What we are talking about:
He will bounce back in 2012
Something doesn't add up
Are they a team of destiny?
HBO has selected the Dolphins as this year's participant on "Hard Knocks." And I had two immediate responses (as presented on Twitter). First, how long is it going to take Kim Kardashian to try to weasel her way back into Reggie Bush's good grace? Second, the selection of the Dolphins was really a green light for the team's true star: Lauren Tannehill, wife of first round-pick Ryan Tannehill, who became the breakout star of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Let's make no mistake, Lauren Tannehill is attractive. But in a world where Kate Upton's Cat Daddy video exists, we should have some restraint. Seriously, you could spend three hours at the Century City Mall in L.A. and find 37 women on the same level as Lauren Tannehill, but she's the one the interwebs go ga-ga over. I guess it's about opportunity and exposure.
It's similar to the way we look at fantasy running backs too. With a dearth of feature backs in the NFL, we overvalue the position. So we ignore the obvious injury concerns for DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden and to some extent Matt Forte because we want so badly for them to be productive.
So who can you trust this season, and who are the Lauren Tannehill all-stars? We'll knock that out the preseason edition of Like/dislike.
And without further ado ...
Your choices at quarterback have been made for you, but if you're looking for a guy to stash on your bench, go with Josh Freeman. The Buccaneers are poised to be a running team in 2012, but Freeman will be a good value in later rounds. â¦
Don't ignore his disastrous 2011 season, but realize the Buccaneers were a mess last season because of the coaching situation and Freeman will bounce back. Vincent Jackson and the addition of Doug Martin will help the offense overall. â¦
Freeman had four rushing touchdowns in 2011, and if he could do something like he did during his senior year in college when he had 14, we're looking at a guy who is a legit top 10 quarterback this season. â¦
I have Freeman at No. 13. Let's go over my top 12 quarterbacks (in order): Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, and Michael Vick. â¦
Romo and Rivers are going to be the best players to own, based on average draft position (ADP). I've already predicted Romo will end up being my fantasy quarterback this season on the majority of my teams (Brady is already locked in on my keeper team), just because that's my luck in fantasy football. â¦
I realize Cutler is listed higher than the Manning brothers, Big Ben and Vick and I wonder if I would have the guts to wait on Cutler if push came to shove, but he's poised for a monster year without Mike Martz. â¦
LeSean McCoy is my top fantasy running back for 2012. The Eagles are going to be improved this season and McCoy is a big reason why. It's close, but I moved McCoy slightly ahead of Arian Foster in recent weeks. McCoy catches the ball better, and he doesn't have a Ben Tate taking away carries. â¦
Ray Rice is going to be a risk to holdout, but his contract negotiation seems less contentious than Matt Forte's negotiations with the Bears. In fact, recent reports indicate both sides have made progress and coach John Harbaugh has no concerns about Rice's absence from OTAs, so don't be too concerned. â¦
So if you're wondering why I would take Rice well above Forte and why I like McCoy, it's because he's a one-man band for the Ravens. He doesn't have to worry about a guy like Mike Bush taking away touches since Bernard Pierce is at least a year or two away. â¦
Ryan Mathews has a rap of being injury prone. Yet, he's missed only two games in 2011 and finished ninth among fantasy running backs. Now, he won't yield goal-line carries to Mike Tolbert. The Chargers have put a lot of faith in him and you should too. â¦
Mathews is my No. 4 running back, but the question is whether you take him over a guys like Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford at the end of the first round. Will the Madden curse scare me off Johnson? Not at this spot. I go Megatron, Mathews, Stafford and Newton in that order. ...
