Hyperbole.  It’s what makes sports single-handedly the most important aspect of life for all time, ever.

But seriously, we sometimes get our sports overly laden with hyperbole to the point where you just shake you head and say, “Come on.”  Unfortunately though, I feel it’s staring to pop up across other segments of news with more frequency as well.

Of course political broadcasts have always pumped out fear mongering with reckless abandon, but that’s why politics are just a joke.  But where hyperbole is just ridiculous is if you ever flip over to a cooking show.  It gets preposterous.  You get 20 minutes to cook a fritter out of canned peas, a sponge, playing cards and AAA batteries, and if you make the least nausea-inducing food it validates you life’s work.  “Come on.”

I like my sports with just enough hyperbole to where it’s light and not too ridiculous.  Obviously sports moments define professional athletes as it’s their hyper-publicized profession, and lines like, “Kevin Garnett, with no regard for human life!” are pretty fun.  But I don’t need to hear about how “this is the single biggest moment of his career” about the same guy every other week.  It’s the job of the media to critique athletes and either unapologetically kick them when they’re down or launch them on a pedestal after wins, but let’s keep it a little lighter and not embrace every moment like it’s the biggest occasion every game.

With that in mind, this is the biggest, most-important week for all fantasy teams in the whole world as we are in the life and death struggle to make your leagues’ playoffs.  First, looking at last week’s picks, it was an up-and-down outing, but overall fairly solid, with Maurice Morris (against the Panthers in week 11) getting usurped by the ghost of Kevin Smith (that injury was brutal on Thanksgiving), David Nelson crashing worse than the Bills as a whole, and my bench Marshawn Lynch call getting proven wrong as the game wore on (I was looking pretty good in the first half).  Luckily, Earl Bennett had a nice last hurrah with Jay Cutler (Bennett has lost all fantasy value with Cutler on the shelf), Brent Celek had a solid Sunday Night, and Jerome Simpson absolutely went off.  For the rest of my benchers, Chris Johnson and Ryan Mathews were both held to two points each, (how you like that, Random Collmenter? 5-2) semi-validating my call of playing Morris over CJ since they tied, and Aaron Hernandez and Beanie Wells both having poor games as well.

Here are some guys that I like this week that aren’t getting started enough and guys I think you should bench (along with their starting percentages in ESPN and Yahoo respectively):

Possible Starters

Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams (56.2%, 40% / 61%, 34%) As mentioned on my appearance on this week’s podcast, I like both Panthers running backs against a sucking for Luck Colts.  DeAngelo is getting a lot of flack, even from Carolina fans, but he’s still averaging 5.1 yards per carry and his season high for carries is only 12.  I think the Panthers blow out the Colts and Williams gets at least 15 touches for 80ish yards, and Stewart gets around 15 as well for maybe 70 and a score.  I see the Panthers’ backfield going all 2009 on us again.

Antonio Brown (19.3%, 50%) I’m not quite sure what people are waiting for, as Antonio Brown has become as consistent a factor in the Steelers passing game as Mike Wallace.  He’s scored at least 8 in non-PPR formats the past four weeks, and there’s no reason to not expect another strong outing against a pretty poor Chiefs D.  I know the fear is the Steelers will put this game away too early, but I think we’re still going to see a lot of passes throughout.  Brown is as solid a WR play as you can get for a #2 or flex.

Lance Moore (9.1%, 11%) In the last Saints game in week 10, Marques Colston burned the Falcons on multiple third downs in light single coverage.  I think the Giants are going to watch the film, and give Colston much tighter coverage’s and some double coverage sets. Playing on Monday Night, I like Moore to exploit some deep routes and I see him getting a shot at a long score.  He’s definitely a risky play, but a high risk/high reward.

Julio Jones (17.7, 24%) The Vikings secondary was already pretty bad, but now without Antoine Winfield, it’s even worse.  When the Falcons have seen some of their worst opposing secondaries (TB, Seattle, Indianapolis), it’s been Jones who has really shined.  And last time Jones bounced back from his balky hammy, he had his huge 2-TD game against the Colts.  I know that’s not sound logic to see a big game this week again returning from a sore hammy, but I just have a feeling he gets his third score of the year in this one.  Another high risk/very high reward.

Matt Leinart (0.3%, 3%) In Arizona, Leinart had top wideouts in Boldin and Fitzgerald, but now in Houston he’s got Andre Johnson returning from injury to go along with a solid TE in Daniels and the best backs to support the run game he’s played with in Foster and Tate.  Leinart has had two full weeks to prepare for starting and with Jacksonville’s above average run D (which won’t do much to slow down the Texans rushers, but even some slight resistance is better than most – they held the Texans to 4.0 YPC in their previous meeting this year vs. their season average of 4.4) and I think Leinart will be called upon to pass more than you’d think.  He could easily get a red zone score and a screen pass score, and I like him for one of those 220-yards, 2 TD performances.  If you’re in a deeper league or lost Schaub and/or Cutler, you could do worse than Leinart.


