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Like/Dislike: Derek Carr will do big things in Week 12

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What we are talking about:

  • The Raiders!

    Not fandom, but so much love for this team.

  • Todd Gurley

    God help us all.

  • Melvin Gordon

    He's really good, but faces a tough matchup.

The Raiders are the best team in the AFC.

And before you even start, this gives me no pleasure to say. One misguided soul on Facebook accused me of being a Raiders fan. Which is pretty hilarious. Many of you might not know this, but I grew up in Southern California. I've been on record as a long-time supporter of the Angels, Lakers and Kings, like just about every kid from out here. The biggest dividing line was the Rams or the Raiders. Some people identified with the Raiders because they were cool (I mean, NWA wore their gear) and had Super Bowl titles. Some of us went Rams because they played in the same stadium as our Angels. I was a Rams guy, right up until the point where the team was "Major Leagued" out to St. Louis.

So I'm not a Raiders guy. In fact, I used to write an anti-Raiders blog that was cleverly disguised as a pro-Raiders website. How convincing was it? I was hit up by AOL FanHouse when it was just a startup. They wanted to gather all of the prominent NFL bloggers from around the 'Net. I had kind of hoped they would pick me to be one of the three NFL leads. I wasn't. But don't feel too bad, because I think it ended up all right for me.

So Jamie Mottram asked me to run the Raiders blog. And I asked one of my good friends, "Hey, should I let them know that I'm not a Raiders fan here?" And my dude, who ran a site called Divealanche (and anti-Colorado Avalanche site of some infamy) said, "What do you think my answer is going to be?"

I jumped at the chance at that point. It was kind of funny. A few fans kind of caught on to what I was doing and even openly complained because the only team that got a 'hater' to cover their team was the Raiders. Which is pretty good. The thing is, the Raiders were so bad during this time, it was easy to just look like a bitter fan. While I do admit there might have been some sort of Stockholm Syndrome going on, I am not, nor will I ever be, a Raiders fan.

Wait, that's not entirely true. I'll be all-in on the Las Vegas Raiders. That's a game-changer for sure. BTW, I know a lot of you freaked out when it was announced on some other sites that the Raiders had a stadium deal! They don't. Which is cool, because I'm all about the Las Vegas Raiders. I'm serious. I'm moving out there. I have a home picked out in Henderson and everything.

Bottom line here. I'm not a Raiders fan. At all. I appreciate their history and standing in the league. But not a fan in the traditional sense. Because I love what they are doing right now.

Let's start at quarterback. Derek Carr has been pretty great. A big reason why is his footwork. Have you ever noticed his footwork is always on point? And you compare it to Cam Newton, who doesn't look comfortable throwing the football at all. His footwork is all over the place. And that is why he's inconsistent. Well, that and because he doesn't run anymore.

Part of the reason why Carr's footwork is pristine is because the protection of the offensive line. Carr doesn't have to worry. I know a lot of you were all, "The Raiders gained just 20 rushing yards against the Texans" which is fine, but not the only way to judge an o-line. Carr was pressured just twice against the Texans according to Pro Football Focus.

And finally, I love the Raiders' offensive talent. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are great. But you have to love players such as Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. All of those guys can run, and it's the one thing that will give a defense nightmares. Having the threat of the big play always looms for the Raiders.

I see the Raiders winning the AFC West. If they somehow get home field, the Patriots could be in trouble. Especially in a revenge-type of setting. You know, from the Tuck Rule and everything.

And without further ado ...

Cam Newton ranks first among qualifying quarterbacks in highest average air distance per completion with 22.6 yards and second in highest air yards per completion with 8.4 yards. But since he rarely ventures out of the pocket, teams can now commit help deep and make him less effective on those throws.

Throw out the FPA and stuff like that because Khalil Mack has been a beast since he's started to line up on the left side of the center. He's going to spend Sunday in the Panthers backfield with that banged up Carolina offensive line.

Andy Dalton has five giveaways in his last three games, after going four straight without one. I don't like his chances without A.J. Green and Gio Bernard. Dalton has a 4-to-8 TD-to-INT ratio without Green during his career.

Joe Flacco has an 80.0 passer rating this year, 29th in the NFL sandwiched between Blake Bortles and Case Keenum. Heady company.

Jameis Winston has 12 touchdowns and two interceptions over his last six games. But yeah, good luck against Seattle this week.

Philip Rivers has eight interceptions since Week 7, most in the NFL. He had 12 touchdowns and three picks in the first six games.

The Cardinals are just one of four teams who have not allowed a 300-yard passer this season. Matt Ryan has five 300-yard passing games, tied for the second-most in the league. I could see Ryan throwing for a ton of yards, but having some brutal picks. He's my QB12.

