What we are talking about:
He's the one
Don't hurry back, bro
Is he the new Batman?
I mean, Wes Welker and I have been very happy together, but then something weird happened. I'm currently at 7-5 in my league of record (tied for third). The current setup is simple: Win and I'm in the playoffs. A loss, and I could end up needing some help.
My opponent this week is the guy who I dealt Newton to. And Newton is going up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Yeah, I probably should have thought this one through a little bit more.
I know it's crazy to think about, but I imagine Newton being some sort of vengeful fantasy quarterback like Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill" or something. Those fantasy gods sure do have a funny sense of humor.
So because of this, Newton is your No. 1 quarterback of the week.
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.
And without further ado ...
Robert Griffin III has eight touchdowns and only one interception in his last two games. He's looked amazing throwing the football. His running is just icing on the fantasy cake. This guy can carry you down the stretch in the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford has thrown for at least 315 passing yards in four of his last five home games. The Colts have given up a ton of yards, especially through the air, so you can start him with confidence. And to be honest, I don't give a (expletive) about his mechanics. Which Jim Schwartz says are fine, so that's all the assurance you need.
A team has scored more than 45 points in a game eight times this season. Four of those have been by the Patriots. Three of those four are on the road. Two of those are on the road within the division.
Andy Luck has had fewer than 14 fantasy points in back-to-back games and his fantasy points have decreased in three consecutive games. But look for a bounce back here. Luck has the most passing yards for a rookie through his team's first 11 games since 1960. He has five 300-yard games this season (breaking Peyton Manning's previous rookie record of four).
Colin Kaepernick is the 49ers' starter and he's got a good matchup this week against the Rams. Kaepernick has at least 17 fantasy points in three consecutive games. Do I risk him in my league of record over Luck? Well, the Colts rookie is my guy right now. And as you know (if you didn't skip above), I need a win. Keep checking, I might go the other way.
My take on the Kaepernick deal is this: The 49ers went from a game manager to a playmaker. Maybe I should take this advice with my fantasy team.
ImageI've slacked on comic books recently. But with Christmas upcoming, I figure I'm going to be inundated with books. Mainly, it's an easy (and cheap) gift. So I looked at some of the things I haven't gotten to and picked up "Superman: Red Son." It's a look at Superman and how things had been different if he landed in Russia instead of America. Even if you don't like Superman, you'll like this book. And even if you're not a big comic book guy (or Comic Book Guy), you'll like this.
C.J. Spiller has 1,162 yards from scrimmage this season (seventh in NFL). It is the first time he has gone over 1,000 scrimmage yards in his career. Spiller has at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his last six games.
Marshawn Lynch is third in the NFL with 1,051 rushing yards. It is his fourth 1,000-yard season in his six-year career.
Stevan Ridley has scored a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. He's currently seventh in rushing yards, and his eight touchdowns are tied for third in the NFL behind just Arian Foster (12) and Doug Martin (9). Ridley would be the fourth different rusher to go for 1,000 yards under Bill Belichick.
DeAngelo Williams might have less rushing yards than Cam Newton and RG3, but he could be a big stud for you this week against the Chiefs, especially if his counterpart can't go. This would be a great chance for Williams to showcase himself for the free-agent market next year, because there's no way he can come back with that contract.
Don't worry about Kaepernick and a potential negative impact on Frank Gore. If anything, I expect Gore to be much better with another potential playmaker in the backfield. Just look at the two touchdowns he scored last week.
This is where you really have to show your trust in Chris Johnson. But I just can't sit him. Even against the Texans. If the playoffs are on the line, you've made your bed, so go sleep on the couch. Oh wait, is that not how the expression goes? I feel like Charlie Hunnam trying to hide his English accent.
I feel like my relationship with Johnson this year is a lot like my viewing patterns with "Sons of Anarchy" this season. I feel like I'm doing it mostly out of habit, and the notion I've already invested so much waiting for the payoff.
Doug Martin has nine touchdowns in his last six games (eight rushing, one receiving). In Week 12, he became the 1st Buccaneer with 1,000-plus rushing yards and 9-plus rushing TDs in a season since Errict Rhett in 1995.
ImageI got asked a question on Twitter which asked if Martin should be benched because of his matchup. I wish, as NFL Fantasy Live President, I could revoke somebody's Martin privileges. That would be awesome.
