Like/Dislike: Jordan Howard rumbles in fantasy playoffs

What we are talking about:

  • Aaron Rodgers.

Of course, because he's back.

  • Jordan Howard

He does well against the Lions.

  • Carlos Hyde

Last call in San Fran?

howard-hyde-171214-ToS

Aaron Rodgers is back! And if you didn't read my classy response to this in Unpopular Opinion (www.nfl.com/unpopular), I implore you to check it out. But there was one story I touched on in that piece, but didn't fully get into but it's this; Rodgers has been back before. The year was 2013. Broke his collar bone. Missed a chunk of time and then returned in Week 17. So, I went back and looked to see how he played in that game. And I've got some bad news, it wasn't that great.

Rodgers passed for 270 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. That's right, 270. A touchdown. And two interceptions. Don't bother looking that up. Fine. You might see he "officially" threw for 318 and two touchdowns. But I adjusted his totals to take out the 48-yard touchdown pass he threw to Randall Cobb. That never should have happened.

For starters, the Bears should have beaten the Eagles the previous week to make this game moot which would have meant Rodgers didn't play. Seriously, the Eagles had nothing to play for and yet, Chip Kelly went over huge on Marc Trestman. (And by the way, this doesn't get mentioned enough, but the Bears could have hired Bruce Arians, but decided they had no use for the REIGNING COACH OF THE YEAR.) That's on Trestman.

And then you had Chris Conte being burned on the touchdown. And it might not have been completely his fault. The Bears had blitzed and Conte sat at the sticks to not give up the easy dump off. But good lord, don't let the guy get behind you.

More importantly, there was Julius Peppers. One of the alleged best players in the game, getting blocked by John Kuhn and missed the sack that would have won the game. So, I'm not counting that touchdown. And you shouldn't either. Never. Happened. And what was the Packers motivation here? You were just going to go blow it in the playoffs again like you always do.

BTW, there's like a 100-percent chance Rodgers will have to rally the Packers this week, Cobb will be wide open and Peppers will sack him this time. I might quit watching football when that happens.

And without further ado ...

Russell Wilson is averaging 271.3 passing yards and 37.1 rushing yards per game. Only one other player in NFL history has done that. Steve Young. I'm confident he was pretty good. And I don't give a great gosh damn what his history is against the Rams. There is no way to sit Wilson. Well there is a way, and it's a bad one.

Jared Goff has 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the first three quarters of games this year. Wilson has 17 TDs and only one pick in fourth quarters. So if your league allows you to switch quarterbacks after each quarter, start Goff for the first three and Wilson for the fourth.

No, there aren't leagues like that. Come on.

The Chargers have the NFL's top offense. So I wouldn't hesitate to start the guys you've started in recent weeks. Mostly Philip Rivers, who is an MVP candidate. And Keenan Allen who is the league leader in receptions, tied with Antonio Brown. Maybe you've heard of him?

Cam Newton has struggled on passes of 20-plus air yards this season, completing less than 30 percent of those throws. The Packers should ease those struggles. I'm saying the Packers aren't good against the pass. Actually, they are worse on third down, if you can imagine.

Tom Brady has owned the Steelers. He's 10-2 against Pittsburgh with a 115.1 passer rating. Since 2007, Brady has a 324.7 passer yards per game, 22 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Steelers. That seems excessive.

Brady won the Super Bowl without Rob Gronkowski last year. But he has 25 touchdowns with three interceptions with Gronk on the field. He has two touchdowns and three interceptions without him.

Nick Foles had a 119.2 passer rating in 2013. That's the third-highest mark in league history. I feel like he can do a good job for the Eagles. And if he does well, the Browns fans can be all, "See, this is why we passed on Carson Wentz!"

Drew Brees is like a TV series you've invested a lot of time in. He's not noir Brees, but still pretty damn good. Kind of like this season's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Alvin Kamara told reporters he's going to play. Kind of like when your buddy was grounded in high school, but told you he was going to be able to drive you to the skate park. And instead you spent the afternoon skating the Stater Bros. parking lot. But now Sean Payton says he's likely to, so I feel a bit better.

If you have Latavius Murray or Jerick McKinnon, you probably should get them into your lineup. The Bengals have allowed the most scrimmage yards to running backs over the last three weeks.

I swear, if the Dolphins don't make Kenyan Drake the full-time RB, we riot. The Bills have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns to running backs. Most in the NFL.

Jordan Howard has averaged 14.23 fantasy points in three career games against the Lions.

Dion Lewis has had a lot of success against the Steelers in his career. He's had 11.90 fantasy points per game in his last five.

Jamaal Williams has scored the second-most fantasy points among running backs over the last three weeks. It pays to stay up late to watch those Mountain West games. And yes, I know BYU is independent now.

That Raiders game was one of the worst games I've seen in a while. Tainted, of course, because I had the Raiders quarterback like an idiot. But I expect the Cowboys to cruise while Freddy Morris and Rod Smith are good. They are like a WWE handicap match. Two guys who equal one guys production. Like Ezekiel Elliot is Braun Strowman, the current Cowboys running backs are the Revival.

ImageI'm probably in the minority here, but I enjoyed Smackdown Live! Which goes against my guy Brandon Stroud, who I'm normally sympatico with. Now, I don't like the Nakamura and Randy Orton team up, because that just seems weird. But if the "Yep! Movement" is building towards a Bryan Danielson heel turn, then I'm all about it. Can you imagine a heel stable with Danielson, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn? I'm not 100 percent it will work. It might end up being sort of a double-turn. But I would really like to see it.

