You don't have to like your fantasy QB, just start him

What we're talking about:

  • Eli the Messiah

My season is in his hands.

  • Philip Rivers

It's time for us to take a break.

  • John Cena

Like Tebow, I'm coming around.

I love this time of year because we get a ton of the "year's best" lists. One floating around right now is the most-searched-for athlete of 2011. Bing says that it's Maria Sharapova, which seems strange. But then again, I've given up judging the taste of people since "According to Jim" lasted longer than "Arrested Development". But guess who the most-searched-for NFL player is?

Nope, not Tim Tebow. That kind of stunned me, too.

It's Brett Favre. Still. When you consider Tebowmania and the emergence of Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL right now, this kind of blows me away. Of course, Favre likely got a boost thanks to an alleged dalliance with this young lady. Still, this news is kind of an upset.

With that all out of the way, I am offering you my likes and dislikes for the coming fantasy week and more. That's right, Facebook won't give you a dislike button, but I certainly will. And this all will be presented to you in a random, meandering style, which has been glowingly referred to as "teenager on crack chic." Bolded names are my likes, and dislikes. My first "like" every week is my esteemed stat man, Bill "Sudsy" Sudell.

Too many disclaimers? You can always check the rankings, but that is a terrible way to waste the final hours of your work week.

For my first like this week, I'm going to say move over Tim Tebow, I have my own fantasy messiah and it's Giants QB Eli Manning. Or Elijah Messiah, if you will. I drafted Eli in a number of leagues this summer, and I just recently traded for him in another. To borrow a phrase from former Giants coach Jim Fassel, "I'm all in." I'm winning or losing with Eli and I like his matchup this week against the Packers, who've allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Eli as my fantasy starter and potential savior of my season; heaven help me. ...

ImageI guess you don't have to like your fantasy quarterback, right? Maybe I can get Jaime Pressly to star in a sitcom of my fantasy team called, "I hate my Fantasy QB". Although, I hope it would be better than Pressly's current vehicle, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter". I would watch Jaime in just about anything, except that. ...

If you are worried about Miles Austin's possible return thwarting the production of Laurent Robinson, don't be. Robinson had 13 targets, Austin six in the last two games those guys played together. Tony Romo has chemistry with Robinson. Dez Bryant would be the one I would worry about. ...

LeGarrette Blount has posted back-to-back 100-rushing yard games, and expect that to continue against the Panthers, who have allowed the most points to fantasy running backs. Carolina has allowed 13 rushing touchdowns in the last eight games. Blount had three receptions last week, and that's a great sign. ...

But you know, the Buccaneers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs. So start Blount, Jon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. And then get ready to never play Williams again. ...

Mike Wallace had a bad game against the Chiefs, that's true. But I'm starting him against the Bengals who are without Leon Hall and have allowed 12 passes for 25 yards or more in the last five games. ...

If you are in a pinch for a quarterback, pick up Matt Moore for this week as the Raiders have allowed the fifth-most points to quarterbacks. But if you want a backup for the playoffs, make it "Red" Dalton who faces St. Louis and Arizona in the fantasy championship weeks. ...

Here are my quarterback rankings after the automatic three: Cam Newton, Eli, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Tebow, Matt Ryan, Moore, Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Young. ...

For another look at Newton, check out our interview with Steve Smith from the Dave Dameshek Football Program. Interesting words from him. ...

Speaking of Tebow, you might be making too many religious remarks when Kurt Warner is telling you to tone it down. It reminds me of the time I was at the hotel bar in the week leading up to Super Bowl XXXVII when a, uh, celebratoryJim Kelly interrupted my conversation with Ron Jaworski and Vic Carucci to tell me, "Hey pal, you need to slow it down a little." ...

ImageI still like Tebow, both as a fantasy player and football enthusiast in general. I don't think it's any coincidence that I have a growing admiration for Tebow and WWE's John Cena, who was great on Monday Night RAW. My man Brandon from With Leather actually summed up the evening much more eloquently than I could ever possibly hope to, so be sure to give that a look. Here's my thing: Tebow and Cena are cut from the same cloth. Both draw from the same fan base, share similar values and don't let any criticism bother them at all. And when you match Tebow's unorthodox throwing motion, combined with Cena's limited move-set, I'm starting to wonder if they are the same guy. ...

