What we are talking about:
He's the one
Him and Mike Brown can hang
Gone, but not forgotten
I made a mistake in our NFL AM League when I auto-picked Cam (while I looked for Darren McFadden). So actually, that wasn't too bad. I have RG3 in that league (though I'm glad Michael Fabiano turned down my offer of RG3 for Jimmy Graham. Fabs eventually traded Graham for Victory Cruz), so I was cool. I eventually moved Cam in that league to Fabs for Wes Welker and Joe Flacco. Not a bad move, and it sure did pay off during RG3's bye week.
But in my League of Record, with my chums from Corona, Calif, I also picked Newton, which is completely inexplicable considering we didn't have a time limit. Newton had ruined my fantasy roster for most of the year, although I did have Andy Luck. But I always had the great debate about who to play each week.
I had actually leaned towards Newton this week, but when Ben Roethlisberger went down, I saw a chance to pounce. I moved Newton to Doc Z's team (who just lost Roethlisberger) for, coincidentally, Wes Welker straight up. So the breakup was finally complete. I never have to worry about whether to play Cam ever again.
At least until next year when I know I will end up with him again. Just like these Hollywood romances, we won't be able to stay away from each other.
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, the third highest-scoring quarterback this year, has scored less than 11 fantasy points only once this season. There's a concern he could have a Cam Newton-like decline, and maybe the slide has started, but he gets another week from me. Plus if the Eagles quit, this would be a great week to jump in. But watch; this will be the week the Eagles put it all together.
RG3 said the playoffs were a realistic goal for the Redskins this year. Uh, he might want to check with his coach. Mike Shanahan wanted to mail it in a few weeks ago. Man, Shanahan must have been red in the face when he heard that. I do like the Redskins to beat the Eagles and push them into the downward spiral.
Andrew Luck has scored at least 16 points in four consecutive games. Luck has started to accumulate rushing touchdowns, too. As I preached after the draft, Luck is as athletic as Cam Newton and nine rushing touchdowns was a reasonable goal for this year. Luck has four rush TDs in his last four games. The New England Patriots have allowed the sixth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks. Yes, he's played poorly on the road at points, but let's not ignore the Patriots are mere reputation on defense.
ImageI have tried to decide if my biggest surprise of 2012 is Palmer doing so well in fantasy football or The Miz's face turn. Or is this one of those instances where we are swerved a face turn and the Miz costs his team the victory? Hmm, now I have started to doubt Palmer this week, too (I'm kidding). But remember, my fantasy booking is always miles ahead of WWE booking.
See, I'm glad Red Dalton is now here to stay. What a disgrace for NBC to try to wedge the "Red Rifle" nickname down our throats a few weeks ago. Isn't there enough violence in the world? If the Washington NBA team couldn't be the Bullets, Red Dalton is just fine.
Cam Newton has reached at least 12 points in four consecutive games. The matchup is good. The Bucs have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Newton is good against them historically. Newton has five pass touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns in three career meetings with the Bucs.
I might not play St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford this week, especially since he's struggled at home. Bradford has fewer than 13 fantasy points in four consecutive home games and multiple touchdown passes in a game, just twice in his last 12 home dates. Even with a great matchup against the New York Jets, he's not great. But watch him this week. His fantasy playoff schedule is at Buffalo, vs. Minnesota and at Tampa Bay. I've picked him up to back up Luck in my LOR. Luck is going to play the Houston Texans in Week 15, so Bradford might be my guy.
Here are the quarterbacks with the easiest schedules down the stretch according to fantasy points per game allowed: Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Carson Palmer, QB Eagles. And no, I don't mean the old Tecmo Super Bowl, which featured QB Eagles, although he was very good. Luck is going to play Houston in Week 15, so Bradford might be my guy.
Tampa Bay's Doug Martin has the third-most fantasy points now, and he's scored at least 11 fantasy points in five consecutive games. He's scored seven touchdowns in his last four games.
