Like/Dislike: Finally able to break from Cam Newton


What we are talking about:

  • Andy Luck

    He's the one

  • Norv Turner

    Him and Mike Brown can hang

  • Randy Savage

    Gone, but not forgotten

They say breaking up is hard to do. Just ask Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson; Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez; Or Cam Newton and me. That's right, Cam Newton and I might not have generated the headlines like the previously mentioned couples, but our relationship was just as volatile.

I made a mistake in our NFL AM League when I auto-picked Cam (while I looked for Darren McFadden). So actually, that wasn't too bad. I have RG3 in that league (though I'm glad Michael Fabiano turned down my offer of RG3 for Jimmy Graham. Fabs eventually traded Graham for Victory Cruz), so I was cool. I eventually moved Cam in that league to Fabs for Wes Welker and Joe Flacco. Not a bad move, and it sure did pay off during RG3's bye week.

But in my League of Record, with my chums from Corona, Calif, I also picked Newton, which is completely inexplicable considering we didn't have a time limit. Newton had ruined my fantasy roster for most of the year, although I did have Andy Luck. But I always had the great debate about who to play each week.

I had actually leaned towards Newton this week, but when Ben Roethlisberger went down, I saw a chance to pounce. I moved Newton to Doc Z's team (who just lost Roethlisberger) for, coincidentally, Wes Welker straight up. So the breakup was finally complete. I never have to worry about whether to play Cam ever again.

At least until next year when I know I will end up with him again. Just like these Hollywood romances, we won't be able to stay away from each other.

All right, let's get to the fantasy football.

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 Friday: What better way to cruise through it than by checking out my thoughts on fantasy football, comic books, wrestling, TV and music?) Facebook doesn't give you the option to dislike stuff, but I certainly do.

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

And without further ado ...

I didn't start Ryan Fitzpatrick or Ryan Tannehill this week, how'd that work out for me? No, I seriously ask because I publish this column on Thursday night, right as the game has started. How do you not get this yet? Or if you're a first-timer and you've made it this far, I sincerely thank you. Wonderful to have you.

Joe Flacco has had fewer than 13 fantasy points in each road game this season. He has played well in Pittsburgh, with five touchdowns and two interceptions in four career games in Heinz Field. There are better quarterback options out there for you, and you don't have to risk it with Flacco.

The Steelers, however, have allowed the third-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this season, and have allowed fewer than 180 passing yards in four consecutive games. Will Allen was on the DDFP this week, and it sounds to me like the Steelers D is going to have a great game.

What is bad is the impending Gatorade bath for coach John Harbaugh when the Ravens knock off the Steelers this week. You often here the mantra, "act like you've been there before." The Ravens certainly don't. They act like Rudy in practice every time they beat Pittsburgh; in November.

BTW, how is it fair the Kansas City Chiefs were penalized on a touchdown celebration for a touchdown which didn't happen? That kind of (expletive) can only happen to the Chiefs.

Too bad there isn't a way to start Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers just in the first half, and then be able to bench him in the second half. In fact, the most perfect fantasy quarterback would be Rivers' first-half stats and Stafford in the second half (or even the fourth quarter). How can I make this happen?

Rivers' fantasy points have increased in each game over the last three weeks. He has averaged 236 passing yards per game with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his last three games in Denver.

Here's the stat of the week from the U-T San Diego: Since the 2010 season, by which point he'd thrown 136 touchdowns against 58 interceptions, Philip Rivers has been trending downward. [Since, Rivers] has thrown 42 touchdowns and been intercepted 32 times, a worse ratio than all but six of the quarterbacks that have thrown 700 passes in that span. That could be the statistic most illustrative of his fall -- if there weren't more. Where Rivers' overall interception percentage of 2.4 through 2010 was sixth-lowest in history among those with 2,000 attempts, it is 3.6 percent since then.

The problem is the talent around Rivers. Ryan Mathews has been an abject bust (more on him in a bit). Big things were expected from receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, both have failed to deliver. Where is the talent Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has supposedly brought in over the past decade? Oh that's right, it's winning Super Bowls and has set records in New Orleans, it provided a ground game for the Falcons and now it's turned around the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oh, and likely also talking (expletive) about Tim Tebow anonymously.

ImageIt's time to pull the plug in San Diego. It's kind of like the show "Dexter." It's gone on about a season or three too long, but it's clearly lost its steam and is going through the motions. The good news, I stopped watching the show during the middle of an episode this week. (Though, I did stop it to go watch Stanford beat Cal State Fullerton.) I will just skip "Dexter" until the final episode to see how they wrap it all up. Maybe the last couple, but that's it. Hey "Sons of Anarchy," you are pushing your luck, too.

The Chargers' four wins this season are against teams that are currently 9-28 (Raiders, Titans and Chiefs twice).

