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Like/dislike: Don't play fantasy football in Week 17

What we are talking about:

  • Cam Newton

    Fantasy gold this week

  • Bugs Bunny

    That hare's got to die. Get it?

  • South Park

    Still awesome

It's Week 17. Why are you still playing fantasy football? So many teams have wrapped up playoff seeding or have just mailed it in. So now your biggest fantasy conundrum is, "Should I play Matt Ryan or Christian Ponder this week?"

Seriously, that was a question I received on Twitter.

Having your fantasy football season decided in Week 17 is akin to watching "Dodgeball," "Office Space" or "Wedding Crashers" on non-pay cable channels. Sure, it's still kind of fun, but you're going to miss out on all of the good stuff.

In other words, don't do it.

Now some of you might be new to fantasy football, and this should be a good learning experience. Believe me, we've all been there. There were times I was a fantasy noob and I too had a championship decided in Week 17. If somebody set up your league and will refuse to change for next season, it's time to part ways with that league.

Heck, I still barely talk to my Uncle Earl after refusing to play in his fantasy league because of the Week 17 fantasy rule. There are some things you can't compromise on.

Oh, and thank you for asking. I took the NFL Experts League. I lost in the NFL AM League. I don't know who Team Unknown was. I still believe it was Hornswaggle. Maybe we'll pay it off a year from now.

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 can't go with Matt Ryan in good conscience. I understand Mike Smith has said he would like to play this game to win. One gimpy player or a big hit on Ryan will instantly change his mind.

You will find this hard to remember now, but Matthew Stafford was a late first-round draft choice for a lot of people. And now you can't trust him in Week 17 against the Chicago Bears.

I hope people will remember Stafford next year when they consider a quarterback in the first round of their fantasy drafts. Stafford finished 10th among quarterbacks at the end of the fantasy season. And again, why are you still playing?

Stafford's 443 yards passing in Week 16 are the most yards by a QB in a game without a TD pass in NFL history, passing Joe Montana, who threw for 441 yards in 14-6 loss to the Redskins in 1986.

Stafford was one of the worst sequels in fantasy football this year. I look at Stafford the same way I looked at those "Die Hard" ads on Christmas. Wait, we're going to have another "Die Hard"? I never even saw the one with Justin Long. Am I missing something?

Where have you gone, Josh Freeman? He neared must-start status a few weeks back, but he's been a huge disappointment over the last month. You just can't trust the guy anymore. He might be able to take advantage of the Falcons, who could be on cruise control. But do you want to take that risk? I could certainly talk myself into liking him. But why would I want to do that to myself?

And apologies to Freeman, because I believe it was my endorsement in this space a few weeks ago which really led to his downfall. Yes, Week 15 against the Saints. That was it for him.

Michael Vick is back and ready to rock for fantasy owners. I kind of like him because he's really auditioning for a new team in 2013. But he's not going to play for my fantasy team in 2012.

A fun exercise is to try to figure out where certain quarterbacks will play in 2013. Right now I have Vick going to the Kansas City Chiefs. Alex Smith and Norv Turner could end up together in Arizona. I said a couple of weeks ago on "The Dave Dameshek Football Program," Ken Whisenhunt will get replaced with defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Turner is the OC with Smith at quarterback. You combine that with this defense, and now you have a team to challenge the 49ers and Seahawks.

The Carolina Panthers will likely fire Ron Rivera. It just wasn't a good mix. Seriously, you blew two seasons of Newton, plus Luke Kuechly's rookie season. The Panthers should make a run for Chip Kelly. This would be the most attractive job for Kelly, who would have a great quarterback to work with.

The Panthers don't seem like the kind of team that would break the bank for a new coach. But the Panthers have something better than money -- Newton. The Panthers gig should be the most coveted in the NFL right now. If Kelly does want to come to the NFL and be successful, this should be the first and only call.

If Jon Gruden wants to come back to the NFL, he should go to the Panthers, too. Not only would he get to work with Newton, but he would be able to show up the Bucs twice a year. Heck, Gruden should pay to get the Panthers gig.

The Chargers job should be considered a nice gig, too. The defense is close enough with the right coordinator (Rivera will be available). Andy Reid seems like an uninspired choice. Especially since the Chargers fired a guy who was great at playoff appearances and terrible once he got there (Marty Schottenheimer). But a few years of Norv should have cured that.

Somehow, I can see the Chargers with Rocky Long instead. That would be the Chargers thing to do. Plus, it would lead to some great tweets from Eric Stengel (who I swear to goodness will follow me on Twitter one day).

The Browns are going to make a move, too. You hear the name Nick Saban being talked about. A lot of people don't believe Saban could make it in the NFL game. And it's understandable. But a lot of people didn't believe Pete Carroll could be successful in the NFL, either. And look at what he's done with the Seahawks.

And the Jets have to stick with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez, with new backup Geno Smith. Or Matt Barkley, which would be hilarious.

Hasn't it been the upset of the season Turner and some of the other lame duck coaches have survived? The year 2006 was the last season no NFL head coaches were fired or resigned during the season. No head coaches have been fired during the 2012 season. In 2010 and 2011 combined, seven head coaches were sent packing before completing the season.

Red Dalton has struggled in recent weeks. He's been able to overcome some of his deficiencies with his legs, but he hasn't been able to throw his way out of trouble. I wouldn't start him against the Ravens.

And yes, Joe Flacco had a nice game last week. But the Bengals have been tough on quarterbacks this season. Just look at what they did to Ben Roethlisberger last week. Surely you must have better options.