ImageSpeaking of coaching changes, this is what I've been waiting for and that's Mike D'Antoni to coach the Lakers. In fact, I've written about this in great detail. Yes, I love Phil Jackson. But how much does he care at age 67? Once he caught up to Red, I believe he lost a little bit of focus. I know, 11 rings. But I also remember the horrible 2011 season when the players tuned him out. D'Antoni is the best possible answer. But Lakers fans are never happy, so I expect this. Even Magic Johnson hated the move. Yes, Magic is talking about coaching. What's next, is he going to give a criticism to a talk show host?
Sorry Magic, I hate to do that. I loved the Magic Hour, actually. But you're the Dodgers owner now so I figure I have to.
Part of me feels like Jackson asked for "the moon" so the Lakers would turn him down and he wouldn't tarnish his legacy with a return to the bench. Do we need to be reminded of Jimmy Johnson in Miami or Joe Gibbs with the Redskins? You could counter with Dick Vermeil in St. Louis, but I will raise you a Dick Vermeil in Kansas City.
Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece has 10 fantasy points in consecutive weeks. The Saints have allowed the second-most points to fantasy running backs this year. Reece is adept as both a runner and a receiver. I had to choose between Richardson and Reece in my NFL AM league. I've got Richardson in there right now. Check back with me often, I'm sure I will change my mind a dozen times as I watch college football on Saturday.
Packers running back James Starks is back from the fantasy abyss. He was cast aside, but he is expected to get more attempts this week against the Lions. Starks had 61 rushing yards against the Cardinals two weeks ago. He's a low-end flex option. But given the circumstances, you might have to play him.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson had a good game against the 49ers last week. Yes, after I had him in the dislike column. And if I had to do it over again, I would tell you to start him. Because I would have the benefit of seeing the future. (Hate to break it to you, but Shek to the Future is a bit, kind of like professional wrestling.)
ImageSpeaking of which, it got dusty at the House of Rank on Monday night during RAW when Jerry "The King" Lawler greeted the crowd. But thankfully CM Punk brought some levity to the situation. And to those of you, who were upset, be serious. It's wrestling. And to those of you who wondered why Lawler would go along with the angle, remember, Lawler was the one who once poured alcohol down the throat of Jake "The Snake" Roberts. They are actors, people. BTW, Punk wins at Survivor Series.
ImageThursday would have been the 60th birthday of "Macho Man" Randy Savage. There is no debate, Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat in WrestleMania III is the greatest match of all-time. But realize if that match happened today, the WWE would have ruined this with countless rematches on RAW which would have tarnished the original. And John Cena would have figured out a way to ruin it, too.
Felix Jones is going to be a nice start. It's tough to say it, but it's true. BTW, did anybody notice how the Cowboys went with the nWo b-team last week against the Eagles? They had runs by Philip Tanner, passes to Cole Beasley. At some point I figured Buff Bagwell was going to line up at center. But the nWo b-team had one of my favorite theme songs of all-time.
Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has had just two touchdowns in his last 19 home games. He's had fewer than nine points in four consecutive home games. But the Buccaneers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers this year. They give up big plays, too, with 42 receptions of at least 20 yards. The Bucs have also given up 12 touchdown passes in the last four games.
The Rams' Danny Amendola has become a must-play in standard and especially in PPR leagues. Amendola had 11 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers, and he had a huge reception called back. Amendola has 61 targets in six games this year. There is no way you can afford to sit him. Unless you have A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson, which hilariously, more than one person tweeted me to say they did.
Hey Danny Amendola, it's one thing to not know the rules about overtime. It's another thing to (expletive) admit it publically. Next time you should be all, "Yeah, I totally know the rules. Who said that I didn't?" You could have totally played it off.
A.J. Green is ninth in the NFL with 58 receptions, sixth with 820 receiving yards and leads the league with nine TD receptions. Green has a receiving TD in eight straight games, which is the longest current streak in the NFL.
