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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Weird game all the way around. First, we all lived in fear pregame, rightfully so, on Aaron Rodgers’ leg and how it would affect his play – answer: ‘hardly’. With Rodgers good to play the whole game, at home, you figure the Packers have the edge.
The Packers lead for most of this game…‘comfortably’ in spots. They lead 29-21 with 1:30+ left to play. It seemed all but inevitable the Packers win. Kirk Cousins air mails a bomb on his first play with a 1:30+ and it is easily picked off. Game over. Nope…the worst ‘roughing the passer’ call in history occurs. Game continues…the Vikings get a last second TD, the two-point conversion, into OT, and it ends in a tie with Minnesota missing several field goals along the way, including one as time expired.
This game felt like, live and on re-watch, the Packers were the better team…both good teams, but the Packers a bit better (and at home). It ends in a tie. Both of these teams are 1-0-1 and they’re both lucky they’re not 0-2.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I didn’t have any real ‘shocker’ notes or takeaways from this game study. The thing that impressed me the most:
Adam Thielen (12-131-1/13) has THE connection with Kirk Cousins…the clear #1 WR, and Thielen is one of the five best WR talents in the NFL. Always underrated.
Davante Adams (8-64-1/12) has THE connection and trust of Aaron Rodgers…shoulder injury, Rodgers’ knee, Xavier Rhodes…nope, 8 catches for 64 yards and a score and looked fine.
Both these guys belong in the obvious ‘start ‘em’/WR1 every week. I’d argue Adam Thielen and Davante Adams are probably better fantasy scorers for 2018 than Julio or OBJ.
Adams is always slightly undervalued, Thielen is always undervalued…and Thielen a top 5-7 FF WR who trades more like a #10-15 too often. It’s a big valuation difference.
If you have an Adams-Thielen 1-2 fantasy WR punch, you might not think you have a great WR duo…you absolutely do.
-- I keep seeing Jimmy Graham (6-95-0/8) plays that keep me wringing my hands in 2018 (and 2017, 2016)…like he’s not trying, moving too slow, etc.
I still think he’s lost a lot of zip in his legs, but I swear I started to see the beginnings of the Rodgers-Graham connection here. Rodgers was making ‘bail me out’ throws to Graham and they connected a bunch and just missed a few. A great TD pass happened, but JG was called for pushing off…which he did, which he normally does. 10+ TDs coming…which makes him a top 5 FF TE, and one you should make a play on while the value has dipper, if you need him.
He might be one of the hottest players in FF in a few weeks, but right now the mood is kinda ‘shoulder shrug’/hopeful. Don’t sell short yet.
A Graham uprising could hurt the sneaky 8+ TD season you’d expect from Randall Cobb, but Rodgers has enough to deal for all.
Adams 14 TDs, Graham 11 TDs…if Rodgers throws 35+ TDs this season…10+ more to dole out.
-- Laquon Treadwell (2-23-1/6) had a key drop in this game…deflected off his hands and into the air for a pick, which reminded me of his nonstop career of drops. This drop kinda cost the Vikings the game in a sense (happened at the 2 min. warning).
It made me wonder – is Mike Zimmer going to go blast Treadwell in the media this week and/or cut him for his constant issues? Nope. Gotta protect the 1st-round bust pick.
But the moment the top kicker in the draft missed an FG in the preseason, there was Zimmer undermining the kicker in the game (going for two right after) and ripping him slyly in the press after. The added pressure from the preseason, the tough guy goading by Zimmer – I hold Zim 50% responsible for this non-win because the kicker missed three FGs.
Let me ask you a question? How many more times are kickers going to shank critical FGs for the Vikings under Zimmer before he gets any blame? Or is it all ‘the stupid kicker’s fault’? Fake tough guy football fan…blames the kicker. ‘They have one job’. Anyone among you enjoy your job if your boss is needling how you suck upon your first error and then tells all the co-workers about it as well? BUT doesn’t do it with the other employees? It’s management 101. But Mike Zimmer is too tough for that, and I’m soft. I didn’t play the game, so I don’t get to speak/matter in Zim’s world. That’s fine…lose more games on chip shot FG shanks. Cut more kickers and replace them all year ‘round.
-- A quick note on Dalvin Cook (10-38-0, 3-52-0/5) – hamstring issue, and playing the Bills this week…don’t be surprised if he sits or is very limited in a blowout win expectation. Like active but doesn’t play unless needed.
Latavius Murray is now a nice deep sleeper for Week 3 rental purposes.
-- Two Packers’ IDP to notice…
Rookie CB Jaire Alexander (8 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1.5 TFLs) is playing nice ball, averaging 6.5 tackles per game after two weeks and is playing the majority of the snaps for the Pack. Starting CB Kenny King will miss Week 3 with injury.
Preseason pass rush DE star Reggie Gilbert (1 tackle, 0.5 sacks, 3 QB hits) is playing about 45-50% of the snaps and getting pressures in. IDP DE deep sleeper for 5-8 sacks this year?
Snap Counts of Interest:
47 = J Williams
26 = Ty Montgomery
73 = Tramon Williams
56 = Jaire Alexander
34 = Josh Jackson
26 = Kenny King
50 = Dalvin Cook
23 = Latavius Murray
58 = Sheldon Richardson (75%)
06 = Ben Gedeon