Ahhh. Isn't the holiday season great?
As the song says, we are heading into The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, where you can almost sense the goodwill around you. Sort of like someone sprinkled a whole lot of festive dust in the air.
Everywhere you look, stable, well-adjusted folks are giving thanks for what they have and counting blessings.
Stable? Well-adjusted? Ha! Not around here.
It's also the time of year where some NFL teams start mailing it in and you realize that your star player isn't going to bounce back. Cold, hard reality is at hand.
So instead of lighting a candle, this week, I've chosen to curse the darkness with some players who have shuffled off this mortal fantasy coil for the year. At least in my mind.
Everyone on the Eagles and Chiefs: Both teams are burnt toast. With both coaching staffs and rosters expected to be gutted in the offseason there's very little to play for. It's been evident in how little fight they put up in recent games. You may be able to wring some fantasy points from the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles or Eagles' Jeremy Maclin, but don't count on it.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Poor Larry. It really isn't his fault, but he's stuck with an atrocious quarterbacking situation. Since opening weekend, he's gone from Kevin Kolb to John Skelton to Ryan Lindley. That's like going from awful to horrible to putrid. You probably can't afford to bench him, but with his poor numbers, can you afford to play him?
Eli Manning, QB, Giants: Manning doesn't care that he's torpedoing your fantasy season. He wins Super Bowls. And he might yet again, considering we've seen this bipolar behavior from the Giants in their last two title runs. But unless you're a New York fan, you don't care about Eli's Super Bowls. You want fantasy numbers and he hasn't thrown a TD pass in over a month.
Ryan Matthews, RB, Chargers: This guy is maddening for fantasy owners -- not because of talent, but because of the way he's used. Matthews is obviously the best RB the Chargers have, but becomes an afterthought in the offense. He had loads of potential going into the year because of San Diego's preference to run and his receiving ability. And then you watch him get pulled in favor of Ronnie Brown in passing situations. Is there a reason the coaches do this other than they WANT to have new jobs next year?
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: Ridley falls victim to the Belichick effect – which is basically where his coach tries to prove he's smarter than everyone on the planet. Ridley's talent is obvious, but for reasons that exist only in the Belichick cranium, he ends up sitting out whole series while the Pats mix themselves up a Vereen-Woodhead cocktail. One week he has 100 yards and a TD, and the next he gets 13 carries while the Patriots pile up 59 points. The good weeks are nice, but can you risk him during the playoffs?
Jalen Parmele, RB, Jaguars: He'll be playing the role of Maurice Jones-Drew this week against the Titans. The Jags found an offense last week, and now they get Tennessee, which has yet to find its defense.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Bad matchups have made him look like an all-pro. Who cares if he's not, he's facing the Raiders and the fantasy points count just the same.
Browns defense: Why Cleveland? Because they're facing Charlie Batch and Plaxico Burress, that's why.
Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Offensive woes have sapped his value. He's not even getting that many passes thrown his way anymore.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: Seahawks head from gloomy Seattle to East Coast and Miami sunshine.
49ers defense: Just for one week. They're on the road in New Orleans, after all.
With Rob Gronkowski hurt and Heath Miller and Brent Celek suffering with backup QBs, you might need some help at tight end.
The Raiders' Brandon Myers is your man. He's sixth among tight ends in receptions with 50, and he's got a hot hand right now – 30 of those catches have been in the last five weeks.