What we are talking about:
A good idea right now
A pretty good start
Not my thing, but sure
The fan in me wants to see Josh McCown ride this string out. McCown has played so well in the past few weeks; he deserves a chance to see if he can lead his team to the playoffs. You could even reason the Bears would have beaten the Lions at home with McCown in for the entire game instead of an injured Cutler going up against one of the strongest defensive lines in the league.
I've never been one of those people who believe "you can't lose your job to injury." Why not? It's worked out for Tom Brady, wouldn't you say? Kurt Warner had a pretty nice career in the NFL after he replaced somebody because of an injury. You know the St. Louis FC wasn't going to install Trent Green as the quarterback again when he returned the following year. (Though it helps that St. Louis won the Super Bowl.) Or to take it one further, what about when Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Megan Fox in the "Transformers" movies?
I mean, Megan Fox (like Cutler) might seem like a good idea at first, but too often it's not worth headache. Ah, that might be too harsh. Cutler has played very well this season. And I wouldn't even be opposed to him returning to the team. But McCown has played well enough as the Bears quarterback to keep the job. Certainly, he doesn't have the upside Jay Cutler has. But his floor isn't as low, either. Which is good.
And I guess my fantasy perception might warp my real perception of the quarterbacks. I mean, I would have no problem playing McCown this week against the Browns. The matchup would be very favorable for McCown. But I'm just not sure I could rationalize playing Cutler just coming off an injury. There are just too many variables. Will he be rusty? Will he reinjure himself? I just can't take the risk. I would rather go with the sure-shot in this instance.
Who else do I like and dislike this week? Let's proceed in what our homepage editor Patrick Crawley called the best use of a soap box in world history. Or something like that.
And without further ado ...
Andrew Luck is going to be a bit of a tough one this week. He's burned you previously, but realize he's had seven touchdowns and no turnovers in three career meetings with Houston.
The great thing about Luck is the opportunities. He's rushed for at least 30 yards in four consecutive games, and has had at least 30 pass attempts in his last eight.
Jimmy Graham has also recorded fewer than 40 receiving yards in each of his last two career meetings against St. Louis.
The Patriots have scored at least one rushing touchdown in 10 consecutive meetings against the Dolphins. Shane Vereen has become a must-start in nearly all formats. The problem, you drafted him as a luxury, but you've got to play him.
Unless of course, your two starting running backs are LeSean Mccoy and Jamaal Charles. Actually, I would be rather impressed if those were your running backs.
Jamaal Charles has one touchdown in four games at Oakland. But he's had at least 100 scrimmage yards in two of his last three roadies. Charles had 128 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 6.
A.J. Green has had 29 targets in two career games at Pittsburgh. He's had at least 85 receiving yards in those two contests. He's also had a receiving touchdown in his last three against the Steelers.
Break up the Eagles! I was really impressed the way this team battled through the elements last week. Not bad for an alleged "gimmick" offense.
ImageBut speaking of breakups, please don't let The Shield break up so soon. I love this group. The tag division is the best it's been in the WWE for the longest time. A nod to HHH, who really wanted to improve it. The work has shown. I love stables and teams, let's keep the magic rolling. Especially with the top of the card being so horrible, at least let us have this, Trips.
Alshon Jeffery has the second-most receiving yards in the NFL since Week 4 (1,089), behind only Josh Gordon (1,254). Throw in Calvin Johnson and there are your top three receivers off the board next season.
Russell Wilson ranks behind just Dan Marino and Peyton Manning for most passing touchdowns by any player in his first two seasons in NFL history (49). He could tie Manning with three touchdowns against the Giants.
Big news this week, Russell Wilson was taken by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft in MLB. I don't know why, but this pleases me so much.
ImageSpeaking of baseball, I'm going to miss Mark Trumbo. Not because his name is cool to pronounce. It is! But I remember Trumbo playing for Villa Park High School when I was a young scribe at the Orange County Register. I covered the baseball draft and I was stunned when the Angels drafted him in the 20th round and wanted to convert him from pitcher to outfielder. I followed him through the minors when it looked like he wouldn't make it to the show, ever. And I was thrilled when he became a stud in the Home Run Derby in Kansas City. So I'm kind of bummed he's been traded by the Angels, but I understand the business of the sport and realize it was the right move. But don't be insulting and we're bummed as fans because he's got a cool last name. That's just ignorant.
Marshawn Lynch is tied for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL with 10, and fifth with 1,042 yards. Lynch is just the second player in Seahawks' history with 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in consecutive years.
Dez Bryant needs 92 yards to become the third player in Cowboys' club history with 1,000 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. Nope, Michael Irvin didn't do it. It was Terrell Owens and Bob Hayes.
Chris Johnson has rushed for 177 yards in the fourth quarter in six roadies this year, but has only six fourth quarter rushing yards in games at home.
Julian Edelman has scored at least 10 fantasy points in three consecutive games. He's had at least nine targets in those three games.
DeMarco Murray has been living right; the Bears on Monday night; and now the Packers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs over the last month. Just what are the Cowboys going to do near the red zone?
