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2018 Week 13 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Cardinals v. Packers

Date:
December 3, 2018 11:38 PM
December 4, 2018 9:16 AM

*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)

If I asked you whether or not you think the NFL purposefully had their heads in the sand on any Kareem Hunt investigation – you would assume “Yes”…even if you had not read or heard the details of what they did (or didn’t) do.

Why would you assume “Yes, they probably tried to manipulate it” is because you are a normal human being with reasonable intelligence and your experience in life would tell you that they would cover things up to serve their own best interest.

You know this because you ‘know’ what big businesses do…they are interested in protecting themselves and promoting themselves. You also know this because as we clutch our pearls and throw rocks at the NFL’s glass house, as we overlook that we ‘shine on’ people all the time to help protect and promote ourselves too. We talk differently, share (or withhold) info differently to our bosses…or to teachers during our school career…or to our spouses/significant others…or to our parents…our with own kids – all of these don’t need to know EVERYTHING. My first date self, back in the day, was a lot different than my regular self. We do it to protect and/or promote ourselves and our relationships and/or our standing. We’re all guilty of it.

Why am I starting the Arizona-Green Bay with deep, philosophical Kareem Hunt talk? I’ll get there. I have a point here that’s central to some ARI-GB activity, I think. I hope. I am veering off into the weeds though. It happens.

Bottom line…not everyone’s actions/words/motivations are ‘pure’. Including our own. We all have biases even if pure/not malicious.

Why I go down this road is…Mike McCarthy was unceremoniously fired 13 weeks into the 2018 season. We all thought he should go, but we didn’t see it playing out this way. The firing was fodder for much discussion in the NFL circles Sunday/Monday.

I saw a couple reactions from NFL people, Troy Aikman being one, who are aghast that such a thing could happen…that Mike McCarthy should have been treated better. Nobody that I speak to/is in my inner circle cares that McCarthy was fired like this. My crew is heartless on this because our loyalty lies with fantasy and betting…we wanted McCarthy out. Then Troy Aikman, and others of his NFL analyst ilk, tried to come along from their lofty perch and make us feel bad with his tisk-tisk disdain for the way things went down for McCarthy.

Why?

When I’m perplexed by people’s reactions, I go back to the basics…what’s the real motivation here?

You know why you don’t care about the McCarthy firing (the timing, way it happened) and why most pundits don’t care, but Troy Aikman ‘cares’ a lot? It’s because Troy Aikman feeds at the table of head coaches/coaches in general.

I’ve listened to Troy Aikman for however many years since I’ve become a studier of such things – and I judge him to be pretty terrible at his job. He should not be this ill/under-informed after all this time. His ‘analysis’ has become what you will hear on NFL Network all pregame of any game day – I talked to ___ (coach) and they said ___ (whatever). NFL analysts somehow think their access to talking to the coaches gives them some special insight on things. It doesn’t. It’s a crutch. It’s lame. “I talked to ___ and they said they need to do better running the ball,” is not news or insight. I can’t tell you how many times Troy Aikman has boasted before kickoff “excited to see ____ (usually a QB) play (in the game he’s covering) for the first time” and he follows that with telling us what the coaching staff told him about the player.

You know what, Troy? Why don’t you get off your ass and YouTube some of these players from their college play and tell us something you’ve learned. Give us some real insight. It’s real easy to find player tape and info these days. I do it all day long. It took me 10 years of study to keep getting better. And I’ll be better next year, and the year after that…everyday studying and watching everything. Troy doesn’t do that (despite being paid seven figures to know such things in-depth). He doesn’t have the time, I guess -- likely cuts into his golf game or whatever other passion he has (because it’s obviously not studying football). So, when the Troy Aikman’s or other mainstream analysts (that are essentially high-paid lapdogs of the NFL) take to the TV and get self-righteous about this McCarthy firing – I’m not buying it. Troy knows he’ll need to talk to McCarthy next year as Jets head coach to get some of his useless/he thinks is impressive to you ‘inside info’….like “I talked to Coach McCarthy, and he told me they want to start out quickly in this game.” Troy doesn’t care about Mike McCarthy – he’s protecting himself/his contacts or sources. He’s a salesman. He thinks the fact he talked to a head coach makes him a great football personality. His bloviating statement about how terrible Green Bay did McCarthy looked real good/caring to McCarthy and all the other coaches who are outraged by this. He was selling them…for his own perceived benefit.

