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The Torch is Lit

Written By Bo McBrayer@Bo_McBigTime

Dawn has broken in a new era. Through all the misses, near and far, the drum beat has gradually awakened from the gentle hiss of a faraway snare to the pulse-pounding crescendo of today. The morning light forces us to our knees, our eyes reduced to a wrinkly squint: The torch is lit; a PICANTake has come to fruition and set the fantasy community ablaze.

Minneapolis, MN—A winless Atlanta Falcons team, with Dan Quinn’s blood still fresh on the guillotine’s blade, trudged northward to face another team nearly equally weary from disappointment. The Falcons were hopeful for a rise from the ashes, for their demigod of a wide receiver was returning to the field of battle. Points were to be scored prohibitively, in fear of being left behind in a cloud of rubber turf pellets. The favored Vikings dug in, mourning the absence of their most explosive player from yet another soft tissue injury. Trumpets were sounded at the arrival of one Alexander Mattison, but through the din, the informed were murmuring of his inability to lift the shield of his superior. The fears of Minnesotan bystanders were quickly realized when Captain Kirk repeatedly relinquished possession of the leather spheroid to the supposedly inferior Falcons defense. The Vikings did not relent in their pursuit of victory, but the snake-bitten Falcons shed the choking shackles of Quinn to emerge victorious when the clock reached triple zeroes. They had, in fact, won by a rather comfortable margin.

There was no knowledge of any soul predicting such a thorough lashing from a winless road underdog…except for one man. He is rumored to be insane, or at least eccentric. Some say he is rarely spotted without his bandolier of five ounce hot sauce bottles and grinding his teeth around an árbol pepper instead of a toothpick. His arrogance in defeat is matched only by his hubris on the rare occasion where his prophetic ramblings transpire in reality. He then writes an entire paragraph referring to himself in the third person for satirical effect. I am him. He is me. The torch is lit and the fuel tanks are full and at the ready.

I would be doing my readers a disservice if I didn’t lament on the other PICANTakes from Week 6, so to be frank, they weren’t good. Chase Claypool was schemed into the offense better than Cleveland schemed to defend him and he easily surpassed 10 PPR points. Myles Gaskin was very good on Sunday against the Jets, but not nearly explosive enough without scoring a touchdown to become a top five running back on the week. Finally, Mark Andrews had a very poor showing and then was game scripted out with the Ravens comfortably ahead. He was nowhere near anything useful and the Baltimore scored well but did not threaten 50. These takes have plausibility built in, but there is a reason I am taking such a thorough victory lap on the Falcons prediction. This week, I am not resting on my laurels. There will be no mild takes to get on a winning streak. If anything, I am amplifying the heat to the brink of foolery. I have no qualms about being proven incorrect, so let’s throw gasoline on this flame and burn off some eyebrows.

The Washington Football Team Will Beat the Cowboys by 10+ Points AND force 3+ Turnovers

All of my fellow Cowboys fans will cringe as they read this. It was very difficult to write, but as a Dallas aficionado during the 2020 season, nothing has been palatable. This prediction is based mostly on the complete ineptitude of the Cowboys to this point, combined with a myriad of costly injuries along their offensive line. Mike McCarthy and Mike Nolan have shown nothing to give a fan base confidence that they will turn this season around. Washington has also been bad, but at least they have shown competence in certain areas on the field and are coached UP into weekly contention by a warrior of a man battling cancer. The WFT front seven is ferocious and has generated a good pass rush all season. This, combined with the injuries to Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and now Zack Martin, does not instill any hope that chronic pump-faker Andy Dalton will have any time to disperse the ball to his playmakers. Dallas already sports the worst turnover margin in the NFL by far, so their historically bad defense might also be put in negative field position often enough for Kyle Allen, Terry McLaurin, and Antonio Gibson to put points on the board. There’s another glaring problem; the Cowboys are on pace to allow the most points in NFL history. Washington isn’t all-world on offense, but they might not have to be to drop 30 on Dallas and win at home going away. Pardon me while I sobbingly hope this take is very wrong…

