What we are talking about:
Moving towards QB1
Want to believe the hype
Prepare yourself; he's winning
Oh man, I hate it when my DVR gets near capacity. That means it's time to delete some shows we never got around to (sorry, "Undatable" but I think we're better off seeing other shows), and some binge watching of shows we actually like, but have fallen way behind on. I mean, we need the space for "Hard Knocks" already!
I hope you'll forgive me if I've been a bit behind on my recent "Big Brother" viewing. (And if you're not hip to "Big Brother" and think I should just stick to the fantasy football, then you should totally go down and make mention of it in the comments section because I clearly care. I mean, you were so outraged by my defense of Andy Dalton last week, I have no recourse but to open with 800 words on "Big Brother". And that's right, it's 800 words. (I have Microsoft Word and I know how to use it.)
All of that being said; I've been blessed to be witness to some of the greatest moments in sports history. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when Boise State knocked off Oklahoma. Adam Vinatieri and the New England Patriots knocking off the St. Louis FC in Super Bowl XXXVI. Scott Spiezio and his dramatic homerun in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series which kick-started the Angels' rally. But I don't think I've ever seen anything like I saw when Frankie Grande won a recent "battle of the block" competition.
(Before you ask, yes, Frankie Grande is the same YouTube sensation and brother of pop singer Ariana Grande.)
If you haven't watched "Big Brother" this is going to be hard to explain, but I'm going to give it a shot here. Frankie had kind of alienated many of the folks in his alliance. So when he and Caleb were picked to compete together in the "battle of the block" he figured he was cool. Except Caleb, the self-professed Beastmode Cowboy* of BB, was going to throw the competition. However, Frankie was able to read the simpleton Caleb before the game and tried to persuade him not to throw the comp for two reasons. The first, they would win immunity for the week if they win, duh. The second, they were competing for a chance to have a tailgate party prior to the Thursday night Ravens vs. Steelers game in Week 2 of the NFL season, which will been seen on CBS and NFL Network. (I know, "Big Brother" used a skills comp to promote "Thursday Night Football"! Can I get some relief?)
But Caleb instead called out Frankie in front of all the other house guests and the world. Caleb called him all sorts of names before he sat crisscross apple-sauce on the field (like CM Punk on the ramp at the Thomas & Mack the night of his infamous "Pipe Bomb") to leave poor Frankie to fend for himself in this two-person game.
Can you imagine this happening in professional sports? Like if a player ran out of the tunnel just prior to the Super Bowl and then said, "You know, I don't like my quarterback, so I'm just going to sit this game out and let you fend for yourself." And before you even bring it up, I do not believe Eric Decker did this in the Super Bowl, though it might have just seemed that way.
So, it looked pretty grim for Frankie, who was obviously rattled by all of this. Sure he had kind of made other alliances with people, but this is "Big Brother." People do that kind of stuff all of the time. In the game, Frankie started slow, I mean, this was a team game and he was left on his own. But then something truly amazing happened. Frankie somehow managed to rally to win the thing, which seemed impossible just moments ago. Honestly, I've watched a lot of sports over the years (and game shows), this was truly amazing.
Frankie has certainly worked his way into the top five of the best "Big Brother" contestants of all-time. If I'm spit-ballin' here, I'd go Dr. Will, Janelle, Dan and Evil Dick as my other four. Britney and Jordan probably need to get a look, too.
All right, for all of your "Big Brother" fans who have stuck with me, I appreciate it. Don't feed the trolls who have skipped over this thing entirely and jumped to the comment sections to talk about how stupid reality TV shows are (but playing games based on the statistics of players is completely normal). All right, let's go to the fantasy football.
Let's proceed in what our homepage editor Patrick Crawley called the best use of a soap box in world history. Or something like that.
And without further ado ...
We live in a society where we are really put out by the five-second pre-roll commercial of the YouTube video we want to see. Can you expect us to sit here for weeks to see the QBs we've waited so long for?
That would be akin to getting a copy of Madden NFL 15, and then not playing it for an entire year because you want to really prepare for it. Nobody does that. You jump in and just start playing right away.
Jay Cutler is going to be the steal of the season if you grab him in the 10th round as his ADP suggests.
