What we are talking about:
Last chance starting saloon
"Batman vs. Superman"
Stop hating, haters.
The "Irish Hello"
Troll your friends this holiday season
There are some pretty underrated things in the world. Like when you're fast forwarding through your favorite show and you stop at just the right moment when that final commercial ends. That's like the best feeling, right? I mean, right when you see that couple settle into their respective tubs, you hit play and boom, the show starts right after that final side-effect warning is read and you see the TV-M box in the upper corner. Oh man, that is so sweet.
Well, maybe not as sweet as when Del Taco finally decided to put full tomato slices in their tacos. Not cubed tomatoes like a hooligan would use. But I'm talking about a proper tomato slice that takes up nearly the whole side of the taco shell. I mean, the tomato cubes just seem lazy. Because you just know you're being cheated.
And to take it one step further, let's say that Del Taco isn't sitting so easy in your stomach as you race back to work. And as you gallop to the restroom, the big stall is waiting for you and nobody else is in there? Oh man. That might be the best moment you can actually have at work.
The same could also be said when you successfully avoid a person. Like there was a dude you just knew was going to be a bust and you said, "hell no." I can't really draw one from my own personal stash (I know I meekly avoided Jamaal Charles but that was nothing to brag about). But does anybody remember when our own Matt Harmon penned this story: "The case against Todd Gurley as a top-five fantasy pick"?
Holy lord, the internet went ham on Harmon. People questioned his credentials. Called him out. Dropped the mic and went about their merry way. How do you think those people feel right now?
I only bring this up for a few reasons. For starters, Harmon has never received enough credit for this. In fact, I implore you all to reach out to Harmon this weekend and let him know about it (he's on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB). Look, you like to Monday morning quarterback folks when they are wrong, how about a little credit when they absolutely smoke one like Mike Trout teeing up a fastball? So give him credit because that was awesome.
I'm happy to report I didn't draft Gurley in one league this season and I feel pretty great about it. I didn't have the gumption to write an article like Harmon. I mostly just declined politely and moved away. I viewed Gurley the same way I look at a birthday shot. Because once Ticket Bob goes to the bar and you see the bartender grab the vodka, you suddenly pull an Irish goodbye and walk next door to Rubio's to sober up for a bit before your Uber driver gets there. (Sorry if that seemed a little too specific.)
But Harmon nailed it, so you need to give him credit.
However, you also need to start Gurley this week. I didn't draft Gurley, but I did pick him up in our NFL Fantasy League. I only added him because he went first overall in our league (seriously) and I thought it would be funny to have on my roster. Plus, I knew he was going to have this amazing matchup against the Falcons in Week 14. And if you know something about fantasy busts, they always have that one redemption game in the fantasy playoffs that you can at least take solace in. Ameer Abdullah did this last year. He was an abject bust (and my fifth-round pick. And BT-dubs, Stephen Gostkowski was taken down by my fifth-round curse. I don't know what I'm going to do next year, but it's probably going to be a Packers player just to be safe. I've tried to talk people into letting me take David Johnson in the fifth-round just to really put it to the test, but let's just say not everybody in our league is fun.) but did play well in Week 15 (89 total yards and a touch) last year to end on a positive note. Seriously, just do me solid in one week and then we all go home happy.
Gurley is going to do the same. The Falcons are lousy on defense. They have the worst pass defense in the league. They have allowed an average of 27.9 fantasy points to running backs over the last four weeks. If Gurley is going to have one chance for redemption, it's here. Because it's not going to happen next week against the Seahawks. So get him back into your lineup this week. Or pick him up off the wire. But start him.
And without further ado ...
Russell Wilson has been the gold standard in December since he entered the league in 2012. He has a 16-3 record in December, and his 106.2 passer rating in the moth is the highest among all quarterbacks to make at least five December starts since the 1970 merger.
Wilson has a league-high 109.9 passer rating on passes of more than 15 air yards. Aaron Rodgers has a 107.1 passer rating on throws of more than 15 air yards, which is second.
Jameis Winston has been on fire the last eight games with 15 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. He hasn't had less than 15 fantasy points since Week 4 against Denver.
Dak Prescott had his worst start of the season against the Giants. But yeah, it was his first week. The Giants are now without JPP. I would not be worried about this. He has a higher completion percentage (67.9), TD-INT ratio (19-2) and passer rating (108.6) than Eli Manning has had in any of his 13 NFL seasons. But I do like Eli this week, too.