A.J. Green has a receiving touchdown in three of the last four games. He's had at least five receptions in the 18 consecutive roadies.
The Lions have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers this year, which should bode well for Torrey Smith. In fact, the Lions have allowed a league-high 17 touchdown receptions to receivers.
Coby Fleener has 42 targets in the last five games, which is tied for third among tight ends. He's had at least 50 receiving yards in three of the last four.
Ryan Tannehill has been one of the more consistent fantasy quarterbacks available. His fantasy points have increased in three consecutive weeks. The Patriots have allowed 12 touchdown passes in their last five.
The Redskins made the right call at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is a pretty decent play against the Falcons who have allowed the third-most points to quarterbacks. Look across the aisle for more on this.
It will be very telling about the future QB in Washington if the team plays its best football for Kirk Cousins. That would validate all the stories we've heard from D.C.
Roddy White has notched 70 receiving yards in back-to-back games. He's had 24 targets during those games and he's got a great matchup this week.
Roddy is going to be huge next year, too. He's going to slip down to you in the middle rounds and end up playing very well. Watch, the Falcons will be back in the playoff hunt next year.
Bobby Rainey has five total touchdowns in the last five games. He's also rushed for at least 60 yards in three of the last four games. Tough matchup, but Rainey is still a flex.
One of Rank's 11 this week is Cordarrelle Patterson. He's not a running back (I would link to the kid who pointed this out to me on Twitter, but his handle is profane. Let that be a lesson to you to not work blue on Twitter). But the point is, the Eagles have allowed the most points to receivers this year.
ImageIf you've noticed in my NFL Experts league, I've stuck with Sebastian Janikowski. I don't recommend this for everybody. But I'm struck by Reuben Tishkoff in Ocean's 13 who said, "The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself. I changed my house, the way I dressed, the way I ate, and for what? For nothing." And to be honest, if I didn't play Seabass and he ended up scoring 25 points, Matt Damon couldn't read enough letters to me while I laid comatose in my bed to get me to come around.
Alex Smith was fair to middling as a fantasy starter last week. But some might come out and say he was basically (expletive) and I don't dare disagree.
This is a tough matchup for Smith, too. Chiefs' quarterbacks have thrown a touchdown pass or less in six consecutive meetings. And one or less in 16 of the last 17.
Chiefs' quarterbacks have thrown eight total touchdown passes in the last 17 meetings. And they've topped 245 passing yards only once during that stretch.
ImageCongratulations to the Oakland Raiders who have notched their 11th consecutive losing season. In fact, the Raiders haven't had a winning season since Super Bowl XXXVII. One of the greatest days in world history.
Have you ever thought about how hard it is to be this bad for more than a decade? The NFL rules are pretty much dedicated to you getting to the playoffs at least once every 10 years.
Bengals' quarterbacks also have had less than 300 passing yards in 23 straight against their rivals from the AFC North.
The thing is Dalton has played well in stretches, but he was a guy a lot of fantasy enthusiasts relied on last year to really come through during the playoffs. And he was instead a huge disappointment. Like "Happy Fun Night" on ABC.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn't scored a touchdown in five visits to Pittsburgh. He's had more than 90 yards only once in his last seven meetings. But I hear he really like Primanti's.
Roethlisberger has thrown a touchdown pass or less in nine of his last 10 against the Bengals. He's had two touchdowns or less in 15 consecutive games and 18 of his last 19.
Antonio Brown has one touchdown in six career meetings, and fewer than 100 yards in each of his six career meetings.
We liked Joe Flacco last week, but he's on pace to have the least efficient season of his career. His 17 interceptions are already five more than he has thrown in any season, and his 77 passer rating would be the worst of his career.
Flacco struggled with the deep ball as he's thrown one touchdown and four picks on throws that have traveled at least 21 yards in the air. He has a passer rating of 53.3 to rank 38th on such throws. But dude was money when he needed to be last week.
ImageDid you know Stafford is 1-22 in his career against teams that finished the season with winning records? Of the Lions' remaining opponents, only the 7-6 Ravens have a winning record. I still play Stafford, but I don't like the Lions to win this game.
Eli Manning has thrown 20 interceptions this season, tied for the most in the NFL. But most by a guy who is supposed to be an elite quarterback.
Eli is tied with Geno Smith for the most interceptions thrown this season, putting him on pace to lead the NFL in interceptions thrown for the third time.
Good news for Eli, he's got the Seahawks this week who have 17 interceptions on the year. That's only the third-highest total. You can do it, Eli!
Tom Brady is a borderline QB1 for me this week. Brady has thrown more interceptions in his career vs. Miami (19) than any other team. Twelve of those interceptions have been thrown in Miami where Brady is 6-5 as a starter.
The one thing going for Brady is he's scored 20 fantasy points in three consecutive games. Sure, Gronk is out, but Brady did a ton of damage last week with the tight end already out of the game.
