Like/Dislike: Looking pretty elite


What we are talking about:

  • Peyton Manning

    Draft with confidence

  • Terrance West

    Why not take a chance?

  • Paul's Boutique

    The best album of all-time

A Packers fan received an autographed jersey from Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn this week. The video is super charming (did I really just say super?) and you can take a look at it right here. (But please, save your copycat videos, people. I cared once and I won't do it again. I don't want this to become another kid cries after his favorite team loses. Seriously, what did that kid expect when he became a fan of the Raiders?)

But this is a pretty cool gesture about Rodgers and Munn becau ... wait a minute, Munn is with Rodgers now? Wow. I've really fallen behind on my quarterback/WAG depth charts. This power duo now comes in just behind Tom Brady/Gisele, Jay Cutler/Kristin Cavallari, Ryan and Lauren Tannehill but above Tony Romo/Candace Crawford. And I don't know how long this relationship is going to last, but sending a jersey together really rates pretty highly on the Doug Christie scale of whippedness. But if you've ever seen some of the texts Munn sent to Chris Pine, I can't say I blame Rodgers in the slightest.

Speaking of elite quarterbacks; they have become the must-have accessory for fantasy enthusiasts everywhere. They've become more popular than those girls who cosplay in the Wonder Woman costume at Comic Con. And for good reason. (No, not because Wonder Woman is awesome, I'm talking about the quarterbacks here.)

Peyton Manning was on more than 23 percent of fantasy championship rosters last year, behind only Jamaal Charles (who you probably got in the middle of the first-round). And when you look at some of the other prominent names of guys on championship rosters you'll see Zac Stacy, Knowshon Moreno (I had him and Charles on my expert's league team) and Le'Veon Bell in the top ten.

So for all of the noise you hear about waiting on a quarterback, it seems easier to wait for a running back and jump all-in on an elite quarterback like Rodgers, Manning over even Drew Brees. I'm not saying I would take one of those elite guys in the first-round, at least not early. But to me it's a lot more justifiable to do so than to take a risk on a questionable running back. Because really, when you get past the first five or so "elite" running backs, there are some significant risks. And if you're in a league where you get six points for touchdown passes (my league of record with my pals from Corona, Calif. is one such league), then you really need to consider going elite QB before moving on to running backs.

I mean, I liked C.J. Spiller and Trent Richardson a lot last year. I can only imagine I would hold the Corona Football League title if I went with Manning instead of Richardson at the end of the first round. (I ended up with Bell and Moreno, but still lost.)

But there is a lot of time to really dissect this. So let's jump into my likes and dislikes as training camp starts. Let's proceed in what our homepage editor Patrick Crawley called the best use of a soap box in world history. Or something like that.

A big hand to stats mavens Bill "Sudsy" Sudell and Careen Falcone for dropping the knowledge.

And without further ado ...

If I could Dr. Frankenstein the perfect quarterback, it would be Peyton during the regular season and Eli Manning during the postseason. Archie's probably thought a lot about this.

Eli Manning had a touchdown pass or less in 13 of 16 games in 2013, and more TDs than interceptions in a game just three times. His touchdown passes declined for the third consecutive year.

By the same token, nobody was going to even think about taking Eli Manning or a guy like Joe Flacco but sometimes I feel like I have to say these things.

Cam Newton worries me, though. I have confidence in a guy like Brady to overcome an obstacle like not having any (expletive) receivers. I'm not so convinced Cam can do it. And I like Cam a lot. I felt bad for him not winning the Madden cover vote. He's a legit gamer.

I like Russell, but I would not have given him the same rating as Brady in Madden. He does a lot of nice things. There isn't anybody who has a better feel for when to extend the pocket and when to tuck it and just book it for the first-down marker.

Wilson has also had to do it with a lot of receivers who have remained anonymous until Super Bowl XLVIII. And he still finished eighth in fantasy points last year at his position.

Wilson will also have (hopefully) a full season with Harvin this year. All right, I might have to reconsider his fantasy rating, but not his Madden one.

One more Wilson note, he has passed for more than 300 yards just twice in 32 career starts. I don't think Brees has thrown for less than 300 yards in a game, like ever. All right, maybe a slight exaggeration.

