Fantasy  

None  

Like/Dislike: Don't give up on Julio Jones

What we are talking about:

  • Brady vs. Manning

    Still relevant

  • Philip Rivers

    Nevermind the matchup

  • Mike Trout

    MVP! MVP! MVP!

Romantic comedies typically follow this same plot point: Boy chases his dream girl with the help of his nerdy best girlfriend, and at some point the boy gets the dream girl, but it turns out his nerdy best friend was there all along and a better catch. Of course, it helps that the nerdy best friend is typically some beautiful woman like Mila Kunis (pictured above) dressed down.

But still, I caught one of those movies last weekend (I think it was "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" or "Black Swan") and it made me think of the Atlanta Falcons receivers.

Yes, I'm serious.

Think about this. Everybody raved about Julio Jones over the offseason. He was the must-have receiver to get from the Falcons. (And I was guilty of this a little bit, too.) But he's been anything but a dream this fantasy season. But the best friend you had there all along, Roddy White, has continued to be as strong as ever.

I guess I should probably have a point here. How about this -- don't give up on Jones just yet. He's expected to play this weekend and he should have a great game against the Washington Redskins.

Likes and dislikes are in bold.

A big hand to stats maven Bill "Sudsy" Sudell for dropping the knowledge.

And without further ado ...

I'm starting Cam Newton this week over Andy Luck in the one league where I still own him. (Thankfully, I was able to dump him on Michael Fabiano in our "NFL AM" league.) But I'm not enthralled with it, and in a way I've nearly conceded the week.

The Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, and have allowed only two touchdown passes this season. No team has allowed fewer touchdown passes than the Seahawks. And Newton's running ability? The Seahawks have allowed just 15 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, good for fourth in the NFL.

Newton remains a QB1 out of necessity. Newton ranks 8th in my quarterback rankings thanks to Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Carson Palmer being on byes this week. I'd start Newton over Michael Vick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a fantasy superstar this season, and if some fantasy owner has dropped him because of his matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, you should add him to your bench for coming weeks. He's a good matchup-based starter, just not this week.

Blaine Gabbert has thrown only one interception in his last five games. You have to like that, right? But he's had fewer than 190 passing yards in three consecutive games. The Bears have allowed the fewest points to quarterbacks this year.

Matt Hasselbeck is the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans this week, but he's not much of a fantasy option. The only hope is Hasselbeck will make defenses respect the pass a little more, and open things up for Chris Johnson.

The turnovers are troubling for Michael Vick. He has five total touchdowns and nine turnovers this year. The good news if you must start Vick, the Steelers have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, and have only recorded one interception. I'm still not crazy about the matchup with the familiar names returning to Pittsburgh.

Philip Rivers has averaged 191 passing yards per game over his last two, to go along with two interceptions and three touchdowns. He's scored fewer points than Matt Cassel, Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb and Ponder. The Saints do provide a favorable matchup, as they have allowed the fifth-most points. But sometimes when you have those games where a guy should go crazy, he fails to deliver.

I would love to see the look on A.J. Smith's face when Brees breaks Johnny U's touchdown record. This was the guy you let walk away because of your beef with Marty Schottenheimer. I stated at the time, the Chargers were better off with Brees. Imagine how much different the football world would have looked if the Chargers had selected Larry Fitzgerald with the first overall pick in 2004.

I'm ashamed by how much I like Jay Cutler's commercial with the roommates stealing clothes. I'll admit it, the commercial is funny.

The Steelers would have still ended up with Ben Roethlisberger, who I don't like this week. The Eagles have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Roethlisberger has fewer than 185 passing yards in both career meetings against the Eagles. This feels like a must-win game for the Steelers, but it should still be low-scoring.

If Rashard Mendenhall is sitting on your waiver wire (you've got a 40 percent chance), add him this week. He's expected to make his debut against the Eagles. But don't start him. Philly has allowed only one rushing touchdown in its last eight games.

But even when the matchup is good, you need to temper your expectations for Mendenhall. The Steelers would love to be a running team. I would love to have a full head of hair, but sometimes you can't always get what you want. There will be times to play Mendenhall, but this is not one of the weeks.

Brandon Jacobs says he's ready to return, and while he could end up threatening Gore's touchdown totals, he's not a fantasy option until we at least see him play in a game.

You can cut Mark Ingram if you need space on your fantasy roster. It's just hard to see any value there. Ingram ranks 51st among fantasy running backs, and he hasn't rushed for more than 53 yards in any game this season.

