*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Bucs got out to a 16-2 lead and the Browns looked lost again…struggling on offense, not making the stops needed on defense, not getting any breaks either. Cleveland stiffened up after the half. In the 4th quarter, Baker Mayfield did what he’s going to do a lot of – put the team on his back and scored 14 points (0 for the Bucs), tied the game and sent it to OT. It was a sloppy OT that the Bucs won on a long, improbable FG.
I’m happy for the Browns to lose – one more step closer to firing Hue, who if ANYONE else was coaching the Browns could win this division. Instead, they’re 2-4-1 and about to get pushed away from the playoff picture. We project 5-11-1 for the Browns in the end.
The Bucs find another win to jump to 3-3. My computer models think the Bucs are on the rise as a sneaky playoff contender. They’re too deficient and the schedule ahead is likely to halt them, but if they upset the Bengals this week…watch out. We project 7-9 at the end.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- This game felt like a bad one for Baker Mayfield (23-34 for 215 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 4-43-0) but it was a lot better on the re-watch and was nearly a HUGE fantasy game. He was running for a TD but got the ball popped out at the goal line…a rushing TD turned lost fumble. He later had a TD pass that the DB took the P.I. on the WR rather than give up the score in the end zone. So close to 3 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD in this one.
Every week, however, I write ‘so close to…’ about Mayfield. It’s important to note because he is not way off, he’s close…but may not get there in 2018.
Mayfield is having to do so much. Having to throw under duress and into tight windows because of a poor O-Line, WRs who can’t get open or catch well, and just a bad offensive playbook. He’s squeezing blood out of a turnip right now…you want it to be ‘easier’ for him for fantasy numbers.
Across the aisle, Jameis Winston is usually down on the scoreboard and throwing non-stop as teams sit back and wait for his mistake…it’s easier for him to compile. Teams pressure Mayfield because the OL is so bad and they don’t want him to have time because he’ll slice a defense apart.
Eventually, Mayfield will be a fantasy god…but, right now, he’s having to overcome too many odds to get there just yet. He’s close, though.
-- I watched all Nick Chubb’s (18-80-1, 0-0-0/2) carries in this game. He’s a very plausible NFL RB. He’ll even be ‘good’ with a better O-Line. He’s a talent running between the tackles with a hole (as are 50-100 other NFL RBs)…he’s so smooth running downhill and slyly avoiding tacklers.
His issue is when there is no easy hole, he tends to stop to consider and gets-got for too many losses/short gains.
He’s nothing too special unless the line improves. We know he’s ‘the guy’ so he’ll get years of chances to make his way. He’s an RB1.5 now and for years as ‘the guy’ for the Browns. I just think you move away/sell high in redraft 2018 because Chubb has the same issues as Mayfield…weak O-Line. Plus, Chubb is a bit flimsy in the passing game for PPR.
Chubb is good, but in a weak spot for FF…but he’s a ‘rookie’ from the SEC and is seen as an RB1.5, emotionally.
(contrast example) Marlon Mack is not as talented a runner, but in a much better situation…and is seen as an RB2-2.5…a ‘should I start him?’ guy while no one questions starting Chubb. Wrong thinking…
-- Peyton Barber’s (11-30-0, 0-0-0/2) numbers have been mostly terrible this year, but I think he’s trying to crack through to RB3-land or better. He had a nice TD run here but it got called back. Had a TD the prior week. He looks really good after his weight loss. He could be something.
If he’s healthy and there are ‘no RBs’ anywhere to be found – try to take a deep sleeper sit and see on Barber.
-- O.J. Howard (5-67-0/9) is starting to breakout. He’s becoming what I wanted Evan Engram to be in 2018. I love both Engram and Howard as top NFL/FF TEs but thought Engram was closer to popping because of ‘situation’. Well, it’s reversed – I want Howard over Engram now.
Next week, maybe I change back. But Howard is showing way more signs of usage in a better passing game.
Howard was sniffing 1-2-3 TDs in this game. One landed right short of the goal line. Two others, bad throws by Winston.
Howard hasn’t been blowing the numbers out of late, but he’s been very good/solid. It’s maybe the last week you can get him cheaper. He’s seen as ‘a starter’ for fantasy for sure, and that has value, so he’s harder to trade for right now -- but I think he could be upside to the #3 TE scorer in fantasy ahead…a superstar talent.
Can’t get Ertz-Kelce…OJH available much more reasonable if your trade partner has another TE to use. Tampa past their BYE too.
I need Cam Brate out of the way to fully trust OJH’s uprising…
-- I showed, last week, how Jameis Winston (32-52 for 365 yards, 0 TD/2 INTs) struggles when a defense brings pressure. 3 or more sacks, and he’s usually in for a very weak for performance. Sacked 4 times here -- and 0 TDs/2 INTs…and near-miss another 2-3 picks.
Weaker pass rush teams to face for him the next several weeks, and then he’ll be crushed by at BAL, at DAL Weeks 15-16.
-- I sensed Baker Mayfield gave up on his non-Jarvis Landry WRs in this game…like going into it. He only targeted Callaway-Ratley a total of 5 times. He was forcing it to Landry-Njoku (21 targets) out of necessity/desire.
Breshad Perriman (1-6-0/1) was sighted…he may make Ratley or Callaway go away. Man, if Perriman could find himself…he’s a talent.
This could be Landry-Higgins-Perriman soon, and that’s a step up for the miracle-worker Mayfield.
-- Kwon Alexander done with an ACL. Adarius Taylor (6 tackles, 1 TFL) is set for a bigger role no.
-- Carl Nassib (2 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 PD) produces every time he’s given a chance. It’s sickening how the NFL has turned a blind eye to him. If a guy was ever meant to be a New England Patriot Pro Bowl’er – it’s Nassib.
-- Damarious Randall (12 tackles) averaged 4.3 tackles per game Weeks 1-3 but has jumped to 8.0 tackles per game over the past 4 games. His IDP numbers are sick in 2018.
Snap Counts of Interest:
63 = Howard
39 = Brate
35 = Barber
30 = Jacquizz
29 = Ron Jones
67 = Landry
50 = Callaway
41 = Ratley
11 = Perriman
45 = Chubb
35 = Duke J
74 = Genard Avery
63 = Nassib
34 = Kindred