Cutler has a reputation for being oft-injured. But he's started at least 10 games every season since 2006. He's started at least 15 games five out of his last seven seasons. Honestly, the 2010 NFC Championship Game still rubs people the wrong way. That has to be it.
And for those who believe Manning can't throw 50 touchdowns "just because," well, that's a dangerous way to think. We're in a new era of NFL offenses, plus Manning has made the rounds to promote his video and has said the Super Bowl is a huge motivator.
Peyton Manning has thrown for at least 4,500 yards and 33 touchdown passes in the last four seasons he's played.
I fully endorse the idea of joint practices and scrimmages. Especially out here in L.A. where this is as close as we get to pro football. L.A. Kiss notwithstanding.
I'm surprised the Arena League hasn't caught on as a fully-endorsed NFL training ground. At least for quarterbacks. Kurt Warner came out of the AFL. That should be good enough for at least one team to try to mine the league for talent. And for as much as Tim Tebow talks about wanting to get back into the league, the AFL would be a fine place to start.
Kurt Warner needs to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, too. I know I'm probably a little late to the part for this one, but my "must-induct" guys for the 2015 class would include Warner, Junior Seau, Charles Haley, Orlando Pace and Kenny Washington. I'd never induct Paul Tagliabue until a franchise returns to L.A. Even then, he doesn't deserve it. Yes, I'm still rather bitter.
Jamaal Charles led the NFL with 1,980 scrimmage yards last year and scored at least once in 12 of the 15 games he played. He scored 11 times in Weeks 12-16, fantasy crunch time.
Zac Stacy was a member of 22.74 percent of championship teams last year, the fourth-most of any player and second behind Charles. Yet, people have undervalued him.
DeMarco Murray ranked third with 123.7 scrimmage yards-per-game over the last seven weeks of the fantasy season. His seven total touchdowns ranked second to Charles over that stretch.
Shane Vereen led fantasy running backs with 40 receptions for 369 yards over the last seven weeks of the 2013 season.
Around the League's Chris Wessling compared Ingram favorably to Ryan Mathews who rose from the fantasy ashes last year to have a productive season.
Chris Ivory averaged 5.58 yards-per-carry from Weeks 9-17 in 2013, second-highest total behind Charles. He had 603 yards and three touchdowns during that stretch.
Toby Gerhart has averaged 68 rushing-yards-per-game in six career starts. That is better than a number of big-time backs, including Bell.
Roddy White had an awful fantasy season in 2013. But there is reason for hope. White finished among the top five in targets (60), receptions (43) and yards (502) in December.
ImageJason Cole of the Bleacher Report made an interesting point about Josh Gordon. If you look back to Ricky Williams about a decade ago, he was able to beat a drug suspension because of a weird B-sample. I get the feeling we could get a similar verdict when it comes to Gordon.
You almost get the feeling, because of some other unpopular suspensions this season; Gordon might just get away with this. Or at the very least, get a lesser suspension. If you have him in a keeper league, or if you're doing a draft right now, you might as well roll the dice.
Thomas will challenge Randy Moss for the single-season record for touchdown receptions. This just feels like a big year for Denver. Peyton has talked at length about how the Super Bowl loss has motivated him.
Cordarrelle Patterson had six scrimmage touchdowns in his last five games. His three rush touchdowns were the highest total among receivers. His ADP is the fifth-round for now.
You can unearth some great players in the late rounds so take it seriously during drafts. If you're doing your draft right now, you're better off going for a kicker and defense to load up on a few receivers through the end of preseason/training camp.
ImageI'm finally starting to feel SummerSlam. I had felt flat about it, but I guess some of that has to do with the roster. CM Punk is never walking through that door again. Daniel Bryan looks like this generation's version of Edge, I fear. Cesaro puts on stellar matches. While Brandon Stroud does a great job of point out the big picture, it still bums me out when he loses. But credit to Paul Heyman and his promos for Brock Lesnar. You can't help but feel fired up for the event. Heyman has done a great job on RAW in real newspaper interviews to make a Lesnar-title reign seem like a really, really good idea.
