Like/Dislike: Joe Girardi provides blueprint for Tony Romo

What we are talking about:

  • Andy Luck

Good start this week?

  • Matt Stafford

Why is he Fantasy Illuminati?

  • Stat corrections

Again!

You really hate to give a Yankee credit, but manager Joe Girardi showed fantasy enthusiasts everywhere how you deal with your disappointing superstars -- you put their butts on the bench.

Girardi removed struggling Alex Rodriguez from Game 3 of the American League division series playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday in favor of Raul Ibanez and not only did the move work out well, it likely saved the team's season.

Rodriguez has never been considered a clutch player, so it was probably the right thing to do in this situation. But how many times do you see managers stick with guys because they have a huge contract, a reputation as an all-star or because they are the No. 3 hitter? Girardi blew all of that out of the water.

So if your big-time stars ever give you trouble, you might want to follow Girardi's lead in this instance. Sure, it could have backfired. But it didn't and he should serve as an inspiration.

Oh, some of you might be asking why Torrie Wilson is featured above. Well, even though I'm giving the Yankees credit, I'm not going to picture one of them. So we'll show A-Rod's girlfriend, Wilson. Or we still believe she's Alex's main squeeze. If this was a movie, Ibanez would have stolen a kiss after hitting the winner on Wednesday. I'm sure nobody in the Yankees clubhouse (save Mark Teixeira) took A-Rod seriously, but how does he recover from this?

Likes and dislikes are in bold. You know, for those of you who don't want to take the 88 minutes required to read this column. But it's the weekend. What better way to cruise through it than by checking out my thoughts on fantasy football, comic books, wrestling, TV and music?

A big hand to stats maven Bill "Sudsy" Sudell for dropping the knowledge.

And without further ado ...

I had Ben Roethlisberger as my No.1 quarterback this week. How'd that work out for me? No seriously, how did it work out, I turn this in on Thursday afternoon without the benefit of seeing the Thursday game. And I could escape and just come in on Friday and be all, "Yeah, I totally predicted Roethlisberger would" Hmmm, maybe I'll do that anyway. ...

Here is my Fantasy Illuminati at quarterback this week: Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers (yeah, I'm not crazy about that). ...

The numbers are pretty interesting for Andy Luck. The Jets have allowed just one touchdown pass in their last three games. This clearly isn't a great matchup for Luck. But Luck has had 300 passing yards in three of his last four games and he's had at least 30 passing attempts in each game this year. ...

Luck even called his own number inside the 5-yard line last week, and we need to see more of that. Luck is a pretty sturdy guy and he has the same athleticism as Cam Newton (based on combine numbers at least), but he's a little more careful with exposing himself, compared to his contemporary, Robert Griffin III. ...

RG3 has been practicing this week, and if he plays, you start him. He's been solid, you just hope he will realize sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. ...

Kevin Kolb has a great matchup this week against the Buffalo Bills, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Bills have allowed 12 touchdown passes this year. So it looks good for Kolb. Now, do I start him over Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Eli Manning? Of course not? Matt Ryan? Be serious. But if you have a quarterback on a bye (and don't carry a backup), Kolb is a pretty good option because guys like Christian Ponder and Red Dalton are probably long gone. So Kolb is a good option. ...

It's clear to most fantasy enthusiasts; Ryan Mathews is the best running back on the Chargers roster. Thankfully Norv Turner is starting to see if that way, too. Start Mathews against the Broncos. ...

We were a little quick to dismiss Michael Turner this year, at least so far. Turner ranks 11th among running backs and has scored in four consecutive games. He also has 16 touchdowns in his last 16 home games. He also has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to running backs this season. ...

Was anybody surprised the Chargers blew the game against the Saints even though they were dominating? The Chargers haven't won or tied a game with a last-possession touchdown since Week 9 of 2009, and 10 of their 17 losses were by seven points or less. Seriously, Norv Turner still has a gig? The Chargers have probably had too much press about their talented roster, but they clearly aren't winning the close games. That comes down to coaching. ...

