Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) -
I try not to bring my own teams into this very often, because let’s face it, who the hell cares about anybody’s team but their own? With fantasy MVP RG3 on bye, I was left with my original quarterback pick Michael Vick to be slotted in. I threw up. A few times. Why can’t I drop you, damnit?! Vick continues to disappoint, even though there’s this strange draw that maybe, just maybe, he’ll figure things out and become a scoring machine again. Long story slightly shortened, I picked up Ryan Tannehill and am not looking back. The Titans have giving up a minimum of about 15 points a game to opposing signal callers, and Tannehill isn’t bad at all.
What should I do with Vick? I’m cursed by some type of voodoo magic that won’t allow me to part ways. For now, he’ll sit in the corner on my bench with a dunce hat that says “Turnover”.
Darren McFadden hurt? Who’d a thunk it?!?! If you drafted Run-DMC, you obviously should have known to handcuff the walking foot injury. Unfortunately, his #2 on the depth chart is now the number 4, and Marcel Reese is the guy you want. Mike Goodson is also out, and Reece’s role was previewed last week when he caught the ball 9 times for 95 yards and a score. Carson Palmer is pass happy, and when he isn’t throwing it to the other team, Reece should get the Lions share of production over Taiwan Jones, even if they split the carries.
Speaking of splitting carries, those who were encouraged by the words of Ron Rivera last week can begin splitting their own scalps. Again, Jonathan Stewart and D-Williams are playing spin the bottle for who gets the touches (dirty line, I know. Lima would be proud) and D’Angelo got the score, while Stewart got the carries. Get me far away from the insane merry-go-round of rushing in Charlotte.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about many professional athletes, it’s that they take vengeance extremely seriously. With his former team coming to town, Vincent Jackson will be calling for the rock plenty. I don’t exactly see the surprisingly high-octane Bucs offense slowing down, and V-Jax is going to want a chance to stick it to Turner and Smith. On the other side, Steve Smith is going to have to play opposite the top cover corner in the league (since Revis went down) when the Panthers host Champ Bailey and the Broncos. Cam and company seemed to right the ship in week 9, but you only get to face the Redskins defense every so often.
A few weeks ago, I recommended a particular tight end as a fantasy MVP for the upcoming game while hosting Bridging the Gap — He ended up with zero catches. This is my retribution pick for Vernon Davis. San Francisco is coming off a bye week following a crushing win over the Cardinals at home. A favorable match up in the Bay area against the Rams will hopefully get me off the hook for that anomaly of a call earlier.
Even more obvious is the blue coloring I’m giving to Jared Cook, who’s disgruntled feelings combined with statistics makes him an unattractive option on the road. If you’re wondering about the statistics thing, Miami has yet to give up a touchdown to an opposing tight end this entire season.
If I asked who you trusted more to turn around another nightmare season; would you choose Dallas or Philadelphia? Obviously, with my utter disdain for what Vick continues to be, I’m going with the Cowboys. Not only does Philly turn the ball over, they do so in the redzone, which also takes points off the board at the same time. That’s a fine combination for Rob Ryan. By the way, all of that aside, the Dallas defense is pretty darn good with the #4 overall pass-D and #12 overall rush-D.
As for the Jets, they’re due for another blowout. The Seahawks play on a different level at home, and have yet to fail covering when at Qwest Field.
According to legend, while on bye weeks, Phil Dawson travels to the Himalayas and kicks boulders over mountain peaks. He then challenges the gods to a wrestling match and is victorious using a figure-4 leg lock every single time. Also, I have no idea which kickers will have good weeks. Does anybody? No. No they do not.
Game Previews (Kidd):
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
After being dismantled by the Bears last week, the Titans look to ignite their offense with the return of Quarterback Jake Locker. Fantasy owners of Wide Receiver Kenny Britt will benefit the most from this as Locker generally takes more down field shots than the proverbial “Game Managing” style of Matt Hasselbeck. Chris Johnson will most likely have a mediocre day trying to run against a tough Miami Def. and while the Titan’s offense should be overall improved, their defense is still one of the worst in the league. For Miami, Reggie Bush should see a ton of touches and most likely score at least 1TD.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
The Bills need this game to have any hope of salvaging this season. Unfortunately for them, unless they hire 11 new guys on defense they have “No Chance” (cue Vince McMahon’s entrance music). Tom Brady should have another Tom Brady type performance and put this one away early enough for Steven Ridley to have a big day full of bonus garbage time yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick has potential to be a bye week plug in for owners of RGII & Aaron Rodgers, since New England gives up an average of 281 passing yards & 2 passing TDs a game. If your debating between C.J. Spiller & Fred Jackson, I’d roll with Spiller who is more explosive and is earning more touches every week.
