I’m in Vegas for the weekend, and in the spirit of the trip, let’s look at some interesting hypothetical lines involving players in this week’s games.
Panthers at Falcons
Matt Ryan’s final QB fantasy ranking: over/under 3.5.
We loved Ryan this preseason, and he’s been everything I could have hoped for and more, averaging three TDs per game over the first three weeks while airing it out in Atlanta’s go-go offense. He ranks second behind Robert Griffin III after three weeks. I had him fourth at the position heading into the year, but he looks like he has the inside track to finish top-three and get drafted in the top 20 of all leagues next year. The Panthers shouldn’t pose much of a problem for this dominant offense.
Patriots at Bills
Mario Williams sacks: over/under 1.5.
Williams was non-existent in the Bills’ first two games this season before picking up 1.5 sacks against the Browns last week. Now he gets a Patriots’ offensive line that is clearly weaker than it’s been in the past. Tom Brady has been getting sacked more and more over the last few years, and this year he’s on pace to be sacked roughly 37 times, which would be the most for him since 2001. If the Bills pull off the upset and keep the Patriot passing game grounded, you can bet it’ll be thanks to Williams and the Buffalo front four dominating the Pats’ line.
Vikings at Lions
Best QB from the class of 2011: Christian Ponder +200.
Cam Newton took the league by storm last year, but a pitiful performance on Thursday has people questioning his leadership abilities. Never a good sign to hear those whispers. Meanwhile, Ponder was fantastic last week against the 49ers, and I think he could quietly be working his way into the discussion as a “pretty good” QB (i.e., Joe Flacco). It wouldn’t shock me in five years to see Ponder as the clear winner of this made-up prop.
Titans at Texans
Number of times you’ll draft Chris Johnson again: over/under 0.5.
I don’t think I’ve ever owned him in fantasy, and I’m still taking the under. He’s managed to average just 1.4 yards per carry on 33 carries in the first three weeks. One bad game is understandable, two is bad but acceptable, three is a trend. Everyone should be jumping ship on him at this point. In one of my leagues, the Johnson owner traded him away for Mikel LeShoure and Jerome Simpson, and I have to say, I loved the LeShoure side of that trade. And that before LeShoure faces the Texans this week, a game in which he could literally have negative yardage by the final whistle. R.I.P., CJ0K’s fantasy value.
Chargers at Chiefs
Times Jamaal Charles is benched in fantasy leagues for the rest of the year: over/under 1.5.
Man, where did that come from? One week after gaining just three yards on six carries, Charles exploded for 233 rushing yards (and 55 receiving yards) thanks in part to a 91-yard TD. He was a borderline fantasy option heading into Week 3, and then he destroyed the Saints and made all of his fantasy owners hesitant to even think about benching him again. If you own him, you’re starting him without question in every non-bye week.
49ers at Jets
Quarterbacks that now have a good fantasy day against the Jets: over/under 9.5.
The Jets lost perhaps the most important defensive piece in the game when Darrelle Revis was declared out for the year. He was a very significant piece to the offensive game plans of opposing teams, and by not having to account for him, teams will be able to move the ball that much easier against this defense. That starts this week with Alex Smith and the 49ers, a Super Bowl favorite before last week’s loss. You can bet they’ll come out of the gates firing, and Smith should benefit.
Seahawks at Rams
Golden Tate TDs over the rest of the season: over/under 2.5.
Is anyone sorrier to see the replacement refs go than Tate? He had a “breakout” game on national TV, “catching” two TDs (you probably saw the second one). But he still had just three catches in that game and has a total of six in the two games he’s played thus far. To even consider starting him moving forward, he has to have a great matchup, and that’s not the case this week, as the Rams have straightened things out this season, allowing just two TDs through the air while intercepting five passes. Tate could wind up being shut out here.
Dolphins at Cardinals
Beanie Wells future starts with the Cardinals: over/under 3.5.
Wells was placed on the designated-for-return IR this week with “severe turf toe,” and he won’t be able to return till at least Week 12. Does this mean we’re at the end of the Wells era in Arizona? It may seem premature as he’s still pretty young, but Ryan Williams in Week 3 looked better than Wells has for a long time. Now affixed with the label of “injury prone,” it’s hard to see Wells usurping the more-talented Williams when he’s healthy, if ever.
Raiders at Broncos
Peyton Manning’s fantasy rank among Mannings at the end of the year: over/under 1.5.
I’ll take the over. Manning clearly hasn’t looked 100 percent in his games this season, and it’s telling that Brock Osweilier was warming up for a Hail Mary in a recent game. Not only can Manning throw the deep ball, but he also has problems going to the right. So, remind me why the Broncos signed him to a near-$100 million contract. Manning clearly ranks behind brother Eli at this point in time, and he may not even been a surefire QB1 for the rest of the year, which would mean returning negative value on his draft slot.
Bengals at Jaguars
Percentage of fantasy leagues Maurice Jones-Drew won last week: over/under 99.5 percent.
We know that MJD picks himself first in fantasy leagues, and he was rewarded in fake football with 193 totals yards and a TD, likely helping to secure the win in most his leagues. He’ll need more performances like that to keep this offense respectable, as the pass offense has done absolutely nothing.
Saints at Packers
TDs thrown by QBs combined: over/under 5.5.
Tough one? It would take both guys throwing for three TDs for this to some in, but that seems primed to happen. The Packers have ran into a collective buzzsaw of defenses early in the year but now get to beat up on a gutted organization. You’re welcome, Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees seems due for a big performance in what’s likely to be a shootout.
Redskins at Buccaneers
How long it takes Ryan Grant to start: over/under 2.5 weeks.
The Redskins needed a back to take over for Roy Helu, who’s out for the season with an injury. Alfred Morris has done a great job as a starter in the first few weeks, but Mike Shanahan may start some shenanigans with the depth chart. Let’s just say he has a “history” of doing the unexpectable in past seasons.
Giants at Eagles
Michael Vick interceptions: over/under 2.5.
That may seem like a high total, but Vick already has six interceptions in three starts. If Vick remains turnover prove, it’ll continue to haunt the team. The Giants did a solid job last week with Prince Amukamara in the lineup, and they could use constant pressure on Vick to make things easier for the secondary.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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