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 8.
Darren McFadden, who hasn't surpassed 100 yards in three weeks, total yards at Kansas City 99.5
Brad — OVER. Dennis Allen has finally strayed away from running zone-blocking exclusively, installing more power back sets, which McFadden flourished in last year. KC is giving up 170.7 total yards per game to RBs on the year. Now or never.
Brandon — OVER. KC is allowing 171 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields. It feels like the week where a lot of people are ready to write off Run-DMC but he ends up pulling a Chris Johnson-like about-face.
Dalton — UNDER. KC has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs, but McFadden has got a pathetic 3.1 YPC on the year (and just 2.7 over the past three games). This could go either way, but I expect a desperate Chiefs team to win Sunday in Arrowhead, and Oakland's decision to go with a zone-blocking scheme remains a horrible match for its personnel.
Cam Newton combined passing/rushing yards at Chicago 249.5
Brandon — OVER. He's been over this mark in 16 of his 22 career games. I feel like this could be a letdown type scenario for the Bears, not that they'll lose, of course, but where Carolina produces a little better than expected on offense. Of course, that he's gone over 60 yards rushing in three of his past four games helps bolster my faith.
Dalton — UNDER. Newton has a strong 8.0 YPA mark this year, and he's chipped in another 45.5 rushing ypg too. But he's on the road facing a Bears team that has allowed an NFL-low 62.8 QB Rating that might be the best defense in the NFL, although admittedly playing from predominantly behind may help him reach this number.
Andy — OVER. This is such a low number for combined yards. Obviously the Bears defense has been terrific, but they'll allow you to move the ball a little before they rip it away.
Vincent Jackson, fresh off a franchise record 216 yards versus New Orleans, receiving yards at Minnesota 79.5
Dalton — UNDER. The Vikings have been great at preventing TDs by wide receivers this year but middle of the pack in yardage against. However, I'm thinking Jackson has been so impressive so far, he's going to be shadowed by Antoine Winfield, who by most measures has been the best cornerback in football this year.
Andy — UNDER. In case you'd forgotten, New Orleans' defense is terrible. Minnesota's is not.
Scott — UNDER. Jackson's on a roll but the timing is right for things to slow down; it's a short week, Minnesota's defense is surging (on all three levels), and Jackson's still battling that nasty groin injury.
Newly anointed Jags starter, Rashad Jennings, total yards at Green Bay 84.5
Andy — UNDER. This is really, really tight. The number feels right. Jacksonville's offense is one-dimensional, and Jennings is now that dimension. I don't think he'll quite hit 84, but it would shock me. Nor would a touchdown.
Scott — Push him OVER the total, as the Jaguars game plan will do all it can to hide Gabbert (and maybe Henne as well). And Jennings should play in all packages, no matter where the game situation goes.
Brad — OVER. Unless the Jaguars actually turn into real-life, man-eating cats this game is going to get lopsided in a hurry. Still, Jennings is a supreme receiver out of the backfield and will clean up in garbage time. Another 100 total yards on 25 touches seems realistic.
Which WR3 will make you shout with glee: Jeremy Kerley (vs. Mia), Josh Gordon (vs. SD) or Brandon Gibson (vs. NE)?
Scott — I'm going KERLEY for the targets and volume (he's clearly New York's best option), though I definitely see the case for all three. Gordon runs by people every week (a shame he has the Greg Little drop gene), and Gibson should find running room against that leaky New England secondary.
Brad — GORDON. I'm also rather fond of Kerley, but with Trent Richardson limited and due to San Diego's vulnerabilities in downfield coverage — the Chargers have allowed five pass plays of 40-plus yards — 'Flash' streaks his way to another 80 yards and a TD.
Brandon — KERLEY. Miami has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to WRs, and Kerley has more targets than the others. Plus, it's hard for me to imagine that the Chargers will let lightning strike for Flash Gordon for the fourth straight week. They'll be more than ready for him.
Bagel Boys Vernon Davis and Kyle Rudolph did nada last week. Who rebounds the strongest in Week 8?
