What we are talking about:
Robert Griffin III
He's the one
Bump the breaks a little
Get back soon
Ah, I'm just playing. I turn this in before the games, how do you not get this yet?
But an interesting story resurfaced this week in our research notes about last night's game. The Los Angeles Raiders had a deal in place with the Baltimore Colts to trade for John Elway during the 1983 draft. The move was blocked by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.
From the Star-Tribune in 2006: Ernie Accorsi, then the GM of the Colts, now the Giants' GM, confirmed a deal was in place with the Raiders that would have netted Baltimore an unprecedented three No. 1 picks and two No. 2s. One of the No. 1s, Accorsi said, would have been the sixth overall, which the Raiders had arranged to acquire from the Bears. Imagine how different the world would have been if this had happened? John Elway as the quarterback of the Los Angeles Raiders?
That would be like trying to imagine what life would have been like if Elizabeth Berkley had been Kelly Kapowski, instead of Tiffani Thiessen (pictured). Jennie Garth also auditioned for the role, too. Hmmm, is there a "Saved by the Bell" version of the N-if-L?
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 ...
Robert Griffin III has nine touchdowns and only one interception in his last two games. He's looked amazing throwing the football. His running is just icing on the fantasy cake. This guy can carry you down the stretch in the playoffs.
When RG3 joked he totally fumbled on purpose on Monday night against the Giants, well, I have to like the guy even more. You know, we get so conditioned to the sound bites and the vanilla answers, it's rare to see a guy have some fun out there. His only glaring weakness is he prefers The Hulk to Superman.
ImageI finished Superman: Red Son. Let me tell you something, it was so good, I might not read another comic book again. All right, that's a lie. But let's just say: Greatest. Book. Ever. I need to take a little breather. In fact, I might read it again. There were a couple of things I believe I missed, but it was awesome. If you know somebody who is a Superman fan, get this book for them.
Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need, but it turns out Cam Newton just needed to be traded in my league of record to get the boost he's been searching for all year. Newton had the highest score among QBs in NFL.com standard leagues (Andy Luck was actually better under my League of Record's scoring), so I totally nailed my bold prediction, too. But Newton can be trusted for your playoff run.
The Panthers have lost 13 straight coin flips to start the season. Did you know the odds of that is one in 8,192?
I'd still start Tom Brady against the Texans this week. I know, the Texans defense is tough. But nobody is better than the Patriots in November, December and January. The Giants are better than they are in February, but the Pats are dominant this time of year.
Did you know seven of the eight division winners from last year are in position to win their division again this year? A twist from years past where there is typically a lot of turnover. In the 10 completed seasons since the NFL went to 32 teams in eight divisions, there have never been more than four repeat division winners in a season.
If you had to pick one current division leader who wouldn't hold on, who would your pick be? We talked about this on the Dave Dameshek Football Program (available on iTunes). My pick would be the Giants. The Redskins are playing so well right now, and I don't know if it's sentiment over RG3, but they look like they could take the division. Of course, the moment you count out the Giants, they will rise to the challenge.
Russell Wilson has thrown a winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime three times this season, the most ever by a rookie since at least the 1970 merger.
With 11 touchdowns and no picks in Seattle, Wilson has the NFL's highest passer rating (122.0) at home this season. He is on pace for the third-best single-season passer rating at home in NFL history, which would place him behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but in front of Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Steve Young and John Elway in the record books.
Andrew Luck has averaged close to 42 passes a game, which would shatter an NFL record if he was to keep it up through the season.
Glad to see so many have jumped on the Andy Luck for MVP bandwagon I've been driving for weeks now. Let me say, I know Peyton Manning is going to win the thing. And he deserves it as he took the Broncos from a playoff team to a playoff team. Meanwhile, the Colts were loaded with talent.
Matthew Stafford had 520 passing yards and five touchdowns in his last start in Green Bay. I like him this week, but we probably won't see that production. Stafford does have at least 260 passing yards in 10 straight games.
Matt Ryan has at least 15 fantasy points in each road game this year. He's averaged 345 passing yards with seven touchdowns and an interception in his last two meetings against the Panthers. Ryan had 24.76 points against the Panthers last time.
