What we are talking about:
Fantasy gold this week
Can't trust him on road
Clean win for stable
Robert Griffin III is expected to play for the Redskins this week and if he's in Mike Shanahan's lineup, he's going to be in my lineup, too. Of course, I made the finals of our NFL AM League with Brandon Weeden, but that's not the point.
And it's funny the way perception of Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has changed this season. Many of us were afraid to pick up Freddy Morris from the waiver wire (he started the season owned in just 30 percent of leagues) and not sure what to expect from Griffin early in the season.
Shanahan has broken the mold.
One thing the Shanahans have done well is to let RG3 be himself. Too often players are drafted and wedged into a system that doesn't fit them. Kind of the way Zooey Deschanel was passed off as a blonde in "Elf." It just doesn't work. And it nearly wrecked an enjoyable movie.
(Odds are you're in disbelief right now that it was Zooey in "Elf" and not some other actress, but it was her. And that proves my point.)
I guess the morale is to start RG3 this week.
All right, only one more week for me to really stretch an analogy so 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 ...
Don't get too smart this week, you play your guys. Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. If you have two of those guys, hit me up on Twitter to set you straight. And yes, play RG3 in case you didn't get that from above.
Andy Luck has scored at least 13 fantasy points in eight of his last nine games. But he's had fewer than 200 passing yards in back-to-back games. But you have to love the matchup as the Chiefs have allowed nine touchdown passes in their last four home games.
I've endorsed Luck as an MVP candidate, but what about Russell Wilson? At least for fantasy MVP. Russell has the highest passer rating at home of any quarterback. I get it; the 49ers have a great defense. But with San Francisco coming off a big game in New England, I can see Wilson playing well enough to get you some much-needed fantasy points.
Colin Kaepernick has scored at least 14 fantasy points in six consecutive games. Again, the matchup is tough, but I will give Kaepernick the benefit of the doubt despite the fact the Seahawks have allowed the fewest points at home to quarterbacks.
I'm excited a pair of West Coast teams actually matter right now. Of course, I'd prefer it was the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, but I'll settle for the Seattle Seahawks. Can I jump on the Seahawks bandwagon for the playoffs?
Tony Romo has been on a roll, with at least 14 fantasy points in 10 straight games. And like Hasselhoff in Germany, Romo is big in December with 11 touchdowns and no picks in his last five December home games. The Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, and 27 touchdown passes.
Matt Ryan let people down last week, but he's still had at least 15 points in three of his last four games, and at least 15 points in every road game this season. He's got the Lions this week, who have allowed nine touchdown passes in their last four home games.
Matthew Stafford had a tough game against the Cardinals in Week 15. He will be better at home this week. The Falcons are a tough matchup, so I'm a little hesitant to go with him. But he's at the bottom of my QB1 ranks this week.
There's no way to bench Adrian Peterson. Always play your stud, that's the mantra. The Texans prove a very formidable opponent, however. And above fantasy, they could limit Peterson enough to keep him away from Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. And selfishly as a Los Angeles Rams fan, you want the record to stand because there's not much left for us.
One record I would like to see fall is the single-season sack record. I like Michael Strahan, but the sack to clinch the record was weak. Thanks to Brett Favre. Some compare it to Jim Everett and the phantom sack in the 1989 NFC Championship Game.
However, I will forever contend Favre's sack was the NFL version of the "Finger Poke of Doom." That, of course, was when Hulk Hogan poked Kevin Nash for the WCW title back in the day.
ImageGreat PPV this week from the WWE. There were a lot of satisfying finishes and the action was really good. I loved that The Shield went over clean. The Shield looked like a legitimate threat and they had a solid strategy to take out Team Hell No and Ryback. Wrestling is fun when the heels are credible, not cowardly. The Miz and Alberto Del Rio team was great, too. The Arismiztrocas? Mizroacts? All right, we will keep spitballing here.
ImageRAW was pretty good the following night, too. The Slammys are still real to me, dang it! But CM Punk and Ric Flair is where it's at. Brandon Stroud said it best, Punk is at his best when he's upset about stuff and he's correct about it.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been great in recent weeks, as he's had four 100-yard games in his last seven. And that's significant. The Law Firm was brought in to finish drives, because the Bengals were terrible in that department last year. But he's been great as a runner, which is a nice bonus for enthusiasts who play him.
