Friday - Feb 22, 2019

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BOLD PREDICTIONS: Week 4

Baker Mayfield will throw for over 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns in a Brown’s victory over the Raiders this week.

My thinking: Considering how good Baker Mayfield looked in his NFL debut last Thursday, expect him to continue his hot start against a Raiders defense that has struggled to stop the pass through their first three games. The Raiders are in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed per game (258 yards per game), passing touchdowns allowed (six), and have allowed 8.7 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 30th in the NFL.  Furthermore, the Raiders defense has sacked the quarterback just three times in three games, which is the lowest sack total in the NFL through three games. If only they had an All-Pro linebacker that could get to the quarterback. Oh, too soon? Anyway, Mayfield is in for a great day and is also an excellent DFS value play on DraftKings at just $5,300.

Andy Dalton will have more fantasy points than Matt Ryan in their matchup this week.

My thinking: Matt Ryan comes back to earth this week after his incredible performance last week vs. the Saints. While the Bengals defense hasn’t played that well up to this point, they are a much better unit than the Saints currently are. Andy Dalton has played pretty well up to this point in the 2018 season. He’s thrown for at least 240 passing yards, two touchdowns in each game this year, and has a completion percentage of 63.8%. The Falcons defense, on the other hand, has been awful this season. They’ve allowed the third-most completions (90), ninth-most passing yards (848), including 335 passing yards to Cam Newton in Week 2 and 396 passing yards to Drew Brees last week. Losing two of their best defensive players in Keanu Neal (torn ACL) and Deion Jones (foot) has been a disastrous turn of events for the Falcons defense. They aren’t and won’t be the same unit without them. We saw firsthand just how bad they performed last week vs. the Saints. Add it all up, and Dalton (who is currently 12th in fantasy points among quarterbacks) is in for a great day this weekend in Atlanta.

Sony Michel will have 150 total yards, two rushing touchdowns this week vs. the Dolphins.

My thinking: Sony Michel is in line for a significant increase in touches now that the Patriots have placed Rex Burkhead on Injured Reserve. The Pats have six rushing attempts in the red zone through three games; Michel accounts for five of those attempts, compared to one attempt for James White. In 2017, Dion Lewis, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and White combined for 48 rushing attempts inside the 10-yard line. The Pats have always been successful punching it in when they’re close to the goal line. Michel, in theory, will be the running back that gets those carries going forward, so it’s only a matter of time before he cashes in with some rushing touchdowns. If Michel can prove to be a viable running back going forward, he’ll become a legitimate RB2 for the rest of the season.

Ezekiel Elliott will have over 200 rushing yards vs. the Lions this week.

My thinking: Ezekiel Elliott has not had more than 20 carries in a game this season, yet continues to rack up rushing yards. He tallied 69 rushing yards in Week 1, 78 yards in Week 2, and “went off” on the Seahawks for 127 rushing yards in Week 3. What’s more impressive is how efficient he has been with his carries. He’s averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry through three weeks and is set to square off with a horrendous Lions defense in Week 4. The Lions have allowed 450 rushing yards on 71 rushing attempts through three games, which equates to a paltry average of 6.3 yards per rushing attempt. Elliott’s ferocious, hard-nosed running style will be no match for the Lions front-seven. Expect Elliott to set the tone for the entire game early in the 1st half on Sunday.

Odell Beckham Jr. will have 13 receptions, 160 receiving yards, two touchdowns vs. the Saints this week. 

My thinking: Odell Beckham Jr. has been good, but not great, in his first three games of the 2018 season. He’s accumulated 24 receptions for 272 receiving yards thus far, a total of 55 PPR fantasy points, which ranks 17th at the wide receiver position. A highly favorable matchup in Week 4 vs. the Saints is bound to see Beckham Jr. have a monster performance. The Saints rank dead-last in the NFL with 843 yards allowed and nine touchdowns allowed to opposing wide receivers. The Giants are back home at MetLife Stadium for the first time since Week 1 and are poised to go toe-to-toe with one of the best offenses in the league.

Antonio Brown will have 15 receptions, 175 receiving yards, two touchdowns vs. the Ravens this week.

My thinking: Well, it appears to be “fantasy stud” week in the Bold Predictions article. Antonio Brown is going to break out of his slump (if you even want to call it that) and turn in a phenomenal performance vs. a Ravens team that he has had tremendous success against in the past. In 2016 and 2017, Brown played in four games vs. the Ravens and amassed 32 receptions for 428 receiving yards and two touchdowns. To put it simply, he’s had incredible success vs. a team that, generally speaking, has an above-average defensive backfield. Despite his mediocre (for his standards) statistics thus far, Brown still ranks in the top four in the NFL in targets, indicating it’s only a matter of time before he kicks it into high gear and torches an opposing secondary.

Antonio Callaway will have eight receptions, 120 receiving yards, one touchdown vs. the Raiders this week.

My thinking: It’s only fitting that after predicting Baker Mayfield to have a big game, to also include the fantasy football “flavor of the week” in Antonio Callaway. First, though, a shameless plug from my 14-team PPR home league. On Tuesday of this week, I traded Tyreek Hill and Kerryon Johnson and received Christian McCaffrey and Antonio Callaway. Originally, Callaway was not in the deal, but a sweetener was needed on my end, so I requested for him to be included in the trade. I was a bit thin at the running back position and have quality wide receiver depth, so this trade made perfect sense. Plus, Christian McCaffrey is sort of good. Sort of. Callaway figures to benefit the most from Mayfield taking over at quarterback in Cleveland. Jarvis Landry would have likely still produced solid numbers with Tyrod Taylor, and certainly will with Mayfield as well, but Callaway’s value has increased exponentially now that there’s a quarterback under center that can stretch the field vertically (no offense, Tyrod). Expect Mayfield to take at least two or three shots down-field to Callaway this week.

About Evan Reardon

An avid Boston sports fan, Evan has been a Patriots and NFL fan since the 1990's. Fantasy football runs in his family. He grew up in the 90's watching his father and uncles play in a 6-team, Touchdown-only league. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000's and has been writing fantasy sports content since 2014.