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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 ...

There has been no hotter quarterback over the last four weeks than Cam Newton. The only quarterback I would even consider over him at this point would be Aaron Rodgers.

Newton has the NFL's second-best passer rating since Week 11 (104.2), behind only Russell Wilson (113.7). Newton also has four rushing touchdowns since Week 11. Combined, he has accounted for 15 TDs in his last six games (11 passing, four rushing). He has thrown only one interception in that span.

Andrew Luck and RG3 will lead their respective teams to the playoffs. But Wilson has the chance to make a really big run through the postseason, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Seahawks in New Orleans this year.

Wilson has thrown eight touchdowns in the last four games, but his big three-rushing touchdown performance is what has propelled him.

Wilson isn't going to win rookie of the year, and nobody will touch Peyton Manning for MVP (it's true, as long as Manning plays he's going to automatically win the MVP award). But Wilson deserves a lot of consideration for both awards.

Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III are two of the NFL's three highest-rated passers since Week 9. Only Wilson has been better in that span.

I don't know if Romo will ever get respect from football enthusiasts, both in fantasy and reality. But if you've thought about it, Romo's season would be celebrated if he played for any other franchise. Well, maybe not the Jets. But still, it's kind of a bummer for him.

Romo has scored the fourth-most points in fantasy football over the past month, behind just Newton, Wilson and Adrian Peterson. That's pretty good company. If the Cowboys fail to reach the playoffs (which I believe they will), it certainly isn't his fault.

Tom Brady has an interesting history against the Dolphins. He had a monster game against them in Week 1 of the 2011 season. But the Dolphins have done a decent job against him in the past. But New England has something to play for this year, so he's still a safe option.

Eli Manning always seems to rise to the occasion when he is up against the ropes. Can he do it one more time? I wouldn't go against him. Manning has 18 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in his last eight games against the Eagles, who haven't been able to produce many turnovers this season.

The Giants will reach the postseason. It's working out a little too well for them. The Vikings will lose to the Packers. That's a given. The Bears will be upset by the Lions in Detroit. The Giants will beat the Eagles and then Washington brings it home when it defeats the Cowboys. That would likely set up the Giants vs. 49ers in the first round.

Peyton Manning in the playoffs with a running game and a defense could be a pretty scary option in the AFC. If you can keep the ball out of his hands and run the ball a ton, he might get that second Super Bowl trophy he desperately covets.

And it goes without saying, if Knowshon Moreno rushes for 248 yards in the Super Bowl with three touchdowns, Manning will still win the MVP award, right?

ImageManning makes me think of "South Park." I haven't watched a lot of TV this season. I've kept myself to "Homeland," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Dexter." First off, could "Dexter" have been more predictable? The end is mercifully near. But dang, "South Park." This is one of the most underappreciated shows ever. I watched like two hours of it after the Los Angeles Lakers lost on Wednesday and I laughed like I haven't laughed at a TV show in quite some time.

ImageA lot of shows like "Modern Family" get attention for being great comedies. And "Modern Family" is a good show. But "South Park" still brings it like no other. (And if you're wondering what episode it was, it was the Harley Davidson riders in South Park. So funny.)

ImageOne more TV note: "How I Met Your Mother" returns for another season because Jason Segel finally caved. Dude, can we just see the (expletive) mother already? And then let the show go off into syndicated heaven.

Adrian Peterson has a chance to eclipse Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. Peterson needs 208 rushing yards to break Dickerson's record. Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards in 1984. Peterson is averaging 155.4 rushing YPG in his last 9 games. Peterson needs 102 yards to become the seventh player in NFL history with 2,000 yards rushing in a season.

And it kind of pains me. On one hand, I don't care for Dickerson much in his post-L.A. Rams career because he's gone on record to say Los Angeles shouldn't have an NFL team. But it's about the last thing that remains to keep the Los Angeles Rams relevant still. It's our one lasting legacy in a way.

A kid on Twitter showed me the error of my ways. I've now said Adrian Peterson should be considered Superman, but Wolverine might be a more apt comparison. Fair point. But I read DC Comics, not Marvel. Or at least the Jack Kirby-created Marvel characters.

ImageI just finished Batman and Robin: Dark Knight vs. White Knight. Finally. I'm tempted to go with Batman and Robin Vol. 1 from the New 52, because it's regarded as issue No. 26 of the series. But Batman: The Court of Owls and Batman Earth One are both excellent, too, according to people who I trust. So you'll excuse me if I don't answer too many tweets this weekend.

Doug Martin is sixth in the NFL with 1,312 rushing yards. He has the second-most rushing yards ever by a Buccaneer in a single season.

