks No. 18 in run-blocking according to Pro Football Focus, isn't close to as bad as advertised. Minnesota is a sieve up front allowing 175.7 total yards per game to RBs. A hundo for Bell ... BOOK IT!
Josh Gordon, off a marvelous 10-146-1 showing against the aforementioned Vikings, receiving yards in the follow-up versus Cincinnati 69.5
Dalton – OVER. Gordon saw a whopping 19 targets last week, and Brian Hoyer looks like a possible upgrade at quarterback for Cleveland. I'm a full believer in Gordon's talent and already regard him as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver.
Brad – UNDER. Leon Hall, the Bengals' best cover corner, is doubtful with a hamstring injury, but with or without him, Gordon should come crashing back down to earth. Cincy's aggressive pass rush combined with its bracketing nature in downfield coverage should keep Gordon in the 60-65 yard range.
Brandon – OVER. It's hard to step off a bullish stance on a guy that was targeted 19 times in his first game back off suspension. And then there's the fact that a wide receiver has gone over this mark against Cincy in each of its three games. And if anyone Cleveland receiver is going to keep that streak alive, it's gonna be Gordon.
Badgered repeatedly thus far, Eli Manning combined sacks/turnovers at what will surely be a rowdy Arrowhead Stadium 4.5
Brad – OVER. Under relentless pressure thus far, Eli has folded like a house of cards. Justin Houston alone may exceed this number given how poorly the Giants o-line has executed.
Brandon – OVER. Manning has been sacked fourth-most among QBs, and KC leads the NFL in sacks. Oh, and let's not forget that Eli leads the league with eight INTs. The there's the fact that playing in Kansas City is among the least hospitable places to travel in the NFL. All signs are clearly pointing to the OVER here.
Scott – That's an easy OVER at Arrowhead. The Chiefs aren't a streaming defense anymore, they're a grab-and-hold defense. Heck, KC had four Pro Bowlers on defense last year during a 2-14 year (think about that) and the unit has been upgraded. The Giants offense line is a mess and Eli's starting to see ghosts.
Pick a passer: Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Min), Andrew Luck (at Jax), Philip Rivers (vs. Dal), Ryan Tannehill (at NO) and, assuming Terrelle Pryor is indeed inactive, Matt Flynn (vs. Wash)
Brandon – LUCK. I love Pryor's upside, but I think the safest bet among the group is Luck, drawing the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that he posted top 10 fantasy QB numbers against both times he faced them last season. The Jags are allowing the sixth-highest QB rating this season at 108.9.
Scott – Seen Minnesota's injury-riddled secondary? Save some fish and chips for BIG BEN and his two primary receivers, dazzling Antonio Brown and on-the-mend Heath Miller.
Andy – LUCK, but it's very close. It's tough not to like Big Ben in the Wembley game. There's a decent chance three of these guys will crack the top-10.
Dalton – RIVERS. I have him ranked much higher than the rest of these QBs this week, actually. I expect a shootout against Dallas, and it's tough not to buy into Rivers at this point. He has a 16:1 TD:INT ratio over his past eight games.
Brad – FLYNN/PRYOR. Many will think picking Flynn is too HUEVOSY, but this is a possible showcase game for the perpetual bridesmaid against the league's worst pass defense. Washington is beyond atrocious, yielding 9.8 yards per attempt to QBs. If the Raiders o-line, which has actually protected the pocket fairly well, can hold off the pass rush, the elevated backup is a viable candidate for 300-plus yards and a couple scores. If Pryor, who practiced Friday, gets the call, even better. There's shootout potential here.
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