Jamaal Charles is leading the NFL in rushing and he has a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I know there's a concern about his workload. I'll care about that next year. Right now, as long as he's on the field, he's starting for me. If I had to pay my own money to see one player currently in the NFL play right now, live, I would have to think it would be Charles. ...

ImageSpeaking of things to watch live, I took in a WWE house show at the Pond (or whatever it's sponsored by now) in Anaheim last weekend. Going to a RAW or PPV taping is a lot of fun, but nothing brings back the excitement of the house shows. And I don't mind saying I marked out a little bit when Heath Slater's music hit. The bad thing about house shows for people like me is the heels typically lose. ...

ImageMy favorite moment of the night (other than sitting front row) was the USA chants directed at Englishman Wade Barrett. And yet, I couldn't get the same chant going when Sheamus made his way to the ring. Come guys, are we xenophobic or not? Pfft, wrestling crowds. ...

ImageAgain, I'm a CM Punk fan and the wrestling fans shouldn't be pawing on him when he runs into the crowd, but dude, make sure you're punching the right guy. Punk clearly wasn't. Punk apologized for this. But don't send these guys into the crowd without security. Sometimes I'm frightened to walk through a wrestling crowd. You should see the way people (I'm talking adults, not the kids, which is understandable) jam up to the front after the matches during house shows. The WWE shouldn't have put him in that position. ...

ImageI do like the new CM Punk yellow T-shirt. The shirt should be very appropriate this year as I'm cheering on Ron Artest and the Los Angeles Lakers. Did anybody wake up early to watch the Clippers game from China? Great, a whole new country to ignore the Clips. ...

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been rather scary after losing two fumbles, something he never does. But the Law Firm should correct himself this week against the Cleveland Browns who can't stop anybody on the ground. ...

Reggie Bush was limited in practice on Thursday, but he will play this week. He continues to be a must-start running back. There was a time when I was worried if that would ever be the case.

Billy Powell is the Cardinals' running back to like this week. The matchup against the Bills is fantastic. The Bills have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year, and have allowed an NFL-leading seven rushing touchdowns to backs this year. All of that said, be careful with this. Every time a matchup like this comes along, we seem to be disappointed. The Cardinals offensive line is very suspect. So don't put Powell into your lineup ahead of the likes of Reggie Bush, DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee or BenJarvus Green-Ellis. But if you've been stung by injuries and bye weeks, you can give him a shot. ...

But Powell is a good spot-start if you have Maurice Jones-Drew on a bye. Here's what's sad about MJD, I wish the NFL sometimes operated like other sports and big-time trades happened more often. Wouldn't you love to see MJD shipped off to the Green Bay Packers or Arizona Cardinals? Why have him waste away in Jacksonville when he could get into the playoff mix? There has to be a way for the league to foster more trades. ...

There are a lot of questions coming in about Darren McFadden. What an enigma this year. We had all of these injury concerns about him, and he's been healthy. But he's just been terrible, that's all. Well, not terrible, just not the superstar we know he can be. That said, I start him as long as he's able to go. ...

Stevan Ridley is running into a huge stop sign in Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest points to fantasy running backs and the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. So it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ridley stifled in this game. But Ridley has accrued enough good will to remain in the starting lineup unless your lineup is stacked with Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster and Ray Rice. ...

ImageSpeaking of surprises, though, I hope you caught Walton Goggins on "Sons of Anarchy" this week. Goggins played "Venus Van Damme" a play on his "Cletus Van Damme" alias from "The Shield." And all I can really say right now is "Wow." This whole episode turned on an adult theme, so I don't want to go into too much detail. But let's just say this cameo clearly too (expletive)." Here's TV Guide's interview with Goggins. ...

Andrew Hawkins is a nice sleeper this week against the Browns, who have allowed the second-most points to fantasy quarterbacks and have allowed 10 touchdown receptions to receivers this year. People always seem hyper to start Hawkins. The diminutive warrior is an exciting player, so feel free to go with him. ...

