What we are talking about:
Now you may start him again
You're killing me, and Megatron
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 ...
I was right about Eli Manning last week. He did struggle against the Redskins. He had only one touchdown pass, and he finished outside the top 10 of fantasy quarterbacks. Wait, let me see where he finished. He finished 14th. But what you should take away is he didn't kill your team. He had close to 14 fantasy points. So he didn't crush you. He exceeded my expectations (although probably not yours) and you should feel safe starting him if he's your No. 1 QB.
Eli has thrown at least two or more touchdown passes in six of his last seven meetings with the Cowboys. Again, even his bad days are now pretty good, so start him this week.
Carson Palmer is in a similar situation this week, as Raiders quarterbacks have been historically awful against the Chiefs. The Raiders have one touchdown pass or less in 12 consecutive games against the Chiefs (five in their last 12 games). It's awful, but Palmer will have a good game against the Chiefs, who will start a new quarterback this week.
Philip Rivers is going to bounce back this week. As much as I like to joke about the Chargers (you can check out the Fans for Matt Barkley column), they have to come out and win this one. At least Philip Rivers must have a good game. The Browns have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Browns have allowed eight touchdown passes in three home games this year.
If Rivers doesn't have a good game, I will understand if fantasy enthusiasts release him on the spot. And really, Norv Turner shouldn't get on the plane to return to San Diego if his team loses. Though, Turner is one of those guys who doesn't realize he's not good at his job. Similar to those guys who think they are funny, but totally aren't. (Wait, why are you looking at me?)
Around the League's Marc Sessler referred to Roethlisberger as a "mensch" during the 100th episode of the Dave Dameshek Football Program. A good quarterback would have been a more accurate description.
A.J. Hawk also joined us for the 100th episode, and where else can you hear an NFL player really get to the crux of "Varsity Blues." The big question we had was: What happened to the assistant coaches after Bud Kilmer quit? Did they quit too? I mean, the injured quarterback and a running back started to call the plays. And weren't the parents in the stands concerned there was no supervision on the field? Or is this the way things go in Texas?
ImageFor the record, James Van Der Beek has lapped the field in celebrities playing themselves on TV. Matt Leblanc on "Episodes" is good, but he's allowed to work blue on Showtime. The Beek dominates in primetime on Network TV. Associate fantasy editor Marcas Grant points out another good one, Seth Green from "Entourage." I almost wasn't sure if I should have bolded "Entourage," but I enjoyed the few seasons I watched of it.
Don't be so quick to bench Larry Fitzgerald because of the matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Fitzgerald had 10 receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the 49ers last year. And the quarterback situation was just as horrible last year. (Hey, Fitzgerald was in the 2004 draft. I'll always lament why the Chargers didn't go with Fitz over Eli with the first overall pick as I wrote back then.)
But dang, who could the Cardinals deal for a quarterback? Sometimes I wish this was like baseball and teams would make moves to win this year. Like why couldn't they make a deal for a backup like Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson? Oh, right. But Jason Campbell or Matt Moore would make a lot of sense. Just imagine if the team had taken a chance on Russell Wilson. One thing's for sure, it's not John Skelton.
Andy Luck is a tough call this week. He's had three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in the last three games. The Titans have allowed 16 touchdown passes this season. The Titans have allowed the third-most fantasy points this year. But Luck has struggled on the road with only one touchdown pass and five interceptions in two road games.
Luck is my quarterback in my League of Record (against my lifelong friends from Corona, Calif.), and I'm going to start him over Cam Newton. Touchdown passes are worth six points. Luck also has the chance to run for a score. I'm not excited about this, but I'm pot-committed to Luck right now.
Watch this be the week Chris Johnson takes a step back because the whole fantasy world is pulling for him against the Colts, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Doesn't this just seem ripe for a letdown? But there's no way I leave him out of the lineup.
LeSean McCoy is going to rebound this week and have a solid week. I hate to say he's been a disappointment, but he's clearly underachieved when you consider some (Matt "Money" Smith and me) had McCoy as the top pick in fantasy drafts. Hopefully Andy Reid will recognize this before it's too late.
Reggie Bush has never scored in three career meetings against the Jets. But the Jets have allowed seven rushing touchdowns in their last five home games. Are you sick of hearing about the lack of available options at running back this week? If you aren't now, I guarantee you will be at some point today.
Bush and Rex Ryan have gone back and forth recently. Ryan said he was going to pour some "hot sauce" on Bush in Week 3 (whatever the heck that means, and to be honest, it makes me a touch uncomfortable). Bush said Darrelle Revis' injury was karmic payback. Both guys want apologies. You know who must really love all this talk of targeting players? The Saints. They must find this hilarious.
ImageIs it possible Al Davis was the one who held things together in Oakland? The Raiders have been worse since his death. And we all know Raiders fans who claimed this team was going to reach new heights when he passed on. Sometimes the owner you know is better than the one you don't.
Rashad Jennings has had at least 60 scrimmage yards in three of his four career starts. The Packers have allowed four rushing touchdowns in their last three games. The Packers could jump out to an early lead and negate the rushing attack of the Jaguars. But how many good running backs are out there with Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson out of action? You almost don't have a choice, unless you're in a four-team league.
