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Like/Dislike: Joe Flacco on the road? Bench him

What we are talking about:

  • Andy Luck

    He's the one

  • Marcel Reece

    Late-season find of the year

  • CM Punk

    Congrats, champ

Somebody called Joe Flacco one of the more frustrating quarterbacks in fantasy football, but I would disagree with that. Flacco is the most predictable quarterback in fantasy football. Is he at home? Play him. Is he on the road? Bench him.

There is a clear pattern of when he's going to be hot and cold. We can anticipate it. In other instances, we aren't so lucky. Take Anne Hathaway for instance. Hathaway is also hot and cold a lot of the time, too. But we don't have any fair warning on when she's going to be hot or when she's going to be cold. We've got to guess. Flacco has erased all guess work from our fantasy lives.

So don't be fooled by the matchup this week. The Chargers will beat the Ravens. (Make sure you do the Pick 'Em this week.) The Ravens traditionally struggle after they beat the Steelers (but look, no Gatorade bath this year!) and the Chargers win when you don't expect them to. More on this later.

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 ...

Philip Rivers has clearly lost the trust of fantasy enthusiasts everywhere, and it's completely understandable. He just doesn't look good in the pocket anymore. For all of the talent the Chargers are supposed to have, it clearly isn't in the offensive line. So I don't like Rivers this week, but I do like him more than most. This is a game the Chargers end up winning. I know, it kind of hurts the #firenorv campaign, but it's going to happen as explained above.

The Chargers could get back into the playoff chase here. If the Steelers don't get Ben Roethlisberger back soon, they could be in for a skid. The Chargers should escape with a win this week and then boom, they are right there again. Why is this happening to me?

How does Norv Turner manage to do this? But I will say this, if the Chargers don't win this game, it might be the end of Turner this week. Andy Reid will likely be given a chance to finish out the season, but Turner could have his season called early.

But watch, the Chargers will end up with Lane Kiffin or something. You laugh, but the Chargers have hired a Raiders castoff previously. And speaking of coaching changes, shouldn't USC make a change at coach? I understand Kiffin does a great job at recruiting, but what's the point if he can't coach the team? Do you ever watch a USC game and think, "Yeah, Lane's got this." You did when Pete Carroll ran the team. The Trojans always seemed to make the halftime adjustments.

USC should look no further than what Jim Mora has done at UCLA. And it should be noted Jim Mora was the guy I wanted to succeed Marty Schottenheimer when he was mistakenly removed after a 14-2 season.

Tennessee continues to pile on sanctions, too, because of Kiffin. How much more can be done? And to think, we need USC to knock off Notre Dame this week. Not because we don't like Notre Dame. Well, maybe a little. But do we really want a boring 6-3 national championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama? BTW, can anybody take out Stanford right now? I can't wait for this college playoff.

Jay Cutler is the most maligned good quarterback not named Tony Romo. Seriously, I hope his absence against the 49ers is enough to erase the notion this guy can't play. That said I still wouldn't start him just yet even if he is ready to go.

I'm not even sure the Bears would have beaten the 49ers. That wasn't going to be a Bears' victory. But he does give them the best chance to win. Jason Campbell is not a good NFL quarterback.

BTW, any sympathy for Alex Smith I might have had is gone since he's the one who allegedly tipped reporters to his coach's starting plans. Way to be a good teammate there. I understand he might be a little salty. And in fairness to Smith, he had played some of his best football and he did make some nice throws in the playoffs. Were it not for Kyle Williams, he could be a Super Bowl champ. But the coach made his decision; he should have respected it and not blabbed to reporters.

Have you noticed the number of teams with issues on the offensive line? The Chargers, Steelers, Cowboys, Packers, Cardinals and Bears are probably the most egregious. At least those are the ones who jump to mind. I wonder if the offensive linemen are too big now? I mean, with defensive players being so athletic and moving around all of the time, how can those old-school big guys stay with them? I wonder if we will ever see a switch of offensive linemen actually getting smaller. That's a question for Daniel Jerimiah, I guess.

Chad Henne would make a nice sleeper if you're truly desperate. I mean, he looked great against the Texans and you can't dismiss it. But you can't dismiss the fact that he's Chad Henne. We are too quick to overlook it.


