What we are talking about:
MVP! MVP! MVP!
Time to move on
What really went wrong
Moments after Hulk Hogan turned on Randy "Macho Man" Savage during Bash at the Beach in 1996 to form the New World Order, a gleeful Bobby "The Brain" Heenan shouted "What have I been saying all these years? What have I been saying all these years? All you humanoids can ..."
For years, Heenan had constantly pointed out Hogan's rule-breaking ways (I mean, he used a closed fist all the time which is against the rules of professional wrestling) and pointed out Hogan wasn't the good guy we all thought he was.
So the moment Heenan was finally proven correct, well, he couldn't help himself.
And that is pretty much how I felt this week when Jim Irsay came out and reiterated what I've said all these years. Peyton Manning has been one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, but he just doesn't seem to play his best when it matters most. In other words, Peyton Manning is kind of the NFL version of dating Taylor Swift. Seems great at first, but it usually ends in disastrous fashion.
Although, nobody writes songs about Manning's playoff failures. In fact, we tend to ignore Manning's playoff failures like it's a giant secret nobody is allowed to talk about. Kind of like the way nobody in Springfield talks about the name Armin Tamzarian. None of the football humanoids are allowed to point out Manning's playoff passer rating of 88.4 is way lower than his career mark of 96.7. If you point this out, you're a hater. But I won't allow Mr. Irsay to be referred to in this manner.
I have your back, Mr. Irsay. There is no need to explain yourself. Why should he? Irsay basically said he's no longer content with fantasy-like numbers; he wants more Super Bowl titles. While it's awesome for your fantasy team when Peyton Manning throws seven touchdown passes in Week 1 against the Ravens, it still doesn't erase the fact he threw the game-crippling interception to help propel Baltimore into the Super Bowl the previous January.
The big question: How does Peyton Manning respond this week? Does he go out and break the NFL single-game record he nearly broke in Week 1? Or does this game have a playoff-like feel and, well, you know how playoffs in Indianapolis (or anywhere) typically end for Manning. It's not too sweet.
And without further ado ...
If anybody should have a chip on his shoulder this week, it's Andy Luck. The Colts are going to honor Peyton before the game? Save that stuff for retirement. And retire your No. 18 Manning jersey, too. Luck led you to the playoffs last year. So go over to NFLShop.com and treat yourself to a nice No. 12 jersey. It's the New World Order in Indianapolis.
I've heard some rumblings Tom Brady should be considered for NFL MVP this year. And it's completely ridiculous. How could Brady not have success with all of those great weapons like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and a solid running game with Knowshon Moreno? There is no way Brady could fail.
Oh that's right, Brady has none of those receivers. He's been playing with a bunch of curtain-jerkers and mid-card heels and he has his team 5-1. Of course, that hasn't translated to our fantasy teams this year. And I've moved him on to the bench behind Luck in my lone keeper league. However, I would start him this week against the New York Jets based just on a hunch. I have no numbers to back it up. In fact, the numbers would probably tell me to stay away.
ImageRob Gronkowski everybody! Welcome back to the league, big guy. Oh, he should be in your lineup this week. He's going to get a touchdown this week. You don't think Tom Brady will throw to him multiple times when they get into the red zone. You know what? I'm going to change my Curt Hennig All-Stars.
The Patriots have had eight passing touchdowns in the last three road meetings with the Jets. Austin Collie was in the mix, but Julian Edelman is the Patriots receiver I would start this week. He had 13 receptions last time against the Jets. So he's clearly a PPR monster, but he's good in standard formats as well.
Terrance Williams didn't seem to fall off last week at all. He still seems like a guy you can count on going forward.
Jay Cutler has had at least 20 fantasy points in back-to-back games. He's been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in fantasy football in recent weeks. The Bears have a wonderful matchup against the Washington Redskins. He's also been careful with the football, as he hasn't thrown an interception in three of four games this year.
Washington has allowed the most fantasy points at home to quarterbacks this year. And the Redskins have allowed at least two touchdown passes in four consecutive home games. There are no guarantees. Just look at Tony Romo last week against the Redskins. But if you value consistency and matchups, Cutler is your guy.
Alshon Jeffery was cut loose in our experts' league this week. As of this writing, I have a waiver claim in for him. We'll see if I get him. The matchup is really good for receivers this week. I'm trying to figure out why he became expendable.
Alfred Morris is going to have a great game this week. The Bears have allowed the fourth-most points to running backs in the last month because injuries have devastated the team up the middle. Make sure you start running backs against the Bears because they were crushed by Brandon Jacobs last week and it should continue for some time.
