What we are talking about:
He is going to win your week
Have to start him
A few of the more traumatic moments of my youth were the Eric Dickerson trade; Magic Johnson's retirement; and Jessie Spano in "Showgirls." Oh yeah, and the Los Angeles Rams folded after the 1994 season and the expansion St. Louis Football Club opened up shop in 1995. (Editor's note: Yeah, Adam's mind is a wonder, but we think he's got a point he's going to make so let's see where he's going with this.)
So I understand what the Browns are going through. I've gone through many of the same things they have gone through; bad management, team moving, trading your superstar running back. But let's be honest, Trent Richardson ain't Eric Dickerson. He's not Cleveland Gary, either, but he's not an elite superstar. The Browns shouldn't have used that third-overall pick on Richardson last year, so why not cut bait and stock up some draft picks? I'm pretty confident Michael Lombardi can find another running back to average 3.5 yards-per-carry. This will end up being the turning point for the Browns.
Don't worry Clevelanders, you're in good hands. You'll be in the playoffs next year, so I understand you might be stung by this right now, but good days are coming.
But you're likely asking, "What the (expletive) does this have to do with my fantasy team?"
Trent Richardson: He will be much better for the Colts. Sure, he didn't exactly set the world on fire behind a pretty solid offensive line. But this is a huge upgrade to go from Brandon Weeden to Andrew Luck. That's like the jump from Heather Hopper to Tiffani Amber Thiessen. (And I will always say the "Amber.")
Andrew Luck: You know, call me a bit cautious on this one. I like the move from a football perspective. But look at Luck's stat line from Week 1. He passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He salvaged a huge fantasy day by rushing for a touchdown. But Luck could end up like a modern-day Troy Aikman.
A quick history lesson, when I started playing fantasy as a lad, I picked Troy Aikman because he was awesome. I didn't realize however, it didn't always translate to fantasy unless the Cowboys were up against the Cardinals. I'm not saying this is for sure going to happen to Luck. Again, I'm just concerned.
Jordan Cameron: Man, this one kind of stings. I grabbed Cameron in a few leagues and was rewarded early. But I'm not going to give up just yet. I mean, who else is there for Brian Hoyer to throw to? And to be honest, he's replaced Brandon Weeden. This isn't Matt Cassel in for Tom Brady. So let's see how this plays out.
Jim Irsay: Great move by the Colts owner. When he sent out the tweet about a potential trade, we were all prepared to be underwhelmed. And then when you looked at the clues about "Tidal Wave" and "Rollin' the dice" you thought, wow, the Colts are going to get Mark Ingram. Even a few days removed, it seems unbelievable the Colts got Trent Richardson. Well done, sir!
NFL Fans: We got a real-life, in-season trade! We don't get a ton of them and they are an awful lot of fun. I was at a doctor's appointment and got out and people had asked me about Andy Luck and Trent Richardson being on the same team. And I was like "What the heck?" I love that. It brings some excitement the NFL doesn't get enough of. I would love to see more of this stuff.
Jim Brown: Yeah, buddy! Browns fans can now be all, "See, the dude had a point all along." You shouldn't have doubted him.
Let's move on in this column voted "Best Use of a Soap Box" by our 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 ...
Matthew Stafford has a fantastic matchup this week and he's your No. 1 QB, I mean after the Quarterback Trinity (Manning, Brees, Rodgers). The Redskins have allowed the most points to fantasy quarterbacks this season with three touchdown passes of at least 20 yards. I would imagine Calvin Johnson gets that many in his start. The Redskins have also allowed the most points this season, too (69).
Stafford was drafted as a low-end No. 1 and sometimes a No. 2 in leagues this year. You might not have started him if you paired him with another elite quarterback. But this is the week you start him.
Folks are down on Russell Wilson this week because of his matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe it's because former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley knows Wilson all too well. Uh, sure. But still, Jaguars. The Jaguars have been tough on fantasy quarterbacks. Well, sort of. The Jags have given up a ton of points to fantasy running backs this year, so there hasn't been much of a need to have the quarterback do something. So basically, we're benching Wilson because the matchup is too good?