WR Randall Cobb has six receiving TDs in his last five games. Prior to this streak, he had one receiving TD in the first 19 games of his career. Cobb is first in the NFL with 1,363 all-purpose yards. Cobb has 96 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, 556 kick return yards and 211 punt return yards.
Reggie Wayne has at least 70 receiving yards in every game this season. The last player to have at least 70 receiving yards in his first nine games was Michael Irvin in 1995.
Calvin Johnson had a career-high 244 receiving yards and a TD in his last game vs. Packers. Johnson has 10 receiving touchdowns in nine career games against the Packers. Johnson is having a better season in most statistical categories this season than he was through nine games last season, except when it comes to finding the end zone. Nobody gets tackled more inside the 5-yard line than Johnson this season.
Titus Young has a receiving touchdown in two of his last three games. He's had 29 targets in four games and eight fantasy points in three of those games.
ImageAngels weren't duped by a guy who had a career year in 2012 sandwiched between the AL MVP (Mike Trout) and the best baseball player for the last decade (Albert Pujols). I feel a .245 average and disappointment for Hunter next year. I'm glad Peter Bourjos will get a chance. Sometimes I feel like the Angels are too in love with some of their prospects, but I endorse this move.
I'm expecting to update this at some point but Nate Silver gives good reasons why Mike Trout should be the AL MVP. Of course, baseball writers hate anything new so they voted for the antiquated triple crown.
NFL tight ends combined for 15 touchdowns in Week 10 (tied for 10th in a single week, all-time). There have been 116 TDs scored by tight ends this season, the most-ever through Week 10 of a season. So why does it seem like an NFL tight end lets us down every week?
I've long contended the AFC/NFC Championship Game Sunday is the best day of the football season. But is it actually the divisional round of the playoffs? That's four games of great (hopefully) football. BTW, if you know anything about me, I love the opening of March Madness above all else. But this 24-hours of college hoops on Tuesday was really cool, too. I would like to travel to a 24-hour city and see if I could stay up for the whole thing.
I didn't start Ryan Fitzpatrick or Ryan Tannehill this week, how'd that work out for me? No, I seriously ask because I publish this column on Thursday night, right as the game has started. How do you not get this yet? Or if you're a first-timer and you've made it this far, I sincerely thank you. Wonderful to have you.
Joe Flacco has had fewer than 13 fantasy points in each road game this season. He has played well in Pittsburgh, with five touchdowns and two interceptions in four career games in Heinz Field. There are better quarterback options out there for you, and you don't have to risk it with Flacco.
Too bad there isn't a way to start Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers just in the first half, and then be able to bench him in the second half. In fact, the most perfect fantasy quarterback would be Rivers' first-half stats and Stafford in the second half (or even the fourth quarter). How can I make this happen?
Rivers' fantasy points have increased in each game over the last three weeks. He has averaged 236 passing yards per game with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his last three games in Denver.
Here's the stat of the week from the U-T San Diego: Since the 2010 season, by which point he'd thrown 136 touchdowns against 58 interceptions, Philip Rivers has been trending downward. [Since, Rivers] has thrown 42 touchdowns and been intercepted 32 times, a worse ratio than all but six of the quarterbacks that have thrown 700 passes in that span. That could be the statistic most illustrative of his fall -- if there weren't more. Where Rivers' overall interception percentage of 2.4 through 2010 was sixth-lowest in history among those with 2,000 attempts, it is 3.6 percent since then.
The problem is the talent around Rivers. Ryan Mathews has been an abject bust (more on him in a bit). Big things were expected from receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, both have failed to deliver. Where is the talent Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has supposedly brought in over the past decade? Oh that's right, it's winning Super Bowls and has set records in New Orleans, it provided a ground game for the Falcons and now it's turned around the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oh, and likely also talking (expletive) about Tim Tebow anonymously.
