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 9.
Keenan Allen, back in the saddle after scoring his first TD of the season, fantasy points scored against an underrated Miami secondary 9.9.
Dalton – UNDER. He has double-digit targets in three of the past five games but hadn’t scored all season until last week. Allen has also reached 75 receiving yards just once all year and will be facing a Miami secondary that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
Scott – UNDER, because Allen probably needs a touchdown to get past that number. The Chargers still take what you give them, they don't force the ball to anyone. This week to the side, Allen nonetheless looks like a WR2 for the second half of the year.
Brad – OVER. Allen has enticed 25 targets over the past two weeks. By far and away, he's the primary option for Rivers at wide receiver. Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes have been outstanding this season, but on another double-digit targets dose, Allen should amass a 6-70-1 line.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Combined yards for Michael Vick in Kansas City 239.5.
Andy – Oh, gross. UNDER. You might collect 50-plus rushing yards from Vick, which I suppose could lead to a respectable fantasy line. But I'd much rather play the QB on the other side of this matchup, Alex Smith.
Brandon – UNDER. At KC is a tough place for Vick to go over this number. Not only does KC allow the fewest passing yards per game to opposing QBs (215.4), but the defense has also yielded just 41 rushing yards to QBs this season, and that includes limiting dual threats like Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker and Ryan Tannehill.
Dalton – UNDER. Vick got 4.3 YPA while taking over QB duties last week, taking four sacks while fumbling four times as well. He committed three turnovers with a 49.9 QB Rating. Vick will be more prepared as the named starter this week, but he’ll also be on the road facing a Chiefs defense that has yielded the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. K.C. has allowed just 41 rushing yards to enemy signal callers this year.
Scott – So let me get this straight: the Jets have a backup QB who's lefthanded; inaccurate; needs simple reads; runs well; has trouble managing the pocket; makes a few splashy plays now and then. How lovely. They learned nothing from their Tebow mistake. Even with a bunch of rushing yards on the way, give me UNDER on everything Vick.
Brandon – WELKER. Peyton Manning has a knack for not letting his offensive weapons become wallflowers. We saw that with Emmanuel Sanders in Week 8 (9/120/3), who was coming off two consecutive disappointing games prior to that contest. And I also think that Welker is going to do anything and everything he can to stick it to his former team. I'm predicting 60 yards and a TD from him this week.
Dalton – WELKER. Edelman sure seems safer, as he’s averaged 8.6 targets per game this season while Welker has totaled just six looks over his past three games. But I’ll go against the grain here. Welker scored 10 times last year and has matched Edelman’s TD production this season despite seeing 45 fewer targets. I’m banking on Welker more likely to score.
Brad – WELKER. Yes, he's totaled just six catches (on six targets) for 63 yards and a TD over his past three games, but revenge should be a motivational factor.
Heath Miller, off a ridiculous 7-112-1 outburst against Indy, receiving yards in the follow-up against the Ravens 49.5.
Dalton – UNDER. He’s averaged right around this mark this season (48.4 ypg) and faces a Baltimore defense that has yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Before last week’s breakout, Miller had totaled 78 yards over his previous three games combined.
Andy – UNDER. He's failed to reach this number in five of his eight games, and he's been limited to 35 yards or less four times. Miller is basically never a great bet for a huge yardage total.
Scott – UNDER. No one pitched Miller more than I did in August, but I've given up the ghost. He's had too many poor games, too many no-shows, and we know he's not a speed target or someone who can beat you laterally. He'll also be needed to block plenty against the Ravens.
Bobby Rainey, the subject of much discussion in the Arcade this week, total touches against the woeful Browns 14.5.
Andy – OVER. Yes, Charles Sims is worth a flier, particularly in PPR formats. But Rainey has averaged 4.6 yards per carry for the season, and has generally looked like a much better back than Doug Martin (except when he's fumbling). I'm assuming the Bucs won't over-feed Sims in his debut. Rainey should be a strong play against a friendly Cleveland defense.
Scott – OVER. I'll believe the Sims story when I see it. Rainey has some ball security issues now and then, but he also makes positive plays when he's given the chance.
Dalton – OVER. Doug Martin seems unlikely to play, and the other competition is a rookie (Charles Sims) who has yet to take a snap in the NFL while coming off an injury. Rainey has had fumbling problems this year but has also averaged 4.6 YPC while impressing as a receiver. He’s clearly been the team’s best RB when on the field. Rainey could easily finish as a top-15 fantasy back in Week 9 against a shaky Browns run D.
Ben Roethlisberger, who crushed franchise records and fantasy opponent souls last week versus Indy, touchdowns tossed against the Jimmy Smith-less Ravens 2.5.
Brad – UNDER. Down Smith, the Ravens are definitely vulnerable, but they've yet to allow a passer to throw for three TDs in a game against them. In fact, Mike Glennon is the only QB to log a multi-TD game versus Baltimore this year. Big Ben has thrived in Todd Haley's no-huddle offense, but in a rivalry game, he crashes back down to earth.
