We may have just witnessed the most surprise-filled week of the NFL season yet. Between the Oakland Raiders & Buffalo Bills morphing into offensive juggernauts, Kenny Britt channeling a Jerry Rice impression and Jay Cutler confusing DeAngelo Hall (4 INTs) as a Bears WR, week 7 was about as unpredictable as it gets.
Needless to say, there were plenty of opportunities for the fantasy experts to hit it big by going out on a limb with their weekly player rankings. We’ll take a look at the top bold predictions delivered by the experts as well as the risky predictions that missed the mark.
Bold Predictions: Top Hits
Match-up: Kenny Britt (WR #32) over Dwayne Bowe (WR #12)
Expert: Christopher Harris – ESPN
Fantasy Points Difference: +20.4
*Ranks in the Match-up header represent each player’s Expert Consensus Rank (ECR)
It was just a typical ho-hum weekend for Kenny Britt. To recap, he was involved in a bar fight on Friday, sat out the first 1.5 quarters vs. the Eagles as a punishment and then proceeded to rack up over 40 fantasy points during the final 2.5 quarters of the game. If only we could find out how he spent his Saturday! Amidst all of this chaos, there were undoubtedly a large number of fantasy owners who pulled Britt from their lineups heading into Sunday’s game. That is, unless they followed the advice of Christopher Harris (ESPN). Harris was higher on Britt (his WR #16) than any other expert we tracked and Britt more than rewarded the faith by turning in the best game of his career (7 catches, 225 yards, 3 TDs).
Note that there’s no word yet on whether or not Britt is going to make the bar brawl a part of his pre-game ritual going forward. If there is an official announcement, you can be sure to read about it in the news section of our fantasy advice portal called The Handcuff…..oops, I mean…..The Handoff.
Match-up: Darren McFadden (RB #27) over Matt Forte (WR #11)
Expert: Erik Karabell – ESPN
Fantasy Points Difference: +38.3
The top fantasy stud in week 7 was Darren McFadden (165 yards rushing, 4 TDs) and no one did a better job of ranking him than Eric Karabell (ESPN). McFadden had missed the previous two games due to a hamstring injury and he said himself that there was only about a 70% chance he would play against the Broncos. Unfazed by this news, Karabell handed McFadden his best ranking of the week (RB #12) and this stood as a clear recommendation for McFadden owners to insert him into their lineups. We can only hope that Karabell’s readers took this advice because we all know there’s nothing more frustrating than leaving a boatload of production on your bench.
Match-up: David Gettis (WR #73) over Deion Branch (WR #28)
Fantasy Points Difference: +20.6
David Gettis was a top 5 fantasy WR in week 7. As a general rule of thumb, you know it was a crazy week in the NFL when the words “David Gettis” and “top 5 fantasy WR” appear in the same sentence together. To put things in perspective, so little was expected out of Gettis in the Panthers game vs. the 49ers that over 60% of the experts we tracked didn’t even have him ranked. Credit goes out to WhatIfSports, however, as they had him on their radar as their WR #44. This leap of faith more than paid off as Gettis broke out with a career day consisting of 125 yards receiving and 2 TDs.
WhatIfSports was also on target with their ranking of Deion Branch. Branch saw his expert consensus rank climb from WR #54 in week 6 up to WR #28 in week 7 after he morphed into the 2004 version of himself in his first game back with the Patriots. Despite this initial success, WhatIfSports wasn’t quite buying the transformation as they ranked Branch lower than any other expert as their WR #58. This turned out to be another piece of solid advice as Branch never took off against the Chargers (4 catches for 39 yards, 0 TDs).
Match-up: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB #23) over Kevin Kolb (QB #12)
Fantasy Points Difference: +19.92
The staff at FanHouse did a nice job with this prediction. As Ryan Fitzpatrick’s expert consensus rank (QB #23) indicates, our field of experts wasn’t too optimistic about his week 7 chances going up against the vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense. FanHouse saw something they liked, however, and rewarded Fitzpatrick with a ranking (QB #15) that was the best of all the experts we tracked. With 374 yards passing and 4 TDs, we can safely say that Fitzpatrick’s performance exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. This now marks the 4th straight week that he’s thrown at least 2 TDs passes. And if this week’s waiver wire articles are any indication, we can anticipate that there will be plenty of fantasy owners looking to cash in on Fitzpatrick’s next TD pass.
As for Kevin Kolb, FanHouse was correct in ranking him lower (their QB #19) than the expert consensus. Without top target, DeSean Jackson, Kolb struggled mightily against the Titans and finished the week as just the 23rd ranked QB in terms of fantasy production. The combined result of these two outcomes is that FanHouse was the only expert site to correctly predict that Ryan Fitzpatrick would outperform Kevin Kolb.
Match-up: Carson Palmer (QB #16) over Philip Rivers (QB #3)
Expert: Dave Richard – CBS Sports
Fantasy Points Difference: +14.14
It wasn’t too long ago that this match-up would have been considered a toss-up. Although lately, there hasn’t been too much confidence in Carson Palmer due to his penchant for forcing passes into double and triple coverage. That didn’t stop Dave Richard (CBS Sports) from going out on a limb in week 7 by ranking Palmer (his QB #8) ahead of Philip Rivers (his QB #16). The ranking for Rivers was particularly bold as nearly 75% of the experts we monitored had him slotted in their top 5 QBs. When it was all said and done, Richard’s gamble was a good one as Palmer exceeded all expectations (412 yards passing, 3 TDs) while Rivers had a solid game vs. the Patriots (336 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT) but it was only enough to rank him as the 14th best fantasy QB for the week.
Match-up: Danny Amendola (WR #37) over Miles Austin (QB #2)
Expert: Sports Illustrated
Fantasy Points Difference: +7.2
There isn’t too much that can be said about this prediction except that it was an extremely gutsy pick that no one else was even close to making other than Sports Illustrated. Their ranking for Miles Austin (WR #38) was considerably lower than Austin’s next lowest ranking (WR #12) while SI also handed Danny Amendola his best ranking of the week (WR #15). We’re not even going to pretend to know what the rationale was for both rankings. The bottom line is that SI nailed the pick as Austin delivered very little production and Amendola nabbed a TD pass and finished as the 24th ranked fantasy WR.
Bold Predictions: Top Misses
As you might imagine, not all of the experts’ risky predictions panned out. Click on each player match-up below to view an instant profile of the top upset predictions that the experts missed on in week 7.
- Chris Chambers (WR #59) over Roddy White (WR #1) – WhatIfSports
- Fred Jackson (RB #26) over Michael Turner (RB #7) – Sports Illustrated
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh (WR #71) over Kenny Britt (WR #32) – Roger Rotter (Fox Sports)
- Jason Snelling (RB #47) over Knowshon Moreno (RB #19) – Sports Illustrated
- Max Hall (QB #24) over Joe Flacco (QB #8) – Fantasy Sharks
- Trent Edwards (QB #27) over Matt Ryan (QB #11) – WhatIfSports
- Donald Driver (WR #30) over Greg Jennings (WR #8) – Mike Krueger (FFToday)
We’ll follow up again next week with a breakdown of the top bold predictions from week 8. If you’re interested in viewing the accuracy results for all of the experts, our updated leaderboard will be unveiled shortly. For full access to these scores, you can sign up (Free) to become a FantasyPros registered member. And for all of our latest updates, be sure to check us out on Twitter.