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I’ve been in mourning since the end of the NLCS and my Brewers got knocked out, but things are even worse with the Cardinals winning the Series in game 7. Seeing Tony La Russa scowl his way to a championship is about as bad as seeing Belichick do it. La Russa screams on the bullpen phone, trashes “Moneyball” because it didn’t go into the back story of his buddies, and can’t take any heckling. Just look at his pictures, I don’t see how that upbeat face could inspire any sarcastic hateful feelings from a rival’s fans…

Heckling is a part of the game, and in no other sport is trash talk more important than fantasy football. There’s even a show on FX about it. I’ll have to admit, I’m not as good taking the smack talk as I should, but after whiny-baby La Russa gets another championship, it sure is going to make me lighten up and take the jabs with a smile. It’s just more fun that way.

Looking at last week’s picks, it was a mediocrely good outing with Jackie Battle and Steve Breaston having mediocrely decent games (double-talk?), and Larry Fitzgerald having a mediocre game for Fitz’s standards, Philip Rivers playing awful and Beanie Wells not having a chance after an injury (got those all right Random Collmenter and “anecdotal evidence” VinzoGinzo!). However, I got a lot wrong as well with Doug Baldwin putting up a goose egg, Daniel Thomas doing nothing with 19 carries, and Matt Cassel reverting to absolute awfulness (though he didn’t need to do anything with KCs defense stifling Oakland – three cheers for anyone that started KCs defense!). Stupid Anquan Boldin didn’t have a catch in the first half but salvaged his night with 40 yards and a score on MNF and stupid Shonn Greene had his first 100-yard game out of nowhere against San Diego.

Here are some guys that I like for week 7 that most people aren’t starting and some guys to think about benching (along with their % start figures on ESPN & Yahoo, respectively). Remember, with bye weeks taking out a bunch of guys I’m not saying the benchers should ride the pine unconditionally! It’s more if you’re stacked and one of these guys may end up being your odd man out.

Possible Starters

Antonio Brown (11.8%, 41%) For Sunday’s battle royale between the Patriots and Steelers, I think we’re going to see a lot of passing in a Big Ben vs. Tom Brady showdown. Mike Wallace is sure to get a lot of looks, but I also think Antonio Brown has a big game, coming off his first career 100-yard affair last week vs. Arizona. Brown is one of the best fill-ins out there, still available in 82% of ESPN leagues and 48% of Yahoo leagues, and going against the Pats secondary that has allowed the most points to opposing WRs this year. Give me Brown for at least 80 yards and a hopeful score.

Pierre Thomas (38.7%, 48%) With Mark Ingram out and going against one of the league’s worst defenses, Pierre Thomas is a no-brainer this week. The Saints are still working on balancing their attack, and we all saw what DeMarco Murray did against the Rams last week. Sproles will obviously also be in the mix, but I still think Thomas gets 20+ touches against the horrible Rams. He’s still available in a lot of leagues, so if the byes are wreaking havoc on your line-up, Thomas is a great play.

Jabar Gaffney (29.8%, 30%) Santana Moss broke his hand in the loss to my Panthers last Sunday, opening a huge opportunity to be John Beck’s possession receiver. Gaffney put up 68 yards last week, and even with the horrible Rex Grossman starting the year, Gaffney hasn’t had a game under 50 yards yet. That kind of consistency seems to be lost on the vet, who now becomes the primary receiving option along with Fred Davis. Buffalo’s secondary isn’t good by any means, so I like Gaff to have the last laugh.

Jackie Battle (29.5%, 35%) I’m going with Battle again this week, who after doing not much of anything in the first half against Oakland, got a lot of work in the second half and should have convinced the Chiefs coaching staff he’s their best runner by a long shot. Of course the Chiefs claimed he would get most of the work last week and it didn’t really happen, but I think he has a bigger game with a further majority of the carries on Monday night against the Bolts. Battle is a big dude at 6-2, 238, and we all saw what a big runner could do against San Diego in Shonn Greene last Sunday. I think the Chiefs are going to want to keep the Chargers offense off the field and give Battle a few more redzone looks (Le’Ron McClain – yes, still playing – vultured a goalline TD along with Javier Arenas – yes, a DB). I could easily see Battle notching his second 100-yard game and getting a score this time out.

