What we are talking about:
One last chance to do it
Dude, too little, too late
Who will he face at 'Mania?
*Adam Rank is disappointed that he won't get to see Lizzy Caplan shine in a starring role in "The Interview" on account of current events. Sort of the same way that Alshon Jeffery might not shine with Jimmy Clausen under center in Chicago. But he thinks both Caplan and Jeffery will have the chance to rebound. *
I'm kidding. But could you imagine? That would be like the worst week possible. But don't cry for Cutler. Like Seth Rogen and James Franco, all were paid handsomely and will eventually find work again. And the upshot for Jay is that it's only the Bears' fans who are upset with him, not an entire country.
Although fantasy enthusiasts are upset as well because of the collateral fallout. Much like many movie enthusiasts will lament a missed opportunity to see Lizzy Caplan on the silver screen and will have to watch "Hot Tub Time Machine" one more time. That's who I really wanted to see. Forget Rogen and Franco, I've seen their act before. This was going to be a chance for Lizzy to get out there and shine. Similarly, this was going to be a great opportunity for Alshon Jeffery to do his thing this week, too.
Although, I don't believe Jeffery's value takes that big of a hit. Jeffery had his best success with Josh McCown last season. You could make the case it was really McCown who was responsible for Alshon's breakout 2013 season. So here we have Jimmy Clausen coming in and who do you think he is going to look for here? His first read will likely be Jeffery. And if that's not open, it will be a check-down to Martellus Bennett or Matt Forte.
So it's not all doom and gloom for Jeffery. He can still go out and have a pretty good afternoon. All we need is for Clausen to get lucky with one pass to Jeffery. He can do that, right? Yes, I saw Clausen's rookie season. But one pass! That's all we need, just one pass.
And similarly, Lizzy will be in "Now You See Me: The Second Act" in 2016. So she will rebound. But wait, a minute, Franco will be in this movie. Damn it; don't ruin this one, too, Franco! At least Jeffery will be clear of Cutler after the season. Poor Lizzy, she really does deserve better than this.
The fun part of this Cutler saga is fantasy booking his next landing spot. I have an idea that's pretty crazy, but just might work. I don't have time for that now. I'll tackle that in the Madden predictions on Friday. (Or if you read this during the weekend, you can find the Madden predictions on my author page. Yes, I have one. And no, I don't know why.)
And without further ado ...
Drew Brees has won seven of his eight starts at home against Atlanta with a passer rating of 103.8. There have been great matchups at home for Brees this season and he's failed to deliver. But I just have a feeling this is the time he finally puts it together. You know, he could be poised for a monster playoff run, too.
Ben Roethlisberger has 2,822 passing yards with 21 TDs and five picks in his last eight starts. Granted, I believe about 20 of those came in a two-game stretch (probably), still impressive.
ImageThere is a huge void in my schedule with "Sons of Anarchy" finished. I do enjoy "Homeland" which has been excellent, but I did get a chance to catch up on some movies in the DVR. I watched "North Shore" a couple of weeks ago and then a buddy came by and I had to watch it again. I find it no coincidence Rex Burkhead scored to be a "That Helps No One" all-star in the same week I watched a movie with Lance Burkhardt. Actually, that is coincidence.
ImageOne thing I finally was able to catch up on was the NXT Takeover: R Evolution PPV. NXT has been better than the main roster for a long time, and people are now just becoming hip to it. Which is fine. NXT has become wrestling's version of "The Daily Show" which is the defacto news program for smart people. RAW is like the FOX News or CNN, wrestling dumbed down for the masses. I don't know if RAW will ever regain the edge in quality over NXT. But maybe one day the WWE Network will have a series based on the NXT and WWE wars.
C.J. Anderson has averaged 135.3 scrimmage yards with six total touchdowns in his last six games. He's the real deal, folks. He will be a first-round pick next year if Peyton Manning doesn't retire. The reliance of Anderson the last few weeks showed Manning (or John Fox) realized the old gun slinger doesn't have it. And he might decide to devote more time to Papa John's or one of his many business ventures during the offseason and call it a career.