I would continue to start Victor Cruz. He's part of the Fantasy Illuminati. But I was ready to get worked up about Cruz's umbrage with Carlos Rogers' planned salsa dance. I mean, it's a dance guys, grow up. But when Cruz explained how he does it to honor his deceased grandmother, I've kind of taken his side on this thing. And if I remember correctly, Cruz did the salsa after he won the Super Bowl. I wonder if Rogers got a chance to see it watching from home? ...

One week ago, I compared Roddy White to Mila Kunis. And just hours later, she was selected the sexiest woman in the world by Esquire Magazine. I would say that's no coincidence. ...

Mike Wallace was on NFL Network's Around the League this week wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins sweatshirt. Owen Daniels joined us on NFL Fantasy Live wearing a Houston Astros hat. I love the civic sports pride. We need more of that. ...

Andre Roberts is a good start this week. You're obviously playing Larry Fitzgerald. You don't need to be told that. But Roberts has a great matchup against the Bills who have allowed 162 points this season and have allowed 28 plays of at least 20 yards. Both are tops in the NFL. ...

BTW, how is it nobody on the Packers has ever earned the nickname, the Green Arrow? Wouldn't the quarterbacks lend themselves to that name? OR maybe a really fast receiver like Randall Cobb? ...

ImageOh, that reminds me. The new Green Arrow series (simply "Arrow," no Green) started this week. (Don't worry, it's on an hour before the NFL Fantasy Live re-air.) The first episode, from what I read, was rather promising. I need to pick up the comic book DC produced to go along with the series. But with so much stuff going on, I have to watch the Friday re-air. Maybe if we're lucky, we can have Impact Wrestling's very own (and Twitter pal of mine) Eric Young give us a review. ...

ImageThe biggest hope is the show avoids the rut "Smallville" fell into. The first season of Smallville was unbelievable. It was so good. But then it got into such a formula of a big villain would show up each week, and Clark would spend 55 minutes dealing with it, and you'd get a sliver of plot movement at the very end. That and Kristen Kreuk used a body double during the pool scene when she was possessed. That might have been the end of it for me. ...

Dre Johnson was a preseason dislike and he's done nothing to change the perception, as he ranks 28th among receivers. Dre has topped 100 yards once in his last nine games, and he's scored two touchdowns in his last 10. "But Rank, I thought this was the like side?" It is. Drew is going to have a big game against the Packers, who give up tons of points to receivers, plus this game is going to evolve into a shootout, so Dre will have a big day. ...

James Jones has excelled as a No. 2 receiver for the Packers. He's occupying the same spot Jordy Nelson had last year. Now he's getting all of the benefits because Aaron Rodgers seems to favor his No. 2 receiver a lot. ...

Eric Decker has two touchdown receptions in two of his last three meetings against the Chargers, who have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to receivers this year. The Chargers have allowed nine touchdown passes in their last three games. Decker has finally started to get going after a slow first week. ...

ImageSpeaking of getting it going after a slow first week, "Homeland" was so unbelievable; I had to watch it again. Give Claire Danes the Emmy again. Not to spoil too much, but when Saul was talking about not trusting her, I thought she was going to end up going rogue for a couple of episodes. In fact, I was kind of rooting for it. Spoiler coming next. ...

ImageSPOILER. I've long said Brody should have gone through with the plot last year, but I'm not too proud to say I now stand corrected. Either two things can happen now. Brody's arc is only two seasons. Or the trail is going to get really bloody in the coverup. And at some point, Morena Baccarin has to become a co-conspirator. ...

ImageSPOILER. How does Jessica Brody (Baccarin) lose her freaking (expletive) when she finds out Brody's a Muslim and then even starts to question if Carrie was right all along, just go along when he starts talking about blowing up a political fundraiser? Am I missing something here? ...

Golden Tate joined "NFL Fantasy Live" this week and talked openly about his fantasy lineup. I was pleasantly surprised by his candor when he said he doesn't always start himself. In fact, he almost got away with saying he was going to bench himself for Stevie Johnson. But he's changed his mind. Tate has a great matchup against the Patriots who have now allowed 10 touchdown passes in the last three games. Tate himself has three touchdowns in his last three games. ...

