What a frustrating and disastrous game. I was up 11 against a team with Kyle Rudolph who had one target and zero catches in the first half. I also had the Bears plus three. Not only did Rudolph seem like Case Keenum’s only target all second half, but the refs called the game as if they had bet on the Vikings.
• Why was Sam Bradford cleared to play? He was a statue on the field and went down at the slightest touch from the Bears defensive line. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on IR this week. I wish Bradford had stayed in though because I would have won my fantasy matchup and also covered rather than pushed against the spread.
• I also would have won my matchup had I not started Tyler Lockett at the flex over Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon could be a force the rest of the way because the Vikings offensive line is far better this year, he catches passes, he’s fast and he can make defenders miss. Latavius Murray didn’t look terrible despite the meager per-carry numbers, but his upside is low.
• Apparently Stefon Diggs was bothered by a groin injury, but he returned to the game. None of the Vikings receivers did much with either quarterback.
• Mitchell Trubisky (5.1 YPA) had terrible stats in his debut, but he passed the eye test for me, and this despite his biggest play and only TD coming on a tipped pass that could have been picked. He moved well, threw accurately and seemed awfully poised for someone taking the field for the first time during a standalone national game. The receivers will hold him back stats-wise, but the Bears could have a franchise QB.
• Jordan Howard had a good game, and it should have been a great game had his long TD run not been nullified by a ticky-tack holding call on Markus Wheaton. There were a couple other calls that struck me as fishy, but the NFL is so full of discretionary holding, hands to the face and personal fouls, it’s impossible to know without doing a rigorous study. And though I am a conspiracy nut, I almost never suspect malfeasance in sporting events when incompetence serves as a perfectly good explanation. But this game set off my radar a bit.
In any event, Howard has a little bit of Le’Veon Bell in him – lots of patience waiting for the right hole and good feel for getting the most of what’s blocked by twisting and propelling forward while being tackled.
• Tarik Cohen couldn’t find any room – he needs more space at the outset.
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• Good on John Fox for faking the punt, and I liked the trickery for the two-point conversion.