Thursday night, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking a little football with current Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Michelle Jones.
The Times Observer documented her journey from dancer at Linda Dies Dance Studio in Warren to NFL cheerleader in an article on July 15, 2011. With the Cardinals on a bye week, she came back to the area to visit family. All I can say is watch out for the Cardinals and Beanie Wells.
For the fourth straight week, the Oracle's top-five remains unchanged. With the Bears and Texans playing this week, there may be movement next week depending how this game shakes out - 1. Atlanta, 2. Houston, 3. Green Bay, 4. Chicago, 5. San Francisco.
Rob Stewart is... The Fantasy Oracle
Many have Chicago at number two, but I want to see my Bears defeat a good team before I give them that much respect. This week is their test. The Kansas City Chiefs remain clearly in the Oracle's outhouse. Every Pittsburgh fan must be smiling for Monday night.
Free agents who may be available on your waiver wire to grab are Marcel Reece, Emmanuel Sanders (Antonio Brown is likely out), Danny Amendola, Brandon Myers and Chris Ivory.
Players who have been dropped to focus on who may be back in a couple of weeks are the aforementioned Beanie Wells, Maurice Jones-Drew and Vincent Brown.
On to the WTO Laid Back League, where my Oracles ascended to the top of the points standings, but are still only 3-6 and must win out to secure a playoff berth.
This week they play defending champion Brian Hagberg (6-3). I have heard from several people who have suggested leagues should reserve the final playoff berth for the league's highest scoring team that doesn't qualify via record***.
I play in one such league, and have been on both sides of the coin, qualifying via record as a sixth seed and going on to win a championship and also qualifying as a total points wild card.
I prefer the total points method as every year one team has bad luck playing the wrong team week in and week out.
Last year in the WTO Laid Back League it was Jon "Houshmanzadeh" Sitler, who finished third in total points and didn't make the playoffs. The Oracles would be 70-29 if they faced every team in the league every week.
Other games this week include: Sitler (1-8) against league-leader Cody "Nightmare on Elms Street" (7-2); Josh "The Gambler" Cotton (3-6) taking on Jacob "Where's Perryman" (5-4); Bob "Big Bossman" Patchen (6-3) battling Jonathan "Foosball" McAfoos (4-5); Brian "Fish" Ferry (6-3) trying to squish the upset bug from Allen "Wingnut" Seybert (4-5), and; finally, Derek 'Mountain Man" Farr (4-5) faces Mitchell "Living Wilston" (5-4).
Last week's results included Cotton having the highest scoring week of the year with a 157.80-97.14 pounding of McAfoos. Other results: Oracles 142.46, Perryman 86.40; Hagberg 115.12, Sitler 73.14; Patchen 111.98, Seybert 83.20; Ferry 110.32, Farr 103.14; Elms 119.76, Wilston 107.54
ASK ALAINA (13-7): Alaina was 3-2 as she missed on Doug Martin and Michael Vick outpointed Drew Brees by less than a point. This week's questions are: 1. Ray Rice or Doug Martin - Rice 2. Tony Romo or Michael Vick - Vick 3. Tom Brady or Carson Palmer - Brady 4. Seahawks defense or 49ers defense - 49ers 5. Kenny Britt or Brian Hartline - Hartline.
BYE WEEK TEAMS: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington.
FANTASY STAR OF THE WEEK: Doug Martin. Sometimes paralysis by overanalysis occurs and that is what I did last week thinking he would struggle without Carl Nicks. How does 272 total yards and four touchdowns sound? Pretty good, huh? That was worth an amazing 51.20 points last week.
STEELERS (5-3): The Steelers made me look good as I missed the final score by one point as that prediction was almost exact.
This week, they play the lowly Chiefs in Pittsburgh and the game should be a blowout, but Pittsburgh has a way of letting teams hang around. My prediction - Steelers 27, Chiefs 10. I like Isaac Redman and Emmanuel Sanders in this game a lot.
BROWNS (2-7): For those who followed my advice and played Phil Dawson they were rewarded with five field goals in their loss to the Ravens. This week I can guarantee the Browns don't lose. What's that? Yeah, they are off this week.
BILLS (3-6): The Bills are struggling and hopefully soon they realize their most dynamic player is C.J. Spiller and they need to give him 20 touches a game. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 10 interceptions in the last three games against the Patriots defense. Obviously, they make a great play this week. Look for this one to be high scoring - New England 38, Buffalo 24. Play Spiller, Scott Chandler and Fitzpatrick.
FANTASY BUST: Last week I missed and missed big-time. Hopefully, I get another long string of correct prognostications going with Dwayne Bowe. Sure, the Steelers are going to be way up and the Chiefs will be throwing every down but when your quarterback is Matt Cassel, I rest my case.
FANTASY START: Matt Ryan all the way against the Saints defense. This one almost is too easy.
ELIMINATOR PICK (6-0): We have already used Houston, NY Giants, Atlanta, Green Bay, Chicago and Denver. This week, the Steelers game is a lock.