It’s time for another season of bad bets based in good process, better known as Bold Predictions.
In this series, we’ll look at weekly match ups, using history as a contextual backdrop – as well as in-season trends – in order to unearth unexpected events that have a chance at coming true.
Now we’re rolling.
After a fruitless first four weeks, we’ve hit three predictions in the last two weeks.
- Frankly, I never expected to hit the “Saquon Barkley scores 26.4 points and passes Kareem Hunt for the best six-game rookie RB start ever” pick. It was just another a sacrifice at the alter of interesting factoids, but wow. Barkley made an elite NFL run defense look like the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice squad.
- I really thought I had a chance at John Brown outscoring Antonio Brown, but it is now confirmed that the latter is indeed the NFL’s best WR named Brown.
- The Chiefs and Patriots came through on the promise of a big game, producing six top-12 positional finishes, as promised.
We’re now three for 18 on the year, hitting at 14.3 percent.
Let’s stay hot and make it three weeks in a row with a win.
Melvin Gordon Becomes the Wembley Stadium G.O.A.T.
As if 26.4 wasn’t a hard enough, we’re aiming even higher this week, and 28.1 is the target.
The record for most fantasy points scored by a running back at London’s Wembley Stadium belongs to, who else, LaDainian Tomlinson. He scored 28 in a 2008 game against the Saints, but I predict Melvin Gordon will hold London’s RB Crown Jewels after this week.
Like last week’s Barkley prediction, the GLSP App sees this number as just barely out of reach.
In reality, 28.1 is child’s play for an RB who’s cracked 30 points in half his games this year.
Much like Barkley, it really doesn’t matter if the Chargers are ahead or behind — Gordon’s going to get his regardless.
Coming off a three-TD, 32-point explosion in Week 6, Gordon now gets a Titans run defense so bad that it finally managed to make Alex Collins an RB1.
Antonio Callaway Finally Breaks Out as a WR1
Callaway has been cast as a massive disappointment this season, and fair enough. He’s the WR68, sandwiched between Pierre Garcon and Zay Jones.
However, his usage suggests a breakout is coming.
- He’s getting WR1-level Air Yards, racking up the 12th most among all WRs.
- Despite the drops, the Browns keep feeding the 21-year old. He has double-digit targets in two games this year, including 10 last week against the Chargers.
- His 25 percent of team Air Yards compares favorably with No. 1 WR, Jarvis Landry.
This is not the Air Yards profile of someone who will continue to languish.
What makes this week different? He takes on Tampa Bay, the dream team for WR breakouts.
Through five games, the Buccaneers have surrendered seven instances of at least 17 PPR points to opposing WRs.
They give up 204 yards per game to opposing WRs, fourth most in the league.
Given the expected points Callaway is posting on a weekly basis, Tampa Bay may be the perfect remedy for what ails him.
Robert Woods Outscores Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins
Robert Woods is quietly having a phenomenal season. The overall WR7 on the year, he also ranks eighth in Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR) and seventh in yards, despite placing just 15th in targets.
However, his workload is about to get heavier. His target share spiked last week after Cooper Kupp was knocked out of the game.
Kupp remains out again against the 49ers, a team which has given up at least 15 points to opposing WRs on seven different occasions this year.
Hopkins and Thomas may be third and fifth in WR points per game respectively, but against Baltimore and Jacksonville, their matchups are about as bad as it gets.
Thomas in particular is trending in the wrong direction. With no real No. 2 WR, and no Mark Ingram to start the season, he was the featured piece. Now, with Ingram back and Tre’Quan Smith emerging, the Saints are spreading it around, leading to less opportunity for Thomas.
It’s not a new trend either. Going back to his rookie year, Thomas’ targets, receptions, yards, and TDs all dip considerably when Ingram plays.
As for Hopkins, he gets a Jaguars pass defense that isn’t exactly peaking right now. Still, in his last four games against Jacksonville, he’s failed to hit 90 yards and has topped out at 18.4 fantasy points.