I do like this smirk on his face. I mean, even though he's Chad (expletive) Henne, he's still enough of a (expletive) to revel in the miss of an opposing team's kicker.

And to look at Henne, he looks like every villain of every college-based movie. Seriously, he's got a Stan Gables thing going there. I think he should quit football and get into a remake of "Revenge of the Nerds." Wait, did they already remake that movie?

There was a "Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation." The film featured the highly talented Henry Cho, doing an Elvis impersonation. Well, I guess there were so many unanswered questions left from the first two "Revenge of the Nerds" movies. Maybe we can get Chris Hemsworth to do a remake. Or, maybe a mash-up where Thor really is a nerd and he goes back to school and ... ah, forget it.

Carson Palmer isn't a quarterback I can trust this week. Now, it should be noted Palmer was dinged for an interception last week against the Saints. And his fantasy day is completely different if his receiver holds on to the ball and does not hit it to the defender the way a Sea World seal hits the ball to his trainer.

Again, this is why I'm so high on a new statistical category called "caroms." Interceptions that bounce off a receiver's hand are no longer charged to the quarterback. Instead, it goes against a receiver. It helps in fantasy and reality. Why does baseball get all of these cool new stats like WAR and such, while football gets nothing?

ImageNot that it matters. The antiquated baseball writers don't recognize statistics anyway, as evidenced by the voting in the AL MVP race. If I had to wager, I would guess most baseball writers believe the dinosaurs never existed, because why would empirical evidence be used to sway you? I mean, they use the "triple crown" as a base of measurement. Which, for starters, it's unfair to ding a leadoff hitter because he doesn't have as many RBI opportunities. And what about defense and base running? Does this not count? But don't let me complain about it, Jonah Keri absolutely nailed it.

Russell Wilson is a nice matchup-based quarterback for the stretch drive. I just can't trust him on the road. I also don't trust him against the Dolphins. Russell has an NFL-best 122 passer rating at home, but he's just 65.8 on the road. He's another one who suffers from the Anne Hathaway syndrome, but at least we can explain it away as him being a rookie.

Remember when Ryan Tannehill as a sleeper was a thing? Tannehill has six touchdown passes this season. Hey look Miami, you found your savior at quarterback.

Remember when Christian Ponder as a sleeper was a thing? Ponder has double the touchdowns of Tannehill (12), but none of them have been longer than 20 yards. Ponder has a passer rating of 35.6 on attempts of more than 21 air yards, the second-worst among quarterbacks with 20 qualifying attempts. It should go as no surprise Philip Rivers is the worst on the deep ball.

Why don't I like Ryan Fitzpatrick this week? He has a great matchup against the Colts on paper. But the Colts have been a tougher pass defense at home this season. I guess I really don't have a great answer for you, but there are some better quarterbacks with better matchups.

Ahmad Bradshaw is still a tough play for me. He's the one Giants player I'm not sure will rebound, even with a week off. And then there's Andre Brown who might swoop in for some goal-line work, too. You can't trust Bradshaw.

All right, Michael Turner burned us all last week as he actually got into the end zone. I was tempted to put that in #thathelpsnoone. But if you watched the game, he just doesn't look the same. He ranks 21st in the NFL with 575 rushing yards. But he has just 61 yards in his last two games. He's also rushed for 60-or-fewer yards in six-of-10 games this year. If he doesn't get into the end zone for you, he can't salvage the day with rushing yards.

James Starks was given the opportunity to take the running back job in Green Bay, but he hasn't seized it, either. Just throw the ball on every play, Packers. You're better off. Don't expect Starks to have a great game against the Giants.

Steven Jackson looked great against the 49ers but did nothing against the Jets. I like the Cardinals to win this game, and part of the reason why is they will find a way to corral Jackson.

A common theme among all fantasy enthusiasts this week; once we bench Reggie Bush he will return from the fantasy abyss to ruin all of us. Or we will play him and he burns us anyway. After a conversation with Marshall Faulk, he believes Bush is too hesitant with the football. He's more worried about ball security than he is with hitting the hole. That makes him hesitate and robs him of his explosiveness.