Demaryius Thomas (8.3%, 9%) I’m going to shock every football fan everywhere and exclaim Tim Tebow isn’t a great passer! I’m of course kidding. But I think Denver gets shellacked going into Ford Field against the Lions, and there’s going to be a ton of garbage time passes against the prevent. Who is Tebow’s favorite target? Easily Thomas, who got 10 targets last week, even though only catching 3. John Fox has already shown he has no faith in Knowshon Moreno, and with “whatcha talkin’ about” Willis out with a broken hand, I think we’re going to see a pass-friendly game when Tebow isn’t scrambling. I like Thomas for maybe 70 yards and a score.

Son of a Bench

Maurice Jones-Drew (97.7%, 93%) I got burned earlier in the year saying to bench MJD, but I’m feeling pretty confident he has a slow game this time out on Sunday. Houston is actually pretty stout against the run, giving up the 5th fewest fantasy points to RBs, and I think the Jags will be a little shell-shocked coming off one of the most improbable wins this year beating the Ravens. I see the Texans and Arian Foster attacking hard out of the gate, limiting Jacksonville’s dependence on the run. Listen, I know if you have MJD, there’s very few situations where you’d bench him. But if you’re stacked and have two other solid RBs, MJD is the guy to sit.

Steven Jackson (81.8%, 79%) The same disclaimer goes for Jackon, who I also see having a slow game on Sunday. The Rams are god-awful, and AJ Feeley is getting the start yet again. Ugh. The Rams are going to see more 8 in the box than Lindsay Lohan. Ey-O! While Jackson does get a lot of work in the passing game as well, I think all defense schemes will go to limiting him. Like, MJD, if you have some comparable options, go with them.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (66.4%, 48%) The lawfirm is questionable, but barring some sort of setback, he’s definitely going to be out there. But for you fantasy team, I think you leave him on the bench. I know Beanie Wells got hurt and the Cardinals don’t have much for backups, but Pittsburgh absolutely stuffed their run game and I think the Steelers run-D is back on track. As mentioned above, I think this game is going to be pass pass pass, with a ton of work for Brady and the passing game. BJGE is a sit for me.

Jeremy Maclin (74.3%, 73%) Maclin hasn’t done much of anything against the Cowboys in the regular season in his career, and I just have a gut feeling he has a slow game again on Sunday Night. Dallas is going to do everything they can to blitz Vick and run blitz McCoy insofar that I see DeSean Jackson getting the deep looks (no, duh!) and Maclin contained to more possession routes. Again, it’s more a gut feeling than anything else, but if you have a handful of good receivers, I could easily see Maclin being the odd guy out.

Miles Austin (89%, 92%) While his talent is sure hard to bench, Austin is still easing his way back and had a very slow game watching DeMarco Murray gash the Rams last week. The Eagles run D is equally suspect, and while it’s hard to put too much stock into Murray’s breakout game, one would suspect Dallas would go to the run early and often throughout Sunday Night’s showdown. I think the Eagles secondary is slowly showing they’re improving and Austin is shut down.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. If you’re of the legal drinking age (have to say that due to our legal dept.), keep playing the Twitter “Gruden ‘that guy’ drinking game” (#GrudenThatGuyDrinkingGame) for the ultimate party game that’s primed to sweep the nation. Good luck to everyone in week 8!

  1. Alex says:
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    Hey, I have several matchup questions so bear with me!

    Phillip Rivers or Tim Tebow?
    Mario Manningham or Antonio Brown?
    Jackie Battle or Ryan Torain?
    Aaron Hernandez or Fred Davis?
    And do I pick up Buffalo or Tennessee D?

    Standard scoring.

    Bonus question, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want. But I’ll need to drop one of these to pick up a D… Tebow, Battle, Torain, Brown, Davis. Who would you drop? Depth is not really an issue at any position.

    Whew… sorry for all that work, thanks!

  2. Drew Crew says:
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    would you start a.brown over little or crabtree in ppr if hines is out?

  3. timmy riggins says:
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    flex .5ppr, bscott or abrown

  4. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Alex: 1) close – in standard scoring I think Tebow with a better chance to run them in vs. passing TDs 2) I actually have that same problem in a matchup I think I’m going to lose so I’m gambling with Brown… 3) Battle, not close 4) Hernandez, not close. I know the Steelers can shut down TEs, but there isn’t a better TE corps than Hernandez/Gronk 5) I had that same pickup issue as well, I went with Buffalo because what I saw from John Beck against my Panthers last Sunday didn’t impress me much. Haha no problem man, I love answering questions! I’d drop Davis, I know he’s hot, but he’s not gonna get much playing time on your team over Hernandez… Someone will nab him pretty quick, but he’s the odd man out of that list. Torain also sticks out, but you never know what the RB situation will turn out to be with Hightower out the year. Thanks for reading!

