According to dictionary.com, the world bold means: not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring.
And so true bold predictions need to come in the face of common logic – to be risky, courageous and daring without crossing the fine line to being totally insane.
So here I go, starting a new feature where I pick five bold predictions for the coming week’s fantasy action. Now this isn’t anything to bank on. My emergency plug and play options are based on plenty of research, player opportunity and matchups. I want to give you some last-minute options to start with as much confidence as possible.
These bold predictions have a level of craziness to them. My gut reaction was consulted heavily, so buyer beware …
1. Blaine Gabbert will produce better fantasy stats than Cam Newton in the battle of the rookie QBs.
The Titans-Jaguars game is intriguing in that it is Gabbert’s first official NFL start. Newton has been under center from Week 1 and been impressing the socks off everyone. His performance against the Packers last week, especially, made an indelible mark on the fantasy industry.
However, while common logic would suggest that the Jags would cook up a healthy dose of Maurice Jones-Drew against a shaky Carolina defense to allow Gabbert to learn the NFL scene using baby steps, I have a feeling they want to make a mark here, too. To show that their scheme to rid the roster of David Garrard wasn’t as crazy as one would think.
I think this game will require the Jags to play keep up. I’m not saying Newton will flop here, just that Gabbert will outsling him for the week.
2. Ryan Fitzpatrick will outproduce Tom Brady in fantasy points this week and the Bills will pull the upset.
The Buffalo/New England matchup marks an interesting game. It is an AFC-East matchup that will have a significant mark on the division this season. The game is in Buffalo and the Bills have much less to lose.
Both defenses are poor against the pass, but the Bills actually look better against the long ball than the Patriots for once. Fitzpatrick will need to sling the ball early and often in the contest to keep up with the Brady Bunch, and I think that Brady will miss Aaron Hernandez more than we give him credit.
3. Mike Tolbert will lead all fantasy running backs in Week 3 scoring.
He was a beast in Week 1 before falling off the map last week. There is little doubt that Tolbert is a scoring machine and his sudden involvement in the Chargers passing game is a surprise none of us expected.
This week, the Chargers draw the woeful Chiefs, who have been giving up more land to opposing running backs than the French did in the Louisiana Purchase.
But even more telling for Tolbert is that the vaunted Antonio Gates, the typical large end zone passing presence, is likely to miss the game today. That means Tolbert is weapon No. 1A in both the rushing and aerial attack. The Chargers will score a lot and try to keep the clock running.
4. Matt Schaub and Owen Daniels will outproduce Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley in terms of QB-TE tandems this week.
There is little doubt that Aaron Rodgers can light up any defense he faces and while Jermichael Finley has been fairly quiet on the fantasy scene this season, he is primed to break out sooner rather than later.
But this is against the Bears in Chicago. That deserves mention.
So does Schaub’s and Daniels’ matchup against the Saints in what should prove to be a shootout from the coin toss to the final seconds tick off the scoreboard. Both Schaub and Daniels have been quiet lately, putting up fantasy stats as exciting as watching re-runs of the polka championships while playing a hand of bridge.
However, that came against two sub-par squads where Houston could focus on ball control and running out the clock with Ben Tate. This week, Schaub will be expected to step up, and he’s quietly leading the league in pass completion (71 percent). Daniels is the No. 2 option on this offense and will be utilized as such in a situation where Schaub leans on the guys he knows he can count on.
5. Adrian Peterson will have his worst game of the season from a fantasy standpoint.
Yes, I’m saying this when Peterson is against the Lions of all teams. We fantasy folk used to drool like Fido in a butcher shop when our backs matched up against Detroit. But that isn’t the case this season.
Part of that is because the Lions defense is actually much improved. The unit stymied LaGarrette Blount in Week 1 and then last week knocked Jamaal Charles out for the season while mauling the rest of the Chiefs backfield.
The other part of the puzzle involves the efficiency of the Lions offense, blowing up games and forcing opponents to air it out in catch-up mode. The dismal Vikings will be no different this week.
Those who have read my stuff for quite some time know that I expect Peterson’s sky to fall sooner rather than later. At least for Week 3 of the 2011 season, I’ll be right. You watch me!