Robert Griffin III had six rushing touchdowns in his first six NFL games. He had only one in his next 22 games, including none last year. I'm a little more worried.

I'm truly hopeful RG3 can rebound from the disaster of Mike Shanahan, enemy of the fantasy enthusiasts. But RG3 should always be viewed as more of a plan B in your drafts.

ImageAs Triple H has always said, there's always a Plan B. Let's just hope RG3 can be as good as Seth Rollins, though he did suffer what might or might not have been a legit knee injury recently. I mean, the lack of a match against Dean Ambrose leads me to believe perhaps Rollins was hurt for reals. Which I hope not, because I've been a fan back to his Tyler Black days.

ImageAnd then there's plan C, Brock Lesnar. Oh man, wrestling marks are the best. There is no way Lesnar is going to beat John Cena at Summer Slam. It just can't happen. When the company gets all panicky, they put the belt on Cena so he can continue to sell shoes at K-Mart. And if you're an adult who wears a pair of these, shame on you. But forget the fantasy booking; Cena is winning this thing again. It's inevitable.

I know I'm just jumping around now but the Panthers were the only playoff team without a 1,000-yard runner or receiver. I love my guy DeAngelo Williams. I mean, I sat in the fifth-row at WrestleMania XXX because of him and Gary Barnidge, but dang Carolina.

I wish the Panthers would just establish DeAngelo Williams as the top running back or at least allow him to run the ball near the end zone. I mean, is Ron Rivera Bud Kilmer to DeAngelo's Wendell Brown?

For the record, I do like McCoy in the coming season. I don't like that he dogged me and didn't pick me to be on his Call of Duty team during a Microsoft event during the offseason. Even though he was totally justified because I'm terrible at Call of Duty, it was a little bit hurtful.

Pierre Thomas led the Saints with 549 rushing yards last year. No Saints player has rushed for at least 800 yards since Deuce McAllister in 2006.

Pour one out for Tim Cornett who was cut by the Arizona Cardinals very early.

Mathews always get harangued for being an injury-prone running back. And yet, people are all too happy to run out and draft Arian Foster in the first-round. I love his Twitter feed. He's hilarious if not insightful. But again, you're taking a huge risk with this dude.

Marshawn Lynch had more than 400 touches during the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl. Look what that kind of abuse ended up doing to Ray Rice last season. Lynch is no longer a first-round running back for me anymore.

And now it looks like Lynch could be a training camp holdout. Hey remember that one time when a running back held out of camp and he went on to have an amazing season? Oh yeah, that never (expletive) happens. Remember this when you draft Seahawks. This is why nobody repeats any more. Mother of pearl.

He's all about that inaction, boss! Yeah, sorry about that.

I would look towards a wide receiver at the end of the first-round if all of the big guns (the big four as it were) were still available. There is all sorts of risk with guys like Lynch to be sure


ImageRice had more than 75 rushing yards only once last year. He topped 75 rushing yards 25 times in 48 games from 2010-12. Just if you're looking for justification to not draft Rice this year. I mean, not to get on my pulpit (in my pulpit?), but I do have some sort of moral clause on my team. If you're busted for weed, you've still got a spot. But what Rice did, no.

The question of the summer on Twitter (follow me, please? I'm not too good to beg) was why is Andy Dalton rated so low after he finished fifth in fantasy points last year.

Well, the Bengals are expected to run the ball a ton. Hue Jackson wants to take the heat of Dalton this season. Seems reasonable.

Remember when I said Steven Jackson would be a fantasy MVP last year and he made me look like a donkey? Damn, I was adamant. However, in my defense, SJax was money in Week 15 which probably saved a bunch of us. I know it saved me in the expert's league.

But yeah, we're pretty much done with Steven Jackson here. He has the name recognition you like and people feel comfortable with him. But why do this to yourself? It's like going to see a Johnny Depp movie because you know his name and you liked him in the past. But then you mention "The Lone Ranger" and you're like, oh yeah, he's not so good any more.

But yeah, that "21 Jump Street" movie was awesome, though. I know he had just a minor part, but he was good.

