*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Ugly game for Carolina…4 interceptions. Just a lazy, sloppy game where Cam Newton looked like what Jameis Winston would be expected to look like in a big spot. With all the turnovers and messy play…the Panthers still had several drives to tie the game in the 4th but never could. This should’ve been about a 40+ to 10+ point Tampa Bay win given all the turnovers and, yet, it was still a close game. The Panthers gave this away as much as Tampa earned it.
The Panthers fall to 6-6, but still have legit playoff hopes. If they can draw even with Seattle or Dallas in this playoff chase – Carolina has beaten both. The schedule is unkind to Carolina the rest of the way, including two games with the Saints. It feels like the Panthers are headed to 8-8 and out of the playoffs, but 9-7 and in as the last wild card is possible.
The team that would have been a strong contender for the playoffs, had they stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick from day one, the Bucs…they are now 5-7 and alive, barely, for the playoffs. The Bucs have no quality wins of other wild card teams and they have to win out in order to have a chance…but NO, @BAL, @DAL, ATL to the finish says they won’t win out. They’ll be lucky to get to 6-10/7-9. What might have been…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Devin Funchess (1-10-1/3) was back, on a limited snap count, and for the second game in a row Curtis Samuel (6-88-0/11, 1-8-0) played 80%+ of the snaps.
Only this time, unlike the prior game, Samuel was the #1 most targeted WR/player on the Panthers this game. It wasn’t game flow, etc. It looked like what a normal, desired target for a QB looked like. It reminded me some of a T.Y. Hilton type look/work. That’s what I’ve been complaining about – get Samuel the ball more and good things will happen…for the NFL and in fantasy. I care about the fantasy part…but we need the NFL part to keep Norv Turner ‘woke’ to Samuel.
Here’s what you may not know about Samuel’s performance in this game…
As per usual, Samuel is Cam’s main red zone look. So, Samuel, as per usual, burned his coverage with a double-move from about 15+ yards out on a particular play, got open flying to the end zone…but Cam double-clutched the throw and it went out late and the ball heading into Samuel’s TD-awaiting arms ended up getting batted away last second. If no double-clutch then Samuel has 100+ yards and a score and is the apple of everyone’s FF-eye.
Oh, then there was the 45-yard TD he was streaking open on and Cam under-threw that…or we might have had a real story on our hands -- a story the masses are waking up to that we’ve all been working for several weeks now. It’s nice to see the future so clearly. I said a month ago that we sit on Samuel awaiting a move to him as a starter to really start juicing some numbers. On cue…ta-da!
What’s it like to be a football prophet? After I write this, I’m going to go cook dinner and swap the dishes in the dishwasher. A prophet is never accepted in his home(town). If the Colts could’ve scored 10 points last week…then, maybe, this prophet stuff could help pay the bills. At least, we have Samuel for redraft and dynasty across the FFM universe, well ahead of so many others.
I’d rank Samuel as a near WR1 this week, but I want to (a) see him play another game with 80%+ of the snaps one more time…making sure all the Panthers coaching firings don’t lead to other weird changes, and (b) I don’t like the thought of Denzel Ward on him this week. I need Ward to chase D.J. Moore (4-44-0/8).
-- You know what, I was sleeping on how nicely Ian Thomas (5-46-0/5) jumped back into the mix off the Greg Olsen finisher/season ending injury. He made a couple really nice catches. He’s still just a TE2 hoping to get a TD to be a TE1. Cam’s pattern of targets is still erratic and usually not great to the TE…Olsen has been junk for two seasons now.
I’m hopeful, because we need it in tight end land…but not ready to jump on board with two feet in redraft Week 14…just one foot…as a back-end TE1 hopeful on a weaker CLE defense on the TE.
I am fan of Thomas, just a Cam skeptic…and we’ve not seen a big push to Thomas when Olsen was out prior.
-- You have to give it up for Jameis Winston (20-30 for 269 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT). After everything that’s happened this season, and coming off a benching on top of it all -- he has jumped back in with 6 TDs/1 INT in his last 2.5 games of play – winning both of his full starts. I tip the cap, which I rarely do.
I’ll move Winston from D-F grade level to C-D for a bit. I fear, and have seen, when the luck turns on him it turns hard and fast and ugly. Saints-Ravens-Cowboys are three of the best 5-7 defenses in the NFL right now…I couldn’t trust JW in that stretch (which means he wins all 3, wins league MVP, and throws 15 TD passes).
-- Winston’s production is bumping the unlikely duo of Adam Humphries (7-61-1/9) and Chris Godwin (5-101-1/6) to WR2 status. I trust Humphries in the tough games ahead because it’s the easy throw. I fear for Godwin in tighter window throws needed.
Also, know Winston’s WR2 powers extends to Mike Evans as well (4-48-0/6). Winston has thrown 12 TD passes this entire season…1 to Mike Evans. And the same 1 TD in their last 13 games together…back to 2017. In that same span, Bobo Wilson has one TD from Winston as well…and Cam Brate has like 132 TDs.
Speaking of Brate – had a TD in his hands, on his knees, in the end zone, but let it slip away. He’s a 50% threat for a TD every game, which is better statistical odds than any non-Kelce-Ertz.
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
I really hate the Tampa Weeks 14-16 schedule. Three tough defenses that can pressure, and Winston gets rattled easy. Humphries and Brate have hope in it. A Winston meltdown could be around the corner.
Carolina has @CLE-NO-ATL in Weeks 14-16…they could find themselves in shootouts trying to win three of their next 4 to get a chance at the playoffs. I like Samuel for sure, and DJM should be OK as well. McCaffrey is bulletproof right now.
Snap Counts of Interest:
40 = Barber
15 = Jacquizz
09 = Ron Jones
66 = DJ Moore
58 = C Samuel
39 = Jar Wright
32 = Funchess
09 = Torrey Sm