Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Few Bold 2011 Fantasy Football Predictions

By Joey Cavalier

Just to be clear, these “bold predictions” do not necessarily reflect my rankings. They are fun, brash predictions that invite others to make fun of me and tell me how stupid I am… That said I believe these are things that could actually happen, given that the players mentioned play to their upside. So sit back, read, respond, and make fun of me please…so here we go, in no particular order.

1. Mike Tolbert will finish the season with more fantasy points than Ryan Mathews.
Ryan Mathews showed up to training camp out of shape and seemingly indifferent. The fact that he, as a RB, failed a basic physical is alarming. Rumor has it most of the Chargers’ coaching staff prefers Tolbert to Mathews. That makes sense because Tolbert has been very effective when given the chance (plus, he is a Michael Turner clone). Tolbert had 11 touchdowns with only 182 carries last year! Tolbert will be the feature back and Matthews will slide over to the passenger seat.

2. Plaxico Burress will finish the season with 10 receiving touchdowns. Plaxico is fresh out of the slammer and ready to get back to jumping over cornerbacks. Mark Sanchez has never had a weapon to throw to like Burress. All that Sanchez needs to do is close his eyes, throw the ball high in the air, and wait for Burress to come down with it. Plaxico will be the go-to guy in the red zone for the Jets. No one is more equipped to bring down the jump ball than the 6’5" WR. He may not end up with a lot of yards, but he will end up with a lot of touchdowns.

3. Jamal Charles will be the No. 1 fantasy RB this season. Though many wouldn’t consider this a bold prediction, Charles needs to surpass the likes to Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, and Arian Foster to establish himself as the best fantasy RB. Charles was a top-5 fantasy RB in almost every scoring system last year while sharing the load with Thomas Jones. Charles has done nothing but embarrass defenses when given the chance. With Jones getting old and taking the back seat, Charles will get more touches, and cement himself as “the” elite fantasy RB.

4. The Arizona Cardinals’ offense will be the sleeper fantasy offense that you want to tap into. The addition of Kevin Kolb will bring Larry Fitzgerald back to his rightful place of fantasy dominance. Plus, Arizona added Todd Heap to the fold, and Kolb loves checking down and hitting his TE. The subtraction of Tim Hightower brings clarity to the Arizona backfield, where Beanie Wells and rookie Ryan Williams will get a chance to put in a lot of work. With a QB who can actually complete a pass, Beanie Wells (who has been named the starter) has the chance to become a solid No. 2 RB this season. Buy stock in the Cardinals offense.

5. Daniel Thomas will be the “Fantasy Rookie of the Year” Some have already crowned Mark Ingram the Fantasy Rookie of the Year, but he is in a serious RB committee on a pass-first team. Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, and Chris Ivory will all be taking touches away from Ingram at some point. Daniel Thomas will be the feature back on a run-first team, with only Reggie “can’t-run-up-the-middle” Bush taking touches away from him. With Jake Long leading the way, Daniel Thomas will be crowned Fantasy Rookie of the Year.

6. Vincent Jackson will end up a top-5 fantasy WR.
With a head the size of Barry Bonds’, a chip on his shoulder, and a chance to earn a huge contract, V-Jax will come up big this season for fantasy owners. Having the toss-happy Phillip Rivers as his QB doesn’t hurt his cause either. Defenses have to focus on stopping Antonio Gates, and the speedy 6’5" receiver will toy with opposing defenses like he did before all of his holdout-douchebagery. Welcome to upper-echelon, Vincent Jackson, now stop being such a jackass!

7. Reunited with Mike Martz, Roy Williams will be a top-30 fantasy WR.
Trust me, it was more painful for me to type this up than it is for you to read. This is not so much about Roy Williams’ skill set as it is about Mike Martz and his stubborn way of doing things. The mad scientist has already come out and said that Roy Williams will get 70-80 catches this year. The Bears throw the ball a lot, and no one in the receiving game has done anything to earn the title of “go-to-guy.” Williams had a couple of big seasons under Martz in recent history, and Martz is going to do everything he can to rekindle Williams’ success. The egocentric Williams will be a cheap surprise for the fantasy owners who pick him up off the scrap heap.

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