Marcus Mariota has two or more passing touchdowns in each of his last eight games, joining Dan Marino (10-game streak in 1984) as the QBs with the longest such streaks. The Broncos have allowed at least two touchdown passes just twice this season, tied for fewest in the NFL. But I don't care. I'd take Mariota as my QB12 this week. And I'm cool with that.
Image I like professional wrestling and "How I Met Your Mother" so nobody is going to consider me sophisticated. Though I will tell you, the final season of HIMYM wasn't critically received. But I just re-watched the Blauman episode from the final season and it was sublime. Maybe the best episode of the doomed ninth season. (You never eat the free, mistake curly fry!) So you know what my sense of humor is like and it should come as no surprise that I will be seeing the "Baywatch" movie on opening night. Probably above a .08 as well. Watch the trailer here.
Image "Batman vs. Superman" has been on rotation on HBO. Every time I watch it, I get angrier about people who panned it. This is a really good movie. I get if your critique is that Batman has become the Punisher because he kills people (although there is a precedent for this in some of the comics). I think it makes Batman more interesting, and shows how much the job has beaten him down. After letting the Joker and Suicide Squad live, he's not a broken vigilante. It's a good movie people. If you don't like it, that's on you.
David Johnson is the second player since at least 1950 to have 1,000 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards through 12 games. Kudos to Marcas Grant for nailing this from the beginning.
I'm serious. I don't know how anybody could have taken Gurley ahead of Johnson coming into the season.
Matt Forte has averaged 14.45 fantasy points over his last six games, and has had at least 75 scrimmage yards in those games.
Robert Kelley has averaged 84.2 rushing yards per game since Week 8, despite going for an average of just 50 per game in his last two. I look for this to be his bounce-back game.
Lamar Miller is closing in on 1,000 rushing yards. Damn, but I'm having trouble thinking of one great game he had. He's going to this week, though.
Jordan Howard has at least 100 rushing yards in five games this season. He's averaged 106.2 rushing yards since Week 8. He's saved me in a number of leagues.
Odell Beckham Junior averages 137.1 receving yards per game in December, the most of any player since 1970. He has at least 100 receiving yards in seven of his last eight December games. Only Santa Claus has better Decembers.
Antonio Brown needs just seven more receptions to set an NFL record for more receptions in a four-season span. Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison is the record holder.
Anybody who was offended by OBJ laughing at AB's touchdown reception last week needs to build a bridge and get over it. What, is OBJ supposed to be stoic on the sideline like he's Bill Belichick at a Carrot Top performance? (I don't know why I included Carrot Top here. He's hilarious and even the most ardent red ass would find him funny.)
Sammy Watkins is another guy who has given me pause. The Steelers are 19th against the pass. But the Steelers have allowed 10 points per game (fewest in the NFL), 251 total yards per game (fewest in the NFL) and have 13 sacks (tied for most) since Week 11. Boy, I'm not sure I can start Watkins this week. But for (expletive) sake, the Steelers played the Browns, Ravens and Scott Tolzien during that stretch. Smoked by the Cowboys. I'm going with Watkins.
Cameron Brate has 46 fantasy points since Week 9. His six receiving touchdowns are tied for the most among tight ends.
Image My favorite holiday song, no doubt, is "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. Now obviously I could go ahead and download it on iTunes or listen to it on YouTube. But I have this weird obsession with hearing it organically on the radio, be it traditional radio or satellite. I whiffed entirely last year. And then yesterday, I heard it on Sirius XM 17! But right when I turned over it the was the "finally we caught on to what was happening ..." part. And I'm like son of a (female dog). I barely got it. Needless to say, I'm going to just YouTube it today.
Tom Brady is 7-3 in his career against the Ravens, including playoff games. However, Brady has just 12 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in those 10 games and his 76.6 passer rating against Baltimore is his lowest against any opponent in his career. I really don't want to bench the GOAT, though. I'm just providing you the information.
Can I tell you an interesting point? No, you'd rather just read my thoughts on wrestling, the Gilmore Girls and the human condition? Ah, you're so sweet. But please let me tell you this. The Patriots went 6-2 with Rob Gronkowski in the lineup, scoring 26.1 points per game and averaging 372.3 total yards. In four games without Gronk, the Patriots are 4-0, averaging 27.5 PPG and 418 total yards per game. Amazing right? So it's been Gronk holding them back the whole time.