The Three Games With the Highest Expected Total Will ALL Go Under

I love offensive shootouts. DFS players look to load up on the skill positions in the highest scoring games to capture the highest upside. This week, there are three games with an over/under betting total of 55 or higher: Detroit vs Atlanta, Green Bay vs Houston, and the Arizona vs Seattle game that was flexed to Sunday Night Football in primetime. All three of these games feature some premiere offenses facing suspect defenses. The spice level on this take is that of a Carolina Reaper pepper, as NFL games have been hitting the over enmasse. With the Lions/Falcons game, both teams have famously squandered multiple double digit leads. I actually envision Detroit getting out to a hot start and forcing the Falcons to get one dimensional. This plays into the Lions hands, so to speak, as their pass defense has been better than their putrid run defense. If the shoe is on the other foot, I see the Falcons running game staying effective at keeping Detroit off the field. A fast-moving clock from an effective run game is the best friend of the under bettor. In the Packers/Texans game, I simply envision a blowout win by Green Bay. Houston offers very little resistance on defense, even if Aaron Jones is ruled out. Aaron Rodgers is a dangerous man coming off an embarrassment against Tampa Bay last week. Deshaun Watson has feasted on poor pass coverage the last couple of weeks, but the Packers flaunt a very good secondary and a pass rush to match. Watson still lacks decent pass protection or running game to give him any help this week. Finally, the Sunday night game between the Cardinals and Seahawks has garnered plenty of attention, for obvious reasons. My preseason pick for MVP, Kyler Murray has been every bit as impressive as I hoped, but his top target will be hobbling around on a bum ankle and bracket coverage. Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, and Larry Fitzgerald will have to step up, because I have zero confidence in a repeat performance from Kenyan Drake, especially against a defense that doesn’t wear stars on their helmets. The Cardinals defense really has not been bad at all, especially against the pass. They carry over disrespect from last season’s failures, but it really has not been warranted. My worry with this take losing on this game stems on just how amazing Russell Wilson has been to date. My hope is that this becomes a classic Chris Carson grinder game with that lovely moving clock.

Latavius Murray Will Score More PPR Points Than Alvin Kamara

This one is completely bonkers, right? Well, there is some precedent here. In Week 4, the Saints went up against a terrible Lions run defense without Michael Thomas, so naturally every DFS player on Earth played Alvin Kamara and paid top dollar for all of that chalk. Visions of 40 points and Scrooge McDuckswimming in gold danced through everyone’s head. What actually happened? Kamara was dominant, but only to the tune of 20 points and it was Murray who found the end zone twice and got the second half carries to put the game on ice. This week, New Orleans faces a porous Carolina run defense and figures to handle business without Michael Thomas. It’s another Kamara smash game! Maybe so, but I believe it is also likely we see a repeat of the Detroit game where they save Kamara in the second half should the contest be decided, giving Murray a crack at a bunch of yards and a couple scores.

Ronald Jones Will Be THE RB1 This Week

What a story Ronald Jones has become. He went from yet another overrated early draft pick out of USC to an explosive bell cow back, hurtling toward the playoffs with the GOAT at the helm. In Week 7, the Bucs are facing the surprisingly good Las Vegas Raiders. This game should see its share of big plays from both teams, but there is a sizable talent gap when the Bucs offense faces the Raiders defense. RoJo has commanded the job with big performances while Leonard Fournette has battled injury, and now he faces the defense that has allowed the third-most points to opposing running backs. Jones will be the reason Tampa Bay gets out to a lead on Sunday afternoon, and he will also be the one to slam the door in the second half to quell any late game heroics from Vegas. I predict 30 touches for 150-plus yards and two touchdowns for RoJo this week, which should land him at the top of his position in PPR points.

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