Like/dislike: Apologies to Stephen Gostkowski

What we are talking about:

  • Stephen Gostkowski

I'm sorry for cursing you

  • Tony Romo

Don't pull a Kobe on the Cowboys

  • Devonta Freeman

Posts monster numbers sans Tevin Coleman


Oh no, I did it again. And I owe an apology to the fans of the New England Patriots, fantasy enthusiasts and most importantly, Stephen Gostkowski.

I drafted Gostkowski in the fifth-round of our NFL Fantasy League (of which I'm the only three-time winner as I point out in a non-humble brag). My reasons for drafting a kicker insanely early are explained right here. (And if you don't want to take the time to read up, or if your reading comprehension is spotty I must point out this was the only league I drafted the Ghost in the fifth round. I did not tell anybody else to draft the Ghost. I even handed out a Johnny Knoxville-like warning to not try this at home. I'm happy to take [expletive] for this, but please get it right.)

But the major point was my fifth-round pick has bombed in four consecutive years and I wanted to take the safest possible play. And spoiler alert, Gostkowski has been terrible this season. Or at least not up to the standards that he has set out in recent years. I'm now fully behind RotoExperts' Jake Ciely's movement to ban kickers outright. Though I would also like to include defenses, running backs, quarterbacks and tight ends. But just kickers would work, too.

So what am I going to do next year? I floated out the idea of everybody not taking David Johnson so I could draft him in the fifth-round and finally put an end to the curse once and for all. But there are a lot of un-fun people in this league who wanted to put the kibosh on that. My guy Alex Gelhar threw out the idea of not even making a fifth-round pick, which is a good one. Not as good as this "Dome Patrol" piece he pumped out this week. If you're like me, I keep about 59 tabs open on my Google Chrome. Most of the time I leave the tabs open because I want to go back and read a story that I found earlier in the week, but didn't have the time for. And then I put the girls to bed on Friday night and catch up on my reading. (A practice I need to stop because I am so backlogged on comic books right now. One of our new features editors, Katie, dropped a few Harley Quinn titles on my desk recently.) But make sure you do check out Gelhar's story. I'm reading it tonight (or I already read it if you're reading this piece on Saturday/Sunday). I know how much work he put in, so I would consider it a personal favor if you read it. Though I shouldn't have to beg you to do this.

In any event, I'm leaning on not picking a player in the fifth round next year. Maybe I will take the Packers defense just to jinx them. I'm not ready to commit to anything, though. Mostly because my #AB20 prediction is a touch behind the pace right now. Which means I'm going to have to wear a green-and-yellow tie (probably this one) in all of my TV appearances from the end of the season until kickoff of 2017 if he doesn't get his totals up. That's on me, though. I'm a complete jackass.

So again, allow me to apologize to the New England fans, the entire Patriots organization, Rob Gronkowski because he's like the coolest dude ever, and Gostkowski himself. This is on me. It's not you or anything you have done. This is all my doing. I'll get my stuff together in the future. (But probably not.)

And without further ado ...

Tom Brady has 25 career wins versus the Bills, the second-most wins by a quarterback against a single opponent. He's also 11-0 in October starts since 2014 with 33 touchdowns and one pick. That's good, right?

Russell Wilson has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six road games. Drew Brees has 20 touchdowns and three picks in his last six home games.

Matt Ryan is on pace for 5,367 passing yards this season, which means he's fallen off the pace for the single-season record.

Andy Dalton did not have a turnover for the fourth-consecutive game. He's thrown six touchdowns with no picks from Week 4 through Week 7.

Matthew Stafford is having the best season of his career, and he's doing it without Calvin Johnson. He's on pace to set career bests in completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown-to-interception ratio and passer rating. If you've hung out with him this season, I'd suggest you keep going with him. The Texans are second against the pass, but I'm still going to ride with Stafford instead of trying to stream Alex Smith or somebody else.

Dak Prescott is the only player to record a passer rating of more than 100 In five consecutive games this season and one of three rookies to do so since 1970 (Robert Griffin III and Ben Roethlisberger were the others).

ImageFor those of you asking, I'm not a Cubs fan. Many members of my family support the Cubs. And I would want them to win the World Series for their sake. I got all of my joy from watching the Cubs rough up Clayton Kershaw again. I'm not trying to be a hater. I'm not trying to say Kershaw isn't a good pitcher. But he allowed four earned runs in a crucial Game 6 in the NLCS. I just provide you with the information without bias.

Ezekiel Elliott has at least 150 scrimmage yards in each of his last four games. If he does it in a fifth-straight game, he'll join Chris Johnson (2009) and Walter Payton (1985) as the only players to do that since 1970.

Spencer Ware has gained 36 percent of the Chiefs' scrimmage yards this season, which is the second-highest percentage in the league. Of course, David Johnson is first. Ware's 129.5 scrimmage yards per game ranks fourth behind Le'Veon Bell, DJ and Elliott.

