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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
We all hate Steve Wilks/the Cardinals for what they’ve done to my/your precious David Johnson for fantasy – ruined him for weeks with a terrible game plan/offense. We hate Wilks/Arizona for ruining DJ, having Mike McCoy employed, having Sam Bradford employed, and then we all saw them get utterly humiliated on cable television in that 45-10 crushing defeat at home/mostly Broncos fans vs. Denver on that TNF nightmare. We’ve ‘seen’ enough evidence…guilty as charged. Arizona is the worst!
I’m going to try to change your mind about the Arizona Cardinals, not just because they got DJ going in this game.
If you never knew of the Denver Broncos TNF nightmare…here’s the Cardinals games/performances since Week 3…
Week 3: Lost to the Bears by 2 points…had them beat at several turns but could not close the deal. Now, we know the Bears were just starting to emerge at that point…and that the Bears are a top team, in general.
Week 4: Had Seattle beat in Josh Rosen’s starting debut…lost it late by 3 points. Arizona missing a late FG, Seattle hitting one at the buzzer.
Week 5: at SF…they beat the Niners in a Vegas upset.
Week 6: Going to Minnesota as a big underdog…they’re down 13-10 at the half. Get it to 27-17 late with some shots to close to one score but can’t. Played well in a tough spot.
Week 7: The Denver TNF disaster to ignore temporarily.
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: New O-C…better offense but sloppy; rallies to beat SF.
Week 10: Huge underdogs at KC -- and might have played the Chiefs better than anyone this season.
In this week’s game, the Chiefs scored a TD within a minute to start the game. It looked like a blowout under way. Consider, that the next 59 minutes, the game was 20-14 Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes held to 19 of 25 passing for just 174 yards and 1 TD (stats minus the first minute of play)…and was sacked 5 times. Arizona was the better team for the final 59 minutes…or at least played toe-to-toe. Arizona down 20-14 in the 4th quarter, at midfield, setting up a screen to Johnson, that if complete might have gone for a TD the way it was set…BUT Rosen doesn’t clear the D-End with the soft toss, it gets picked off and totally changes everything. From a possible ‘take the lead’ play to a turnover and a quick KC score to put the game out of reach.
Ignoring the Denver game, the Cards are 4-0-2 against-the-spread since Week 3. They’ve battled (not been crushed by) and lost to CHI, SEA, MIN, KC…four good teams, some great teams. In games against teams not in the playoffs (as of today), Arizona is 2-2-0…with a last second FG loss to Seattle as one of the losses.
I’m not telling you Arizona is secretly great…I’m telling you they are secretly ‘OK’. One of the best ‘bad’ teams in the NFL. A pretty solid defense (when not facing Rams-Chiefs) and a formerly terrible offense that is changing upward under the new O-C.
You should consider betting a lot of money on Arizona -4.0 hosting Oakland this week.
If Arizona beats Oakland, they jump to 3-7…and might (long shot) get to 6 wins this season after all and payoff small bets any of us made on their 5.5 ‘over’ win total for 2018. I think they beat Oakland and then go shock the Chargers the following week and are suddenly 4-7 with some winnable games ahead of them.
The Chiefs did what they had to do…they get past a very ‘game’ Cardinals team. If KC beats the Rams this week, and we think they should…they will be 10-1 likely on their way to 15-1 and the #1 seed. They have Oakland on the schedule twice the final five games, to help the narrative. The Patriots are not good enough to go 14-2, so KC just needs to be 14-2 in the end to get the #1 seed. The Chiefs can probably afford to lose to the Rams and still be the AFC #1 seed.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- How hard was that? Just throw David Johnson (21-98-1, 7-85-1/9) a million passes in a game -- and good things will happen. The most uncoverable pass in all the NFL is the dump off pass to an RB leaking out of the backfield…I know this because no one is ever in screenshot when Saquon Barkley or Todd Gurley are leaking out of the backfield – so, I know it has to be a complete mystery to defensive coordinators on how to cover it in NFL games. I know coaches work 25 hours a day and sleep on their office floors during the season…and yet they can’t figure out to cover Saquon Barkley leaking out of the backfield for 10-20 targets a game every game – then it must not coverable, apparently.