Mohammed Sanu has done well since he escaped from Cincinnati. We know how well Julio Jones has done against the Bucs. But Sanu has torn it up recently, too.

Am I crazy for thinking Cooper Kupp is going to have a big game at Seattle? The Legion of Boom is like one of those hot spots from like four years ago that nobody goes to anymore and has been one of those pop-up Christmas stores.

Marvin Jones Jr. has five touchdown receptions in his last six games.

ImageBig news this week as the Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani and I could not be happier. Does he already have arm problems? Of course. It's an Angels pitcher after all. But I have spent so much time watching baseball coverage my two-year old daughter grabbed her baseball jersey on Saturday morning and wanted to go to the ballpark. I took her to the introductory press conference. We had a great time. And I hope he's as good as he's advertised, but spending time with the fam already made it worth it.

I don't care who is lined up at tight end for the Eagles on Sunday morning. You get that guy into your lineup. But Zack Ertz looks most likely.

If you need to pick up a defense this week, I would highly recommend the Saints.

ImageI don't know if the world has turned, but I feel like most people will root for the New England Patriots over the Steelers this week.

Marcus Mariota is 8-4 this season, but he's on pace for career worst in terms of passer rating (76.9) and TD-INT ratio (10-14). I'm putting this on the coach. I'm sorry. I know some of you question Mariota. Maybe he's not comfortable yet after he broke his leg last year. But I went back to go watch some of his Oregon YouTube stuff. This guy is legit. He just needs to find himself.

Derek Carr, thank you for ruining my season. I knew, KNEW, I should have just dropped you. But fun story. I didn't booze it up last weekend, despite it being my birthday. Had I gotten a few belts in me, I would have impulsively dropped him on Saturday night and done something crazy like pick up DeShone Kizer. I still would have lost my matchup in my Second City League. But I would have been happier.

Derek Carr also said this week he wants to go out and throw it all over the field this week. Thank you. That's not late at all.

I'm not starting Alex Smith against the Chargers this week. LAC hasn't allowed two-plus touchdowns since Week 5.

Same goes for you, Tyreek Hill. You can't get him into your lineup. Did you know the Chargers haven't allowed a receiver to top 100 receiving yards? That seems crazy.

Bryce Petty. Man.

ImageSo Disney owns 20th Century Fox, just like "The Simpsons" predicted. Now the Fantastic Four and the X-Men can team with The Avengers. For starters, these team-up movies have kind of run their course. They don't work. I mean, DC gets it. But Marvel always seems to fall flat with me. And I really want to know what's going to happen when The Human Torch comes face-to-face with Captain America. Although, I think they did another Fantastic Four movie since the Chris Evans one, so then I guess that would make this point moot.

Wayne Gallman was a thing last week? I'm so done with the Giants and their running backs. The matchup against the Eagles is pretty bad, too. The Eagles haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. But watch, this would be the week.

Carlos Hyde has been a disappointment this year. How unpredictable. This never happens to him. I feel like the 49ers will be moving on from Hyde next year. And Hyde will go to the Patriots. And there will be endless think pieces about how Hyde is the running back to have in New England. And then he will end up with less touches than Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead.

Doug Martin has fewer than 10 fantasy points in seven consecutive games. He's averaged 9.5 touches per game in the last three weeks. Remember when he was good for like, a half, against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football and a number of you lost your stuffing on me? I remember.

Samaje Perine is not a great start this week. He's had just two scrimmage touchdowns in 14 games. And the Cardinals are still good against the run.

ImageI loved seeing some of our NXT stars get on the USA Network this week. It was pretty awesome seeing some of the studs like Eric Young get a chance to shine. But, uh. And I know that I hate DQs or heels purposely getting counted out. But I would not have had Adam Cole (Bay Bay) do the job. It's not like he looked bad. My wife isn't an ardent NXT fan, but she came away from the match thinking that Cole was the best, and looked like a young HBK. So I guess maybe I'm just being the jaded jerk who cares too much about wins and losses in a scripted television show. But I want to have some buy-in. And mostly I want Cole to be the NXT champion.

ImageIt should be noted, my friend Reader Matt P. (he's always at the Super Bowl with me) has suggested Black beats Almas at Rumble Takeover and Cole wins at the NXT Takeover New Orleans (I need to be at that) and Black debuts on Smackdown Live! Tuesday after 'Mania. All right. I'm in for that.

Jarvis Landry was pretty good on Monday night. One of my friends (who I told to start Matthew Stafford over Ben Roethlisberger) needed a miracle night from Jarvis and nearly got it. He was one reception off. But I don't like his matchup this week.

Hey man, does Kenny Britt have any value? No. he's either going to catch a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game. Or he's going to be cut before Week 16 games start. There is no in-between with him.

Robby Anderson was amazing this season. It's been fun. I'm not starting him against the Saints, though.

Sterling Shepard is a great talent. I'm so bummed he's lost in the abyss of the Giants 2017 season. I'm not going to start him against the Eagles.

ImageSo we're pretty much in agreement that some bitter team who lost out on Shohei Ohtani leaked the medical reports to make the Angels look bad. That seems like a pretty reasonable argument? This would make a great episode of "Psych!" Maybe if they do another movie, this could be the plot. And if you haven't seen the "Psych" movie, I don't know what you're waiting for watch it.

Of course, there is another big-time movie that came out this week. If you have already seen that movie. Be cool. In fact, you need to watch this Fantasy PSA. This is more a life lesson than anything else.

But I'm dropping big-time spoilers in here next week. Believe that.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.

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