Jacquizz Rodgers has scored at least 12 fantasy points in consecutive games. He should make it three-in-a-row against the Raiders. I even like Rodgers' long-term value, too. Remember, Chuck Sims was a valuable fantasy runner in this role, even with Doug Martin in the mix.

Latavius Murray is back. That was kind of unexpected. But both sides of this Raiders and Bucs matchup is lit. Damn, I'd even start Peyton Barber if you really needed a running back.

Devonta Freeman has at least 100 scrimmage yards in three of seven games this season. He averaged 131.5 scrimmage yards in four games without Tevin Coleman last year and scored eight touchdowns.

Devontae Booker is going to be a great play for the coming weeks. It's so bittersweet to see a guy you want to succeed get his big break because of an injury. It's the tough thing about this business.

This hasn't been a great year to crow about Zero RB because there have been some terrible injuries (Keenan Allen), terrible performances (Allen Robinson) and some meh (OBJ). But most of my Zero RB-ish teams have some sort of starting combo that includes Ware, Rodgers, Booker and Murray. So I guess these last passages were self-serving.

Image I'm not sure if you saw the Undertaker at the Cleveland Cavaliers banner-raising party this week, but that's kind of awesome. I love stuff like this. It's like world's colliding. The only downside is that I've become a pretty big LeBron James fan over the last two seasons. The Cavs seem to be enjoying it, too. Funny, I could never see an NFL team being cool with something like this, which kind of bums me out.

The only player to record at least 10 catches in back-to-back games this season isn't Antonio Brown, A.J. Green or Julio Jones. It's Ty Montgomery, who has 20 receptions in the last two.

Julio Jones could add to his league-leading 830 receiving yards this week. The Packers defense has allowed 101 receiving yards per game to their opponent's No. 1 receiver this year.

T.Y. Hilton has 21 career 100-yard games in his fifth NFL season. That is tied for the most in Colts history. He's tied with Marvin Harrison, but 10 ahead of my guy, Reggie Wayne.

The Bengals are 3-0 this season when A.J. Green has 100 receiving yards. They are 0-4 when he doesn't. So what are you going to do, Andy Dalton?

DeAndre Hopkins has been the most-targeted player in the NFL over the last two weeks (27 targets). The Lions give up a lot of gains through the air. I'd be happy to start him this week.

Every time I hear Richard Sherman is going to shadow Brandin Cooks, I kind of laugh because I don't believe it. And if he does, that's great for Cooks. Sherman can't keep up with him.

Mike Evans has at least 13 fantasy points in five of his six games this season. That he's not on every single one of my teams is probably my biggest regret this year.

Michael Crabtree and Evans are tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions with six.

Julian Edelman has gone 10 consecutive games without a touchdown reception (including the playoffs). Which means that now that everybody has given up on him, he's going to have like three this week.

I'm going on record as saying Allen Robinson is going to have a huge game. I file the unedited copy for this column on Thursday morning. And if he doesn't, we can leave this here for you to laugh at me.

Image Speaking of Penn State, I've officially gone from the old man who hates when kids storm the field/court to just fully embracing it. The scene after the Penn State game was pretty magical. So whatever, college kids. Do whatever you want. I'm sorry that I went the curmudgeon sports writer route at first. Though in fairness to me, I did attend a mid-major so it made sense for us to do stuff like that. And not fully-funded Power Five conference teams. I mean, it would be like Patriots fans rushing the field after beating the Browns or something. But since you have such little self-worth that beating a team you should probably be competing with compelled you to run on the field, well, don't let me stop you.

This Week in Revenge: Jimmy Graham will face the Saints for the first time since he was traded.

The Doyle Rules: Where we play the tight end who goes up against the Lions. So this week it's C.J. Fiedorowicz. He's averaged 12.65 fantasy points in his last two home games.

You wouldn't normally think to stream the Chiefs against the Colts, but Kansas City leads the league with 10 interceptions this season.

My crazy prediction of the week: The Bears knock off the Vikings. (I'm crazy.)

Aaron Rodgers has not fared well in his career against Dan Quinn defenses. In two games against Seattle while Quinn was the defensive coordinator, Rodgers went 0-2 with two touchdowns and three interceptions while he averaged under 200 passing yards. Don't get mad at me. I just provide the information. You can do with it what you will.

Sam Bradford seems like a decent streaming option this week against the Bears. But he is one of six quarterbacks who has started at least five games this season yet failed to have a 300-yard passing game.

Brock Osweiler ranks 30th in passer rating and 29th in completion percentage. But he's got the Lions this week, who have allowed a passer rating of 117.3 and a completion percentage of 74.2 to opponents this year. Not only is that the worst (by a lot), but it would be the worst of all-time. So this is why you see Osweiler as a great streaming option. Good luck with all of that.

There is a Go Fund Me account in Houston, seeking donations to buy Osweiler out of his contract. Like, how did you all not realize it was going to end this way? This was one of the most obvious calls you could make.

