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Like/Dislike: Even when Eli Manning's bad, he's good

What we are talking about:

  • Eli Manning

    Now you may start him again

  • Matthew Stafford

    You're killing me, and Megatron

  • CM Punk

    Love the guy, hate booking

We don't get a lot of traditions in San Diego. Green Bay has the Frozen Tundra. Chicago has the Monsters of the Midway. San Diego has the Chargers Girls wearing costumes on Halloween weekend. But once again, the Chargers are being forced to play on the road this sacred weekend, meaning no Chargers girls in Halloween costumes.

This is akin to the Cowboys and Lions not playing a home game on Thanksgiving. After years of Norv Turner, we deserve a lot better. Some other teams also observe this tradition, but nobody beats the Chargers. If I ever get the ear of Commissioner Roger Goodell, this will be at the top of my list.

Forgive me for the diatribe. Let's get to the likes and dislikes.

Likes and dislikes are in bold, for those of you who don't want to take the 88 minutes required to read this column. (But it's the weekend: What better way to cruise through it than by checking out my thoughts on fantasy football, comic books, wrestling, TV and music?)

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

And without further ado ...

Matthew Stafford was initiated into the Fantasy Illuminati so quickly after one great year, and it's coming back to kill us right now. Well, not me. I avoided him like the plague. Yes, I avoided him like a disease we cured hundreds of years ago. That said, Stafford hasn't had a multiple-TD pass game this year and, in fact, he's on pace for 13 passing touchdowns.

But as Dave Dameshek pointed out in a Google+ Hangout, does this just mean Stafford is due to go nuts over the next couple of weeks? Could be the case, but I'm not betting on it to happen this week against the Seahawks.

The worst part about Stafford is he's killing Calvin Johnson. Kind of like the way John Cena tried to kill RAW with his "business dinner" skit with A.J. Lee. In what politically correct world do we live when a "business dinner" is considered an affair? Especially when both people in question are consenting adults. Didn't Triple H have no problem running RAW when he was having relations with the boss' daughter, Stephanie McMahon? Man, I like professional wrestling, but the WWE pushes its luck with me some times.

The point is Stafford is killing Megatron. The lack of a running game is killing the Lions. Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell have done nothing. Leshoure was supposed to be some big-time player this year, but nothing. And to make matters worse, nobody stacks the box on the Lions. Yet nobody on the team has run longer than 20 yards.

I didn't start Josh Freeman this week; how'd that work out for me? No, seriously I'm asking because I typically put the final touches on this piece just before the Thursday night game kicks off. Freeman is close to being over as a fantasy starter, but he's being pushed to the moon like he's Ryback. We had high hopes for him last year, and he burned us. Now everybody is trying to push him after a monster game against the Saints. But he still has fewer points this season than Cam Newton. Freeman has crushed it in the last four weeks, but let's see if he can be more consistent.

And by default, I guess I just compared the Chiefs' and Saints' defense to two local jobbers who get "fed" to Ryback. And you know what? I'm cool with it.

It's weird with Tony Romo, who has traditionally played very well against the Giants, especially in the last two years. But he ended up at No. 11 in my rankings. That would be a good enough to be a No. 1 quarterback in 12-team leagues. But he's just outside the fence in 10-team leagues. So I guess it depends on which side of the fence you want to sit with the Cowboys.

Here are some key numbers with Romo, he's thrown 13 touchdowns with five interceptions in the wins. But he's thrown 11 touchdowns with four interceptions in the losses. So it's really not anything that's his fault. This almost doesn't seem fair to keep Romo down this low. But I'm not changing my ranking at all.

ImageThe Chargers and Cowboys should play an annual series to highlight the most disappointing franchises of the decade. I still contend the talent in San Diego isn't quite what people make it out to be, but there is no dispute the Cowboys should be a little bit better. Of course, injuries have been a recent concern, but the Cowboys struggled prior to Lee's injury.

I will stick by my prediction that Norv Turner ends up as coach of the Dallas Cowboys at some point. Seriously, there was no way Wade Phillips was ever going to get another head coach position, and yet, Jerry Jones gave him the big gig.

I'm not starting Cam Newton this week against the Chicago Bears. The matchup isn't good enough. My league of record (where I own Cam) awards six points for passing TDs, so Luck is more valuable.

Newton is a better option over Brandon Weeden, Jay Cutler, John Skelton and Sam Bradford. It's understandable to be down on Newton, but he still has the ability to bust out a huge run, and get you points that way. Plus, he can't be a complete waste. So if you have some curtain-jerker at quarterback and you think it would make sense to go with him (like Alex Smith), I still wouldn't go that route.

One of my co-workers debated between Cam and Cutler. He said he had a hunch about Cutler. And it's cool. I would never talk you out of a hunch. Fantasy football is very personal, so you ultimately have to make up your mind. If you feel something about Cutler, go for it. He wasn't terrible against the Lions. Wait, let me check. Nah, not terrible. Not great, either. I could see a very similar, workman-like game from him again.