Kyle Rudolph is a great start this week at tight end. I still can't believe he's available in 65 percent of NFL.com leagues. What are you waiting for? Pick him up. He's scored four touchdowns in his last four games, along with 30 targets this season, just behind Percy Harvin (still healthy, for the record). The Redskins have allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends. I know some people will play the "law of averages" and say Rudolph can't keep the streak going. That's dangerous. Keep playing him. ...

Games missed with an injury this year: Percy Harvin, 0. Hakeem Nicks, 3. Again, who is considered the injury-prone guy in the NFL? Just checking. Don't worry about Harvin being limited in practice. ...

Matthew Stafford was granted membership into the Fantasy Illuminati after one solid season. We're so skeptical of players who have injury problems, yet Stafford was granted access without any thought to the Detroit Lions' history or even his own injury history. ...

Stafford hasn't been a complete washout, but he's clearly not lived up to his average draft position. Stafford has a tough matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the fourth-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks. Stafford has only a touchdown or less in four starts this year. ...

Michael Vick has lost five fumbles this season, most in the NFL. He's going up against Detroit, which has just three takeaways this season (tied for the fewest in the NFL). The Lions are also one of two teams without an interception (Raiders). Something has to give, but Vick just hasn't been the elite fantasy quarterback he was in 2010 and while many of us are nostalgic for his awesome run during that year, it's time to move on. ...

Mark Sanchez is still the starting quarterback for the Jets, no question about it according to Rex Ryan. I have a simple question, why? The season is lost for the Jets. You're not going to win with Sanchez. His passer rating is brutal. There are no weapons to speak of offensively. So why not just have Tim Tebow run around out there? ...

I get Alex Smith as a bye week replacement or emergency starter. But I would try to avoid becoming too cute with your lineup. I'm not down on Alex as a "real" quarterback as much anymore. I still need some time to get comfortable with him in my fantasy lineup. I mean, congratulations, you beat the Buffalo Bills. I'd take Smith over Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Freeman. But we're getting low on the quarterback ranks. ...

Palmer did throw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in his only career game in the Georgia Dome in 2010, but the Falcons have allowed more than 300 passing yards only once in the last 12 games. ...

BTW, Kyle Williams said he was ready for payback against the Giants this week. Hey Kyle, it's not like the Giants cheated against you. If you remember, it was you -- and you alone -- making two costly mistakes against the Giants which led to the 49ers downfall. There is no payback to deliver. You did it to yourself. The Packers, at some point, delivering some payback to the Seahawks? I get that. You? Not so much. ...

I bet you figured Cam Newton was going to escape the dislike ledger, being on a bye week and everything. But there's a problem when it comes to play-calling at the end of the Seahawks' loss. Newton is awesome at taking the snap and diving over the top. Why roll him out? I understand you don't want him taking big hits, but it's not like he's RG3 out there. Let him do what he does. Dang, I can't give this guy away. ...

Why is it every time I think about Tony Romo playing the Baltimore Ravens, I can only think of the final game in Texas Stadium? I'm still the guy making excuses for Romo, but it's hard to imagine him getting it together on the road in Baltimore. The Cowboys are 4-2 after the bye during Romo's career, but are currently on a two-game losing streak. Romo had 317 yards with a touchdown and interception in what would have been a great matchup against New England after the bye last year. ...

One thing in Romo's favor this week, he's faced the two defenses which have given up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season (Seahawks and Bears). I might give Romo a little nudge up the board, but I'd still rather go in a different direction. ...

Romo's season resembles that of "Dexter." The first game/episode of the season seemed to justify our excitement initially. But now we are at the point where both of them are going to be removed from our fantasy/DVR rosters.

Here was Chris Johnson's quote earlier this week: "We need somebody in this locker room to make plays and give us a spark. I feel like I've made some plays, but the situation of a spark has got to come from somewhere and getting a spark that can be big for this team." Uh, how about the running back who held out for more money last year actually being the guy who steps up to make plays? I know it's kind of a radical idea, but one he should give a shot. ...