If you're going to take a chance on an injured running back, why not make it Adrian Peterson? The guy has been healthy for most of his career and he's already beating teammates in wind sprints at OTAs, including Percy Harvin. Yet you see some of the injury-prone guys in the NFL being given the benefit of the doubt and not Peterson, who is a freak. â¦
ImageSeriously sometimes this stuff is as illogical as the new Snow White movie. Let me see if I have this correct, Ravenna (played by Charlize Theron) is jealous of the beauty of Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart). Wait, what? â¦
Marshawn Lynch certainly carries a lot of risk considering running backs who receive big contracts have trended down in recent years. But you can't argue against the success Lynch has had in recent seasons and this is a huge year for coach Pete Carroll, so I'd be willing to risk it with him. â¦
Believe in BenJarvus Green-Ellis this season because the Bengals certainly do. The Bengals didn't add any real RB competition in the draft and the team acquired the Law Firm for one reason: To punch the ball into the end zone. The Firm had 24 rushing touchdowns in the Patriots' baffling running back rotation. The Bengals as a team had 18 rushing touchdowns during that stretch. â¦
I like Shonn Greene more than I should, but I can't help myself. Greene will be an ADP value as my No. 19 guy, but he's going to be moving up my list thanks to the news OC Tony Sparano wants to increase his workload this year. Look what Sparano did for Bush last year, and with the Jets' QBs, they have no choice but to run the ball. â¦
Hakeem Nicks is going to be a great ADP value. He's not going to offer much early in the season, but you will be glad to have him at the end of the year during your playoff push. I'm going to grab a receiver early, and then target Nicks as my No. 2 guy. I had him rated fourth before his foot surgery. â¦
Brandon Marshall is the most under appreciated No. 1 receiver in fantasy football. He is going to be fantastic reunited with Cutler in Chicago. I would love to have Marshall and Nicks as my top two receivers and then slide in a guy like Kenny Britt, who also figures to be an ADP steal, too. â¦
Eric Decker is going to benefit the most from Peyton Manning. He's already working out with him, and he excels at route running. Decker did better last year with a classic drop-back passer like Kyle Orton compared to his numbers with the other guy. If I could grab him as a third receiver, now you're cooking with gas. â¦
Expect Decker to have similar numbers to Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison during their heyday with Manning. If you are looking for an apt comparison, expect Decker to be the Wayne of the Broncos offense, and D. Thomas to act as more of the Pierre Garcon guy - the player who can come up with some big performances from time-to-time. â¦
I like Miles Austin to bounce back in 2012 and regain a lot of the numbers he lost to Laurent Robinson last season. Austin is a No. 1 WR for me (but you can probably get him as an WR2). I would be willing to take Dez Bryant as a WR2 or WR3, but I wouldn't trust him as a No.1, a mistake a lot of fantasy enthusiasts made last year. â¦
ImageSpeaking of bounce backs; welcome back to relevancy Big Show. I love CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, but it's ridiculous to make a guy like The Big Showa carnival sideshow. Having him as a peeved, nearly unstoppable big man is going to do wonders for his career. That's great writing by the WWE creative team. Heels are at their best when they speak the truth. â¦
ImageI'm going to miss the push of Brodus Clay, but let's be honest, his character was stalling a bit. If he becomes a motivated big man who battles The Big Show, this is going to be much better for his career. ...
Eddie Royal is a must in leagues which value return yardage (my keeper league is like that), but I still like him as a guy to round-out your fantasy roster because he could be a solid No. 3 this year. â¦
Emmanuel Sanders is going to be an ADP bargain. I like him a lot for the Steelers, who still won't be able to run the ball like they want to this year. I would rather take a chance on a guy like Sanders instead of wasting a pick on a name veteran like Moss, Driver or some other guy who has reached his fantasy ceiling. â¦
Here's my take on tight ends: I'm gunning for Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. I will take Jason Witten as long as those two previously mentioned guys don't start a way too early run on tight ends. Otherwise, I'm happy to sit and wait for Jacob Tamme or Coby Fleener. â¦
I know I shouldn't trust a rookie tight end so much. But he's really special and don't underestimate his bond with his quarterback. The two had a late start to camp because of Stanford's late graduation, so their chemistry is even more important. â¦
And when it comes to rookie quarterbacks, I'm going with Andy Luck as my top guy. People ignore Luck's athleticism, which is crazy because he put up the same combine numbers as Cam Newton. Luck will get you between 6 to 10 rushing touchdowns, too. â¦
It pains me to put so much faith in somebody from Stanford because, this might sound strange, but the chief rival of my alma mater Cal State Fullerton is the Cardinal. At least for those who follow college baseball. Though, the series between the two is about as competitive as the Yankees and Angels rivalry. â¦
