Hey, Jon, you know why I call the Houston Texans, No Country for Old Men?
Because they don't have Brett Favre?
No, it's because they have a lot of promise, keep me interested for a while, but then have a terrible ending. That's two weeks in a row they've blown the lead very, very late.
Come on, Dave, giving up a bizarre Hail Mary is very different from allowing Mark Sanchez to work the one-minute drill to perfection and march 72 yards downfield. Then again, since being shut out on Halloween by Green Bay, the J-E-T-S have won two games in OT and three late in the game after blowing a big lead this week against the Houston. This could be one of those magical seasons for the green and white.
Sure, as long as they play the Bills in the playoffs. Their 8-2 record looks nice, but their wins are against teams that are a collective 30-49 (.380), while their losses are against playoff contenders that are a combined 14-6 (.700). The Jets have only one quality win, at home against the Patriots. Guess how I think they'll do up in Foxboro in Week 13.
So are you saying the Jets season will also become No Country for Old Men?
No, more Carrie: lots of strange, inexplicable things happen and then they have a bad experience at the big dance.
That's right, you're a Dolphins fan.
"Go to your closet and pray, Carrie!"
Topic No. 1: Speaking of old men, Brett Favre was awful enough against the Packers in Week 11 that his head coach got fired and his team flirted with being the third team shut out that week. Does this mean backup QB Tarvaris Jackson will have value down the stretch?
Block: Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Tarvaris Jackson fan. In fact, I don't think it's possible to have fans when the only reason people know who are you is because Brett Favre took your career possibilities away from you. New head coach Leslie Frazier is unlikely to make a switch right now, but sooner or later somebody's going to take a stand against Favre, particularly if they lose another game and fall to 3-8. As an under-.500 team, Frazier has to lobby for Jackson to play, doesn't he? It's about the future, Leslie, and if you don't season Jackson now, he will get cooked next year at your expense. Jackson has 34 starts under his belt, a 59 percent completion rate and a 22/18 TD-to-INT ratio with 10 fumbles. Favre's got so little left in the tank he might as well be a Vespa. One more loss should equal some PT for T.J.
Counter-block: The issue isn't whether Favre has any gas left in the tank, it's about whether he'll get his driver's license revoked for being too old. That noise you heard at the end of the Packers' game was the door shutting on the Vikings' season. Sure, if they won the rest of their games they'd be 9-7 and mathematically eligible for the playoffs, but it ain't gonna happen. Step one was to fire Childress (a month too late). Step two is to finish out the season, and if Favre says he wants to play those six games, they'll let him. Behind the scenes they might encourage Favre to hang up his cleats (and iPhone), but we all know Favre is a stats hound who is worried about his legacy, and this may really be his last season (please!). He owns many career passing records, and likely wants to make it that much harder for Peyton Manning to catch him. So he'll keep starting until he's injured (just how hard do you have to hit this guy to keep him on the sidelines?) or the season ends. Many people have lost good money betting against Favre playing (even if it's playing badly). So for those of you that drafted Favre expecting last year's numbers, I have some good news and some bad news: Favre likely finishes out the season.
Clearing the pile: Frazier has no choice but to stay loyal until they drag Favre's carcass off the field. It might be prudent to have Jackson on your bench, but his value doesn't increase until the Vikings are completely eliminated from the playoffs, despite Childress' firing.
Topic No. 2: Buffalo's Fred Jackson has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his past two games and scored four TDs. Is this the real Fred Jackson?
Block: I'll root for anyone that's playing hard on a bad team (Vince Young may be the poster child for being the exact opposite), and Jackson has looked good the past two weeks averaging over five yards a carry. However, his big games were against Detroit and Cincinnati, two teams that I'm not sure actually field defenses. What's more, rookie C.J. Spiller was injured in the Detroit game and missed the Cincinnati game as a result. Coach Chan Gailey originally said Spiller would be out indefinitely, but now seems to think he'll be ready for Week 12. The next two games are against the Steelers and Vikings, two teams that stuff the run, and then the Bills face Cleveland and Miami. So while the latter two are easier games for rushers (note: they end the season with New England and the Jets), Spiller will likely be 100 percent by the time they make it to Cleveland and will be stealing touches from Jackson again. Buffalo will likely want to see what its running back of the future can do. Jackson has the talent, but based on his schedule and Spiller's presence, he won't have the opportunity or the output to be worth adding to your roster.
