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 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.
After two weeks of multiple close calls, I’m starting to feel a little snake bit. We really should have one by now. A quick recap of Week 4:
- This is becoming absurd. Despite piling up 173 yards, Julio Jones still couldn’t find the end zone. He now has just two TDs in his last 20 games, and four in his last 28. Rookie team mate Calvin Ridley has six TDs over his last three.
- Antonio Callaway is getting flack for some drops, but this played out exactly as expected. Baker Mayfield again took multiple shots downfield, missing an open Callaway for a 60-yard TD bomb on one (not a drop). On his lone long gain, Callaway was pushed out of bounds at the two-yard line. He was eighth in Air Yards this week, and those plays would have made him a WR1, as predicted.
- We called Phillip Lindsay to outscore Kareem Hunt on Monday Night Football, and the rookie did pull ahead with a 4th quarter TD. But Hunt found the end zone himself shortly after, turning this pick into a pumpkin like all the others.
Let’s get on the board this week with something special from the Steelers and Falcons and an outlier from the league’s hottest quarterback.
Steelers Falcons Features 6 Top-12 Positional Finishes
In a record-setting season for fantasy scoring so far, no teams are scoring, or allowing scoring, quite like the Steelers and Falcons.
I predict that their matchup this week will produce a combination of six QB1, RB1, WR1, and TE1 finishes.
These two teams have yielded top-10 results in terms of fantasy in a multitude of areas, including a tie for the second-most fantasy points given up to opposing QBs.
|QB Pts Allowed||RB||WR||TE|
The only areas in which they’re decent is that Pittsburgh’s only 25th-worst against RBs and Atlanta is playing opposing tight ends well.
It’s not going to be as easy as it might sound, however. Last week’s epic Rams-Vikings tilt, which featured a nice 69 points, there were seven top-12 positional finishes. It’s going to take a similar, special effort on Sunday to hit this.
These teams also don’t have quite the depth of weapons that the Rams and Vikings do, particularly at RB, where it’s going to be tough to find a top-12 finish.
|QB Pts Scored||RB Pts||WR Pts||TE Pts|
I’m not going to go completely crazy and predict an actual TD from Julio Jones or anything, but here’s hoping there’s enough points here to get us on the board.
Patrick Mahomes: Not a QB1
If you follow RotoViz alum Josh Hermsmeyer on Twitter, you know he’s been lately waging a war against the idea that defensive matchups actually matter in fantasy football.
Variance. We want to tell a story about why our picks have bad days and we put it on the defense, but its just randomness messing with us.
— Josh Hermsmeyer (@friscojosh) September 29, 2018
What better way to put his theory to the test this week as the hottest QB in football collides with the best pass defense?
On the season, Mahomes has overall weekly finishes of QB4, QB2, QB7, and QB11. He’s the overall QB1 on the year, 1.5 points per game clear of QB2 Matt Ryan.
This week the irresistible force meets the immovable object, as the fantasy darling is at home to Jacksonville for his stiffest test yet:
- Last year, the Jaguars allowed the fewest passing yards, the third-fewest TDs, and had the second-most interceptions.
- They were also the best in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs, yielding a paltry 10.4 points per game.
- This year, they’ve allowed the second-fewest yards and fewest TDs, although they’ve only managed one interception so far.
- No matter; they’re still once again the best vs QBs, surrendering 11.1 fantasy points per game.
The GLSP actually sort of almost semi-agrees with one of my predictions for once. It gives Mahomes the 12th-highest median projection (still a QB1). However, his ceiling is still sky high at 29 points, third-best this week.
Going against the GLSP and one of the sharpest minds in fantasy football in Hermsmeyer certainly qualifies as bold. Bring it on.
David Johnson: Top-5 RB
Desperate to change up the bad mojo in a winless campaign, I reached out to the RV crew for a fresh perspective in an attempt to get on the board. Enter the young buck, Ben Battle, who sees Johnson finally breaking out in his fifth game.
The star back hasn’t been uber-efficient, but he has been performing to expectations so far.
The problem for Johnson has been volume, or lack thereof. That, however, was subject to a recent spike after weeks of pretty pedestrian usage. Johnson had 44 percent more opportunities in Week 4 than his best previous outing.
Now after a relatively tough schedule, he faces a team that ranks 28th against opposing running backs, according to the Weekly Stat Explorer:
If ever there was a week for Johnson to return the fantasy elite, this is it.