What we are talking about:
A must-start for you now
Time to move on
"Sons of Anarchy"
Keeps getting better
Our nation had a war on redheads not too long ago, thanks in no small part to "South Park" creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone. It was a dark, dark day for red heads in the wake of that famed "Ginger Kids" episode back in 2005. (Lindsay Lohan didn't help, either.)
But Christina Hendricks helped heal our country. A converted blonde, Christina made us fall in love with red heads all over again with her role in "Mad Men". It was a great day to be a red head again!
However, red heads have a new enemy and it's Andy Dalton. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback is not only threatening to ruin the Bengals playoff hopes but all of the great work Christina has provided.
What is more egregious, however, is that he's just about made A.J. Green an average receiver.
There are a number of big-time disappointments at receiver this year from Larry Fitzgerald to Roddy White to Dre Johnson. The long-time veterans have struggled because of injuries. But Green's problems lead directly back to Dalton. There aren't many full-time quarterbacks who rank worse than Dalton in terms of fantasy points. He's scored 59.90 this season. And no, he hasn't had his bye week.
Dalton has outscored Ben Roethlisberger by less than seven points. Roethlisberger had a bye last week and otherwise hasn't been impressive. The only other full-time quarterback who has struggled more is Carson Palmer who has scored just 47.50.
I'm telling you, if Green doesn't turn it around this week, it might not ever happen. Not only will your fantasy team be hurting, but think about poor Christina.
Let's move on in this column voted "Best Use of a Soap Box" by our esteemed homepage editor, Patrick Crawley.
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 ...
Is it possible one QB might actually have Bill Belichick's number? Drew Brees is 3-0 against the Patriots in his career, with eight touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 148.3. In two games with San Diego and one with New Orleans, Brees' teams have outscored NE 100-48.
Things look bad for Tom Brady right now, but he ran into a tough defense and suffered. I mean, more than 50 games with a touchdown pass is pretty good, so you might want to pump the brakes on concern over Brady right now.
How is it possible I've waited this long to talk about my hero Tony Romo? Not that I needed his 40 points to dispatch Akbar in our expert's league (I beat him by 50, so any quarterback would have worked). Romo has another great matchup this week against the Redskins who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Romo has thrown eight touchdown passes in his last three games against the Redskins.
Serves Akbar right for this. That's Akbar taking down Romo in college.
Robert Griffin III has a fantastic matchup, too. The Cowboys have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. The Cowboys have allowed 300 passing yards in three of the last four games. I know a lot of you like to trip out about RG3, as you want to know what's wrong. Here's what is wrong; he had knee surgery last year. It's going to take some time for him to get back.
All right, you know to play Dez Bryant, Pierre Garcon and Jason Witten. But a couple of nice sleepers this week are Leonard Hankerson and Jordan Reed of the Redskins. Hankerson has really started to gain the trust of RG3. Reed has become the Redskins tight end to own.
Alfred Morris has been a mild disappointment, but his rushing attempts have increased each week and he's had at least 70 rushing yards in three consecutive games.
I put in a trade request for Morris on Thursday. As is par for the course, it was instantly rejected and followed up with a text which asked "what do you know about Morris?" I can never win.
The Cowboys vs. Redskins game will be on Sunday night, but I already miss the late 8:30 p.m. PT game. Seriously, the second Sunday night game is an excellent idea. For some reason, it works out much better for a Sunday compared to when they do it on Monday night. But this late-late Sunday game has been long overdue.
You'd better believe I will play Peyton Manning, too. I know, people are worried he will be pulled at halftime. Just don't think that way. Yes, it would be hilarious if you started Brock Osweiler because he might play the entire second half. But don't do that. Unless you're in some crazy "start 13 quarterbacks" league. You're not in a league like that right? Then don't do it.
You play a dangerous game if you bench Maurice Jones-Drew because the Jags might get blown out by the Broncos, too. That's the kind of thinking that will end up with 14 points on your bench. The Broncos have allowed the seventh-most points to fantasy running backs this year. Plus MJD is a pretty good receiver out of the backfield, too.
Loved the Twitter beef (tweef?) between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos this week. Too many times, these teams like to take the high road. But at the end of the day, this is entertainment. If you can't have a couple of young staffers go after it on social media, what's the point in all of this?
ImageIf anything, teams should follow the lead of the Los Angeles Kings who have the best Twitter feed of any team in any sport. Bailey (the team mascot) is pretty good, too. Bailey got into it with CM Punk last year during the playoffs and it was rather entertaining.
