It’s an age-old question: what came first the chicken or the egg?  That timeless question got me thinking about how many fines are now coming down from Goodell’s fortress for anything and everything, and wondering if it’s just a reflection on the current exposition of media immediacy, be it Sportscenter, the internet, social media, or any other tool that gets us our football clips expediently.

I am still a young pup, but I’ve been playing fantasy sports for 9 years, and I remember my first season where not many people I knew had laptops and you’d watch your local team game (without NFL RedZone or the DirectTV package), and follow the bottom line for the other scores and hope it’s your guy, and maybe, just maybe, get a game break that shows a long TD catch by your WR3.  You’d get up for a beer or a snack and hit up your 80-pound desktop and fire on the dial up to check you team.  Of course, since I’m young I didn’t even know the perils of fantasy sports pre-internet with newspaper stat lines, trades over the phone, and the league manager actually having to do everything by hand and calculator.  Lucky for us fantasy folks, the Internet has brought us all here.

But when I saw Stevie Johnson just plain actin’ a foo’, it got me thinking:  In the 80s or 90s guys didn’t really do that as much I don’t think, did they? Of course there are exceptions, but then on top of his silly little Plax gun charade, he gets fined for that?  If anyone should fine him it should be the Bills for costing them the game with his drops.

So back to the question, what came first, ridiculous fines for helmet-to-helmet hits (they’ve always been part of the game and you can’t stop every single one; concussions will happen too, look at Polamalu), stupid celebrations, and flicking off hecklers, or the fact that anyone can now see them by the click of a button and checking their Twitter?  I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.  So as social media and the speed of communications continues to exponentially compound, let’s hope our football doesn’t lose all of it’s character and morph into flag football like we saw LeBron running around doing, thinking he was all that.  Next think you know, guys like Shawn Bradley will be our football stars camping out in the endzone, and players will be suspended for spiking the ball.

Looking at last week’s picks, it was probably my worst week, but at least I was right on both Panthers running backs having big games, Lance Moore had two TDs on Monday Night, and Antonio Brown is a stud and why he’s still not started blindly is beyond me (see below).  Matt Leinart was on his way to having the 220-yard 2-TD game I predicted before breaking his collarbone in the first half, so that was at least kinda a wash.  Although Julio Jones played, he didn’t get a single target, so I was way off on that one.  And then for the guys I said would have slow games, all unfortunately did pretty well, with Bowe the only OK performer putting up 69 yards.  Both A.J. Green (late in 4th quarter) and Willis McGahee (late in O.T.) had huge plays to put them barely in double-digits.  Ugh.  We’ll get em this week!

Here are some guys that I like 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

Matt Moore (2.3%, 8%) In the past six weeks, Moore had score a TD in all but one game, and had 3 TDs in two of the last four.  Of course he’s not going to start over the big name studs, but if you’ve lost your starter, say Vick, Cutler, or Schaub, Moore is the perfect band-aid to help vault you into the playoffs.  Oakland’s pass defense has not been the same without Asomugha, and has given up 13 or more points to opposing QBs (in conservative ESPN-standard scoring) in all but one week this season.  If you’ve got a big question mark at the top of your line-up, I think it’s Moore this week.

C.J. Spiller (15.4%, 29%) Spiller’s promotion to the top-billing RB (see what I did there) didn’t go exceedingly well, but it was a tough game for the Bills running game with the game plan shifting to pass-only.  Even so, Spiller still got 22 touches (19 carries) versus the Jets, and while he didn’t produce much, I think it’s a precursor that he’ll get another solid workload against a less-stout run D in the TitansRyan Fitzpatrick also looked a lot better than he has lately, which I think will open up the defense and give Spiller an opportunity to really break out.  He’s a little bit of a risk, but his upside is tremendous and if you’re unsure of a guy you’re starting and have Spiller sitting on your bench, I think he could be a gold mine.

