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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I needed this one. Normally, no one would care about Oakland at Cincinnati Week 15 of 2018…but I cared, a lot.
The only one of my big three ‘over’ win total bets from the summer of 2018 not to come in so far, is bet #2 of the top 3…Cincy ‘over’ 6.5 wins. They sit at 6 wins with two games to go. They go at Cleveland and at Pittsburgh the next two weeks. There’s an outside chance the Steelers won’t need Week 17 and I might catch a break/ray of hope. I think Baker Mayfield is providing a spark this week to motivate Cincy…I hope. In general, it’s not looking good. I typically lead a charmed life on my over/under…so, I bet Cincy pulls a miracle win somewhere…at least that’s what I tell myself.
As for the game itself… Oakland has been playing better, and Cincy not, of late. So, I was worried this was a pretty good chance Cincy would go down the tubes. Oakland played OK enough, it’s just that Cincy played better – among two not-so-great teams, the Bengals seized the lead and anytime the Raiders made a push the Bengals pushed back. Cincy with a pretty solid win here.
The Bengals have been playing much better lately, during the Jeff Driskel era. They won this game. They were totally robbed of defeating the Chargers the week before by the refs…totally screwed. And they didn’t play poorly versus the Broncos in a Week 13 loss. There’s hope with the Bengals right now to find one more win…they’re not ‘Cardinals’ bad.
Oakland…what can you say? Playing better coming into this game but lost their two starting guards on top of everything else going into this game. Also factoring in – Jon Gruden wants to lose to get the #1 pick. That always helps a team lose a game like this. I have a feeling Oakland wins Week 16 (at home MNF) and gets to 4 wins and lets Arizona sneak in for the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Speaking of Jeff Driskel (14-33 for 130 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 7-32-0)…I’ve been a fan for weeks. Curious to study and see if he’s just ‘backup good’ or pushing to a higher level as a fringe starter in the pros. From the live watch, I just remember seeing hit and miss moments and then a poor stat line and just assuming he is who he has been – OK, not great. He looked very capable, but still too subdued/boxed in by a ‘safe’ offense.
On the re-watch, however, it was much better for Driskel. He had 1 TD pass for the game…he was sniffing 4-5 others, seriously. This very much should’ve been a 3-4 TD pass game. He over threw a 20+ yard TD. He had a wide-open goal line TD pass, but the throw got tipped last second by a leaping D-End. A WR slipped on a route and lost the timing on a 15+ yard TD.
I thought Driskel was under wraps by the game plan, but the re-watch showed he took his shots, a decent amount of them…just bad luck happened on most of them. I was more encouraged by this performance on the re-watch.
It also made me think that Oakland’s secondary is still wobbly…and might it be ripe for sad sack Case Keenum and related weapons to put up numbers in a meaningless game on MNF?
-- Tyler Boyd (3-38-1/5) got hurt in this game…and that didn’t help Driskel either. With Boyd out Week 16…is there a fantasy winner remaining as Driskel’s ‘top guy’? Not really…
You think John Ross (1-6-0/5) is next in the pecking order but Driskel + Ross = a mess since Driskel took over. Ross has been a disappointment again this year. Great athlete…terrible WR technician. Ross is always hope for a lucky lightning strike long TD…that’s never happened once this season.
I think Driskel has a better relationship with Cody Core (1-10-0/4). I’ve seen it look decent for weeks and they would’ve have worked together a lot as backups…and Core has some talent.
Driskel makes use of C.J. Uzomah (1-27-0/5)…4.7 targets per game the last 3 games. 12 targets in Week 12 when Driskel came in for Dalton and threw a bunch second half of a blowout. He has some relationship with Uzomah showing since Driskel took over.
Nothing sticks out obvious for Week 16 among his weapons. I think Driskel is not reliant on any one options but more reads the field…so, he’ll take what’s there. I think Core is a sleeper but too hard to bet on that hunch.
Darren Waller (1-44-0/1, 1-21-0) is claimed off the Ravens practice squad…that’s amazing enough but then he gets into his first game/touch as a Raider – and it’s a TE jet sweet…and Waller goes for 21 yards rushing? He later has a catch and run for 44 yards, falling an inch short of a TD.
I’ve been holding out for Waller for too long…a physical specimen WR prospect, 6’6” with 4.4+ speed, turned TE weapon…but could not stay healthy or un-suspended by the league.
Waller’s track record says – none of this matters, and he’ll be a problem again ahead.
-- Doug Martin (9-39-0, 0-0-0/1) is fading fast. A TD in each of his prior 3 games was keeping him propped up, but that masked flimsy rushing totals and almost complete ignoring for any targets.
He’s an RB3 you hope finds the end zone…a weak RB3. Very little upside.
-- Jordy Nelson’s (6-88-0/8) last three weeks…
7.3 rec. (8.7 targets), 77.7 yards, 0.0 TDs per game.
Solid WR2 work…WR1 targeting/catches but no TDs.
-- So glad to see Daniel Carlson (3/3 FGs, 1/1 XP) get treated like the nice kicking prospect he is – after getting jerked around by awful-with-humans Mike Zimmer.
Carlson is a really good kicking prospect and a stellar human being. The best thing that ever happened to him was getting moved away from Zimmer. Carlson went 1-for-2 on FGs his first game with Oakland and is 12-for-12 since with a couple of 50+ yarders.
Have I ever mentioned how much I despise Mike Zimmer? I hope the Vikings don’t make the playoffs and it ruins his Christmas and New Years – he deserves it for the way he treats people…mostly the Vikings fans.
That’s not very Christianly of me, but…sorry…
Just you know how the sight of some people just aggravate you…like you hate their face. You just wanna smack the taste out of their mouths? I want to do so on behalf of Jerick McKinnon, Cordarrelle Patterson, all the kickers and O-C’s he’s had, among others.
-- Week 16 Outlook…
Raiders host Denver…with Chris Harris out and Denver cooked from the playoffs, it should be a reasonable backdrop to work against for suddenly immune to turnovers Derek Carr. Jordy should be good as well.
Cincy goes to Cleveland where the Browns defense has been playing well…not a great set up for Driskel minus AJG and Boyd.
Snap Counts of Interest:
73 = Ross
51 = Core
39 = Boyd
36 = Erickson
30 = Richard
27 = Martin
02 = Dw Washington
52 = J Cook
09 = Waller