*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I have a lot to share here concerning players on these two teams, so I’m not going to chew up a bunch of time with the lead in. This recap has the potential to be stunning, fantasy-important, and changes your view on players/lineup setting this week/ahead. Buckle up.
Denver was up 7-3 at the half. Eventually led 21-3. Cincy kept pushing but just couldn’t catch a break. Denver gets a tough road win despite losing Chris Harris, arguably a top 3 CB in the NFL, in the process.
Denver jumps to 6-6 on the season with three winnable games ahead (SF, CLE, OAK) before a Week 17 finish with LAC. The loss of Chris Harris is a true killer and I think the Broncos are due to slip up, this week or next, and they’ll finish 8-8 if LAC needs Week 17…and 9-7 if facing Geno Smith/LAC Week 17. Denver is in the thick of the playoff hunt, but I think they will regret losing to Baltimore back in Week 3…they could both end up 9-7 and Denver get bounced on the head-to-head loss.
Cincy (5-7) losing stings their case against Denver if they somehow both get to 9-7. Likely…Cincy won’t win out but rather fall to 6-10/7-9. I need SEVEN wins to pay off some over/under win total preseason bets on the Bengals. I see six wins; not sure I can get seven unless the Steelers go Josh Dobbs Week 17.
Fantasy Player Notes:
OK, get ready. I’m about to drop some bombs…and I’m going to save the biggest bombs for the middle section. Going to start with some minor bombs first…
-- If you watched all of Courtland Sutton’s (4-85-1/7) catches in this game, all four of them, you would see of what I’ve been speaking… He’s not good…he’s not a future star – he’s a future superstar. He’s so damn good. The best WR I’ve scouted coming out of college, probably ever.
Of course, I was dropping him last week after a long holding period because he wasn’t getting good targets or output. He was doing WR4 work in a WR1’s body. Then, as my luck would have it…he has his best game of 2018 here, and then Emmanuel Sanders goes down Wednesday and we’re scrambling to get him back. Had him held in dynasty but was quitting him in some redrafts. I’m back in.
I’m back in and I’m re-energized because Sutton is damn good…and now sucky Keenum has to throw him the ball, a lot…a la 2017 Adam Thielen-Case Keenum 2017…a la Emmanuel Sanders-Case Keenum 2018. Only, Sutton is better than Sanders…or Thielen. Yeah, I said it. You know how much I love Thielen…and was the original pusher of him years ago, before he even became a starter.
I expect Sutton to see 10+ targets a game in must-win games ahead for Denver. He is the only hope in the passing game and Keenum’s sucktatude works here because he’ll just fling it to Sutton…and when you fling passes to Sutton, he does his best work because he’s a blue-chip NFL WR that makes plays. All season, it’s been crappy timing/slant passes and occasional alley-oops. Now…it will be everything. I’m delirious with the Sanders-gone possibilities for Sutton.
DaeSean Hamilton (0-0-0/0) is a nice prospect but he’s been a ghost all year for Keenum, as Sutton has been a half-a-ghost. Without Sanders around, Sutton goes from 5-7 targets in games to 10+ and Hamilton goes from 0-1 targets to 3-4. It’s not DaeSean’s time…and Keenum is the absolute wrong QB to make Hamilton a star.
-- Why did I quit early on Phillip Lindsay (19-157-2, 1-20-0/1)?
I am kicking myself over this. I had him ahead of most everyone back into the summer…and when he spiked out to great games early, I figured there was no way he’d maintain because Royce Freeman is better built for that role and is a fantastic runner in his own right, but God love Lindsay…the guy just keeps hitting homeruns ever week.
We’ve moved past ‘this can’t keep up’ and ‘lucky’ and ‘great O-Line’. It was just that Lindsay is a great, huge-hearted, physically gifted RB all along. He’s not David Johnson-looking…but I can tell who I wish I drafted 1.01 in redrafts right about now between them…
I’ve admitted my error here for a few weeks…selling too early/high in redraft (and probably even worse I got Chris Thompson in exchange…right before his rib-fest). The more I watch him the more I marvel at the skill and desire. It’s too much production to be ‘fortuitous’. I could kick myself. It happens. I get a lot more of these values/timing of trades right than wrong…but boy does this one sting because I had it before most/all…and thus you did…and then I had all of us drink my purple Kool Aid to sell Lindsay hot – and it wasn’t sweet grape flavor it was cyanide. Damn it.
-- OK, you already knew my Sutton love since Feb 2018. You may have known my early Lindsay summer love and then subsequent sell high error admitted over the past few weeks. You, however, are not ready for this one…
I would argue Jeff Driskel (25-37 for 236 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) played about one-step shy of a great game here…I don’t mean a capable-for-a-backup effort…or ‘surprisingly good’ -- I mean, I was dumbfounded and sitting up in my seat in disbelief in what I was seeing.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I know QB scouting better than anyone on the planet. I’m not bragging, per se…I have a record and it’s all on record. You’ve been with me and you’ve seen it. I’ve been blessed with an eye like none other for QBs. I can tell you 500+ other things I totally suck at in life…but I am the single greatest QB scout on the planet. My burden to bear.