Antonio Brown (15.8%, 54%) As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I know there are a lot of dead teams still out there, particularly in ESPN.  But how is Brown still started in so few leagues!?  He leads the Steelers in targets, yes that’s right, ahead of Mike Wallace in targets, and has done nothing but deliver the past five weeks.  I think the Bengals D is going to play tough, especially against the run, and the Steelers offense will be looking to get some early offense after their poor showing last week against the Chiefs.  Look for Brown to get work in early, during, and late in this game, and I expect a 100-yard game with a hopeful score.

Mark Ingram (32.3%, 20%) Coming off his best game as a pro, I think Ingram delivers again this week against the Lions.  A lot of work came in junk time versus the Giants on Monday Night, but even so, I see this game getting to junk time pretty quick as well.  Don’t forget that moron Suh is serving his suspension, taking out arguably one of the best interior linemen in the NFL, which should open up a little extra room for the bruising runner up the middle.  I could easily see another 80-yard game with a score in this one, and you could do a lot worse in your flex.

Deion Branch (26.5%, 50%) Maybe I’m prematurely in the holiday spirit (but then again so is every department store, and they start pumping Christmas themes in October), but I have memories of snow falling and Christmas-red Patriots jerseys in a blowout from two years ago where the snow was blowing harder than the Tennessee secondary.   Now, I know Branch wasn’t on the Pats for that game and it’s not going to snow in Foxboro tomorrow, but against the just-as-bad Colts, I could easily see this game going the same way as that 59-0 debacle.  You’re starting every Patriot you can, but I think a few teams are slow to warm up to Branch, who had a strong performance last week against the Eagles as well.  I see another big game here for Branch.

 

Son of a Bench

Steven Jackson (75%, 73%) It’s always tough to bench your studs, especially if they’ve gotten you to where you are in your playoff run, but going against the best run D in the land and with so many injuries to the Rams offense, I think Jackson is a sit tomorrow against the 49ers.  San Francisco is playing for a first-round bye, and they’re not going to overlook this divisional game, not by a long shot.  Jackson is coming off two of his worst weeks of the year, and I think this could be another single-digit outing for him.

Phillip Rivers (68%, 72%) Even though Rivers has been an absolute turnover machine, he’s still been pumping out acceptable fantasy numbers.  But I don’t think it keeps up this week.  Rivers was pretty limited against the Broncos who are playing tough D right now, and with Jacksonville playing for new head coach and former defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, I think they play some tough defense against the struggling Bolts.  Jacksonville already gives up the 6th least fantasy points to opposing QBs, and I suspect Rivers will have a tougher time moving the ball than many think.  He’s a bench for me, and hey, I’d play Moore over him.  Yea, I said it.

Anquan Boldin (64.1%, 73%) I’m really not this much of a Boldin hater, but he’s been on my bench list four times now.  I’ve been wrong about picking bad games against my boy Joe Haden the past two times now (Brandon Lloyd in week 10 and A.J. Green last week), but I think Boldin is limited in this game.  The Browns are a mess in pretty much every facet of the game except their secondary, and I think this game gets out of hand pretty quick with Ray Rice running the show.  Boldin hasn’t had double-digit scoring in non-PPR since week 8, and I think it will continue again this week.  I’d leave Boldin on my bench and play someone with more upside.

Andre Johnson (54.1%, 65%) If you’ve made it this far and you’re still in the running with AJ, more power to you.  But even though your first round pick is back, I still think you gotta leave him on the bench until we see more from T.J. Yates.  I’ve seen Yates play in person when he was at Chapel Hill, and I really wasn’t too impressed.  He had Greg Little to throw to and I could be a decent QB throwing to him in the crappy ACC.  I think Yates is going to have a tough game and Foster and Ben Tate get all the work on the ground.  Even if the Texans get behind, I don’t think they’ll have Johnson out there on every snap as they’re still easing him back.  AJ has to a bench again this week and will be from here on out until we see any consistency from Yates.