Jeremy Hill is the truth. We said during the preseason he was going to inherit the 200 carries the Law Firm left behind. He's made the most of them and he is perfect for this offense.
LeSean McCoy rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown in his last game at Washington. I just wanted to give some hope for those of you still alive with McCoy this week.
Jonathan Stewart is another great play this week if he's the solo back. I'm sure this might just be me in the chase after Hills' points from last week. But Stewart has been great in his last three games.
ImageJon Lester did something cool this week when choose to wear No. 34 with the Cubs in honor of Kerry Wood and Walter Payton. More sports cities should retire numbers across all sports. Nobody in Chicago should be able to wear 23. That's kind of easy because Jordan and Ryne Sandberg. But how cool would it be if nobody in Los Angeles sports wore No. 32 for Magic Johnson. Again easy because Sandy Koufax wore the number for the Dodgers. I'm surprised Pittsburgh hasn't retired 66 in all sports. That would be the most obvious city to start this.
Odell Beckham Jr. is the pickup of the year. He's the best rookie receiver by far. And you would be foolish to be one of those guys who believe he can't do it again next year.
Calvin Johnson had 26.6 fantasy points against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. The Bears have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers. Golden Tate is also an excellent option. I know, this could end up as a blowout and the Lions could run the ball like 67 times in this game. But now you're just Springfield Nine-ing this thing when you do that.
Tom Brady has thrown for 20 TDs with just seven picks in 12 career roadies in New York. That was when Rex Ryan's club tried. And had Darrelle Revis. I see Bill Belichick looking to put it on Ryan one last time before he gets out of town. So I would start Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman. LaFell has five touchdowns in his last five roadies.
ImageOur college football editor Andy Fenelon had this crack, 'Watching the game film of Cleveland and Cincinnati made me appreciate how great of a WR Mike Evans is.' Boom, roasted.
Marcus Mariota has the reputation of being "too nice" all of a sudden. Really? Has it held back Andrew Luck who congratulates opposing defenders on great hits? I really hope Mariota sticks it to that notion with a solid performance in the college football playoffs.
ImageSpeaking of the Padres, great news on the Wil Myers trade. Pair him with Matt Kemp in the outfield and now the Padres are going to be rather formidable. Or at least a little more daunting to face. I went to like six Padres games last year and can't recall if the Padres scored a run. That's not true! I saw the game when the Padres beat the Reds even though they were held to one hit. A great game. But they should be able to avoid such things now.
ImageAm I the only one who is overly excited about a new chapter in U.S. and Cuba relations? Unfortunately this came down on the same day Cutler was benched so my Twitter timeline was choked with that stuff. But this is pretty great news. My only advice would be to get down to Cuba as soon as possible before there's a Starbucks and McDonalds on every corner.
Has anybody done Johnny Dumpster Fire yet? I can't believe it, but there were already photos of Johnny Football T-shirts on the discount rack. Are we really going to bury this guy after one start? Give him at least two.
The Lions losing to the Bears would be the most Lions thing ever. I would quit watching football if I was a Lions fan and they lost this game. They shouldn't, though. But we should have a good feeling about how the Bears players feel about Marc Trestman. I think they can do it. But I've been as naïve as Sting who never sees the heel turn coming.
ImageI pretty much fast-forwarded during RAW on Monday night, save the Lesnar stuff. And the TLC PPV was dreadful. Thankfully the WWE Network costs just $9.99. I would have been rather morose if I had spent $60 for that hot garbage. Might as well call it Sunday Night Main Event.
OBJ gives Eli Manning the chance to have a great stat-line each week, but the matchup against the St. Louis FC will lead me to bench him.
Joe Flacco became the first player in club history to pass for 25,000 career yards last week. He shook off the "trap" game, but I wouldn't trust him enough this week.
Geno Smith has passed for 459 yards with two touchdowns and a pick to go along with 69 rushing yards and a touchdown in his last two against the Patriots. I feel for the poor PR staffer who had to look long and hard to find anything positive to say about the Jets. Not just this week, but ever. If you get the opportunity today, hug a PR staffer. While they might spam your inbox with endless emails you don't want, some of them really have a tough job.