Eli Manning had 406 passing yards and two touchdowns in his last meeting against the Saints in 2011. The Saints have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, and 13 touchdowns passes in their last five road games.
Red Dalton has 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last four games. One of those interceptions was a "carom." A "carom" of course, is new statistic I want people to use when a ball bounces off a receiver's hand.
Fun fact of the week: The Eagles have allowed 17 interceptions since their last TD.
Trent Richardson has three games this season with at least 100 rush yards, tied for the most ever by a Browns rookie (William Green, 2002). Rookie Jim Brown had two 100-yard rushing games in 1957. Richardson is 116 rush yards shy of passing Brown (942 yards in a 12-game season) for most rushing yards by a Browns rookie. And given the way Jim Brown talked about him in the preseason, I hope Richardson gets it.
Richardson also has 827 rush yards and seven touchdowns this season. He also has 44 receptions, 339 yards and a TD reception. Richardson's 1,166 yards from scrimmage ranks second among rookies this season (Doug Martin, 1,480).
Mikel LeShoure has a rush touchdown and a touchdown in three consecutive games. The flex spot in my NFL.com expert's league is between him and Tex Cobb. And the Packers receiver leads right now.
Bilal Powell is the Jets running back to use. He's had at least 11 fantasy points in two of his last three games. And he's had 12 touches in three consecutive games. The Jags have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Fred Jackson ranks No. 24 on my running back's list this week, which means he's going to be a No. 2 in 12-team leagues and a flex guy in 10-team leagues.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has three straight 100-yard rushing games for the first time in his NFL career.
You don't want to start Larry Fitzgerald, and I get that. I threaten to bench him every week. And look at the numbers. He's had fewer than four fantasy points in three consecutive games. The Seahawks have allowed the third fewest fantasy points to receivers this year. But guess what? It's Larry Fitzgerald. And my team will live or die with him because that's what great fantasy organizations do.
Michael Crabtree has at least nine fantasy points in four of his last five, with four touchdowns. He topped the 100-yard mark for the second time of the season last week.
ImageIf you ever considered a ride on the pine for Jones or White, I would consider that a classic example of the Montgomery Syndrome. From the famed "The Simpsons" episode, "Homer at the Bat." Montgomery benches Darryl Strawberry during a company softball game for Homer because he wants a righty to face the left-handed pitcher. Even Mike Scioscia doesn't over-manage like that.
ImageDid you know "The Simpsons" writers and creators hated that episode because Homer came out on top? I disagree, though. Oh, and the Scioscia drop up above was genius, because he was actually in the episode. Yes, I shouldn't have had to have spell it out, but felt I needed to.
Marques Colston doesn't get enough attention for being an elite receiver. He has eight touchdowns in his last nine games. The most telling stat is that he has 50 targets in his last five road games.
Brandon Marshall has scored at least 19 fantasy points in three of his last four road games. The Vikings have allowed six touchdown passes in their last two home games. Hmmm, maybe he will jump in to the Curt Hennig All-Stars.
Golden Tate has four touchdown receptions and a touchdown pass in his last four games. He's had at least 15 fantasy points in three of those games. He's a nice No. 3 receiver, especially since Wilson is so good at home.
ImageIs that enough of a transition to make to "Homeland?" Last week, I told you to check out the "Saturday Night Live" spoof of the show. And then this week, I wondered if Showtime had developed an hour-long spoof of the show.
ImageThe only unmistakable thing about "Homeland" is Brody needs to die this season. Damian Lewis is a fine actor and all, but you can't let an actor dictate your storytelling. One of the great things about "Homeland" is that you don't get meandering plotlines like "Sons of Anarchy." Instead, things move rather quickly. Brody has to die. The show really ventured near the shark this week, but if they stretch a Brody storyline out until Season 3, they would really take a step back. If Brody survives, I'm likely out.
Image"Sons of Anarchy" had a rather satisfying finish. SPOILER. If you missed it, Tig survived. You figured he would, in a plane with Clay. Instead we have Tig more indebted to Jax than ever before. And that was the right call. Clay was the reason Tig killed Pope's daughter, which led to his own daughter's death. So this was the right way to go. And Tara can rot in jail for all that I care.