All right, we might have reached a point where we are thinking way too hard about these things. Seriously, fear of the too-good matchup might be one of the silliest things I've heard about in quite some time. And I'm a comedian.
ImageSpeaking of comedians. I have to give a shout-out to one of my comedy running mates from years back, Brooks Wheelan, who has been added to the cast of "Saturday Night Live." Brooks was always one of my favorite comics and he never failed to make me laugh. He did a 10-minute riff I won't soon forget on the show "Dinosaurs" one night when we did a show in front of like four people in Long Beach. Please follow him on Twitter so you can say you knew him long before he became a movie star. And congratulations Brooks once again.
Let's bring this back to Russell Wilson, though. The Jaguars have trouble stopping the run. So Wilson will get his chance to move out of the pocket and make some things happen. This game is going to be a lot closer than people think. Seriously, I've seen enough of Pete Carroll getting a huge win at USC and then the follow up is a loss to Oregon State. The Seahawks will be in for a tougher game than people imagine. Wilson plays his best late in games. He will have a good rushing line and still end up with a couple of touchdown passes to get at least 20 points. Kind of like what Robert Griffin III has done this year.
I do like that RGIII wants to run more. We've been waiting for this. But you will need to look over to the other side to see why I don't like him that much this week.
You can no longer ignore Sam Bradford's first two weeks of the season. But you must also remember it's just two weeks. Still, he's a smart start this week against the Cowboys, who have allowed six touchdown passes in the first two weeks of the season. Bradford is a top five fantasy Q right now and owned in just 18 percent of leagues.
Tavon Austin is just Tavon now when you send in tweets. Too many "Austin" players. I hope Tavon will live up to being referenced by his first name only. But he scored two touchdowns in Week 2 to just give a small glimpse of what he can do.
DeAndre Hopkins is another young stud to play this week. He had 13 targets last week against the Titans and has a good matchup against the Ravens this week. Baltimore has allowed a ton of big plays so far to receivers this year with 12 receptions of more than 20 yards and a league-high five touchdown receptions to receivers.
If you've waited for Arian Foster to be a top-notch fantasy option again, this is the week. Foster has scored three rushing touchdowns in his last two meetings against Raven (sic). And he's had at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his four career meetings against them. But don't sleep on Ben Tate. He leads the league in yards after contact and is a true beast in every sense of the word.
Marlon Brown has scored a touchdown in every NFL game he's ever played. How do you bench somebody like that? Just how do you? The Texans have allowed six touchdown receptions, second-highest total in the NFL. Only because he can't play against his own pass defense which gave up like 48 to Peyton Manning in Week 1.
We were very high on Knowshon Moreno before the season started and now it looks like he's going to be the guy, at least for a few weeks. Moreno has proven to be the guy Manning can trust in the backfield and that has resulted in fantasy points. Moreno had 36 touches for 167 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Raiders last year.
Drew Brees really needs to get over the hump here. He's been good, but he needs to go back to being the dude who throws like 22 touchdown passes each week.
ImageGuess what day it is, guess what day it is? How many of you thought of the "Hump Day" commercial. I swear to goodness, it was the only thing that kept us going during the long delay on Sunday night. That commercial is so awesome.
Jimmy Graham continues to be excellent. Everybody thought they were going to get huge, consistent points from their tight ends after Week 1, but seems like only Graham and Cameron came through. Oh, and Martellus Bennett, too. Can't forget him. I was able to get enough points from Graham to win my League of Record last week, but not enough to make me lose in the Experts or NFL AM leagues. We call that shooting-the-moon, when you have a guy you face in multiple leagues. But you have to win every league to get "shoot-the-moon" status.
Image"I think me and Coach Trestman are probably the only two people who understand each other," Bennett said, via ESPN.com. "I always say Coach Trestman reminds me of the first Willy Wonka. Not the Johnny Depp one. The Johnny Depp one was really cool, but the first one before that, the 1943 version."
