It was a frustrating week, I won’t lie. My fantasy teams did okay, but I went 5-10 against the spread, lost my best bet (the Saints) and my Super Contest entry was 1-3, pending Monday night. Maybe it’s just the state of mind I’m in during a week like this, but the product quality seemed worse than ever to me. So many penalties — it seemed like every other play, and only about half of them were legitimate. The worst call of the weekend was the ref blowing dead Cam Jordan’s fumble return TD for no reason whatsoever. Why not let the play happen and let the review (automatic on turnovers) take its course?
Also, after last week when I wrote a couple thousand words essentially amounting to a verbal box score, I’m not going to run down every relevant player in every game going forward. It’s cumbersome, and in my opinion, not especially valuable. If you want the valuable recaps/forecasts, read Jerry’s and Mario’s columns during the week.
• I only watched the first half of the Falcons-Eagles this morning because the second half wouldn’t stream. Lest you think I’m lazy, I re-booted my internet twice, tried all four wi-fi settings I have in the house and re-booted my Apple TV and laptop too. I couldn’t even get Netflix to stream, either, though the internet works fine for everything else. Finally, I gave up and checked the score and the drive logs. Thank God the Falcons covered because I needed that. It’s noteworthy Julio Jones already has three TDs after getting eight in last year’s second half. I guess his five-and-a-half-year run of not being able to score at a rate commensurate with his size, skills and opportunity was a fluke after all.
• Carson Wentz doesn’t look right to me. I know he lost a bunch of receivers this game, but the guy who was an MVP candidate in 2017 just hasn’t returned since his initial knee injury.
• Rams-Saints was incredibly frustrating. Not only did the refs miss on the Jordan TD, but Drew Brees was knocked out early, and Teddy Bridgewater is worse than Taysom Hill.
• While Brees (Mr. Dink and Dunk) depends heavily on Alvin Kamara’s run-after-the-catch skills, apparently Kamara is also dependent on Brees’ timing and touch throws that allow him to catch the ball in stride.
• Todd Gurley scored on a goal-line carry and out-touched Malcolm Brown 19 to seven, so his situation isn’t dire yet. I’d still try and hold onto Darrell Henderson, but that will depend bench size and roster health during the bye weeks.
• Maybe Jared Goff’s home/road splits are a thing.
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• Some players like Adrian Peterson seven years ago and Cooper Kupp this year recover from ACL tears like it’s the common cold. Others like RGIII are never the same.
• The Bears (Super Contest pick) blowing the cover after being up 10 in the fourth quarter was a baseball bat to the testicles. I didn’t get exactly what happened on the two-point-conversion that did it (and prevented overtime) — did the Broncos only go for two because they had it from the one? — but I’m shocked Flacco was able to engineer those drives. Maybe the defense got worn down in the altitude. I also read the Bears final drive was gifted to them by a weak personal foul penalty. Not that I cared once the cover (Bears -2.5) was blown, but it’s amazing the league lets games turn on total garbage.
• Emmanuel Sanders made a great catch at the back of the end zone to complete the comeback. I’m surprised the government hasn’t abducted him to study his healing superpowers. (Just nine months ago, the 32 YO had surgery to repair a torn Achilles.)
• Incidentally, doesn’t it seem like there are more prominent old players than ever in the league? Jason Witten, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Adam Vinatieri (though maybe not for long), Darren Sproles, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, etc. It’s one thing if they were long snappers, back-up QBs or essentially player-coaches, but these guys are getting carries/targets/attempts every week.
• David Montgomery wasn’t efficient, but he ran hard, and it’s no longer a committee on early downs in Chicago.
• I got Pat Mahomes in one of five leagues, but I should have been more aggressive in a couple others. (One NFFC one I picked first, and he was gone before the pick came back to me, but there were three more in which I could have paid up for him.) That people were arguing “regression” from his outlier season and even Vegas set the O/U on TD passes at 36.5 is laughable. Repeat after me: “You don’t regress generational talents back to league-wide historic norms.”
And it’s not just Mahomes — it’s the era, Andy Reid’s system and the players around him. Even with his best wide-out down, every third pass play is a shot 40-yards down the field. Mahomes went for 443 yards and four TDs despite the Raiders putting up no resistance on offense, a second 40-yard TD to Mecole Hardman called back on a hold and the Chiefs taking their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. When the Chiefs face a team that can hang, we could see a 600-yard game. (Also Tyreek Hill will be back at some point.)