But the tweef of the week goes to LeSean McCoy and Knowshon Moreno. I hate it when my No. 1 and No. 2 running backs fight! But McCoy has been my guy all year. If he needs me to trade Moreno for team chemistry, I'm going to have to do it.
Aaron Rodgers has won eight of his last 11 against the AFC with 29 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Don't bother checking the Ravens' FPA (fantasy points against) because those numbers are skewed because of Peyton Manning's Week 1 performance. But seriously, Aaron Rodgers.
Eddie Lacy has scored at least nine fantasy points in two of the three games he's played. He had a career-high 99 rushing yards against the Lions in Week 5. But did you see the moves on Randall Cobb? We need more of Cobb in the backfield!
Jordy Nelson has seen his fantasy points decrease in each game this season. I wish I could send you a picture of me not worrying about it. Nelson is going to correct that this week.
I'm going to let Reggie Bush slide for last week when he scored just 6.9 points. That's going to happen. Especially when Calvin Johnson is a late scratch. Hopefully the Lions, like most of us fantasy enthusiasts, will be more prepared. Honestly, I didn't think Megatron was in that much danger of not starting.
Bilal Powell has scored at least 10 fantasy points in three of the last four weeks. I'm going to give him one more week against the Steelers, who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
If you picked up Jay Cutler this week, don't give up on him just yet. Cutler will go up against the Redskins in Week 7 before the team's bye. Cutler returns to play the Green Bay Packers in Week 9. His "Fantasy Super Bowl" is against the Eagles. He's not a bad stash.
I had a bunch of people snake Cutler from me, which is really flattering. If you're really stuck in a bind, how about Joe Flacco? He is 10-0 against the NFC at home, with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Torrey Smith has had back-to-back games with at least 100 receiving yards and leads the AFC with an average of 111.2 receiving yards per game.
DeAngelo Williams is a great start this week. The Vikings have allowed the second-most points to fantasy running backs. Williams hasn't reached the end zone in 80 offensive touches this season, but he's had at least 85 scrimmage yards in three of four games.
Vincent Jackson starts, and Mike Williams is a great sleeper this week. The Eagles have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this year. The team has also allowed a league-high 93 receptions to receivers in 2013.
So you're asking me if I am going to start Mike Glennon? I sure am in one of my bigger leagues. And I don't feel terrible about it, either.
Josh Gordon is averaging over 100 receiving yards per game. You play him against the Lions this week. And even if you're disappointed in Jordan Cameron after last week, realize he still ranks first among AFC tight ends in catches (33) and second in receiving yards (396) and touchdowns (5). Of course, Julius Thomas isn't making things fair, exactly.
Did you hear that story about the guy who harassed the Texans quarterback at his home? I wouldn't have been surprised if we had found out it was Arian Foster. At some point the Texans just have to give him the ball 50 times a game and let him go.
DeAndre Hopkins leads all rookies with 293 receiving yards. The St. Louis FC has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to receivers this year. Dre Johnson has been a disappointment, but just having him on the field makes Hopkins more dangerous because teams have to account for him.
Doug Martin has been a huge disappointment this year, but the Eagles have allowed the second-most yards per game this season. Martin has a big-time performance against the Eagles. And the good news is LeSean McCoy really likes him. So maybe I should go Moreno for Martin.
ImageFunny, the infomercial for the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" is better than most of the sitcoms on the air right now. "The League" is one of my favorites. I'm finally catching up with "How I Met Your Mother" but after that, there aren't many comedies I have to see on a regular basis. Unless you count "The Daily Show" and "The Soup" as comedies, but those certainly aren't sitcoms.
ImageSPOILER "Sons of Anarchy" really continues to excel, though. It was pretty obvious something bad was going to happen when the entire group was gathered at the club house at the end of Tuesday's episode. For a moment, I thought perhaps the brilliant mind of Kurt Sutter was going to have the whole cast wiped out, like the "Red Wedding" in that throne show. I started to actually wonder if only Thomas would survive and we'd pick up the series 15 years later or something. Hey, after last week, everything is on the table. Or more to the point, the table has been blown up. (And for the record, Chibs dominates this show. If he ever goes, I'm not sure how I will handle it.)
See if Andre Ellington is available in your leagues. He's on the cusp of being the starter in Arizona. Wait, I'm going to check my league of record. Hang on. Yep, already rostered. Figures. Well, you should still check.