Bush does have 575 rushing yards on the season, and he had at least 60 rushing yards in his first four games of the season. But Bush has been under 60 rushing yards in all six games since. This was supposed to be a time when he was going to kill it.

The Seahawks are also a tough matchup for Reggie Bush, as they have allowed the fourth-fewest points to fantasy running backs in 2012. You can't start him. Danny Thomas isn't much of an option, either. Thomas has some flex appeal with the right matchup. This isn't the right matchup.

The Cardinals running back tandem of LaRod Stephens-Howling and Beanie Wells should be in for a tough game at home with the St. Louis FC. Stephens-Howling is the best option. Wells isn't a clear example of the rule, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Does it really? Beanie Wells is like the fantasy version of the Twinkie.

ImageAnd I don't mean that the way it sounds. The entire world was up in arms once Hostess announced it would go out of business. Everybody screamed, "What will happen to the Twinkies?" And then people realized they haven't eaten a Twinkie in 20 years. Nobody eats that (expletive) anymore. We serve foods like Twinkies at our WrestleMania party every year. And it's fun for a second. Kind of like when you watch some YouTube videos of old NFL games and see the 10-minute ticker and the antiquated way we viewed games. It's nostalgia. Like Super Tecmo Bowl. But that gets old real quick because we live in 2012. So no, I won't start Beanie Wells.

The Cardinals started 4-0 and have now lost six consecutive games. Only the 1993 Philadelphia Eagles opened the season with four wins and then lost six in a row. The 1993 Eagles finished 8-8. That would be a good season for this version of the Birds.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie still contends the Eagles have the most talent in the league. Which can only mean he does not practice against DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

The duo of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin combined for a half fantasy point against the Redskins. And yes, the Redskins defense is the NFL version of the rookie setting on Madden football.

ImageYes, that's only 137.5 points less than Grinnell College's Jack Taylor the other night. But why did we celebrate Taylor's monster game? You talk about your all-time ball hogs, how about you toss the ball to somebody else for a change, Taylor? And it's not like he had a high shooting percentage or anything. I can see if he shot at a 50 percent clip from three-point range or something. But he jacked up way too many shots.

We only got to see footage of Taylor draining threes. I wish we could have seen some more shots of his teammates. I expected to see a heavyset guy eating an apple on the court, like one of the Teen Wolf's teammates during that movie. Or did Taylor ever steal the ball from one of his own players? I mean, it would only be fitting.

I have a weird feeling about Kenny Britt this week, but I just can't pull the trigger. Coach Mike Munchak said weeks ago he wanted to get Britt involved more in the offense, but nothing has happened so far.

ImageSpeaking of Rutgers, they will join Maryland in the Big Ten in coming years. Where did this come from? Really, Rutgers? I guess the New York market would seem lucrative for TV deals, but I'm not sure it jibes with the Midwest feel of the conference.

Enough is enough; let's just do one big conference divide and get this over with once and for all. The ideal situation would be four 16-team conferences. Can we make that happen?

Torrey Smith has been a huge disappointment, too. But a lot of that has to go on Flacco and his inability to win on the road.

But can I say something about Ed Reed? How can he be suspended for a game and then get it reduced? Way to send a message. It's like, Ed Reed, you're suspended for a game! And then he's all, "Really?" And the league goes, "No, not really. We were just kidding around. Go injure somebody else."

Reed, like all defenders, called it "flag football" after he was suspended. Which is hilarious because every time Hines Ward or any other receiver levels a defensive player with a nice shot, the defenders always cry the loudest about it. And watch how many defenders run out of bounds after they make an interception or fumble recovery. It's very telling.

Mike Wallace might struggle with Charlie Batch as his quarterback. So if you are really deep at receiver you can bench him. I would really hesitate to sit him if you can sit three receivers. And don't do anything rash like a move to the waiver wire. Ben Roethlisberger will be back eventually.

But did you know the Steelers only face one team with a winning record (the Ravens) over the rest of the season? The Lions, on the other hand, have the hardest schedule down the stretch as their opponents' record is 42-18 headed into Week 12.


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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