ImageIt's time to pull the plug in San Diego. It's kind of like the show "Dexter." It's gone on about a season or three too long, but it's clearly lost its steam and is going through the motions. The good news, I stopped watching the show during the middle of an episode this week. (Though, I did stop it to go watch Stanford beat Cal State Fullerton.) I will just skip "Dexter" until the final episode to see how they wrap it all up. Maybe the last couple, but that's it. Hey "Sons of Anarchy," you are pushing your luck, too.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has a great matchup this week against the Redskins, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Redskins have also allowed 20 touchdown passes this season, tied for most in the NFL. I don't mind going with a rookie, per se, but unless that rookie is Andrew Luck or RG3, I'm going to pass.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown multiple touchdown passes in just two of nine games this season. He is last in the NFL in completion percentage (52 percent), and has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in five games this year. However, his statistics are only marginally different from previous years, he's simply won fewer games. The St. Louis Rams defense has allowed the 10th-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this year.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning won't throw until Monday, but I believe he can rebound from his slump. He just needed the bye week. But I rejoice in the Giants' bye week because it's the one time the Giants won't be on TV in Southern California. That's right, we were denied the Falcons vs. Saints game last week so they could show Giants at Bengals. What kind of world do we live in? This is a complete joke. Why does FOX continue to harangue us this way? It's bad enough we might lose a generation of fans because we don't have a football team. To subject them to the Giants will turn them away even more.
ImageDid you guys catch the random story about L.A. officials and its courtship of the Carolina Panthers? Where did that come from? The Panthers have never been a team I would have considered for relocation. But here's the deal: Bring back the Rams or just forget it. No Panthers, Jaguars, Raiders, Bills or Chargers. In fact, I will openly rebuke a Chargers move to Los Angeles. As the biggest L.A. sports fan in the media today, I should be the guy they cater to.
ImageOh, and don't think I didn't notice the scores of empty seats at Heinz Field on Monday night. Aren't the Steelers often held up as the model franchise for hardcore fans? I thought so. The NFL really needs to look at how much it charges for ticket prices. If my public funds are being used to build the thing, there should be affordable tickets available. You make all your money off the TV deals and luxury boxes. You know, the whole reason why you have to knock down Qualcomm Stadium and the like?
You can't sit Bears running back Matt Forte, but this is a reason to temper your expectations. Forte had just 3.60 fantasy points against the Texans (that happened), which snapped a four-game streak with at least 10 fantasy points. Forte doesn't score many touchdowns, but he's had just two in his last 11 road games. Plus the matchup is lousy, as the 49ers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Not sure you have much of a choice, though.
Even in a terrible week, Jonathan Stewart is only the No. 24 running back. Which would make him an RB2 in a 12-team league, but I can't put him in the like column. How is this possible? Stewart was supposed to be given the job recently. Why don't they just go to DeAngelo Williams full-time in this instance? It's clear Stewart has failed.
Stewart (266 yards) and Williams (253 yards) are ranked 42nd and 43rd in the NFL in rushing yards, respectively. Three quarterbacks (including Newton) have more rushing yards than Stewart and Williams. Seriously, just pick a guy and go with him.
Daryl Richardson hasn't reached eight fantasy points in his last three games. He hasn't scored a touchdown in 74 offensive touches this season. So he only plays for me under the most desperate of circumstances.
You might want to stay away from the Steelers' Isaac Redman this week. With Rashard Mendenhall's return and elevation to starter, you can't really trust a Steelers running back. And then you mix in the Sunday night game. There's a risk they have to shut down Mendy after warmups and then what would you do?
Rashad Jennings might be the worst player in fantasy history. Our waivers in my league of record don't reset every week. I held the No. 1 waiver spot forever. I passed on Freddy Morris, but eventually used it on Rashad Jennings. He's started the last three games with Maurice Jones-Drew out and has been held under 60 rushing yards in each game with no touchdowns.
Falcons running back Michael Turner is tied for 20th in the NFL with 529 rushing yards. He's not a great start this week. Jacquizz Rodgers has at least 50 scrimmage yards in his last three games. The biggest drawback for him is he's scored only one touchdown in 73 offensive touches this season. I like him as a sleeper, if you don't have better options. But I'm not going to put him in my lineup over some of the other viable options.