The Bengals have allowed 20 points just once in their last seven games. It was their only loss during the period (20-19 against the Cowboys in Week 14). The Bengals have allowed 13 or fewer points seven times this season (7-0). Three teams -- the Bills, Jaguars and Eagles -- have allowed more than 13 points in every game this season.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has scored a TD in each of his two career games against the Ravens. He had 18 rushes for 91 yards and a TD in Week 1 against the Ravens. But I can see the Bengals taking it easy this week.

The 7-8 Steelers have lost three consecutive games. They were eliminated from playoff contention with their Week 16 loss to the Bengals, highlighted by Ben Roethlisberger's late INT. The Steelers have more turnovers since Week 11 (21) than the Seahawks (3), Panthers (4), Redskins (5), and Giants (5) combined. Pittsburgh's 21 turnovers in their last 6 games are more than 8 NFL teams have all season.

The Steelers have not won since Roethlisberger returned from injury (rib and shoulder) in Week 14. But he's clutch, remember? Yeah, I don't either. The Steelers would be in the playoffs if he hadn't thrown the ball away so much.

Matt Schaub is 3-4 as a starter against the Colts (eight touchdowns with 10 interceptions). In Week 15 vs. the Colts, Schaub was 23 of 31 for 261 yards, a touchdown and an interception. They are going to run heavy against the Colts.

Christian Ponder's longest pass this season is 54 yards. A.D. has five runs longer than 54 yards.

Is there a more fortunate person in the world right now than Ponder? Well, present company excluded. I realize every day how lucky I am. But things are going pretty well for Ponder with A.D. and his new bride.

I guess Ryan Tannehill goes into the mix, too. Tannehill has five touchdown passes in his last three games after he threw seven touchdowns in his first 12 games. He is a nice sleeper option, but nothing more.

Speaking of Miami, Dwayne Wade tried to make the Heat interesting again. Wade kicked Ramon Sessions in the groin on Wednesday night. And then LeBron James tried to invoke the name of Ric Flair. But come on Miami, you are the most boring budding dynasty right now.

ImageBefore LeBron got his title, rooting against him united this country. But now since LeBron finally got his ring, who cares? There is nothing interesting about him. This stunt by Wade made me more sad than anything. This is what you've resorted to? Even Lindsay Lohan finds this publicity stunt a little much.

ImageWasn't there a Kardashian Wade could have been photographed with? This reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Rebel Rabbit." In that short, Bugs is upset the bounty for rabbits is just two bits. So he goes through a serious of events where he tries to toughen up the image of rabbits. He paints a candy stripe on the Washington monument, shuts off the water to Niagara Falls and changes the lights of Times Square to read "Bugs Bunny Wuz (sic) here." And when you look back, what Bugs did to Times Square is still less obnoxious than having an Applebees and TGIFriday's in the heart of New York City.

My point is, nobody cares about the Heat. And this barely registered for me.

Philip Rivers is 10-3 vs. the Raiders in his career (18 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 90.4 passer rating). Rivers is 25-5 in his career as a starter in December. But I can't expect much against the Raiders.

Tim Tebow is 6 for 8 for 39 yards this season. WR Jeremy Kerley has more passing yards than Tebow. Kerley threw a 42-yard pass against the Chargers in Week 16.

Not sure what to make of Tebow, who allegedly begged out of the Wildcat formation plays for the Jets. Scottie Pippen thought this was a pretty bush league move. And really, it's not like Tebow doesn't have a history of this previously. Tebow transferred high schools because he didn't want to move to linebacker.

The NFL should force Tebow to go to the Jags, who should have to commit to him for a full season. This way we can have definitive proof if Tebow can be a legit NFL quarterback or not. And then we can move on with our lives.

And really, the fact that Tebow has so much fantasy value really diminishes fantasy football. It makes us all look bad.

Michael Turner has scored a rushing TD in four of his last five games. In eight career games against the Buccaneers, Turner is averaging 78.9 rushing yards-per-game. He has seven rushing TD vs. the Buccaneers. In Week 12 against the Bucs, Turner had 13 rushes for 17 yards (1.3 yards per rush). He also scored a TD. But I have to imagine he's going to be rested this week. The Falcons can't burn him out.

Ryan Mathews did not have a 100-yard game this season. He broke his left collarbone in the Week 15 loss to the Panthers and will miss the remainder of the season. Mathews broke his right collarbone in the 2012 preseason.

The troubling news for Mathews is that the general manager who was committed to him will no longer be in San Diego next season. So he might need to get in touch with Bekins during the offseason.

Cecil Shorts rose to great prominence thanks in no small part to "NFL Fantasy Live." And a quick prediction for next season is Shorts will be overvalued the most going into drafts. He will be next year's Jordy Nelson. Your best value for him will be in a couple of years.

ImageI've given serious thought to not drafting a tight end next season. I would target Gronk in the second round, and if I missed out, I would just blow off the position. If you look at the Bagel Boys this year, you would have been better off with depth. You could find a guy to put up a zero on the waiver wire.

ImageIf you get a chance, fire off a tweet to me for some potential rules changes in the coming fantasy season. We really need to make some changes. There are no promises. As your fantasy president, realize I'm only one third of the fantasy government. But I would like to get some legislation passed.

ImageThe most important issue facing fantasy football is special teams points. I get why certain players don't get individual points for punt-return touchdowns. But it's completely wrong for a guy like Randall Cobb to be dinged for a fumble on a punt return. That should go to the Packers DST. Fake-field-goal touchdowns should go to the DST and not individual players. I won't make you any promises, but do know I'm going to try to get across some of the best suggestions.


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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