*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The final was 42-28 Indy. My computer model boasting on Indy the last few weeks looks better and better. My bet on Indy this game…paid. All went the way I expected. Felt like Indy had a day against the sad Raiders. Re-watching this game, I realized what a struggle it was.
I don’t mean that Indy played poorly – but that the Raiders, God love them, they play their hearts out most games and then collapse in the 4th quarter.
14-13 Oakland at the half here…AFTER Indy sprung to a 10-0 lead to start.
28-21 Oakland after three quarters. Yep, the Raiders had 4 offensive TDs in 75% of a game!!!
Indy then dropped a 21-0 hammer on them in the 4th quarter and ran away.
I mention this because…at Oakland, in a tough battle, Indy could have folded but instead they did what ‘good’ teams do – they didn’t get rattled and imposed their will on the weaker opponent, on the road. It was a ‘good’ win for the Colts. Gutty. But also, note – the Raiders played hard, played well. It wasn’t handed to the Colts – they took away.
Oakland might have 2-3 more wins in them this season…starting with at SF on TNF this week.
The Colts win and stay alive for my recent 20-1 AFC South bet on them to take the division – they are now two games out, have another game with division leader Houston to go, and have a very easy schedule to the finish. They are the best team in the AFC South, without a doubt…BUT it’s a weak division (is why I boast) and the Colts have a 2-game hole to dig out of. Can’t afford any bad luck (or Luck) from here.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Marlon Mack (25-132-2, 2-17-0/4) is the most in-demand (from FFM’ers) player (by the masses) that I’ve ever seen in my fantasy career – like, all at one time, everyone woke up and decided Mack was the greatest this week. They are trying to buy him during his BYE week, hoping your defenses are down.
I like Mack…which is why I was urging you to stick with him through his injury, but if people are going to lose their minds and essentially trade for him as an RB1 – I’ll listen. And that’s the price. I have no reason to sell otherwise.
The question we ask ourselves/you ask me – is this all real with Mack? Answer = mostly ‘Yes’.
Marlon Mack is a C+/B- running back talent. He’s fine. As I’ve maintained since the summer – an ‘OK’ RB in an A+ situation. There are no other ‘real’ RBs to compete with him on the depth chart, which is rare these days. I’ll take it. I took it. You took it. It ‘happened’. We’re all happy.
His touch count is not declining anytime soon, and the schedule ahead is fine. Two games with the Jags the next 4 games scare you? Why? The Jags are #24 in run defense YTD. The schedule ahead is fine (tougher during the FF playoffs) and the Colts offense is humming, and they suddenly have one of the best O-Lines in the league.
I worry, and have always worried, that Mack is not built for this workload. He should be Alvin Kamara not Ezekiel Elliott. The risk Mack goes down ahead with this workload…it’s something to worry about/consider. 19 and 26 carries in a game the last two weeks.
What’s odd to me – just 2 catches in each game the last two weeks. I thought he’d be 15-ish carries/5 catches a game. Instead he’s 20+ carries/2 catches. He’s working on volume and TDs…two things I would project him the least for.
Hey, it’s working fine now. I’ll ride until I can’t.
Long term…Indy has to add more legit backfield talent, and when they do there will be a decline because Mack is more meant to be in a duo not a solo act – and he could be taken out by an upstart, bigger back talent.
You gimme a strong RB1 value for Mack in a deal, redraft and especially dynasty -- I’ll listen.
-- Doug Martin (13-72-0, 2-17-0/2) had a solid debut as starter, and he’s much like Marlon Mack – ‘OK’ RB in a good situation. Martin took 13 carries and all the other RBs combined for 3 carries. Gruden wants to play smashmouth, and he will for as long as the game lets him…and Doug Martin is that guy right now. Martin is a good RB to have for depth/crisis ahead for fantasy; you could do worse.
I’ll just say this…’gone’ is the zip Martin used to have in his legs. He was OK here…and ‘OK’ RB getting all the carries is a good thing, but in terms of judging art – he didn’t look great. Looked ‘OK’. Maybe he needs to blow more rust off…or he is what he is.
-- TE despair days have me going gaga for Jack Doyle (6-70-1/7) right now.
I like Doyle, but I didn’t necessarily love him with a shaky Colts offense splitting with Eric Ebron…coming into the season/the first few weeks in. However, I was WAY wrong – this is a very good/great Indy offense and Doyle may be the most trusted target.