Sam Bradford has been killing it over the past couple of weeks, too. He's had the fifth-most points over the past two weeks, and the matchup is really good this week against the Patriots. If you are going to the wire for a quarterback, you could do worse. And if he does come through this week, you really need to think about adding him.

Hit me up if you're playing Brady Quinn this week. Wait, not you, Romeo. Let's take a look at some of Quinn's numbers. In his last five games, he's gone without a touchdown and less than 200 passing yards four times. He's gone without a touchdown in nine of his 13 career starts. Part of me feels like he should get more of a chance, but at what expense? He did nothing against the Buccaneers a few weeks ago.

I wonder if Detective Quinn from "Dexter" was named after the new Chiefs starter. I don't even bother trying to watch "Dexter" on Sunday nights anymore, as I typically watch it on Monday nights whenever I catch up to the live feed of RAW. And here's the thing, unless Deb becomes a full-on accomplice, this show is going to struggle until we reach a conclusion. There are only so many mysteries, so many way you can skin a cat, or a killer, if you will.

It's funny, balancing a fantasy team and shows on your DVR seem to take the same amount of cunning. And sometimes you need to make some cuts you don't want to do. I mean, it was sad to let go of Kyle Rudolph after a couple of bad performances. Likewise, it's tough to let go of some television shows. Like why do I even bother with "The Office" anymore?

ImageYou might hear some statistics about Raiders quarterbacks playing against Kansas City. Specifically, the Raiders quarterbacks have just five touchdown passes in their last 12 games. Well, that's a great nugget. And I love my nuggets. But realize the Raiders quarterbacks over that stretch were JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper and Jason Campbell.

Can we pump the brakes on Brandon Weeden already? It reminds me of Sheamus' first championship run when he was a heel. Weeden has been good recently. He's topped 15 fantasy points in three consecutive games and he's started to look pretty good. But this screams of a Chargers blowout. The Chargers are coming off a bye and this will be the one week Norv Turner gets his team off the mat to play and they will do it against Cleveland.

Don't get mad at me, Browns fans. I don't want it to happen. It's better for the Chargers to lose and maybe we can have some change here in Southern California. But I've seen this team enough, and this just screams of a Chargers' win. In fact, if you're playing the Pick 'Em, make sure you pick the Chargers.

Trent Richardson is puzzling. He didn't even play in the second half of the Browns' game against the Colts. And even when he did play, he was ineffective against the Colts. Just eight yards on eight attempts? I might need to see a little more. Though, given the lack of available running backs, it will be tough.

There are a lot of great running backs on a bye this week. But you have to be rather desperate to play LaRod Stephens-Howling. The Cardinals have one rushing touchdown in seven games against the 49ers, who have allowed the second fewest points to fantasy running backs. Don't start him.

And enough with the Halloween and werewolf puns when it comes to Howling. Some of you in the media make me hate Halloween. Speaking of which, in honor of Halloween, here's my Pick Six of the worst Halloween candies to give out. Of course, this omits candy corn because nobody likes candy corn. Right?

ImageHere's the list: 6. Now and Later. I have a piece from 1994 still stuck in my teeth. 5. Gum. Seriously, you might as well give kids some eggs to hurl at your house. 4. Mounds. Mounds is terribly disappointing when you compare it to the highly superior Almond Joy. Now that's a candy bar. Mounds taste like you forgot something. Oh right, you forgot the (expletive) almonds! What's wrong with you? 3. Strawberry hard candy. All hard candy -- and this includes butterscotch and root beer barrels -- belong at your grandparents' house, not at Halloween; 2. Change. You are going to purgatory if you do this. 1. Reese's Pieces. There is nothing worse than reaching in for some candy, thinking you're getting some Skittles, only to get a mouth full of Reese's Pieces. Well, cancer is worse. But it's a pretty short list.

Vick Ballard has seen his fantasy points increase after three consecutive weeks of increased production. He even reached a season-high 21 touches against the Browns in Week 7. But there is something about going on the road in Tennessee, which leads me to believe he's not going to have the day we all want him to have.

Keep an eye on Philip Tanner and Lance Dunbar. Both are crazy plays this week. I mean, you would have to be really desperate. Though "Really Desperate" sounds like the title of the Dallas Cowboys 2012 team yearbook. That said, Tanner is a guy to stash on your bench if you have some room. Jones looks like he's going to play.

Shonn Greene hasn't scored a touchdown in seven career games against the Dolphins. He's still a better option than Felix Jones, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Dwyer. But a lot of you are going to need to play him with the bye weeks.

Jonathan Dwyer had a nice game against the Bengals and the Redskins have allowed five runshing touchdowns in the last five games. But teams have run only 33 percent of the time against the Skins (second-fewest in the NFL).

