What we are talking about:
He is going to win your week
Don't jump off just yet
There aren't many regrets in my life. I mean, I wish I had tried to walk-on as a scout-team quarterback at Cal State Fullerton. I wish I had flown to New York for the Angels' divisional round matchup against the Yankees in 2002 (though I didn't miss a single home game during that playoff run). And I kind of wish I had tried to chat up Tiffani Amber Thiessen when she laughed at one of my jokes at a Kings game back in the early 2000s.
This is a true story. I said something hilarious (don't make that face, it happens), she turned around, smiled and laughed. And then I did nothing. But come to think of that, what would I have done had I been able to capitalize on the laugh and look back Tiffani gave me? Seriously, would I have been able to date her?
What was I going to do, pull up in my beat-up Honda Civic wearing the ill-fitting clothes I bought at TJ Maxx as we headed out for a nice dinner at CPK? She was one of the biggest stars of our childhood! What would the end game have been? At least now I can pretend I would have been smooth enough to pull that off (which I wasn't). The same way I can pretend I would have won the CSF starter's job and ended up as the backup to Tom Brady during the 2000s.
The point is; I don't have too many regrets. At least not real ones. Or should I say realistic ones. But I'm starting to regret not going after Drew Brees or Peyton Manning in all of my leagues in the second round. We preached all year to wait on a quarterback and it might have worked out pretty well for you. Well, if you grabbed Michael Vick. Or picked up Philip Rivers on the waiver wire. (And headed into this week, 50 percent of us had not done that.)
But I pulled out my roster in the experts' league and this is what I'm likely to roll with on Sunday.
Not a bad team at all. Steven Jackson and Roddy White are out for me. I obviously would have stayed with Charles. But can you see how much better my team would have been if I had gone with Brees or Manning in this instance? It's a lot more impressive, right? Because even though I like Tony Romo this week, I'd feel a lot better with Manning headed into this week against Akbar.
This team kind of stinks. How much better does that roster get with Brees and Manning? Or even Aaron Rodgers who I've completely omitted because I had him third. But again, I was victimized by Steven Jackson here. Of course, had I been able to take Matt Forte in either draft (Matt "Money" Smith took him in the first-round of our experts' league, and Frank H. grabbed him just in front of me in my League of Record), things would be different.
But the lesson here is the elite quarterbacks need to go in the second round. A lot of you already do that, but I feel it should be reiterated. Now if somebody could just send me a good quarterback.
Let's move on in this column voted "Best Use of a Soap Box" by our esteemed homepage editor, Patrick Crawley.
Likes and dislikes are in bold, for those of you who don't want to take the 88 minutes required to read this column. (But it's Friday: What better way to cruise through it than by checking out my thoughts on fantasy football, comic books, wrestling, TV and music?) Facebook doesn't give you the option to dislike stuff, but I certainly do.
And without further ado ...
Michael Vick has played really well against division opponents. He has won 10 of his last 12 games against the NFC East with a passer rating close to 100. The Giants have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to fantasy quarterbacks this year. The Giants have also allowed a league-high 10 touchdown passes.
Drew Brees leads the NFL with 35,005 passing yards and 254 touchdowns since he joined the Saints in 2006. I know I like to bash A.J. Smith a lot for this, so I will continue to do so. I'm serious, if the Chargers had drafted Larry Fitzgerald in 2004 as I implored them to on NFL.com back then, we'd be looking at a juggernaut that would still be viable to this day. Especially if they had kept Darren Sproles, too.
There isn't a bigger monster in the NFL right now than Jimmy Graham. Our Dave Dameshek said Graham was a first-round draft pick this year, and while I initially scoffed, he's been proven correct.
And as a reminder, Jimmy Graham didn't make NFL Network's Top 100 Players for 2013 list. Of course, that list was voted on by the players. But they did a good job with Rob Gronkowski, though. Seriously, Graham might one of the top 10 players in the NFL right now, let alone 100. The players are paying for it right now.
Matthew Stafford had a subtle jab at Peyton Manning on Tuesday. "It's awesome. I'm happy for him. He's a great player. One of the best, if not the best, quarterback of all time and a guy that growing up I watched and really tried to study his game as much as you can." Notice he said, "Watched growing up." And a subtle reading between the lines, you can almost see him infer "yeah, Peyton's great but he has just one more Super Bowl ring than me. And he's old."
Reggie Bush ranks second in the NFL with 144.3 scrimmage yards per game. He rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown last week to go along with 34 receiving yards. The whole "he doesn't run between the tackles" (expletive) is a myth. And if somebody tries to "sell high" on him in your league, take the person to the cleaners.