So World War II happened in 1970, according to Bennett. Love this guy!
Jermichael Finley is going to be inconsistent, that's for sure. As are most tight ends. But he's still earned some love as a low-end TE1 option.
Anquan Boldin torched the Colts for five receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs last year. Colin Kaepernick will go after the Colts this week and Boldin is going to have one of those crazy games again. Worth 200 receiving yards? I won't say he will reach that total again. But it wouldn't surprise me if he got close.
Julian Edelman will continue to be the most-targeted receiver for the Patriots. There is really nobody Tom Brady has as much trust in. So you have to play Edelman. And don't worry about Darrelle Revis being on him in the slot. The Bucs haven't done that a lot with Revis, so don't let that factor into your decision. Stevan Ridley is also a nice play because the Patriots don't have many options.
I would start Tom Brady, too. I understand he hasn't been the same guy he was. But he's had 10 days to practice and he's going up against a team he scrimmaged against during training camp.
Cam Newton is still holding strong in my Top 10 this week. He's got the Giants. If Cam can't do it against the Giants this week, well, I don't know what to tell you. The Giants have had trouble stopping everybody this early in the season. Cam needs to tuck the ball and run some more. He's not a classic drop-back passer; I don't know why he's playing as one. Be Super Cam.
ImageSpeaking of Superman, I was shocked to hear our own Michael Fabiano wasn't a fan of "Superman III." That was one of the best of the Christopher Reeve series. I saw it the other night on one of the movie channels. It's hilarious. Richard Pryor was magnificent in this movie. How can any true fan of the Superman movies not like arguably the best one? (Unless you count the Richard Donner cut.)
ImageThe only gripes I have about "Superman III" are this: Uh, even though Superman redeemed himself after being evil, he still did some terrible things. I mean, if mortals are put in jail for things they do when they are "under the influence," why shouldn't Supes have to pay for his crimes, too? Gin, kryptonite, it's all the same. And wouldn't Superman have super senses enough to know the pâté was really dog food? I mean, you can see a kid passed out in the weeds, but you willingly eat dog food? This is why Batman will kick his (expletive) in 2015.
Larry Fitzgerald is a tough one. I talked about him before; he's too good to bench if he plays. He told reporters he would absolutely play this week. But a Cardinals staffer told PFT that Fitzgerald wore down by the end of the last game. You know what he needs? One of these foam deals. I tweaked my back this week during a kettle bell workout and the foam thing worked wonders. Adam's shopping tip of the week, too, don't go looking for those foam deals at your local sporting goods stores. Go to like Marshall's or Ross. Fantasy and shopping advice. Does the Fantasy Greek do that for you?
I do play in an IDP keeper league with a lot of my old buddies from my Orange County Register days, so if you do have a question about those guys, hit me up individually on Twitter.
One guy I do have in my IDP league is Patrick Peterson. I love him. And did you see the pass he threw against the Lions? I'm not so much miffed about the points. But at no point last year when the Cardinals were struggling with a quarterback did anybody think to put Peterson out there to play some Q? (That's right, it's one of my new things to refer to quarterbacks as Q.) Ken Whisenhunt is likely kicking himself right now.
If Philip Rivers continues the way he's going, Whisenhunt gets another head coaching job soon, right? If the Birds had a solid replacement for Kurt Warner after their glory days, I have to believe he'd still be the head coach.
Eddie Royal is a nice pickup this week. He's targeted in the red zone a ton. But dude just doesn't put up yards. And since he can't score three touchdowns every game (or maybe he can), there are going to be some lean weeks.
Chris Ivory is an interesting play. Ivory wins the battle of the eyeball test, because he looked like the better running back against the Patriots. The Jets have scored six rush-touchdowns in their last five home meetings against the Bills and averaged 178 rushing yards a game in their last seven home games against their sort-of-in-state rivals. The Bills have also allowed the third-most rushing yards this year.