Nope, we're not going to talk about Otto's scene. Kurt Sutter is nuts.
BTW, I really hope our editors don't watch these shows, or are completely caught up. I give you, the editor, a chance to write a note here to take a shot at me.
Andy Luck has looked for T.Y. Hilton this year. The rookie receiver had a career-high 12 targets last week, and he's had five total touchdowns in five games. A must-start in leagues with return yardage.
Randall Cobb has six touchdown receptions in his last six games. The Lions have allowed 17 touchdown passes in their last five road games against the Packers. Cobb has had less than seven fantasy points in back-to-back games, but he's going to come through this week. I just feel like the Packers really want to dominate this week, and the Lions will complain Aaron Rodgers was throwing the ball well after this game was decided.
Jermaine Gresham has three touchdown receptions in his last four games, and more than six fantasy points in his last five. And if you have a tight end who can consistently give you more than six fantasy points, well, you need to start the young man. The main reason? The targets. He has averaged six per game, over the last five.
Martellus Bennett had a season-high 14.20 fantasy points in Week 13. Which nearly cost me the game in our expert's league. But he's got another good matchup this week, as the Saints have allowed the seventh-most points to tight ends.
Owen Daniels has eight fantasy points in three consecutive games and six touchdowns in his last nine games.
Robbie Gould is 13-for-13 on field goals in his career at Minnesota. He's converted 20 of his last 21 indoor attempts.
I do endorse the idea to eliminate kickoffs. Every time I fire up the Madden, I typically sim through the kickoffs. Plus, think of all the needless commercial breaks you would eliminate.
ImageHit me up on the Twitter this week to discuss the greatest U2 song of all-time. I know it's going to be a tough call, but there is a correct answer. And really, I just want to see who reads down this far. If you need a hint, it came from their worst album.
Colin Kaepernick has been a nice story thus far, but I really don't like his matchup against the Dolphins this week. Kaepernick has scored at least 14 points in four consecutive games, but I'm not sure if the streak will continue against the Dolphins, who have allowed four total touchdown passes in their last four home games.
A lot of fantasy enthusiasts saw Kaepernick as a luxury because your quarterback had struggled. The most questions on Twitter have asked about Kaepernick and Newton. And in this case, Newton is much more trustworthy. But if you have to choose between Kaepernick and say, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick or even Jake Locker, then yes, I would go with Colin. But in most cases, I would advise against it.
An interesting debate would be between Kaepernick and Matt Schaub. I had the Texans QB listed as one of my Rank's 11 sleepers. Schaub has scored 14 fantasy points in five of his last six games. He has five touchdown passes in his last four road games. So he's had some success.
The thing about Schaub, though, is the Patriots have been great at home on Monday night. The Patriots have allowed no touchdowns with six interceptions in their last two home Monday Night Football games. So be careful with him.
Tony Romo has played great lately and his regular season stats will look great in reflection. This matchup scares me. The Bengals have been tough on quarterbacks all year, but especially at home. I feel like I'll be out on an island on this one, but with Terence Newman and Adam Jones in the Bengals defensive backfield, I sense a big game from them.
I originally picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East. They have five of their last seven at home. This one is a game they must win, but I just can't see it. The Bengals are sneaky good, and this is a big one for them, too.
The most overused stat of the week was Romo passing Troy Aikman for the all-time club passing touchdown mark. Aikman didn't need to throw the ball to win games in the 1990s. If Aikman was on a team that needed to throw the ball, his numbers would be been inflated. But he was a team guy who sacrificed wins for stats, and is probably the most underappreciated Hall of Fame quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger will start for the Steelers this week, but not your fantasy team. The guy is gritty, but even against the Chargers, I don't trust him. I'm not sure you can start Mike Wallace this week, either.
Our pal Mark Kriegel has Roethlisberger as his starting quarterback right now. I went on NFL AM to convince him to bench Big Ben and go with Wilson. Because I'm magnanimous that way.
