Week 8 Takeaways
Every career, even one’s dream occupation, has its downsides. Bakers have to work into the night. Movie critics have to review Last Vegas. A stud college athlete faces the proposition of getting drafted by a Cleveland franchise.
For me, writing about sports has always been a passion and a privilege. Nevertheless, one of the shortcomings is the occasional ruthless commentary from readers. I get it. In fact, one of the reasons I love what I do is that few topics facilitate as much spirited discourse as the nature of sports. Unfortunately, the anonymity provided by the Internet allows a handful of users to be spiteful and malicious. Luckily, it’s easy to brush aside such reaction, as, no matter what you do in life, there will always be someone who will be drinking the Haterade. Case in point: I heard someone at a bar on Friday night state his belief that Mila Kunis was not attractive.
HOWEVAH…this past week was a different tale. For whatever reason, there was a contingent of vindictive and nasty remarks in the chats, comment sections and inbox. And while I would normally wave off such hostility, I was in a somber mood having to stay in cold, dreary Cincinnati for the job while one of my best friends got married in gorgeous, vibrant Charleston, South Carolina. Moreover, the majority of this rancor was WAY off base in accuracy and veracity.
So consider this a writer’s revenge, as this week’s takeaways are sprinkled with some of the erroneous venom spewed in my direction:
The Cowboys secondary is really, REALLY bad
(From Sunday Chat) Kevin from Canada: You should shut up about Dallas. You are a hater. Their D was great last week.
Kevin’s disagreement is referencing my advice to start Detroit’s Kris Durham over Cincinnati’s Mohamed Sanu, with the reasoning that the Cowboys defense is exploitable. I doubt even the biggest Dallas zealot is trumpeting the merits of the unit after Matthew Stafford dropped five bills on Big D, including a last-minute drive, in Motown. The aerial smackdown leaves the Cowboys in the NFL cellar with 315 pass yards surrendered per game, as well as last in total defense at an admission of 423 yards per contest.
You could make the case that Dallas’ air resistance will improve with the return of DeMarcus Ware, in the sense Ware’s backfield pressure forces some ill-advised passes. Unfortunately, the unit already held a feeble standing with Ware in the lineup. The team gets a respite against the Vikings this week, but as the second half progresses, opposing signal callers warrant starting consideration against the Cowboys.
Oh, and Ken, about that Dallas performance in Week 7? Just spitballin’, but that might have had some correlation to Matt Barkley.
Goodnight, Tom Brady. They can’t hurt you anymore
From Doyle in Tulsa: Sit Brady against Miami? Please. Let me have your job, I can do it better.
Mentioned in last week’s Fantasy Basement, I believe I had Brady listed as a non-starter for the first time in the three years of writing that column. And with good reason: heading into the matchup, Brady was 21st in total quarterback points, extremely disconcerting considering the Patriots’ Bye isn’t until Week 10. Brady’s 55.4 completion percentage was a career-low and was on pace for his fewest touchdown passes since 2001 (his first season as starter). I know Miami’s defense had been a disappointment and Rob Gronkowski’s revival instilled hope that brighter days were ahead, but with a plethora of capable quarterbacks in fantasy this year, seemed like an unnecessary risk running TB out in hopes of rejuvenation.
Following another incompetent outing (13-for-22, 116 yards, one touchdown, one pick), coupled with an intimidating schedule (Pittsburgh, Carolina, Houston and Cleveland) looks like these ominous skies have no intention of clearing. His injured and incompetent receiving corps doesn’t help, although that pain has no immediate signs of alleviation, either. Forget putting Brady on the pine. At this juncture, it might be time to cut loose. Trust me, I know, it’s tough, like breaking up with a long-time girlfriend or making the switch from Qdoba to Chipotle because the former keeps screwing me on the guac, which is ridiculous considering it’s a relatively inexpensive condiment and the fact I always tip like 30 percent hasn’t helped my cause even though the check-out girl TOTALLY flirts with me every time…sorry...but yeah, time to pull the plug on Brady.
Hold off on riding the Red Rifle
J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS: Dalton has NO SHOT vs. Jets. No way he puts up points.
Concededly, this was a viewpoint held by many going into Sunday’s New York-Cincinnati affair. To his credit, Andy Dalton had posted strong fantasy efforts in his previous two games, but given Dalton’s execution, or lack thereof, in the Bengals first five games of the season (243 yards per contest, five touchdowns, six turnovers), a date against a stout Jets secondary seemed dubious. Apropos, then, that Dalton posted a career day with 325 yards, five touchdowns and an interception in the Who-Deys 49-9 beatdown of Gang Green.
However, before you rush to implement Dalton (started in only 15.9 percent of FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues) in your lineup, beware of his upcoming itinerary. Five of his next six opponents flaunt sound defenses in Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. Additionally, it’s not easy to put conviction in Dalton’s consistency, especially since the Cincinnati quarterback constantly underthrows A.J. Green and the majority of his forays are short routes or screen passes. Dalton’s a perfect roto replacement, yet pump the brakes before bestowing starter status on the Red Rifle.
Jason Campbell boosts the value of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron
Micah from Spokane, Washington: Cameron over (Jason) Witten? You’re $#%&*@! crazy. Cameron is a flash in the pan and Campbell kills his chances. KC will own him.
Trust me, Jason Campbell has never been the answer for a winning football team, a sentiment his pedestrian career record and stats support. The counter to this charge – he’s a helluva lot better than Brandon Weeden. Even if Campbell is a C-/D+ quarterback, I’d rather have that in the saddle than Weeden’s F-like exploits. (I thought about creating a new grade-level of awfulness, but considering the amount of profanity that exudes from the Dawg Pound to Weeden’s play, “F” seemed like the right choice.)
With Willis McGahee and the running game struggling to surmount much of substance on the ground, Campbell will get his fair share of opportunities to toss the pigskin around. Look for Cameron and Gordon to be top-10 entities at their respective positions in the second half.
We hope you took our advice on Jordan Reed
Y. Parin from Atlanta: He (Reed) is not good. He’s a terrible start. Von (Miller) will trample him. Only reason Denver is last in (pass) yards is because they get up so early and relax. You are terrible, quit.
Parin, I’m sure you’re an astute individual with an aura of positivity, so it pains me to rain on your parade by saying, in the words of Chuck Barkley, “You’re wronger than ketchup on pancakes.” Reed was targeted a whopping 14 times, hauling in eight catches for 90 yards, giving Reed 21 grabs for 282 yards in the last three weeks.
Washington wants to make its living on the ground, but its porous defense translates to an air attack early and often. Still available in nearly half of FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues, hitch your wagons to Reed while you can.
And please, only Louis C.K. and Eminem can make negativity an art. Next time you want to take a shot, kill me with kindness. As Dr. Steve Brule has proven, it’s a more effective method.