Week 3 of this young NFL season is coming up, but first let’s take a look to see how my Week 2 bold predictions fared.
I just took a look. You don’t want to see my bold Week 2 predictions. Seriously, don’t look them up. No good can come from that.
Instead let’s focus on Week 3’s bold predictions and hope that I get better at making such brazen, off-the-wall predictions.
1. Le’Veon Bell Reminds Everyone Why He’s the Best Running Back in the Business
After last week’s predictions debacle, I am going to start off with something that will make me look good next week. Bell finally hits the field this week for the Steelers. Not as if the Steelers really missed him, as his temporary replacement DeAngelo Williams was fantastic. Williams has amassed 40.4 fantasy points from 204 rushing yards and four touchdowns. This is the same Williams who was hurt last year in Carolina and when he did play, he looked like father time had caught up with him. Now Bell returns as the lead back in a high-octane Steelers attack. Luckily for Bell he opens his season against a struggling Rams defense that just allowed Redskins rookie Matt Jones to run for over 120 yards. Chalk Bell up for over 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and at least one touchdown. You’ll be happy you drafted him so early in your draft.
2. LeGarrette Blount Scores More Fantasy Points Than Dion Lewis (in standard leagues)
Blount returned last week from his one-game suspension and did a whole lot of nothing, scoring 0.4 fantasy points. But it’s not as if fantasy owners needed him, or even the Patriots for that matter. This week against the Jaguars it will be a different story. It’s true that right now the Patriots' backfield is all about Dion Lewis, but in a game where the Patriots should jump out to a big lead, they are going to need a workhorse to keep moving the chains and the clock. Look for Blount to get 15-plus carries and a touchdown this week.
3. Devonta Freeman Scores 15-plus Fantasy Points This Week
Sometimes real football and fantasy football all come down to the same thing – opportunity. For Freeman, opportunity is knocking this weekend. His teammate, rookie running back Tevin Coleman, is out at least this week with a broken rib, which means Freeman now has a chance to show what he's capable of. Freeman does lack the size and speed to be a dominating back, and it doesn’t help that he seems to get overwhelmed between the tackles at times, but remember that he did get tons of red zone looks last week when Coleman went down. This week against the Cowboys it is possible that their stout defense might bottle him up as a runner, but Freeman is excellent as a receiver and is likely to catch five balls or so. Freeman should be able to get over 100 total yards and a touchdown this week.
4. Ryan Tannehill Finishes Week 3 as a Top-3 Fantasy QB
You might think this is crazy seeing that Tannehill is going up against one of the best defenses in all of football in the Bills, but believe it or not this pass D is ranked 31st in the NFL after two games, allowing 345.5 net passing yards per game, five TD passes, two interceptions and four sacks. You probably remember that Tom Brady bombed the Bills for 466 yards and three scores last week. Tannehill won’t throw for 400 yards, but a 300-yard passing game and three passing TDs isn’t out of the question, especially with running back Lamar Miller hobbling around. Don’t hesitate to start Tannehill this week.
5. C.J. Anderson Owners Take a Sigh Of Relief as He Finishes This Week With 100 Yards and a Touchdown
The Broncos' running game has been absolutely terrible thus far in 2015. Anderson and company are averaging a meager 1.48 yards before contact per run this season, that’s good for second worst in the NFL. It appears that the offensive line is focused more on keeping Peyton Manning upright and alive then creating running room. Luckily for the Broncos and Anderson owners they are matched up against a Lions rush D that is currently ranked 28th, giving up 147 yards per game, along with two rushing scores coughed up per contest. Last week, Adrian Peterson and the other Vikings running backs punished Detroit with 199 rushing yards and two scores. If there is ever going to be a week for Anderson to bounce back, this is it.
6. Crockett Gillmore Does it Again
Was that Gillmore or Todd Heap catching Joe Flacco touchdown passes and breaking tackles last weekend? It’s true that much like Tyler Eifert in Week 1, Gillmore’s huge day came against the Raiders, who seem unable to cover tight ends, but the most important thing is that Gillmore appears to be getting more and more looks from Flacco. This is huge on a team that has no real receiving threats (no, Steve Smith doesn’t count). Gillmore looks like a great candidate for 60-plus yards and a touchdown against the Bengals.
7. Blake Bortles Finishes Week 3 as a Top-10 Fantasy Quarterback
A lot of this prediction has to do with the fact that the Jaguars in all likelihood are going to be playing most of their game against the Patriots from behind. This will be an excellent opportunity for Bortles to air it our against a Patriots defense that doesn’t care about giving up garbage-time fantasy points. Last week Bortles and wide receiver Allen Robinson really got on the same page and you can expect their chemistry to continue this week.
8. Jordan Matthews Still Finishes as a Top-10 Fantasy WR Despite Darrelle Revis' Presence
The Eagles' offense (and the whole team) is a mess and this week it’s best to stay away from all the players that you would normally consider starting. All of them except Matthews. He is the only reason that the Eagles have been in the first two games. He is basically carrying the offense all by himself. The Jets did just stymie Andrew Luck and the Colts, but Donte Moncrief had a huge game (122 yards, TD), and Matthews can at least match that. Plus, news of Revis dealing with a groin injury that could put his playing status in doubt certainly doesn't hurt either.
9. Jimmy Graham Goes For Over 100 Yards and 2 Touchdowns
What’s that saying about the squeaky wheel? That’s right, and right now whether or not the report is true about Graham “hating his role in the Seahawks offense,” he definitely has the attention of head coach Pete Carrol and Russell Wilson. It also helps that Graham and the rest of the Seahawks are at home this week against a pathetic Bears defense. Look for Wilson to target for Graham early and often and almost all the time in the red zone.
10. The “Legion of Boom” Returns and Gets 5 Turnovers Against the Chicago Bears
Of course the Seahawks' defense that could have safety Kam Chancellor back is going to have a great game against a Bears team that is starting Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. But what really makes this prediction bold is that the Seahawks' D is going to force four interceptions and recover one fumble. Still not bold enough because they’re facing a backup QB? How about a pick-six to boot? That sounds just about right.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.