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Like/Dislike: Tyrod Taylor a "Bye-Apocalypse" hero

What we are talking about:

  • Adam Thielen

He finds the end zone this week

  • IR spots in fantasy

Fair game or unnecessary?

  • The World Series

A few thoughts for the road ...


Welcome to the Week 8 Bye-Apocalypse with six teams on a bye. It's the kind of week where you put together a rundown for the Friday show and wonder if Brandon LaFell is a deep enough of a sleeper for the Danger Zone because you've got him started in like six lineups across the board. But that's the kind of week this is.

But I almost feel better when it's this way. Lineup decisions are much easier and your expectations are pretty low so I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. It's like the time my girlfriend (at the time) made me go to see "The Sweetest Thing" way back in the day. I was convinced the movie was going to be extremely ridiculous and honestly, it wasn't too bad. Let's just say it wasn't too big for me. On the flip side, I've never forgotten how bummed I was walking out of the theater for "Star Wars Episode II."

I know, you're probably all like, "Not Episode I?" And the answer is no. Like, I think my disdain for Episode I has grown over the years. But you have to remember we were in a pretty big Star Wars drought for a while when that movie came out. Everybody purchased the toys (I still have my Mace Windu in the box) and thought it was going to be worth huge money. (It's worth like six bucks now. Things never work out that way. I remember when kids were spending money like crazy on baseball cards in the late 1980s thinking they were going to cash in only because their parents had thrown away their baseball card collection that would have been worth thousands of dollars. Likewise, most of us just gave away our Star Wars toys as kids. So now it was going to be our time to get it back. It didn't work.)

So I'm going to say Episode II was the bigger disappointment and George Lucas knew he had messed up but still, it didn't get any better. It was like Amari Cooper games this season. Lucas just kept putting out terrible movies even though the next one was supposed to be the amazing one. And sure, they finally nailed it with Episode VII, but that still doesn't take away the prequels any more than you could shake off a 1-5 start because Cooper was playing so horribly.

And holy smokes, we veered off my point. Hey, the bye weeks are going to suck. Let's rock.

And without further ado ...

Carson Wentz leads the NFL with 17 passing touchdowns this year. Already surpassing his total from last year. If you've streamed him with other QBs, you might have found your dude.

I know a lot of Browns fans are bummed the team passed on Wentz. But the Browns would have just wasted his career. It would be like giving me a hairbrush. What would I do with it? It's better to give it to somebody who will use it.

It's hard to find quarterbacks I would start over Dak Prescott. I wonder, though, how much his season could be derailed if Ezekiel Elliott's suspension goes through. Has he proven enough? I believe he has. He's going to be your QB for the rest of the season. And if you're carrying another guy like Matthew Stafford, you can try to trade him. But nobody trades quarterbacks.

Philip Rivers has cut down the interceptions and the Chargers have been winning. Rivers has thrown six touchdowns and only one pick in the last three games. All wins. Great matchup this week in New England.

Cam Newton should have no problems with the Bucs, who have allowed close to 300 passing yards per game this year. And they've played the Bills. So that passing number average should be higher. And his numbers after he walks out on interviews are amazing!

Kirk Cousins is such a G. But can you throw a completion to a receiver? But if you have Chris Thompson and your tight ends are actually playing, I guess I can't blame you.

Andy Dalton is a strong quarterback option this week. The Colts have allowed more passing yards per game than the Bucs.

Josh McCown is a fun sleeper. The Falcons can't create any turnovers. And McCown typically waits until late in the fourth quarter to throws his picks. This is a nice call.

Tyrod Taylor is a solid call every week. I really wish he could get some offensive firepower around him. Or maybe it's for the best he doesn't. Why hassle it?

Image I don't want to give love to anything in professional wrestling this week. Or at least the WWE. But Kurt Angle was super dope in the Tables Ladders and Chairs match. I'm sure this was the same match we would have gotten had Roman Reigns not been sick. And damn it, I wanted my Shield reunion. But this was still pretty good.

Le'Veon Bell has 25.20 PPR points per game since Week 3. You should probably play him this week.

If Kareem Hunt extends his streak of games with more than 100 scrimmage yards, he's going to have to earn it against the Broncos who have crushed opposing running backs. Well, not the immortal Orleans Darkwa. But other elite running backs.

Carlos Hyde has been solid since the great time-share scare of 2017. He's averaged 18.1 touches per game, and the Eagles have allowed a rushing TD to a running back in three of their last four.

Dion Lewis is a nice option this week, too. I know, it's dicey with a Patriots running back. It's like walking into hole-in-the-wall restaurant with the "B" rating. But sometimes you've got to trust the Blue Bowl Restaurant. Say challenge accepted and start Lewis.

Image BTW, who was the kid in my mentions this week who besmirched the TV show referenced in the line above? Show your face coward! (You're not really a coward.)

Image So Bill Lawrence is creating a new dramedy called "Whiskey Cavalier" about an FBI agent who partners with a CIA operative. Hilarity ensues. Lawrence, of course, created the GOAT sitcom "Scrubs." And Dave Hemingson is writing the pilot. He wrote for "How I Met Your Mother." Am I early in declaring this the best show ever?