Counter-block: How many starting running backs are out there on the waiver wire? Now, how many starting backs on the waiver wire are getting all their team's carries? Of course Jackson has value. He's a solid PPR guy with 21 receptions already this year and has always performed when healthy. Not only that, he's the most likely running back to get carries near the goal line, even when Spiller returns. Meanwhile, Spiller isn't necessarily a pile pusher, and even when Jackson had eight carries for 16 yards versus the Bears, Curtis Modkins still called his number in the red zone. It's not like Spiller has been Felix Jones in his rookie season. There was an argument for Jones' 8.9 per carry average in 2008. The same can hardly be said for Spiller's 4.0 yards per carry. Gailey's got Spiller for years to come. Jackson should handle the load the rest of the way, and he's averaging 4.4 per carry. He's available in 32 percent of Yahoo Leagues.
Clearing the pile: Jackson has been the beneficiary of a soft schedule recently, and Spiller isn't healthy, not to mention he hasn't exactly lit the league on fire. Jackson is a good play once the team gets past the next two games (Steelers and Vikings).
Topic No. 3: The Bengals have more than underachieved and conceivably could lose the rest of their games? Is it time to jump ship on fantasy players?
Block: Jump ship? Into what ocean? As always, abandoning players means you've got someone on the waiver wire at least comparable. You're not finding it unless your league-mates are clueless or your league is shallower than Rob Schneider's movie plots. Terrell Owens is having his best fantasy year of the past four. He's behind only in Roddy White in fantasy points at the wide receiver position. Chad Ochocinco has scored twice in the past two games and three times in the past five. Since you're unlikely to garner a trade anyway, continue playing him, as this team is the eighth-rated passing offense. That means much like Brett Favre, you're playing Carson Palmer until his arm falls off. As for Cedric Benson, he's ninth in total carries with 192. He has 747 yards, good for 13th in the league, which is ahead of Ray Rice in terms of yards. He has 19 receptions, which puts him on pace to beat his career high of 20 back in 2008. You likely drafted him in the second round, and he's almost given you the same value as the aforementioned Rice so far. The biggest drawback for Benson thus far is his four TDs, but every fantasy player knows you can never predict that. You can only look for opportunity, and he has no shared backfield, making him a rarity these days in the NFL.
Counter-block: While I'm the first in line to exploit bad teams for their talent (I'm looking at you, Houston), let's be real. Cincinnati is a pass-first, pass-second, run-third team. The Bengals have four rushing TDs and less total yardage than Arian Foster. So Week 11 was likely a high-water mark for Benson (does he get credit for two TDs since his fumble created one for Buffalo?). As for the passing game, it's centered around Carson Palmer, whose health and decision making has been questionable this season. In his last three games Palmer has as many TDs as INTs (6) and three times this year has put up more INTs than TDs. Their season is over, and the Bengals might start giving some snaps to younger brother Jordan Palmer, or worse, shut down the elder Palmer for the rest of the season. Either way, the receiving corps' value could take a huge hit, and with knuckleheads like T.O. and Ochocinco, any kind of unrest would turn into a full-fledged riot.
Clearing the pile: Until Carson Palmer is pulled, the playing-from-behind Bengals will provide good value at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end. You knew what you were getting from Benson -- unfortunately you're not getting anything better.
Jon Phillips is the 2008 Champion of the Columbus Dispatch National Fantasy Football Contest "Rate the Experts" and has written for Talented Mr. Roto, Rotoexperts.com and SI.com. He also hosted Rotoexperts flagship radio show "Xperts Edge" as well as "The Think Tank" with Scott Engel. Dave Young has written weekly fantasy sports columns for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, and other sites he can't remember. Called the "Laverne and Shirley of Fantasy Football," catch them both on "Just A Bit Outside" on Blogtalkradio.com, Wednesdays, 10:30 pm Eastern (7:30 am Pacific), and read their column, "Line of Scrimmage" weekly on SI.com. E-mail Jon at email@example.com or Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."