Wasn't Danny Amendola supposed to step-up for the Patriots? He's had more than 50 receiving yards in three of his last four roadies, but I have a hard time trusting him against the Dolphins. I'd go Edeltron.
ImageThe Packers have lost six consecutive games in Dallas. Brett Favre was the Packers quarterback in all six losses. Green Bay's last win in Dallas was Week 16, 1989 when Dan Majkowski out-dueled Troy Aikman. I bet Packers fans were all, "I'm so glad we didn't get the first pick in the draft. Tony Mandrich is going to lead us to Super Bowl wins! Oh, and we're glad we didn't get Barry Sanders, either."
All right, no Packers fan said that. Well maybe one or two, but that's about it.
How should we view Kapernick's stats? He has the second-fewest passing yards per game in the NFL (191.3), behind only Geno Smith, and the second-worst passer rating in the NFL for players with at least 50 attempts.
What's weird about Kaepernick is he has the third-highest passer rating on third down, as he trails just Brees and Peyton. That's pretty good company.
My conjecture is Kaepernick once again rises to the challenge in the playoffs this season. My only fear is the 49ers can't win in Seattle. Oh wait, I don't fear it at all because I grew up hating the 49ers. I can still hate them as a Bears fan, right?
Michael Crabtree has been second on the team with 108 receiving yards over the last two weeks. Don't consider this a good thing.
The 49ers are going to be one of those teams that does really well on the field, but it's going to be hard to translate that over to fantasy football points. And I don't like that at all. The Seahawks are close, but Marshawn Lynch makes it passable.
Pierre Thomas is second on the team with 64 receptions, but he has only one rushing touchdown this season on 128 attempts.
I'm going to say no to Jared Cook this week. The Saints allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. Cook has scored more than five fantasy points just once in his last four games.
ImageThe only thing more inevitable than a Jared Cook-led meltdown is HHH winning both straps this week on Tables, Ladders and Chairs. And at this point, why not? Seems like most of the Internet Wrestling Community has already resigned itself to this being the total outcome. Kind of like the way Cowboys fans have figured their team will never win a meaningful game in December or January.
ImageThe most likely outcome is John Cena being the corporate heel champion. Though, he doesn't really have to be a corporate heel. With Cena as the champion and Daniel Bryan winning the Royal Rumble, you have the perfect set-up for WrestleMania. This has been a multi-prong approach with Cena being kind of a heel on Total Divas. And really, he doesn't have to do too many "you people" promos, instead he can just be himself and still draw boos. Plus, the crowds already cheer Bryan anyway. There isn't a lot of work that needs to be done here.
The St. Louis FC currently holds Washington's first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft as the final compensation for Robert Griffin III. The pick is currently the No. 2 pick in the draft. St. Louis' current pick is No. 12. That's going to be great news for the future Los Angeles Rams.
BTW, make sure to make your voice heard for the Pro Football Hall of Fame right here. But as you're voting make sure you vote for everybody outside of Paul Tagliabue. He's the man responsible for the NFL void in Los Angeles and it should keep him out of the Hall. He doesn't deserve to wear the gold jacket. Ever.
I'm not sure I buy John Madden saying RGIII's benching ruins the integrity of the game. It's not like Cousins isn't a viable option at quarterback. Actually, it's kind of insulting to Cousins to say he's not capable of being a starter. Sure, I believe there are some deeper motivations for Mike Shanahan. For instance, maybe he's showcasing Cousins to the Texans brass who might bring both to Houston next year. But Shanny has ruined many fantasy enthusiasts' teams with his running back rotation. Why shouldn't he be allowed to do it with their QB, too? And really, do you think Cousins makes the team worse?
However, how long is Shanahan going to be lauded for his two Super Bowl wins without John Elway? He's had some success with Jake Plummer, but his pre- and post-Elway body of work isn't as impressive. I wouldn't want him if I was the Texans. You basically had the same guy with Gary Kubiak.
And since we're on the subject of the Broncos, thanks a lot for all of the Montee Ball (expletive). You really nuked my fantasy chances with that one. Just when we needed Moreno the most, this happened. You know what, I'm glad the Broncos lost.
No, it has nothing to do with Peyton Manning. Honestly, I don't enjoy it when Manning throws a crippling interception late in games. I've just come to expect it, that's all.
Again though, Manning wanted those who "wrote the narrative" to stick it "where the sun doesn't shine." But it's Manning who has written his own narrative.
ImageWanted to get this in, too. I've really enjoyed Yankees fans embracing a turncoat like Jacoby Ellsbury into the fold, while bashing Robinson Cano for selling out. Because only the New York Yankees are allowed to overpay for players, damn it! This is awesome.
Time for the Curtis Axel All-Stars: Andy Dalton, Knowshon Moreno (I cheated), Andre Brown, Demaryius Thomas (still cheating), Eric Decker (yep), Julius Thomas (I'm mailing it in now), Phil Dawson, Chicago Bears D.
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 200,000 followers, and Fabiano has 150,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. And if you follow him on Sundays, he'll quote "The Wolf" from "Pulp Fiction" and then it's game on! 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."