ImageTebow has been amazing, but do you think that there will ever come a time when we look at him the same way that we look at the original "Terminator"? I mean, we were captivated and maybe slightly disturbed by the original. But by the time that "T2" came out, the original seemed so antiquated that you began to wonder what all of the fuss was about. …

Our Brian Billick was critical of the Tebow "gimmick" this week, and said that the Broncos will not win a Super Bowl with that offense. Many said the same about an offense led by Trent Dilfer, too. Just saying. ...

ImageBillick was also critical of Stevie Johnson's end zone celebration, which is completely understandable. Part of me says to loosen up and enjoy the entertainment. I mean, I watch pro wrestling, so I can't sit up on my high horse and pass judgment on players who want to celebrate. But if you're going to do that kind of thing, make sure you don't drop a potential winning touchdown pass. Though Johnson pointed out that the one against the Steelers last year was much worse. And the dubious notion that Stevie had to differentiate between the two never dawned on him, either, apparently. ...

Eric Decker is moving up the board. He's a risk, no doubt. But he's the guy being targeted the most by Tebow. How can you sit him? Well, if you have Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker and Roddy White then you sit Decker. But still. ...

You might hesitate to start Ryan because the Texans allow the second-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks. But look at all of the curtain-jerkers the Texans have played this year, and you are less impressed. ...

The Texans should squeak into the No. 2 seed, but will be upset by the Raiders in the divisional round. ...

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 44 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week, and I expect a similar point production against the Colts this week. I have him as a solid RB2. ...

I would give Reggie Wayne another start this week against the woeful Patriots pass defense. But he's back to the bench after that. ...

ImageLet's stay in New England for a second. Why did the Red Sox hire Bobby Valentine? This is the second consecutive time that the most unlikable team in baseball -- maybe sports -- hired a pretty likeable manager. And a good one, too. The only thing that warms my heart is that a number of the current Red Sox were already grumbling about Valentine. Way to endear yourselves to America, guys. You know that you are a pretty (expletive) group of people when you make the Yankees seem likable by comparison. ...

ImageIt never dawned on me until he started calling games, but Valentine sounds a lot like Fat Tony from "The Simpsons". ...

Jake Ballard has scored only one touchdown in his last six games, but the Packers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends. ...

Jared Cook has not scored a touchdown in five consecutive games, but I like his matchup against the Bills, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. ...

Crazy flex play for Kendall Hunter? I'm not doing it, but Frank Gore did miss practice earlier in the week. But, I would rather crazy flex Marion Barber. ...

I do get a lot of cool questions on Twitter; Reader Neil D. had a good one this week asking if he should play Matt Prater or Sebastian Janikowski. Since I never get to talk about Seabass, how about him for fantasy MVP? He's been unbelievable. ...

ImageFor the record, I don't block people on Twitter. ESPN's Matthew Berry admitted he does, but that's not my game. If you know me personaly, I can't think of anything that you could say that would offend me. (And that was not an invitation to try.) I was happy to see my favorite from "Amazing Race" Jaime Edmondson doesn't block people either. ...

Brandon Marshall will have a big game against the Raiders this week. He seems like a forgotten guy, playing down in Miami, but he has a great matchup this week. It's weird when I get asked about him, becauase he should be an automatic start. ...

I quietly added Jacquizz Rodgers to my fantasy team as insurance for Michael Turner, who missed practice on Wednesday. Jason Snelling is in the mix, but I like Rodgers if something happens to Turner. ...

If you are looking for a deep, deep sleeper for the later months, take a look at Brandon Saine. He's in the same sleeper mode that James Starks was in last year. Thanks to NFL.com editor Jim Reineking for that tip. ...

Here is a question ripped straight from The McRanklin Group: Should you start Dre Johnson this week? Of course you should. We talked about this a few weeks ago when Larry Fitzgerald was going up against the Eagles. I asked you all to start Fitz, you did, and you got a ton of points. Same principle here, especially with the season on the line. You don't want to miss the playoffs because you thought it was a good idea to start Riley Cooper over Johnson. Don't do that. That's like that episode of "The Simpsons" where C. Montgomery Burns loads up the company softball team with ringers -- although after a series of misfortunes, only Darryl Strawberry remains. Inexplicably, with the game on the line and the bases loaded, Burns lifts Strawberry (who had nine home runs) because he wants to go with the righty (Homer Simpson) because Burns wanted to "play the percentages." Don't do that. Yes, the argument is slightly flawed because the Springfield Nuclear Plant team still wins the game, but you get the point....