ImageDidn't I preach calm when it came to Albert Pujols? Amazing what a difference it makes when your No. 3 hitter starts putting crooked numbers on the board. But more than Pujols, you should be watching the Angels for Mike Trout. Forget Bryce Haper, Trout is the future of the Major League Baseball. â¦
ImageOne more shout-out while I'm here to retiring Cal State Fullerton hoops coach Bob Burton. You rescued a program which was in deep, deep probation because the NCAA was so mad at UCLA, it had to penalize somebody. But Burton did the unthinkable by leading Fullerton to an NCAA tournament (to me, as impressive as Billy Donovan's back-to-back titles for Florida given the circumstances). Good luck to interim coach Andy Newman who has my full support. â¦
ImageFinal like: The Los Angeles Kings. I haven't been with you during this run, but it's been an amazing time to be a fan. The Lakers have spoiled us during the years, so it's nice for the Kings to pick up the (car) flag with Showtime being canceled so early. â¦
I went to a fantasy draft party with some NFL sponsors last year to press the flesh and offer advice. One dude picked Matt Ryan fourth. Not in the fourth round, but fourth overall in the entire draft. I would advise against doing that. â¦
Ryan did finish eighth in fantasy points last year, so he wasn't a bust. He has a pair of young superstar receivers, yet there's something about watching him play which is as unsatisfying and formulaic as an episode of "How I Met Your Mother." â¦
ImageHaving "How I Met Your Mother" in syndication reminds me how great the show was at the beginning and how repetitive the show has become in recent years. Have Ted meet the kids mom, or have the kids turn into Zombies who eat their dad. Either ending would work for me. â¦
ImageI hear Cobie Smulders was fantastic in "The Avengers." I wouldn't know because I respect Jack Kirby way too much to line the pockets of Marvel. I feel I might have wandered off topic, let's get back to Ryan. â¦
I would much rather over spend for one of the elite quarterbacks (or even Romo and Rivers) instead of being stuck with Ryan. Maybe it's the addition of Dirk Koetter, who certainly didn't set the scoreboard ablaze in Jacksonville. But something seems off in Atlanta. â¦
Drew Brees is an automatic. The year after he threw for 5,069 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2008, he followed it up with a 4,000 yard and 34 TD season the next year and dropped his interception totals. So, I don't fear a letdown. But there's something about the situation in New Orleans which will keep me from drafting him in the first round. â¦
I have Maurice Jones-Drew high on my rankings, because it just seems like the thing to do, and I don't have any conviction in it. MJD reportedly looks slower in camp already and the team will try to see if Blaine Gabbert can make it. (Spoiler alert: Gabbert won't.) â¦
Matt Forte looked impressive hauling the weight around in his video plea to the Bears for more money. Hey, if he wanted to pitch a reality TV show of dudes dragging random objects, count me in. If he's trying to convince me he's going to be good to go for the fantasy season, I still have my doubts. â¦
Again, if Forte settles his contract issues and his knee is completely healthy, it's all good. But it still doesn't override the fact Michael Bush is still in the mix in Chicago. The Bears didn't sign him as an insurance policy. He's playing. â¦
For some reason, people throw up caution flags for Mathews but are willing to invest in Darren McFadden, who started only seven games last year. McFadden is deadly when he's healthy, but we've seen it only once during his previous four years. â¦
McFadden is ranked in the top 10 with all of our other experts, so don't expect him to tumble in your draft. If he's there in the fourth round, then you have a decision to make. But you can't whiff in the first three rounds. There are much surer players out there. â¦
What about Reggie Bush? He's another guy people expect to have a major fantasy season because he started double digit games for the second time in his six year career. Yes, the durable Reggie Bush is going to have another strong season, but watch out for Mathews or Peterson - they're an injury risk. (I'm being facetious here, in case it doesn't come through.) â¦
Michael Turner is another guy to pass on because his numbers from 2011 were a little deceiving thanks to 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers in Week 17. Turner looked like a guy at the end of the road last year, and expect "The Quiz" to be more involved in the offense this year. â¦
The Falcons are also expected to go to the no-huddle in Dirk Koetter's new offense in Atlanta. If that's the case, expect to see less of Turner on the field, because he's not much of a receiver. Jacquizz Rodgers would be the beneficiary of the Falcons' no-huddle. â¦
Frank Gore is becoming like the fading star in one of those horrible Garry Marshall ensemble comedies such as "New Year's Eve" or "Valentine's Day." You know the ones where they jam as many stars into one movie as possible, and none of them shine? That will be the 49ers offense this season, just as disastrous. Why? Their director still isn't good and the whole thing is way too convoluted. â¦