Don't look now, but Tony Romo has scored more than 19 fantasy points in back-to-back games. He has eight touchdowns with just two turnovers this year.
Danny Amendola should be in your lineup as soon as he plays. He immediately becomes the top receiver from New England to have. I figure nobody in your league dropped Amendola, but can you do me a favor and at least check your waiver wire right now? I'd appreciate it. Don't worry, I'll wait.
Not there, huh? Oh well, it's always worth a look. Sometimes people get jammed with bye weeks and they have to release guys like Amendola, so it's worth it to check. You should also check your wire on Wednesday mornings to see who has been dropped. Don't feel bad, I'm terrible about doing it, too. But let's try to make this a habit.
The Seahawks have won nine consecutive games and should be in the conversation for best football team in the world. Though the honor seems to go exclusively to the Denver Broncos. Super Scout Daniel Jeremiah joined us on the Dave Dameshek Football Program to say two teams could provide a tough matchup for the Broncos. Those teams are the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs.
Russell Wilson has been a pain because he's been great in real football. Not so much in fantasy football. I wonder if there is a way to make this translate to the fantasy game. Two possible rule changes which would help. A pick six gives back six points on your fantasy team. That would be awesome. Quarterbacks who win get a five-point bonus. Not sure if five is too many, but it would help to discourage fantasy quarterbacks who rack up points in garbage-time blowouts.
Wilson has 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions and a 114.4 passer rating in six games against the AFC. The Colts have been tough on fantasy quarterbacks this season, but I'm still confident in Wilson. Look at what Terrelle Pryor did to the Colts defense in Week 1. Wilson has better support with the ground game, so the confidence, it's high.
This week's "Stop Tripping" player to spotlight light is Ray Rice. Yes, the Ravens ignored the run game against the Bills which means we're going to get an overcorrection this week. The Ravens will see what the Saints did to the Dolphins on Monday night and attack them accordingly, with some swing passes out of the backfield.
I kind of dig what Harbaugh did with the pass against the Bills, though. Look, I play a lot of Madden and I love to throw the football and often run it as few as nine times, too. But when it comes to the NCAA game, I really do like to pound the rock.
The first "Stop Tripping" player of the year was Eric Decker. Now he's carried my experts' league team in recent weeks. Him and Jordy Nelson have stepped in admirably where Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald have faltered. In fact, I only start Fitzgerald ahead of Lamar Miller on that team this week, otherwise he would sit behind Decker and Jordy Nelson on my team.
ImageI compared Decker, Thomas and Welker to The Shield in the WWE. But I actually root for The Shield. The feud with Goldust and Cody Rhodes has been fantastic. It's like the WWE refuses to mess up mid-card feuds. Like they are the co-workers who get to operate without the overbearing boss looking over their shoulder. The Rhodes and the Shield just get to go out and be awesome. But the WWE can't be content with letting Daniel Bryan being the super rad, so now we've got to merge the title feud with a reality TV show.
ImageThe WWE had the right idea when it had Fandango interact with the red-headed girl who was in Maxim. (Sorry, you haven't done enough in the ring to make me learn your name, yet.) That could have been the storyline you played out of there. Maybe have Summer Rae beat her down or something. The WWE title should not be involved here.
Victor Cruz has 22 catches for 399 yards and five touchdowns in four career meetings against the Eagles. And let's be honest, the Eagles haven't been able to stop anybody. The Eagles have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this year. They've also allowed a lot of points to quarterbacks, too. But I wouldn't be as confident with Eli Manning. You can start him. He's going to rebound eventually. However, the quarterback position has so much depth.
ImageSpeaking of that, big props to the Atlanta Braves who wanted Sid Bream to throw out a pitch if the two teams hook up in the NL playoffs. That's just awesome. Bream, of course, turned them down. But it's nice just to be asked.
ImageKate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated with B.J. and Justin Upton was stroke of brilliance. I love it. Seems kind of like in professional wrestling where they would try to pass off Kate as a long, lost sister. Like baseball's version of the Dudley Boyz. (And yes, they will always be the Dudley Boyz, I don't care how many motorcycle gangs they join.)
ImageSpeaking of motorcycle gangs, if there is a better show on TV than "Sons of Anarchy" I certainly haven't seen it. I like "Homeland" and I'm about embark on "Boardwalk Empire" soon, but nothing comes close to "Sons of Anarchy" right now. And most of you are too emotional about "Breaking Bad" right now to have a rational conversation about it, so I'm going to let that one simmer. But the writing on "SOA" has been nothing short of brilliant.
