*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Indy won 29-26…holding on at the end through some good/bad luck. It was 29-13 at the half…Indy dominating the Jags. Jacksonville shutout Indy in the 2nd-half, but that’s a little misleading. This game was closer than it needed to be…but, by the same token, the Colts were lucky they didn’t blow it.
In the 2nd-half, Jacksonville’s kicker missed a 50+ FG, as did Indy’s kicker. The Vinatieri missed attempt very late in the game, set up the Jags for an easy get down for a game-tying FG or possible winning TD. With 1+ minute left, the Jags struck a simple pass over the middle to get down to the Indy 35, but the WR fumbled as he went to the ground. Ball game.
Indy rises up to 4-5…my dark horse pick (from a few weeks ago) to win the AFC South has now won three in-a-row. Week 10 hosting 5-4 Tennessee is like a playoff game for both teams. We are projecting Indy 8-8/9-7…which either record might be good enough for the AFC South title, but given the Texans win streak Indy has a narrow path to the top right now. They HAVE to beat Tennessee this week, and for-sure go to Houston and beat the Texans Week 14 to have a strong shot at avoiding 10-levels deep tie-breaker scenarios.
Jacksonville is losers of five in-a-row, now last place in the AFC South at 3-6. They basically have to win out to have any playoff hope…and they’re not good enough to do that. If they lose to the Steelers this week, they’re done and may start quitting (even more) on the season/coaching staff.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, Leonard Fournette (24-53-1, 5-56-1/5) is back… How did he look? He looked fine. Like old Leonard Fournette. Do you regret trading him, now…for those that did? Probably, HE HAD TWO TDS!!! He’s on a pace for 32 TDs a season after one week…how could you trade that?!?
Seriously, Fournette looked fine but was stuffed on most every run but had some nice/simple work in the passing game. I think you become more a seller of Fournette than clutcher of him. Here’s some of the case against him…
1) The Jags O-Line is devastated. They’re on a 3rd-string left tackle for the season and just lost their best OL for the season in this game (OC Brandon Linder). This is the David Johnson/Arizona 2018 Weeks 1-9 problem only worse…terrible O-Line problems, bad QB play, terrible O-C, unimaginative run-first head coach.
Fournette had a ‘high’ run of 11 yards in this game. He ran 23 times for 42 yards…1.8 yards per carry otherwise. Fournette has no hesitations/limitations from his injury – so, this is an OL issue + play calling + defenses stack him.
2) Every team the Jags face from Week 11-15 is a top half of the league run defense, including two top five run defenses. The schedule is unkind more than not ahead.
3) Fournette is an injury prone player. Last year, he’d get rolling and then his foot would hurt, or hamstring tweak and he’d be gone for a week. The Jags will be out of the playoffs, so there’s no need to rack mileage on Fournette…and if they try, I suspect he’ll have a mysterious tweak of something again.
4) You have to rely on the Jags getting near the goal line and using him in the passing game to get Fournette good FF-work. Jacksonville is 29th in scoring per game this season, has a terrible QB, plays tougher defenses ahead, and doesn’t usually feature Fournette a lot as a receiver + likes to toss Yeldon in there.
I think Fournette is one of the five most gifted RBs in the NFL…maybe top 3. However, he has a TERRIBLE set of circumstances around him for the ROS. Maybe, he pushes through…but that’s a lot of wishing and hope against head winds.
-- Marlon Mack (12-29-0, 2-9-0/2) had the game I feared…which is why he was our top ‘sell high’ last week. Not that I’ve lost any faith on Mack off my original premise (good/OK RB talent in a great situation), but he was SO in demand the last two weeks that many sold as an RB1 level…now, a week later, he’s an RB2 value that people are skeptical on.
That’s how all this RB stuff works. People are so wildly over-concerned about their RB position. They don’t like their #2 or #3 or #4 RB and worry what they are going to do on a BYE week four weeks from now at RB and look at FF playoff schedules nine weeks in advance to worry about their RBs. For every hour they put into RB concerns and fretting…they put less than a minute on TE-DST-PK-QB and spare a few minutes for WRs.
Somehow, you can get any old WR-TE-PK-DST-QB to work, per these RB-enslaved people…but the one position that the statement (‘any old…’) is true of, the RB(2) position, is the one they worry about the most. I just keep trying to trade them RB2s at RB1 valuations and then buying their RB1-2 talent for RB2-3 prices when they panic. Basically, all the panic or exuberance is based off the RB’s last game’s worth of numbers.
People are sick in the head about their RBs in fantasy. Think that’s an erratic statement? Why is it every RB who gets any level of touches or has any level of hope of ‘starting’ is gone from your waivers every week? But there are plenty of useful WRs and DSTs and kickers and QBs still out there to get in a pinch?
No one ever asks me about sitting on their best WR’s or top QB’s handcuff nine weeks ahead for Weeks 15-16 strategy. In most cases, normal 10-12 team redraft/dynasty rosters, if you don’t have Todd Gurley and you’ve been sitting on Malcolm Brown for the last 3 weeks HOPING and PRAYING he becomes ‘Gurley’ off an injury – you have the ‘problem’ too. A sickness.
