What we are talking about:
Odell Beckham Jr.
Top WR headed into 2015
Never trusting you again
Orton v Cena
Rivalries gone bad
- Find out if Adam Rank has any regrets about the 2014 fantasy season. Surely they can't be as bad as Emily Blunt's decision of turning down the role of Black Widow...*
I felt good about my fantasy drafts. That should have been my first clue. I never feel good about my drafts. I always have regrets. Shoot, I guess that's everything about my life.
Just today I ordered a chicken sandwich at the NFL commissary. I instantly regretted my decision when my dining mate Mike Silver went with the "build your own" quesadilla. With a side of Spanish rice, too. You know what I don't regret? That epic name drop. That's right. I break bread with Silver on the reg. Fine. It was the first time. And he had to leave early because there was breaking news. But still pretty cool. I mean, I'm lucky that Nate Burleson talks to me in the locker room.
All right. Now I regret those name drops. But what was I just talking about? Oh yeah, fantasy regrets.
I don't have too many. Cordarrelle Patterson was the obvious one. He was on every one of my teams. I had some busts like Jimmy Graham and Adrian Peterson. But I worked the wire pretty well. I even had some good luck in some drafts, too. I had a team with Matt Forte, Le'Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, Jordy Nelson and Tony Romo. I even added C.J. Anderson in that league, too. But nothing worked. At all.
I didn't get the satisfaction of that. Instead I looked at Silver's quesadilla and pondered what could have been.
And without further ado ...
Andrew Luck will be the first quarterback off the board next season. But get ready to hear the jokes about his Week 16 performance next year. There will be no escape until he leads you to a title.
Tom Brady does interviews with Jim Gray during halftime of the Monday night telecast on the radio. I just about drove off the road when I realized Brady did those interviews live. Like he's at home watching the game and he's all, "Sorry G, I have to break away to do this interview with Jimmy." I don't know if I was more impressed with that. Or the fact he knew the name of Jim's wife. Who doesn't like this guy?
Matt Ryan shrugged off many of the criticisms that have harangued him during his career. His biggest moment, of course, was his huge performance at Green Bay on Monday night in the snow. He will be much better when the team addresses the offensive line issues.
Colin Kaepernick looked so smooth in Week 16 and that will be enough to sucker me in for 2015. The top coaching candidates will clamor for the 49ers gig if it comes open. The reason is Kaepernick. I hope the next coach can use his talents. The two top jobs on Black Monday were the Falcons and 49ers because of the quarterbacks. Both will attract the best of the best.
My first question for any potential coach in San Francisco: "How do you feel about the flat-bill cap Colin wears?" Because you're never going to succeed if you can't adjust to his style.
Philip Rivers will rebound next season. He battled through his own injuries and losses to his top receiver and running backs this year. Yes, that's the plural running backs. And I like when he screams into his helmet. We need a quarterback with passion.
ImageHere is how WWE retirement announcements work. If a guy is in the ring to open the show, he's going to retire (like Edge did). If it's teased throughout the show, he's not going to retire. Edge in attendance was just a bonus. It will be great to have Daniel Bryan back. The WWE needs him right now. Shoot, we need him right now.
ImageGreat to see Edge and Christian back on RAW on Monday. Two of the greatest in my book. Both guys got over on talent and charisma not because they were muscle-bound cartoon characters. (Looking at you, Mason Ryan.) I gravitated towards guys like Edge and Christian because they were the smartass guys who could back it up in the ring. I also get scared when I see Edge and can only believe this is where we're headed with Daniel Bryan.
Anderson was great this year. Just as we predicted in the preseason. He just looked much better than the other backs in the stable. Anderson's prospects look even brighter with the return of Peyton Manning for next season. Well, impending return. Another horrific playoff performance by Peyton could change everything.
Le'Veon Bell will be the top pick in most fantasy drafts next season. None of this should be a surprise after the season he had. But don't feel too bad if you end up with Eddie Lacy. He became a huge part of the Packers receiving game, too. He might not be at Bell's level yet. But he will continue to improve in that facet of his game.
Lamar Miller ended up with a pretty solid season. How did this happen? Seriously, how did this happen? He's not a 30-carry back. But he's a perfect third-round RB2 dude.