Steven Jackson has run real well since he's been given free-agency status for next season. He's going through a Torii Hunter-like run to end the season. Well, the bad news is for the team that foolishly gives him a ton of dough next year. But he's all right for your fantasy team. And yes, I get it. It's the 49ers. He's burned them before.
Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,236 rushing yards. Peterson has rushed for a TD in seven of his last eight games against the Packers. Peterson has rushed for at least 100 yards in five consecutive games to tie a record held by Robert Smith. You might remember Smith as the guy who shocked the world when he retired at a young age.
BTW, if there's a better choice than Dave Dameshek to take over for Huell, I would like to hear it. I mean, both use the word "gang busters" repeatedly. Let's make this happen.
Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with 1,257 receiving yards. He is on pace for 1,828 receiving yards this season, which would be the second-best receiving season of all time, behind only Jerry Rice (1,848 yards in 1995).
Justin Blackmon has 12 receptions for 298 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. In the last two weeks, he has the second-most receiving yards in the NFL (Andre Johnson, 461). Blackmon leads all rookies in receiving yards. Yes, even more than T.Y. Hilton and Josh Gordon. Hilton and Gordon, of course, are members of Rank's 11 this week.
T.Y. Hilton leads all rookies in receiving touchdowns (5) and is third among rookies in receiving yards (488). Hilton has four TDs in his last two games (three receptions, one punt return). Hilton has three 100-yard games this season (most among rookies).
Cecil Shorts has had at least 100 receiving yards in three of his last five games. He has had a receiving TD in three consecutive games. His 747 receiving yards and six TDs are both team highs. Shorts has three TD receptions of at least 50 yards this season (Jaguars single-season record, tied for most in NFL this season with A.J. Green).
Michael Crabtree has four receiving touchdowns in his last four games. Crabtree has six touchdowns in six career games against St. Louis, including at least one in his last five games.
Stevie Johnson had his first 100-yard receiving game last week, his first since Week 14 of 2011. That might give you pause this week, but consider how he went out to defend his quarterback when he said he should be able to audible more. I look for Fitz to target Johnson a lot.
Reggie Wayne has at least 70 receiving yards in every game this season. He is the first player in the NFL since 1960 to have at least 70 receiving yards in the first 11 games of a season. The last player to have at least 70 receiving yards in 11 straight games within a season was Larry Fitzgerald in 2007.
Demaryius Thomas is sixth in the NFL with 1,015 receiving yards, his first 1,000-yard season. He's had touchdowns in back-to-back games, and he's never had three consecutive games with a touchdown. This is a great chance for him to change that.
Eric Decker has eight receiving TDs this season, tied for third in the NFL. He's been double-covered a lot recently, but the Bucs secondary is suspect and Decker has four touchdowns in his last three home games.
ImageSpeaking of Robin, Joe Gordon-Levitt has been rumored to play Batman in the new Justice League movie. The next movie in the Batman series should be based on Batman Inc. with Gordon-Levitt as Dick Grayson's Batman (like from Batman R.I.P. and the Grant Morrison Batman & Robin) trying to find the original Batman. But since you killed off Talia al Ghul, you kind of ruined any chance for Damian Wayne to be the new Robin.
And honestly, I believe Belichick derives some pleasure when his players goose their former teams. I like Welker a lot this week.
And seriously, Rex Ryan, your team was getting killed. Nobody would have cared if you would have declined the penalty which let Hernandez's touchdown stand. You could have easily said you were so frustrated with your team's performance, you didn't want the refs to bail you out. Yes, I know there is like 100 percent chance of that never happening, ever. Please, don't tweet me about it. I was (expletive) kidding. I can daydream, right?
And if you don't want to start Larry Fitzgerald this week, I don't blame you. He's been horrible. But I'd rather go down because Fitzgerald let me down again, instead of the alternative of Fitz being on your bench when he rebounded for 20 fantasy points.
Brandon Marshall has 1,017 of the Bears 2,203 receiving yards this season (46.2 pct). Marshall, who previously had three 1,000-yard seasons with Denver and two with Miami, is the fifth player in NFL history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season with three different teams. The other four to accomplish the feat are Irving Fryar, Tony Martin, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
Eli has fewer than 12 fantasy points in three consecutive road games. He's had just one total touchdown pass in his last three road games.
Joe Flacco has been good at home this year. But realize the Steelers have allowed the second-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this year. In fact, the Steelers have allowed one total touchdown pass in the last four games. And if you need even more, the Steelers have allowed fewer than 180 passing yards in six consecutive games.