To me, outside of the top 2-3-4-5 cream of the crop RBs…they’re all disposable diapers at RB – as we enter the time of year where RBs start popping up everywhere due to injuries or changes in plan due to a team’s lost season/prep for next season. Mack is great, then he isn’t. Drake is the answer, then he’s not. Mike Davis ray of hope, no it’s Penny. Josh Adams will never get the touches, no wait…maybe he will…maybe. There’s plenty of RB fish in the sea.
What were we talking about?
Oh, Marlon Mack. Nice RB2. Could have sold him as an RB1 last two weeks, but now you can’t.
-- Donte Moncrief (3-98-1/4) has been very productive of late…75+ yards in a game in four of his last 6 games. Erratic targeting the last five games: 15-3-10-7-4. He’s moved into a strong WR2.5 position – the best WR on a bad passing game team.
Moncrief caught a 30+ yard pass and broke a tackle, somewhat luckily, and turned it into an 80-yard TD. If that play was just a 40-yard catch…he has a 3-48-0/4 game, and you could care less…and it would have extended his no-TD streak top five games.
He’s a WR3/flex hopeful in my book. PIT and BUF the next two weeks could shut him down quite easily.
-- To me, T.Y. Hilton (3-77-0/7) is one of the best ‘buy lows’ of the week. Current owners have had him for two ‘weak’ games the past 3 weeks, with the other week being a BYE. TYH has pained current owners for three weeks…and prior to that he missed some games with a hamstring. Since Week 5, he’s had one good fantasy game.
Some of the problem was his injury. Some of it schedule – faced Ramsey and Tre’Davious White in recent games. It’s not easy ahead either -- TEN, Xavien Howard, Ramsey (again) the next 3 weeks.
I buy Hilton if I know I’m heading to the playoffs (His Weeks 14-16 are strong), and outside of that – he’s the #1 WR on a high-functioning passing game. He’s bound to start spitting out 100+ yard games and TDs.
I only buy if I get an WR2 deal. Schedule ahead is choppy. I’m looking for a deal.
-- Eric Ebron (3-69-2/3) is having one of those magical years…he’s playing lower snap counts and not seeing a ton of targets with Jack Doyle back, but he’s scoring TDs like crazy. 11 TDs this season off 41 touches, and two of them ‘carries’ at the goal line on a jet sweep (for 2 TDs).
Ride it as long as you can! He’s not breaking out…he’s just having a great moment/season of TDs. Ebron played just 38% of the snaps this game. Two less snaps than Mo Alie-Cox.
Jack Doyle (3-36-0/3)…FF dud game…you’re mad…I’ve been pushing him…don’t give up yet. He played 88% of the snaps in this game. Stayed in to block a bit more this game. He’s the #1 TE on a high-volume/high-functioning team – Ebron won’t score every TD…or will he? In desperate TE times…Doyle is still viable for Top 10 TE breakout in PPR.
-- James O’Shaughnessy (5-46-0/6) is the de facto starter for the Jags at TE. 3.7 rec. (5.3 targets), 34.0 yards, 0.0 TDs per game his last three games as ‘starter’.
Nothing special…a capable TE on a bad passing game, but he does get work. Just not a lot of yards or TDs.
-- I like the Colts-DST’s matchups ahead…Mariota-Osweiler-Bortles-Watson-Dak-Eli/Lauletta. Several useful games there, but that’s all this is now…’useful’. The Colts emergence from earlier in the season…it is fading. Something has been figured out. The sacks are drying up. 25 or more points allowed in five of their last 6 games. The only time not 25+ – a game with the Bills.
Don’t make a big plan for them. Even the schedule that looked strong weeks ago is weakening. Mariota has started to perk up. Fournette is back for the Jags. They are a ‘if everything else good is gone’ play.
-- The Jags-DST is more interesting. They are starting to get dropped in leagues after this mess, following several messes, and with the Steelers Week 11.
Here’s the thing: Jags Week 12 vs. BUF.
Pairing them with Seattle ahead:
Week 11: a problem to figure out
Week 12: JAX v BUF
Week 13: SEA v SF
Week 14: JAX v TEN
Week 15: SEA v. SF
Week 16: JAX v. MIA
The Jags-DST is in a precarious position…they’re about to fall out of the race and possibly implode more, BUT they have the talent to turn it on at DST and be FF-good/great.
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
Everything looks OK Weeks 14-16 for these two teams. The real issue is whether both, just on, or neither of these teams will care come Weeks 14-16. The Jags are on very shaky ground for that – disappointing all year and then possibly dead later…a real reason to mail it in.
Snap Counts of Interest:
49 = Doyle
23 = Alie-Cox
21 = Ebron
43 = Hilton
29 = Grant
19 = Inman
16 = Rogers
15 = Pascal
34 = Mack
20 = Hines
05 = Wilkins
61 = Moncrief
60 = Westbrook
44 = Chark
22 = Cole
08 = Greene
50 = Margus Hunt
25 = Leon Jacobs
15 = Matthew Adams
04 = Ronnie Harrison