Vernon Davis has had a touchdown reception in three of his last four, and his fantasy points have increased in three consecutive games. The Cardinals have allowed 17.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends on the road this season, second-highest in the NFL.
This is also good news for Steve Smith. The Vikings have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers at home this year. I understand Smith has struggled recently (fewer than seven fantasy points in three consecutive games), but this is a great matchup.
Andrew Luck has scored more than 18 fantasy points in four of five games this season. The Chargers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points at home this year, and have just one interception on the season.
But who cares about any of that, the Chargers will rock the blue jerseys this week! To be honest, I kind of dig the all-white uniforms the Chargers have rocked in recent years. Looks classy. The white with blue pants, however, does not. I know, this is cutting-edge (expletive). Somebody likes the Chargers powder blues, woo hoo! Let's move on.
T.Y. Hilton is on the verge of becoming the No. 1 option for the Indianapolis Colts. He's struggled at times but he was like the Man of Steel against the Legion of Boom in Week 5. Was that Bizzaro Richard Sherman out there? The Chargers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers this year.
ImageSpeaking of comic books, looks like I'm way behind the times because I didn't even realize "Forever Evil" was a thing. This looks fantastic. I just wish I had enough time on my hands to even buy comic books, let alone even read them. I still have to finish Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2 before I turn my attention to Vol. 2 and 3 of the Justice League. I feel like I'm a failure. Maybe it will be something I put off until the end of the season.
Keenan Allen has had his targets, receptions and receiving yards increase in each of the last three weeks. He had a nice game against the Raiders. Of course, the Colts have nice road numbers on defense. But Jacksonville was one of those games.
Congratulations to the Falcons who won't pitch the season and trade away Tony Gonzalez. But wouldn't it be fun to see Gonzalez play his final year for the Kansas City Chiefs? The Trent Richardson trade has me jonesing for more.
Not many would have guessed that the game between teams led by Brady and Brees would feature two of the top four scoring defenses in the NFL. The Patriots have allowed 14.0 PPG this season (second in NFL), while the Saints have allowed 14.6 PPG this season (fourth in NFL).
My biggest fear? Cobra attacks. I know, they aren't indigenous to Southern California but those things are frightening. I also fear another 13-6 snoozer from the Saints and Patriots. Or maybe they'll just surprise us and have a 51-48 shootout. I'm guessing the former, but there is no way I would bench either quarterback.
Well, I would have benched Brady if one my best friends didn't steal Jay Cutler from me in our League of Record. I tell you, there are few drawbacks of this gig, but my good friends watching the show and plucking guys off the waiver wire can be an annoyance. Actually, I'm flattered but I can't let them know that.
This Rob Gronkowski business is starting to become a concern, too. Well, I think we might have moved past concern and we can see full-on panic on the horizon.
I'm a little worried about Darren Sproles, too. He's scored fewer than seven fantasy points in three of the last four games. And the Patriots have allowed just one rushing touchdown in the last four home games.
One of my other big fears? Matthew Stafford without Megatron. Wow that offense looked so ordinary without CJ. In fact, this is why I penned this column during the summer about Megatron being the best player in the NFL right now. He's so much better compared to anybody else at his position.
I love how Jim Schwartz claimed it wasn't Megatron's fault the team lost in Green Bay. Uh, it certainly was. Dude, nobody would have questioned you if you opened your press conference after the loss to the Packers and said, "Hey, we didn't have Megatron, what the (expletive) did you expect?"
Even with a full-strength Megatron, it's tough to recommend Stafford this week. The Browns have quietly put together one of the best defenses in the league. The Browns have allowed an average of 8.83 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks at home this season. The Browns have also allowed just two touchdowns passes, fewest in the NFL.
I picked up Glennon in my UK league and I'm playing him. Yeah, it's come to this.
You can move on from Stevan Ridley. He was one of my biggest bust candidates coming into 2013 and he's lived up (or down) to those expectations.
Ridley has scored more than five fantasy points just once this season, and has lost the confidence of the coaching staff a long time ago. Ridley has no touchdowns on 50 touches this year. This was coming on if you paid attention to the end of last season. His streak of games below 100 rushing yards has now reached 12 games.
Shane Vereen was going to be the goods this year, too. I've almost come to the point where I can stash Vereen on some of my deeper rosters for the postseason run.
