What we are talking about:
A good idea right now
Not so sure
Most of my fantasy philosophy has been to play my studs no matter what the detriment. I've always had an irrational loyalty to athletes going back to the time I refused to trade away any of my Darin Erstad baseball cards because he was my favorite player. I don't care how many Ken Griffery Jr. Upper Deck rookie cards you offered me, I certainly wasn't going to budge.
So it should come as no surprise my fantasy teams are run the same way. Hell, I don't want to drop Jordan Cameron from my roster because I felt he's been loyal to El Presidente all year, and he deserves a chance to be on the bench during the championship game. And funny thing, too. I kind of figure Jordan would like this, but only because we bonded over the movie "Adventureland" recently.
The point is, I have stupid loyalties and it certainly can cost me. But I'm really stuck here in a position with Tony Romo. I'm not really that loyal to him. And he hasn't been that great to me in recent weeks. Yet, I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on starting Kirk Cousins over him. I mean, both have terrific matchups so it's kind of akin to having to choose between Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone. It seems like it's a win-win. But it's almost too close to call here. Even Matthew Berry has the guys ranked 14-15, so I can't even rely on my go-to. And I've bugged Kay Adams way too much.
I feel like I'm going to eventually go with Cousins. The Redskins have more incentive to have Cousins throw the ball. They need him to raise his value. He's not going to do it by handing the ball off to Freddy Morris 60 times. (Which reminds me, start Freddy.)
The Cowboys have been brutalized this week for not running the ball enough. That smacks of an over-correction. DeMarco Murray could end up with 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Or at least getting those touchdowns when the team gets near the red zone. Plus, if you look at Romo's history in Washington D.C., it hasn't been good. He hasn't thrown for more than 295 yards in any start in Washington.
I would imagine that I would start Cousins when push comes to shove on Sunday. The matchup and the history doesn't work in Romo's favor. I looked at his numbers the week after he blew the game against the Broncos, and he threw for 170 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Against (wait for it) the Redskins. I don't want history to repeat itself.
Oh, and does anybody want some Darin Erstad cards? I might be willing to part with a few (but probably not).
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 ...
The Cowboys have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, and are second in the league with 30 touchdown passes allowed. The Cowboys have allowed eight touchdown passes in the last two games. This is just me talking myself into Kirk Cousins.
Jamaal Charles has scored at least 18 fantasy points in four consecutive games. He's had 10 total touchdowns in his last four. Wait, if you remove the five that would be five in his last three. That's still great.
Nick Foles has scored at least 19 fantasy points in six consecutive games. He's had 26 total touchdowns and three turnovers this year. He's had less than 19 fantasy points only once.
Keenan Allen has the most fantasy points among rookie receivers this year. We compared him to a young Anquan Boldin this year. Allen might not have 100 receptions, but he's closing in on 1,000 receiving yards.
Zac Stacy has six rushing touchdowns in the last six games, and has averaged more than 100 scrimmage yards in the last seven. Tough matchup, sure, but you have to play this guy.
Eric Decker has five touchdowns in his last three games. He's had at least 115 receiving yards in two of his last three games. He's still fine to start.
Jimmy Graham has eight touchdowns in his last seven games. I don't care how bad the matchup is, I'm not going to do something like put Zach Miller in there. Graham has a touchdown in four consecutive games against the Panthers.
Drew Brees might seem like a bad matchup, but he's had at least 300 passing yards in five consecutive meetings. He's had four touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Brees is clearly different on the road, but he's had at least 40 passing attempts in three consecutive road meetings at Carolina.
Steve Smith has a receiving touchdown in four of the last seven home meetings. And he's had at least 75 receiving yards in three of the last four home meetings.
Chris Johnson has scored a touchdown in three straight meetings against the Jags. However, he's had 100 scrimmage yards once in the last six meetings.
Even if the Cowboys do throw the ball a lot, I expect Dez Bryant to have a decent game. He's had at least 75 scrimmage yards in six career meetings, but he hasn't scored a touchdown in back-to-back games against D.C.
Pierre Garcon had a season-high 15 targets against Dallas in Week 6. But he's still struggled in the yardage department. Still, I like Cousins a lot this week.
Fred Jackson has played well against the Dolphins in the past. He had 85 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins in Week 7. And the Dolphins have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in three of the last four to the Bills.
Eddie Lacy has at least 80 scrimmage yards in six consecutive home games. He's had six rushing touchdowns in the last eight weeks, tops in the NFL.
Josh Gordon has scored the most fantasy points among receivers over the last four weeks. He's had at least 12 fantasy points in five consecutive games.
St. Louis FC is a nice option, too, as the Bucs have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to defenses over the last month. And if you don't trust the Lions, well, I don't blame you.
Alshon Jeffery has averaged 14.3 yards per touch this season, which is the most in the NFL. He's also had at least 60 receiving yards in seven of the last eight games.
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.
Let's get into the straight dope. Tony Romo has thrown for less than 295 yards in seven career starts in Washington. He's had six touchdowns and six interceptions in his last three meetings.
We've bashed Tony Romo enough this week. The matchup is great. It really is. If you're forced to start him, you could do worse. Not much worse, but worse.
Of course, Romo was an undrafted free agent, so he should be held to a higher standard than Manning and Stafford, who were both No. 1 overall draft picks. So it makes complete and total sense.
And don't take this as an endorsement of Romo. I just want the blame to be spread around evenly. If you want to bash Romo (and I do), make sure you reach out to everybody.
Manning has been such a turnover machine, so of course I'm going to play Detroit this week in fantasy football. So of course this will probably be the week he gets his (expletive) together and has a fantastic day. It's what Eli does, right?
