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.
Terrorizing defenses with Darren McFadden on the shelf, Rashad Jennings has not only earned the right to a significant role once DMC returns, but possibly the bulk of the carries. Total yards against visiting Tennessee 124.5.
Brandon – OVER – With Run-DMC out again, another robust workload is in store for Jennings this week, and he's been up to the task so far this season, averaging 137 yards from scrimmage in the four games in which he's exceeded 10 touches. With Tennessee giving up 144 yards from scrimmage to the RB position, eighth-most in the NFL, I see a clear path for Jennings to reach beyond this mark.
Brad – OVER. Gamers, Jennings is an uncontainable beast. Over the past three weeks, he's steamrolled over the competition, gaining 66.0-percent of his yards after initial contact while chewing up 147.3 total yards per game. Against a Titans D that's allowed 144.2 total yards per game, he sails over the above aggressive number.
Andy – UNDER. I think Jennings is a strong play this week, and I'm confident he'll be featured by Oakland. But this is a huge number. So many things need to go right for a back to top 120 yards. A dud performance by the Matt McGloin-led Raiders offense is definitely a possibility
Inexplicably benched by Gary Kubiak last week, Case Keenum, optimistic he will redeem himself, passing touchdowns against Jacksonville 1.5
Brad – OVER. What Kubiak did last week was beyond idiotic, but the temporary demotion may light a fire underneath the rookie. The Jags have given up 2.0 passing touchdowns per game this season and the third-most fantasy points to the QB position. Look for Keenum to display a steely resolve.
Andy – OVER, by 0.5. I think the Texans will lean hard on Ben Tate this week, but a pair of passing scores for Keenum is still entirely doable.
Scott – EASY OVER. Stupid Kubiak has learned the error of his ways, and Keenum has a terrific rapport with his targets, especially Andre Johnson. A big afternoon is coming.
Same game, different name. Maurice Jones-Drew, arguably one of the biggest disappointments of the fantasy season, total yards against the Texans 79.5
Andy – UNDER. My expectation is that Houston will basically build an MJD-proof wall at the line of scrimmage.
Scott – If you want to talk Cecil Shorts, okay. Passing lane MJD is dead to me. UNDER is the play.
Dalton – UNDER. MJD has salvaged some fantasy value by scoring in each of his past two games, but he's reached 80 yards from scrimmage just once over his past five contests and twice all season, reaching 90 only one time. Jones-Drew has clearly lost a step (or three) and plays on a team that is 10-point underdogs Sunday against a team that is 2-8. Go under here.
Future Papa John's franchisee, Nate Burleson, receptions (vs. TB) in his first action since Week 3 4.5
Scott – I'm not an aggressive first-week back guy, unless it's a significant talent. Bury the UNDER. But the pizza story is terrific, so we've got that.
Dalton – OVER. It's a bit of a reach since he hasn't played since Week 3, but Burleson averaged 6.3 receptions (and 79.7 yards) on 26 targets before going down this season. Moreover, Calvin Johnson is going to be shadowed by Darrelle Revis on Sunday, so Burleson should immediately be relied upon.
Brandon – UNDER. Burleson has been out a long time, and he may not see a full snap load, especially if the Lions get out to an early lead. I think Burleson is a nice pickup for the stretch run, but I see him coming in just under this mark in his first game back. Now, if Matthew Stafford was slinging pizza instead of a pigskin, I'd definitely take the over ...
Antonio Brown, expected to draw shutdown corner Joe Haden in Cleveland, receiving yards against the Browns 69.5
Dalton – UNDER. Brown has averaged a whopping 95.2 receiving yards per game this season, which is the third-most in the NFL (minimum six games played), but I do worry about the Haden factor. The Cleveland cornerback has allowed a 56.8 QB Rating on passes thrown his way this year. There are only seven CBs who've yielded a lower rating, and all of them have played significantly lower snaps than Haden.
Brandon – OVER. I have a healthy respect for Haden, but the same also goes for Brown, who has gone over this number in eight of 10 games. Brown leads the league in Catch% at WR (73.3), which means that he's got a nice chemistry with Big Ben, and he's going to be a hard man for Haden to keep down completely. I'll say Brown gets just over this mark, with something like 70-75 yards.
Brad – UNDER. Calvin Johnson, granted he was banged up, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe and A.J. Green all failed to eclipse even 30 yards against Haden. The blanket-man, who's allowed 9.3 yards per catch to his assignments, makes Brown his next victim.