C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are two players to avoid this week going against the San Francisco 49ers, who have allowed the fewest points to fantasy running backs. Do you know who has allowed the second-fewest points to fantasy running backs? That's right, the Minnesota Vikings. Thank you for reading the other side, too. I told you there would be a quiz.

But is there a team more automatic when it comes to shutting down running backs than the 49ers? Well, let's put 20 seconds on the clock and I'll count down things as automatic as the 49ers rush defense: The only thing more automatic than the 49ers rush defense is the fact BenJarvus Green-Ellis never fumbles.

Oh no wait, BenJarvus Green-Ellis now has two fumbles this season. I'm still starting him, but this is a situation to monitor going forward, just in case the Bengals follow the Chargers' lead and promote some curtain-jerker to be the starter.

ImageSo let's leave the Law Firm out of it. Here are things more automatic than the 49ers defense: Drew Brees will throw a touchdown pass; the Oakland Raiders will be overhyped and underdeliver; NBC can't develop a sitcom any more, and when they do find great ones ("Community" and "Scrubs") they bury them; everybody will make excuses for Tony Romo; Any non-Batman DC Comics movie will bomb; Everybody thinks the backup is better; especially if the backup is Tim Tebow; people always try and fail to complete the words to "We didn't start the fire;" Ozzie Guillen can't go a week without offending 40 percent of the population and some Lakers fan tries to contend Kobe Bryant was better than Michael Jordan.

And yes, I'm a Lakers fan and I'll concede Jordan over Kobe. But you'll never get me to say Jordan was better than Magic Johnson. Mostly because I won't say something that isn't true. But send me your own this week on Twitter and we'll do this every week.

The more I think about this, I wanted Benson to get that TD against the Saints because it would have left me with a no-doubt win in the CFL (my 'league of record' as mentioned in the 'Like' column). But if Graham Freaking Harrell could have just handed the ball off cleanly and -- as a conservative estimate - Benson gains a yard, I have a push in my league of record. I really don't like Graham Harrell. The Packers should cut him just out of principle. How dare he.

Rex Ryan has reiterated Shonn Greene is still the Jets starting running back. Well, Ryan still insists Mark Sanchez is the team's starting quarterback, too. Bilal Powell is a guy to take a look at if you have an extra roster spot or two on your fantasy roster. He's not going to set the league on fire by any stretch. But dang, he's better than Greene.

Anybody else miss jolly Rex Ryan? But is there any doubt he's going to end up as the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys? At some point Tony Romo needs to throw his hands in the air and say, "(Expletive) me." If I had to make a guess, the Cowboys will have Rex as the head coach, with Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator. Actually, that's not too bad.

Stevan Ridley has become a pretty good fantasy option this year, but he's had a tough start this week against the Broncos, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs and only one rushing touchdown in the last four games. So look for better options if you have them.

Congratulations on your waiver pickup of Brandon Boldin this week. His 20.80 fantasy points certainly helps no one from last week. But did you not see what I just wrote about Stevan Ridley above? Boldin deserves a spot on your roster, but this isn't the week you start him.

Congratulations on your waiver pickup of Brian Hartline this week. His 253 receiving yards against the Cardinals were more than his previous four games combined. So he's not an automatic start for you. The Bengals have been rather stingy with the fantasy points to fantasy receivers. So tread lightly this week. If you're in need for a receiver, you could do worse. But don't expect another monster game.

Congratulations on your waiver pickup of Jackie Battle. No, I don't mean that. He's not going to be the next Mike Tolbert, if that's what you think. Curtis Brinkley is a better hammer in that offense. As long as Mathews can hold on to the ball, and stay healthy, the job belongs to him.

Bobby Meachem was one of my preseason sleepers, but it clearly hasn't worked out in San Diego. Meachem has just 15 targets this season, good for 109th in the NFL. Meachem had two targets last week (one of them was picked off), and no receptions in two of his three games.

Norv Turner has tried to make excuses for Meachem, and even mentioned the disappointment has been running faster than ever. Which is great, but we get points for him catching the football, not running fast. Somebody might want to explain the game to Norv. He might not completely understand.

ImageIf I were Turner, I would use Bobby Valentine as an example as to why I shouldn't be fired. I mean, you make a coaching change and it doesn't always work out for the best.