With that lead-in, I say…when my attention is got…when the scouting Spidey senses speaks to me…I’m have to pay attention because it’s rare and usually dead on. I never expected to see ‘it’ with Jeff Driskel. I just previewed a bunch of 2019 QB Draft prospects this week…and not a stirring in my spirit at all. Nothing but disappointment. Jeff Driskel might be the #1 QB in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Driskel has one fatal flaw that I’ll get to, and I need to see more NFL work to get really excited, but first the positives here…
What a technically great performance. Excellent mechanics. Most passes on the money. Great arm velocity. Terrific decisions on most throws – and a reading of the field and finding the right option and taking it. I could not believe what I was seeing.
When he filled in for Andy Dalton getting hurt the prior game against Cleveland – he threw the ball all over on the Browns and almost got his team back in the game after a huge deficit to begin with. I wrote that off to prevent defenses, some good throws, but some forced throws into coverage that paid off. After watching this game back…Driskel’s forced throws are more towards the right throw that only he can make/he’s confident he can make…that other QBs can’t/won’t.
For a young, journeyman QB…this was a stunning performance – and, really, it’s like 1.5 terrific game performances since he was forced into the lineup.
Also, consider…he’s a 4.5+ runner. He can really move when he wants/needs. He can beat you with his feet and, apparently, his arm. I thought Driskel was ‘OK’ coming out of college but likely to fail because he throws into trouble too much. He did that here in this game in a few spots, and his game prior…but the more I watch, I see that he pushes it when he has to -- when the team is way down…when plays need to be made. And you know what, in 2018…he’s coming through with the throws – and most of the tight window throws are on the money. Driskel had 3-4 crucial drops in this game – passes he hit the guy wide open with a bullet and they dropped it.
There was a series in this game before the half where Cincy had 1st & goal and Driskel had three shots at the end zone with 0:30 left before intermission – he went 0-fer-3 and they settled for an FG, but the thing was…Driskel played so smart, and didn’t make risky throws near the goal line, he was wanting to hit pay dirt – he threw the ball away, smartly…threw it away in the sense of not that he was scared but he saw his options weren’t there and he had the presence of mind to gun it away out of reach.
Driskel’s lone INT in this game…probably would have been a TD pass and made the game in-reach for Cincy, but it was not to be. A great play call, misdirection pass play, but as Driskel turned back from his rollout to throw the other direction, he had a defender bearing down on him from terrible blocking. Driskel tried to make the throw while getting approached and it sailed long into a safety’s hands for a pick. He should’ve eaten the sack but the play was there he just couldn’t get his feet settled and tried to arm talent it – it didn’t work. It really wasn’t that bad.
What to do with this sudden ‘wow’…
1) Driskel still forces things, trying to make plays, and he will turn the ball over. LAC is likely to get a pick or two this week. However, be sure not to look at Week 14 as sad Driskel against the scary Chargers’ defense. You’ll get a pick or two and some sacks, but he won’t get shutout…and he might shock everyone.
2) Driskel may struggle some with LAC, but he’s ripe to torch Oakland the next week.
3) I’d argue Driskel works better with Tyler Boyd (6-97-0/8) than Dalton did…and Dalton did him great this year. Stock UP on Boyd…not any real Driskel-fear.
4) Driskel is going onto my dynasty stash, and I’m sure Marvin and Hue are too stupid to notice…but I might argue I just watched the Bengals best QB for 2019. If Sean McVay got his hands on Driskel, he might make him a star. In Marvin’s hands…they’ll probably cut him this offseason.
-- OK, ready for more bombs?
Did you know Joe Mixon (12-82-0, 2-13-0/2) is not performing as well as you think? Like…scary-weak, in certain situations.
Did you know he only has one 100+ yard rushing game this season?
Did you know he has 14 or fewer carries in a game in four straight games and in six of his last 7 games? I thought Mixon was being used like a boss…but he has not been. Not at all. He’s actually an RB2 falling towards RB3 most weeks since his knee injury.
Check out these splits in 2018 for Mixon…
In games they ‘win’: 20.3 carries, 98.8 yards rushing, 3.0 rec, 23.5 rec. yards, 1.0 TDs per game (18.0 FF PPG/21.0 PPR). *No game with less than 17 carries.
In games they ‘lose’: 12.2 carries, 60.0 yards rushing, 3.7 rec., 27.0 rec. yards, 0.33 TDs per game (10.7 FF PPG/14.5 PPR). *No game with more than 14 carries…all 11-14 carries.
Do you think Cincy will lose to the Chargers this week?
I think Mixon looks terrific on tape this season…they just aren’t getting him the ball. When they get down…Gio Bernard 5-14-0, 6-32-0/8) gets injected in to take touches.
Gio has 4 or more catches in a game in five of his 7 games this season (71%).
Mixon has had 4 or more catches in a game in three of his 10 games this season (30%).
They really don’t make Mixon an all-in priority – that’s the problem.
-- I don’t like the Denver-DST without Chris Harris. They might get by SF this week, but Weeks 15-16 with CLE-OAK – I don’t love it. Derek Carr has turned things around a bit. Chris Harris was the rocket fuel that made this defense hum.
I’m down on the Denver-DST against SF, but think they can be used…and then off them vs. CLE and OAK. I’d play vs. OAK but not a top choice…unless Geno Smith is starting, then I’d change direction again.
Snap Counts of Interest:
39 = Mixon
28 = Gio
47 = Hamilton
41 = Sutton
40 = Sanders
25 = Lindsay
21 = Freeman
13 = Booker