Devonta Freeman is a must-start guy, obv. But I'm really feeling Tevin Coleman's matchup this week. The Jets are 28th against the run.

Matt Forte has a great matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed at least 10 fantasy points to six different RBs this year. I'm happy the GOAT is playing with a competitive team.

From one GOAT to another (which kind of makes no sense), Jordan Howard should be more involved in the passing game this week. Yes, that's a good thing. Stop being jerks.

Adam Thielen is going to get into the end zone this week. He's the only receiver who has five receptions in every game this season.

Brandin Cooks has averaged more points this year than Jordy Nelson. BTW, I really believe Rob Gronkowski deserved fantasy points for leading that block on his touchdown Sunday night.

Tyreek Hill has scored eight touchdowns over more than 50 yards since he entered the NFL in 2016. He's getting seven targets per game (most on the Chiefs). So I feel good about starting him.

Hey man, I like this Dontrelle Inman deal for the Bears. It's just the thing we need for our quarterbacks Tarik Cohen and Pat O'Donnell. But seriously folks, this is a really nice addition. Inman is going to be really nice.

Demaryius Thomas is going to be a great start this week. Sure he hasn't scored a touchdown in 12 consecutive games. This is the week!

Julio Jones was mighty angry on that touchdown grab. Like I want him to now physically remove the ball from Matt Ryan's hand every time now.

Bennie Fowler. Yeah, we might have been a week ahead of him. But I like the Broncos receivers this week.

Nelson Agholor should start every week. Marcas Grant has called him Nelson Swagholor. I've upgraded it to Nellie Swag. Make this a thing, people.

One of my pals was pimping Devin Funchess this week. I typically fade his picks, but I like him against the Bucs who can't stop anybody.

Keenan Allen gets close to 10 targets per game, and it's nearly impossible to bench him when he gets those kinds of numbers.

Deonte Thompson is a nice sleeper this week. He's like the one Bills WR who can catch.

Image Nellie Swag! (Just wanted to make you repeat this again to etch into your brain.)

Michael Crabtree has a pretty easy schedule down the stretch. And I like him this week.

Brandon LaFell has a nice matchup this week. I know, trusting a Bengals receiver who isn't A.J. Green is like expecting your friend not to eat all of your popcorn when you use the restroom before the movie starts. But I like the risk.

ImageJuJu Smith-Schuster became one of my favorite players this week. Let's just say this young man knows not to get duped. And he was trending harder than Clayton Kershaw during the World Series on Tuesday night.

Image "Thor: Ragnarok" doesn't look terrible. Maybe a rare Marvel win. I might even check it out in the theater. Well, probably not. I'm saving my movie capital for December.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins leads the Jets in targets, receptions and receiving touchdowns since Week 5.

Kyle Rudolph should thrive against the Browns who have allowed the most targets and receptions to tight ends this season.

Jordan Reed is like that friend who has flaked on your monthly get together for like a year, and then he shows up, pays for the entire bar tab and promises to be back again. And I continue to stupidly fall for it.

Hunter Henry has been amazing since his false start to the season. Great matchup this week against the Patriots who can't stop anybody through the air.

Deshaun Watson became the Texans' starter in Week 2. Since then, the Texans have the NFL's top scoring offense (34 PPG). But the Seahawks have the top scoring D.

Rookie quarterbacks are 1-7 at Seattle in the Pete Carroll era (2010), and 3-42 against the top scoring defense since 1970. I'm hard-pressed to put him in over a guy like Derek Carr. But I'd still have him over guys like Matthew Stafford, Trevor Siemian, C.J. Beathard, and the like.

Alex Smith leads the NFL in completion percentage (72.4), yards per attempt (8.7) and passer rating (120.5) this season. I don't love his matchup against the Broncos. I have him as a slight start above Watson this week. Wait, I don't. I'd put Watson in ahead of him.

Am I wrong for not feeling Ben Roethlisberger this week? Don't give me the "he's on the road, LOLZ." Detroit is a rather legit defense. And Big Ben turns it over way too much.

Why do we have to beg Matt Ryan to throw the ball to Julio? It's like begging my daughter to put down her veggies and start eating ice cream. I just don't get it. And it's not just a Sark thing, either. This has been a problem that spans three offensive coordinators.

Jay Cutler is going to be injured for the rest of the year, no? He's made his money. The situation didn't work out. It's probably best that the Dolphins just let him sit there on the sidelines and do nothing.

Actually, I would send him home. He clearly doesn't want to be here. Cutler is the dude who begrudgingly agreed to go on this South Beach road trip, but he's been an ass the whole time and he wishes he had just stayed home. As does everybody else on this trip.

But I still love Jay.