Brandon Weeden has a great matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs this week, but I wouldn't put him in your lineup. And yes, I've seen this a couple of times on Twitter. It's an interesting concept in Week 8 when you're quarterback is on a bye. But it's a big risk during the fantasy playoffs.
ImageAs many of you know, I feel a certain kinship with Cleveland fans. So I want to say I do not support Sports Illustrated's pick of LeBron Jamesas sportsman of the year. Really, was Jonathan Quick not eligible for some reason? How about Mike (expletive) Trout? And I don't endorse Art Modell for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hey, he might have won a Super Bowl in Baltimore. But when you move away from Ohio, you don't get to come back home to Canton.
This is LeBron James' photo from the official NBA site. Uh, try harder dude. You know the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And to be honest, I'm indifferent to James. Now that he's won an NBA title, he's rather uninteresting. At least being a loser who never got a title made him matter a little bit. Now, I can't be bothered.
Sam Bradford has completed 60.8 percent (18th in NFL) for 2,668 yards (18th in NFL) with 14 TD (T-21st in NFL) and nine interceptions (T-14th in NFL). He has a passer rating of 83.8 (22nd in NFL). Not bad, but this team should forever be remembered as the organization which traded away Griffin.
So in one calendar year, the city of St. Louis lost both Albert Pujols and Robert Griffin III. This is hilarious if the team stays in St. Louis. But it will be a point of consternation forever if the team returns to Los Angeles.
And then this week he created drama when he said he was recruited to the New York Jets by offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The only reason you would bring that up would be to tweak the Jets and quarterback Mark Sanchez. Not that he hasn't done a good job of tweaking himself.
So yes, Henne continues to be the Stan Gable of NFL quarterbacks with this little passive aggressive snipe at his opponent this week. And I think that's awesome. But I still wouldn't start him.
Nick Foles had 14.04 fantasy points against the Cowboys and he has a great matchup against the Buccaneers, who have allowed at least 300 passing yards in five of six home games this year. But do you really want to trust your fantasy playoffs to a rookie who will make his third NFL start? You have nerves of steel if you do.
If you start Foles and he flops, you will have to deal with that for 365 days. I mean, even if he scores a ton of points from your bench, at least you can reason he was a rookie and you couldn't trust him. Out-smarting yourself is hard to live down.
Ray Rice has one touchdown in six road games this season. He's had only one touchdown on 136 road touches this year. The Redskins haven't allowed a rushing TD in four of their last five games, and the seventh fewest points to running backs in 2012. But guess what? I'm not going to bench him. It's Ray Rice, for crying out loud.
But watch, the week you bench him, Cam Cameron will finally give him the ball. So there's no way he can be on my bench. Why would I want to do that to myself?
The biggest offseason need for the Ravens is offensive coordinator. They really need to fix this position. Joe Flacco hasn't become an elite quarterback, which he thinks he is. So the first move I would make for the Ravens would be to hire Norv Turner when he is inevitably let go as was reported on Thursday. Turner could do for the Ravens' offense what Wade Philips has done for the Texans' defense.
And then Turner can eventually become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, because Jerry Jones will say that they will have a great working relationship together. Heck, Norv might end up in Dallas as the offensive coordinator, but Baltimore would probably be the best fit.
Quick notes on Joe Flacco, he's had fewer than eight fantasy points in two of his last three games. He's had more than 13 fantasy points on the road only once in six games this season. Four touchdown passes in those six road games. And the Redskins have been much tougher at home than on the road.
Wait, you still want to know about Ryan Mathews? Ugh. Mathews has fewer than 10 fantasy points in seven straight games, and no touchdowns in those seven games. The Steelers have allowed one rushing touchdown in their last eight home games, and the sixth-fewest points to running backs this season.
When they write the postmortem on A.J. Smith's tenure in San Diego, Mathews might be at the top of the list for failed picks. At least he got some Pro Bowl years out of Shawne Merriman. But Mathews has been a huge disappointment. When you talk about what went wrong with Philip Rivers, you should look no further than the deterioration of the offensive line and Mathews.