It is fair to point out that a similar situation happened a few weeks later with Welker when he was playing the Jets in Week 10. I left Welker in because you never bench your studs, and he ended up with 46 yards. But trust me, it's a lot easier to take a loss when your studs let you down than it is when you bench one who goes nuts. A point that was proven when Welker had a huge game against the Eagles last week. I guess that was a lot of words to say start Dre. …

This is painful, but it's time for a fantasy breakup with Philip Rivers. It's not me Philip, it's you -- you have been terrible recently. But we need a break. I'm willing to concede that you are playing for Norv Turner, and the team has crumbled in recent weeks. As I wrote earlier in my alternative rankings (San Diego was third), the Chargers are no longer a good football team underachieving. They are a mediocre football team underachieving. Don't worry, though. I won't lose your number. Your fantasy stock will rise next year when Jon Gruden takes over. ...

ImageConspiracy theorists should take note that there are a lot of Rivers billboards popping up around the L.A. freeways and draw the conclusion that the Chargers are ready for an invasion. The L.A. market has come under serious scrutiny since the Jaguars' sale was announced this week. So I guess it's up to me to handicap this. Of all of the pundits and TV talking heads nationally, I'm the only one who grew up a football fan in Southern California, roots for the local teams and even spent some time covering the Los Angeles Rams. So I will happily take the mantle for the L.A.-area sports fans and lay out the following: The Jaguars should stay in Jacksonville. The Chargers belong to San Diego. The Raiders? No. And anybody who remembers the great Rams-Vikings rivalry would not want the vagabonds from Minnesota (though I concede that the last Minnesota team to move to L.A. worked out). The only team that will make sense is the Rams. And if it's not going to be the Rams, then forget the whole thing. ...

Yes, I know the Rams started in Cleveland. Don't even bother. ...

If you follow me at all, you know that I love playing guys in Monday night games. I'm not excited about the Chargers all that much. Vincent Jackson worries me, but I'm still playing him. I have Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert further down my running backs list. The Jaguars are better on defense than people are giving them credit for. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was elevated to interim coach because he was that good. And if the players didn't like Jack Del Rio, they are going to play hard for Tucker. It will be telling if the Jags players rally around Tucker, and the Chargers don't rally around Norvel. ...

So I'm down on Mathews, but I still play him over Peyton Hillis, Toby Gerhart, Tolbert, Maurice Morris and Pierre Thomas. ...

I want to give C.J. Spiller the benefit of the doubt. I just can't. I mean, I would play him in the flex over a guy like Darrius Heyward-Bey or Earl Bennett. But Spiller was targeted just three times against the Jets and that concerns me. That's lower than what Fred Jackson was getting. Part of Spiller's appeal was his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. We need to see it. ...

I'm taking a pass on Miles Austin until I can see that his hamstring is ready to go. But I doubt the Cowboys rush him back. ...

It pains me to put Carson Palmer in the dislikes, but I can't trust him this week. Palmer's passing touchdowns have decreased in three consecutive games, and the Dolphins' defense is especially stingy, allowing only two passing touchdowns in their last four games. You have better options. Or at least I hope. ...

I'd start Palmer over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had a pretty good game against the Jets last week. I'm just not expecting much from Fitzpatrick against the Titans, who allow less than 15 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. ...

I don't get why the Titans are sticking with Matt Hasselbeck for so long. Sure, he's got the experience and the Titans are still in the playoff race. But he was lousy last week, and I can't remember the last time he had a good game. Thankfully this is the Internet and I can look it up: He had 272 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns against Cincinnati in Week 9. The Bills do allow the seventh-most points to fantasy quarterbacks and made Sanchez seem credible last week. He's not a QB1, but I put him ahead of Palmer and Fitzpatrick. ...

Josh Freeman doesn't even need to be on your roster. ...

I dislike St. Louis FC running back Steven Jackson, who has not scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. Now he's going up against the 49ers, who have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. The last time the 49ers allowed a rushing touchdown was in Week 16 of 2010 and the guy who scored it? Jackson. But don't expect a repeat here. ...

I'm a little down on Brandon Lloyd this week. He's still a No. 2 receiver in our rankings, but the problem is most people are using him in flex spots and you might have better options. I would certainly play Lloyd over Mike Williams, Johnny Knox or James Jones. ...

