• Pat Opperman

NFL Fantasy: Last-Minute Bold Predictions for Week 3

It’s hard to believe with all the excitement, injuries, and benchings, this is only Week 3. But a quick check of the NFL standings shows most teams with only two games on record. So, it must be true.

With a full eighth of the season under their belts, teams must have shown their true colors by now, right? Surely, we can cut and add to our #fantasyfootball rosters confident in what each player brings to our pending championship team.

Well, not so much. After two weeks, the only thing we know for sure is Antonio Brown is not the marketing genius some folks wanted to believe he was.

Best guesses and some luck are still at play in this wonderful fantasy football season. Here are a few of my wackier thoughts as I set my lineups for Sunday.

Kinda Bold: Mahomes and Jackson each go over 40 FF points

Kansas City invested in their DST during the off-season. Baltimore already had a top DST. Long-time, pro-run coaches lead the teams. Each side has a veteran rusher who can get tough yards and run down a clock if they have to. It’s going to rain.

None of that matters Sunday because two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL face off in a fantasy football showdown. Who cares what the final score is? I’m taking the over on 200 total fantasy points distributed among all players.

This is going to be fun to watch. It is also going to make or break a few lineups. Forget the second or third running backs. Play anyone else who catches the ball and watch each quarterback pass and throw their way to 40-point games.

Bolder Still: At least 3 debuting quarterbacks top 20 fantasy points

Six quarterbacks step in as starters for the first time this season. Josh Rosen and Teddy Bridgewater have some games under their belt. Carolina’s Kyle Allen and Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph started one game each last season.

Rookies Daniel Jones and Luke Falk will make their first NFL starts for the Giants and Jets, respectively, rounding out the six new passers. Not much is expected from any of them, but maybe, there should be.

Rosen has played with bad teams before and can pick up points while running away from rushers. Bridgewater has experience and a terrific surrounding cast.

Allen has shown an ability to throw the deep ball, something Carolina fans hope he does whenever he doesn't hand off the Christian McCaffrey. Rudolph lost the Killer B’s, but he will work with the receivers he’s seen most in preseason and practice.

Jones was the highest-rated passer in the preseason and gets Sterling Shepard back. Luke Falk has Le’Veon Bell to leverage for yards or to buy him time on other options.

That’s why at least three of the replacement passers will top 20 fantasy points and threaten to finish as top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in Week 3. My best guess is Bridgewater, Rudolph, and Jones pull it off.

Really Darned Bold: Washington DST is top-5

Washington has not looked all that impressive defensively, especially from a fantasy football point of view. Their two points in two games against division rivals Dallas and Philadelphia don’t have them high on anyone’s streaming list.

But Washington has a knack for showing up when you least expect them. Why not on a Monday Night Football game in front of their home fans against a team with a struggling quarterback?

Don’t start anyone on the Chicago or Washington offense because this game will be an ugly 16-10 upset, led by a Redskins’ defense playing out of their minds. Look for three turnovers, five sacks, and a safety against the Bears.

Mildly bold throw-ins: Minny DST, Steelers, and Matty

Minnesota’s defense is still trying to get over the 21 points they gave up to Green Bay at the start of last week. This is a bad week for anyone to challenge them, especially a team whose lead rusher just lost ten pounds due to illness. The Vikings DST could score more fantasy (and real) points than Dalvin Cooks and Kirk Cousins.

Diontae Johnson and James Washington each score touchdowns and gain more yards than JuJu Smith-Schuster this week. Buy JuJu cheap before Week 4 because the situation will correct itself soon enough.

In Week 1, Matt Stafford made good use of his short receivers over the middle in Amendola and Hockensen. In Week 2, he went to his deep guys Golladay and Jones. Against Philadelphia, he’ll go deep again, to the tune of top-5 fantasy quarterback rating, because he’s the guy I streamed this week and I told him I need that. (Also, the Eagles give up more deep passing yards than any other team.)

Some of these predictions seem bold, but I haven’t been eliminated from my fantasy football championship yet, so I must be making some calls correctly. Adjust your rosters now and take advantage of my keen insight.


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