ImageRoman Reigns on Sports Nation was really, really good. What a great talker he is. But the problem is the WWE nuked his momentum from The Shield split and now he's just kind of floundering around. I would have given him the strap sooner rather than later. Don't give me the "he's not ready." Batista wasn't "ready" and he did well when he was pushed through the roof. Besides, the WWE needs to cash in before he goes on to Hollywood, like the Rock.
DeAndre Hopkins is a great ADP value (11th) round, but there are concerns about his quarterback. Valid concerns because Hopkins dropped off the map once the Texans started messing with their quarterbacks. But then I remember Josh Gordon put up massive points with a bunch of curtain-jerkers who would be the NFL equivalent of Alex Riley, so there's that.
ImageThere really isn't much to add about the passing of Robin Williams this week. This one really hit home. I remember my mom allowed me to rent his standup special one time. She figured Mork would be harmless fun. But Williams worked a little blue. I learned a lot that night, even if my mom was mortified. I've YouTube'd a bunch of his stuff. Here is a collection of his best stuff with "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. Rest. In. Peace.
Besides, both of the rookies have looked rather impressive when given the chance. Manziel still looks down receivers a bit much, and there will be growing pains. But get these guys on the field right now.
I mean, will you open up your copy of Madden NFL 15 and start playing right away? Or will you pick up the guide and study for weeks or maybe even a year before you start playing? We are all players, man!
Robert Griffin III is going off the board as the ninth QB, typically in the eighth-round. Way too risky.
RG3 has been able to live off his reputation of the first six games of his NFL career when he ran for six touchdowns. He's had one rushing touchdown since. He had just 16 touchdown passes last season. But he's living off those first six games from 2012. But he likes comic books!
Tony Romo is a better fantasy quarterback than people give him credit for. He finished 10th in fantasy points among QBs in 2013. He's had at least a touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games. But there is no way I can feel comfortable with him this year.
The big reason is the back surgery. It's something that has felled a ton of great athletes at the peak of their game. Guys like Larry Bird, Mario Lemieux and the Heart Break Kid Shawn Michaels were done in by back injuries. It's kind of sad.
Magic Johnson said he envisions an NFL team playing in Los Angeles in the next two years. Wow, I've never heard that before. Ever!
ImageThe Raiders are oft-rumored to return to Los Angeles. How about we don't do that? The Raiders belong in Oakland. The two are synonymous and it would be a shame to break them apart. And don't even think about San Antonio, either. Keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Chargers in San Diego. And if it's not the Rams, don't even bother with a franchise in L.A.
ImageAnd for the record, Raider Nation is truly the only "nation" in the sports word. They were the first to coin the phrase and it's rather accurate considering the team still draws well despite not playing well over the past decade. So stop embarrassing yourself Steelers Nation, Red Sox Nation and Marina High School Vikings Nation. (Actually, you're cool MHS.)
Steven Jackson has rushed for fewer than 85 yards in 17 consecutive games. That includes 12 games in 2013 with Atlanta. And yes, I said he was going to be the fantasy MVP last year.
Doug Martin had one touchdown in 139 touches last season. He scored 12 times on 368 touches as a rookie. He's also got a pretty bad offensive line in front of him, so be wary.
Ray Rice averaged a career-low 3.1 yards-per-carry last season, which was below his 4.5 career average. His 214 carries and 58 receptions were also the lowest of his career since 2008.
It's strange to me, folks flat-out refused to take Michael Vick after he returned to the league. But folks seem to draft Rice with no crisis of conscience at all.
Arian Foster scored two touchdowns in eight games played last year. That's just one in every 72 touches. Now his beloved zone-blocking scheme is in Baltimore, where it might help Pierce.
Trent Richardson rushed for at least 70 yards seven times during his first 12 games of his career. His single-game best is 64 yards since that time.
Bills GM Doug Whaley said that nobody has called to inquire about a possible trade for Spiller. After having Spiller on my fantasy teams last year, yeah, been there man.
Don't bother going to the Google, either. Venus de Milo is the Greek statue without any arms. Yes, I'm as surprised as you that an NFL offensive line coach made such a reference.
