Week 13: Which Experts Hit (and Missed) on Their Bold Predictions?

Dec 7, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 08: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans sits on the bench during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 8, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Another week of the season is in the books and, once again, there was no shortage of surprising performances. For instance, did anyone really expect Peyton Manning to throw 4 INTs for a second week in a row? Or how about that Dwayne Bowe would be shut out against the Broncos? If you did then congratulations because those risky stances make you just crazy enough to look like a genius with the way this wacky season is going!

Speaking of risky predictions, let’s take a look at the top bold predictions delivered by the experts in week 13. We’ll break down which bold picks hit the mark and also reveal the picks that the experts would likely want back if given a second chance.

Bold Predictions: Top Hits

Match-up*: Marshawn Lynch (RB #33) over Chris Johnson (RB #3)
Expert: Fantasy Sharks
Difference in Fantasy Points: +21.3
*Ranks in the Match-up header represent each player’s Expert Consensus Rank (ECR)

One of the top surprise players of the week was Marshawn Lynch and no site was more accurate in ranking him than Fantasy Sharks. They noted the opportunity Lynch had to finally break through against a soft Carolina Panthers’ defense and rated him accordingly (RB #16). While Lynch didn’t rack up a ton of yards (83 in total), he did serve as a goal line stud by tallying 3 TDs. Just by looking at his picture to the right, the TD haul makes sense……I mean, would you want to tackle him in tight space? No one on the Panthers seemingly did and it made Lynch the week’s 2nd best fantasy RB.

On the other end of this match-up, Fantasy Sharks was on target with their prediction for Chris Johnson’s performance. With Vince Young and Kenny Britt out of action and Randy Moss displaying more passion during pregame meals than the actual games, the Sharks felt that Johnson would be targeted. They ranked him lower (RB #20) than any other expert and they were on the right track as Johnson finished the week as just the 39th best fantasy RB.

Match-up: Ahmad Bradshaw (RB #17) over Chris Johnson (RB #3)
Expert: Sports Illustrated
Difference in Fantasy Points: +15.8

It’s rare for a player to make it onto our match-up list more than once but Chris Johnson accomplished this feat due to the circumstances outlined above. In this instance, Sports Illustrated was another site that felt Johnson’s value had diminished and they ranked him lower (RB #13) than nearly every other expert.

This is in contrast to Ahmad Bradshaw, who SI believed was in line for a big day against the Redskins despite the emergence of teammate, Brandon Jacobs. SI slotted Bradshaw considerably higher (RB #6) than the rest of the expert field as a result. This turned out to be a great decision because Bradshaw surprisingly carried a heavy workload (25 carries) that he took advantage of to net 2 TDs. Bradshaw’s performance placed him as the #6 overall RB for the week which was easily ahead of Johnson’s final ranking (#36).

Match-up: Reggie Wayne (WR #7) over Dwayne Bowe (WR #1)
Expert: Ultimate FF Strategy
Difference in Fantasy Points: +26

It wasn’t too long ago that this wouldn’t have been considered a bold prediction. Of course, that was before Dwayne Bowe started putting up Madden-like video game numbers. It was also before Reggie Wayne’s QB morphed into the 2009 version of Jay Cutler. Regardless of the circumstances, the only expert site to favor Wayne over Bowe in week 13 was Ultimate FF Strategy. They had Wayne ranked as their WR #1 and his performance against the Cowboys lived up to the lofty expectations. With 200 yards receiving and 1 TD, Wayne had his best game of the season and he finished the week right as Ultimate FF Strategy expected as the best fantasy WR. And with Bowe shockingly getting shut out against the Broncos, the decision to slot Wayne ahead of Bowe turned out to be one of week 13’s top upset predictions

Match-up: Sidney Rice (WR #39) over Dez Bryant (WR #21)
Expert: Paul Greco (FantasyPros911)
Difference in Fantasy Points: +21.1

Another surprise from week 13 was the performance of Sidney Rice. As only the 39th ranked WR by the Expert Consensus, he was effectively considered a bench recommendation by the majority of experts we tracked. Paul Greco (FantasyPros911) was one of the few people to go against this line of thinking and he proved it by ranking Rice higher (WR #28) than all but one other expert. With Percy Harvin (migraines) out of Sunday’s game, it ended up being a solid decision as Rice saw his opportunities increase from the previous week. This lead to Rice having the breakthrough game (105 yards receiving, 2 TDs) that many had been waiting for since his return from a hip injury. The performance was good enough to make Rice the 3rd best fantasy WR for the week and validated Greco’s decision to rank him above the Expert Consensus.

Match-up: Jason Campbell (QB #27) over Matt Ryan (QB #11)
Expert: WhatIfSports
Difference in Fantasy Points: +26

It’s safe to say that not much was expected out of Jason Campbell in week 13. In fact, nearly half of the experts we tracked had him unranked in their list of QBs. And of the sites that ranked Campbell, only one (WhatIfSports), gave him a ranking (QB #10) that qualified as a recommendation to consider him as a starter in a standard 12 team league. While this certainly seemed like a strange decision by WhatIfSports, Campbell came through against the long odds. He accounted for 2 TDs and did damage not only through the air but also on the ground against the Chargers. His performance made him a top 5 fantasy QB in week 13 and earned WhatIfSports a solid upset prediction.

Bold Predictions: Top Misses

As you know by now, we also take a look at the top bold picks that the experts missed each week. Click on each link below to get an instant profile of the predictions that didn’t turn out as well as the experts had anticipated.

We’ll be back again next week to go over the top bold predictions from week 14. In the meantime, for those interested in expert accuracy results, our updated leaderboard will be unveiled today. For full access to these results, 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.

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