Image"Sons of Anarchy" SPOILER. I'm not even going to bold the names so you are caught off guard. But damn, I was both shocked and bummed Donal Longue won't be around for the rest of the season. Figured he would harangue the club until the very end. And on that note, I figured Otto would be the only one left standing when the series concluded at the end of next season. Let's also show some respect for Phil. I was excited for this guy.
Maurice Jones-Drew has 465 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in his last five games against the NFC.
Pick up for the future alert: Andre Ellington. Just think kindly of me when he starts for you later in the year.
LeGarrette Blount isn't a terrible option if you are really hurting for a running back. You know who you are. Besides, Ridley didn't practice on Friday, which is not a good sign.
I don't want to turn the lights out on the Colin Kaepernick bandwagon. I still like him very much. I will take a quarterback who does well in real life and doesn't have it transition to fantasy. Because that will change very soon.
I have Kaepernick as my No. 12 quarterback this week, and that just speaks to the depth at the position. There are guys who I just like a little bit better. He's just ahead Andrew Luck right now, who is currently my No. 13. So these guys are just on the outside of 10-team leagues. You might start both guys in 12-team leagues but you need to be careful of the matchups.
Kaepernick is poised for a breakout soon, though. The 49ers have handed off the ball an average of 32 times in two wins this year. That number drops significantly into the teens in the 49ers' losses. So the team will run the ball more and when the team does that efficiently, that will make Kaepernick much more efficient. Of course, he was solid against St. Louis, but it just didn't translate into fantasy points. I fear something similar this week against Houston, which is why he's No. 12.
I'm not down with Dwayne Bowe. He has ranked 46th among fantasy receivers this season. He has had fewer than 12 fantasy points in each game this season. He's had less than 80 receiving yards in 13 consecutive games. He has only scored two touchdowns in his last 13 games.
If that wasn't enough to keep you off Dwayne Bowe, understand how good the Titans defense is. The Titans have allowed the sixth-fewest points to fantasy receivers. But what's more important here is the matchup. The Titans are tied for third in the league with 14 sacks this year. That means the Titans are getting to the quarterback. Which means more dump-offs for Smith, which means less chances down the field. And stay with me here, it's less chances for Bowe.
BTW, a lot of you kids continue to call him CJ2K on Twitter. Let's stop with that. He's ceased to be 2K in quite some time. He's a nice kid, but his 2,000 rushing yards seems like such a long time ago. In fact, he's had more than 100 rushing yards just once in his last 10 games. He's also had fewer than 10 fantasy points in each game this season.
Johnson said this week he doesn't mind not being the team's top goal-line back. Well guess what? I certainly mind.
Here's his quote: "It's a situation where I know I am not going to have those two- or three-yard touchdowns. I have to score my touchdowns from far out because when (we) get close to the end zone they take me out of the game. Of course I want to be in there. But when you are winning you can't go in there and complain."
First of all, you certainly can go in there and complain. It's part of being a star player in the NFL. Your record doesn't matter. It's all about your touches. Or more to the point, touchdowns. Start chirping, CJ. It totally works. Just ask some of the other guys around the league.
I would start Eli Manning over Sam Bradford, though. Bradford has a fantastic matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Bradford is one of those guys who will end up murdering your team when you need him to destroy a good matchup. The game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 immediately comes to mind. Bradford had a real attractive matchup and ended up floundering. The Jags defense can rise up.
ImageAnd please people, don't think this St. Louis/Jacksonville matchup is a battle for Los Angeles. Because it ain't. As the world's most vocal Los Angeles area sports fan, we don't want the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mainly because we have too much respect for the city of Jacksonville which has given us Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jack Youngblood. And there are good fans in Jacksonville, and those folks deserve a better football team. But at least next year's quarterback draft class appears rather deep.
Although, the Jags could draft a new quarterback and still go with Blaine Gabbert. Seriously, as one nice kid said to me on Twitter, how come the Jaguars coaches are the only ones who think Gabbert can be a good quarterback? Chad Henne might not be the second coming of Joe Montana, but he's better than Gabbert.
Second, the Raiders and Chargers will play late on Sunday night thanks to the Oakland A's. Now, in another life, I would have loved a late Sunday night game. But since I'm up early to do "NFL Fantasy Live" the appeal of staying up until midnight loses some luster. I'll still do it. I just have to find a way to wedge "Homeland" between the 49ers/Texans and the Chargers/Raiders game.
But seriously, a football game in Oakland which starts at 8:30 p.m.? I can't imagine what the tailgating scene is going to look like. I'll just leave it at that.