ImageBut what do the Giants do about Eli? They have a decision to make. Eli isn't old; he'll turn 33 in January. Which is springtime for a lot of NFL quarterbacks. Or more like early fall. But the Giants would do well to at least get somebody into their system. At some point, they have to give Ryan Nassib a chance. At least to see what they have.
If the Redskins can sit down RGIII to give Cousins a chance to shine, why shouldn't the Giants at least give Nassib one start to get some work in? The Redskins and Giants game will be near meaningless next week, why not go Cousins vs. Nassib? Just like they drew it up in the preseason.
There is a lot of hand-wringing going on about Chicago probably benching its players in one of the crazy playoff scenarios. One of those scenarios includes the Giants beating the Lions. Even in the world of improbable upsets, I have a hard time getting behind that one.
Well, we've put together an impressive string of quarterbacks drafted really high who have disappointed this year, the next stop is Matt Ryan.
Terrible matchup for Ryan, as the 49ers have allowed the second-fewest points to quarterbacks over the last month. In fact, they've allowed more than two touchdown passes only once in the last six home games.
Ryan has scored more than 15 fantasy points once in their last eight games. He's topped 300 passing yards only once in his last seven games.
But here is something to think about, Ryan will likely be a great draft bargain for fantasy enthusiasts next season. He's going to tumble in drafts. He won't even be drafted as a No. 1 guy. Ryan will be drafted super late in drafts and he's going to end up with a fantastic year. You see this all the time. Teams that are preseason darlings and fail, end up becoming super teams the following year.
The same won't be said about the Houston Texans. That team has some work to do. Especially at quarterback. The defense could be really good if they select Anthony Barr (who is better than Jadeveon Clowney), but the offense will continue to struggle. The same can't be said about the Falcons, who will be back to being great on offense again when their guys are all healed up.
But I will forever have a lot of love for Jackson who had a great game against the Washington Redskins when I needed him the most. Thank you, Steven. I might even pick you up as a flex guy next year.
Ryan Tannehill has scored at least 18 fantasy points in four consecutive games. His fantasy points have increased in three consecutive games. But his matchup against the Bills is somewhat tough. He's a lower-end option.
In three games against the Bills, Tannehill has fewer than 195 passing yards in each of those. Man, I would love to play him, but the matchup just says no.
Mike Wallace could be an interesting play. He had five receptions for 76 yards in Week 7 against the Bills. He's had no touchdowns in two career meetings. Brian Hartline has had fewer than 70 yards in each of his career eight meetings.
Spiller has no touchdowns in six of his seven career meetings with the Dolphins, though he has done pretty well yardage-wise. Except, of course, for those seven yards in the last matchup.
Larry Fitzgerald has never missed a division-round game and he's not about to start right now! I like the spirit, Fitz. I really do. But guess what, you were on my bench last week and you will continue to be on my bench this week.
Doug Baldwin has been doing well in recent weeks. But he hasn't scored a touchdown in five career meetings against the Cardinals. He's had 40 yards or less in those games. Golden Tate hasn't scored a touchdown in five career games, either.
Rashard Mendenhall has a rushing touchdown in four of his last five games, and he's scored at least 10 fantasy points in three of his last four. There is no way I will start him.
Carson Palmer has done a great job of protecting the football lately, after he struggled mightily with it earlier in the year. Not a chance he plays this week. Not a chance!
Alex Smith is an interesting play this week. If only because he's going against me in the Experts League. Smith has been one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in recent weeks. He's been fantastic. But how much of his success last week was all Charles?
Jonathan Stewart has had fewer than 90 scrimmage yards in six consecutive road meetings, though he's scored a touchdown in three of five career home meetings.
Joe Flacco has done well historically against the New England Patriots, with seven touchdowns and just two interceptions in three career meetings. But I'm not bold enough to start him. Flacco seems like one of those guys who will end up (expletive) you when you count on him the most.
Ray Rice has scored one touchdown in his last nine games. He currently ranks 46th in the NFL in rushing yards. And yet, I have to start him in a league and I clearly don't like that.
Rice is one of my running backs in a keeper league. I really don't want to hold on to him, but it's a near-dynasty league so we keep a ton of guys. I'm going to have Gordon and Moreno eventually take his spot, so it might be easy to let Rice go.
ImageThose spots are tough to let go of, just ask John Cena. And since we're here, let's talk a little bit about my hero. I don't get the whole, Cena needs to defend his buddy Daniel Bryan. Why does Cena always need to throw his nose into everything that's hot in the WWE? Well, I guess I answered my own question. And Cena himself answered it during "Total Divas" during the finale. He said he lives a selfish lifestyle, so of course he would move quickly to jump on the Daniel Bryan bandwagon, similarly to the way he dove head-first into the CM Punk storyline.
ImageAnd while I'm talking about "Total Divas" it should be noted I actually felt sorry for Cena during the finale. Look, he was completely upfront with Nikki Bella with what he expected out of their relationship. He's really done nothing wrong. Although, I would like to believe when Cena talked poorly about the children of professional athletes, he was talking about Curtis Axel.
And is the time we talk about Andrew Luck. One of my biggest accomplishments is to be spot-on with Andy Luck. I have him in a league with Brady and I've masterfully maneuvered between the two, and you know how much I like Brady.
So, do you want some real talk about Luck? Because this one is going to be a tough one. I might even ask you to sit down for a moment because this is really going to be tough.
Luck has less than 200 passing yards in three of his last four. He's had more than 275 passing yards only once in his last nine road games. It gets worse in December. The Chiefs have allowed more than 240 passing yards only once in their last 11 home games in December. Does this sound like you could start Luck?
Mike Silver wrote an excellent piece about the final days of Candlestick Park, you can check it out here. I know it seems irrational, but I will kind of miss Candlestick. But as I mentioned in the opener (and I hope you read it), I have irrational loyalty to stuff.
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."