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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I just bounced from Tampa Bay emotion to Tampa Bay emotion watching this game…
The Bucs started moving the ball early…and I’m shaking my head – how is this possible to keep going every week? Then the Steelers started the festival of Fitzpatrick turnovers, and I was like – finally, the football gods have been appeased. This national nightmare is over with Tampa Bay’s offense killing it. Plus, I loved this bet all week…so it was in the bag at halftime and into the 3rd-quarter. Then I ended on – you gotta be freaking kidding me, how are these balloon passes landing all over for the Bucs, and if they win this game…I quit, again.
Thankfully, for me, the Bucs lost, I salvaged another .500-ish week of betting – but then I see Fitzpatrick with another 400+ yards passing. They have no running game and he’s just floating bombs, how can no one stop this? The Steelers did for a half+, then did the NFL’s favorite thing – stop pressing the gas pedal and stopped doing the things that got them to a big lead and just try and let the clock run out. The Steelers almost got bit by it but survived. They were clearly the better team for most of this game. How it ended 30-27 with drama, I have no idea.
It must be a special kinda of magic the Bucs’ QB has. If only there were a cute nickname for what the Tampa QB does tied to then word ‘magic’. Not ‘the groper’…that’s the other Tampa QB’s nickname. I mean this current starting QB. He seems to provide some magic to the offense, in a sense, but I wish I could think of a good nickname for it. ‘Lucky ass quarterback with a giant beard’ just seems a tad long. I’ll keep my ears open in case any football people on TV come up with something to beat to death.
Fantasy Player Analysis…
-- Don’t ask me how to project Ryan Fitzpatrick (30-50 for 411 yards, 3 TDs/3 INTs) for Week 4 or beyond, because I have no idea…as witnessed by my Weeks 1-3 projections on him.
I see him sailing balls into the sky and they are landing. He’s not playing bad or anything, he’s just throwing deep at WRs and they are open or making miracle catches, or roughing the passer penalties ensue and he gets 2-3 extra chances to land bombs.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing and I’m not betting against it in Week 4…three weeks of this is pretty strong. The Bears defense is a pretty stout test, but the Eagles and Steelers prior were not easy. The Steelers were all over him for a good chunk of this game, but the air raid kept coming and eventually he hit 400+ yards again.
Heck if I know.
-- On the other side of this, I do know Big Ben (30-38 for 353 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT) and he’s great and doing ‘Big Ben’ things this year. He’s only averaging 380.0 yards passing per game this season, so…not as good as Fitzpatrick but he’s hanging in there.
I don’t think Ben’s pace will halt much at all. Why? You saw it last night didn’t you? James Conner really isn’t all that great a running back, like I’ve been saying.
-- Now, James Conner (15-61-0, 5-34-0/6) is a very solid, serviceable RB. No issues. It’s just, he’s not that exciting. He’s just ‘OK’ in a great situation.
I’m becoming more and more convinced that Le’Veon Bell is not coming back to the Steelers. I believe he will be traded, so the ground is clear for Conner to be a C+ RB in an ‘A’ situation. You don’t have to rush to trade him off, if like me -- you don’t think Bell is returning to Pittsburgh ever.
The Steelers are going to trade Bell to the most Siberia place they can…a terrible team, surroundings, and one that will pay him a ton and smack their salary cap. The Jets are definitely in play…that’s ‘if’ Bell would agree to sign there. Oakland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Miami would be teams in the hunt.
-- You know I love Vance McDonald (4-112-1/5)…and you know I loved him trucking a defender for that long TD, because that’s what he brings to the table. I’m just always wary about getting my hopes up because injury is always lurking. However, when VMD is healthy, he’s a top 5-8 fantasy TE in Pittsburgh.
If that Buccaneer defender made that tackle, this would have been a dull/solid output game from VMD. We’re still in the hopes and dreams stage with Vance. Don’t get too crazy…but I know it’s desperate times in TE land.
-- I like O.J. Howard (6-72-0/8) better than VMD for fantasy TEs. With all the TE chaos going on in fantasy, Howard is sliding into the top 5 by attrition. He’s so darn good. He’s really ‘special’.
My biggest fear on OJH is that Jameis Winston returns and then Cameron Brate goes to the #1 preferred TE target or at least a strong split with OJH. It doesn’t look like Winston will return to the starting lineup any time soon, so were rolling with OJH everywhere you got him to team with Evan Engram…because ‘two TEs, two TEs, two TEs’. Two good ones to have at least one…they drop like flies.
-- Chris Godwin (5-74-1/10) looked like Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target last night. Hey, if an NFL team is going to throw for 400+ yards a game every week…three WRs can be supported. Mike Evans gets the double teams, DeSean Jackson gets the ‘deep ball’ worry…Godwin just flies under the radar working underneath…the JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Bucs, no?
-- One quick IDP note – that was a heckuva game by Jason Pierre-Paul (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs). Sometimes these solo night games give you a chance to see a player live and just appreciate how good they are at their craft.
Snap Counts of Interest:
59 = Evans
53 = Humphries
43 = DJax
37 = Godwin
49 = Howard
31 = Brate
55 = Jordan Whitehead (83%) *Chris Conte is done/IR, so this may work now
33 = Jesse James
32 = V McDonald