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A 7-6 barnburner for the Colts here. You know the thing that’s weird is that the Colts gave Scott Tolzien some work and the Bengals let A.J. McCarron go the whole way…and neither led a TD drive. Especially odd for McCarron…supposedly the apple of some desperate team’s eyes and free agent to be.
McCarron isn’t going to be the QB for the Bengals…ever. Tolzien’s reign as Colts starter may last one week as Jacoby Brissettwas acquired. Let’s talk QBs first (and foremost) from this game.
Fantasy player notes…
— First, A.J. McCarron (20-30 for 216 yards, 0 TD/0 INT)…
You’re a free agent to-be, facing the Colts 2nd and 3rd and 4th team defenders…but you have legit NFL starting WRs like John Ross, Cody Core, Alex Erickson at your disposal – you gotta do better than two FGs working the entire game. How is it Kyle Sloter racks up 30 points in his full Week 4 preseason start…working with mostly garbage weapons, but McCarron manages two FGs – but McCarron will be the talk of 2018 free agency and Kyle Sloter is available for free right now (as I type this)?
I like McCarron OK, but this was a moment he needed to step up and show off…instead, he punched his ‘game manager’ card once again.
Also note, the next 48 hours my entire world view is from Kyle Sloter’s perspective.
— For those betting the farm on the Rams +/-3.0 over the Colts opening day, you may also be considering taking the Rams in a ‘knockout/survivor pool’ for Week 1. I’d just note that Scott Tolzien (4-5 for 24 yards. 0 TD/0 INT) is not horrible. The Colts are an overall disaster, but Tolzien is gritty and is not that bad for a limited-type game plan guy. As opposed to DeShone Kizer has no business starting in the NFL and is going to be destroyed by the Steelers defense…Tolzien is not as dysfunctional. Just a note for the degenerates…the Colts are bad, Tolzien is not a zero, the Rams are a bit of an unknown still. I like the Rams a lot Week 1…just short of love.
The Colts made bigger QB news by trading for Jacoby Brissett Saturday…because anything ‘Patriots’ is awesome. Brissett answers the question – “What if Tyrod Taylor were a slower runner and had less NFL experience…and was a worse college player?”
The trade for Brissett signals to me that Andrew Luck’s absence is going to be multiple games, potentially 3-6 games. But it also signals to me that the Colts are truly unsure what’s going to happen when Andrew Luck gets unwrapped. They seem to be starting to plan for contingencies…something they should have been doing for two years.
If Luck misses four games, given the schedule, and terrible Colts’ team…Indy will be 1-3/0-4 to start. I’d guess once the team doesn’t win with Tolzien for a game or two, there will be pressure to see if Brissett has special magical powers against Cleveland Week 3. If four games missed for Luck, probably two starts for Tolzien and two for Brissett.
If Luck misses 5-6 games, and the Colts are 1-5/0-6…they might be tempted to shut Luck down. In that case, Brissett will be the QB the rest of 2017. The fantasy value of Brissett is that he is forced to play more than anyone thought. If Brissett does play, he’ll be Tyrod Taylor – 150-200 yards passing, about a TD pass and 30-50 yards rushing per game and a rushing TD every 3-4 games on average. He could be fantasy viable due to an inclination to run and garbage time.
Brissett further kills off T.Y. Hilton, who is wayyyy overvalued for 2017 redrafts right now. Jack Doyle and Donte Moncrief are cold boogers on a plate for fantasy as well with Brissett. Also for fantasy — Frank Gore is meaningless, Robert Turbin is useless, and the Marlon Mack era begins faster with more Brissett playing time.
— John Ross (1-25-0, 1-6-0/1) was in this game from the start. Had a decent looking end-around/jet sweep run, but nothing eye-popping. Caught a bubble screen after that and didn’t seem to get hit all that hard but now has a knee injury. Ross has been a delicate flower for most of his football life. He’s fast, but nothing special outside of ‘fast’…and now ‘injury prone’ takes equal billing with ‘fast’.
We’ve only seen NFL preseason glimpses, but I’ve seen nothing to get excited about. I’m becoming even more skeptical.
— The Colts’ rookie WR Bruce/JoJo Natson (2-56-0/4) has given the Colts exactly what the Bengals wanted from John Ross – a burst, an energy, a kick/punt returner, a tough/scrappy WR for his diminutive size, and speed before and after the catch. If you didn’t have history shaped for you, and you watched these two move on the field for five random plays from the preseason each…you’d swear Natson was faster and clearly more confident/superior to Ross.
Natson was released on Saturday.
Ross will immediately be given touches the second he can go in the regular season.
— I watched several snaps isolating on Bengals rookie IDP LB Jordan Evans (6 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD), and I wasn’t impressed. He doesn’t move with a lot of pop…or didn’t here. He is useful but not a future starter of note that I see. There was no ‘there’ there what I’ve seen.
On the other side, Colts rookie IDP LB Anthony Walker (7 tackles) has a little more fire and pop in his step moving to plays. Unsure how many snaps he’ll get to start the season, but eventually he’ll be a main starter this season…sooner-rather-than-later.
— Tra Carson, Alex Erickson are among the notables making the Bengals. Marcus Hardison did not.
— Troymaine Pope, Bug Howard, Akeem Ayers and JoJo Natson did not make the Colts roster…mildly shocking on Natson. 95% sure Natson makes it to the P-Squad.