We’ve officially passed the mid-point of both the NFL and fantasy regular seasons and we’re just as up-in-arms about all things football now as we were before the season started. Forget about the whining and crying over injuries to Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette . We’ve got bigger fish to fry this week. We’ve got lies being told to the public, coaching disasters, horrible quarterbacks and international embarrassment to tend to this week. There are probably a dozen other nightmares I could be missing here, but this Hot Take skillet is full!

All Teams are Liars

We can kick things off by reminding everyone that teams, coaches, players and injury reports cannot be trusted. It doesn’t matter what kind of sanctions the NFL tries to impose, we will never see full transparency in the NFL. We’ve seen it repeatedly over the years and the most recent bombshell dropped in our laps was by the 49ers who stated that Matt Breida would play Sunday but on a limited snap count. What was the limit? A billion? This was a complete disaster for fantasy purposes as Breida saw 16 carries to six for Alfred Morris and just two for Raheem Mostert . Those who took the 49ers at their word stuck with Mostert and ended up getting screwed big time. Hell, Kyle Juszczyk has as many touches as Mostert. What was that? And what’s worse is that it wasn’t even like Breida was running weel. The guy averaged 2.6 yards per carry against a run defense that ranks dead-last in the NFL. How was using him more productive? It was a garbage move by Kyle Shanahan and the team. He wasn’t fooling anyone and, in the end, there probably wasn’t a single fantasy owner or analyst who wasn’t ecstatic that they lost.

Marlon Mack is the Best Running Back Since Sliced Bread

As legend would have it, Sliced Bread was the greatest running back of all time. He never officially played in the NFL but in pick-up games around the country and in a variety of semi-pro leagues, he would rip off huge chunks of yardage at a time and dominate in every facet of the game. His record, though considered unofficial, is 562 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns in just one game. If you ever get to hear an old-timer telling stories of him, you need to listen. Well, maybe not because Marlon Mack is the best running back we’ve seen since Sliced Bread. He finally licked that hamstring issue, enjoyed a 12-carry, 89-yard tune up game against the Jets and has now posted 258 rushing yards with two touchdowns over his last two games. He’s also chipped in with four catches for 50 yards and another touchdown as well. Since his return, the Colts are 2-1 and have scored an average of just under 38 points per game and look unstoppable. We were impressed with Andrew Luck ’s recovery and we rejoiced at the return of T.Y. Hilton , but Mack is taking this offense to a whole other level and he is about to bring every one of his fantasy owners a championship this season. Take that, Sliced bread.

The Packers Should Put Ty Montgomery on Waivers

Who the hell takes the ball out from seven yards deep inside your own end zone when you have two minutes left on the clock to drive downfield, one timeout in-hand and Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback? Who? Come meet the dumbest man ever to graduate from Stanford University, people. His name is Ty Montgomery and if there was any question at all as to why he’s a back-up who barely touches the ball anymore, here’s your answer. All he needed to do was take a knee. The Packers would have started at their own 25-yard line and Rodgers would have had two minutes to lead his team downfield for the win. They didn’t even need the touchdown. A field goal would have sufficed. Instead, Montgomery suffers a massive brain-cramp, takes the ball out, doesn’t even make it to the 20-yard line and fumbles the ball away. Not only did he cost his team a chance at winning, but he also cost a boatload of seasonal and DFS players a ton by not allowing Rodgers to lead one last drive. If the team didn’t cut him outright, hopefully they at least made him sit in the bathroom for the entire plane ride home.  

Coaches Who Refuse to Run Deserve to Lose

While we can certainly heap a world of blame onto Montgomery for such a boneheaded move, the Packers may not have been in this situation had head coach Mike McCarthy pulled his head out of his ass and actually ran the football in the first half. Aaron Jones was killing it in the first quarter with all of these delayed hand-offs he was getting but somewhere midway through the first quarter, McCarthy decided he had seen enough and called passing play after passing play until about midway through the third quarter. It’s really no wonder he put his team into such a lousy situation, needing a final drive to win when they could have controlled the game a lot more just by running the ball more. And that goes for a bunch of other coaches as well. Pat Shurmur and the Giants lost after letting Eli Manning throw 47 times to just 13 carries for Saquon Barkley . Mike Zimmer watched Latavius Murray average 4.3 yards per carry but gave him just 13 carries so Kirk Cousins could throw it 41 times. Matt Patricia watched Pete Carroll’s Seahawks dominate on the ground and rather than properly counter it with his own rushing attack, he let Matthew Stafford chuck the ball 40 times while Kerryon Johnson carried it just eight times. And let’s not forget John Harbaugh letting Joe Flacco throw it 39 times while Alex Collins got 11 carries. We seeing a pattern here? And no, it’s not all about game flow.  