But there's one subtle difference here. The Red Sox dumped Valentine after one season when it was clear he was outmatched. The Chargers have kept their version of Bobby Valentine, even though he's proven he can't get the job done. And really, the Red Sox should have kept Valentine for at least another year because baseball fans were having too much fun with it. I'm going to miss the Bobby V. era in Boston. Seriously, the one consolation for the Angels being so bad is Boston was worse.

Greg Little has just two touchdowns in his last game and his big pop against the Ravens in his last game was his only reception longer than 25 yards in his last six games. But come on Browns, your season is over, why not get Josh Gordon out onto the field? Yes, he's raw but it's not like he's sitting behind Swann and Stallworth.

ImageI hope you had a chance to watch "A Football Life: Cleveland '95." Moving, gripping and really, really depressing. This should be must-viewing for anybody who still holds to the notion Art Modell should even be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I don't want to throw out hyperbole considering the state of the world. But in terms of sports, what Modell did to Cleveland was one of the worst things you could do. That fan base was loyal and didn't deserve that.

ImageThe great thing for Cleveland, it got to keep the Browns name, logo and marks. It was the right thing to do. This should be the precedent for all teams that move. When you see things like the Winnipeg Jets being reborn, a hopefully potential return of the Seattle SuperSonics and let's not forget a real return for the Los Angeles Rams, it makes your heart sing.

ImageToo bad the city of Baltimore didn't get to keep the Baltimore Colts name, logo and marks. I had once suggested we do a reset with the names and logos, but we're too many generations removed from these relocations. How many kids today even realize the Rams played in Los Angeles?

ImageThe Houston Texans should be able to wear the Houston Oilers throwbacks, not the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have great fans, but none of them fondly remember watching Earl Campbell roll through the Astrodome like some of the Texans' faithful.

Sorry, one more. Did you notice how nerdy Nick Saban looked in those glasses? Hilarious. No lie, Saban looked like he would have been just as comfortable working the counter at Comics Unlimited in Westminster, Calif., than coaching the defense for the Browns.

Stevie Johnson didn't get in on the fantasy frenzy against the Patriots last week. So watch, he'll be good against the 49ers who have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. You can move on the 49ers at times, but if you have better options than Stevie, use them. Unfortunately in one league, I don't.

Anquan Boldin is going to be inconsistent for fantasy owners. He just is. This is a week when you bench him. The Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest points to fantasy receivers this year. Brandon Flowers is out for the Chiefs, but I'm worried about Boldin's consistency. I want to see more from him.

Owen Daniels is a great guy. I liked how he was rocking the Houston Astros hat in our interview for NFL Fantasy Live this week. But I interviewed Martellus Bennett in Week 4 and he struggled. So tight ends interviewed by me have averaged .2 fantasy points. All right, it's a very small sample size, but still.

Jermichael Finley has had less than 65 receiving yards in six consecutive games. I don't think it will get better this week. The Colts have allowed just five receptions to tight ends this year, and the second-fewest points.

Greg Olsen isn't a great fantasy option this week, either. Olsen has only one touchdown in his last seven games and the Seahawks are tough on tight ends.

The Saints have allowed the fewest points to fantasy tight ends this year, so it's not a great matchup for Antonio Gates. But I'd feel a lot better about going with Gates instead of Finley.

Aaron Hernandez returned to practice, but isn't going to play in Week 5 and he has an outside chance to play in Week 6. Let's not rush him back into our lineups just yet. High ankle sprains can be a bother, so take your time with this injury so he can be right for the fantasy stretch drive. Which is what Bill Belichick must be thinking, right?

ImageIn case you missed it, I lost in my league of record because of fractional points. This isn't a rant about fractional points or anything. But Ryan Fitzpatrick had four interceptions and still had a 30-point game. My man Elliot Harrison has long said interceptions don't hold enough weight in fantasy football. How about an increasing weight for interceptions? The first interception of a game is a negative point, and it continues to increase. By the time you get to the fourth or fifth interception, it eventually ruins your day. Just like real football.

Yes, I'm still bitter about losing a close one. Sue me.

Rob Gronkowski tweeted earlier this week he was contemplating a run for the presidency. Gronkowski not knowing presidential candidates need to be at least 35 years old might be the least surprising thing of the year. Thankfully, you don’t have to be completely verse in current affairs to start on my fantasy team.


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 70,000 followers, and Fabiano has 60,000. Me? Just 13. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook (oh wait, I told you to stop going to Facebook). Go instead to Google+. Also be sure to catch the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program."

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15