Tre Mason is not Zac Attack Stacy. Mason will be great next year. He really improved in all three phases of his game, but could use some more work as a receiver. No reason for concern next year.
Carlos Hyde will be the new hotness in San Francisco next year. You might even need to invest a second-round pick on him. You will be fortunate to get him in the third. They hype will be too great.
ImageMichigan is going to be good next season. Harbaugh has proven that he can turn around a college program. The Wolverines will go to a bowl next season and will put a huge scare into Ohio State right from the get-go.
ImageMy favorite thing of Week 17 was Lovie Smith and the Bucs complete tank job against the Saints to keep the No. 1 pick. Smith can pretend he wanted to evaluate younger players. But it was obvious. And I completely applaud it. My question, why did the Saints allow it? Sean Payton just gave the Bucs Marcus Mariota for the next decade. We'll see how that turns out. I could see this being a big NFL Films deal thing in 2027.
OBJ will top my WR rankings in the fall. I have no reservations about it, either. You might hear some (expletive) about "beware of the magical season" or some nonsense. Disregard that. OBJ did all of his damage in like four games. He's going to have a full offseason and training camp.
Mike Evans will have a new quarterback to work with presumably. (I know I just put Mariota in Tampa Bay, but I do have to pretend like this isn't done.) But Evans will be great despite the QB. Let's say it is, Mariota. His first order of business will be to get the ball to Evans.
Kelvin Benjamin will be good next year, too. He frustrated fantasy enthusiasts with drops and bad routes. He still has a steep learning curve. But I compare him to a young Demaryius Thomas who was raw when he arrived from Georgia Tech. But it took DT three years to put up the numbers KB did this year.
A.J. Green had a disappointing season given his ADP. But he was solid down the stretch. You will be delighted to find him much later in your drafts.
Two guys (?) got heated on Twitter about Kobe Bryant. Because why not? Things went Defcon 5 (or is Defcon 1 the worst?) and nearly spiraled out of control. Somehow the city of Temcula, Calif. got in the mix. Google it, because it's hilarious. Just not as hilarious as Kobe's response to the beef. Read it here.
This is how I'm going to respond to everything now. Don't (expletive) with the Mamba Army.
ImageNew Year's Day is going to be amazing. Or if you read this after New Year's Day; how amazing were the semi-final games of the college football playoff? I can't believe we waited so long for this.
ImageNFL Shop missed a huge marketing opportunity for Black Monday. It should give 50 percent off team merchandise if you lose your head coach. You feel bummed out about your team, but hey look, half-off fleece blankets! You know you would spend the money.
Greg Olsen was a stealthy play at tight end this season. He ranked fourth in points at the position. You didn't waste a first-round pick on him, either.
Martellus Bennett played well into October, November and December this season. He's great in September, but he is a year-round tight end.
"You can't be mad at Luck for Week 16. He got you to the championship round." That is a sentence uttered by those who know nothing about me. I can damn well be mad at Luck for Week 16. And will be.
ImageHow awkward would Papa John's relationship with Peyton Manning be if he lost his championship because of him? Would it end? Could Peyton lose his commercial sponsors? Papa John is his own boss, so he could be forgiving. The CEO of Buick? I'm not so sure. I could see Dan Ackerson super-heated about this situation. My prediction: Andy Dalton does ads for Buick next season. Maybe Joe Flacco.
Ben Roethlisberger did the majority of his damage during two six-touchdown games. So his top-10 finish is a little misleading. I do like a lot of his weapons with Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. But Le'Veon Bell will make him more of a modern-day Troy Aikman in fantasy circles. Not that it's a bad thing. You will be able to play him in spot-start situations.
You talk about attractive job openings, Chicago could be one of the best. Jay Cutler makes it one of the worst. If you had to choose between Ryan, Kap and Cutler, where would you go?
There is always one name that will surprise you when you see him on the top 10 list. Ryan Tannehill is that guy. I would rather put him on the list of players who I will never draft again. He had just three touchdowns from in Weeks 13-15. THREE! Never forget.