The Buccaneers Need to Draft a QB

The criticisms of Jameis Winston are abundant. Yes, he has incredible talent that allows him to throw this oddly-shaped ball a great distance. Yes, he can sometimes display a modicum of agility and extend plays with his legs. But man, this guy just doesn’t seem to have the mental acumen to make sensible decisions, does he? Ask any analyst and they’ll tell you – the guy just doesn’t make smart decisions. He takes sacks when he shouldn’t, he doesn’t throw the ball away when he should and it’s like he doesn’t even know how to read a defense. How many times does this guy get picked off by a defender he never even saw coming in the first place? After four picks Sunday, head coach Dirk Koetter saw enough and yanked his starting QB in favor of everyone’s darling Ryan Fitzpatrick . Now the NFL and fantasy community have to deal with this FitzMagic nonsense until it wears down like it always does and the Bucs are scrambling to get Ryan Griffin up to speed. That certainly won’t go well. The Bucs simply need to start over. Winston is not a franchise quarterback, Fitzpatrick is not the answer and this team needs an offensive overhaul.

London Games Just Make the Rest of the World Hate the U.S. More

Ever go to Europe and hear what Europeans say about Americans? We’re a laughingstock. To them, we’re either egotistical a-holes who flaunt their wealth whenever possible or we’re the friggin’ Griswolds traveling their continent on a “Pig in a Poke” budget. They hate us and having these NFL games only furthers that hate. Why? Because we have a-holes like Barry Church and the Jacksonville Jaguars representing us. First of all, how the hell do four guys ring up a $40,000 bar tab in one night? Second, what the hell are they doing ringing up that kind of a bar tab the night before the game? And third, to try and skip out on it? What’s the matter, Barry? Is the four-year, $26M deal not enough to sustain your nightlife habits? Listen up, NFL. These London games are garbage. Yes, you might be lining your pockets with a little more cash because the piece of crap teams you send over there can’t sell out their home stadiums, but American Football is never catching on over there and these thugs we’re sending over there misrepresent the general population of this country. Stop embarrassing us, for crying out loud.

Le’Veon Bell Won’t Play Another Game for the Steelers

If there was ever an example of why we study the offensive system and not the player, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers. Le’veon Bell has dealt with knee injuries, suspensions and hold-outs and the Steelers are genuinely no worse for the wear. DeAngelo Williams did a perfectly fine job filling in for bell in previous seasons and now James Conner is absolutely crushing it. He just posted his third-straight 100-yard, 2-TD game, the Steelers have won all three and have now won four of their last five. They sit atop the AFC North and look like they could be the team to beat in that division. Would you say they’ve missed Bell? Absolutely not. If anything, he is still more of a distraction than anything else and if they just turned around and told him he wasn’t welcome, they might actually do better with the weight of the hold-out gone from their locker room. And what would they even do with Conner if Bel were to return? How do you put the potential future of this franchise on the bench? Remember, he was a third-round pick in 2017 and they have him under contract for another two years after this season. You don’t think he would…..? Nah!

Quick Hits

Photos of infidelity and drug use can only take you so far. That means, the only reasoning as to why Hue Jackson still has a job as the head coach in Cleveland is that he knows where bodies are buried. We don’t know who the bodies are and we don’t know exactly who in the upper hierarchy of the Browns organization is responsible for murdering them, but that is seriously the only explanation. This guys should not be an NFL head coach. End of story. UPDATE: On this week's episode of CSI Cleveland, we learned there were no bodies actually buried. It was a long-standing, elaborate mind-control Jackson was using which has finally been stopped thanks to a cross-over episode with Law & Order featuring the return of Ice-T and Chris Noth.

Fantasy owners need to wake up and get a clue. Kickers and team defenses are to be streamed only. You draft a kicker and a defense, hopefully someone with a late bye week, and you use them until they are off or fired. How is stashing defenses through their bye week working out? The Bears were obliterated after their bye. The Jaguars defense sucks right now. And did you see the Ravens bleed points on Sunday? And the kicking game? Come on. Anyone catch Dan Bailey miss that extra point last night?

Don’t be surprised to see the Seahawks make their way back into some sort of playoff contention here. They’re 4-1 over their last five games and are doing it with a killer ground game. In each of the five games, Chris Carson , and the rest of the backfield have racked up at least 30 carries per game and the results have been outstanding. Not just on the ground, but in the passing game as well as Russell Wilson now has nine touchdowns to just one interception over his last three games.

As long as the Bengals continue to give up and average of 30-plus points per game, they’re not going anywhere. They’re like the Bucs of the AFC. A better offense maybe but an equally porous defense.

If he continues down his current path, Patrick Mahomes is going to shatter every passing record Tom Brady and Drew Brees are helping establish right now. He has seven-straight 300-yard games and has now thrown for four touchdowns in each of his last three games. He is currently on-pace for 5,052 passing yards and 52 touchdown passes this season.