  5. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Drew Crew: I’d start Brown over Crabtree either way… Hell yea, D(B)rew Crew!

  6. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @timmy riggins: Brown… I know Benson is out, but I don’t think Scott gets more than 10-15 carries… He really hasn’t been as impressive as I thought he’d be this year.

  7. Scott says:
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    What do u think of mike williams(Tampa) rest of yr?
    Was dropped this week…standard league
    Like him better than thomas(den) or little?
    Thanks!!

  8. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Scott: Man that’s a tough one, I think all 3 of those guys are about equal… To be honest, I probably like Thomas the least for the year (even though I like him this week), just because of Tebow’s limitations throwing the ball… I think I like Little more from a talent/role stand point… If you’re playing Thomas this week I’d say hold off, if Thomas is on your bench I’d say drop him and maybe William heats up in the second half… It wouldn’t shock anyone if he did.

  9. Chuck says:
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    I’m getting tons of different responses. What’s your opinion on these options:

    For WR3: Nate Washington VS IND or Antonio Brown VS NE?
    For Flex: Morris, Helu, or Hardesty..

    non-ppr.

  10. I have a problem this week. I start 2 wr’s on my squad, i have Jennings on bye. My others are Austin, Lloyd, Demaryius Thomas & Nate Washington. Who would you use?

  11. Robert says:
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    JB! Long-time no-talk! ;-) Looking for some advice on a couple of spots…

    Need to pick one for my flex spot: Gronk, Boldin, or Fred Davis (would need to drop Boldin or Gronk)? Also, even if you don’t like him better this week, do you like Davis better than either of those ROS?

    For DEF: ARI or TEN? Before you call it clear cut in favor of TEN, two things…my league counts return yards/TDs, and my opponent this week has Stephens-Howling. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even chance it with ARI. Thoughts?

    Thanks, man!

  12. Bootsy says:
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    Ingram and Forte sitting on my bench.

    Bernard Scott currently on the WW.

    Pick my two RBs:

    Pierre Thomas
    Daniel Thomas
    Marshawn Lynch
    Bernard Scott

    Leaning toward the Thomas brothers. Scott worth playing this week?

  13. Robert says:
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    And BTW, as a Rangers fan, I’d like to apologize for my team’s inability to knock TLR down a peg. After this series, I’ve developed deep-seeded hatred for TLR and half the Cardinals team.

  14. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Chuck: Brown and Morris are my picks… I wouldn’t start either Skins back unless I had to, and even with Hillis out, Hardesty gets a tough SF defense.

  15. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Phanatical1: I’d stick with Austin and Lloyd probably, I know I said bench Austin and play Thomas, but I don’t think it’s a 1-for-1 move…

  16. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Robert: Yo Rob! Thanks for tuning in each week. Glad to have another La Russa hater on my side! I gotta deal with this obnoxious Cardinals fan at my day job… I’d stick with Gronk, he’s a manbeast, or as Al Gore would say, manbearpig. And I like your thoughts on negating LSH’ points… But I still think its TEN. Baltimore isn’t going to push the envelope and won’t have many turnovers, and I doubt they’ll give up a return TD… But obviously you never know! Thank again for reading, hopefully I’m still helpin ya out!

  17. Scott says:
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    Mike williams(tam) ,decker,or Antonio brown rest of yr?
    Standard league
    Have one spot open
    Thanks!!!!

  18. BootsyBaby says:
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    Forte and Ingram out this week. Bernard Scott on the WW.

    Pick 2 (standard Yahoo scoring, no PPR):

    Pierre Thomas
    Daniel Thomas
    Marshawn Lynch
    Bernard Scott

    I am leaning Thomas brothers. Your thoughts?

  19. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Scott: Probably still Mike Williams, I definitely don’t like Decker, and I think Brown is still going to have some slow games, but not this week!

  20. Robert says:
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    @Jonathan Gilpin: I appreciate any other perspective I can get, and you’re always willing to offer up advice, which is awesome, so thanks!

  21. herschel says:
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    @Jonathan: ppr league, who do you like of these unfortunate choices:

    bjge @ pit
    spiller vs was
    tate vs jax

    thanks.

  22. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @BootsyBaby: I was reading you post and thought to myself responding saying “the Thomas brothers” then that’s what you typed right after! Great minds think alike and start the Thomas brothers.

