Spaz, the magnificent fantasy football predicting cat, must have been anxiously awaiting the start of Detroit’s 2011 pro football season because he quickly picked the Lions to beat Tampa Bay this Sunday
If you recall, I brought Spaz in because my personal frustrations with making predictions were climbing and I needed some (comic?) relief. The 13-year-old cat took on the task of predicting games with the enthusiasm of a Green Bay cheesehead.
Spaz quickly went from a one-hit wonder to outperforming his owner in picking the outcome of Lions games. He finished with an 8-5 record, while I managed to hit the 500 mark at 8-8. As the NFL owners, players and fans fretted over the lockout, Spaz took frequent naps, lounged wherever he felt comfortable and awaited the beginning of the 2011 NFL season.
When it was time to pick Sunday’s Detroit-Tampa Bay winner, he quickly devoured the cat treats representing the Lions and treated the Bucs treats like after-dinner mints. Though Spaz seems confident that the Lions can beat the Buccaneers two years in a row in Tampa, I foresee a Lions loss as described later in this article.
“The Lion who will roar” (Hometown Hero): Calvin Johnson had his long-awaited breakout season last year and there is no reason for him to slown down now. There is no doubt that Johnson is Matthew Stafford’s favorite target and the Lions quarterback is willing to throw the ball in Johnson’s direction when it appears the Lions’ star wide receiver is well covered.
“Above (not On) Par Lion”: Nate Burleson was the one of the key additions to the Lions in 2010. His contributions on the field and in the locker room have been noteworthy. Burleson had an excellent preseason and, teamed with Johnson, may be part of the best wide receiving duo in football this year.
“Bench that Lion” (Hometown Zero): Titus Young. Young missed considerable playing time during the preseason and doesn’t seem ready for prime time football. He may make significant contributions later in the season,but not in week #1.
Summary: Spaz chooses to ignore the Lions road record. I can’t ignore it plus I see Tampa Bay quaterback Josh Freeman as a rising star in the NFL. It may come down to who can run the ball better and the advantage in this area goes to LaGarrette Blount and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Predictions: Deni – Tampa Bay 20, Detroit 17. Spaz – Detroit 27, Tampa Bay 20.
“I wish I had him this week”: For Detroit fantasy owners with stars from other teams, here are three players that should have a better than average game in week #1:
• Tom Brady, QB, New England – Brady didn’t look spectacular during the preseason, but he’s the quarterback you’d pick when you need to mount a comeback. He was #1 quarterback in the knotmove.com’s Top 200 players for the fantasy football draft and I selected him as the national “Play Him” player in week #1.
• Andre Johnson, WR, Houston – Star running back Arian Foster is out and Matt Schaub will throw the ball more to his favorite receiver, Andre Johnson.
• Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland – McFadden had a breakout year in fantasy football in 2010. He is running against a Bronco defense that is trying to rebult its reputation. He and his teammates will cotrol the line of scrimmage and put some points on the board.
“Expect a Downturn”: Here are three players whose performances will take a slide:
• Arian Foster, RB, Houston – His injury makes him the national and local “Sit Him” player of the week.
• Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis – The injury report about Manning came out after the Examiner published the national week #1 prediction article or the Indianapolis quarterback would be the #1 candidate for national and local “Sit Him” player of the week.
• Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville – Will Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown throw more or less to Mike Thomas? I vote “less” and, if I have an adequate subtitute, would not start Thomas.
Which players do you think will surprise or disappoint us in week #1?
Here’s your opportunity to share your opinions and expertise with other fantasy sports enthusiasts and me. You can submit your predictions by choosing to “Comment” on this story or email me at [email protected]
Other Fantasy Football Links of Interest
Do you wonder who the members of the Examiners fantasy football panel selected as their “Play Him” or “Sit Him” players for week #1? Then you need to read “Examining Fantasy Week 1”.
And if you are interested in national fantasy football news and what Examiners are writing about the players on your favorite NFL team, check out the knotmove.com’s NFL2011 fantasy football catalog.
Next Fantasy Football article: A recap of week #1 – highlights and lowlights.