The only certainty in Sunday afternoon's game between division rivals Minnesota and Detroit is Vikings running Adrian Peterson (aka "AP") and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (aka "Megatron") will score plenty of fantasy points.
It is a game whose outcome may depend on the players who play with the league's best running back or the NFL's best wide receiver.
- Will new Lions running back Reggie Bush be the difference maker?
- Will the Vikings' Christian Ponder overshadow Detroit's Matthew Stafford at quarterback?
- Will a turnover decide the outcome of this game?
Unfortunately, I don't have my fantasy football partner, Spaz (the magnificent football predicting cat), to help sort out the variables and settle on the fantasy picks and the final score of the Lions' home opener. He died at the age of 15 this summer.
But a replacement has been found and we're launching into the 2013 fantasy football season with great expectations.
"Hometown Hero" - Megatron picks up where he left off at the end of the 2012 season. The Vikings will try one, two and maybe three defenders to corral Calvin Johnson and none of their strategies will work as he puts up at least 20 fantasy points in the season opener.
"Surprise and Delight" - Running back Reggie Bush catches a boatload of passes. If the Lions win, it will be because their new RB had 100+ yards receiving and 100+ yards rushing.
"Hometown Zero" - It is a tossup between wide receiver Nate Burleson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew. I wouldn't start either player on my fantasy football team. Burleson and Pettigrew were equally ineffective during the preseason.
You are probably wondering why a gnome is the feature picture in this article. After a lengthy search process, the Michigan Gnome was selected to replace Spaz. The move has already produced dividends as it was the Michigan Gnome who insisted that fantasy football participants start as many Denver Bronco offensive players as possible in Thursday night's season opener between the Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens.
Summary - We're starting off with a bang, because Michigan Gnome and I disagree on the outcome of the Vikinngs-Lions game. Gnome is going with the Lions winning 26-24, which means there must be a safety in there somewhere. My concern is Detroit's offense was unproductive in the preseason and I worry about their revamped offensive line. I figure the final score will be Minnesota 24, Detroit 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:
- Quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
- Running back Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Wide receiver Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
"Expect a Downturn" - Here are three players whose performances will be on fantasy football's downside in week 1:
- Running back Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
- Running back DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
- Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Feel free to share your feedback, insights, suggestions or questions by commenting on this article, tweeting me @denimartin, or by sending an email to email@example.com.