Image I know I'm a jaded wrestling fan, so I often let my wife dictate if something is cool or not. Because she still has the wide-eye innocence of being a fan. In other words, she's a mark. So I had to wait to see her reaction to the SmackDown invasion on Monday. She hated it. And to be honest, I couldn't love that woman more now. Because it really didn't make a lot of sense. They need some stakes and motivation other than, 'hey, this is going to be really cool.' I would have instead had CFO invade them. Because with Adam Cole's relationship to the Bullet Club, there would be actual intrigue. And make sense. Which this RAW invasion failed to have.

Image I also nearly ripped the TV off the wall after Finn Balor jobbed to Kane clean on Monday. So you had Balor beat A.J. Styles clean as a whistle in one of the dopest matches of the year on Sunday (along with the Two Sweet moments). And you're like, you know what would be absolutely wonderful now? Having Balor job to Kane. Unbelievable. He might as well have jobbed to Bray Wyatt. That was the plan, wasn't it?

Latavius Murray had 18 rushes in Week 7 and they have been trending up. But that was such a great matchup for him against the Ravens. He's not getting that again.

Mike Gillislee has four rushing touchdowns this year. I'm pretty confident all of them came in one game. Or it just seems that way. But he's got nothing inside the 20s, and if he doesn't score, he's miserable.

Frank Gore and Marlin Mack should be on your fantasy sidelines. The Bengals have allowed the fewest scrimmage touchdowns to running backs this year.

I wish Joe Mixon would breakout so I can stop getting questions about him. Though most know better by now.

Jonathan Stewart was supposed to be so much better for us this year. I mean, Christian McCaffrey has kind of salvaged things, though not really. And I was a huge fan of Cam Newton coming into this season. I really was an ardent fan, but he's really started to test my patience. This week's incident was just another step backward for him.

Actually, Cam plays his best football after he walks out of a press conference.

Lamar Miller has been great so far. But the Seahawks have been great against the run. I know we have some bye weeks, so this will be unavoidable. But I don't want to do it.

Image I wasn't a huge fan of this week's "Curb" for whatever reason. He's been on fire this year, but feel like this week was kind of a rare misstep. I wonder if he has the same problem as somebody like Drew Brees who is so good in fantasy for so long, we kind of make his not-so-dominate games seem so much worse. Maybe I should go back and watch it again. It would only be fair.

I love Martavius Bryant. And I get his point of view. Being a part of the Steelers offense looks really fun. But if he goes out and plays this season, he's going to get a big-money deal somewhere. Might as well make a run at the ring and then cash in like every other Steelers receiver in recent memory, sans Brown and Hines Ward. Follow in the footsteps of Mike Wallace, Santonio Holmes, Emmanuel Sanders and Plaxico Burress.

But big ups for Mike Tomlin for putting him on the scout team. I was going to talk myself into thinking Bryant was going to have an Amari Cooper-like breakout game.

Congratulations to everyone taking victory laps on Amari Cooper. Good job, you stubbornly started a guy for six weeks, even though he was straight dooks for most of it. And you nailed it. Huzzah!

Alshon Jeffery has fewer than 100 receiving yards in 18 consecutive games. I'd rather have Inman on the Bears right now.

Ted Ginn Jr. has at least 11 points in three of his last four. But this is the Saints. The Mike Thomas breakout game is coming and Ginn is going to start dropping passes. Again.

Tanner Gentry was my dude. And it's not like Inman is going to blow up his spot. But it's not like the Bears are throwing out targets like they are gift cards at a baby shower. They are scarce. Like drink tickets at our holiday party.

Image What's funny is that they give us a scarce amount of tickets, but free Lyft's home. There seems to be a little disconnect.

Marvin Jones has scored 10 points or higher once in his last 18 games. The Steelers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to receivers. Pittsburgh is back. Well, unless you're the Bears and Jaguars who dominated those fools.

O.J. Howard has played in 68 percent of snaps. But we always thought he'd be on the field. The targets are still going to Cam Brate. Don't chase the points here.

Jason Witten is great. But am I rude to say I don't get why he's an automatic Hall of Famer? I like him, but I thought Jay Novacek was a much better Cowboys tight end.

Image I don't fault people who have IR spots in their fantasy leagues. But I also don't think much of commissioners who employ such tactics. Typically the kind of people not strong enough in their own decision-making process. Kick off the training wheels. I know NFL teams have IR spots. NFL teams also have punters. So unless your fantasy league has punters, then I don't want to hear from you.

Image I feel bad for Dodgers (player?) Charlie Culberson who hit a home run in the 11th on Wednesday night to bring L.A. to within one run. But it was crazy because I'm convinced he thought he had won the game with that blast. At least that's what his home run trot told me. He made Kirk Gibson's historic trot seem stoic in comparison

Image If your postseason ERA is 4.21 (when your career ERA is 2.60) it's no narrative to say you've struggled in the playoffs. It's called a fact.

ImageADDED: Apologies to everybody but I completely missed Melvin Gordon this week. Thought I had added it here. Which is too bad because I have a great point on MG. He's like the new version of Danny Woodhead. You can't trust him to run the ball, but he's amazing as a receiver out of the backfield. Except this guy is the size of Eric Dickerson. But watch out for Austin Ekeler.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.

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