This week, Higher/Lower/Over/Under actually contains the numbers 369.64 and 10,000. One of the Desperate Housewives shows up, as does LaRod Stephens-Howling. Since he may never approach the relevancy level he was at during Week 7, let me say this: of the seven 'The Howling' movies (I know, you're saying 'They made SEVEN of them?'), III was the best one, because Jerboa was a robo-babe. I've had that opinion inside my head for 25 years and if I didn't say it now, I would never get another chance. I feel better. Onto the column.
0: How many Panthers running backs I'll start the rest of the season. Push. I know it seems like Jonathan Stewart is going to get a chance to be the number one guy, but is that really enough for you to put him in your lineup, even in a bye week? Forget DeAngelo Williams, he's being waived and not picked up in a lot of leagues. Here's my prediction for Stewart: he'll sit there, then have a week where he has a rushing TD and about 85 yards receiving. Owners will rush to pick him up, and then he'll disappear again. And Mike Tolbert? His ceiling is he can be the John Kuhn of Carolina.
5: The number of 20-point fantasy games from Josh Freeman the rest of the season. Over. It's graduation day. He's no longer a matchup-based starter, but a full-fledged week-in and week-out No. 1 quarterback for your fantasy team. Tampa Bay is Freeman-powered and he has two terrific wide receivers to spread the ball around to (now if only Vincent Jackson could run a little bit faster). He was big on my sleeper list this season and he's finally awoken. He has over 1,000 yards passing and seven touchdowns in the last three weeks. And how about his schedule the rest of the season? He has just two games remaining against top ten defenses against the pass. Get in while the getting's good on Freeman.
10: Pounds of Stickum Dez Bryant and Stephen Hill need to get from the Chargers. Over. As much Stickum as is humanly possible. Hill's drops are what has kept the Jets from first place in the AFC East (well, that and a generous New England clock operator), and it's also what's keeping him from being a weekly start for you in fantasy. He's big and fast and will get red zone targets - as long as he can hold onto the ball. At least he doesn't drop touchdowns like Bryant does. However Bryant makes up for it by doing it at the most inopportune time like at the end of games. Just when I thought he was going to become THE force in the Dallas passing game, he fell back to three receptions against a Panthers team that was missing half its defense. Bryant's still an enigma. He's a flex play but not much more until he can prove consistency.
75: How many Mark Sanchez/Eva Longoria jokes I'll get e-mailed to me this week. Over. I love how a rep for Sanchez said "It really was about scheduling more than anything else." What? Being 'busy' was always code for I have plenty of other things in my life I'd rather do than hang out with you. In fact there's a list of like 50 things. In fact, here's part of Sanchez's list: Watch Stephen Hill drop passes, read about Tebow, practice not fumbling when he gets sacked (on the field, not in his dating life), encase Dustin Keller in a plastic bubble so he stays healthy, read about Tebow. He's a busy dude.
195: Chris Johnson's rushing yards against Indianapolis Sunday. Under. But not by much. The Colts rush defense is almost every bit as bad as Buffalo's. He told me on NFL Fantasy Live this week when his team gets their blocks, they can do what they did in Orchard Park. That will happen again this week. But then things get interesting. He gets Chicago, Miami and Houston in three of the next four weeks. So don't expect 30-point games there. But here's why you hold onto him instead of selling him high. In the fantasy playoffs, his opponents are: Indianapolis, the Jets, Green Bay, and Jacksonville (if you go all 17 weeks). Shout-out to Adam Rank for bringing this up first this week. He's got a chance to be your playoff MVP. Keep him. (I mean CJ2K, not Rank. Unless he's given you really good advice. Then Rank will be your playoff MVP.)
369.34: How many fantasy points Robert Griffin III will be worth this season. Under. Yes, this is Cam Newton's total from 2011. Seven games into the season, RG III has 165.94 fantasy points, or an average of nearly 23.7 points per week. Parcel that out for 16 games and you get 379.2 - ten more than Newton had a year ago. So far he's keeping up with Newton's frenetic pace of a year ago. But that's the key - so far. Remember Newton slowed down towards the end of the season and so will RG3, it's just human nature for a rookie quarterback who has never seen the rigors of a 16-game NFL schedule. So when he does, he'll fall off Newton's pace. The remarkable thing is that he's doing it despite a pedestrian amount of touchdowns - 13 total in six games. This was Newton's forte: getting into the end zone. As good as Griffin is, not scoring as much will be what makes him fall short.
500: How many running back questions I'll get on Twitter involving either Rashad Jennings, Vick Ballard or LaRod Stephens-Howling. Over. It's pretty simple how this plays out. Play Rashad Jennings this week in your flex, he's going to get all the carries, which should be in the low 20s. Play Vick Ballard. I love how the Colts used him to run out the clock last week and he was near 100 yards for the game. He has a great matchup this week against the Titans, so yeah, flex him too. LSH (which is what I'm nicknaming Stephens-Howling now - patent pending) I leave on my bench. I know, you need to play a guy whose name is Howling when it's this close to Halloween. However the 49ers defense is Dr. Loomis, Heather Langenkamp and all the teen females who thwarted Jason Voorhees at the end of every 'Friday the 13th' movie rolled into one.
50,000: How many 'suggestions' will be in Cam Newton's inbox this week. Over. He's 13th in fantasy points for quarterbacks, averaging 17 points per game. And oh by the way, he's imploding with a lack of leadership as the Panthers falter. In almost every league I'm in, his owners are throwing him around as trade bait. Don't fall for it. This Panthers season has the ability to fall off the rails - I mean, they fired their GM after Week 7. As Carolina spirals downward, Newton will lose interest and continue to have critics both publicly and privately grow louder as his performances pale in comparison to last year. It's not all his fault, had the Panthers done anything to give him weapons for his sophomore season things could be different. But they didn't, so they're not. Stay away.