Defensive shuffle time: As previously mentioned, I love to shuffle my defenses. The Jags have the Seahawks and the Raiders have the Broncos, but both of those defenses are long gone. So go with the Vikings against the Browns. And if you were snaked by some other owner, you can add the Bills against the Jets or the Tennessee Titans. Seriously. The Titans have eight takeaways and 11 sacks in their last two home games, and have allowed 24 points or less in five of their last six at home.
Jason Snelling isn't the worst play in the world this week. He had 12 fantasy points against the St. Louis FC, and he got all of the touches when Michael Turner went down in 2011.
ImagePhiladelphia sports fans are awesome. Too often the city gets a bad rap for the Santa Claus thing which happened about 100 years ago (and nobody knows what the context was). But they gave the proper credit to Andy Reid and that was awesome to see. Much respect to Philadelphia and the fans in that great city.
RGIII suddenly has a bad matchup against the Lions. No, I'm serious people. The Lions have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. In fact, they've allowed just two passing touchdowns. RGIII has been great, fantasy-wise, the first two weeks and he's thrown more than 40 passes in both games. Now he says he will run a lot more. Of course he will. I have RGIII at the very tail-end of the Q1 rankings. This is weird, to advise you to sit a quarterback against the Lions. I don't know how I feel about this.
I do like that RGIII is going to start running soon. If you followed what AD did, he took a few weeks to heat up, and then he exploded. RGIII is going to do something similar. He's going to run the ball a little more this week, so he won't be a complete disaster. But he's going to start cooking here in the coming weeks. Well actually, starting next week against the Raiders.
Oh, if you have A-Rod (I'm only doing the nickname because I don't want his name to appear on this side of the ledger), be sure to pick up Terrelle Pryor and start him next week. You don't want him against Denver. That wouldn't be prudent. But he's good next week.
Oh man, I sure hope the Colts just put Trent Richardson on the bench and we'll see you next week against Jacksonville. But man, can you imagine Jim Irsay just being all, "Yeah, we made a huge deal, let's have Trent just sit on the bench in his first game"? So I see him playing. I see me starting him in my League of Record. And I see him getting 39 rushing yards and me getting out an IPA before the afternoon is through.
So why don't I just bench Trent Richardson, you ask? Well, I drafted him with my first pick. So he's got a spot on my lineup pretty much every time he's on the field. And imagine how sick you would feel if you flipped on the game Sunday afternoon and you see Richardson run for a 68-yard touchdown in the opening minutes when you left him on the bench. If he doesn't come through for you, it's his fault. But if you bench him for Mad Bones McGee and Richardson has an all-time day, well, that's on you.
Besides, its Richardson's first day on the job. You remember the kind of impression you wanted to make on your first day, right? So of course Richardson is going to try super hard to make this happen on his very first appearance with the Colts.
Mike Holmgren said if he was the coach of the Browns when a trade like that happened, he would have quit. Yeah, you might not want to use the term "quit" when you talk about your tenure in Cleveland, Mike. Especially when you're one of the reasons why the team is in this situation. You should have just taken the high road on this one and stayed quiet.
Speaking of guys who have ruined my League of Record team, Roddy White has been cool and upfront with fantasy enthusiasts so far this season in regards to his high ankle sprain. I want to reward him by playing him, but just can't. I fear I'm going to miss a monster stat line from him because I'm too scared. But it beats seeing the 3.3 points he puts up every week.
Steven Jackson is out two to four weeks with his injury. At least he was nice enough to get into the end zone before he left in Week 2. Jacquizz Rodgers is a nice option in PPR leagues, but I'm certainly not going to play him this week. Shoot, and here I had S-Jax pegged as the fantasy MVP this season.
Reggie Bush is said to be 50-50. You are compelled to start him if he goes because, Redskins. But you really hope he's going to be able to really get after it and not bail after he gets 23 scrimmage yards and then has to leave the game. It's kind of a problem and seems so early in the season for stuff like this to be happening. I'd play him, but you certainly aren't required to like it.