Roy Helu (43.4%, 37%) Now is PPR formats, it’s going to be pretty tough to bench Helu, but even so, this is the sort of week where if you start Helu thinking he’ll help carry you to the playoffs, we all the sudden see all the other Redskin backs get all the work.  I can’t stand the way Shanahan is running this team, and every time a rusher comes off a big game, he suddenly doesn’t get the touches the next week.  Just ask Ryan Torain.  Even if Helu gets the majority of the touches, I think the Jets D comes alive and forces Rex Grossman to beat them.  Unless you have really, really bad alternate options, there’s no way I could see starting Helu if you’re a contender.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin.  Good luck to everyone in week 12 and I hope as many of you make the playoffs as possible!

  1. Rags says:
    (link)

    Elimination game for me and everybody’s injured.

    My starting WRs right now are TB Mike Williams, Early Doucet, and Santana Moss.

    Who/how many of those guys would you drop for: David Nelson, Brad Smith, DHB, Meachem, D. Henderson, Hartline, Roy Williams, Cotchery, Bardem, Collie, Mike Thomas.

    Does it even matter? Or is at all crap?

    It’s just for this week, because hopefully I have Austin and Denarious Moore coming back next week. Along with DMC and Peterson, just in time for me to dominate the losers bracket…

  2. Frank Rizzo says:
    (link)

    I need help in picking a rb, wr and a flex for week 13……

    My options are Roy Helu, Ryan Matthews, McGahee,
    Percy Harvin, Andre Johnson, Plaxico?

    Also if you had to play a QB out of Fitzpatrick, Rivers, and Palmer?

    Thanks for all your help.

  3. Frank Rizzo says:
    (link)

    Oh yeah and I forgot to mention I am in a PPR league.

  4. Randy04 says:
    (link)

    In a standard league, who would you start at 2 WRs and a Flex among Fitzgerald, Lloyd, Marshall and J-Stewart? I’m already starting Foster and Murray at RB. Thanks!

  5. shiva ring says:
    (link)

    Clearly you like Ant Brown. I do too. Do you like him enough to start ahead of Brandon Lloyd? My other wr is MegaTron and I already played Lynch in my flex.

  6. principal blackman says:
    (link)

    Who should I bench out of A. Brown, H. Nicks, R. white, & B. Marshall?
    It’s a ppr/return yardage league.

    Thanks.

  7. Random Collmenter says:
    (link)

    Moore over Rivers?!?!?! Come on, man. Let’s get serious. That said, I can’t believe how bad Rivers is this year. What the hell is going on – do you think he’s injured?

    I think Helu is in for a big game as well. Jets D is so overrated this year. We’ll see…. I need these wins heading into the RC vs. JG playoffs! (sorry i missed last week btw… even sorrier that it was your worst week to date)

    Would you start Antonio Brown over Brandon Marshall? Kinda waffling. Think I’m gonna go with Marshall tho. What u think? I could also start Brown over Chris Johnson in the flex, but I don’t wanna do that after the day he had last week. Thoughts?

  8. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Rags: Geez, I’m glad you’re still in it man with those injuries! I’d probably drop Moss for Nelson if it’s only this week, I know Revis got burnt last week but I think he’ll be much more solid this week against Moss. I think Nelson has a decent game against the Titans.

  9. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Frank Rizzo: I’d play Mathews, McGahee and Plax. And still Rivers at QB, even though he’s obviously not my fave.

  10. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Randy04: I’d bench Stewart, without the help of PPR, he’s a lot less enticing.

  11. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @shiva ring: I think you gotta stick with Lloyd, I think the Rams are gonna have to pass to keep up and the guys been a beast since going to Saint Louis. It is close though.

  12. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @principal blackman: Probably Marshall, even though Nicks hasn’t been much better. Against the Packers though, I think Nicks gets a lot of targets.

  13. Titan says:
    (link)

    1/2 ppr, I have to play 2 of these 3. Who sits?

    Shonne [email protected] Was (LT back stealing carries?)
    Roy Helu vs. NYJ (Should get the most touches of the 3 says the rat)
    DeAngelo Williams @ TB (2 TD’s last week a fluke? 10-15 carries?