Victor Cruz has an excellent matchup, too. The Vikings have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers over the last four weeks. The Vikings have allowed 13 receiving touchdowns this season, fourth-most in the league. The Vikings have also allowed at least two touchdown receptions in five of the last six games.
Going back to Freddy Morris, though, I hope you saw this story where his 1991 Mazda was completely refurbished. Love that Morris won't give up on his car. When you love a car, you should stick with it. I guess this would be a good time to also plug Chris Jacobs's "Overhaulin'" on the Velocity Channel. That's right, I watch something more than "Sons of AnarchySPOILER" on TV.
ImageRecently I put out some feelers for a new sitcom to watch. I've become a fan of "Back in the Game" if, for nothing else, because I love Jimmy Caan and Maggie Lawson. As Fantasy Professor Marcas Grant put it, the show is like "Eastbound & Down" for network TV. But I'm digging it. Plus, I'd watch anything with Jimmy Caan. Even "Las Vegas" which is probably on in syndication right as you are reading this.
Fred Jackson has been one of the most consistent running backs in fantasy football this year. A guy who was a mere afterthought in most fantasy drafts. Jackson has scored at least 10 fantasy points in five of his last six games. The Dolphins have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
All right, I guess that means you can start C.J. Spiller this week, too. And when he has a great game, trade his (expletive). Actually, don't. Spiller is going to start getting it going at some point. Right around when Jackson gets hurt again.
Cam Newton has won three of his last four home starts with 805 passing yards with seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. In those four games, he's rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Superman is indeed back.
Gordon in San Francisco would certainly match the Seahawks' move for Percy Harvin. Of course, Harvin is scheduled to begin practice next week, which is certainly good news. Pick him up if you can in your leagues.
Keenan Allen has become the No. 1 option for Philip Rivers as his targets have increased in three consecutive weeks. Allen had a touchdown against the Colts on Monday night, and he was targeted again later in the game. Allen has the Jaguars this week, who have allowed the sixth-most points to fantasy receivers over the last month.
The Jaguars have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. In fact, they've allowed a league-high 14 touchdown passes. Coincidentally, Rivers has thrown 14 touchdown passes this year. Whoa. Rivers has also thrown at least two touchdown passes in six of his last seven road games.
Reuben Randle has scored at least 13 fantasy points in back-to-back games. He's had three touchdowns in his last two games. And it's a favorable matchup against the Vikings, who have allowed 13 touchdown passes this season. But I'm flip-flopping on this guy. (See the other side.)
Harry Douglas is third on the team in targets, but the number will increase without Julio Jones. The Falcons have passed on 70 percent of their plays this year. The Bucs have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers in back-to-back weeks. Douglas has 27 targets this season and had a touchdown the last time they played the Bucs.
Mike Glennon is again a sleeper in some of the deeper leagues. I went 2-0 with the kid last week. He's got the Falcons, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points at home to quarterbacks this season. Atlanta has allowed eight touchdown passes in three home games this year. And Geno Smith was one of those guys.
Vincent Jackson leads all active players with an average of 17.7 yards per reception. The receiver certainly made a connection with young Glennon.
The No. 2 guy to own in Tampa Bay is tight end Timothy Wright. He was a favorite of Glennon the last two weeks and he's got a great matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points at home to tight ends. Wright has the most receptions among all Bucs' receivers in the last two games (12).
Hold the phone, everybody. Antong Chen from the comment section refuses to let me have any fun and was upset I had Seabass as my kicker. So I'm going to take out Seabass and will add another fellow baldy, Phil Dawson. Happy, Antong?
ImageLet's pour one out for actor Ed Lauter. He's one of those character actors who you've seen in a million films. He was of course in the original and the remake of the "Longest Yard" where he was awesome. But I really liked him in an underrated role as the football coach in "Not Another Teen Movie" where he skewered the genre. I'm going to watch "Real Genius" in his honor, and every popular '80s TV show. Damn, he was also in "Gleaming the Cube" too. Just look at his IMDB page. It's amazing.
Colin Kaepernick has scored fewer than 16 fantasy points in six consecutive games. Even though he had two sweet touchdown bombs to Davis. Here's the rub with him. As long as the 49ers continue to win with a conservative game plan, they're going to keep him under wraps. I imagine we're going to see the running Kaepernick once the playoffs start.