Remember this though, Sam Bradford and Lloyd are going to be great fantasy options. People who follow the NFL are trying to out-savvy each other by trying to identify the league's next big thing. And many of you were guilty of that with St. Louis this year (I for the record was not because of its schedule). Most of the time, we are just one year off. Like the Lions this year. So if you're already looking forward to next year, file that nugget away. ...

If you looked at Knox's performance last week and believe that he had some nice chemistry with Caleb Hanie, don't. Knox benefited from some poor tackling, and missed coverages. The Chiefs won't allow that this week. ...

Hottest topic of the week is Roy Helu. Many of you are itching to play him because we long for that true No. 1 running back. But how are you going to let Mike Shanahan play you like this? He's like the bad guy in any horror movie where you think he's dead, but he springs to life at the last possible moment. I just can't allow myself to be played by #shanahanigans. ...

The Washington Redskins will upset the New York Jets this week. ...

ImageSpeaking of movies, Woody Harelson is starring in a new police drama, "Rampart". And it looks awesome, though I liked it better when it was a TV series called "The Shield". Incidentally, the working title was changed from "Rampart" to "The Shield". But I'm greatly disappointed that this movie got made instead of a Vic Mackey-driven movie. Or maybe this will lead to one, who knows. I'll likely see "Rampart" because I'm a sucker. Not enough of a sucker to play Roy Helu, but enough to be reeled in for this picture. ...

ImageSince we're talking about "The Shield", this seems like a good time to discuss "Sons of Anarchy", which was created by former "The Shield" writer Kurt Sutter (I mistakenly said it was created by Sutter, but it was Shawn Ryan. And it's weird to have them in the dislike part here, because I like the shows immensely. Here is my guess of what will happen in the season finale. Clay has to die. That's the only way to make that work. Jax will want to leave, but Tara ends up making him stay. If you notice, Tara is getting more and more manipulative and is actually becoming more and more like Gemma with each passing day. In fact, I bet we start the next season a few months, or even years ahead. Many of the prospects you see right now will be sitting around the table. ...

Is Jackie Battle still on your roster? Why? Battle has scored fewer than seven fantasy points in his last four games. Battle was expected to get the opportunity in Kansas City, but never captured the job. ...

In fact, Battle's tenure in Kansas City reminds me of Alberto Del Rio's championship run. You just expected so much more. But thankfully, both are over. And realize that I only dislike Del Rio's character because he's effective as a heel. So in other words, he's doing his job, which is good. He just shouldn't be champ. ...

You had a great week, Mark Sanchez. There is no chance that I'm playing you against the Redskins. ...

If you caught the Dave Dameshek Football Program (or more to the point, the Adam Rank Gridiron Podcast for Kids), you can hear DeAngelo Hall say that Sanchez was the worst quarterback in the NFL. Oh wait, that was me saying that. But it's a good interview. And it's inspired me to dislike Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. ...

At the same time, I'm keeping Santana Moss on the bench, too. But that's right, I don't play Redskins players. ...

T.J. Yates, you're not starting on my team. Just go deep to Dre. But I already miss the Ben Tate as a flex option era. ...

James Starks was practicing this week, which is good. But he's not much of a fantasy option this week. He is a good add for the future. ...

How is Tyler Palko still playing? Even if Kyle Orton doesn't know the playbook, I'd rather have him out there making up sandlot plays. ...

I bet when the Chiefs realized that they could have had Donovan McNabb if they had waited a week, they were really, really thankful they ended up with Orton. ...

Thank you for stopping by, Vinny Brown. It was nice having you. But I'm not starting Malcom Floyd. ...

Breakup with some of the familiar names that are still lingering in your fantasy lineups. Let's look at a few of them. ...

Brandon Jacobs should be the lone tailback this week with Ahmad Bradshaw still struggling with injuries. But Jacobs' game isn't suited for the inevitable shootout. ...

The best days for Joseph Addai appear behind him. Desperation play right there. ...

Braylon Edwards should not be in your lineup or even on your fantasy roster. Love the matchups, but there has been no production to justify it. ...

I would like to stop playing Jermichael Finley at some point, because he's killing my (and everybody else's) team. But I can't sit him.

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 37,000 followers, and Fabiano has 40,000. Me? Just 13. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. Also be sure to catch the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program."

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