One more great Osweiler stat: He's had three games this season with more than 40 pass attempts and fewer than 200 passing yards, the most by quarterback in a single season since at least 1950. And we are entering into Week 8!

Hey, Tony Romo, don't bother throwing in practice. Nobody believes that you should be the starter when you return.

Speaking of teams front-runners love, the Cowboys are in a similar situation to the Lakers a few years ago. (And it should be pointed out, I grew up in Southern California so I'm allowed to root for the Lakers.) The Lakers were bad over the last couple of years mostly because they had to placate Kobe. Which was fine. He delivered five NBA titles. So I wasn't too worried about it. (Plus, tanking got us D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram.) Tony Romo is like the Cowboys' version of Kobe. You have a younger version who is ready to take over, but Romo is kind of inserting himself into the conversation when he needs to move on. But yeah, the only difference is, again, KOBE WON FIVE TITLES. (Should have been more if Shaq just cared a little bit. If Shaq approached every offseason like his first year in Miami? Forget about it.)

Both Carson Palmer and Cam Newton are not playing as well as a season ago, with each seeing their passer rating fall by over 18 points. Palmer's passer rating is 83.4 after he was at 104.6 last year. Newton has fallen from 99.4 to 81.2. I don't expect Palmer to be a useful fantasy quarterback this season. I would imagine Newton will rebound soon.

ImageI know there are a lot of people who will claim they loved Sunday night's game between the Cardinals and Seahawks, but just stop it. You sound like me defending "Batman vs. Superman," though, that's a bad example because "BvS" was awesome. That said, I'm over the NFL overtime rules. It's time to enact the college overtime rules because they are way better. And yes, I realize a six-overtime game would do some wonky things to fantasy, but I surmise it would only make it better.

This is where I traditionally list Melvin Gordon because I've dumped on him every week, and then he goes out and crushes it. So I will do it again in fairness to people who start Gordon. That said, dude, this matchup is going to be pretty rough.

The Bears running back situation has become a huge problem. Jordan Howard is the best back of the bunch, yet Ka'Deem Carey out-touched him last week. Jeremy Langford returned to practice this week, so it looks like that savvy Howard draft pick is going to be for naught. I'd try to deal him if you can. I've straight-up dropped him in one league because my team is pretty stacked. (My RBs are Le'Veon Bell, Spencer Ware, Terrance West, Jacquizz Rodgers and Devontae Booker.)

Image It's so weird to watch Jerome Bettis on TV and realize he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seriously, how did this happen? I remember him winning Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Rams when I was in high school. And then, yeah, nothing. He won a Super Bowl in his hometown. That was apparently a big deal. Though I do remember his fumble against the Colts that nearly blew that. Bettis in the Hall of Fame. That's just weird to think about.

Since allowing a receiving touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin in Week 1, the Broncos have kept opposing wide receivers out of the end zone in each of the last six games. Among the WRs held scoreless by the No Fly Zone: T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. So I guess I'm saying to stay away from the Chargers receivers this week.

The Vikings defense has carried this team. They are first in total defense, but 31st in offense. No team since the 1970 merger has finished the season with such rankings. So I'm off Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith this week.

Jason La Canfora wrote about the NFL trade deadline this week and mentioned Jeffery as somebody on the move. Particularly to the Eagles. I would love to see that happen. For one, it would be good for Alshon. But selfishly, I have Meredith all over the place. We need more in-season NFL trades. The current trade deadline blows right now.

Jay Cutler probably won't be traded this year. I did love his response when asked if John Fox has faith in him. "He has no choice," Cutler deadpanned. He's the best. I'm going to miss him next season. I hope the Cardinals enjoy him.

Brandon Marshall's efficiency has hit rock bottom this season. Among all players to be targeted more than 40 times, Marshall's 44.1 reception percentage ranks last and his 46.9 passer rating when targeted ranks second-to-last. But Browns. And byes. So I'm starting him. But still.

Golden Tate has had a nice run recently. But his air-yards still reflect that he's getting short dump-offs that he's turned into big gains. I expect him to lose some production when Theo Riddick returns to the team.

Joey Bosa is the only player with at least two quarterback hits in each of his first three career games since 2006, when QB hits were first tracked. And the Chargers almost ruined this.

Image We should start the Kyle Shanahan power rankings. Teams most likely to land the hottest name in coaching. I'd put the Los Angeles Rams as the front-runners right now, although Jacksonville could be nipping at their heels. Actually, if you're Kyle, would you rather work with Gurley but a non-factor in Jared Goff. Or would you rather have Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson? Both are great places to live. I would say the only choice is Chicago. Because I'm a Bears fan. Although a crazy wild card could be the Colts and Andrew Luck

Be sure to watch "Fantasy and Friends" at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Monday-Wednesday and Friday. (Sorry, the Thursday night game preempts us. But you can be a part of the show by going to Also follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.

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