Quietly a targets hog over the past two weeks with Scott Tolzien under center, Jarrett Boykin receiving yards against a depleted Minnesota secondary 84.5
Brandon – OVER. This one should be pretty easy. Boykin has gone over this number in four of his past five games, including both games in which Tolzien has played. And the Vikings have allowed the ninth-most yards to the WR position, including the 89 yards Boykin posted on them in Week 8.
Brad – OVER. Tolzien-to-Boykin may be a connection similar to Thelma-to-Louise, but the two are clearly on the same page. Over the past two weeks, they've connected for 14 receptions and 203 yards. Minnesota's skeleton crew on pass defense will prove to be little match.
Andy – UNDER. No matter the matchup, this sure seems like a big number for a secondary receiver tied to a sketchy backup QB.
Delanie Walker, the apple of Ryan Fitzpatrick's eye last Thursday against Indy, receptions in the encore against Oakland 5.5
Brad – OVER. Fitzpatrick's reliance on the intermediate pass game meshes perfectly with Walker's skill set. Last week, the pair connected 10 times (on 10 targets) for 91 yards and a score. Oakland has held TEs to just 36.0 yards per game, but I suspect Walker will be a centerpiece in the Titans' vertical game-plan.
Andy – OVER. I've added Walker in three leagues this week, so I'm willing this to happen. Targets certainly haven't been scarce for Delanie with Fitzpatrick behind center — he's seen 18 looks over his last two games.
Scott – OVER. Short routes, reliable hands. Plays right into Fitzpatrick's game.
Bobby Rainey, who forced this 'expert' to embarrassingly sing "Call me Maybe" to Kay Adams as payment for a lost bet, total yards at Detroit 99.5
Andy – UNDER, but not by much. I just don't think Rainey is gonna see 30 touches this week, in a game where Tampa Bay seems likely to fall behind. I like his chances to get 80-plus yards and a score, but think he falls just short of triple-digits.
Scott – UNDER, though the volume will be nice. Detroit's front seven has been balling in recent weeks. Atlanta's leaky front seven had a lot to do with the Rainey Day.
Dalton – OVER. The Bucs aren't nearly as bad right now as their record suggests, and Rainey looked highly impressive last week. It may take some check downs while playing from behind as big underdogs, but it's not crazy to consider Rainey a top 12ish fantasy back this week, so projecting 100 yards from scrimmage is no stretch.
Cecil Shorts, who called his two late targets last week against Arizona " (expletive) dumb," total targets this week against Houston 12.5
Scott – OVER, as I teased earlier. You complain, you get fed. We've seen this 1,000 times.
Dalton – UNDER. He averaged 12.6 targets over the first five games this year and should theoretically see a ton of looks as double-digit dogs Sunday and without Justin Blackmon. However, Shorts has seen only 6.6 targets over his last five games since that beginning stretch, thanks almost entirely to injuries, with the latest being a groin that has kept him limited throughout practice this week. Him facing a Houston secondary that has allowed by far the fewest receptions to opposing WRs this year doesn't help either.
Brandon – UNDER. I'm spurning the "Squeaky Wheel gets the Grease" philosophy this week, as Jacksonville's passing game has looked awful in recent weeks, and especially since Justin Blackmon was suspended. And Jonathan Joseph and the Houston Texans pass defense is a very tall order for any wideout, let alone one that is averaging 32 yards in his past two games and hasn't scored in his past five. Houston hasn't allowed more than 12 targets to a WR this season, and I don't expect Shorts to be the first.
Which secondary RB has the most FLEX appeal: Donald Brown (at Ari), Andre Ellington (vs. Ind) or Chris Ogbonnaya (vs. Pit).
Dalton – ELLINGTON. He's coming off an extremely disappointing game in a favorable matchup, but he's clearly more talented than Ogbonnaya, and Brown faces an Arizona defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this year. Ellington is getting 6.2 YPC this season and should see around 15 touches Sunday.
Brandon – ELLINGTON. Nothing says "Flex Appeal" like a running back facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have allowed the fifth-most yards from scrimmage to the RB position (148 per game) and the fifth-most rush plays of 10-plus yards (37).
Brad – OGBONNAYA. Over the past five weeks, the versatile RB has seen his snap count grow from 20 to 48. Off a 99 total yard game and facing a Steelers D that's surrendered the ninth-most fantasy points to RBs, he's the top of the above class.
Andy – ELLINGTON, and I don't see this as being particularly close.
Scott – BROWN is your Huckleberry. Anything that steers you away from Trent Richardson will make you happy.
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