And if there is any science to the NFL draft, it's you don't trade up for running backs. The Browns kind of had Richardson fall into their laps last year. But for the most part, you don't need to make a move up the boards to draft a guy.
And with Norv and A.J. out the door in San Diego, I wonder if Philip Rivers will last, too. Will the next coach feel like he can fix Rivers, or will he want to bring in his own guy? I've long said Jon Gruden has wanted to work with Rivers in the past, we will see.
Rivers is a bad start this week in fantasy, because the Steelers allow the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Rivers also has 62 turnovers in 44 games.
After all of that, I have to believe the next coach of the Chargers will keep Rivers. He's still young. He still has a resum of success in the NFL. And when you look at the Arizona Cardinals, who have to start John Skelton, it isn't like the next great quarterback is out there.
That's actually a fun activity to think about for next year. Where will the QBs land? We touched on it briefly on the Dave Dameshek Football Program. My guess is Alex Smith to the Jets and Michael Vick to the Cardinals. Though, the Cardinals have been stung by former Eagles' QBs recently. Maybe Vick ends up as a backup in Dallas. Seems like a Jerry Jones-type of move.
Shonn Greene should be a good play this week, but I expect Powell to take most of his juice, so I would avoid him.
Reggie Bush has had less than 85 scrimmage yards in 10 consecutive games. The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, and just two rush touchdowns in their last 16 home games.
And I don't want to completely blame Bush for taking me down in my League of Record, but he was a main culprit. Along with Percy Harvin's injury. And Eric Decker doing nothing for a month. But this was a valuable learning experience to not draft a quarterback in the first round. Even at the bottom.
ImageSpeaking of injuries, the WWE is in a lot of trouble with CM Punk out with a knee injury. Punk has to be back for the Rumble to give the WWE title to the Rock. John Cena is going to get the Money in the Bank brief case from Dolph Ziggler (which is a terrible idea) and eventually win the world title. Cena and The Rock will fight to unify it at Wrestlemania.
ImageThe only thing to salvage that idea would be for it to be a three-way match with Punk, who is the one to unify it. But again, as you always know, my fantasy booking is always 100 percent better than real WWE booking.
Michael Turner has averaged 2.9 yards per attempt on the road this season. And that includes a huge game against the Chargers earlier this year. Turner had 76 rushing yards against the Panthers last year on Dec. 11. That would be a best-case scenario for me with him.
ImageA lot of football snobs were upset Northern Illinois is in the BCS. Yes, because why should a small-school team get any chance for some big-time money and a bowl game? Allow some of the underachievers like Oklahoma or a third SEC team to get into a meaningless bowl game.
ImageAnd that's the rub. I actually care about the Orange Bowl right now. At least Northern Illinois makes it interesting. This isn't about a playoff or anything like that. The Orange Bowl is an exhibition
Miles Austin has 10 receptions in his last four games. Dez has clearly passed him as the top target on the team. Witten is up there, too. And if Romo is going to struggle this week (and I believe he will), Austin is a risky play.
In addition, Austin has more than eight fantasy points once in his last four road games and less than 100 receiving yards in 10 straight. The Bengals have allowed the fourth-fewest points to receivers this season, and one touchdown pass in their last four games.
I'm curious to see who gets locked up on Antonio Cromartie this week for the Jacksonville Jaguars. My guess is that it's Justin Blackmon, who still hasn't been able to be consistent enough to warrant a start. Cecil Shorts didn't practice on Thursday, which isn't good.
Spend some time with the Chargers, and you won't want to start Antonio Gates. The Chargers offensive line has Mike Harris at left tackle. They don't have anybody to stretch the field, so everything gets condensed, Rivers has no time and there's really nothing to this offense right now.
If you need one final piece of playoff advice, go with the guys who got you to the dance. Even if they struggled over the last couple of weeks, stick with them. It's a lot easier to stomach a losing season if your stars don't come through. It's much tougher to take if you lost because you over-thought your roster choices. Good luck this week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said this week the Jets were like the GOP. There's a Tim Tebow joke in there I'm not allowed to make, but you can send it to me via Twitter. Good luck in the playoffs this week.
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."