Daryl Richardson is another guy who you might not want to play because the Patriots allow the seventh-fewest points to fantasy running backs. But teams don't run on the Pats because it's so easy to throw on them. But if you have to play one St. Louis RB, it's him.
Alex Green had a tough week, but let's look at the bright side; he was awful but didn't give up touches to Jimmy Starks. So the Packers seem like they're committed to him. Plus the Jaguars have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year. Plus if the Packers get up big, he could get a heavy dose.
ImageJeremy Maclin has 330 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his last two meetings against the Falcons. Plus, he's going to want to put it on Asante Samuel, who has been running his mouth. Maclin is a great option this week.
You can't ignore Cecil Shorts. He had a season-high 10 targets against the Raiders last week and he has a good matchup against the Packers who have allowed touchdown passes in three home games this season.
Eric Decker has a touchdown in three consecutive games and the Saints have allowed the second-most points to fantasy receivers this year. In fact, the Saints have allowed nine touchdown passes in their last three games. So start Decker and Demaryius Thomas.
Randall Cobb has at least 10 points in three consecutive games and he's got a pretty good matchup against the Jaguars. I do fear he's going to fall down the pecking order when Greg Jennings returns. If you have a chance to move Cobb, I'd take advantage right now. Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones should have their stock continue to remain at an all-time high with the news of Greg Jennings' upcoming surgery.
Roddy White's production has slipped a little bit on the road, but there's no way you sit him in Philadelphia this week. The Eagles are going to win this game, but that should force the Falcons to throw the ball.
ImageSpeaking of Atlanta, that will be the home of Hell in a Cell this week, so let's get to the preview. Team Hell No should retain the title, though you have to love the Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow). As Brandon Stroud pointed out in his wonderful column, Best and Worst of RAW this week, the crowd really popped for their win. I like tag teams that don't have names, though.
ImageI'm more convinced than ever Brock Lesnar is going to interfere and cost Ryback the match. They've booked CM Punk to look so weak in the last few weeks, he can't cleanly pin Ryback. So CM Punk retains with interference, because he has to build up to his match with The Rock. Ryback can Ryback people until Wrestlemania.
ImageWe don't get enough lumberjack matches in the WWE anymore. If for nothing else, it's great to see guys like Mason Ryan (I have some Welsh ancestors) and William Regal are still around. But why did Antonio Cesaro have to run in to get a kick from Sheamus? Come on, Cesaro actually has a huge future as a mid-card heel. No need for him to run into the ring when Primo and Epico are out there.
Josh Gordon has at least 11 fantasy points in three consecutive games, and four touchdowns in his last four. Can he keep up the pace? Probably not. But the Browns receiver is hot right now, so I'm playing him.
Mark Sanchez said Jeremy Kerley is something special, but that could have been the breakup talking. Kerley has 26 targets in his last three games, with at least 90 receiving yards in two of those games.
Poor Sanchez. First, he's had to deal with all of this Tim Tebowmania. And now Eva Longoria dumped him. You have to feel Sanchez was so incredulous about the news. "Hey wait, Eva, you're breaking up with me? I'm quarterback of the New York (expletive) Jets. What the (expletive) have you done in the past five years?" And then he ripped off his shirt and ran on the beach as he looked forlorn, with painted abs like one of those kids from Twilight. But come on Sanchez, dating Longoria was not a good idea.
ImageYou know if Sanchez is on the market, he should go for Morena Baccarin of "Homeland." Go for somebody on a hit show. Great job this week on really pushing the storyline full tilt. You have to respect a show willing to take chances. The third episode of this season would have been the season cliffhanger for most. Actually, the last two shows could have been cliff hangers, but "Homeland" keeps me coming back. Too many times, TV shows are produced to make money with excessive seasons, when you could do a much better job of getting to the story.
ImageAnd Claire Danes, holy (expletive). I don't want to talk about the nuance of acting. We have a guy on staff here who drones on and on about it all the time; so much so it almost makes me not want to watch the show. So I feel "holy (expletive)" sums it all up succinctly.
Vernon Davis has no touchdowns in his last four games, and the Cardinals have given up the second-fewest points to tight ends this season. That just means Davis will no doubt score against the Birds this weekend.
J.J. Watt will not win the MVP this season. It's nice he's being considered, but it won't happen. Peyton Manning has already won the thing. Right? Is there any other way the voting goes? You know it's true.
You know who else won't win the MVP this season? Miguel Cabrera. I heard from a reliable source, Mike Trout's name is already engraved on the trophy. BTW, I've been terrible with my postseason baseball predictions, but I was correct in saying Justin Verlander is very beatable, especially in the World Series. Have you seen his World Series ERA? Yikes. He will have at least one more chance to correct that, but otherwise he's going to start flirting with Alex Rodriguez, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning levels of futility in the clutch.
I was going to put LeBron James on that list, but he came through last season. But this is just the part of the rom-com where the bad guy is enjoying his day. Thankfully Steve Nash and Dwight Howard have joined the good guys, so America can rejoice again. And not really America, the world is rooting for the Lakers now.
ImageMy Curt Hennig All-Stars for this week: Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Percy Harvin, Randall Cobb, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Zuerlein and Chicago Bears. Play The Perfect Challenge. I almost don't like to play because it's going to be embarrassing when I win the $$$.
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.
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.
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).
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."