  23. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @herschel: Haha, unfortunate indeed… But you gotta stick with BJGE even though I’m low on the lawfirm… He could always have a 17-yard 2 TD game haha.

  24. woosah says:
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    What up Jon!

    1) In 12 team standard league who do you like better for flex:

    B Jacobs, G Little, or R Helu

    2) In 12 team ppr league with .5 points per rush attempts please pick 2 rbs:

    Torain, M Morris, Hardesty, Addai

    THANKS!

  25. Random Collmenter says:
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    Touche, JG, touche. You were right….

    but you are SO wrong about Steven Jackson! Yes, the Saints will put up a big lead early, but that doesn’t mean S-Jax will be taken out of the game seeing as their QB is godawful, and the saints defense is not good.

    who you like in the flex? Brandon Marshall, Moreno, Helu, or Antonio Brown? Leaning Marshall since Giants pass D is terrible.

  26. Pefacommish says:
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    Who has a team so deep that they can actually bench the law firm during a bye week? OK, I’ll play Alfonso Smith against the Colts instead. Or Michael Jenkins.

    Maybe the writer plays in a 4 team league…

  27. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @woosah: What’s goin on man! Ugh, some dire straights there, huh? I’d go with Little and Morris. I think Helu may be the guy down the road, but I’m not even going to try and predict his workload tomorrow. And with points per rush attempts, I think Morris is your guy; same comment for Torain, Addai scares me way too much, and it would be Hardesty if he were facing virtually any other team, but that 49ers D is for real.

  28. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Random Collmenter: Haha, I was hoping you would be back, Random! Yea it was tough this week picking guys who are played in the majority of leagues who may be worth sitting. I think he’ll have a slow game, and the Saints D won’t look that bad this week haha. Yea, I like Marshall as well, I think he’ll have a solid game.

  29. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Pefacommish: “Maybe the writer plays in a 4 team league…” No, I do not own BJGE in any league, or have ever played in an under 8 team league. Did you read the whole article? I constantly say these are not unconditional opinions. Of course you play BJGE if you don’t have a stacked team with great options. Would I play Battle over him this week? Actually, I would. Would I bench BJGE for either of the Skins backs? Of course not. These are just my thoughts to consider if you’re stuck between BJGE and someone else. There are plenty of 10 team leagues with no flex and only 2 RB spots where if you had no one on bye, you could easily be starting Battle and say McCoy over him. Or two 1st and 2nd round pick blue-chip backs that don’t have their byes. I could see numerous scenarios where I’d bench him.

  30. TJ says:
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    Best Def/ST to ride this week? 1 pt per 10 Kick return yards, 1 per 20 punt return yds, plus usual std scoring for everything else defensive. Ironically the generous KR points rewards D/STs with halfway decent return games who let their opponents score a lot, so the usual D/St rankings aren’t always helpful here.

    I was slow on the uptake this week so here’s all that’s left:
    SD (@KC), Cleve (@SF) feel like the tops, then Pats (@Pit), SEA (vs CIN), Jags (@Hou), CAR (vs Min)

  31. Public Enemy #1 says:
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    FYI…Denver v. Detroit is in Denver, not at Ford Field.

  32. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @TJ: Yea, while I was reading those rules, I was thinking the same thing about a game with a lot of returns… I actually think you go with the Pats… Big Ben could easily get sacked 5 times and there sue is going to be tons of scoring.

  33. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @Public Enemy #1: Geez, good catch man! I coulda sworn it was in the dome and didn’t think to double check. Still like Thomas just the same.

  34. paulzone says:
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    cam or vick?

    bradshaw or murray?

    6 pts for passing tds, 0.5 ppr, 3 pt bonus for 100 rush/rec yds

    Thanks!

  35. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @paulzone: Vick and Bradshaw… So hard to bench Murray, but it’s only been one game… The Giants should, I repeat, should, trounce the Dolphins, giving Bradshaw a lot of carries.

  36. Brett C says:
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    Finley on bye
    Shiancoe or Gresham this week?

  37. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
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    @BootsyBaby: Daniel Thomas a surprising inactive! Go with Lynch over Scott, I don’t think Scott has a breakout game here…

  38. Random Collmenter says:
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    Guess i’m 1-for-2 in the “Talk Gratuitous Smack About Your Predictions” League!

  39. elwood blues says:
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    little looked awful today.. with Harvin on a bye next week, I may need to start him.. or do I waiver it.. and pick up
    Doucet, Dam. Williams, Knox, Den. Moore.?? who do you like.

    And where was Ridley today? do I drop him off my bench for this WR?

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