If you just skim these pages, I opined about how nice it would be if the NFL made trades like the other sports. One trade proposal heating up on the blogs is Johnson possibly going to the Cardinals. I don't really like that one at all. The Birds could use a running back, but not that one. ...

Doug Martin has been a fantasy disappointment this season, and it seems like he is going to start losing touches to LeGarrette Blount at some point this season. Martin is the latest in a line of rookie running backs we put way too much stock into going into the season. We get it, T-Rich has been awesome. But running back is no longer the plug-and-play position it once was. ...

Blount would be a risky start against the Chiefs, but it's a pretty good matchup against a team which has given up the tenth-most points to fantasy running backs. And I really can't make any more jokes about Blount punching a dude, considering I'm a huge CM Punk fan. ...

Jahvid Best is close to a return to the Lions, but he looks like he will only be a third-down back at best if it does happen. I don't like Mikel LeShoure this week against the tough Eagles defense. ...

Steven Jackson has been slowed by a groin injury, and now he's going up against the hot Dolphins' run defense. This is a terrible matchup, so avoid Jackson if possible. ...

Fred Jackson hasn't scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games. The Cardinals are very tough on fantasy running backs this season. Play him only in a pinch with injuries and bye weeks. ...

I'd start Ahmad Bradshaw over Jackson, despite going up against the tough San Francisco 49ers defense. I would rank the backs this way, C.J. Spiller over Ahmad Bradshaw over Fred Jackson. ...

Mike McCarthy has intimated he will ride the "hot hand" this week against the Texans. Which, to be honest, how hot can you expect the hand to get against the Houston Texans? But this means Alex Green, Jimmy Starks and even goal-line appearances from John Kuhn can be the norm. ...

Remember, when you see Cedric Benson is on the IR, it's not the end-of-the-year variety we've all come to know and dread. Benson could return this season, but there would seem to be little value to keep him on your fantasy bench (especially in 10-team leagues). Also look out for David DeCastro to possibly return to the Steelers after Thanksgiving. He obviously doesn't give you fantasy points, but he would mean a lot to the long-term value of the Steelers running game. ...

We will have to monitor Hakeem Nicks over the weekend. Seems like he's always on the verge of coming back, and then we'll get a note on Saturday saying he didn't travel with the team or won't play on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers did a pretty good job on Nicks last year in the NFC Championship Game. ...

Reggie Wayne is back everybody! It's like your favorite old-school song jumping up on Pandora. Just the other day I was sitting there and U2's "Until the End of the World" came on. That song rocks. However, this could be a very tough week for Wayne. The New York Jets are really tough against No. 1 receivers. Look at what they did to Dre Johnson on Monday night. The Colts will throw the ball a lot. But will it go to Wayne? It's a tough call. I still like Wayne more than Dez Bryant, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Brian Hartline and Denarius Moore. ...

Boldin has just two touchdowns in his last nine home games. And before the Monday night debacle, the Cowboys were deadly against fantasy receivers. ...

Hartline is the No. 1 for the Dolphins and you should have him on your roster. But he's in for a long afternoon against the St. Louis FC defense, which is brutal on opposing receivers. ...

Crabtree did something he never does; he had 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. Not only that, he did it in the same game. The Giants have allowed a lot of fantasy points to receivers. So he might not be a horrible hunch if you have to go with him. Meanwhile, I will continue to stand here on the fantasy fence because I'm the world's biggest Fantasy Chicken. ...

Wes Welker made news this week when he said he was happy to 'stick it' to coach Bill Belichick after he scored a touchdown. Hey Wes, you're a good guy and I like jokes, too. But can you not (expletive) around with Belichick? I know Belichick has a good sense of humor (it's true), but at the drop of the hat he seems like Liam Neeson in "Taken." You can almost hear Belichick calling Welker right now, "Wes, I possess a certain set of skills which can keep you on the fantasy bench." ...