I'm officially concerned about Trent Richardson. He hasn't put up great rushing yards and if he doesn't get into the end zone, he's terrible. This matchup against the Broncos is tough. But I'm not going to overthink things here. He's deserved a chance to prove me wrong from my flex spot.
But if the Browns wanted to shut him down for the rest of the year to look forward to 2013, then I would be all right with that. Because then it would take the decision out of my hands. But coach Pat Shurmur won't rest him. And without many red-zone opportunities against the Broncos, this is going to be a tough play.
I've heard a rumor the Browns were to be Nike's NFL version of Oregon with a bunch of different uniform combinations. I can't come out more strongly against this.
Stevan Ridley has a rushing touchdown in six of his last seven games. He wasn't great against the 49ers, but move on. He's scored at least 13 fantasy points in three straight road games. And the Jags have allowed the second-most points to running backs this season, and eight rushing touchdowns in their last four home games.
The Patriots looks like they could be beatable right now. They don't typically lose this time of year, but this would concern me. The Broncos look like the team to beat in the AFC. Mainly because they have run the ball so well and they look like a team built for the playoffs because Knowshon Moreno has such fresh legs.
How long does the roll continue for Moreno? He's had at least 18 points in back-to-back weeks. Well I hope it's for one more week because I will start him in both NFL.com/NFL Network experts' leagues this week. He's been so good, I'm more worried about Peyton. Which that should concern me right there.
One of the fallouts of Cam Newton playing so well is the ripple effect it's had on other players. DeAngelo Williams has had his fantasy points increase over the last four weeks as he's notched back-to-back weeks with at least 17 points.
Darren McFadden has such a good fantasy matchup this week, it would be really tough to keep him on the bench. Even if he's, as one guy on Twitter put it this week, the Sin Cara of the NFL. Great analogy. If you don't get it, Google it.
Some of the league's cheerleaders will don Christmas uniforms this weekend, after some did last week -- most notably the Raiderettes, Titans cheerleaders, et al. The Raiderettes are the leader in the clubhouse in that category. But the Cardinals cheerleaders might have had the best look.
Dez Bryant has at least nine fantasy points in six consecutive home games. I don't care about his bad finger, he goes into my lineup. Jason Witten will also benefit this week, too. But Dez is so explosive, you have to keep him in your lineup.
ImageSpeaking of explosive, it's finally time to talk "Homeland." SPOILER: "Homeland" had taken a wacky turn there for a while, but the show finally redeemed itself with the finale that was as satisfying as the record pace it set at the beginning of the season. The taped confession was a brilliant payoff and you almost wonder if the "Action Jackson" nature of the previous two episodes really set us up to be turned on our side.
ImageSPOILER for "Homeland." Was anybody surprised Carrie didn't gun down Brody? It almost would have been fitting for that to happen, but this leaves a lot of loose ends. The biggest will be if Saul had anything to do with the explosion or not. He wasn't there. He warned Carrie not to be there. He was surprised to see her. And he already has allegedly killed off a couple of the terrorists suspects.
Greg Jennings hasn't done much since he's returned to the Packers. But he's important to get involved in the offense, so I expect the team to over-correct with Jennings this week. Randall Cobb is still my top guy for the Packers, but Jennings is a nice three this week.
Cecil Shorts has scored at least 10 fantasy points in five consecutive games. Even when he doesn't get into the end zone, he still has a solid stat line for you.
Dre Johnson has scored at least 21 fantasy points in back-to-back home games, and he's had at least 115 receiving yards in three straight home games. The Vikings have allowed 16 touchdown passes in their last seven games. Hard to imagine, but there was a time when you couldn't even trust him.
Michael Crabtree had a season-high 22.70 points against the Patriots last week and he's scored nine fantasy points in three consecutive games. The Seahawks have been tough on fantasy receivers this year. But this is a huge game, it's the last game of the day, I like Crabtree because he gets so many targets.
Jimmy Graham has scored less than nine points in five consecutive games, and no touchdowns in his last four. But there is no way you can keep him on the bench.
Dennis Pitta has scored four touchdowns in the last four games, and reached at least 10 points in three of those four games.