I’m not against anyone being outraged at this McCarthy move…but in the TV analyst business, I know it’s because they are shining us on to make a public statement that’s pro-coach because it helps them for their job. I’m OK that Troy’s self-serving, just don’t sell it to me that you’re righteously indignant. Instead of lecturing us and Green Bay management about Mike McCarthy, why don’t you go watch more Sam Darnold tape and keep telling me how great he is…and how, ‘you love his game’.

I had to get that off my chest.

Hey, I’m not better than Troy Aikman as a human. I’m just critiquing his ‘concern’ from his throne. I’m an awful football human being too, no better or no more self-serving than Troy Aikman. Kareem Hunt was involved in a horrific act…and as soon as I found out Friday, I was contacting everyone close to me to go get Spencer Ware in fantasy. In my frenzy of texting and posting it on the FFM App alert (make sure you have, and notifications set up), someone asked me, “Why…what happened?” I really didn’t know at that point. I just knew Hunt + TMZ + headline of hitting a female = go get Spencer Ware and ask more questions later. That’s my job. Aikman’s job is to kiss the ass of NFL coaches. It’s good for his business. My business is winning in fantasy.

I don’t care that Mike McCarthy got fired abruptly. I’ve been wanting it to happen for years. I think he’s a terrible coach that has ruined Green Bay’s chances at multiple Super Bowls with terrible, restrictive coaching…the wrong coach possessing the greatest QB talent of the last decade. The way I see it…this was long overdue, and if it was going to happen in a few weeks – it might as well happen now. Everyone can get on with their lives. They actually did McCarthy A HUGE favor…because he can start working on deals to coach somewhere next year. I’m sure that’s part of why they did it now. What’s portrayed as ‘terrible’ by Troy Aikman is actually the greatest thing they could’ve done for McCarthy’s future.

It’s not like Green Bay has a better plan. Joe Philbin? Are you kidding me? They ditched McCarthy to avoid all the ‘firing’ talk and fights between he and Rodgers that would have took place for a month – now, the team can move on and so can McCarthy.

O-C Joe Philbin isn’t changing anything or helping anything. In fact, if you look at everything through the lens that everyone has secret agendas…then Philbin should be kissing Aaron Rodgers’s ass for the next 4 weeks in hopes to get the job or stay on staff or get a good recommendation for his next gig. This offense will now go the way Rodgers wants…and we’ll get into what that means in the player sections below.

I’m shocked that D-C Mike Pettine was not elevated to head coach, but I think that’s a sign everyone will get swept away in January 2019. I think it is also a sign that Packers management is a potential disaster and the new people promoted up in management are worse at football judgments and business sense than what’s happened over the last decade of decline/wasted time. These new managers are the people that traded for DeShone Kizer on purpose. They’ve been around Pettine for months…if they didn’t do this McCarthy move to promote him to interim to eventually give it over to him…then I don’t trust their judgement, which has been bad judgement all year (for years).

It could be Rodgers doesn’t like Pettine…and that’s that. But this new management group hired a new O-C this offseason and dumped his QB Coach/friend without consulting Rodgers prior. It was an issue this summer. Rodgers still got and took/signed a big contract anyway. New GB management may not really care what Rodgers thinks, per se. Shut up and play!

Over to the game…

Arizona is the worst coached team in the NFL. It’s not even close. Many are talking about Steve Wilks being ‘one and done’/fired at season end. So, when that coach/team comes into Green Bay, in a must-win for the Pack, and beats them…outplays them…at home. People should be fired.

Who would have looked at the schedule this summer and thought…”Hmmm…Arizona with a rookie QB goes to Aaron Rodgers/Green Bay in December – easy win for Arizona!”  

Green Bay falls to 4-7-1 and probably ends up 6-9-1.

Arizona blows their chances at getting the #1 overall draft pick with the win. They’ll finish 4-12/3-13.

Fantasy Player Notes…

-- What happens to Aaron Rodgers (31-50 for 233 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) from here? For fantasy…and for his weapons? With McCarthy gone.

What if well-paid Aaron Rodgers, who has won a Super Bowl, who will be 36 years old late next season, who has been hurt a bunch the past few years, who is already going to the Hall of Fame, has a celebrity/well-paid, successful girlfriend (Danica Patrick) – what if his mind has already turned to post-football life? What if we’ve seen peak Rodgers and we’re only going downhill from here? He’s likely on his last contract…and I think he’ll leave early from the NFL versus dragging it out and playing for three other teams in humiliation to end his career.

We might have 2-3 more years with Rodgers…and they may not get a whole lot better, for fantasy, than this.

