Monday - Apr 22, 2019

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BOLD PREDICTIONS: Week 7

Joe Flacco will have more fantasy points than Drew Brees in their matchup this week, and Drew Brees will not go over 300 passing yards.

My thinking: I’ll preface this by saying that I am a big fan of Drew Brees as a fantasy quarterback and think he is one of the most consistent, reliable quarterbacks out there. With that said, this is a tough matchup on the road against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense this week. In two road games this season, Brees totaled 42.5 fantasy points in a shootout of a game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3, then proceeded to total just 8.5 fantasy points in Week 4 against the New York Giants. He has always been a more proficient quarterback at home compared to on the road.

The Ravens are allowing an average of 12.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, which is second-best in the NFL and impressive when you think about it. Sure, going against Nathan Peterman/Josh Allen (Week 1), Case Keenum (Week 3), Baker Mayfield (Week 5), Marcus Mariota (Week 6) certainly helps, but they are still an above-average defensive unit anyway. The Saints, on the other hand, have taken a step back on the defensive side of the ball this season compared to last season. They’ve allowed an average of 25.1 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Joe Flacco gets to play at home for the first time since Week 3 and has a good shot at outscoring Brees this week.

 

Baker Mayfield will throw for at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and have at least 25 fantasy points vs. the Buccaneers this week.

My thinking: Yes, I have Russell Wilson (who’s on a bye this week) on one of my teams, and yes, I scooped up Baker Mayfield to take his place as my starting quarterback this week. So, naturally, I’m predicting Mayfield to have a big game against them. You could also replace the word “predicting” with “hoping.” Anyway, what’s not to like about Mayfield this week? The last time the Browns won a road game, Barack Obama was still the president of the United States. Believe it or not, the Browns are undoubtedly a better team with Mayfield under center. If they can find a Head Coach that knows what he’s doing and can mold Mayfield into a superstar, they’ll be well on their way. Hue Jackson is a horrible leader and decision maker that has no business being a Head Coach in this league. He’ll be fine though, Jon Gruden will probably hire him as the Raiders offensive coordinator when the Browns fire him. The emergence of Mayfield further proves the adage, “It’s all about the quarterback.” If a team doesn’t have a good quarterback, that team will rarely ever have a shot at winning a Super Bowl.

Let’s move on to the matchup at hand. As I said above, what’s not to like about Mayfield going against a Buccaneers defense that is 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed (1,835), tied-32nd in passing touchdowns allowed (16) and has one interception in six games? This is the juiciest of matchups for the rookie out of Oklahoma, and after experiencing some growing pains recently, Mayfield is due for a breakout game in Week 7.

 

Melvin Gordon will have at least 150 rushing yards, 75 receiving yards, one touchdown vs. the Titans this week.

My thinking: This game between the Chargers and Titans has the potential to get out of hand early. The Chargers have scored at least 26 points in the last three games, while the Titans have scored at least 26 points in one game all season and have scored 12 or fewer points in three of six games. Melvin Gordon should feast on the ground and out of the backfield against a below-average Titans defense. The Titans are allowing an average of 4.2 yards-per-carry to opposing running backs and 123.2 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs, which ranks 26th in the NFL.

The Titans have been stingy when it comes to defending running backs out of the backfield. They’ve given up an average of 22.8 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. However, the list of running backs they’ve faced this year consists of some trash and some garbage. Here’s the list: Week 1 – Kenyan Drake/Frank Gore, Week 2 – Lamar Miller, Week 3 – T.J. Yeldon, Week 4 – Jay Ajayi/Wendell Smallwood, Week 5 – LeSean McCoy, Week 6 – Alex Collins. As I said, that’s a whole heap of mediocrity they’ve faced so far this season. They haven’t played anyone even remotely close to the talent level of Melvin Gordon (and Austin Ekeler) and are about to get torched on the ground this week. Expect a monster performance out of a player that has averaged 28.1 PPR fantasy points per game in six games this season.

 

Ezekiel Elliott will have less than 80 rushing yards vs. the Redskins this week.

My thinking: Ezekiel Elliott has averaged 21 PPR fantasy points per game this season, which ranks sixth in the NFL among running backs. He’s been as advertised and is one of the most valuable fantasy running backs out there. In his first 25 career games in 2016 and 2017, Elliott had at least three receptions in 11 of those 25 games, an average of 44%.  So far in 2018, he’s had at least three receptions in five of six games. His usage as a receiver of the backfield has made him even more valuable as a fantasy running back.

However, as a runner, he has failed to eclipse 80 rushing yards in three of six games and going up against a Redskins defense that is allowing an average of 90.2 rushing yards per game is not an ideal matchup for the third-year player out of THE Ohio State University. Furthermore, the Skins haven’t allowed a running back to rush for more than 18 yards in a single carry so far this season, which is second-best in the NFL to the Vikings (16 yards). It’s a tough matchup for Zeke, which makes it unlikely that he goes over 80 rushing yards 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.