***Check on Aaron Hernandez’s availability before you plug him back in your line-up.
New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals
A lot of drafts this year saw Eli Manning go earlier than usual and most of his owners were very pleased with the pick until a few weeks ago. Eli had just 125 yards last week against the Steelers and hasn’t thrown a TD since week 7 vs. the Redskins. That should all change this week as he faces a suspect defense in Cincinnati. Ahmad Bradshaw should have a decent game and should be in your lineup, but the Giants will need to rely on Manning’s arm to come away with the win. Andy Dalton can be another Bye Week plug in and should put up decent stats but will be under pressure most of the day by the Giants Def. who are tied for 3rd in sacks with 25 on the year. Jermaine Gresham is Dalton’s security blanket and will continue to be a solid TE start this week.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
The headaches may not be a factor for Percy Harvin (OUT) this year but they certainly are for anyone who was hoping to use him this week. Does this mean Christian Ponder finally gets back on the same page with TE Kyle Rudolph? Eh, possibly, but after 3 consecutive weeks of absolute garbage from Rudolph, I need to see that they’re even in the same book before I would consider putting him in my line up. For the Vikes this game will be all about Adrian Peterson who traditionally runs very well against the Lions. Detroit will need to lean heavily on the running game. Mikel Leshoure & Joique Bell are fighting for touches and both have looked very good. Megatron’s productivity this season has been less then desirable and now he is dealing with a “Stinger”. I wouldn’t sit him or Matt Stafford but both have yet to live up to their Draft Day “Baller” status.
San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I like Philip Rivers and Josh Freeman in this matchup. Rivers will have room to throw against the Bucs and will need to frequently since the Tampa Def. will most likely keep the San Diego running game (Ryan Mathews) in check. Freeman has been red hot lately and will continue to burn at home. Vincent Jackson will look to embarrass his old team and will be petitioning the whole game to get every ball thrown his way. If the Bucs are smart they’ll oblige. Stud Martin will most likely come down back from space and have a meager 100 yard game.
Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers
Peyton Manning owners are happier than a Denver pothead who actually remembered to vote before smoking last Tuesday. Manning is averaging 300 yards & 2.5 TDs a game. This should easily continue against the Bengals this week. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Willis McGahee should all be in your lineup. For Carolina, Steve Smith will have an uphill battle facing off against Champ Bailey which could lead to more targets going to TE Greg Olsen.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Shootout. Drew Brees will make Atlanta’s Def. look like New Orleans’ Def. For the rest of the Saints I expect Marquis Colston & Jimmy Graham to see the bulk of the targets. Everyone else is hit or miss. For Atlanta, all offensive starters (White, Jones, Gonzalez & even Turner) should be locked in your line up.
Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens
Darren McFadden & Mike Goodson have both been ruled out with high ankle sprains. By default the starting Running Back for the Raiders will be Taiwan Jones but expect him to share the load w/ Full Back Marcel Reece. Technically Reece is the safer start since he’s already been a factor in the Oakland offense but up against a poor rush defense like the Ravens I would think both should have enough touches and plenty of room to make the best of those opportunities. With that being said we can also expect Carson Palmer to run more passing plays which make Rod Streater & Brandon Meyers very viable starts for the next few weeks. For the Ravens it should be the Ray Rice show with a sprinkle of Joe Flacco, who I expect to put up decent, but unnecessary numbers and mostly will connect with Torrey Smith at least once for a long TD.
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks
The Jets are coming off a bye but may as well just stay on it. I don’t expect much offense in this game from either side expect for Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is however still dealing with back pain & now a sore wrist, which could mean Crazy Pete Carroll pulling the plug early on him and allowing back up Robert Turbin (Sleeper) to run wild on a very weak Jets run Def.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
DeMarco Murray is still out which leaves Fragile Felix Jones as the starting running back again this week for the Cowboys. Jones has been less than impressive and most likely won’t be much of a factor in this game. Tony Romo will put this team on his shoulders and hope to reinstate a glimmer of playoff hope. He will most likely throw for over 300 yards with a couple of TDs but will undoubtedly throw at least 1 INT. For the Eagles I have lost every ounce of faith in Michael Vick which unfortunately means I don’t expect much from the likes of DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin. LeSean McCoy remains the only true must start on this team.
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
This is a matchup nightmare for the Rams. Sam Bradford & Steven Jackson will be all but shut down by the 49ers Def. The only player for the Rams of any value this week is Danny Amendola who is returning from injury. He is a risky start but could be usuful as a WR3 or Flex option in PPR leagues. For San Francisco, Frank Gore & Vernon Davis should have better than average games. I also look for Michael Crabtree to continue to have tremendous games against the Rams He tagged them for 365 yards & 5TDs on 22 receptions in the last 4 games aginst the Rams.
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears
This one is going to be one hell of a Slobberknocker. Both Chicago’s Def. & Houston’s Def. are playing at championship levels. I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting Matt Schaub or Jay Cutler. Obviously you won’t bench Arian Foster or Matt Forte but I would certainly temper my expectations for each of them.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Kansas City Chiefs are by far the worst team in the league. Normally I would preach for you to start everyone and anyone who is playing the Chiefs but in this case I feel obligated to tell you to look for better options than starting any of the Steeler’s Running Backs. It’s not that I don’t think they can produce against the Chiefs, I quite confident as a team the Steelers will be able to run all over them, but due to the fact that we really don’t know who will get the bulk of the carries with Rashard Mendenhall (Doubtful) close to returning and Jonathan Dwyer (Probable) in the mix, we really can’t forecast what to expect from Issac Redman. Ben Roethlisberger on the other hand, should have a tremendous game.