ImageYou know, I've given the Raiders fans grief over the years, but the Dallas Cowboys fans might have hit a new low in San Diego last week. The Cowboys fans engaged in a bottle fight in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. Really classy by fans of America's Team. I understand the Chargers fans also engaged in the activity. But I've never gotten the zeal and pride fans get in "taking over" an opposing team's stadium. As my man Steve Fryer wrote here, it is a problem that's huge on the West Coast. If you ever wonder why stadium attendance can be an issue, especially out here, there you go. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money to sit around hooligan fans. I just wonder when they are going to start separating fans like a college football game. It might not be the worst idea.
Reader Jeff T. points out it's likely Aikman because the girl who took the photo has an Emmitt Smith jersey on.
There are still some matchups for Cutler which will be good in the future. Week 7 against the Redskins is a particularly nice matchup for Cutler and I would have the faith to go with him there if you have started Brees this season. In fact, if you have space to pick him up right now, you might want to make the add.
I always wonder if my own fantasy team is due for an implosion because I carry both Cutler and Seabass. Am I risking too much in the clubhouse? But I will continue to stick with my guys.
A lot of my fellow Bears fans told me this is what I should come to expect with Cutler as our starting quarterback. But it was one bad game and a few bad decisions. This is where Marc Trestman is going to prove his worth. If he can sit down with Jay and point out where he went wrong and what he should do instead, then this partnership is going to be a good one. The key is if Cutler can now learn from what he did wrong. I will take one "learning experience" game.
Our Matt "Money" Smith was at the Bears game on Sunday, and he pointed out Jeffery's explosion came late in the game. Cutler didn't even look for Jeffery until his fourth read. With so many other options, you'd be better off to leave Jeffery on the bench.
ImageThis week's movie rant: I just got all of the movie channels and I'm loving it. I'm a movie junkie so I watch at least a movie a night now. I watched "Deep Impact" recently. Here's the thing (of many) about this movie, why were they flying the rocket ship back home after the initial try didn't work out? Shouldn't a suicide mission with the remaining nukes have been the Plan B. all along? Like Fisher needed to remind these guys? And poor Mary McCormick. She's a talented pilot, but she has to go along with this final run because those (expletives) couldn't do their job? I felt bad for her. I have more thoughts on this. Maybe I should start doing a movie podcast. Let me know if any of you would listen to this. I think we could pick a movie a week and just complain about it.
Playing running back for the Arizona Red Birds isn't a much better proposition. Rashard Mendenhall is on the verge of losing his job. Coach Bruce Arians gave him a vote of no confidence this week, and it doesn't seem like he's long for the starters gig. Mendenhall has rushed for less than 70 yards in 11 consecutive games.
What totally stinks about this is Mendenhall was going to be one of the rare bell-cow running backs. Arians was content to let him run the show, and Mendenhall hasn't taken advantage of it all. I wonder how Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips would describe this. (ICYMI: Philips said he and his Reds teammates choked against the Pirates in the one-game wild card.)
ImageA Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox World Series is inevitable, right? The world might be rooting for the Bucs and Rays to make it, but we're not that lucky as sports fans. I will concede many of you likely root for the Oakland A's. Or at least the periphery sports fans who watched "Moneyball" will likely pull for the A's. I don't care for them as an Angels fan, but there you go.
I understand there is some disdain for the St. Louis Cardinals, too. I can understand that. I don't want to be too biased because I might be a little miffed at St. Louis for having a football team with the same nickname of the team that moved from here when I was a kid. So I didn't want that clouding my view too much.
Although, I don't mind St. Louis as much now that the Los Angeles Kings owned them in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. So yeah, I don't mind St. Louis as much.
But going back to the running back conundrum, St. Louis has become an awful situation. It looked like Daryl Richardson could have been an option this season. Now you can't even play him against Jacksonville. Hell, you can't play any St. Louis running back against Jacksonville, which is just so wrong on so many levels. Actually, just one level. That level is fantasy football.
The Jaguars have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season. Come on St. Louis FC, get your (expletive) together.
Why is Jeff Fisher always in the conversation of great coaches? He hasn't had a winning season since 2008.
Mike Wallace has fewer than three fantasy points in three games this season. He ranks fourth on his own team with 15 receptions. David Boston is getting nervous about his "biggest free-agent receiver bust of the 2000s award."
Thursday night roundup: Really bummed about Brian Hoyer. Seemed like he was really on to something special. Not sure where the Browns can find a quarterback now. Don't expect it to be Josh Freeman, either. Matt Flynn maybe? Kyle Orton? There needs to be a trade because the Browns could legitimately get in the playoffs.
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."