Son of a Bench

A.J. Green (35.6%, 37%) Even though he’ll play, Green’s knee is still giving him a little trouble, and I see the Bengals pulling away from the struggling Browns early in this one.  I think we get another solid dose of Jerome Simpson and Green might not see every snap in the second half.  Add into the mix he’s going to see a lot of Joe Haden lined up opposite him, and I think Green has a slow day bouncing back from injury.

Stevie Johnson (50.6%, 48%) Johnson hasn’t broken double digits in non-PPR in the past seven weeks, and with Ryan Fitzpatrick really struggling, I think Johnson has a very bad afternoon against the Jets.  I see Rex Ryan firing up his boys after that embarrassing loss to the Denver Tebows, and the Bills sorely missing Fred Jackson to help open up their playbook.  I know Johnson got 84 yards on Revis last time these teams faced off, but I don’t think Revis Island is going to let that happen again.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (55.3%, 40%) The lawfirm is coming off his best game since week 3, but don’t let that lure you into starting him again this week.  I know the Eagles run D has been suspect, but with Nnamdi Asomugha possibly missing the game, I think we’re going to see a lot of the vaunted Patriots passing attack.  Bill Belichik loves to rotate his runners, and I don’t see Green-Ellis getting another double-digit touch game.  Sit confidently.

Dwayne Bowe (86.2%, 74%) Even though Tyler Palko kept Bowe fantasy relevant last week, it was against the porous Patriots secondary.  Don’t expect anything like that again this week with Ike Taylor and the Steelers keeping the Chiefs and Bowe in check.  Palko just doesn’t have the arm or the experience to keep Bowe involved against a tough defense, and I don’t see how you can start Bowe at all with any assurance.

Willis McGahee (44.7%, 48%) McGahee’s return from his broken hand yielded negative numbers for fantasy owners last Thursday, and a lot of people are seeing a nice bounce back for the Bronco against the Chargers.  I don’t.  I think John Fox and the Bronco’s game plan of “run the ball and hope Tebow can score late” has worn out it’s welcome and the Chargers start on their late postseason surge.  We all know Tebow can’t throw and there’s going to be numerous eight or nine Chargers in the box.  Unless you’re strapped for RB options, I’d sit McGahee.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and good luck to everyone in week 12!

  1. sloww2go says:

    So I guess you would start Big Ben over Tebow this week?

  2. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @sloww2go: Ya know, it’s as close as you can get, but yea I’d go with Big Ben. I know the Chargers D isn’t close to the Jets D, but I think this will be another slow game for the Broncos/Tebow like the Detroit game a few weeks back.

  3. Randy04 says:

    I’m pretty much locked in at all my offensive positions, but was curious which DEF/ST you’d go with out of the following: Raiders, Panthers, Cardinals, or Broncos. Opinions are all over the board based on what I’ve read, but it’s a must-win, so I just want to cover all the bases with my most trusted sources! Thanks!

  4. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    I would rank them Broncos, Panthers, Raiders, Cardinals. It’s impossible to be any sort of confident about the mid-tier fantasy defenses and below, but I like Denver the most going against the human turnover Phillip Rives and they’ve been solid the past three weeks since the Lions debacle.

  5. Jeff says:

    Who do you like better in standard league as flex?

    Fred Davis or Joseph Addai?

  6. dani says:

    In a standard league, I have one available RB spot (I started Kevin smith…) would you start Blount, mendenhall, or jones-drew? A of one I’m starting mendenhall because the chiefs suck- what do you think?

  7. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @Jeff: Ugh. Fred Davis.

  8. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @dani: It’s tough, but I think I actually like Jones-Drew a tad more. Without Schaub, the Jags have a shot to be in the game longer and MJD had a respectable game against them last time they played. Wouldn’t fault you for Mendenhall though, but he’s been so damn inconsistent….

  9. Jared says:

    Gotta start one of bowe, Bennett , or garcon. Who do you like best??

  10. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @Jared: Can’t believe I’m saying this, but Garcon. I think the Panthers get a big lead and Garcon sees some late prevent coverages. Don’t like Bowe (see above) and think all Bears have lost fantasy value other than Forte.

  11. Daniel says:

    VJax or Julio. Both risky, but I’m leaning Julio…Champ is underrated.