Some are concerned Hernandez will cut into the production of Welker if he returns in Week 6. But I don't doubt for a second Welker could be relegated back to a role similar to the one he held in Week 1 when had just five targets. Let's not push this. ...

ImageAnd let's not pursue the idea of "Taken 3" -- which is actually a real thing. And while Neeson likes to make money, even he has to eventually put his foot down. I mean how many times can we go to this well? My guess is if Neeson balks, they will get Bruce Jenner to take over the role with his step daughters. Though, movie audiences would then be rooting for the kidnappers. ...

ImageIf you really want to play crazy conspiracy theory, how about this? Brady was really looking to keep Welker down because of the drop against the Giants in the Super Bowl. I don't believe it, but it's something I'll have to ask Akbar the next time he's on the Dave Dameshek Football Program which is (available on iTunes). ...

Is it good or bad news Peyton felt compelled to give a vote of confidence to Demaryius Thomas and Willis McGahee this week. "I stick with them. ... We're going to need those guys all season," Manning said. "They're going to make more plays than they're going to miss, I assure you of that." ...

Manning hasn't been shy about pointing the finger at his teammates in the past (just ask his offensive linemen), so at least he's sticking up for them. But at the same time, I could see Manning seething underneath the surface. The thing about Thomas which has always concerned me is he will have games where's he brilliant but drops passes or fumbles without provocation. At some point, does Manning just zero in on Decker and his old-standby guys from his days in Indianapolis? ...

Jordy Nelson is an excellent No. 2 receiver in the Packers' offense, but we can't expect huge games from him until Greg Jennings returns. Nelson has one touchdown reception in his last nine road games. Don't look for that to turn around against the Texans, who have allowed the fewest points to fantasy receivers this year. ...

Of course this will be the week Nelson ruins us all. I do own him in one league and while I dislike him, I will start him over T.Y. Hilton and Danny Amendola. I also have Hakeem Nicks on my bench, and if Nicks is playing, he's starting and Nelson rides the pine. ...

DeSean Jackson has just two touchdowns in his last 12 home games, and has topped 100 receiving yards once in his last 16 games. Add the fact the Lions have allowed the seventh fewest points to receivers this season and I'm comfortable moving on from Jackson. But if you had to play one of the Eagles receives, I'd much rather have Jackson over Jeremy Maclin. ...

Maclin is a lot like Five Guys to me. Sure a lot of people tell me it's good, but I'll never know because I won't darken its doorstep since the franchise has ripped off In-n-Out's look. And not only am I hungry right now, I'm a little uncomfortable with comparing Jackson to In-n-Out, because the Southern California burger franchise is always reliable. ...

Maclin had 14 targets in Week 1. He's had 12 targets in his past three games combined. I will avoid him like I will avoid the movie "Argo." ...

ImageI will probably see "Argo" at some point. I like Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston. But the early reviews point out Canada actually doesn't get enough credit in the extraction of our hostages. In fact, the whole thing is known as the "Canadian Caper." So out of principle, I will not support this movie in the theaters and instead borrow the Academy Award reel. ...

Martellus Bennett is cooling off recently, with just seven targets in his last two games, after he opened up with 23 in his first three games. He can get back and be a good fantasy tight end for you. But if Hernandez comes back, he's going back on my bench. ...

Here's the thing, I'm the owner of the Overreaction Theater. But if you wanted to drop Jermichael Finley, please don't let me stand in your way. ...

ImageA word about stat corrections. They're hysterical when they happen to somebody in your league you don't quite care for -- like Brent B. in my league of record (my boys from my hometown of Corona, Calif.). But enough with this (expletive). I've said this before and it should be repeated again. Once the games have been settled on Tuesday, they are done. If you want to make stat corrections to increase points for important playoff tie breakers, I get it. But you can't change the records after Tuesday. I tell you, we're going to run off more fantasy enthusiasts than we bring in with this stuff. We have to make a stand. Too bad I don't work for the league or something.

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 13. 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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