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If there is one player I'd be trying to get an upgrade over at this point it would be Cowboys QB Tony Romo. At first glance that probably seems ludicrous, as Romo is fourth among QBs in fantasy points.
But that's mostly due to one outrageous performance against the Broncos.
In the five games since that 506-yard, 5-TD explosion, Romo has been the definition of mediocre, completing just 57 percent of his passes with 8 TDs and 4 INTs. He ranks 13th among QBs in average fantasy points per week (17.0) over that time, right around the production of waiver-wire fodder such as Ryan Tannehill (16.5) and Mike Glennon (17.4).
And if it wasn't for a pair of long TD passes to Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams against the Lions -- both of which came on plays where the ball didn't travel more than 10 yards in the air -- we'd be talking about some truly sick numbers.
I just dumped Romo for Giants RB Andre Brown and will roll the dice with Cam Newton. In my other league, I was trying to replace Romo by trading for Drew Brees. That fell through, though, and then I got outbid trying to pick up Houston's Case Keenum.
Ready for a truly crazy prediction?
Keenum will outscore Romo from Weeks 12-16 (Dallas is off this week). I believe this for three reasons:
•Romo is struggling and just does not look right.
•Keenum trusts Andre Johnson (5 TDs last two) far more than Matt Schaub did.
•Keenum and the Texans have a super-soft schedule that includes the Jaguars in Weeks 12 and 14, Indy in Week 15 and a home game against Denver in Week 16 -- fantasy championship week.
Could Case Keenum be starting in a fantasy title game? Sounds crazy, but who knows?
Stop looking at the name:
This leads to another point. Last Sunday, my neighbor was moaning about how Falcons QB Matt Ryan is killing his team.
So I said, "Why don't you pick up Case Keenum … or even Mike Glennon? Or Terrelle Pryor?"
He looked at me like I had three heads. "Those guys are all terrible," he said.
This, of course, is an understandable reaction. We've all grown accustomed to Ryan lighting up the scoreboard and leading fantasy teams to fantastic seasons.
But sometimes you have to switch gears and believe what you are seeing: Namely, that Ryan is awful right now because Julio Jones is out and Roddy White is a shell of his former self. And that Keenum (or Ryan Tannehill or Nick Foles, or maybe even Glennon or Pryor) give your team a better chance to win than Ryan does.
Same goes for a guy named Zac Stacy instead of the washed up Ray Rice.
Or T.Y. Hilton or Alshon Jeffery over Jordy Nelson.
Circumstances change. Adjust or get buried.
It doesn't get any simpler than that.
My teams: Starting a gimpy Jay Cutler (9 points) over Tony Romo (7) actually would have gotten me a win in my auction league where I lost 51½-50 to fall to 5-5. The good news is I have the second-most points and would make the playoffs based on that. In the regular league (4-6), I was crushed 122-82 and dropped 15 points behind the final postseason qualifier (last two teams get in on points).
• Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs. Minnesota. Wilson (10 TDs last four) is red hot, and the Vikings are awfully generous to opposing quarterbacks.
• Texans QB Case Keenum vs. Oakland. See main text above.
• Bucs QB Mike Glennon and WR Vincent Jackson vs. Atlanta. He's not lighting the world on fire, but Glennon (8 TDs, 2 INTs last five) is a better play than Andy Dalton or Josh McCown this week.
• Giants RB Andre Brown vs. Green Bay. Play of the week here. Abused by Matt Forte (24-125) and LeSean McCoy (25-155) the last two weeks, the Packers are about to get completely gashed by Brown, who had a whopping 30 carries in his return.
• Chargers RBs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead at Miami. Since Week 2, Woodhead has received double-digit touches in every game. He's actually 16th among RBs since then, while Mathews is just 26th. Both are solid plays against a reeling Dolphins team that was just mauled by Bucs RBs for 143 yards on 33 attempts.
• Eagles WR Riley Cooper vs. Washington. Eight catches for 241 yards and 5 TDs in Cooper's last two and now Philly gets the ultrasoft Skins. Sure Cooper's getting lucky, but he'll put decent points in this one.
• Skins WR Pierre Garcon at Philadelphia. Do you realize Garcon is on pace for 108 catches for 1,428 yards? Neither did I. He's an every-week play and could explode against the Eagles.
• Bears QB Josh McCown and RB Matt Forte vs. Baltimore. The Ravens have allowed 1 rushing score all season. This game figures to be about a 17-13 final and bereft of fantasy points.
• Bengals QB Andy Dalton vs. Cleveland. No other quarterback gone from Stud to Dud faster than Dalton (2 TDs, 6 INTs last two). Don't expect a rebound against the stingy Browns, who held Dalton without a TD pass and to 206 passing yards in Week 4.
• Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell vs. Detroit. The last four teams' feature backs to face the Lions have just 147 yards on 58 carries. Bell's in for a long day.
• Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Arizona. It's been a semi-resurgence for MJD lately as he's averaged 9.8 fantasy points per game the last five games. This is a tough spot, though, and he's nothing more than a flex play.
• Patriots WR Danny Amendola at Carolina. I don't trust many players against the Panthers' D. Sit Amendola if you can.
• Packers WR Jordy Nelson at New York Giants. Fremd High School grad Scott Tolzien has the reins now in Green Bay and while he was solid last week, he's going into a hostile environment against a suddenly hot Giants squad.
• Broncos defense vs. Kansas City. The Chiefs' boring offense is no fun for fantasy defenses.