If the Detroit Lions want to beat Cincinnati today and retain 1st place in the NFC North, they will need excellent performances from quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Reggie Bush and tight end Joseph Fauria.
"Hometown Hero" - Last week's hero was quarterback Matthew Stafford and he did step up and lead the Lions to a 31-17 road win over the Cleveland Browns in week #6. Stafford needs a similar, if not better, performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati (4-2) is in 1st place in the AFC North and needs to win today to maintain a one-game lead over Baltimore and Cleveland.
Stafford scored 31 fantasy points against the Browns and will need at least that many points to beat Cincinnati.
"Surprise and Delight" - Tight end Joseph Fauria has five touchdown catches and 39.5 fantasy points. He is one of Stafford's favorite "Red Zone" passing targets. Look for Fauria to catch at least one touchdown pass against the Bengals.
Another player that may surprise and delight Lions fans and fantasy football owners is kicker David Akers. Based on Detroit's recent offensive successes, Akers should be kicking numerous extra points and field goals.
"Hometown Zero" - Wide receiver Ryan Broyles was expected to step up with Nate Burleson injured and Calvin Johnson ailing. Broyles only has five pass catches and 8.5 fantasy points.
"And one more thing . . ." - The Cincinnati Bengals have two players - quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Giovani Bernard - that were listed in the Michigan Gnome's "Sleepers for Week #7" in Saturday's national preview article on Examiner.com. Dalton and/or Bernard might do better than expected against the Lions defense.
Summary - Unlike last week, the Michigan Gnome and I agree on the outcome of the game, but not the score. The Gnome picks Detroit to win, 33-28. I am picking the Lions to beat Cincinnati, 30-27.
The Gnome and I enter this week's game with identical 3-3 records after I picked the Lions to beat Cleveland in week #6.
"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 #7:
- Quarterback Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
- Running back Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
"Expect a Downturn" - Here are three players whose performances will be on fantasy football's downside in week 7:
- Quarterback Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
- Running back Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
- Wide receiver Rueben Randle, New York Giants
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