  14. Titan says:
    (link)

    How about in a Non-PPR, pick one

    Sjax @SF
    Jstew @ TB
    Laurent Robinson @ Ari
    Deion Branch vs. Ind

    I already have Romo and Dez Bryant in my lineup…hate to put all eggs in cowboy basket.

    Thanks for the help!

  15. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Random Collmenter: Uh oh, you’ll need a big push down 5-2! Sorry I was right on Mathews and CJ 2 weeks ago… I think Gates starting the year hurt and obviously not 100% is the biggest factor. I also think Norv is trying to shift the gameplan a little bit to accommodate for Gates being a little slower and it’s not working out. Moore has been pretty good, and as a Panthers fan, I’m that happy about it. but the dude is putting up points and making sharp throws, and with a dominant guy like Marshall and a running game thats working, I think he’s a better play. We’ll see. It’s definitely not Helu that scares me, it’s Shanahan and to a lesser extent a Jets D that is going to rebound at some point here. Yea, I’m with ya man on sitting Brown for Marshall and CJ, they both have solid matchups. Thanks for reading man, I hope you best me this week so I stop looking right all the time!

  16. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Titan: Man, that’s really tough, but I would still sit Helu. Shanahan is worse than all the GOP presidential nominees, I don’t trust a single thing he says. For your 2nd question, I think you gotta put all those Cowboys in, Laurent has been awesome. If you are scared though, my 2nd choice would be Branch who I think has huge upside. Hope that helps, thanks for reading!

  17. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Random Collmenter: Insert a “not” in that happy about Moore. He really fell apart when he was given his shot as Carolina’s opening game starter.

  18. herschel says:
    (link)

    @Jonathan: need to start two of these four in a ppr league. which two do you like (assuming everyone is starting)?

    wayne @ ne
    k smith @ no
    j jones @ hou
    j knox vs kc

    thanks!

  19. Robert says:
    (link)

    JB! I’m on the playoff bubble, 6-6 and facing the top team in the league (11-1). I’ve given up on winning this week (got Marshawned), but I need to make sure I put up a decent amount of points to ensure that last playoff spot.

    Need 2 at RB: SJax, McGahee, Reggie Bush, Kevin Smith (if he goes)

    Need 1 at FLEX: Antonio Gates, VJax, (an RB you didn’t pick above)

    Notes: Like you, I hate SJax’s matchup this week but if anyone can break through that DEF, I think it’s him. I really like Smith’s matchup this week — just not sure I’m willing to gamble that much. Gates has a good matchup as well with JAX giving up the second most pts. to TEs.

  20. Ian says:
    (link)

    Mark Ingram or Santana Moss in a flex spot this week Non PPR?

    I win and I’m in, probably in already, but possible scenarios exist where I get knocked out due to head-to-head losses with other teams.

    Also, I am already Marshawned. Eff me.

    I like Ingram against that DET interior, but also think WAS is gonna have to throw the ball to win, but Revis Island looms for Moss possibly…

  21. Nick says:
    (link)

    Been going back and forth on this all week–should I start Dwayne Bowe or Santonio Holmes (non-PPR). Bowe hasn’t caught a touchdown since week 5 and will be playing vs. the Bears with Palko under center at least to start. Holmes is losing red zone targets to Plaxico and is far from a sure thing. I feel as though Bowe is more high risk/high reward while Holmes is low risk/moderate reward. Thoughts?

  22. Commish Cauda (formerly Mike) says:
    (link)

    12-team, 0.5 ppr

    Benson, Kevin Smith or DeAngelo Williams?

  23. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @herschel: Since none of those other guys play late I would bench Smith, and then Knox. I know Julio burned me last week, I thought he’d have a big game and he got ZERO targets, but I trust Matt Ryan a lot more than Caleb Haine.

  24. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Robert: Yea, I think I’d sit SJax too, I like McGahee and Bush. I like Smith’s mathcup too, but he’s way way too risky for me. I think you roll with Vjax in your flex, I know he’s been solid and VJax has been much more inconsistent, but I think he has a bigger game. Good luck man, thanks for reading! Hope you own those playoffs.

