Made five bold predictions for the 2010 season and it was fun tracking them all year. Happy that at least one of them hit, ecstatic that I got two-out-of-five correct (LaDainian Tomlinson, Maurice Jones-Drew).
So I am going to try my hand again this year and hope that I can at least hit on 40 percent of these again in 2011. Two of the following bold predictions are carry-overs from last year, one of those two goes in the opposite direction.
1. Matthew Stafford will finish the 2011 season as an elite fantasy football quarterback. I wanted this to happen last year. It might have, had he stayed healthy. The same appears to be true again this season judging by the buzz out of Detroit after a stellar preseason by Stafford and Co. If Stafford can give fantasy owners 16 games, this will be a lock.
2. Ray Rice will be the No. 1 running back in fantasy leagues at season’s end. Sure, he has to play Pittsburgh twice. You can play the schedule card if you want. Here is the card I am going to play: No more touchdown vulture in Willis McGahee, no more Todd Heap and Derrick Mason. Joe Flacco is going to lean on Rice as a safety valve and Ricky Williams will not vulture goal line carries from Rice like McGahee once did.
3. Owners who drafted Michael Vick in the first round of fantasy drafts will be severely disappointed. And not because of his history of not being able to play 16 games in a season. No, I think Vick will underwhelm statistically in 2011. It seemed as if defenses were catching up to Vick near the end of 2010 and I think that trend will continue. Vick is no longer a spring chicken, either, and will need to prove once again that he can be a consistently accurate quarterback — I have my doubts.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew will finish the season as the starting running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many are betting against MJD this year — and I was betting against him last year — but I think the surgery and subsequent rest and rehab Jones-Drew underwent this offseason will help him stay strong for the 2011 season.
5. Isaac Redman will be the fantasy football waiver wire fantasy hall of famer of the season. You do not have to believe in the curse of 370 to be a buyer of Redman’s stock. One misstep from Rashard Mendenhall is all it would take for Redman to have plenty of opportunities for visits to the end zone.
Here are today’s great reads:
- NFL teams cut rosters back to 53 men last weekend. There were plenty of fantasy football relevant moves in the process. One such move that fantasy owners should note is the addition of Keiland Williams to the Detroit backfield. He could be a big waiver wire add at some point early this season if he can get up to speed. Was useful in several games last year in Washington. [ESPN.com]
- And here is a story if you already are trolling the waiver wire ahead of week one in your fantasy leagues. Plenty of good names to add to your watch list if you do not feel like cutting any one of your draft picks yet. [Fantasy Football Freaks]
- Week one projections are up on several sites, including my favorite league-hosting website Fleaflicker. I like how these guys are adding more than just a place to host your league. I will be interested to see how well their projections pan out over the course of the season. [Fleaflicker]
- In a shocking move yesterday, the Jaguars released starting quarterback David Garrard. Luke McCown now is the starting quarterback for week one against the Titans. Ouch, if you own any Jaguars. [ProFootballTalk]
- Trying to determine which quarterbacks have the best matchups this weekend? Hard to do, even with all the numbers. Things like this change every season, but it still is a good starting place if you are having a tough time deciding between two QBs. [RazzBall]
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