Jermaine Gresham has scored at least six fantasy points in six of his last seven games. You know, I'm just happy at times to have a fantasy tight end score a single point. But his matchup is going to be really tough.
Garrett Hartley has scored at least nine fantasy points in three consecutive games, and at least eight in his last three roadies. The Cowboys have allowed an average of nearly 30 points in their last six home games.
The blueprint is there to stop the Chargers' offense; stop their top receiver and everything else is cream cheese. Antonio Cromartie will be motivated, so you should feel confident with the New York Jets defense.
Sam Bradford has at least 13 fantasy points in four consecutive games and he's coming off a monster game against the Vikings last week. The Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. In addition, they have allowed nine touchdown passes in three games.
So it makes sense why the majority of you have asked about Bradford this week. The matchup is fantastic. But how many times have you been burned by a mid-card quarterback with a great matchup? Brandon Weeden had a nice matchup last week against the Redskins and it nearly cost me. So don't overthink it and get cute.
Bradford is a great sleeper play. Or if you are in a two-quarterback league. But I would hate to look at Peyton's matchup and think Bradford is a must play because of the matchup. Then you will end up going against Rank's Law No. 43.
ImageRank's Law No. 43: Always play your studs. If your stud fails you, the blame falls squarely on his shoulders. But if you bench your stud, he goes off and you lose? Well, the blame goes on you. So you never want to kick yourself for something foolish.
I nearly made a grave mistake last week when I thought too much about the quarterback I wanted to play. Thankfully the Tennessee Titans and Seabass bailed me out. If you didn't read that story, be sure to check out the "Monday Nightmare." Thank you, Mark Sanchez!
Josh Freeman must have ended the fantasy seasons of many enthusiasts last week. He couldn't even muster two points in a fantastic matchup (remember what I said above about Bradford?). But Freeman is enough of a stud that if you played him last week, don't blame yourself. This was on him. See, you're blameless and isn't that a nice feeling? If you're still playing with Freeman as your QB, well good. But realize the St. Louis Football Club has allowed one total touchdown pass in the last four games. And the unit is even better on the road.
Matt Schaub has a nice matchup and he has 10 touchdown passes with just two interceptions in his last four home games. There are just other quarterbacks out there who have better matchups that I like better.
When you look at the potential playoff teams, I would have to say Schaub hurts the Texans' chances in the AFC. As mentioned previously, I like the Broncos and Patriots in the AFC. The Texans need to prove something.
Ben Roethlisberger has also been on a roll lately with at least 19 fantasy points in back-to-back games. But the Bengals have clamped down on quarterbacks recently, as they have allowed a touchdown pass or less in six consecutive games. Roethlisberger has averaged just over 200 passing yards in his last six home games against the Bengals.
I don't care for Red Dalton much in this game as a fantasy guy, either. He's struggled throwing the ball at times recently, though he has masked those deficiencies with his legs. This game with the Steelers will be a low-scoring type of game.
ImageThe Bengals are the NFL team most in dire need of a Nike makeover. I would like to see the Bengals become the NFL version of Oregon with numerous combinations, and the stripes would provide the perfect blend. But they simply have the worst uniforms of anybody right now, though I don't mind the helmets like everybody else does. Don't mess with the Browns uniforms, make it happen with the Bengals.
Joe Flacco has fewer than 18 fantasy points in five straight games. The Giants were embarrassed by the Falcons, they won't get embarrassed again. Flacco has done nothing to earn your fantasy trust. And if he has a great game, let him do so from your team's waiver wire.
Carson Palmer is not a good play on the road, where he has seven touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. The Panthers have allowed a touchdown or less in nine consecutive home games against the AFC.
Eli Manning has one touchdown and six turnovers in his last four road games and fewer than 16 fantasy points in each of his last five roadies. Manning also has thrown for fewer than 300 passing yards in 14 straight road starts against the AFC.
Our man Kurt Warner is making it through his first year in fantasy football. And to be honest, he's not having too much fun. He can't comprehend how Eli Manning has more success than Romo on the field, but the Cowboys starting QB is the better fantasy start.
We all know the New York Giants are going to win the NFC East, right? There is no other possible way this can end. Well, I guess they could end up out of the playoffs. But there has been too much sunshine on my face for that to happen.