It's like the scene in "The Rock", when Stanley Goodspeed understands John Mason's quote. You can almost hear Connery say, "An educated man. That rules out being a line coach." But then you recall Goodspeed turned out to be a badass.
Gerhart's YPG average as a starter would also best that of Knowshon Moreno, Johnson and Spiller. Don't sleep on my boys from Duval County. I'm telling you.
I would pass Montee Ball in the second round to take a top-tier receiver and then target Ellington. Ball is in just his second season, but he lost the gig outright last year and it always seems to be something with him.
Fitzgerald has a very similar value to Wes Welker if you sample most ADP sites around the interwebs. I'd take a chance on Fitz in the fifth round. But Welker is somebody I would avoid all together. All of those receiving options in Denver will pass Welker this season.
Marques Colston has scored one total touchdown in his last 12 road games. But he has 12 touchdowns in his last 14 home games. He's just too wildly inconsistent. I'll roll with Cooks.
Percy Harvin has an ADP of 57th overall, which would put him in the sixth round. He's missed 22 games because of injury since 2012. He does have some skills, though. He's scored 12 total touchdowns in his last 17 games (nine receiving, two rushing, and one on a return).
Michael Crabtree has no TDs and has averaged less than 35 yards-per-game in nine September games. And now he's battling hamstring injuries so expect another slow start.
The thing to remember with Crabtree is he's never played a September game with Kaepernick as his starting quarterback. Still, hamstring injuries are the kind of things that tend to linger, especially with receivers. Miles Austin anyone?
If I needed to pick one between Crabtree and Harvin, I'd lean towards Harvin because of the upside. What's weird is Crabtree's ADP is higher than Harvin's. Which I don't get.
Terrance Williams had a touchdown catch in five of his six games from Week 5-10. He didn't score a touchdown from Week 11-19.
Steve Smith is a familiar name, and somebody we all like. But he has been held below 75 yards in 18 consecutive games.
And it pains me to say this because Smith was a friend of the program. But then again, he's a Los Angeles Clippers fan, so I don't feel too bad about it.
ImageCongratulations to the Clippers and the end of their ownership nightmare. But dude, have you seen Steve Ballmer's record at Microsoft? Why don't you look that up on your Kin? Don't remember what Kin was? Why don't you use Bing to look it up?
I was stoked on Jeremy Maclin earlier in the offseason, mostly because of Kelly's innovations. Maclin is one of nine players in NFL history with at least 55 receptions and 750 yards in each of his four seasons. But injuries, man. Too hard to trust him.
ImageThe thing that bums me out about SummerSlam is John Cena is going to win this thing. Yes, I just explained earlier, Heyman has made a lot of cogent points as to why a Lesnar-title reign makes a lot of sense. But that's just it. Lesnar as champion does make sense. But sometimes the WWE does things a little differently than most of us fantasy bookers on the interim believe would be "best for business." So that is why I'm going out on the most-stable of limbs to say Cena wins the title to conquer the beast. And I'm not just saying this as a defense mechanism, either. I really believe it's going to happen this way.
ImageWhen Heyman built up Lesnar prior to his match with The Undertaker, we all kind of dismissed him with a wanking motion, as none of us believed Lesnar stood a chance. He was just another obstacle for Taker, who we figured would retire with a perfect 25-0 mark. But Lesnar broke the streak, and we were all stunned. So now when Heyman builds up Lesnar to beat John Cena, we believe it can really happen. Which will make it just as shocking when Cena ends up winning.
Tim Tebow said this week that he's the best quarterback he's ever been in his life. But that's still not very good, though.
All right, that might be a shot at Tim Tebow. But I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just saying he's not very good at playing quarterback when compared to other NFL quarterbacks. Well, not you Blaine Gabbert. What's funny to me is folks always point out Tebow's huge win over the Steelers in the playoffs. And it was amazing. Yet, those same folks never note how he was exposed the following week by the Patriots. But even saying all of that, I must ask; can he not at least get a chance with the Texans?
If for no other reason. No other reason; it would put the Tim Tebow thing to rest once and for all. Maybe.
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 120,000 followers, and Fabiano has 150,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. And if you follow him on Sundays, he'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.