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*Considering the 2016-17 Final Four playoff teams played each other midseason, I thought it would be interesting to look back what I saw thinking/saying about the teams at that time.*
This game was a lot closer than it appeared. More than a few near-miss opportunities for the Steelers to seize control of the game, but something always happened. I suspect the Patriots were toying with them to some degree. This loss is a dagger to the heart of the Steelers. Such unfortunately timed injuries. There is no chance they’ll get home field over New England now. The Steelers might as well start making vacation plans for February.
— I don’t know if Landry Jones (29-47 for 281 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) will play Week 9 or not, but he did not embarrass himself here. He was a nice fill-in for Ben. We’re raising estimates up some for Antonio Brown (7-106-0/11 targets) and Le’Veon Bell (21-81-0, 10-68-0/13 targets) after we slashed them initially because of the ‘Landry Jones effect’. Jones wasn’t Big Ben, but he wasn’t awful…he was decent.
— Cobi Hamilton (3-36-0/3 targets) is popping up more and more. He looks competent in a way that Eli Rogers did not in that #3 WR role. It will be interesting to see if he takes another step forward when Ben comes back. This note is nothing to act upon for fantasy today; just something to observe ahead.
Valuations and Trends…
*Hamilton’s 2012 season at Arkansas: 12 games, 90 catches, 1,335 yards, and 5 TDs.
*Hamilton’s numbers at the 2013 NFL Combine: 6′2″/212, 4.56 40-time (below average), 11 bench reps (weak), 29.5″ vertical (terrible).
— LeGarrette Blount (24-127-2, 1-7-0/1 targets) is on pace for 18 rushing TDs this season.
— Chris Hogan’s (2-25-0/2 targets) last two games: 1.5 rec. for 32.0 yards on 1.5 targets. I see no real connection between him and Brady. He’ll use Hogan as needed. He’s no different than Danny Amendola for the Pats…my fear all along for Hogan going here.
— Martellus Bennett’s (1-5-0/2 targets) last two weeks with Brady: 3.3 catches for 26.5 yards and 0.0 TDs. Brady will use Bennett as needed/desired…not regularly. Why I’ve been more anti-Bennett all along.
— The next three points are why my allegiance is firmly with the Patriots if anyone asks…
The Patriots STOLE Eric Rowe (6 tackles, 1 PD) from the Eagles a few weeks ago. Just got him for near nothing – a Pro Bowl type talent. A shutdown corner or quality safety. He has size and athleticism like few others. He didn’t ‘fit’ the Eagles new system…so they give him away. THEY JUST DRAFTED HIM MID SECOND ROUND LAST YEAR!!!
I had heard the Patriots were going to ‘redshirt’ him this season, but he was so good they started to push him forward.
Look at the snap counts this game:
71 = Chung
73 = Butler
31 = L. Ryan
73 = Rowe (100% of the defensive snaps)
It’s like the NFL is handing the Patriots Super Bowl trophies. Why isn’t your team’s GM making these moves? It’s like I’ve said before…I don’t know if Belichick is a genius or just the smartest guy in a room full of idiots.
— The Patriots traded away A.J. Derby this week, an intriguing TE prospect, to the Denver Broncos. Derby was a quarterback at Iowa, initially, and then transferred to Arkansas. Derby eventually moved to TE and worked with Hunter Henry for the Razorbacks. Derby was arguably as good (3 TDs in 9 games in 2014) as Henry in 2014 (2 TDs in 13 games in 2014), especially considering Derby was switching positions…in the SEC.
At his 2015 Pro Day, Derby ran a solid 4.7+ 40-time with a 6.99 three-cone agility – those are slightly above average athleticism numbers for a TE prospect. The Patriots drafted him in the sixth round in 2014. He was a star of the preseason for New England…so good he forced the Patriots to roster him to start the season. The Patriots are set at TE and have needs elsewhere, so Derby was expendable. Obviously, he caught Denver’s attention. Obviously, the Patriots knew there would be a market here…that there would be no chance he could be cut and stashed on the practice squad. All of this speaks well of Derby.
Derby is a pass receiving threat headed to a team that lacks a high activity pass game with Trevor Siemian. However, you trade for Derby if you’re looking for a receiving TE option. Will be interesting to see what happens. Likely, nothing this week…and nothing for redraft 2016, but we’ll keep an eye on and see.
— The Patriots also traded for Kyle Van Noy from Detroit. I know what they are going to do with him (I think). They’re going to make him a pass-rush specialist. Detroit tried to make him a regular linebacker, but his specialty is getting to the backfield. This deal is another potential steal by the Pats. That Eric Rowe trade from Philly was ridiculous a few weeks ago.
Why is it the Pats are the only ones making trades? Considering I.R. and practice squads, there are like 2,000+ players under teams’ control…and we get like ten trades a year in the NFL, most involving about-to-be-cut players for a draft pick or teams trading their future for a #1 pick. I’m officially calling myself a Patriots fan…even though I’m a fan of no team. Why would I want to align myself with anyone outside of Belichick?