Danny Amendola is going to skip surgery and will try to return in two weeks. You think he watched the young receivers drop all of those balls against the Jets and decided to get back ASAP? You have to hang on to him. I'd start him if he returns against the Falcons in Week 4. Not so much if it's Week 5 against the Bengals.
Don't release Danny Amendola. He's frustrated a lot of us. I made the mistake of going for the Tom Brady-Danny Amendola combo in my League of Record. That is pretty much going to cost me the season, though I just added Bradford to that team. But hang on to him. He's awesome in the six weeks he's going to be healthy.
Rob Gronkowski is just a week away from being back, folks! This is good news. I'd start him immediately once he returns.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he wants to "ramp up activity" for Le'Veon Bell this week. He's been limited in practice until Thursday, but that's a good thing. You wouldn't want to play him in Week 3 against the Bears, who have allowed the fifth-fewest points to running backs this season. But get ready to add Bell to your lineups in the near future. He can be a huge boost if he returns in Week 4 against the Vikings in London. Don't start any Steelers running backs this week.
ImageAs I checked the pocket schedule to look up the Steelers' Week 4 opponent, I noticed the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers have a bye next week. The NFL needs to stop with this nonsense. A Week 4 bye week? Come on competition committee. How does this stuff still happen? How can you expect a team like the Packers to have a bye in Week 4? If you're still going to go with this archaic practice, at least make teams like Jacksonville and Oakland take the early weeks, seeing that the last half of the season is a bye week for these clubs.
ImageAll of the bye weeks should happen Weeks 9-12. Two divisions take a bye each week and it rotates from year-to-year. How is it this hard to figure out? Nobody would be able to complain anymore and the competitive advantage/disadvantage would be erased. This situation makes way too much sense. Who do I need to talk to? Find me somebody who would disagree with this.
Going back to the Steelers, say good bye to Ben Roethlisberger's value as a fantasy option. He has been miserable in the first two weeks of the season and the offensive line is terrible. And the thing is, Roethlisberger is still pretty good at eluding the rush. I can't imagine how much worse this situation would be if he wasn't.
James Starks is going to be tough to sit this week, but you can't expect him to rush for 132 yards and score a touchdown against the tough Bengals D, which has allowed the sixth-fewest points to fantasy running backs this year. The Bengals have allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards in seven of their last eight games. Tough to trust Starks this week.
Trust is a tricky word with David Wilson. Coach Tom Coughlin doesn't trust him to hang on to the football. Wilson himself doesn't trust his own ability to hang on to the football. And so what do you do? You bench Wilson, and you look to see if Andre Brown is available in your league. He could be a nice stash player.
Hey Eli Manning, don't worry about it, you can turn the ball over as much as you would like and you're never coming out of the game. Which is good news! Of course, he does have a pair of Super Bowl titles which earns you a little more trust, but still. The matchup against the Carolina Panthers looks pretty good. But he's had one touchdown pass in three of the last four meetings.
Kenny Stills was a disappointment last week, too. I hope you all realize, when I put out guys like Stills, I'm playing him, too. I even started Royal in one of my periphery leagues. But the point is, I wouldn't recommend something I wouldn't do myself. Still, I saw a couple of shots to Stills in that game against the Bucs. But you can't really count on those things coming through. Disappointing because you like the talent, but there is no way to really get that right.
The Vikings will try to find ways to get Cordarrelle Patterson involved in the game. I like that. But I don't like him going up against the Browns this week. He's somebody to keep an eye on, but he would be a risky play. Not that I shy away from those. I got burned by Kenny Stills last week. However, I won't take that risk with Patterson.
ImageBTW, the lightning delay on Sunday night? I understand the safety aspect. But I've often heard you have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do being struck by lightning. So basically, the players were pulled off the field because there was a chance they could win the lottery.
And did they really need a halftime after that, too? I'm also surprised Jim Harbaugh's experience with untimely delays didn't become a factor in that game, either. Really surprised, actually.
Cecil Shorts had 9.3 fantasy points in Week 2. And he was targeted 14 times on Sunday. But Great Caesar's Ghost, there is no way I'm going to play a Jags offensive starter. This team has averaged just over four points a game. Oh the math is correct. Remember, two of the Jags' season total came from a safety.