This week's Steelers throwbacks might ruin the whole industry of throwback uniforms. We should have some checks and balances. Did I pick the Steelers to win this week? I might need to change my mind.

Stevan Ridley has had at least 10 fantasy points twice in the last six games. And the matchup against St. Louis is kind of tough. Plus you have Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead lurking. But there are a lot of big-time running backs on a bye this week, so you might not be able to afford to drop him. Check the rankings this week.

Steven Jackson should be viewed as a touchdown vulture. You know what the future is, St. Louis, go with it. Jackson scored last week, and still managed to have a bad game. The Patriots are a tough matchup this week, because they don't allow a lot of points to fantasy running backs. But that's because teams like to throw on them. Jackson is trending up, which is likely a product of getting healthy and the hunt for a new contract. Still, enough with the #Shanahanigans, leave him on the bench, St. Louis.

The Panthers tried to establish Jonathan Stewart as the top running back last week. It reminded me of when Disney wanted to put cheerleaders on top of the Angels dugout back in the 1990s. It just isn't a good idea. Stewart ranks 49th among fantasy running backs right now, and has scored fewer than five fantasy points in three of four games this year. Good luck. I dropped Stewart in my league of record. And the worst thing, he was scooped up. Although, the guy who scooped him up owns a John Cena shirt.

DeAngelo Williams is equally as brutal. Williams has had less than 75 scrimmage yards and 13 fantasy points each game this season. In fact, he's had one fantasy point three times this year. Again, wouldn't this be cool to have him dealt off to a contender that needs a running back? Maybe he could make a go of it with the Packers.

Do you play matchup or look at the trends with Kendall Wright? The rookie has had eight fantasy points or fewer in three consecutive games. The Colts have allowed the fifth-most points to fantasy receivers this week, but be careful.

T.Y. Hilton is a sleeper for this week. But realize, he's had fewer than four points in three consecutive weeks.

Andre Roberts had a good game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. Roberts did have two receptions for eight yards and a touchdown in the second game against the San Francisco 49ers last year. That seems about the only way he'd be productive for you this week.

Back in the day, we used to hit up the Shakey's "Bunch-a-Lunch" about once a quarter. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but you'd spend the rest of the day in a food coma with the angry belly, kicking yourself as you asked, "Why do I do this?" It's a similar feeling to owning DeSean Jackson. He seems like a good idea but just doesn't come through.

The matchup isn't good for Jackson. The Falcons have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year. Plus Jackson has just two touchdowns in his last 13 home games. If you want to reason Jackson and the Eagles are going to want to pass a lot to target Asante Samuel, I will listen to it. Not sure I'd act on it.

You know what else wasn't a good idea? Drafting Calvin Johnson in the first-round of your fantasy football draft. The dearth of true No. 1 running backs skewed the rankings. Doesn't mean you should draft a receiver in the first round. But don't bench Johnson. You're going to have to grin and bear it with Megatron.

The problem for Megatron isn't the opportunity. He has at least 11 targets in five consecutive games. He's topped 14 points once this season. He has just one touchdown in 2012. Yes, fantasy owners must be thrilled in Opposite Land. And yes, Calvin Johnson is in the dislikes. Please don't tweet and ask if you should bench him. Start him.

Steve Smith is a friend of the Dave Dameshek Football Program, so I don't want to publicly shame him. Smith has no touchdowns in his last six games and less than nine points in four consecutive games. Watch this be the week he busts out.

Santana Moss has a touchdown in three consecutive games and had a season-high 16.70 fantasy points last week. But this is what Moss does. He strings together a few really nice fantasy performances, gets us all excited and then disappears again. The Steelers have allowed the third-fewest receiver yards this year, and Moss struggles on the road (yes, other than last week).

I get questions about Dre Johnson all the time, and it's tough for me to say to start him or sit him. Johnson has just two touchdowns in his last 12 games and has topped 100 yards only once in his last 11. This is why I didn't even want to draft the guy. If you can move him during the bye week, you should try.

Dwayne Bowe has three touchdowns in 10 career games against the Raiders. And he's had fewer than eight fantasy points four times this season. The true question here is if Brady Quinn has the garbage-time magic of Matt Cassel. That's where he truly made his points.

Chris Cooley is a great guy and a fun interview. But there's no way I can put him on my fantasy roster this week, even with the bagel boys at tight end around the league. Cooley admitted, while the verbiage is the same, this Redskins offense is completely different.

Is it my imagination or are tight ends killing us this season? Man, getting a bagel from Rudolph, and Scott Chandler doing nothing last week was terrible. Antonio Gates continues to struggle. What a terrible year.

As I turn this in, I know Percy is going to return a kick tonight for a TD and I'm not going to get the points.


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 four. 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."

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