Since Week 5, the NFL's lowest-rated passer has not been Case Keenum (76.4) or Blake Bortles (75.6) or Brock Osweiler (73.9). it has been Carson Wentz whose rating in that time has been 73.2 (seven touchdowns, 11 picks). On passes at least 15-yards downfield since Week 5, Wentz has no touchdowns and seven interceptions. Bruh.
Now, I've said for quite some time this could possibly be the game where the Cleveland Browns rise up to win. This has all of the makings for a Browns upset. However, let's cut the (crap) and say the Bengals are going to win. With that, the Bengals will reach five wins. And at this time, I will apologize to Bengals fans everywhere for saying this team was going 4-12 this year.
The Buccaneers have allowed an average of just 13.3 points per game over their last four. One reason? They are winning the turnover battle. Like most NFL teams, the Bucs are nearly unbeatable when they win the turnover battle.
I will say this. Everything says this is going to be a terrible game for Drew Brees. He's not as good outside. The Bucs have steamrolled teams. So we're looking at about 412 and four touchdowns from Drew, no? And I'm going to be sitting there with Jameis like a sucker. I can just feel it.
Image It looks like Lane Kiffin is going to Houston. Not the Texans, the university. Which bums me out greatly because I really thought Kiffin to the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator was about to be a thing. Norv Turner would be a nice pick for the Rams. Look, he's not a great head coach. But a really good coordinator.
Melvin Gordon isn't cut out to be a top-flight NFL running back. Stop trying to make him happen people. (If you're reading this for the first time and confused, don't worry. Somebody will be along shortly to explain it.)
Image I'll be so bummed if the Chargers end up in Los Angeles. I truly believe something is going to be worked out in San Diego. I will just be so upset for not only the fans of the San Diego Chargers (who are awesome), but for San Diego State University, too. The school has become a rather exciting mid-major program. But it needs a stadium to play in. Maybe if the Chargers bail, SDSU can build a 30k-40k football stadium akin to the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Jay Ajayi leads the NFL in rushing since Week 6 (791). But he's averaged just 53 rushing yards the past two. Similar to Fat Rob in that respect. But I can't get behind Ajayi with this matchup against the Birds.
Stefon Diggs has fewer than 10 yards per reception in six of his last seven games. He's really fallen off over the last couple.
Man, Rishard Matthews has been one of my most prized finds this year. I'm super bummed I can't play him against the Broncos. I feel like Mariota can make some magic happen. But I don't trust the receivers. I mean, MM could toss one to Delanie Walker and then dump off one to Derrick Henry for a score. I can't trust the WRs.
Image As mentioned above, I kind of consider myself the master of the Irish goodbye. The best thing you can do when you are at an event and want to leave early is play shuffleboard or pool so you can get some high visibility going. And then you bail. I'm going to try out an Irish hello at the holiday Christmas party this year. That's when you tell everybody you're going to the party, but you don't go. As an added twist, I will text some of my co-workers and say, "Hey, come to the bar" or "head out back" to try to meet up. And then the next day tell them that they must have blacked out a conversation that you had and be offended they can't remember seeing you. And if you are truly committed to this, go on Yelp, download a photo of the party venue and post that on your Instagram like you are really there. And then tag yourself at that location. We call that "The Manziel."
I will say, when I tweet out stuff like the "Baywatch" trailer, please don't respond to that tweet with a fantasy question. Allow me to have a little fun. Besides, you're probably better off sending me a message on my Facebook page instead.
Image This became a hot-button issue this week. I tweeted this out. You're out of the playoffs and you're still making waiver claims. Jerk move? Sixty-three percent of you said it 100 percent was a jerk move. Thirty-seven percent said absolutely a jerk move. However, there were some of you who defended the move. And I'll dismiss those who said you get weekly prize money, or the last place finisher has to get a tattoo or some (expletive). But if you're not in a league like that (and even if you are), it's not cool to be making waiver claims. It's petty. You should absolutely continue to field a competitive team. Pick up free agents on Friday. But you shouldn't be making waiver-wire moves to add players to your bench. One dude in our league had Tom Brady and picked up Kirk Cousins just to have on his bench. Are you kidding me? Who does that? Probably the guy who drafted Gurley first. Thankfully the FSWA President Andy Behrens ultimately weighed in to say it was "poor form" and I believe the case has been settled now.