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has scored at least 14 fantasy points in five consecutive games, and the biggest thing is, he hasn't turned the ball over in back-to-back games. But his 13 interceptions are still the most in the NFL.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has not passed for 300 yards in a game this season. He doesn't have to. But you don't put him in your fantasy lineup.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has a great matchup this week against the Redskins, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Redskins have also allowed 20 touchdown passes this season, tied for most in the NFL. I don't mind going with a rookie, per se, but unless that rookie is Andrew Luck or RG3, I'm going to pass.

I bet the Eagles really want Foles to do well so they can eventually trade violate the Cardinals for him next year.

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has at least 15 fantasy points in three of four road games this season. But he hasn't had a touchdown pass in his last two games and the Cowboys have allowed just three touchdown passes in three home games this year.

Four of the Browns' seven losses this season have been by seven points or less. The Browns are 0-4 on the road and have lost their last 11 road games.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown multiple touchdown passes in just two of nine games this season. He is last in the NFL in completion percentage (52 percent), and has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in five games this year. However, his statistics are only marginally different from previous years, he's simply won fewer games. The St. Louis Rams defense has allowed the 10th-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this year.

Quarterback John Skelton has two TD passes and five interceptions. The Cardinals have allowed 41 sacks this season, 12 more than any other team in the NFL.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning won't throw until Monday, but I believe he can rebound from his slump. He just needed the bye week. But I rejoice in the Giants' bye week because it's the one time the Giants won't be on TV in Southern California. That's right, we were denied the Falcons vs. Saints game last week so they could show Giants at Bengals. What kind of world do we live in? This is a complete joke. Why does FOX continue to harangue us this way? It's bad enough we might lose a generation of fans because we don't have a football team. To subject them to the Giants will turn them away even more.

ImageDid you guys catch the random story about L.A. officials and its courtship of the Carolina Panthers? Where did that come from? The Panthers have never been a team I would have considered for relocation. But here's the deal: Bring back the Rams or just forget it. No Panthers, Jaguars, Raiders, Bills or Chargers. In fact, I will openly rebuke a Chargers move to Los Angeles. As the biggest L.A. sports fan in the media today, I should be the guy they cater to.

ImageOh, and don't think I didn't notice the scores of empty seats at Heinz Field on Monday night. Aren't the Steelers often held up as the model franchise for hardcore fans? I thought so. The NFL really needs to look at how much it charges for ticket prices. If my public funds are being used to build the thing, there should be affordable tickets available. You make all your money off the TV deals and luxury boxes. You know, the whole reason why you have to knock down Qualcomm Stadium and the like?

You can't sit Bears running back Matt Forte, but this is a reason to temper your expectations. Forte had just 3.60 fantasy points against the Texans (that happened), which snapped a four-game streak with at least 10 fantasy points. Forte doesn't score many touchdowns, but he's had just two in his last 11 road games. Plus the matchup is lousy, as the 49ers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Not sure you have much of a choice, though.

Even in a terrible week, Jonathan Stewart is only the No. 24 running back. Which would make him an RB2 in a 12-team league, but I can't put him in the like column. How is this possible? Stewart was supposed to be given the job recently. Why don't they just go to DeAngelo Williams full-time in this instance? It's clear Stewart has failed.

Stewart (266 yards) and Williams (253 yards) are ranked 42nd and 43rd in the NFL in rushing yards, respectively. Three quarterbacks (including Newton) have more rushing yards than Stewart and Williams. Seriously, just pick a guy and go with him.

Daryl Richardson hasn't reached eight fantasy points in his last three games. He hasn't scored a touchdown in 74 offensive touches this season. So he only plays for me under the most desperate of circumstances.

You might want to stay away from the Steelers' Isaac Redman this week. With Rashard Mendenhall's return and elevation to starter, you can't really trust a Steelers running back. And then you mix in the Sunday night game. There's a risk they have to shut down Mendy after warmups and then what would you do?

Rashad Jennings might be the worst player in fantasy history. Our waivers in my league of record don't reset every week. I held the No. 1 waiver spot forever. I passed on Freddy Morris, but eventually used it on Rashad Jennings. He's started the last three games with Maurice Jones-Drew out and has been held under 60 rushing yards in each game with no touchdowns.

Falcons running back Michael Turner is tied for 20th in the NFL with 529 rushing yards. He's not a great start this week. Jacquizz Rodgers has at least 50 scrimmage yards in his last three games. The biggest drawback for him is he's scored only one touchdown in 73 offensive touches this season. I like him as a sleeper, if you don't have better options. But I'm not going to put him in my lineup over some of the other viable options.

So Rank, who would you start Rodgers over? Well, glad you asked. I'd start Rodgers over Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, Jonathan Dwyer, Joique Bell, Ronnie Brown and Peyton Hillis. Just to name a few.

LaRod Stephens-Howling leads the Cardinals with 184 rushing yards. There have been four games this season where a running back has had more than 184 rushing yards.

