Bold Fantasy Football Predictions
Nobody likes to brag about a bold prediction more than me. If you’ve listened to me ramble on The Empire Fantasy Podcast throughout the summer you know I have nailed a few predictions this year, including Ty Montgomery as a breakout player, Andrew Luck a Fantasy Bust, and that you should draft Evan Engram as he’s more than a prototypical fantasy rookie tight end.
My NFL Picks have also been strong this year as I’m leading the staff in Pick’em Straight up and against the spread (for the time being).
- Straight up 43-20
- Against the Spread 39-20 (61%)
The following are 7 bold fantasy predictions based on how I see some of week five’s games shaping up.
7. Bears Mitch Trubisky Cracks Top 15 as Fantasy QB and Upsets Vikings MNF
Bears first-round pick Mitch Trubisky is getting his NFL debut start on primetime Monday Night Football against a Vikings team who leads the NFL in defensive 3rd down percentage. Not an ideal matchup, but there is a combination of things that make me like him this week.
For starters, the Vikings just lost Dalvin Cook (ACL) for the season, a rookie sensation that has not only ran for 81.9% of all of the teams rushing yardage this season, but has made life easy for fill-in quarterback Case Keenum. Cook had 66 yards and the only score for the Vikings last week at home against the Detriot Lions before getting hurt. After Cook left the game, the team struggled to make plays. Not everyone is a believer that a strong running game can help your passing attack, but the four worst teams in the NFL at running the ball right now (Giants, Dolphins, Chargers, Cardinals) have a combined 3-12 record and are scoring less than 19 points a game on average. The Vikings have played three of their four games this season at home and were completely flat in their one road contest this season. Even if Sam Bradford possibly suits up this week, I feel the loss of Dalvin Cook will cripple the Vikings offense until they learn how to adjust.
The excitement of the Bears franchise quarterback getting his first NFL start in combination with the Vikings losing workhorse Dalvin Cook and being on the road week five will allow Mitch Trubisky time to settle in and make plays. The Bears rank 5th in the NFL in rushing defense and have been playing better than most will give them credit for. Mitch Trubisky should be able to lean on Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to make plays as he chips away at a decent fantasy performance.
6. Jets Overlook the Browns and Get Torched on the Road
The 2-2 New York Jets are supposed to be in a rebuild mode. Fans had already accepted the fact that they were to burn this season and land a franchise QB in the NFL draft next spring. However, the optimistic Jets are 2-2 this year and are playing the 0-4 Browns Sunday. They have a chance to face their most hated division rival the New England Patriots next week with a winning record. This is a classic “Overlook” game. The Jets and their newfound sense of confidence will assume the Browns will be a pushover. My prediction is the Jets come out extremely flat on the road this week. The Jets have won two straight games, beating the Dolphins in week three, and squeaked out a win against the Jag’s in overtime last Sunday. The Jets have their eyes set on conquering the Patriots at home in week six and will botch this week’s game against a desperate Browns team that will have Myles Garrett in the lineup for the first time this year.
Quick DFS/Fantasy Points
- Myles Garrett’s NFL debut
- McCown has been sacked 12 times and has lost two fumbles this season
- Browns DT Danny Sheldon returns from injury
- Isaiah Crowell on thin ice, massive opportunity for Duke Johnson to steal the job
- Fanduel giving no love to Myles Garrett, Browns DEF priced at $4300
Reference Link: Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland.com
5. LeGarrette Blount Gets 20 Carries and Finds the Endzone Against the Cardinals
Eagles head coach Doug Peterson tends to reward the players that play well for him and often stick to what’s working. Since the loss to the Chiefs in week two, a game in which Blount got zero carries, the workload distribution has slowly crept more and more his way. Apparent factors have played into this decision including the loss or Darren Sproles for the year, but big runs against the Giants and Chargers at key moments of the game seemed to get Blount out of the doghouse so to speak. As I mentioned on The Empire Podcast this week with Mitchell Renz, the Cardinals at Eagles game really boils down to Philly’s pass rush versus the Cardinals offensive line. If the Eagles can get pressure on Carson Palmer, which I believe they can, the Eagle should create turnovers and set up Blount with easy scores.
4. Alex Collins Rushes for 100 Yards and Scores a TD
The Ravens have struggled to generate offense the past two weeks, scoring just 16 total points in the last two games. Joe Flacco posted the worst passer rating of any regular-season game in his career in the team’s blowout loss to the Jaguars week three, followed by a flat divisional performance against the Steelers last Sunday. However, despite how awful things have been, running back Alex Collins has been the lone bright spot. Collins, a Seahawks 5th round pick in 2016, was promoted off the Ravens Practice squad week two and has 206 rushing yards on just 25 carries (8.2 YPC).
This week, the Ravens travel to Oakland to take on a Raiders team dealing with similar issues. The Raiders have dropped their past two games, only generating 10 points on offense in each contest. QB Derek Carr (questionable, back) is campaigning to play this week, but I believe they’ll rest him as the team has a divisional matchup against the Chargers in week six. Either way, this game should be low scoring and close. If the Ravens don’t panic and abandon their running game, they should easily be able to put Collins in a position to rack up yardage on the ground. Collins has yet to see more than nine carries in any of the three games he’s played in, my prediction is that he gets at least 15 touches in this contest.
3. Larry Fitzgerald is PPR Gold with 10 Receptions vs. Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles corners have struggled against slot wide receivers and bigger body types this season. I fully expect the Cardinals to move Larry Fitzgerald all over the field getting the ball in his hands early and often. Fitzgerald had 13 receptions for 149 yards and score against the Cowboys week three and I see a similar type day against the Eagles. The Boo-Birds have been prone to giving up big passing plays this season and with DT Fletcher Cox out again this week, the struggle to get pressure on Palmer will be an issue throughout this game. Fitz has always played well against the Eagles (below)
Larry Fitzgerald History vs. Eagles
2. Texans Shut Down Kareem Hunt (sort of)
Does it get any bolder than that?
Shutting down Kareem Hunt is the Texans ultimate goal. While I still think Hunt has an above average day, I believe the defensive gameplan will be to try to blanket Hunt throughout this meeting. The Redskins last week limited Hunt to just 4.8 yards per carry and I believe the Texans will slightly improve on that. This will be a huge test for the Texans as they have yet to face an elite running back this season, but are a team trending upwards. If Houston can control the time of possession and overcommit to stopping the run I believe they hold Hunt to less than 100 yards. This bold prediction is pure gut feeling, I’m not going to be able to find any stats that say Hunt won’t continue to dominate, I just personally believe he’s due for an off game.
1. RB Wayne Gallman Breaks Out for Giants in a Big Way
The Giants inability to run the ball with any success this season has restricted the teams passing game and playcalling. Without any threat of a rushing attack has created a one-dimensional offense which has allowed defenders to focus all of their energy on shutting down the Giants wide receivers. Wayne Gallman looks quicker off the line and has shown better vision than all the other Giants backfield combined. Gallman’s name was mentioned in our Waiver Wire article to kick off the week and has been a buzzing player throughout many of the week 5 storylines.
The matchup couldn’t be better. The Giants are at home facing an LA Chargers team that ranks second to last against the run. The Chargers have allowed on average 163 rushing yards per game and rank 23rd in defensive points per game allowed. In order for this prediction to come true, the Giants need to stick to running the ball. Their play-calling has been questionable the last few weeks but this matchup is almost too perfect to screw up. The Chargers are making a cross-country trip and maybe without LB Jatavis Brown (Ankle) who leads the team in Tackles.
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