• As for the Raiders I’ll repeat a bad joke I made on Twitter: “Derek Horse and Buggy.”
• Leonard Fournette scored on that two-point conversion. Imagine the uproar if the Jaguars had any kind of fan base.
• Gardner Minshew looks like a player. He scrambled well and kept his poise with the pressure on. Every so often great quarterbacks (Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Tony Romo) come out of nowhere, and while each individual one including Minshew is a long shot, it will happen again, especially in an era when it’s never been easier to play the position.
• Jaylen Ramsey sure locked down DeAndre Hopkins.
• It looks like Carlos Hyde is early-down workhorse in Houston. If you’re convinced Hyde is terrible, and Duke Johnson is so much better, then there’s hope. But for now it looks like Johnson might end up with more or less than role he’s had for most of his career with the Browns.
• It’s disappointing Kyler Murray had only three carries for four yards, but I’ll take 349 passing yards and 8.7 YPA in Baltimore.
• Lamar Jackson showed Murray what a real running QB looks like. I’d like to see him play a good defense, but QB2 (after Mahomes) would not be a crazy ranking for him right now.
• I’m probably going to lose a matchup because I benched Mark Andrews for O.J. Howard this week. Never again.
• Kliff Kingbury’s FG attempt on 4th-and-1 from the Ravens four, down seven on the road as 13-point underdogs was unconscionable.
• It’s only two games, and against average or worse defenses, but Dak Prescott with a real offensive coordinator and decent wideouts looks like a star. (We’ll have to wait on Michael Gallup’s injury, though.)
• Rashaad Penny out-produced Chris Carson and did not fumble. After seeing only two targets last week, Tyler Lockett had 12 on Sunday, but his output was uncharacteristically Jarvis-Landry-esque. I suppose the volume is the more important thing, though.
• The Steelers are already on the ropes, especially if Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) is out for a while. James Conner (knee) is also hurt. Who knew Antonio Brown was the glue that held that team together?
• Eli Manning’s stats were abysmal though he did engineer one strong drive with accurate reads and throws. The Giants obviously need to pull the plug now and give Daniel Jones the largest audition they can before deciding whether to take a QB in next year’s draft. But because they’re idiots they’ll squander the next few weeks before being forced into the decision.
• Only the Dolphins possibly — and it’s a close call — have a worse defense than the Giants.
• I took the Dolphins +18.5 at home in the Super Contest. The line could have been double, and Miami still would not have covered. While the Patriots could generate some 2007-ish lines this year, so could the Dolphins, even against ordinary teams.
• The Patriots haven’t given up a touchdown since last year’s AFC championship game.
• Antonio Brown led the Patriots in targets, receptions and yards, though it was a modest day for the team’s pass-catchers given the blowout. My assumption is he’ll be around the rest of the year, barring new evidence about which we haven’t yet heard. It’s certainly possible some emerges, but given the incidents in question were from 2017, that strikes me as unlikely.
• There’s not much to say about Titans-Colts except Indy isn’t remotely packing it in after losing Andrew Luck. But it might be time to put Vinatieri (two more missed PATs) out to pasture.
• Dalvin Cook looks like a top-five fantasy player when healthy. Aaron Jones ceded a TD catch to Jamaal Williams early but is the clear starter and a top-10 back right now.
• I get the Chargers can’t make a field goal these days, but Philip Rivers’ interception, down three, on third-and-19 from the Lions 28 was idiotic. If the guy’s not open, check it down and try a short, game-tying field goal. Instead he forced it, gave away the game (and the potential cover.)
• So much for T.J. Hockenson as a must-start TE. Maybe the must-start TE is whoever is playing the Cardinals (Hockenson in Week 1, Andrews in Week 2, Greg Olsen in Week 3.)
• I scoffed when I saw people spending so much FAAB on career special-teamer Raheem Mostert last week. But Matt Breida is too small to be a bell cow, and someone else has to carry the rock. It’s nice Jeff Wilson scored two TDs though, leaving Mostert only the receiving one.
• I guess it’s time to drop Dante Pettis who has fallen to the ninth circle of hell. Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin seem to be Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite looks, over even George Kittle. I have to imagine the record holder for receiving yards by a TE will be heavily involved, even if the record was set largely with Nick Mullens under center.
• If you Duckduckgo (Google is dead to me) garbage time, there’s a video of John Ross catching a 66-yard TD with 45 seconds left, cutting the lead to 24. Normally, you get some PPR crumbs in that situation, but almost never a long bomb.