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I gotta tell you -- this may have been one of my favorite games of 2017. A friend and I decided to partake of this game at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. Him needing a big game from Christian McCaffrey. Me counting on an extraordinary night from Cam Newton. Random other people around us needing various Carolina things as well.
Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
It was a little touch and go, a little sluggish in the first half and then Carolina hit the accelerator… And Cam Newton did what I thought/hoped he would do because the national spotlight was on him in a solo night game (have stats and showboat) and thus Carolina whitewashed the Dolphins.
I thought the Dolphins might be able to stay within the big point spread (-9.0) but it wasn’t even close… About the only thing that went wrong for me this entire night was picking Miami and the points.
Despite the loss, and falling to 4-5, Miami is still in that wild AFC final wildcard chase. I’m telling you, 8–8 is all it’s going to take. And it’s going to be a really bad team that you can’t believe made the playoffs that gets it.
Miami could be that final playoff spot if they win all the games they’ll be favored in, and assuming they'll lose the ones they won’t be favored. It’s a tight window that they have a shot to get through but I'd bet against it. The Computer leans more 7–9 for them than it does 8-8.
Carolina is very likely to be in the NFC playoffs. They should get 10 wins, no problem. The only question is whether they will get past New Orleans for the NFC South division title. It’s up in the air between those two, and it doesn’t matter in a sense because both should make the playoffs.
Fantasy player notes...
— I have been advocating a 'buy low' on Cam Newton (21-35 for 259 yards, 4 TD/0 INT, 5-95-0) for several weeks…back when he was struggling, and if your FF team was struggling, and you were looking for a player in a four points per pass TD league – for a guy that could spike up and turn your season around. Cam has pretty much done that the last couple of weeks in most of his games.
Because everyone overreacts to a solo night game performance, now football analysts have turned from 'Cam Newton is a disappointment' to 'Cam Newton is an MVP candidate'…all because they saw him beat up the hapless Dolphins on Monday Night Football. I swear…football analysts and many football fans are very predictable. Every Thursday night and every Monday night they get their emotions out of whack about the solo night game they can focus on. I’m guilty of it on occasion too, although you think I would know better by now. There’s something about all the other football noise set aside and you just watching every play from the perspective of whatever fantasy need you have and living and dying with every play.
The football media is worse because I don’t think they pay attention to anything but highlights on Sunday, but they have a lot to chat about on a Thursday night or Monday night game, sometimes a Sunday night game. They take the time to watch that a little more live -- and then go running off a cliff because someone scored a touchdown and someone else didn’t. With Cam coming off this big night it’s not a bad time to try to flip him into something more stable if the opportunity presented itself. I don’t give him away, but if he suddenly a top-five type QB for people, where he was getting cut a few weeks ago in 12-team leagues – you’re not crazy to cash in if you see an opportunity somewhere. Cam is very erratic and he has big games when the cameras are on and sometimes falls asleep when they’re not. Don’t fall too much in love with Cam – he'll burn ya.
— I am falling in like with Kenyan Drake (7-82-1, 2-10-0/2). I know this recent good run is going to end with him getting hurt, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. He’s clearly the more explosive of the two Miami RBs, and with the Dolphins season starting to fade away I think Adam Gase is smart enough to lean more and more on Drake in the coming weeks out of necessity, out of desperation.
While it lasts, ride Drake kinda like the Aaron Jones story in Green Bay. They're the future one minute, and then "Who is Aaron Jones" the next. That’s going to happen at Kenyon Drake…I just don’t know when.
— Curtis Samuel (5-45-0/7) was having his quasi-breakout performance in this game, and had a crescendo moment midgame -- he was about to haul in a touchdown pass to put a bunch of whip cream on his ice cream sundae of a game… But of course we can’t have nice things, as Samuel owners, because he misjudged the pass and butchered it and then as he followed the bouncing ball he got his leg rolled up on by the defender and was taken off the field… Gone for the year.
Yes, Samuel was starting to heat up. But, no…he wasn’t being used the way I was hoping. He should’ve been used like a junior Christian McCaffrey. He was used more like Ted Ginn. I don’t need another Ted Ginn. I already own Ted Ginn in a lot of places. I wanted another Christian McCaffrey. I assume Ron Rivera has no plans of changing it otherwise in the future. In dynasty, I’m not moving the universe to hold Curtis Samuel for the future, but I’d like to… But it’s not a priority.
-- DeVante Parker (6-66-0/9) is having the best worst year ever. No WR has better numbers and has had as little impact in NFL games as Parker. He's like a 15-20 PPG WR in fantasy and I watch Miami games and you don’t even realize he's playing until the team is down by 10-20+ in the 4th-quarter.
It made my heart smile when his O-C called him s-a-w-f-t…in a nice way this past week.
-- He's awful, but Jay Cutler (22-37 for 213 yards, 2 TD/1 INT) has thrown for 2 or more TDs in a game for 4 straight games…2.25 per game. Parker is not the only garbage-time maven on the Dolphins.