All your favorite NFL Fantasy analysts (and the other ones, too) spend all week pouring over data, slogging through hours of game film and debating amongst each other to give you the best advice on what to do with your fake football squads. In this space, however, as the work week comes to an end we'll crank up the heat a bit more than usual and go off the map. Every week, our analysts will drop their boldest predictions and inevitably dance around their desks with idiotic grins if they ever happen to come true. If said predictions go belly up, we shall never speak of them again.
With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree tangling with the Redskins' talented corners in Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, Jared Cook will find space to roam over the middle of the field. He'll break off a long touchdown, which for tight ends in 2017 is really all they need to finish near the top of the heap.
If there's one thing we've learned in the first two weeks, it's that you can start your tight ends with confidence against the Giants. I mean, if Jason Witten can waltz through Big Blue's defense, how much better can the Eagles current leading pass-catcher be? On the other side, not much has gone right with Eli Manning and the Giants offense but there has been an awakening with New York's rookie tight end. While Odell Beckham Jr. is still looking to get right, Manning needs easy targets to get the ball to. Time for Engram to step up.
Rex Burkhead is out and all of the Patriots' pass catchers are seemingly nursing ailments as well, leaving plenty of opportunities up for grabs (pun fully intended). Houston showed they have the ability to pressure Brady and a good counter to said pass rush is to throw screens into the pressure. That is where Lewis thrives. With Burkhead set to be inactive, Lewis profiles as the team's best between-the-20s back and he could be in line for a nice "five-catch, 50-yards and a touchdown" type game.
Newton has looked very rusty in his first two starts, but a struggling Saints pass defense should be good for what ails him. On the flip side, Carolina's defense has been good (albeit against lesser quarterbacks), so Brees is no lock to post a monster stat line in what will be a difficult divisional road game.
Listen. I know we like to have a lot of fun with these predictions. Most of us are willing to stick our necks out there for something super bold. But right now you're probably all, BUT RANK THAT'S TOO BOLD! And I know that it is. Trust me, I do. But as part of the Rank Brand, I need to step it up each week. And while this looks like the most ridiculous, outlandish and nearly impossible of a prediction, I'm going to stick with it.
First of all, I would like to say that unlike my friend Adam Rank, I never say anything outlandish or have any fun with this article. Ever. I am all business all of the time. This week I happen to agree with Rank and will specify that I think Dalton throws that touchdown to A.J. Green. I have already made my stance clear on that, though, so being the good serious person that I am, my bold stance is predicting a touchdown for each of the following people:
But ... but the Seahawks. Yeah, yeah. Were you living under a rock last week when Carlos Hyde shredded Seattle's defense (at home!)? Are you aware that DeMarco Murray's hamstring injury has kept him out of practice all week? Have you overlooked the fact that Henry averaged 6.5 yards per carry in Week 2? Are you not privy to the fact that the Titans boast one of the best, if not the top offensive line in the entire NFL? Do you like watching monstrous running backs run over linebackers for four quarters? Are you sick of questions?
Sunday is either going to be the most fun day I've ever had at this job, or literally one of the worst. I've been a big Rashard Higgins fan since he posted a stellar performance in Reception Perception, testing out at the elite level in terms of beating man coverage. He's the exact kind of receiver I fall for; detailed technician that isn't big, flashy or overly athletic. Now, the stars are all aligning for him to post a big encore to his seven-catch, 95-yard 2017 debut last week. Higgins lined up in the slot on 90 percent of his Week 2 plays and the Colts allowed the third-most yards to slot receivers through the first two weeks of the season. I believe Higgins is a legitimately good NFL player who is just now getting his first real chance. It sounds like I've talked enough other people into believing it too, considering all the tweets I'm getting about people adding him because of that 2016 pre-draft article. So, yes, I really want this to happen in addition to actually believing it will happen.