It's already started. A.J. Pierzynski has signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Hahaha, that's almost like having Josh Hamilton. But you know he's going to hit about .750 against the Angels.
LeSean McCoy is back this week for the Eagles, which seems kind of strange. Does Andy Reid want to have one last chance to ignore McCoy before he heads out the door? Now this ruins the value of both McCoy and Bryce Brown because we just don't know what they are going to do. It's too confusing.
Where do we think Andy Reid will end up? A lot of people have drawn the connection to the San Diego Chargers. I don't really like the fit for San Diego. I would rather the Chargers go after Jim Mora, but he seems like he enjoys being at UCLA.
Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell have been good in recent weeks, but I can't trust them against the Chargers, who have actually been pretty good defensively on the road. Maybe the Chargers just don't like to play before a backdrop of navy blue empty seats at Jack Murphy Stadium. Yes, I still refer to it as Jack Murphy Stadium.
The biggest reason, of course, is because of Greg McElroy. He was a great spark plug, and I feel he will energize this team. But with a full week to prepare for McElroy, the Chargers should be able to keep them in check.
And really, if the Chargers don't shut these guys down, don't bother to fly back, Norv Turner. Actually, that might be sage advice. I talked last week about how Turner would be a great offensive coordinator for somebody. And if he is teamed with Alex Smith as a package deal, the Jets should be one of the teams in the mix, along with the Cardinals.
The best spot for Turner, I will contend for a while, is Baltimore. The terminology won't have to change too much, the Ravens would be much improved next season, and I would expect Rice would be a lot happier, too.
Danario Alexander probably nuked your fantasy team in Week 15. If you managed to survive as I did (thank you Titans D), there is no chance I would start him against the Jets. And specifically, Antonio Cromartie. You know he's going to be motivated to shut down the Chargers (great move, A.J. Smith!). And remember, Malcom Floyd is out for the season, too. As is Ryan Mathews.
Sometimes your fantasy team needs a little motivation. I'm going to drop Danario Alexander on Saturday night to send a message to the rest of Adam's Boutique. You want to score no points in the semifinals? Fine. You're not going to get a ring for us. What an utter disappointment.
ImageAlexander was going to be the weekend's biggest goat until John Cena ruined Dolph Ziggler's "money in the bank" cash-in attempt. So what was Cena's motivation for going after Ziggler? Was it because A.J. cost him a match? Then why does he have to ruin Ziggler's game? Cena is the guy who has to ruin it for other people when he doesn't get his own way. I hate guys like that.
ImageSPOILER There is one thing on "Homeland" I just can't buy. How did somebody just move Brody's truck to an open spot right next to the vice president's funeral? Secret Service wasn't concerned when they saw somebody pull up an SUV and take off running into the woods? Anybody happen to catch this on security tape? Nobody? There's a lot of implausible (expletive) on this show, but this was over the top.
ImageI'm not kidding around, nobody thinks twice about an SUV parked out on its own RIGHT NEXT to the funeral? I watch pro wrestling and even I find that (expletive) a little hard to take. Can you at least make it somewhat plausible. But now I'm just nitpicking. Oh yeah, SPOILER.
Marques Colston has scored fewer than 10 points in six consecutive games. Based on the number of tweets I get, he's not somebody I want to fool around with. Nobody wants to play Saints roulette with him, because nobody can be consistent.
We all know that since the entire world is going to bench Larry Fitzgerald, he's going to come out with a monster game. I'm thankful he's not in play for me this week. Because I would be compelled to play him because I'm a big dummy.
Miles Austin has had more than eight fantasy points only once in his last seven games. He's had only one touchdown in his last eight games. The Saints give up a ton of points to fantasy receivers, but I like Dez and Witten to do most of the damage.
Vernon Davis is only played in fantasy leagues because of his name. He's certainly not given chances because of his name recognition. That's for sure.
Congratulations to Brian Urlacher for this week's ill-advised comments. In case you missed it, Urlacher said he doesn't care about the media or the fans. And while you might want to give him the benefit of the doubt, he really should know better.
Funny, players always like to say sports are a business when they bail out to the highest bidder. Even Josh Hamilton going to the Angels is a bit like this. But if sports are a business, don't be surprised when fans voice their displeasure in your performance. We paid a lot of money to get into the stadium, so please, don't tell us how to act.
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."