Same for DJ…he was open, easily, all day long here.
Byron Leftwich gets it, now…I think. Bruce Arians was the CBS analyst for this game…and you’d could tell he spent time with Leftwich helping him make DJ ‘great again’ during the week.
RB1 David Johnson is back on track! I told you…just wait and see what Leftwich would do after a bye week with more prep. You so wanted to punish DJ for high crimes of bad fantasy games – so much so that you sold him away the past two weeks, some of you, and you lost the NFL’s best RB weapon because of a bad few usage games.
-- What to do with Christian Kirk (2-8-0/6)? I have proclaimed him future-great…and a great fit with Josh Rosen, and all that’s brought is 2.5 catches on 6.5 targets and 25.0 yards per game under the new O-C (in 2 games). This game was an FF-dud.
I believe in Kirk…but we have to live with this passing game still trying to find its footing. Kirk may not matter again until 2019? However, before this game…3 or more catches in 7 straight games and over 50+ yards four of his prior 6 games. 2 TDs in his prior 4 games to this. He’s been showing signs. Your punishing him for being on a BYE then not having a big game here.
Kirk is a WR3 in 2018…and like all of the WR3s -- up and down weeks.
Week 11 vs. Oakland was made for him to have a big play or two on top of a solid FF number.
-- Ricky Seals-Jones (5-51-0/9) is trying to get noticed…5 catches in a game twice his last four games. A season-high 9 targets in this one. 50 or more yards in a game in three of his last 6 games. Just 1 TD all season.
I’m seeing Rosen look for RSJ under duress because he’s such a tall target…it’s nice fallback to have. In this game, however, RSJ wasn’t ‘pushed’ as much as when Arizona was down late and all-passing…Seals-Jones got a lot of junk throws against prevent winding things down.
He’s something…but I wouldn’t say ‘emerging’, but he’s showing signs of hope. He’s a talented athlete still figuring out the TE role (former WR).
-- Speaking of TEs…just a note: Travis Kelce (6-46-0/7) didn’t score a TD. He has a BYE Week 12. Current owner might have RB BYE week withdrawals this week and next. A good time for your RB2 name (if you have depth) + a sketchy TE you have for Kelce deal proposal and see if they bite at their coveted ‘RB help’.
-- The things about the great Chiefs offense is…they are building one of the best defenses in the NFL right under everyone’s nose.
All-everything LB/SAF Daniel Sorensen (5 tackles) is back after missing several weeks.
Justin Houston (1 tackles, 1 PD) just returned after many weeks out.
Eric Berry still to come.
Terrific rookie LB Dorian O’Daniel (5 tackles) is starting to play more snaps…out-snapped Reggie Ragland this week.
DL Chris Jones (3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 PDs) has a sack in six straight games and 7.0 sacks in those 6 games.
Orlando Scandrick (3 tackles, 1 PD) is playing smart corer even with declining athleticism.
The Chiefs have LAR-BYE the next two weeks…then are golden the rest of the season. If anyone drops KC-DST…you stash for the finish if at all possible.
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for the two teams…
The Cardinals offense faces DET-ATL-LAR Weeks 14-16…all in domes. Good offensive numbers can be had…and if Arizona beats Oakland to get to 3-7, and then knocks off one of LAC-GB the following two weeks…they’d be 4-8 looking to rally to win out to get to .500 in the end – they could have nice motivations in winnable games down the stretch IF the Rams are resting players by Week 16. A lot of Ifs…but the Cardinals’ motivations are not dead yet.
KC may not have the most giving weather situations for Weeks 14-16. We’ll see… Weeks 14-15 home with BAL-LAC could be pretty cold. Week 16 at Seattle might be rainy, messy. Not much you can do about it now but pray for a break in the weather. Because KC is so attractive…Weeks 15-16 are night games…making it even colder potentially.
Snap Counts of Interest:
54 = Tyreek
54 = Conley
43 = Dem. Robinson
03 = Kemp
43 = Hunt
20 = Ware
46 = Seals-Jones
29 = Gresham
43 = O’Daniel
39 = Ragland
29 = Niemann
58 = Riddick
10 = Deone Bucannon