I get asked a lot about Beanie Wells on Twitter. A lot of people want to be a week early to grab him. But this is Beanie Wells we speak of. Wells hasn't been a viable fantasy option, like, ever. Well, maybe you played in a college fantasy league at some point and you had a chance to play him. But he hasn't been a viable NFL fantasy option.
ImageSometimes we get so worked up about a guy about to return from injury, we forget what a dud he was before he left. This happens in pro wrestling a lot. The biggest heel could leave via injury, but he always gets a face pop when he returns. Then he has to do something heelish to get back over that way in short order. So expect Wells to reestablish himself as a fantasy heel next week.
Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in four consecutive games. He has one touchdown and two fumbles this season. Mathews had 93 scrimmage yards in the team's previous meeting, but I wonder if the Chargers will be able to get on the bus for this one. Well, I suppose they will, but the loss has to be in the back of their minds. Or, more to the point, the top of their collective minds.
This game should be a rather good indication if Norv Turner is going to last the season. The Chargers won't be able to recover if they don't win this game. They will have no hopes for the playoffs. And don't think Norv Turner's all-time hissy last week went unnoticed. He just filled out the last square in his doomed coach bucket list with that one. The next thing is to expect a huge royalty check from Coors Light when it becomes a commercial.
Seriously, if you ever want to build a football stadium in San Diego (it has to happen), the Chargers need a more dynamic coach and football team. Oh, and for the San Diego Padres to start winning again. Fans in San Diego have been burned by promises of a competitive team in exchange for a new stadium. Good luck to the Dolphins if they want a new stadium after what the Marlins did this week.
ImageCities that build stadiums for professional teams should be able to get their money back if the owners have a fire sale of talent. Like a class-action suit or something. Sometimes it's a huge embarrassment to not have a football team in Los Angeles, but at the same time, it's kind of a sense of pride we haven't spent billions to have an owner walk over us like that.
A conversation on the Dave Damshek Football Program amused me. The host, Dave Dameshek, said Dodger Stadium was better than Petco Park. I swear, when even I can't tell when Dave is kidding, there's a problem. But Petco might be the best park going. I'm not sure if I like the idea of moving in the fences. Because you should just build to the strength of your park, but as a fan, it's tough to beat. You have some parks as good (AT&T for instance), but hard to find some that are flat-out better.
We know we can't sit Dre Johnson, right? Let me just give you the stats. Dre has no touchdowns in his last six games and only one touchdown in his last eight home games.
Jeremy Kerley leads the Jets with 35 receptions and 535 yards. As Bert Breer wrote Tuesday, the Jets have struggled to recover from injuries to Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis, in part due to a lack of depth. They have had just 23 draft picks from 2007-2011 (and only 10 in the first three rounds) due to trades.
Jeremy Maclin has more than 100 yards receiving in each of his last two games against Washington (101 yards on 10/16/2011 on road, 105 yards on 1/1/2012 at home). WR DeSean Jackson has topped 100 receiving yards just twice in his last 20 games. In eight career meetings with the Redskins, Jackson has never reached 100 yards.
BTW, its seems like Santana Moss has played in the NFL forever. But can you believe Brittney Griner is still at Baylor? It seems like she's been at Baylor since I was in grade school. Are you not allowed to leave early for the WNBA?
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has no touchdowns in his last six games, and he's topped four fantasy points only once in his last six games. Honestly, he's barely a playable guy at this point. I have him at No. 10 this week. Which would technically make him a TE1. But I can't put him in the like category, either.
ImageAm I the only one who noticed the 49ers and St. Louis FC lost more than a minute last week? Holy mackerel. If that would have been the replacement refs, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and the ESPN crew would have used their "Owen voices" and proclaimed Sunday was the day football died. But since it's the "real" officials, nobody gives a (expletive). All right then.
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."