ImageJohn Cena won again. I know, I know. It's easy to complain so I will. I almost expect Cena to win the title at the Royal Rumble. And then he's going to enter the Rumble and win that so essentially Cena will wrestle himself in the main event of WrestleMania XXXI. And even then, this probably wouldn't satisfy his ego. It almost makes me bummed when Brock Lesnar shows up to destroy everybody because if the WWE is very deliberate in its buildup of the champion because it just wants Cena to "overcome the odds" once again. Which is why the product suffers.
Did you see the fight between the Jets and Titans last week? What was that all about? The teams played in the NFL equivalent of a pickup game, since nobody really gave a (expletive). So was one guy being overly competitive and the dudes who were just out there for exercise (and to pick up a paycheck) take offense? Did somebody go all "Rudy" on them? 'Hey, we're just trying to hang out here and have some fun and this guy is acting like it's the Super Bowl!'
What are you doing, Doug Martin? You're gone for most of the season. Ruined it, more like it. Now you want to come out and be a relevant fantasy running back? That's uncool, dude.
ImageI always like needless speculation on coaching hires. I've tabbed both Jim Harbaugh and Rex Ryan as the next coach of the Bears in recent weeks. And that's fun. But I will not stand for the idea of Mike Shanahan as the next coach of the Bears. That would not only intensify the dumpster fire, but that would be kicking it over and letting the fire burn to other parts of the city. (Too soon, Chicago?) Just because the guy drafted the quarterback doesn't mean (expletive). If you wanted to take a look at Kyle Shanahan, that'd at least make some sense.
The Nelson drop last week was worse than leaving a stud player on the bench. That was a play he makes 99 times out of 100. The one drop, of course, came in the fantasy playoffs.
OBJ is a must-start in your 'ship this week. Obvious. But the matchup against the St. Louis FC is way too much for your daily fantasy leagues.
Reggie Wayne at one point pushed Marvin Harrison aside to be the go-to receiver in Indianapolis. It has certainly happened to Wayne now with Hilton. Wayne no longer passes the eyeball test and looks like he's hurting the team out there.
So Josh Gordon, everybody! You've waited this long for that? I know the common theme during his suspension was he could make any quarterback look good. Can he? Because he's sure got his work cut out for him. But (expletive), you've gone this long without him, so why start him?
The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most points to receivers this season. Marques Colston had a monster game against Atlanta in Week 1. Actually, he lost a fumble which kind of nuked his value a bit. But is it going to be him? Kenny Stills? I really, really dislike the Saints' receivers. There isn't one guy I would feel comfortable with this week.
Revis was mum on his future with the Patriots this week. These decisions aren't often left up to the players, especially in New England. But the Patriots could be up for an epic run if Revis were to stick around. He is going to be the player who finally pushes the Patriots over the top to get back to winning a Super Bowl.
ImageAm I the only one burned out by Los Angeles relocation rumors? The Chargers and Raiders should stay home. The St. Louis team is the only one that makes sense for L.A. But here's the deal. Quit jerking around the fans in both cities and make a deal. If the team can't make a final resolution by the end of February, fans in both St. Louis and Los Angeles should just boycott the team. I'm to the point where I wouldn't support an L.A. football team if we don't have one by next season. Because I'm getting pretty sick of this stuff.
ImageExcellent point by David Haugh in the Chicago Tribune on why Jon Gruden was so critical of Jay Cutler on Monday night: Marc Trestman was Gruden's offensive coordinator in Oakland. (Read here.) Now it makes sense why the ultimate cheerleader finally had a negative word for a quarterback for the first time in his broadcast career. It all checks out.
If you had to choose between the Oakland Raiders and Michigan where would you lean? I like the college game and hate the free agency turnover in the NFL, so I would probably go Michign given the money. But if he wanted to be a hero, he should go pick a school like San Jose State and make them into a national power. Don't think this is so far-fetched. He coached USD.
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.