Andy – I don't like to bank on big numbers from a Steelers-Ravens game. Ben should be an excellent play all year, but I've gotta take the UNDER here. Put me down for 277 yards, two TDs, one pick and five sacks.
Brandon – OVER. Baltimore will be without top corner Jimmy Smith, and the Ravens have had issues in pass defense even with Smith active. They allow nearly 275 passing yards per game and four pass plays of 20-plus yards. And Big Ben has been a rockstar at home, with a QB Rating of more than 125 (compared to 84 on the road).
Denard Robinson, off consecutive 100-yard performances, rushing yards against an underachieving Cincinnati defense 99.5.
Brandon – UNDER. Sorry, but three straight 100-yard rushing games is a tough feat for any RB (outside of Demarco Murray), let alone one that plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bengals haven't allowed a RB to reach 70 rushing yards at home this season, and I don't expect the Jags' to be able to hang close long enough in this contest for Robinson to get the volume needed to top the century mark.
Dalton – UNDER. The Bengals have given up an NFL-high 4.8 YPC this season, but they are also favored by 11 points in this game, so the Jaguars might be forced to throw the ball plenty. Robinson has impressed, but it’s tough to bank on any running back reaching 100 rushing yards three games in a row, let alone one whose 40 carries over the past two weeks nearly matched his total over his past 22 games combined.
Brad – UNDER. The Bengals have struggled mightily recently defending the run yielding 4.69 yards per carry to RBs. Still, Stevan Ridley is the only rusher to exceed the proposed number against them. Robinson has played splendidly over the past two weeks, but he falls just shy of triple-digits on the ground.
Rookie showdown. Who has the better PPR fantasy day: Donte Moncrief (at NYG), Martavis Bryant (vs. Bal) or Allen Robinson (at Cin)?
Dalton – ROBINSON. He’s up against a Cincy defense that has ceded the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but Robinson has scored in two straight games and has averaged 9.0 targets over the past six games, so he’s the safest bet.
Brad – MONCRIEF. With or without Reggie Wayne, the Ole Miss product will play a substantial role Monday night in New York. Prince Amukamua and DRC are a tough draw, but the rookie's terrific measurables, 4.40 40-yard wheels and ability to break through press coverage are standout qualities. He builds off a breakthrough week and finishes in range of 5-6 receptions, 65-75 yards with a touchdown.
Scott – ROBINSON, because he has the biggest role carved out. I'd like to believe in Moncrief getting a heavy share of work going forward, but the Colts are notorious for their slow pace on personnel swaps (they're the last to see the light on Richardson, Nicks and Fleener).
BOLD PREDICTION. The one wide receiver under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to finish with 15-plus PPR points in Week 8 is ____________.
Brad – STEVIE JOHNSON. Colin Kaepernick operated uninhibitedly in the first matchup, exerting his will via air and ground. In that game, Johnson went for five catches and 53 yards. He'll be even better in the rematch. Bank on 60 yards and a touch.
Scott – Someone has to soak up the extra St. Louis targets now that Brian Quick is done for the year; maybe KENNY BRITT is up to the task. He's been used regularly over his last five games (27 targets), and he returned a passable fantasy showing in two of those instances. They'll be throwing a bunch at San Francisco, probably in catch-up mode.
Brandon – ANDREW HAWKINS. There's a lot to love about Hawkins this week. He's facing one of the most generous pass defenses in the league in the Buccaneers. He's coming off a combined 12 catches, 200 yards and a TD in his past two contests. And Cleveland won't have Jordan Cameron available this week, so Hawkins should easily see double-digit targets. Banking on a seven-catch, 80-yard performance from Hawkins is probably being conservative.
Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 8.
Brandon – 1) MIA (-1.5) vs. SDG, 2) NE (+3.5) vs. Den, 3) Cin (-11) vs. Jax, 4) OVER 50.5, NYG-Ind, 5) UNDER 44, SF-Stl
Dalton – 1) Pit (+1) vs. Bal, 2) T.B. (+6.5) at Cle, 3) Cin (-11) vs. Jax, 4) SD (+1.5) at Mia, 5) SF (-10) vs. Stl
Scott – 1) Ravens -1, 2) Jags +11, 3) Chargers +1.5, 4) Pats/Broncos under 55, 5) Browns-Bucs over 43.5.
Brad – 1) Pit (+2) vs. Bal, 2) Mia (-1.5) vs. SD, 3) OVER 55 Den/NE, 4) NYG (+3) vs. Ind, 5) Jax (+11) at Cin
Andy – 1) Bal -2 at Pit, 2) SD +1.5 at Mia, 3) Under 55, Den-NE, 4) Ind -3 at NYG, 5) Cin -11 vs. Jac.
(Note: All I'm doing here is fading Brad, which is generally a prudent strategy. I put no thought into these selections; I am a terrible gambling resource. -AB)
(Evans note: For the record, I went 5-0 last week. Suck it, Behrens -BE)
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