All your favorite NFL Fantasy analysts (and the other ones, too) spend all week pouring over data, slugging through hours of game film and debating amongst each 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.
Plenty of fantasy managers streamed George Kittle last week and came away sorely disappointed. Well, I say go back to the well this week against the Eagles, who just lost their great coverage linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season. As a result, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis ran roughshod over the Eagles secondary Monday night, and I'd expect more of the same from Kittle. Plus, the 49ers could be in a pass-heavy game script early in this one, which would only increase Kittle's chances of racking up fantasy production.
For as good of a real defense as the Vikings have, it's been a pretty mediocre fantasy unit and ranks just 17th overall. But going overseas is a chance to find yourself and be the defense that you wish you could be at home around your friends and family. With this chance to get loose against
DeShone Kizer and the floundering Browns, the Vikes could post their first 20-point outing of the season -- which will be far more than anyone wearing an orange helmet will muster.
Is there any one player having a better week than JuJu Smith-Schuster? I will answer that question for you. No. No, there is not. JuJu is having fun and at the same time carving out his own space in the Steelers offense as a big-bodied slot receiver. With Martavis Bryant now benched for Sunday versus the Lions, in primetime no less. my bold prediction is that Smith-Schuster will have his first 100-yard receiving game.
Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins all have tremendous matchups this week, and all are virtual must-starts as a result. Each member of this trio ranks in the top-seven in fantasy points at the position, and I wouldn't be shocked to see all three rank in the top five among Week 8 signal-callers. I'd also wager Prescott, Wentz and Cousins will outscore the combined totals of Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Deshaun Watson.
*Check the forecast on Sunday as strong wind gusts and up to 2" of rain could hit the Philadelphia area. *
Okay, PSA over. Now as to why:
- Don't fall victim to recency bias. Yes, the Niners had a rough outing last outing and yes, the Eagles dominated. But, in the 49ers four losses, they've lost by a COMBINED 11 points (notably: by three in Seattle, and by two in Washington). Further, their games have averaged the most plays in the league, so far this season.
- The Eagles spread the ball around a lot. Wentz' league-leading 17 TD passes have been caught by 8 different receivers, and the running back volume has been more balanced than fantasy players might like, with Wentz as the second-leading rusher on the team.
Since Deshaun Watson has taken over as quarterback of the Houston Texans, he has averaged about 267 passing yards with three-plus touchdowns and 30 rushing yards in four starts. I'm not sure how your scoring is determined, so I don't want to place a point value on this. But it's fair to say he's not going to reach his average in passing yards and he's not throwing three touchdowns. He's thrown four interceptions in four starts, but I feel like he has at least three in this game. His rushing is probably going to be under, or right around his average, as well. This is a good Seahawks defense (you can read more about it here at nfl.com/unpopular). Watson is not going to reach is already lofty totals. I'm thinking more like 212 passing yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 25 rushing yards and maybe a rushing touchdown.
I know the Bengals offensive line is one of the worst this season, and rookie running back Joe Mixon hasn't been able to produce behind it, even when given a high-volume workload. But the Colts have allowed more rushing touchdowns to running backs (eight) than any other defense. They've also allowed 357 receiving yards to backs, which is a bottom-10 mark. If Mixon can't get it done this week, in what is the ideal matchup of the season for the Bengals' backfield, it may be time to give up on him as a startable fantasy asset going forward.
Currently resting outside the top-50 PPR backs on the year, I'm here to tell you this is the Jamaal Charles week. Obviously, let's get the most important factor out of the way; this is a revenge game. The Chiefs parted ways with the veteran back in the offseason and this will be the first time in his career he faces the squad with whom he played for nine years. Additionally, Charles ranks inside the top-10 in Next Gen Stats' "yards after close," a metric I trust in evaluating how elusive a running back is and quantifies how much they're creating for themselves. He still has some juice left. Denver needs to try something new on offense given their putrid efforts the last two weeks. A little extra sprinkling of Charles could be just what they need.