  12. Guy Jantic says:

    3 of the following 5: Welker, Julio Jones, Harvin, Manningham, Brandon Lloyd

  13. herschel says:

    @Jonathan: ppr league flex help, who do you like this week?

    tate @ jac
    cooper vs ne

    also, who do you like between tebow and rothlisberger?


  14. DSimms says:

    DEF this week: Cincy vs the Browns or ATL vs Vikings with no AD?

  15. Brett Crowe says:

    Harvin or D. Williams at flex this week?

  16. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @Daniel: I agree with your premise, but I gotta say you should stick with VJax… Vjax’s upside is higher and both have the same floor.

  17. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @Guy Jantic: I’d bench Harvin and Manningham

  18. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @herschel: I like Tate and Big Ben. Like the Texans to run a lot and Leinart to be able to move the ball as well and I think Big Ben gashes the Chiefs and Mendenhall still struggles a tad.

  19. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @DSimms: Like them both, but slight edge to Atlanta with Ponder still getting his licks and as you said, no AP.

  20. Charles says:

    So… You like Brown, but don’t like Bowe or Green. Pick 1: Brown, Bowe, Green, Williams(tb), Rice(sea). Thanks!

  21. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:

    @Charles: Stick with Brown man, I think he’s your guy.

  22. Bootsy says:

    Jonathan Stewart or Marshawn Lynch, non-PPR?

  23. Frank Rizzo says:

    Hey John,

    Do I start Matthews or McGahee this week, week 12 in a ppr league?
    Also plax or andre lol?

  24. Tim says:

    Donald Brown or Joe McKnight, yeah those are my options. Non-ppr.

  25. Robert says:

    JB! Got a quick one this week…at Flex…Gronk, Roddy, or Gates this week? And if not Roddy at flex, would you take him over VJax this week? Thanks!

  26. Jeff says:

    Completely out of it in this league but have a bet with a friend riding on this matchup. Need to start, and i know this is going to be tough because they all suck, 2:

    Jonathan Stewart
    Jackie Battle
    Joe McKnight
    Toby Gerhart.

    Thanks for the help!

  27. JB Gilpin says:

    @Bootsy: Still think it’s Lynch, I bet against him last week and got burned and I think he has another solid outing.

  28. JB Gilpin says:

    @Frank Rizzo: Hey man, I’m slightly leaning towards McGahee just because he’ll probably get more touches than Mathews, but it’s by a razor thin margin.

  29. JB Gilpin says:

    @Tim: Haha, sorry man, I’d hope for the best from Brown, I think Shonn Green is going to play with a chip on his shoulder after sitting out the majority of last week’s lost and keep McKnight limited.

  30. JB Gilpin says:

    @Robert: Gronk has gotta be unbenchable at this point, I like him. And I do like Roddy more than VJax, I like the Falcons passing attack to produce across the board. Thanks for keeping up with my piece this year, hope you started VJaz last week!

  31. JB Gilpin says:

    @Jeff: Haha, I hear ya, but I do like Stewart this week so he’s a lock. I’d go with Gerhart because we know he’ll get a fair amount of work and is more likely for a score over Battle (vs. PIT) and McKnight (not a goal-line runner).

  32. Alex says:


    Thanks for the article. With Vick out, I’ve been going back and forth all week between Palmer (vs CHI) and Young (vs NWE), who do you think is the better play?

  33. hideousmutants says:

    Had a lot guys playing thurs and only have one WR and my flex left. What combo would u start among:

    Chris Johnson


  34. JB Gilpin says:

    @Alex: I’d probably go with Young, NE’s secondary has been so bad and the Eagles have better playmakers.

  35. JB Gilpin says:

    @hideousmutants: Wow, that’s a really tough one. If it’s PPR I’d bench CJ and if not I’d bench White.

  36. JB Gilpin says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone! I’m going to be on the road returning home from the Holidays so I won’t be able to get to any questions until later in the afternoon, but I will keep up with my twitter @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone this week!

  37. Big Bird says:

    Non PPR lineup decisions – Riley Cooper or Vincent Brown? MJD or Ben Tate?

  38. barker says:

    pick one wr3 manningham decker vin brown

  39. Frank Rizzo says:

    Do I start Celek or Gresham at tight end this week, week 13?
    Do I start Phillip Rivers, Carson Pamler, or Ryan Fitzpatrick?
    Also, if you had to pick two players to start out of Ryan Matthews, McGhaee, Plaxico, and Andre Johnson who would u start? It can be any two…..

  40. Frank Rizzo says:

    Oh yeah it’s a ppr league.

  41. Frank Rizzo says:

    I also have Roy helu to choose from with Matthews, McGahee, plax, and Andre?

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