Week 7 is almost upon us, and The Wolf has a desire to be bold. After many of our Preseason Predictions have begun looking genius (and a few deserving Naked Walks of Shame), we’ve decided to make this a weekly occurrence. We’ll track the week’s most intriguing storylines — many surrounding under-owned players — and make some courageous (but well-reasoned) claims.
Sunday Update: Leonard Fournette IS NOT expected to play, making Prediction 4 about a Chris Ivory explosion a real possibility. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray IS expected to be active, which will make a Derrick Henry takeover much more difficult.
Week 7 Bold Predictions:
Prediction 1: Brett Hundley (15% owned) benefits from his “Deshaun Watson-esque” surroundings and skillsets and emerges as a season-long QB streamer with upside:
Let’s start by immediately addressing the elephant with this claim: Hundley is NOT the same talent as Watson. He didn’t fall to Round 5 without some gaping question marks.
Still, I’m not worried about “real life” abilities. Countless similarities can be drawn from both a skillset and situation standpoint that Hundley’s fantasy ceiling needs more consideration.
For one, Hundley himself carries all the abilities that create fantasy monsters. He has the athleticism to scramble, gain leg points, and buy time for his stacked toys cabinet to get open for big plays. He has the big arm to deliver bombs to said toys for huge chunk plays. The main question marks in his Scouting Report (and reason he surprisingly fell so far on draft day), were his decision making, lower pocket-throwing accuracy, and poor coverage reads.
All of these barriers could indeed still be in play for Hundley. But three years of development behind Aaron Rodgers and with QB coach Alex Van Pelt, Hundley’s college coach and someone Rodgers has lauded as someone who “gets the game and I respect,” has to count for something. Yes, Hundley could go out and chuck three picks and exit the field with brown stains running down his leg. Or he could have refined his game over three years of some of the best tutelage.
If he’s taken that next step, let’s look at his situation — eerily similar to the surroundings that have helped Watson emerge as a bonafide fantasy megastar:
A) Stacked Weapons Cabinet
B) Smart offensive-minded coach
C) Leg points, leg points, big play ability, and leg points
Of course Hundley looked shell shocked last week. He was playing behind a patchwork offensive line against a ferocious Vikings defense without having an ounce of preparation with the starters. With a week of chemistry building, offensive simplification, and in a much softer matchup, Hundley brings some serious upside (albeit alongside a cavernous floor) for those who lost Rodgers or are in need of a streamer behind Deshaun Watson or Matthew Stafford (on bye).
Prediction 2: With DeMarco Murray either shelved or very limited, Derrick Henry feasts and begins separating from this dreadful committee.
If you’ve been following us since our inception last April, you know we’re die hard Derrick Henry truthers. Beginning with his Combine Performance pre-draft, to the day he was drafted, and then amidst the preseason flashes, Henry has dripped in so much ceiling I once called him “The Next David Johnson.”
Consider his time nearly here.
DeMarco Murray may or may not suit up. Regardless, the backfield reins seem guaranteed to start changing hands, and as early as this week. The matchup is surprisingly tough, as Cleveland unexpectedly sports the 6th toughest run defense in the league. Still, Henry is too good, and what projects to be a Titans win plays exactly into the game flow for an explosion, with or without Murray in action.
See, in ever single 2017 win, Henry has touched the ball at least 13 times. In losses, he’s been under 6. The volume should be there for at least 70 yards and a TD, and if Murray sits, I expect Henry to roll for over 100 and firmly establish himself as “the guy” here. The time is now for the cage door to be unlocked and the beast to be unleashed.
With 5 of his final 9 matchups coming against the 7th most generous defenses to RBs, Henry could be a true RB1 down this season’s stretch. Buy low if at all possible.
Prediction 3: As the only target around, Jordan Matthews (28% owned, 2% started) feasts in a favorable matchup and emerges as a viable WR3 (at least until Charles Clay’s return)
I’m not a “Jordan Matthews” guy by any means. But the Bills have no choice but to be.
Despite playing injured and as Charles Clay‘s clear second-fiddle, Matthews has quietly posted 7+ FPs in three of his four starts. Earth-shattering? By no means. But steady so far? Indeed.
And dependability is exactly what Tyrod Taylor and this offense need. Outside of megastar LeSean McCoy out of the backfield, look at the only other receiving options here: wideouts Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Brandon Tate, and a tight end creature named Nick O’Leary (a sneaky bet for a TD FYI). Matthews has a clear path for heavy volume for at least as long as Clay is out.
Which is absolutely perfect this week matched up against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers lack any type of corner who can cover, currently surrendering the most FPs to wideouts by a significant margin. Moreover, “TyGod” is far superior at home, and this game flow versus an explosive Bucs offense could require more aerial attack to keep pace.
Prediction 4: Chris Ivory (now 30% owned) shows why he’s been a Day One Waiver Wire target of ours by absolutely dismantling the Colts for RB1 stats, as the team sees no reason to rush their star tailback Leonard Fournette into play.
This prediction is definitely dependent on Leonard Fournette‘s health. If the superstar rookie is active and in his usual role, RB1 stats would be a pipe dream for Ivory.
However, this seems entirely unlikely after Fournette has yet to practice all week. As covered in our Friday’s Trainer Room, Fournette is a legitimate game time call, and the team could easily play it safe with their star runner in a soft matchup, and with such a high-end back up in Ivory.
In fact, even if Fournette goes, I expect Ivory to be highly usable in fantasy, as he’s bound to see more volume and has been highly effective on his limited touches thus far. Which should surprise no one: Ivory is only two years removed from leading the AFC in rushing, and is one of the league’s premier power runners. Last year’s down performance seems to have erased his past successes from everyone’s mind, despite his bruising 2017 game tape that highlights his strengths.
In short, Ivory should be highly usable regardless of Fournette’s status. If the rookie plays, still expect 10+ FPs from Ivory. Should Fournette sit, however, and Ivory will top 20.
What are your boldest Week 7 claims? Is The Wolf going insane? Sound off below, or hit him up on Snapchat and Twitter to feed him a piece of your mind now!