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Scouting Notebook: Critiquing Cam

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

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Cam Newton's post-game comments matter little in fantasy football. (Getty)

Cam Newton does have bad body language. The big sweater in the post-game press conference was stupid, too – what was it, 72 degrees today in Charlotte? But why does this concern us? He's not getting benched. And it's doubtful that even his performance next week will be adversely impacted by his post-game remarks this week. I'm not saying it doesn't matter, but quantifying these psychological issues is like asking, "How many angels can dance on a head of a pin?" Let's stick to just quantifying his performance, which is hard enough. While not perfect and not winning, it's not bad, either – especially for a second-year player.

Chris Johnson is no slouch. He's far from a perfect back. He's a lot like Barry Sanders in needing volume and the hit-or-miss aspect of his game is whether he's going to get those big runs randomly (more or less) in the early carries. If he does, he'll gouge any defense, not just the putrid Bills. Remember, he had 141 at Houston and 91 in Week 6 against the Steelers. He also was tackled twice by the Bills inside the one. So if you were playing against him and feel really sorry for yourself, it easily could have been much worse. The thing you have to ask yourself is this: What can't he do now that he could do in 2009? If you have a hard time answering it, do not sell now.

I'd rather have Johnson right now than Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller, who are both really good but stuck in sort of a rich man's Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams situation.

I was asked by a follower on Twitter (@MichaelSalfino) whether he should play DeAngelo Williams or Darryl Richardson. And I said Richardson. He said: "Well then when would you ever play Williams?" My answer: When/if Stewart gets hurt.

I thought it was really good setup today for Felix Jones and he spit the bit. I give up with him. He got you something in PPR, but is a bust, plain and simple.

You can't count on Dez Bryant even when he's healthy, so I don't understand the excitement from his owners when he was declared active and starting. They're not happy now (two catches, 14 yards, one dropped TD).

Trent Richardson, it turns out, was benched for performance in the second half, or lack thereof. But torn rib cartilage is very painful. You can't sleep and every breath is like a Rocky Balboa punch to the side. You'd think I'd be out to bury him since I haven't been a fan, but this is no big deal. It's not like the Browns think Richardson is soft. It's just that they thought he was too hurt to play, after all.

I do not think Donald Brown has to worry about getting his job back as soon as next week. Vick Ballard was just a guy out there, especially considering the opponent.

Aaron Rodgers owners can officially stop complaining now. Same for Jordy Nelson owners. Funny how Rodgers got going when he got Nelson going, isn't it? I guess you have to play Randall Cobb now, at least until Greg Jennings is back. He's been solid now for four straight weeks, which you cannot say about too many WRs.

Yes, Alex Green struggled. But that's not surprising when you look at my defensive rankings in the Matchup Decider. Definitely hold. The four grabs were nice. And there's no real competition.

Joe Flacco is just not good. Maybe he's average. But Sunday's effort against the Texans was pathetic considering what Rodgers just did to Houston. His inability to sustain drives killed Ray Rice. This is a very underrated part of ranking backs. Can their quarterbacks move the sticks so he can pile up touches? Not saying it's a minus with Flacco, but it sure is not a plus.

Time to reevaluate Josh Freeman. He was eighth among quarterbacks in yards per pass attempt going into the week and then went for 420 yards on 42 attempts, which is elite. Yes, New Orleans, I know. But I look at that remaining schedule and I see a top 12 fantasy QB easily. He would have had another touchdown if Vincent Jackson didn't run like the esteemed governor of my state of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was tied to his back on that 95-yard catch. At about the 40, he was looking to pass the baton. Jackson now reminds me of the old Eagles giant Harold Carmichael, who couldn't outrun anyone, either, but used his size to make many downfield plays.

My buddy Scott Pianowski @scott_pianowski and I were wondering if Mark Ingram is the worst Heisman-winning back since 1990. It's between him, Rashaan Salaam and Ron Dayne, judging only by pro careers (not college excellence). Either way, get Ingram the hell off your roster.

Okay, LaRod Stephens-Howling is now apparently the man in Arizona. I'd start the bidding at 20 percent of your remaining free agent budget, more if you need a running back. Remember, the Vikings are good against the run.

Prevent defenses prevent you from winning, huh? Well, go tell that to Washington, who rushed four and let Victor Cruz run right by the safeties with about a minute left. Alfred Morris fumbled, but who cares? He's very good and on pace for 1,504 rushing yards. And he's catching a couple passes now, too, even on third down. The touchdowns will come again, I promise.

I don't think you buy Santana Moss (three catches, two touchdowns) though, not for any serious remaining FAAB money. But as a freebie, okay.

Take what you get from post-game comments from injured players like Maurice Jones-Drew and divide by about a 1,000 when it comes to forecasting anything. It's meaningless. Wait for the MRIs.

Jeremy Kerley is a pretty good player and deserves to be rostered. You play him depending on the matchup. None are good for him the next four weeks, including a bye.
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