Chris Johnson is another back who has just about used up all of my patience. Johnson has topped 100 rushing yards only one time in his last 11 games. He's scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in four of five games. The Seahawks have allowed the fifth-fewest points to running backs at home this year.
Don't talk to me about C.J. Spiller's rushing touchdown last week. That was his only touchdown on 83 offensive touches this season. And that was pretty much all he did in the entire game. Spiller has been a disappointing first-round pick. My 1-4 record in the NFL AM league is evidence of that.
I'm in a world of hurt in that league. I have to play Nicole Zaloumis in that league, too, and her squad is a strong 3-2. I hate to say "must win" in Week 6 of the fantasy season, but this is about as close as it gets. Otherwise I might have to go into sell-off mode for considerations next year.
Lamar Miller was out-right released in our NFL AM league. I mean, this is kind of a bold move after a bad game. I went for Cutler and missed out on Miller. But I've got a few tricks up my sleeve in that league anyway. Seriously, I was proud of that team after the draft. Now it's in trouble, thanks in no small part to Matt Ryan.
I have to start Philip Rivers against Ms. Zaloumis. And I'm not a huge fan of it. The Colts have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the road this season (3.08). The Colts D hasn't given up a touchdown pass and has four interceptions on the road. So I'm scared even though Rivers has scored at least 18 points in four of the last five games.
The two quarterbacks the Colts have played on the road this year are Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. All right, I don't feel quite as bad. Not great, mind you. If nothing else, it will make great fodder for the "Monday Nightmare" this week.
I did bench Larry Fitzgerald in the NFL AM league. Fitzgerald has topped 100 receiving yards just once in the last 18 games. He's currently 24th among fantasy receivers. This week he has the 49ers, who have allowed the third-fewest points to fantasy receivers. But I have to start him in our expert's league.
Wait, have we talked about Thad Lewis yet? He's making just his second career start and his first one against the Browns last year wasn't terrible. He had 204 passing yards with a touchdown and interception. And that's a good defense, too. But how can you start him this week against the Bengals who just shut down Brady and the New England Patriots.
But back to the Buffalo business, I'm kind of bummed Jeff Tuel didn't get a chance to make his first start of the season. I watch a lot of Pac-12 games, and I always thought Tuel could make a nice option for some team. Hopefully he will get his chance at some point.
Robert Woods is a nice sleeper this week. I don't think you go out and instantly add him to your starting lineup. He is a good option if Steve Johnson isn't able to play this week because of injuries. Plus, Thad Lewis needs to throw it to somebody.
I would start Woods over Dwayne Bowe. Seriously, it's time to move on from Bowe who ranks 50th among fantasy receivers. He has just two touchdowns in his last 14 games. And he's had less than 80 yards in each of those 14 games. Alex Smith also doesn't look for him. Bowe has had four catches or less in 10 consecutive games.
Cut Miles Austin right now. Even when he returns, he's only going to be back briefly. He's only going to cause you pain, fantasy enthusiasts. Time to move on. You will be able to find some other guys out there.
ImageI don't want to assume you all listened to my dissertation on those who dismiss Captain Cowboy (Romo, not Bill Bates), but all of the hate tweets need to stop. The person who really deserves our scorn is Dana from "Homeland." I'm going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt this is leading to something. I'm not positive. Perhaps when Dana explained how she felt like one of the only sane people in the world, and it was the entire outside population that was crazy, it was a nod to Carrie. The show has been clever enough this could lead to something.
ImageBut in the meantime, I would pay just about any amount of money for an app which would just delete all of the Dana scenes from Homeland. I kind of do that now with the DVR. But I ended up watching it live with the two Sunday night games last week. Seriously, though. If somebody can make that happen on YouTube or something, I would appreciate it.
Terrelle Pryor looked really good against the Chargers late on Sunday night. Trust me, I actually watched the game while many of you likely went to bed. He was really impressive as a passer and that was the one thing that really held him back in the past. Pryor has passed for 502 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and passer rating of 123.2 in his last two starts.
ImageTo anybody on the East Coast who wants to complain about the late-night Sunday game, uh, this is what you get for us having to be home by 5:30 to watch the NFL Network games on Thursday. And for some reason, Thursday is the worst night for traffic in Southern California, which is kind of saying something.
Marcel Reece could start for the Raiders, but it's a terrible matchup. The Chiefs have allowed the second-fewest points per game to running backs at home this season. In fact, the Chiefs haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in five consecutive home games.
