“I never saw it coming.”
In this bold predictions series, we’ll look at weekly matchups, 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.
The slump is over thanks to a record rookie performance and the Jets pass defense. We hit two of four Bold Predictions in Week 6, with a career-worst rushing outing from Kareem Hunt being the only thing keeping us from a perfect week:
- Hunt needed 96 rushing yards, two TDs and 3.4 fantasy points to become the leader in those categories through the first six games to start a career. While Hunt had 89 yards receiving, he was held to just 21 yards on the ground.
- As predicted, the New York Jets made Tom Brady look human, holding him to just 257 yards passing.
- Christian McCaffrey needed 49 receiving yards to give him the best such mark through the first six games of an RB’s career since 2016. It took him 10 receptions to get there, but the rookie put up 56 yards through the air to pass Reggie Bush and Jahvid Best for the record.
- The fourth prediction was that we’d go three for three on those predictions, but we missed on Hunt.
That brings our Bold Predictions record to 3 for 20 (15 percent). That’s right around the mark we’re aiming for. Let’s keep the hot streak alive in Week 7 with a couple of guest predictions from two fellow RotoVizers this week.
Interlude – Amari Cooper Returns to the NFL
Hey everyone, this is Shawn breaking into your programming.1 I’m moving Cort to 4 for 21, as his prediction this week was for Amari Cooper to gain 100 yards. As he said himself, that shouldn’t be such a bold prediction, but Cooper had gone 14 contests without posting a 100-yard game. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick Cooper for 200 yards and 44 fantasy points. That would have been worth double in the scoring-keeping category.
Cooper’s explosion was a relief to fantasy owners everywhere, and with byes, injuries, and underperformance rampant around the league, it’s likely you still had Cooper in most lineups. It’s only disappointing that it had to come against my Kansas City Chiefs, and that Michael Crabtree, the man who usually benefits from defensive attention on Cooper, was still bailed out by a game-winning score on the final play.
Before we get to the guest predictions this week, here are a couple of rapid-fire picks:
- Marlon Mack will take gain 150 yards from scrimmage, score on the ground and through the air, and take over the Indianapolis backfield for good. With Andrew Luck reportedly suffering a setback, the Colts are now playing for 2018. Mack was an underrated prospect who’s been talked up by Chuck Pagano in recent weeks. A Jaguars defense that is elite against the pass but awful against the run (31st in yards/game and last in yards/attempt) will help Mack rebound from a disappointing Week 6.
- Chris Ivory will make everyone forget Leonard Fournette … for one week. Fournette hasn’t exactly been a revelation — people were expecting this. Considered the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson from almost the first day he stepped on campus at LSU, Fournette has blown the doors off the NFL with over 700 yards from scrimmage, 7 TDs, and 21.7 fantasy points per game. With Fournette dominating, it’s easy to forget that Ivory has rolled up 143 receiving yards and ranks 14th in fantasy points over expected as a receiver (reFPOE). The back who caught only five passes in his first four seasons is now an elite three-down player. After all, we’re talking about the AFC leader in rushing yards from 2015.
Now, I’ll turn it back over to Cort as he brings you a couple of top-notch guest predictions.
C.J. Beathard – 300 yards & 2 TDs
This Bold Prediction comes courtesy of Heith Kruger, who likes the 49ers’ third-round rookie to make a splash in his first full start against the Dallas Cowboys with at least 300 yards passing and a pair of TD tosses.
The Cowboys secondary has given up 21 or more fantasy points to 3 of the last four QBs they have faced, including Trevor Siemian and Carson Palmer.
This prediction is bold indeed, considering the Cowboys have only given up 300 yards passing once this season — to Aaron Rodgers — but Beathard played well against a good Washington secondary, putting up 245 yards and a TD in only three quarters of play.
Were the rookie able to crack 300 yards passing and two TDs, it would mark one of the great rookie debuts any QB has made against the Cowboys in this century. Only one rookie has managed to crack 300 yards versus Dallas since 2000.
As an aside, Heith also loves the 49ers chances up upsetting the Cowboys, partly because, despite being 0-6, San Francisco has only lost by a combined differential of 13 points over the last 5 weeks.
Bennie Fowler – Top 24 WR
His prediction that Broncos WR Bennie Fowler is a WR2 this week comes down to the Chargers’ propensity to cough up big days to opposing wide receivers. Los Angeles has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to the position so far and the second-most receiving touchdowns with nine allowed in six games. You can see just where they are leaking in the secondary using the Air Yards app.
Of course, Fowler should be awash in opportunity now that Emmanuel Sanders is out with a multi-week ankle injury, making the third-year man out of Michigan State the Broncos’ de facto No. 2 WR. Phillip points out that the Chargers will be without one member of their top-CB duo, Jason Verrett, leaving Casey Hayward to shadow Demaryius Thomas.
Fowler already had one huge week against the Chargers, scoring two pretty fluky TDs in Week 1. However, he hasn’t scored or surpassed three catches in a game since then, and will obviously need to change that to make this prediction come to fruition.
- I’m still here, just doing a lot of editing. We had double digit articles yesterday, and they were fantastic. I mean, I’m biased, but the in-season writers are doing a fabulous job. (back)