*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Saints jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their first drive. The Bengals answered to make it 7-7…a 1st-quarter stalemate. New Orleans then scored 28 points in the 2nd quarter…and led 51-7 at one point while Teddy Bridgewater was handing off to Dwayne Washington throughout the 4th quarter. The Bengals playing so poorly on defense here (and all season) that the D-C was fired the next day.
I’m sure the Bengals-D will be all fixed…they brought in Hue Jackson to help fix it. Seriously?
The Saints are now 8-1 and seem unstoppable. It’s not out of the question that they run the table from here, but likely they have 1-2 letdowns and finish 14-2, trying to keep even (or better) with the Rams to hold that #1 playoff seed edge.
The Bengals are a terrible ‘winning record’ team. They are 5-4 and fading fast. Terrible defense. Awful coaching. No A.J. Green. It’s all bad. 7-9/8-8 finish. I just need them to get that 6th and 7th wins to pay off all my ‘over’ bets on their win totals from this summer. I thought 7 wins was in the bag a few weeks ago, but now I’m getting nervous. Thankfully, Oakland at home is still on the schedule. Two games with Cleveland, now, make me nervous…but with Hue’s great insight, how could that not help (guaranteed Bengals lose to them twice)?
I thought the Bengals had the framework of a great 2018 defense…and it has been the total opposite. Arguably, the worst defense in the NFL. All the linebackers are hurt, and the D-Line has disappeared.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I want to discuss two WR3 names, one from each team…the one who people love, I don’t…and the one everyone shrugs their shoulders at – I’m re-entering my enthusiasm…and have a point to make on why you should too.
Who I don’t like…
Tre’Quan Smith (0-0-0/0). Everyone was so sure he was ‘a thing’ and I tried to warn you there were no signs of anything emerging. He’s had every advantage and hasn’t capitalized. He had that 3-111-2 game in Week 5 and people lost their ever-loving-Devery Henderson minds.
Since that game: 2.0 rec., 21.3 yards, 0.25 TDs per game.
Also, since that big game…Dez Bryant signed, and then Brandon Marshall signed. I guess Tre’Quan wasn’t the answer…not yet.
Making matters worse…Smith led all WRs in this game with 50 snaps played. The Saints scored 51 points in an offensive carnival. Tre’Quan got exactly 0 targets in this explosion.
The Saints promoted rookie UDFA Keith Kirkwood (2-45-0/2) for this game and he caught 2 passes from Brees, and looks like he might be ahead of Smith soon.
I hope you sold this Tre’Quan stock ‘high’ weeks ago.
I don’t think Smith is a bust, but he is not ready to be a productive WR2 on the Saints…and Brees doesn’t seem to think so either.
The WR who I am starting to get back into, for fantasy, is John Ross (2-39-0/6). A wide receiver who has a lot of question marks on his WR skills…BUT…you can’t ignore his speed. Tre’Quan Smith is fast too, like a thousand other WRs…John Ross has ‘other worldly’ speed. That matters for fantasy.
The speed was evident in this game…Ross’s TD catch was a short route, but he was so much faster than coverage he forced himself open for the score. Here’s the thing though – Dalton took two other bomb shots to Ross. He was open on each and Dalton couldn’t deliver. Ross was tracking two 30+ yard TD plays that didn’t connect.
Ross is not like Tre’Quan Smith…not a guy who is starting, so he’s ‘there’/present and might stumble into targets. No, Ross has one function – be a weapon. A weapon on a team that cannot stop anyone on defense so they’re likely to be drawn into shootouts. The Bengals have scored 30+ in a game four times this season.
The Bengals likely to be in garbage time often…or shootouts. A.J. Green out. Ross is the feast or famine option who might get you a 30+ yard TD every other week…maybe gets on a 2-3-4 game string of them. He can get them via bombs or bubble screens.
You could either play your sensible Willie Snead’s or Danny Amendola’s and get 5-6 catches for 50 yards and no TDs. OR you play Ross and might get 3-22-0…or 3-88-1 or 3-117-1. Ross can be a difference maker in weeks ahead…or just so-so games. You might have matchups ahead where you need the ‘difference maker’.
The downside of Ross…injury-prone. He tweaked his groin last week and has been semi-questionable this week.
-- If Andy Dalton (12-20 for 153 yards, 1 TD/2 INT)…Jeff Driskel (203 for 45 yards, 2-35-1) was in the game early (when it was still a game) taking Taysom Hill-type snaps. Bringing our Dalton projections down even further ROS…
-- FYI, Joe Mixon (11-61-0, 2-24-0/2) is Ezekiel Elliott, only better, waiting to happen in the run game…but, in this game, the blowout happened and that was the end of the run game.
Fears about Mixon and the bad Cincy O-Line…Mixon is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season.
In losses, he’s played in, mostly in blowouts, Mixon is averaging 58.3 yards rushing and 0.33 rushing TDs per game.
In wins, he’s played in, Mixon is averaging 98.8 yards rushing and 0.75 rushing TDs per game.
-- YES!! I got to watch Dwayne Washington (11-47-0) take 11 carries in a football game! Wait…what? It was in the 4th quarter of a 51-7 blowout. Whomp-whomp.
For what it is worth – he looked good. He did pop a 20+ yard run off-tackle…against a defense knowing every play was a run to get the game over with.
Maybe…someday…he gets a shot again? Probably not.
-- Two scouting mistakes I’m reminded of from this game…
1) I thought C.J. Uzomah (3-23-0/4) would project to low-end TE1 levels when Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft went down. He’s done nothing of the sort. No signs of hope right now either.
2) I thought Michael Thomas (8-70-2/8) would never be a #1 WR in the NFL from day-one…that he’d eventually fall to #2 WR for the Saints. The more I was skeptical, the better he became.
I’m human. I miss it sometimes and then don’t change fast enough either. It’s rare…but it happens. Even the best in the world have their errors. People that want to discredit me – use Michael Thomas as an example. It’s a good one. Our CFM grades were so-so and then I mocked his early career breakout. I’ve missed all his action for three years not wanting to get in and have it turn.
…maybe if I endorsed it would be the is of death?
Best WR in football, nay…of my lifetime…Michael Thomas.
-- Cincy DB Shawn Williams (10 tackles)…
Weeks 1-6: 4.3 tackles per game
Weeks 7-10: 10.0 tackles per game
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
Weeks 14-16 @LAC, OAK, @CLE for Cincy. Two colder weather potentials. A gift Week 15 hosting OAK for Boyd, Mixon and AJG (if back).
Saints Weeks 14-16: @TB, @CAR, PIT…nice opportunities at huge offensive displays. The Saints should still be pressing for the #1 seed all the way through.
Swap Counts of Interest:
41 = Boyd
36 = Ross
20 = Core
16 = Erickson
07 = Tate
50 = Tre’Quan
46 = MK Thomas
34 = Kirkwood
29 = Watson
28 = Dan Arnold