And what the (expletive) did the San Diego Chargers do on that fourth-and-29? For starters, I'm so glad we have the real referees back because they totally nailed the spot (not really). I know you can't directly blame that on Norv Turner, but tell me, did it surprise you it happened to a Norv-coached team? Would you expect it to happen to the 49ers, Patriots or Texans? No, it happened to the Chargers.
If you thought it was brutal play, did you see what Wyoming did to San Diego State at the end of their first half in Laramie last week? BTW, nice try Mountain West to try to wreck SDSU's season with this brutal schedule. The Aztecs still took the conference.
Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a 7-year, $62.2 million contract prior to Week 8 last season. He had 12 touchdowns and six interceptions when he inked the deal. He has 30 touchdowns and 28 picks since he signed the contract. His completion percentage and yards per game have also dropped. The biggest dip was in his passer rating which went from 95.3 to 77.4. Money well spent, Bills.
Christian Ponder has struggled with the deep ball this season. Ponder has 13 TD passes this season, none of which have been longer than 20 yards. And his passer rating is the worst on throws of at least 21 yards.
Marino had 20 touchdown passes and just six interceptions his rookie season, but he started just nine games. Can you identify the other two quarterbacks who started games or the Dolphins that season? Tweet it to me for your chance to win nothing but my approval.
Chad Henne is a nice sleeper this week, as he's scored more than 16 fantasy points in back-to-back games. But he's a sleeper. He's not somebody you start over one of your studs.
Russell Wilson has also been a much different player on the road. Wilson is the only QB to start all his team's games this season and not throw an interception at home. But Wilson is 1-5 on the road, and he's thrown six touchdown passes with eight interceptions. His home passer rating is 122.0 compard to 75.5 on the road.
Reggie Bush rushed for 87 yards last week against Seattle (of all teams), the first time he has had more than 60 rushing yards since Week 4 at Arizona (67 yards). But credit to the 80 percent of you who aren't paying attention to your leagues and kept him in there.
The Patriots have been relatively good against the run, so it's going to keep me from going all-in on Bush this week. I had him and Darren Sproles in my League of Record. How'd that work out for me? No, seriously. I'm asking because I turn this in right at kickoff of the Thursday night game. How do you not get this already?
Coach Belichick was very complimentary this week about Bush, so it leads me to believe the Patriots are going to gear up to shut him down. Bush did play well against the Patriots last year when he was on a tear. But it's Bush, and I've been burned by him before. I might have to play him at the flex spot if Percy Harvin isn't ready to go.
I think it goes without saying I will be out of the Reggie Bush business next year. I can't do this to myself again.
It's hard to find a true No. 1 running back, especially this late in the season. But forgive me if I don't rush out and pick up Rashad Jennings. You can still see the singe marks on my roster from the last time he burned me. I learn from my mistakes. It's not like I'm A.J. Smith or something.
The Jaguars have three rush TDs this season (T-29th). Twenty-six NFL players have more than three rushing TDs this season.
I really wanted to sneak Michael Bush into one of my lineups this week. Who knows, I still might. Bush would have been a decent play this week, despite a tough matchup. Now, I can't risk the playoffs on a guy who still might split carries. I've long gotten the sense Matt Forte doesn't care for his time share.
Forte was a little defensive about it when he joined the Dave Dameshek Football Program (available on iTunes) earlier this season. My guess is Forte really pushes himself this week and is ready to go for Sunday.
And as always, take the Steelers starting gig with a grain of salt. I mean, Mike Wallace is a co-starter for crying out loud. But you know once Jonathan Dwyer fumbles, he'll be benched for Isaac Redman until he fumbles, followed by Rashard Mendenhall. Mike Tomlin is getting into Mike Shanahan territory.
I do like the Ravens and Steelers rivalry. But the whole "egging the bus" incident in Atlanta seemed a little forced to me. Like are we supposed to believe these two fan bases really hate each other? I would imagine most football fans in Atlanta care more about Georgia vs. Alabama in the SEC title game.
ImageIf this was a sincere act by some workers at Atlanta's airport, it's kind of cool that they would care this much to go through with it. There is something flattering about it. I like fan outrage. When the Boston fans chanted "Beat L.A." in the final moments of a Game 4 sweep to the hated 76ers at the Boston Garden in 1983, it gave me goose pimples. And when you think of some of the unruly fan violence that goes on in stadiums across the world, egging a bus is kind of low on the outrage scale.