Eli Manning had 227 passing yards and two touchdowns last week. I could see similar production against the Browns. The Giants could copy what the Steelers did last week and just run the ball nearly exclusively. I'd expect about 15 fantasy points.

Image Peyton Manning was at Broncos practice this week. After he, of course, attended a ceremony to honor the Colts Super Bowl team from a decade ago (I hope Rex Grossman and Marlon McCree were invited). But yeah, we need you to go away Peyton Manning. You got your sendoff at Super Bowl 50. Now you're like the dude who graduated high school but still wants to return all of the time. It's going to get to the point where all of the Broncos players will be all, 'Yeah, we're going to Claim Jumper after practice!' And then you end up at Chili's instead, while nobody is allowed to text back and tell you where everybody is.

Tyrod Taylor has more rushing touchdowns (three) than passing touchdowns (two) in his last four games.

I'd use Carson Wentz as a streaming option only. He's had his worst games when throwing the ball down the field. The good news for him is that the Packers is one of the worst in the league against the deep ball. The Packers have allowed the most touchdowns on deep passes this season with eight; five came during their four-game losing streak.

And all of that sounds great until you remember who the Eagles receivers are. Seriously, Nelson Agholor. What exactly are you doing out there on the field?

Image My wife has an irrational fear of spiders. Jeff Fisher has the same thing. Only his fear is letting Jared Goff throw the ball down the field. What the (expletive)? Look, you're not going to be an NFL coach for long. Fisher should be in "forget you" mode and go out blazing.

Image The Colts had a 10-year celebration for their Super Bowl team. Seems kind of unfair they didn't invite the two most important people to that title to the celebration: Rex Grossman or Marlon McCree.

The matchup of Brady and Ryan Fitzpatrick should be a good one. Brady's passer rating is 123.3. Fitzpatrick is 67.6. Or in other words, just barely half of Brady. Seriously, how terrible are Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. What the hell are you trying to prove, Jets? You're out of the playoffs. Damn, I feel bad for Matt Forte. You deserve better!

Image One thing that does bug me about Survivor Series (or huge tag matches in general) is that teams hit one finishing move out of nowhere (not you, Randy Orton) and that's it. Fandango was pinned in like twelve seconds. And then the Kofi Kingston rather instantly. Although, if you think about it, that's actually longer than Brock Lesnar's match. But still. I would like to see some more development in these matches. Perhaps you could rid yourself of the in-show commercials for the shows you're are already watching and you might have it.

Melvin Gordon has accounted 50.3 percent of the Chargers' offensive touches this season. But as tradition, I have to (expletive) on him for all of those who have benefited from me doing so this season. Real talk, though. That Texans defense is pretty tough, but Gordon has become pretty adept at catching the ball out of the backfield. He has as many receptions as he did last year.

Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson has spent 89 percent of his snaps defending the out wide alignment this season. So that means he's going to see a lot of Julio Jones. I would rarely bench Julio in traditional leagues. But if fantasy is something you only do on a daily basis, well, remember this.

Tyreek Hill has the fastest speed as a ball carrier this season (23.34 MPH) but he has a very tough matchup against the Broncos. Of the fastest receivers to face the Broncos this year (Brandin Cooks, Ted Ginn Jr., Tyrell Williams, A.J. Green); Cooks was the only one who really had success with 98 yards and a touch. Green held his own. So I'm keeping Hill on the bench.

Michael Thomas has at least 50 receiving yards in eight of 10 games this season. But he's been below 75 receiving yards in four straight games.

Image I'll say this for the Bears. By the end of last week's game against the Giants, the Bears have had 10 of its 22 starters at the beginning of the season injured or suspended. The Bears last four first-round picks are also injured: Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, Kevin White and Leonard Floyd.

Image I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I try to avoid politics at the dinner table, but it was unavoidable this weekend. That's right, I had a family member who wouldn't start Ben Roethlisberger because he "is terrible on the road." Look, that might be true. None of that (expletive) matters in week-to-week leagues. The Colts had the worst pass defense in the NFL headed into Week 12. And (spoiler alert) they play in a freaking dome. I'm not sure what would have scared you off this matchup. If you were thinking, 'Well, the Steelers might just run the ball excessively.' I will give you that one. But you can't let voodoo stats influence your decisions.

Image Oh, and for (expletive) sake. Just let people celebrate in the end zone. Sports are supposed to be fun. I feel stupid that I even have to make this a point. I know controversy can sometimes be good (look at the Survivor Series ending), but if you get people talking about the wrong things for long enough, well. Yeah.


Be sure to watch "Fantasy and Friends" at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Monday-Wednesday and Friday. (Sorry, the Thursday night game preempts us. But you can be a part of the show by going to NFL.com/fantasyandfriends. Also follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.

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