Brad — VD. Arizona has done a marvelous job defending TEs this season. Brent Celek, Scott Chandler and Kyle Rudolph barely made a peep against the Cards. But like Rob Gronkowski, who torched 'Zona for 6-75-1 earlier this season, Davis is a hard-to-contain athletic freak. This week, he dunks footballs instead of donuts.
Brandon — RUDOLPH. The Red Zone Reindeer should benefit from Minnesota being able to get into the red zone often against Tampa Bay, a team that allows the fifth-most yards per play. VD has complained about defenses cutting off his routes, and now he faces Arizona, second-toughest in fantasy against TEs.
Andy — VERNON. Rudolph has the friendlier match-up, Vernon is the bigger talent, and I've got 'em back-to-back in my ranks. Flip a coin. Think both can go top-10.
Stevan Ridley rushing yards at St. Louis 69.5
Brandon — UNDER. Only two RBs have topped this mark against the Rams this season and Ridley continues to give a lot of touches away to Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen/Brandon Bolden.
Andy — UNDER. The St. Louis defensive front has really shut down the run over the last three weeks. I'd be a little worried, were I a Ridley owners.
Dalton — OVER. I'm undaunted by his lackluster previous two games. Ridley is clearly New England's No. 1 back and is still on pace to finish with 309 carries, which would have been the second most in the NFL last year. This being on a neutral field and not a true road game helps as well.
A well-rested Philip Rivers passing yards at Cleveland 279.5
Andy — OVER. But I'm not going to guarantee that he won't turn the ball over four times.
Dalton — UNDER. I don't have a strong feel here, but I'll bank on SD's defense stopping a mediocre Cleveland offense and Ryan Mathews finally breaking out. Either way, it's funny last year Rivers was (rightfully) considered a huge disappointment while getting 7.9 YPA. He has a 7.1 YPA with a 10:9 TD:INT ratio so far this season.
Scott — The shot-put man is going UNDER the number this week. The Chargers will be back to basics with a balanced offense after the bye, and Cleveland's perfectly willing to make this a 17-13 type of slugfest (Pat Shurmur never met a spineless decision he didn't like).
Larry Fitzgerald receiving yards versus San Francisco 74.5
Dalton — UNDER. The 49ers have allowed an NFL-low 5.9 YPA on the year. And this number is nearly 10 yards above Fitz's average so far this season. Both of those stats could prove meaningless Monday night, but in a one game sample I'll go with the odds.
Scott — OVER. Fitzgerald never stops fighting the good fight, no matter how dire the setup might appear, and he might get a little extra juice from the Monday night stage. Fitzy's last three games against the Gold Rush: 21 catches, 315 yards, three scores.
Brad — OVER. Call me Mr. Optimistic, but Arizona should be surprisingly competitive in a pivotal divisional battle Monday night. With a start under his belt, John Skelton will hone in on No. 11. In 16 career games versus the Niners, Fitz has averaged 81.0 yards per game.
Which RB has the most FLEX appeal: Mikel Leshoure (vs. Sea), Vick Ballard (at Ten), Alex Green (vs. Jac) or Felix Jones (vs. NYG)
Dalton — JONES. He's disappointed me almost always, so why would I stop now? Actually, among these options, I'll call him the lesser of all evils.
Scott — I haven't seen LESHOURE play a poor game yet (despite a nasty schedule to this point), and he's collected 17 touches or more in every start. He's a much safer pick than the community seems to realize.
Brad — LESHOURE. As Frank Gore proved last week, Seattle's defensive front, though outstanding, is far from invincible. Leshoure reached the second level twice last week in Chicago and looks close to busting a big gainer. Expected to log another 18-22 touches, he'll be the best of the bunch despite the daunting matchup.
Brandon — GREEN. Love the matchup against a Jags defense allowing fourth-most fantasy points per game to RBs; love the back-to-back weeks of 20-plus carries; love that head coach Mike McCarthy called him out for leaving yards on the field last week. He'll be motivated, and he should have a big second half workload as Green Bay milks a lead.
Andy — GREEN. Easy. Not close. And who the heck invited Ballard to this awful party?
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