ImageI was out of my mind when Cesaro hit the ring and cut a promo about being buried. Finally! And then Bad News Barrett's music hit and I was freaking torn. First, that spelled doom for Cesaro. Barrett wasn't going to lose in his return bout. But it was good to have Bad News Barrett back. I'm stunned we got through an entire show without Christian or him getting hurt.
ImageJohn Cena was in a curtain-jerker match on RAW just before Christmas. That I like. But of course he had to go clean over Seth Rollins for no reason. How do we see Rollins as a credible threat if he jobs clean in a RAW opening match? Rollins is going to be champion at some point, right? Maybe have him win a match or two cleanly over the biggest name in the company? I promise you, the kids will still buy Cena wristbands if that happened.
You probably need a little bit of backstory on that last note. I was at an event for the release of a new world in Halo (or something like that). McCoy and A.J. Green chose teams and I was snubbed by the Philly running back. Snubbed! It was like elementary school football all over again! But you can't argue with the results as it really was the downfall of McCoy.
I will draft a receiver before I go with either DeMarco Murray or Marshawn Lynch. I might take a run at Murray if he remains with the Cowboys. The offensive line is great. But Lynch is going to end up with a huge contract from the Raiders and, yeah, we've seen that movie before. Spoiler alert: You will want to walkout before it ends.
I didn't forget about my pledge about Freeman. I swore to wear some John Cena shoes if Freeman failed to get 200 touches. Didn't happen. I'll make good on that if I'm asked back to NFL Fantasy Live next year.
Jeff Fisher was still the coach in St. Louis when this was published. Fans in St. Louis should be outraged. Fisher had a classic Fisher season: Failed to meet expectations but finished strong for next year.
Frank Gore should be done in San Francisco. The team won't invest the money. But he could be a guy who lands in Arizona and does some work. He still looked like he had a little bit of life left in his legs.
ImageThat's right. If you're new to this column, you know and like (or dislike) me as a Bears fan. But I grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Rams. So I hated the 49ers. Even more than the Raiders. My dad was a Bears fan and hated the 49ers, too, because of the 1980s and that rivalry was all the rage. So while me and my dad never rooted for the same team at the same time, we sports-bonded over a healthy dislike of the 49ers.
The notion rookie receivers can't compete on the NFL level is dead. For starters, the league has liberalized rules for the offense. And the SEC is throwing the football now. The wide-open SEC offenses might be the biggest reason for these young receivers doing well. And that rules everything.
Vincent Jackson will be pushed aside with a rookie quarterback. There will be room for just one guy. My guess is the new quarterback (fine, Mariota) will be infatuated with Evans. And there can be only one in this case. Jackson might even have a new home for next year, too.
We need to make a pact. We will not buy into Michael Floyd next year. He finished the year strong. We will rationalize it in our heads. But like holiday cheesecake, we'll be bummed when we bite in. It will take more than a few extra laps on the treadmill to get rid of this.
ImageI've realized for some time that I'm kind of a (expletive). I'm cool with it. So this should come as no surprise; I did kind of laugh when Josh Gordon blew up in everybody's face this year. You mean playing in the NFL isn't as easy as just rolling up in Week 11 and dominating? Noted. This might have been the highlight of my year. Even though it killed me in my keeper league? (Whatevs, I have OBJ in that league.)
How in the (expletive) did Jimmy Graham end the season with 10 touchdowns. Seems impossible. He will be a huge draft bargain next year because everybody will be burnt on him next year. Am I dreaming to think he'll be there in the fourth round?
Julius Thomas had 12 touchdowns. All of them in the first two weeks. He also ended the season with like 48 receiving yards. Though you might want to double-check those numbers.
I will slam the door in your face if show up to sell me Zach Ertz again. I won't draft a tight end if I miss out on one of the big guns early.
Antonio Gates finished second among tight ends in 2014. He had 12 touchdowns. Twelve! But he was a ghost (save one week) from Weeks 9-14 when you needed him the most.
For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 300K followers. Me? Just 14. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook (if you're RG3). And if you follow me on Sundays, I'll quote "The Wolf" from "Pulp Fiction" and then it's game on! Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to." Plus seriously people, I'm not taking your tweets after Midnight. I'm into the #HashtagWars via @Midnight. I've started to mute people who ask me questions at that time.