Man, people are way too hyper on Ben Tate. Even if you don't think West is worth anything, or you're scared because you never saw him play in college, don't be. Why waste a third-round pick on a guy who is going to be in the most hotly-contested running back battle of the summer? It's an act of lunacy.

Plus there have been a number of former NFL executives and NFL scouts who straight-up laughed when I asked about Tate. This isn't me, the NFL Noob, just throwing around bull feces. There are legitimate concerns by dudes who did actual drafting and stuff.

To me, West, Hill, Freeman and some of the other names you see on the left have as much of a chance as Tate to being a top running back. I just don't want you guys to draft Tate and be all bummed when he's not good.

Trent Richardson averaged less than three-yards per carry in 12 games with the Colts last year. If you've entertained the thought of going after him in your draft, you might as well use a pick on Batman because he's just as likely to be a great running back. And yes, Richardson is on my "never draft list" after last season. Its' way too soon for that.

ImageIf the St. Louis FC relocates to Los Angeles next year, it really needs to do something about Sam Bradford. I mean really, he's got future career backup written all over him.

The tough part for Los Angeles, I mean St. Louis, is it will be just decent enough to fall in the middle of the draft next season. Which will keep them out of the running for some of the top quarterbacks who will go at the top of the draft. Though it might have to pull an RG3-like deal next year.

The Birds are going to take that division. Wait, there are two birds in that division. Hmm, maybe I'll take the easy way out and just say Birds and you can read into what you will.

Just kidding, I'm talking about the Cardinals. They will win. And the Cards should be the defense you target this year. The Cards D will be this year's Chiefs. Just don't drop them in Week 3 like I did last year.

Julio Jones broke a screw in his foot. It's been repaired and he's slowly come along in practice. But I'm not going to reach for him in drafts. Way too many comparable choices.

Reggie Wayne is one of those names that people value and a guy that your friend who doesn't follow football all that much will draft.

I'm going to pass on Wes Welker this season. He's had some injury concerns and Peyton is going to spread the ball around way too much this season. DT and JT seem poised to be some of the top at their respective positions. Somebody in your draft is going to over-value Welker because of his name. Don't be that guy.

Mike Wallace sort of falls into that category as well as a name you can't trust. Plus there seems to be something wrong with the Dolphins so I'm out. I feel like the Bills and Jets will be better this season.

And there's not a Dolphins RB I like this year. Not even you, Knowshon Moreno.

Josh Gordon is another asked-about name on the social media this summer. And it continues to hang over fantasy enthusiasts like the Sword of Damocles. (Read a book, people!)

If your draft is this early in the summer; what the hell is wrong with you? Just kidding. Things happen. I don't mind a late-round flyer on the dude. He might not be suspended that long. I mean if Rice was suspended just two games, will Gordon even be suspended?

And yeah, I have Gordon in a keeper league. I will have to spend a roster spot on him for the whole year. Which will be a pain.

Sammy Watkins continues to make circus-like catches in Bills camp. But don't get caught up into the hype too much. This is where too much coverage can be a detriment.

Andre Johnson has no touchdowns in 16 of his last 18 games. His 181 targets were second in the NFL. But dude's not getting into the end zone. Hell, he's barely interested in playing in Houston.

I know Mike Ditka has apologized profusely for not getting Walter a touchdown in Super Bowl XX, but pops went to the grave angry about it, still.

Maybe it makes me nostalgic for studio albums, but today's iTunes and YouTube generation will never witness the genius of an album like Paul's Boutique.

Rob Gronkowski currently has an ADP of the third-round so far this offseason. And while excited about his return, it's a little too early for me.

Just looking at some ADP stats, Lamar Miller and Maurice Jones-Drew go ahead of West, Sproles and Robinson. I'd rather roll with the latter instead of the former.

And for the record, those John Cena shoes ARE REAL!. And they are made for ADULTS! And I can't stop using CAPS for dramatic effect.

For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live, Michael Fabiano or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 120,000 followers, and Fabiano has 150,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. And if you follow him on Sundays, he'll quote "The Wolf" from "Pulp Fiction" and then it's game on! Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to."