Alex Smith is still the quarterback (or director in this case) of the 49ers right? Sure, he got the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. (Expletive) like that works once. It's the reason why the Ravens dumped Trent Dilfer after a Super Bowl win. The 49ers knew this, which is why they went after Peyton Manning. And it's why they've added a bunch of curtain-jerkers and other mid-carders to jump their shabby offense. â¦
This is why the 49ers will stumble a bit this season. The defense will still be as dominant as ever. But Smith is all out of excuses and it's going to catch up to him eventually. Don't be surprised if Colin Kaepernick ends up starting for non-injury reasons in 2012. â¦
Image What's interesting to note, Jessica Beil appeared in both "New Year's Eve" and "Valentine's Day," but played two different characters. And I only know that because of IMDB, not because I watched either movie. Seriously, I watch bad movies, so I would admit to it. Do those films even make money? â¦
Demaryius Thomas is not going to be a top 10 fantasy receiver. The expectations for him are through the roof, but he's going to be frustrating to Peyton Manning and fantasy enthusiasts alike. Let somebody else deal with the headache. Trust me, you will be a lot happier if you do. â¦
The knock against Thomas coming out of Georgia Tech was route running because the Yellow Jackets ran an offense better suited for a remake of "School Ties." Thomas is going to need to be able to run proper routes and make adjustments as Manning barks audible calls at the line of scrimmage. He's not there, yet. â¦
Look at a lot of Thomas' big plays last year, they came after Tim Tebow extended the play and it involved into sandlot football. But his big play against the Steelers did show Thomas won't be a complete bust, but he's not going to be the top 10 receiver many expect. â¦
Speaking of Tebow, don't go for him. No need to take a gamble on the NFL's version of John Cena. Speaking of the face of the WWE, as I mentioned before, heels are at their best when they speak the truth. The Big Show's statements about Cena were spot on. Instead of acting like Jim Carrey, why not stick up for Show? â¦
ImageThe one thing that truly upsets me about Cena is when he challenged Rey Mysterio for his title moments after he won a tournament for it on RAW. Rey was celebrating with a champagne shower, and there was Cena with that stupid, (expletive)-eating grin on his face, hand extended and asking for a shot. I'll never get over that. â¦
ImageAnd what the hell, Randy Orton? A second wellness suspension for 60 days. Here's the thing, the WWE has enough young superstars who can pick up the slack. But WWE suspensions should involve putting over talent for 60 days, instead of not being on WWE TV. But what would really hurt Orton would be for him to lay down for guys like The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Having Brodus Clay squash Orton would be a great way for the big man to get his heat back. â¦
Which works better for a gratuitous Alvin Harper joke: Vincent Jackson or Laurent Robinson? Jackson is joining the Buccaneers, but Robinson actually played for the Cowboys, so it's a tough call. I'm going with Robinson. Jackson will see his value tumble a bit, but Robinson is prepared to return to the fantasy milk carton. â¦
Not that I blame Robinson, I'd rather be a bust making tons of cash instead of falling victim to the Yasmine Bleeth principle. But dang, there wasn't a better situation for you? Why not go back to St. Louis or something, because it needs help following the loss of Brandon Lloyd? â¦
Lloyd will have some great games for the Patriots, but he's not going to be a consistent performer for fantasy enthusiasts. Not with all of the receiving talent available in New England. You have Welker and the multiple tight ends to deal with. There are much better options. â¦
So this leaves St. Louis with Brian Quick and Danny Amendola. Not crazy about either guy, to be honest with you. (Like I could lie to you.) But if I had to pick one of those guys, it would be Amendola. I'm not enthused by either guy, but I do like Sam Bradford as a QB2 breakout candidate. â¦
Looks like the St. Louis FC dodged a bullet when it traded down in the draft, and avoided Justin Blackmon. Though, it's hard to imagine a team with such a rich draft history of making great picks like Gabbert could make a mistake with Blackmon. â¦
I was down on Blackmon prior to his legal troubles, and this situation isn't going to help. In addition, Jacksonville's quarterback situation is a mess and he's going to compete with Laurent Robinson for targets. Avoid Blackmon. â¦
Robert Griffin, III is going to be a great quarterback in the NFL, but I'm not going to risk taking him. You want to know why? His coach, Mike Shanahan is bat crap crazy. I'm not taking RGIII, Roy Helu, Tim Hightower, Fred Davis, Santana Moss or anybody. Although, I might consider Pierre Garcon. â¦
Here's a crazy Shanahan prediction; RGIII rides the pine at some point this season for a reason other than injury. Can't you just see Shanahan doing the Mr. Burns in "Homer at the Bat" and starting Kirk Cousins? â¦
ImageFinal thought: What was the most surprising return for 2012 - Norv Turner, Vinny Del Negro or the Pro Bowl? Of if this was a Jeopardy question, it would be, "What are three things the sports would be better off without?"
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 45,000 followers, and Fabiano has 50,000. Me? Just 13. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. Also be sure to catch the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program."