This season is lost, so I suspect Rodgers would just like it to end with him in one piece. He has a bad O-Line and out-of-sync receivers. Part of his out-of-sync with receivers (with everyone not-Adams) is him throwing the ball quicker to get it out of his hands…why risk himself in a lost season (see: Eli Manning)? He keeps throwing to Devante Adams because he has trust and hope he’ll come down with it – everything else is trouble to throw to.

I don’t think we’ll see more passing the next few weeks or innovative offense, I think we’ll see less…and GB should bench Rodgers for the final month just to keep him alive for 2019. What are they trying to win for and risk a Rodgers ACL, etc.? It’s possible Rodgers won’t play Weeks 16-17…maybe sits more than that. NFL teams aren’t that smart, but maybe this new GB group will do such a thing.

If Rodgers is playing, he’ll want his favorite weapons to work with. That’s why I think Jake Kumerow might get more of a chance next week. If he doesn’t, then that dalliance is over/takes a serious hit. Rodgers would want Adams-Cobb-Kumerow over MVS or ESB, right now…I speculate. Rodgers will want the running game to go hard…just to take the ball out of his hands and get this season over with.

I’ve looked at the Packers’ future as ‘Get me their WRs and TE for fantasy’ because of Rodgers. The more I think about it – the more I think I might need to change my thinking going forward…that it’s time to depart Rodgers and not overvalue any of his new weapons. Specifically, not to get too jacked up about Kumerow or St. Brown.

I’ve preferred Equanimeous St. Brown over Dante Pettis for dynasty stash because of an Aaron Rodgers tiebreaker…things are usually better with Aaron. That may not be the case ahead. Sad Nick Mullens gets the ball to Pettis better than Rodgers does to St. Brown.

When you see my dynasty stash ranking changes/downgrades to GB weapons this week…this is why. I want off of Rodgers-related things, or more so -- I don’t want to overrate them because of Rodgers.

-- Speaking of terrible things… David Johnson (20-69-0, 1-3-0/2). I’m not going to complain much more about the things everyone knows/complains about already. The play calling and the low targets. It is what it is. They tell us who they are by doing the same thing every week. DJ is an RB2-3 with this coaching group, and not an RB1-2. You only hope DJ falls in for a TD to make the fantasy week worth it…I could say that about a hundred other RBs.

Remember when Todd Gurley was terrible in 2016 with Jeff Fisher? Yet, it was ‘Gurley’…so you kept putting him into the lineup…hoping? Don’t get caught doing that with DJ and ramming your head against the wall. Jeff Wilson, Justin Jackson, LeGarrette Blount are all in discussions as the better plays than DJ this week and every week the ROS.

Johnson is about to turn 27. He’s an old, young RB. If Steve Wilks is back next season, in dynasty, I’d sell all my DJ stock…and that’s painful to think about – but I’m a football profiteer, I don’t have time to be sentimental. The problem is DJ’s value is falling to the point where he’s a ‘buy low’ more than a ‘sell high’. There’s no one ‘high’ enough to buy this. If Wilks is back for 2019, I’m a DJ seller for a good price.

Chase Edmonds (5-53-2, 2-13-0/2) getting 2 TDs was not a fluke. Teams stack DJ…and Wilks/Leftwich oblige by running him right into it. Defenses don’t stack Edmonds, so it makes the offense go a bit better. We’ll likely see more Edmonds…further wasting DJ away.

-- Arizona LB Gerald Hodges (13 tackles) started at ILB and had another 10+ tackle game. I was hoping Dennis Gardeck would get some snaps but then the more I thought about it – Steve Wilks is fighting for his job. He needs wins not future development right now. He’ll go with anything that works. No sense risking Gardeck/a rookie in there now. Also, it’s another reason Wilks may shift more from DJ…DJ’s not working because of the opposing stack (and Wilks being too stupid to figure out how to put him in space). If they can win better without DJ, in an odd twist…less DJ coming right up…more Edmonds.

-- Christian Kirk (3-54-0/8) went on I.R., so this offense is now even worse. Kirk is a superstar for fantasy in the future. I won’t buy in as hard if Steve Wilks is back in 2019…because Kirk won’t ‘happen’ until 2020. Kirk is a nice buy low for dynasty…hoping a coaching change happens.

No-Kirk means more targets for Larry Fitz (a lot of them into double coverage) and maybe we see Chad Williams (DNP) step up here if he's cleared to play...but that's a WR4 projection on this offense.

Snap Counts of Interest:

54 = Graham

12 = Kendricks

09 = Tonyan

72 = Adams

64 = Valdes-Scantling

61= Cobb

15 = St. Brown

05 = Kumerow

52 = DJ

13 = Edmonds

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

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