BTW, this all reads like a pro wrestling angle. Like I expect the security footage of the egg tossers to show a 5-foot-10 guy with a striking birthmark on his face and a beautiful throwing motion being the main culprit.
ImageSpeaking of rivalries, I dread the moment John Cena realizes how popular Dean Ambrose is on the internet. Because when that happens, Cena is going to defeat Ambrose and The Shield in a three-on-one match in about 14 seconds on RAW and kill any momentum these guys have. So maybe we should suppress our feelings for Ambrose.
ImageAnd seriously, The Shield? Well, if you switch the Prime Time Players to The Money Train, you have a natural rivalry. I will be really impressed by those who were able to follow along with that one. But seriously, The Shield? Like the concept (yeah, it makes sense in wrestling logic), but I can't get behind the name.
And what kind of crazy world do I live in when Wells is considered a safe start, and everybody wants to bench Fitzgerald. I feel like Jacobim Mugatu and I'm on crazy pills. What, I can't quote "Zoolander" all of a sudden?
I'm going to wait at least a week to see if Greg Jennings is completely back. Why jump back into this thing with him? The only Packers receiver, to me, this really hurts is James Jones, who is third in the NFL with eight touchdown receptions. Jones had no targets last week against the Giants. None. And if his slide had already begun, then it would be time to move on.
Of course, watch this be the week Jones has a pair of touchdowns just because it's so hard to keep up with the Packers receiver of the moment. But still, I wouldn't want to play hunches with the playoffs on the line.
The Chiefs have lost eight consecutive games, longest current streak in the league. What's worse, the Chiefs are 0-6 at home and have been outscored 157-81 in those games. But The Chiefs play three 3-8 teams, the Panthers, Browns and Raiders. So clearly, the Chiefs control their own destiny for the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Vincent Jackson's history against the Broncos is pretty poor. If you want to go off straight numbers, then you might want to sit Jackson. He's had just one touchdown in eight consecutive games. His last three games were especially brutal. This might be a chance for Mike Williams to get some opportunities. I would rather player the latter if I had to choose one.
Of course, if you want to go down with your studs, it's understandable. Jackson has carried you a lot this season. But this time it might be too much. Especially if you only start two receivers. It's case-by-case for me.
Mohammed Sanu has scored four touchdowns in the past three games. He's become a big part of the lineup in recent weeks, and part of it is he can be put into different spots on the field. But he does his best work near the red zone. The majority of his targets come inside the 15-yard line.
But don't forget, Sanu is still Robin in the Bengals lineup. So he's a nice option if you're really hurting for a receiver. He's even one of Rank's 11. But don't get crazy. He's not like Cobb (as mentioned earlier).
ImageI haven't seen any of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. But the ending (from what I've pieced together) sounds stupid. Bruce Wayne just goes off to France? WTS? And Gordon-Levitt's character is not named Dick Grayson? Why do they have to dumb it down so much? This makes me not want to see the movies. I hate to be this guy, but seriously. Have a little respect for the books.
ImageAnd please find somebody new to play the Green Lantern. Just like they did with the Hulk movies, they really should try to reboot this franchise. Check out Green Lantern's secret origins and there's your first movie.
Here is how I handle the Kyle Rudolph situation. If Harvin plays, then I bench Rudolph. But I would certainly start him if Harvin is held out for another week. Rudolph has had 12 receptions and a pair of touchdowns in the two games Harvin has missed. He didn't have a touchdown in the three previous weeks.
Seattle's Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman have reportedly been suspended four games each for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Both players are expected to be available this Sunday as they await their appeal. Still, I'm concerned enough about Seattle's D to leave it on the bench for Cleveland in my league of record.
ImageWe need to cut the (expletive) with stat corrections. Yes, games should be accurate and all points should be accounted for. I get that. Believe me, I really, really do. Stat corrections should be added to the point total (especially since some tie breakers come down to total points). But do you know how terrible it is to win a fantasy game by less than a point and not be able to celebrate for a week because a stat correction could ruin anything? When the games are over Tuesday, they should be done.
ImageI mention this because I'm still sweating out a win in my league of record, where I held on by less than a point because Jeremy Maclin couldn't get it done on Sunday night. Also because Rodgers was benched mercifully against the Giants. I've had to make sure not to talk (expletive) because a stat correction could appear. But I should be able to because the guy's team name is "Shek to the Future is lame."
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."