Seriously, Kaepernick is like a bottle of Scotch you need to hide when you're having a party. Yes, everybody can get loaded on the Coors Light or other such hooch while the party is going on. You don't break out the good stuff until it's just you and your eight buddies at the end of the night by the fire. And that's what Jim Harbaugh has done with the 49ers this year.
But seriously, do you want to know how upset I'm going to be when Kaepernick has like six rushing touchdowns in the playoffs? The word you will be looking for is livid.
If you want more numbers, the Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this season with less than 16 fantasy points from quarterbacks in six consecutive games. In fact, they've allowed more than 300 pass yards only once in the last 16 games.
CJ "No Fantasy Points" K is not somebody to start this week. (I'm talking Chris Johnson if you're a touch confused.) The 49ers allow the ninth-most fantasy points to rushers, but I don't care. Johnson has scored less than 10 fantasy points in five of his last six games. And the 49ers have allowed less than 100 rushing yards in six of their last eight road games.
But this just seems like a game where Johnson comes out and ruins us by going big, right? I won't advise against people playing crazy hunches. But he won't be in my lineup. Mainly because I didn't draft him. Not trying to pile on, but how did you not see this coming? I get blinded by guys, too. I'm the dude who took Steven Jackson because I thought he would be the fantasy MVP this year. So I obviously can't cast stones. But I do like to point out Chris Johnson because it does make me feel better about my Jackson pick.
Great Caesar's Ghost, outside of Forte, there doesn't seem to be a second-round fantasy running back that has done really well.
If I had to do it all over again, I would start Stevan Ridley last week. Why? Because I'd have access to the (expletive) future. I whiffed on that one. Ridley was the goods against the Saints. I don't like the matchup against the Jets this week, as they've allowed the third-fewest rushing yards to RBs this year.
I was going to start Randle on my fantasy team, and I thought better of it after reading all of those things. Did you know most of Eli Manning's interceptions have come when he's looking for Randle? I was going to start him over Larry Fitzgerald. I've penned this section before the game, so I'm not sure if it worked out for me or not. Who knows, I might have changed my mind and put him in. But it was tough watching Fitzgerald score all of those points last week on the bench (though, I had Allen in for him).
I've already changed my mind. On mid-Thursday morning, I went back to Randle. It's in the NFL AM League where I've kind of mailed it in anyway, so I just went with the crazy play. It's like going to a casino night and playing with fake money, so it's all good. Not going to lose too much sleep over it.
ImageUPDATE: I'm rather pleased I went with Randle. Well, I feel good about it right now. Those Thursday night games can be a bummer, unless you went with Russell Wilson. Time to put him in a permanent starting role for the coming future.
At what point will we see Drew Stanton in Arizona? Bruce Arians was pretty pleased with the acquisition even before they traded for Carson Palmer. But Palmer has struggled for most of the season. Even in the wins, the Cardinals have looked rather pedestrian on offense. And seriously, I can't believe I'm advocating Stanton here.
Speaking of former Bucs, Josh Freeman isn't in my top ten, but I'd certainly play him ahead of guys like Eli Manning, Joe Flacco or even Ben Roethlisberger. Freeman isn't that far away from being a spot-starter. And really, if you've been stung at your quarterback position, Freeman is worth considering.
The one thing about Freeman is he will have the chip on his shoulder. He knows if he can play well enough, he could get Greg Schiano fired. Hate is a powerful motivating tool. Talk to me on Sunday and I will probably have Freeman as one of my starters. In fact, I might go look at my rosters right now.
Don't feel too badly for Schiano. San Diego State will certainly welcome him next year when he becomes available. Or maybe even Boise State if Chris Petersen ever takes the money and moves on to USC.
This bums me out. We might not be able to start Jordy Nelson this week. On one hand, you drafted him to be your No. 3 receiver. Maybe your No. 2 in some very deep leagues. But he's going to likely be locked up with Joe Haden. This isn't a matchup I would prefer. I would still start him over guys like Hakeem Nicks, Anquan Boldin and say, Greg Jennings.
Dwayne Bowe is still on your roster? May I ask why? I can ask? So, uh, why is he still on your roster? Bowe has now had fewer than 80 receiving yards in 15 consecutive games. He's made up for it with just two touchdowns over the stretch. If you have a chance to pick up somebody better, go ahead and do it.
Steve Smith has been the incumbent for too long in Carolina. But now I believe it's time to enact term limits to your fantasy starters. It's easy to rely on the familiar names, but sometimes you need to break the mold.
