Did you walk away from this game with the same feeling I had? The Steelers seemed to have this game in hand about ten different times, but just when you got comfortable (for those that bet the Steelers -10.0 especially) Miami was suddenly making another push into Steelers territory…and then the Dolphins would have an ill-timed fumble and blow the chance to make it a tighter game.
I walked away from this game more impressed with the Dolphins than the Steelers…even though it seemed like a Steelers blowout from the jump. It was a weird watch. It was 14-0 Pittsburgh before you could blink, and just 16-12 Steelers the rest of the way. Pittsburgh could not fully put them away.
I realize some of this could be blamed on the fact that the Steelers got up big and then just went on cruise control, but just when the Steelers were rolling…then Ben starts getting sloppy and opening the door by throwing a pick to give Miami (temporary) life. The Steelers were the better team, but if there was ever an unimpressive blowout…it was this one.
I picked the Steelers to win the Super Bowl in the summer. I stuck with that call for continuity sake last week. I’m starting to waiver in my confidence that the Steelers can string four games in a row without shooting themselves in the foot.
— Didn’t it feel like Ben Roethlisberger (13-18 for 197 yards, 2 TD/2 INT) was going to throw for a thousand yards and a hundred TDs the way this game started? If you spotted Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady two TD passes in the first nine minutes against a below average defense at home…do you think they would have posted no TD passes for the rest of the game with two picks?
I mention that because I’m getting the feeling that Big Ben is quickly becoming a quarterback to hate for fantasy football. He’s not bad…not bad at all. He’s just gone from being fantasy awesome to fantasy so-so in a very short period of time. In Ben’s last 10 games, he’s thrown for over 300 yards just once…under 225 yards passing five times. In that same span – five games with 0 or 1 passing TD in the game. The Steelers are winning with his lower production…and that’s why you should be scared for Ben for fantasy. They’re winning with the running game. The era of Big Ben with high volume pass attempts and crazy-good stats in games in 2014, 2015, and parts of 2016…he’s gone for now. I don’t if he’s coming back.
…if he’s not coming back…is Antonio Brown (5-124-2/9 targets) a for sure top 3 overall fantasy weapon anymore?
The immediate fantasy future for Ben is likely tied up in one thing this offseason – do the Steelers re-sign or franchise tag Le’Veon Bell next year…or let him walk? No Le’Veon…and that old stat hound Ben might be back. If Bell is back, bland Ben ahead is likely.
You think it is a slam dunk that Le’Veon is back, but I think it is anything but. The Steelers have made bold ‘walk aways’ in free agency before (Mike Wallace comes to mind). In this era, you can not/should not sign a running back to a mega deal…but if you did Le’Veon would be a candidate…except he has drug suspensions and missed drug tests on his record. The right thing to do is to walk away…or sign and trade. I suspect they’ll do the populist thing and sign Bell…franchise tag more likely that a long term deal unless that deal has drug test contingencies.
— A player I should have mentioned in my dynasty stash rankings was Miami WR/KR Jakeem Grant. He didn’t see any targets in this game, but he did play 19 snaps in this game.
Grant is not a guy who would have made the top 50 dynasty stash for 2017 list but should have been among the others mentioned after the top 50. Every team will be searching for their version of Tyreek Hill next season…Grant is Miami’s version of that. However, Jakeem is no Tyreek. Grant is a speedy 4.4 +/- runner, but has so-so agility and is small (5’6″/165). He’s not bad, but not a future star. I could see him being a bubble screen and handoff guy…a poor man’s Taylor Gabriel, maybe.
— Speaking of young WRs in this game and their dynasty future …
Demarcus Ayers…’no’. Not the next Antonio Brown…no matter how many times announcers mention it.
Eli Rogers…a continued ‘no’. Not the next Antonio Brown…no matter how many times announcers mention it.
Every undrafted free agent WR who is scrappy and under six-foot, and plays for the Steelers is not automatically the nextAntonio Brown.
— It wasn’t fantasy-worthy, really, but I did write up Damien Williams (3-14-0, 1-4-1/1 target) as a ‘Very Deep Sleeper‘ in my summer series. The guy did score 6 TDs in the regular season, and then the only TD for Miami in the postseason. Not a bad year as a backup.
I’m not calling for the upset in 2017…but most of the times I’m watching the Dolphins on tape – I’m often catching myself going “Whoa, who’s that…oh, yeah they just snuck Damien Williams in the game.” I think that during a tape watch because suddenly a running back looks explosive and powerful out of nowhere for Miami, and I know it’s not Jay Ajayi. It takes me a moment to process that Williams is still on the team because they don’t utilize him with regularity. Adam Gase is too in love with Ajayi to get Williams more touches…a rare mistake Gase made in his (what should be) Coach of the Year head coaching debut in 2016.
I’ll just say – Jay Ajayi (rumored) has a degenerative knee issue that could go on him at any time, and he is a violent runner who takes a beating. Is the handcuff to Ajayi worth a look? It is if it’s Williams.
— Where the heck has this Bud Dupree (6 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1.0 TFL, 2 QB hits) been at? Including this game, Dupree played 8 games this season – he registered 5.0 sacks in them. It’s easy math…a 10.0 sack pace for a full 16-game season.
Young pass rushers getting some sacks is nice, but did you see that hit to Matt Moore…the one where the game commentator thought Moore had been killed in a car crash he witnessed in real time? It’s not the hit that caught my attention, but the closing speed – that’s not normal among most NFL OLB/DE types.
Dupree has been hurt a lot his first two seasons, but he’s someone we should probably take a little more seriously for IDP.
If you need a reminder:
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