Steve Smith2

Today is matchup day around these parts, or at least that’s the ballin’ name I’m giving it. It’s almost the year 2014, and nowadays everything needs a name so that it jumps through your computer screen and punches you in the face.

A little later on I’ll be analyzing and scrutinizing the top three best and crappiest fantasy matchups heading into championship weekend, with the aim being to help with some of your sit-start decisions, and I’ll also be rolling out one last Friday Defensive Employment Office. At the very least, you’ll have someone to blame if those championship dreams are shattered.

To kick off the festivities, let’s take a quick look at a wide receiver who could make you throw things Sunday: Steve Smith.

The Panthers No . 1 wideout leads the league in catch phrases, but certainly not catches. He’s just been, well, meh, with 4.5 receptions per game along with just 50.1 yards. He’s very much playing to his age (34) which he doesn’t need to apologize for, but it’s reality at this point. With two weeks remaining in the season Smith still hasn’t posted a 100-yard game, and it’s not close. His highest single-game output is two weeks with 69 yards, and with only three catches for 20 yards or more he’s declined drastically from the Steve Smith of two years ago, when he had a career high 29.

Most weeks, though, his 40-60 yards with the possibility of a score (he has four touchdowns) is fine or at least passable production from your WR3. And indeed, he could do that again Sunday against the Saints after posting six catches for 49 yards and a touchdowns on them two weeks ago.

But that specific lightning striking twice is a difficult thing to imagine against a defense that’s vastly improved under Rob Ryan, and held Cam Newton to only 4.7 yards per pass attempt in that game, while sacking him five times. Smith mostly lucked into intermediate receptions as Newton bailed out under pressure, and in the end even though he finished with only those 49 yards that represented 30 percent of his quarterback’s passing.

Smith is, at best, a (very) low-end WR3 this week, and preferably a flex if you can manage it.

More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

Die Aaron Rodgers hope, die

And so it’s come to this. For weeks you clawed your way by with whatever quarterback ilk was on the waiver wire, hoping that this year’s biggest and brightest Christmas gift would be a shiny and good as new Aaron Rodgers. Somehow through the grace of the almighty you still advanced to the final fantasy donnybrook this weekend, and for at least a few fleeting moments during Mike McCarthy’s tease of a press conference yesterday there was hope for the Packers quarterback and his busted collarbone.

But alas…

If you’re one of the lost souls described directly above, go ahead and pick up Jay Cutler. He’s set to toss against the nothingness that is the Eagles secondary Sunday night, and with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery doing those things they do, that could lead to at least 800 passing yards.

Please also know that Kirk Cousins is a nice consolation waiver prize as he chucks against the Cowboys, the only secondary worse than Philly’s.

No Welker (Welkah?) for you

This isn’t remotely surprising after he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but for the few out there who were still capable of believing, Wes Welker won’t play this week. But it gets worse, because of course it does.

For those whose leagues carry on into Week 17 or you’re involved in a two-week championship, you also won’t have Welker available a week from now. This was always the likely outcome with two concussions suffered over such a short period, but it doesn’t make it suck any less, especially for you PPR league kids.

If you’re desperate, go ahead and pick up Andre Caldwell.

Happy Kissmas, Internet

Say, are you in your mid-to-late 20′s, and you want to feel really old right now? Of course you do. Exactly a decade ago today, history was made

Where did you go, time? Even referencing Namath’s famous/infamous slurred and barely comprehensible lines in this stumbling interview has become hackneyed now, which I suppose shows how long it’s been. But man, what lines, with that pitch in his voice as the camera cuts away while Kolber tried to escape (“I WANNNNNA KISS YOU”), the unnecessary elongation of the word “struggling”, and the “yeah!!!!!!!” sign off.

I take it back. This is timeless, artistic stuff, and it will remain so forever.

Trestman resting starters?

Whoa now, easy there big fella.

I highly doubt this happens, because even though Sunday  night’s game could be mostly meaningless to Chicago if the Packers win and the Lions lose earlier that day (setting up a Week 17 Bears/Packers showdown for every NFC North marble), the game would still retain some semblance of purpose because of the battle for seeding.

But yes, there’s at least a faint possibility that if events earlier in the day fall just so, Trestman could be more inclined to save his bullets for next week. For fantasy purposes, that would obviously be a horrible thing, but although you’ll surely lose some hair or grow some new discolored strands, don’t do anything rash.

In fact, don’t do anything at all. Start all your Bears studs as you normally would, and then pray Trestman doesn’t give you that glistening lump of turd coal.