Fred Jackson has surfaced as a near-vulture in most fantasy circles. Yes, so much for running you know who until he pukes. (Seriously, I know who he is, but I don't want his name highlighted over here.) Jackson has scored just one touchdown in his last nine career meetings against the New York Jets, and none in his last six games. But if you have to play him, I guess you can reason that he's due.
Remember when Ronnie Hillman was a thing? If you're holding on to him, you don't have to anymore. I get it if you want to hang on to Montee Ball. He could end up with value should something happen to Knowshon Moreno. But you're probably not going to get much from Hillman going forward. He's had just five rushing attempts in two games this season. Seriously, what was Denver doing with him at the top of the depth chart this season?
You talk about Shanahanigans all you want, but John Fox has killed fantasy owners for years with his use of the running backs. It's just crazy. And it's not like he's had a long history of success to where you can't argue with the way he's used guys.
Michael Vick can certainly still move. He looked fast as ever on Thursday night against the Chiefs on NFL Network. But one of my biggest pet peeves for fantasy is pick sixes are not worth enough negative points. Because a pick six can be a killer in real life, it should translate in fantasy, too. If I only knew somebody who could help push across some legislation. But what was the deal with that two-point conversion?
Arizona State really exposed one of my biggest pet peeves in sports on Saturday night. No, I loved how the Sun Devils seemingly stole one from the Badgers. I can't believe a West Coast team got away with something like that. But ASU went for two points way too early in the fourth quarter and it nearly cost them. When ASU made it 21-19, it should have just taken the freebie because if Wisconsin scored a field goal, ASU would take a 27-24 lead on a touchdown. Instead, ASU went up 25-21 and then things got all weird. The point is, always take the free points.
What's funny is as quickly as we made Chip Kelly the next great thing in the NFL, we're going to be ready to send him back to the college ranks. Actually, Kelly will likely be in the mix for the USC coaching gig once Lane Kiffin gets canned. You know what; I wouldn't blame Kelly for that. All of the athletes he could get at USC would take him to a completely different level. And then after he wins three national titles at USC, there would be calls for him to return to the NFL. And then he becomes the coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, and the team still doesn't win a Super Bowl.
Wait, did I get ahead of myself there? Actually, Kelly's offense looks good. The inconsistency of Vick has killed this team post-Washington. He's just not accurate enough. So enjoy your fantasy points while you can.
Speaking of another guy who needs to get off the fantasy milk carton, it's Dwayne Bowe. What did he have, like one reception for four yards? We have expected him to be a good fantasy option going into the season, but he just hasn't delivered. Keep him on your bench, but Donnie Avery looks like the better add right now.
A nice moment before the Thursday night game: Andy Reid was cheered by the Eagles fans. I liked that. But then he was chumming it up Jeffery Lurie. WTS? Wasn't Reid fired by Lurie? I get it, football is just a business and deep down these guys are still friends. But is this the way things work in the real world? If somebody is fired, they are typically escorted from the premises and never return. They certainly don't play grab (behind) with the guy who fired them just six months earlier.
I wanted to see Reid give Lurie a glare and then go all Stone Cold Steve Austin on him. Like wouldn't you have loved it if just before kickoff, Reid appeared on the Jumbotron and was seen having a cement truck fill up Lurie's luxury automobile? I love that kind of stuff.
Remember back when Al Davis and Marcus Allen were making things personal during "Monday Night Football" years ago? I mean, it's cool if they eventually settle their differences years later. But this just happened. That's one of the cool things about sports. I still love that Doug Eddings gets jeered when he comes to Angels Stadium. Sorry if I'm not sentimental enough to get into this.
ImageAnd this is why I won't pop off John Cena when he returns to win the Royal Rumble. Holy heck, could Cena end up being the corporate champion? That would be the heel turn of all time. Cena returns and rips the fans for booing him and finally sells out. Wow. I just blew my mind!
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."