Rashard Mendenhall continues to hang on to relevancy, thanks in no small part to his touchdown plunge. But the Birds are in the mix of the NFC playoff hunt, so Bruce Arians' stubbornness for Mendenhall will begin to wane.
Garrett Graham is a sleeper this week because Owen Daniels is out. But realize St. Louis is tough against tight ends this season. And Matt Schaub, folks. Just please, don't drive up to his house. This isn't "All the Right Moves."
ImageAll right, since we have kind of a Texas theme, let's talk a little "Varsity Blues" here. In that movie, Bud Kilmer quits at halftime. I guess that could happen. But where are the assistant coaches? You mean this big-time Texas high school has just one coach? Even the smallest of Orange County high schools out here have multiple coaches. So why does the injured quarterback start calling plays? And how is it possible not one of the parents notices this, nor the officials question this? There is no way the referee would allow the game to go on without at least one adult on the sidelines. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie, but come on. At least have some assistant coaches walk out with Kilmer.
Still, Matt Schaub will likely cost the Texans this year. And pretty much every year. He's just not a playoff quarterback. When the games get tighter in the postseason, he just doesn't have the build and big arm to get it done, especially in the cold weather. The Texans should have seen this years ago. Don't expect a Flacco-like turnaround here.
I would stay away from Andre Johnson. He's scored fewer than 15 fantasy points in each game this season, and his touchdown drought stretches seven games. In fact, he hasn't scored a TD in 10 of his last 11 games. If you do need to start him, he is the fourth-most targeted receiver in the league.
You shouldn't drop Matt Ryan. He's too good for that. But there are a lot of matchups where you don't feel as good about Ryan now. A lot of quarterbacks have done well with lesser receivers. But there is something about Ryan that bothers me. The Atlanta Falcons have been one big fat fail this year.
Jermichael Finley has a great matchup against the Ravens, who are prone to big plays from the tight end position. Of course, Ravens numbers are always skewed because of their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos. So I won't take the bait.
Kyle Rudolph has scored fewer than three fantasy points in three of four games this year. The Panthers have allowed the second-fewest points to tight ends this season. I'd play Reed over Rudolph and Finley.
Colin Kaepernick keeps winning and I guess that's what is important to the 49ers. But he's had fewer than 170 passing yards in four consecutive games. More than 10 fantasy points just once in those games. He hasn't had a rushing touchdown this entire year. I don't like any of that. He certainly isn't the Superman we all expect him to be.
ImageSpeaking of Superman, John Cena is back in the mix. Just when I was starting to really enjoy RAW. At least Cena is in the world heavyweight mix, and not the WWE championship (yet). Because you know that is coming. Oh well. I will say I've stopped getting PPVs. I understand the WWE must still make money off the PPVs, but it's nothing more than a glorified RAW at this point. Why shell out the money for it, only to see decisions reversed the next day?
Daryl Richardson should be listed as a mild disappointment this year. He's had fewer than 10 fantasy points each week this season. And many liked him as a sleeper headed in to 2013, but it never translated.
Who is the best running back to ever wear No. 26? It's a cool number, and Clinton Portis is the only guy who jumps to mind for me. I had a Wendell Tyler card as a wee lad, but don't really remember him as a player. Sorry, that was too random, even for me.
Zac Stacy, I would like to introduce you to the buzzsaw that is the Houston Texans defense. This is going to be a rather angry bunch. I don't care what the FPA or other numbers say, this is a situation to avoid.
I'm still stunned Jared Cook leads the St. Louis FC in receiving yards. He was a guy I avoided like french fries in the offseason. Cook has been inconsistent his whole career. But Jeff Fisher loved him. Yes, the coach who hasn't had a winning season since 2008 loved him.
Fisher might have his eyes set on the USC job, too. Not that he's going to get it. Nor will Jack Del Rio. I don't think you should just assume anybody with USC connections is going to get the gig. This is a highly-sought position. My prediction is somebody who is good at coaching college football, and not somebody with "USC connections" is going to get the gig.
If I was going to choose the next USC coach, my first call would be to Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern. He's a young guy and has a proven record at a Big 10 school. Kevin Sumlin would be my second choice, but I'm not sure he's going to leave Texas A&M. And if he does, it might be for the NFL.
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 100,000 followers, and Fabiano has 100,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to. Also be sure to catch the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program."