After taking some time off over the Thanksgiving holiday to rest, I have dusted off the magic crystal ball once again so we can take a look to see what amazing, unbelievable and insane things are going to happen this week in fantasy football.
For many of you this week is your last chance to make it into your league’s fantasy playoffs, where anything can happen. So let’s see what bold predictions I dare make this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Throws 5 TD Passes vs. the New York Giants
Every year, usually around this time, Fitzpatrick has one of those games where he plays like he’s Tom Brady. A game where he throws for five touchdowns and well over 300 yards and makes everyone who left him on their bench that week want to slam their heads against the wall. Well, if you were ever going to start Fitzpatrick, this is the week. First off, he’s coming off a game where he threw four TDs and he has one of the best wide receiver combos in the league in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Secondly, he’s playing the Giants this week, which is technically a road game for the Jets. The Giants’ defense is allowing 309 passing yards per game, by far the worst in the NFL and are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Be smart and start Fitzpatrick this week and watch him throw five scoring strikes.
Scott Chandler Makes Everyone Forget About Rob Gronkowski
Okay, so of course Chandler isn’t anywhere near the player that Gronkowski is. Now that we have that out of the way, Chandler is going to put up better numbers this week than Gronkowski has all season. The Patriots have been decimated by injuries, but they still have good old reliable Tom Brady behind center. That’s all the Patriots and Chandler need. This week the Eagles come to town and they actually defend tight ends really well, as they are currently allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. That won’t matter this week, however, because Brady needs his tight to make plays and Chandler is very capable of doing so. Look for him to end the day with more than 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Doug Martin Runs for 200 Yards for the Second Time in Three Weeks
Two weeks ago Martin went off, rushing for an incredible 235 yards against the Eagles. While he didn’t rush for that many yards last week, he was still highly productive, rushing for 97 on only 14 carries against the Colts. This week the Buccaneers play host to the free-falling Atlanta Falcons in a game that the Bucs really need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bucs know that they will need to lean heavily on Martin to control the clock and to move the ball. The Falcons have been decent against the run (96.8 ypg, 10th in NFL), but they have surrendered 13 touchdowns on the ground. Only one other team (Detroit, 15) has given up more and this is a big reason why Atlanta’s D is third in terms of most fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. Look for Martin to bust out once again and this time add a couple of TDs to pad his fantasy numbers.
DeAndre Hopkins Has His Second Bad Game in a Row
Everyone and their mother was on the Brian Hoyer-to-DeAndre Hopkins bandwagon last week when the Texans took on the Saints. But since the Saints simply rolled over so easily, the game flow changed to the point that Hopkins wasn’t needed. That led to him catching only five balls for a measly 36 yards. This week the Texans travel to Buffalo to face Rex Ryan, who is going to do everything possible to not let Hopkins beat his team. Two weeks ago the Bills slowed down Tom Brady (even though they lost) and they will do the same thing to Hoyer this week, which limits Hopkins’ opportunities. Don’t be surprised if Hopkins finishes with less than 50 yards receiving this week.
Philip Rivers Single-handedly Beats the Denver Broncos
The Broncos are riding him right now with Brock Osweiler as their quarterback, but are coming off two wins that have taken a toll on their vaunted defense. Traveling to San Diego this week, the Broncos might think that they might be able to take a rest and still beat the lowly Chargers. That won’t be the case because as much as the Chargers suck this year, they still have super-competitive Rivers leading the way, and he is going to throw for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns Sunday afternoon and lead the home team to their biggest win of the season.
The Chicago Bears’ Defense/Special Teams (DST) Scores More Fantasy Points than Jay Cutler
This week the Bears welcome the San Francisco 49ers to town for a 1 p.m. ET game, which is 10 a.m. San Francisco time, that’s not a good thing for Blaine Gabbert. Also, the 49ers are a decent team at home, but on the road they are atrocious, being outscored by more than an average of 10 points this season. Gabbert has played surprisingly well since taking over for Colin Kaepernick, but this is the week when he falls apart. The Bears still have a shot at the playoffs and this week their defense is going to pick Gabbert off at least three times and return two for touchdowns. That means that the Bears won’t need Cutler and the offense to score many points, just to help take time off of the clock.
— 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.