I get asked a lot about Beanie Wells on Twitter. A lot of people want to be a week early to grab him. But this is Beanie Wells we speak of. Wells hasn't been a viable fantasy option, like, ever. Well, maybe you played in a college fantasy league at some point and you had a chance to play him. But he hasn't been a viable NFL fantasy option.

ImageSometimes we get so worked up about a guy about to return from injury, we forget what a dud he was before he left. This happens in pro wrestling a lot. The biggest heel could leave via injury, but he always gets a face pop when he returns. Then he has to do something heelish to get back over that way in short order. So expect Wells to reestablish himself as a fantasy heel next week.

Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in four consecutive games. He has one touchdown and two fumbles this season. Mathews had 93 scrimmage yards in the team's previous meeting, but I wonder if the Chargers will be able to get on the bus for this one. Well, I suppose they will, but the loss has to be in the back of their minds. Or, more to the point, the top of their collective minds.

This game should be a rather good indication if Norv Turner is going to last the season. The Chargers won't be able to recover if they don't win this game. They will have no hopes for the playoffs. And don't think Norv Turner's all-time hissy last week went unnoticed. He just filled out the last square in his doomed coach bucket list with that one. The next thing is to expect a huge royalty check from Coors Light when it becomes a commercial.

Seriously, if you ever want to build a football stadium in San Diego (it has to happen), the Chargers need a more dynamic coach and football team. Oh, and for the San Diego Padres to start winning again. Fans in San Diego have been burned by promises of a competitive team in exchange for a new stadium. Good luck to the Dolphins if they want a new stadium after what the Marlins did this week.

ImageCities that build stadiums for professional teams should be able to get their money back if the owners have a fire sale of talent. Like a class-action suit or something. Sometimes it's a huge embarrassment to not have a football team in Los Angeles, but at the same time, it's kind of a sense of pride we haven't spent billions to have an owner walk over us like that.

A conversation on the Dave Damshek Football Program amused me. The host, Dave Dameshek, said Dodger Stadium was better than Petco Park. I swear, when even I can't tell when Dave is kidding, there's a problem. But Petco might be the best park going. I'm not sure if I like the idea of moving in the fences. Because you should just build to the strength of your park, but as a fan, it's tough to beat. You have some parks as good (AT&T for instance), but hard to find some that are flat-out better.

Danario Alexander had a huge game against the Bucs last week, but as the Dean Martin example said, don't try to capture yesterday. It's not going to work. Besides, the Broncos have allowed just six touchdowns receptions this season, the third-fewest total in the NFL.

We know we can't sit Dre Johnson, right? Let me just give you the stats. Dre has no touchdowns in his last six games and only one touchdown in his last eight home games.

Cecil Shorts has proven to be a good matchup play this season, but this certainly isn't the matchup. If you want to start Shorts against the Colts, that's good. But not against the Texans. He's been put on #thathelpsnoone status.

I said before the season started, the Patriots' Brandon Lloyd would be the most wildly inconsistent receiver of the year. He had two touchdowns in Week 10. And he did nothing against the Bills last week. So can you trust him against the Colts?

I would love to give Browns receiver Josh Gordon a chance, because he's the NFL's version of a home-run hitter. But the Cowboys have been rather good in the defensive secondary, so I can't risk it.

The Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe leads the team with 49 receptions, 626 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Bowe has not had 100+ yards receiving or a receiving TD since Week 4 (108 yards in 37-20 home loss to San Diego).

Jeremy Kerley leads the Jets with 35 receptions and 535 yards. As Bert Breer wrote Tuesday, the Jets have struggled to recover from injuries to Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis, in part due to a lack of depth. They have had just 23 draft picks from 2007-2011 (and only 10 in the first three rounds) due to trades.

Jeremy Maclin has more than 100 yards receiving in each of his last two games against Washington (101 yards on 10/16/2011 on road, 105 yards on 1/1/2012 at home). WR DeSean Jackson has topped 100 receiving yards just twice in his last 20 games. In eight career meetings with the Redskins, Jackson has never reached 100 yards.

WR Leonard Hankerson leads the Redskins with 342 yards receiving. That ranks his 73rd in the NFL. You would hope if your fantasy QB is having one of the best seasons to date, at least a receiver would benefit. Santana Moss has caught some passes, but can you really trust him?

BTW, its seems like Santana Moss has played in the NFL forever. But can you believe Brittney Griner is still at Baylor? It seems like she's been at Baylor since I was in grade school. Are you not allowed to leave early for the WNBA?

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has no touchdowns in his last six games, and he's topped four fantasy points only once in his last six games. Honestly, he's barely a playable guy at this point. I have him at No. 10 this week. Which would technically make him a TE1. But I can't put him in the like category, either.

ImageAm I the only one who noticed the 49ers and St. Louis FC lost more than a minute last week? Holy mackerel. If that would have been the replacement refs, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and the ESPN crew would have used their "Owen voices" and proclaimed Sunday was the day football died. But since it's the "real" officials, nobody gives a (expletive). All right then.

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."