Smith continued to be a fantasy disappointment. He has scored fewer than nine fantasy points in four consecutive games. He's had fewer than 75 receiving yards in eight consecutive games. The explosion just hasn't been there. He's had no receptions of more than 25 yards in eight of his last nine.
Tavon Austin scored four last week. Oh wait, he was in on just four plays. I resisted the Austin-hype for most of the offseason. I got caught up in a few matchups earlier this year, but this is clearly a situation to avoid. And yet, Brian Schottenheimer has a job. I guess this is a testament to how beloved Marty must still be. Speaking of which, Marty would have the Bucs winning right now. There is no doubt in my mind he could do it.
The Panthers have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year. Austin himself has scored less than five points in five of the last six games, and hasn't scored a touchdown in four. I was just about ready to come around on him, but forget it.
Another Austin I would be happy to do without is Miles Austin. He was passed up by Terrance Williams last week (no wait, I like Williams). But if you want to play Austin this week, fine. Do what you have to do. But don't come running to me when he blows his hamstring again. Oops, should have given up a spoiler alert.
ImageSpeaking of spoiler alerts; be sure to catch "The Soup Investigates." I talked about that over in the likes. But here's the thing, I might have spoiled "Homeland" for some staffers around here. Yeah, we're in the third season. Speaking of the third season, I'm going to give this one more episode. This last one was interesting, but it seems like the show has kind of lost its way. Maybe the show runners should have done something similar to what they did with "The Wire" and every season was kind of different. Because they are trying way too hard to mine this Carrie/Brody storyline through three seasons.
The good news for the third episode, no Dana! That was pretty cool. And I was fascinated by the idea of squatters in some of these abandoned buildings, but that's where it ends. "Homeland" pushed its luck with some of the storylines last year (pacemaker?), so they don't have a lot of room to operate here. There are many demands for my viewing time. But the small win of no Dana keeps me around.
The Panthers defense is no joke. (That's right, I just jumped right back in.) The Panthers allow the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. With just four touchdown passes, that's tied for the fewest in the league. If you have ridden Sam Bradford in recent weeks, this is a good time to put him on the bench.
Thank you to all of you who have put in a submission for the movie dislike of the week. I really do appreciate it. And seriously, IMDB, you should consider a sponsorship. This week, I really do aim to take down "Showgirls". Because there is one thing that bugs me about "Showgirls".
ImageAll right, Nomi Malone gets a gig as a dancing girl at the Stardust. And then she must meet with HR to fill out some paperwork. Cue the overacting, because apparently Nomi has a past she doesn't want anybody to know about. So when she meets with the HR rep, she says she doesn't remember her social security number or have a copy of it. And the HR rep says no big deal. In what world is this no big deal? No big-time corporation is going to let a person work without proper documentation. Just to be sure, I called Boyd Gaming (who owned the Stardust) to see if they would let somebody work (even in entertainment) without a social security card. I was told, and I quote, "no chance." This isn't possible. Sorry "Showgirls", this movie is now ruined for me forever.
Another guy I steered clear of during drafts this year was Andre Johnson. The Chiefs have allowed just five touchdowns this season (third-fewest in the NFL). Johnson has had fewer than 15 fantasy points in each game this year. Johnson hasn't scored a touchdown in eight consecutive games, or 11 of his last 12. Don't be the guy at the roulette wheel who keeps betting red because you think it's bound to come up soon.
DeAndre Hopkins is another guy who suffers here with Case Keenum at quarterback. Hopkins is still worth a roster spot, though. I understand he might not be a good start this week going up against Kansas City and all. However, this is a good football move for the Texans. Kennum will probably continue to start for the rest of the season and he could start to see some success like Glennon and Foles have.
I'm going to be very sad for those who added Joseph Fauria this week after he scored three touchdowns. Like the dude's dance moves. He's creative. I mean, after this third one, he had no idea what to do with himself. But he did this at UCLA, where he just scored touchdowns and nothing else.
Well, I'm happy to have Gronk back in the fold. The excitement for Gronk is only matched by the excitement I once held for Star Wars Episode I. Or as I like to call it, (expletive) Star Wars Episode I. Oh man, I hope we aren't let down by Gronk like we were when that hot garbage was released. But I will continue to remain positive about Gronk. The Patriots are starting to get hot right at the right time. They seem to play better when the weather is cooler.
ImageAnd then the weather will have cooled down in Denver, too. It's cool to do well early in the season. Especially for us fantasy enthusiasts. But watch, as the season rolls on, you will see Jim Irsay has a point.
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 100,000 followers, and Fabiano has 100,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to. Also be sure to catch the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program."