I wondered how he’d come back from injury this week (missed 5 weeks)…well, he got 6 catches, 7 targets, played 73% of the snaps. Yeah, I guess they don’t like him…they LOVE him. I’m in. Ebron be damned.
Doyle’s played two games in great weather conditions (had a Week 2 game in the rain vs. WAS) this season – 6.5 catches, 8.5 targets, 65.0 yards, 0.50 TDs per game in this offense…regardless of Eric Ebron doing whatever.
Doyle is really good…and really trusted…and I’m jumping in with both feet right now.
-- T.Y. Hilton (1-34-0/5) had a very odd stat line here. The Colts scored 42 playing a bad OAK defense and Hilton has 1 catch? He’s been a bit sluggish in results since his return. He has the Jags/Ramsey twice the next 4 games. I’m not sure Hilton is a great ‘buy low’ right now. Depends on how low?
Dontrelle Inman (6-52-0/7) seemed more important, which he just showed up to Indy like an hour ago. Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal have disappeared. Is Inman the new #2? He played the second most snaps among the WRs.
-- Speaking of WR ghosts from day gone by -- Brandon LaFell (3-39-1/4) is like the Raiders top WR now? The ‘wily veteran’ is a label Gruden loves…so, LaFell is a thing probably. Like a WR3.0-3.5 thing.
Jordy Nelson (1-14-0/4) has died and gone to WR heaven, I guess? He looks fine, but he’s disappeared. I’m moving on from him, have been for weeks.
-- The Indy-DST got-got by the Raiders of all teams…hurts my confidence in the Colts as an emerging defense and one to use the rest of the season on their great schedule. Had they beatdown Oakland, then I would have had you keep them through the BYE in some places. Now, they just seem randomly useful.
JAX-TEN-MIA-JAX-HOU-DAL-NYG is a FANTASTIC schedule stretch. You couldn’t write a better one. However, this defense has allowed 28+ points to opponents in four of their last 5 games.
I’m torn. I want that schedule. I see a good defense on tape…but points keep happening. I lean towards…use as needed not a ‘must’.
-- So, Oakland has a bad defense, but they may face Nick Mullens as the SF starter this week due to a C.J. Beathard injury.
Mullens might be the worst QB talent who will start in 2018.
Here’s more of his story…
Nick Mullens was a 4-year starter at Southern Miss. He was brought in by (then) new head coach Todd Monken as ‘his guy’…and thrust him over expected returning starter/star Kyle Sloter. Mullens had a rocky two year start to his college career, while everyone knew Sloter was better…yet, Sloter moved to TE/WR. Mullens had a solid junior year, racking numbers on weaker teams but playing ‘OK’ – Sloter then transferred away and became a star at Northern Colorado. Mullens had a solid-ish career…87 TDs/46 INTs over 40 games in college.
Sloter became a hot sleeper 2017 NFL Draft prospect, and Mullens was a guy no one thought about -- people saw him as too small, too weak of an arm…but a ‘try hard’ guy. Sloter looked like/became a star the moment he played in the NFL preseason. Mullens looked like every terrible UDFA QB to ever hit the NFL preseason…erratic, flimsy arm, lost, tentative, over-matched…while Sloter dominated every game he has played in the preseason.
Somehow Mullens stuck to the 49ers roster. Elevated when Garoppolo went down. Suddenly, he could be starting on TNF this week vs. Oakland.
Mullens is the answer to the question – what if Nathan Peterman had 50% less arm and 50% more turnover likelihood? Mullens is a pick six waiting to happen -- if he has to throw NFL throws this week. You might want to jump on the Oakland DST for this week because I don’t think CJB will play and Mullens is by no means ‘ready’ or ‘able’.
To answer a question from last night… NO, I did not have a grade on Mullens on CFM. His resume’ was pretty weak, so likely he didn’t make the cut as to why he wasn’t. Still, I should have had something on him. Normally any QB with a draft pulse we do grading on. Mullens didn’t make it to the grading. Possibly, just an oversight because he was so far off lists/radar. He looks like a 2-3-4 grade at best (out of 10). 15 TDs/14 INTs in his last 10 games against ‘tougher’ college opponents.
He’s good for at least one pick on TNF this week…if not 2-3-4 if they make him really throw.
I'd get some Oakland +3.0 before Mullens is named officially...
Snap Counts of Interest:
46 = LaFell
45 = Jordy
28 = Martin
22 = Richard
02 = D Washington
57 = Doyle
25 = Alie-Cox
17 = Ebron
49 = Mack
28 = Hines