Shonn Greene leads the Jets with 989 yards rushing (15th in NFL) and eight touchdowns. Greene is looking for back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons (1,054 yards in 2011). The Jets have rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of their last 10 games (4-6).

C.J. Spiller was spurned for the Pro Bowl, but he didn't get going until later in the season, when the Bills lost Fred Jackson. So it shouldn't be a surprise, but he's a must start against the Jets, who give up tons of fantasy points to running backs.

Ray Rice has scored at least one touchdown in each of his last four games vs. the Bengals, and has scored multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games against the Bengals. Even with the risk of being pulled in a meaningless game, he's worth it.

RB Matt Forte has four 100-yard games vs. the Lions (in nine games played). Forte had 22 rushes for 96 yards against the Lions in Week 7.

In Week 7, RB Mikel Leshoure had 12 rushes for 63 yards against the Bears. And he's had eight rushing TDs in his last eight games. I don't want to like him, but I bet he comes up with a big game.

DeAngelo Williams has five rushing touchdowns in his last five games against the Saints. He has three career 100-yard games against them.

LeSean McCoy has at least 100 rushing yards in three straight games against the Giants (and four of his last five games).

Chris Johnson had his career-high 228 rushing yards in Week 8, 2009 in a 30-13 win against the Jaguars. In nine career games against the Jaguars, Johnson has 792 yards (88.0 YPG) and three touchdowns.

Jamaal Charles has at least 100 rushing yards in back-to-back games against the Broncos (and in three of his last four). Charles had a career-high 259 yards rushing against the Broncos in 2010 and is coming off a 226-yard performance in Week 16. Charles has fallen short of 100 yards rushing in each of the previous two games following a 200-yd performance.

Charles and Peterson's seasons have been amazing. And neither guy plays with a credible passing threat, either. It's unbelievable.

Reggie Bush needs 40 rushing yards for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. I find that pretty unbelievable.

Darren McFadden had 15 rushes for 32 yards and a career-high 13 receptions for 86 yards in Week 1 against the Chargers.

Calvin Johnson needs 108 yards to become the first NFL player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season. In the Lions' 13-7 Week 7 loss to the Bears, Johnson had three receptions for 34 yards, his lowest yardage total of the season.

The pick after the Raiders might be the most coveted in the draft. The 4-11 Raiders, currently in the No.3 position in the 2013 NFL Draft, have missed on multiple top draft picks, a fact highlighted by the player selected with the next pick. Between 2004 and 2007, the "next" picks after the Raiders selection have been Larry Fitzgerald (2004), Aaron Rodgers (2005), Donte Whitner (2006) and Calvin Johnson (2007).

ImageWhen people wonder why the Lions have struggled this season, the key was when Mike Trout had his rightful MVP award taken away from him. And no, I'm not going to get over it any time soon.

Brandon Marshall is second in the NFL with 1,466 receiving yards. Marshall is the Bears' first 1,000-yard receiver since Marty Booker in 2002. It is his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard season, tied for the longest active streak in the NFL with Roddy White (2007-12).

Randy Moss has scored a touchdown in every career game against the Cardinals (five receiving touchdowns in five games played).

Wes Welker has three straight 100-yard receiving games vs. his former team. He has gone over 100 receiving yards six times against the Dolphins (in 10 career games).

Eric Decker has two 100-yard receiving games this season, three in his career. Decker leads the team with 11 receiving TDs. Demaryius Thomas has five receiving TDs in his last six games.

Quick, who leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns? Oh, good guess. It is James Jones (13). See, I wouldn't have gotten that.

Victor Cruz has had at least 100 receiving yards in three career games against the Eagles. Cruz had nine receptions for 109 yards, and a touchdown against the Eagles in Week 4.

Justin Blackmon has 58 receptions for 786 yards this season, both franchise rookie records. He has four receiving touchdowns, one behind club record holder Matt Jones (2005).

Dez Bryant had nine receptions for a career-high 224 yards and two touchdowns in Week 16. He has 10 receiving touchdowns in his last seven games (most in NFL in that span). Bryant has four multi-TD games this season, including three in his last five games. And yet he didn't make the Pro Bowl squad. Makes sense.

Jermaine Gresham has caught at least three passes in each of his last 27 games.

Niners LB Aldon Smith needs 3.5 sacks vs. the Cardinals to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5 (2001). The Cardinals have surrendered 56 sacks this season, nine more than any other team in the NFL.

J.J. Watt leads the NFL with 20.5 sacks this season. In Week 17 vs. the Colts, he needs 2.5 sacks to break Strahan's mark. In the Texans' Week 15 win vs. the Colts, Watt had three sacks.

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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