  25. cashmoney says:
    (link)

    PPR….start sproles or James Stewart as my RB2?

  26. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Ian: I’m right there with ya. I like Ingram. I know the Skins will have to pass, but it could go to a lot of different receivers and Moss will be on that island. I think Ingram has a second straight solid game today.

  27. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Nick: That’s the exact way I’d label them as well. Although I think Bowe’s ceiling isn’t much higher that much higher than Holmes, and Palko just isn’t a long-term NFL QB. I like Holmes with a better QB going against a worse secondary. I’m in a league where I own him and need a win for the playoffs, and I’m holding fast hope he can perform.

  28. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Commish Cauda (formerly Mike): Man that’s tough. I think Smith is out, so it’s between Benson and DeAngelo for me. D-Wil has got so much talent, and I’m a well-known Panthers apologist, so I think I’d play him. He’s always got a shot to break a big play and with Benson you’re just hoping he gets scores. I think the Steelers/Bengals game stays low scoring.

  29. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @cashmoney: James Stewart? The star of It’s a Wonderful Life? Haha, I think you mean Jonathan, but I think it’s Sproles, especially for PPR.

  30. Archib says:
    (link)

    Elimination game for me.

    Need to fill Flex and RB2: Mendenhall, Turner, Harvin

  31. TJ says:
    (link)

    Do you like Antonio Brown (and his return yards) enough to start him over Jordy Nelson @NYG this week?

  32. Nico says:
    (link)

    Julio or Spiller in my flex spot? Non PPR

  33. Steve says:
    (link)

    Hey fifa player!
    10-Team Dynasty League. Brandon Lloyd for my Starks + 1st Round 2013. Is it too much for Lloyd (guess it depends on how important you think the pick is…)? Thought about him because I only have Fitz/B-Marsh/Nicks and nothing after that + that scary matchup for Nicks in the playoffs. Thanks JG.

  34. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Archib: You gotta leave Harvin out with those two guys.

  35. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @TJ: I so, so wanna say yes, but Nelson is always a good bet for 100 yards and a TD. It’s so a coin flip, but I’d lean to Nelson just because I think the Steelers/Bengals will be low scoring and his contribution in return yards won’t be as much.

  36. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Nico: Spiller. Think he goes big.

  37. cashmoney says:
    (link)

    @Jonathan Gilpin:

    haha yah it was on last night…Jonathan of course

  38. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Steve: Haha love the Fifa, but don’t like how angry it makes me sometimes. Those 2-1 losses where they get 2 BS crossed in headers are killer. I think your situation depends on how much you play for. My immediate thought is no because Lloyd is older than you’d think (30), and Starks is much younger (25) and could be a feature back for the best offense in the league right now. That plus a future 1st rounder makes me want to say no, but if you’re really pushing for this year and like the upgrade and don’t mind losing the upside for the future, I wouldn’t fault you for it.

  39. Steve says:
    (link)

    How about over 10 goal chances vs. 2 from your opponent and you lose it! Okay, that’s probably my fail then, but we talked about gettin angry!

    Thank you. Will rethink that offer if he really helps me to win this year.

  40. Charles says:
    (link)

    Weekly WR quandary: 2 out of A Brown, AJ Green, VJax, Bowe, Williams (TB)

    Thanks!

  41. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Charles: Wooo, nice corps there. I’d probably lean Green and VJax with Brown right there as my first alternate. At least you have great choices!

  42. JB Gilpin

    Jonathan Gilpin says:
    (link)

    @Steve: Haha I hear that, I hate games where you pound their goalie and they happen to score. on a crappy shot that megs your keep. If you’re on PS3 I’m Eyes_Of_Mr_Fury, hit me up sometime.

  43. Satan says:
    (link)

    QUICK! With news of Bradshaw playing, do I risk him over J-Stewart and/or Blount in a non-ppr league? Today’s for the division and I kinda don’t like having 2 RB’s in the same game…

    thanks!

  44. barker says:
    (link)

    kevin smith or mark ingram for flex tonight

Comments are closed.