Tale of two games…
In the first half, Jay Cutler threw three interceptions (one, not his fault -- and two AWFUL ones) and Tampa took advantage staking out to a 20-7 lead.
In the second half, with Cutler knocked out…Matt Moore came in and put a little spark in the team and a little fear in the Bucs, but Tampa Bay held control and won the game. It wasn’t a great performance by either team but the Bucs are sneaky good/decent without Jameis Winston and Miami looks dead behind the eyes.
Miami could have been in the middle of the wild-card chase with a win but now they are pretty well dead…and with two Patriots games coming up it would take a miracle for them to get to 8-8. Plus, they are playing horrific football in the midst of a 4-game losing streak allowing 35.5 PPG during that stretch.
The Bucs are also 4-6 but the NFC is much more difficult than the AFC…so you need 10 wins to have a chance and no way the Bucs are getting there. They are playing much better the last few weeks sans Jameis. Remember everyone in the media pumping what a leader’ Winston was? The team is more cohesive without him. What a con job.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- True story…from this afternoon…
I was so excited watching O.J. Howard (3-52-1/4) in this game, and feeling like I ‘discovered’ his breakout move to the upside…that I went into a couple of 12-team redraft leagues to check on his availability. Sure enough, he was available everywhere. I felt like I was 10 paces ahead of the planet. How could I be so blind? I should have seen this sooner. O.J. Howard had this great game and has obviously been doing so well since the change to Ryan Fitzpatrick. I just realized something no one else had. I’m ahead of the game…and I can’t wait to tell everyone.
I was giddy. Because I love OJH and, now, here he comes -- and I can maybe get in early and stash him as a redraft TE2 ‘just in case’ in places where that be a need.
So, then I go to check his recent numbers with Fitzpatrick to dazzle everyone with the great trend…and…my mind had different memories…
Oh, that’s why he’s available everywhere… He hasn’t thrived with Fitzpatrick leading up to this…he sucked before this. 1 catch for 6 yards on 2 targets in the two games prior to this. Week 10…0 catches on 0 targets. It don’t get no worse than that.
Take heed…Week 11 may really have been the opening salvo in the break out to come. 3-52-1/4 is a nice line with so-so targets, but what you may not know is – he had another TD in this game…a 25-yarder. Imagine if he had a 4-77-2/5 stat line given his ‘name’ appeal?
It’s not about the ‘almost’ TD stat add-on, although we should keep on file…it the way he scored. A designed screen pass to Howard who then just blasted off past everyone and bounced off a defender as he crossed the goal line. Howard is a SMOOTH athlete…like Evan Engram, only a better receiver (but not as fast…no one is compared to Engram), for my money…but he just plays in a worse situation.
This was a reminder for those in dynasty who missed on Evan Engram. O.J. Howard is better but in a different way…but has the whole team dynamic to deal with. Cameron Brate is a good TE who Winston loves…plus, Winston is up & down awful -- so that doesn’t help me feel any better. No Brate…and this whole situation changes rapidly for OJH.
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bucs traded Brate in the offseason to force Howard as the primary.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Howard is the top waiver wire of next week…if another sweet game this week.
-- I pushed Kenyan Drake (7-4-0, 1-10-0/2) to win a bigger role in this offense last week, and that flamed out huge.
Miami is pushing Damien Williams (10-78-0, 1-24-0/2), who broke a 69-yard run and 9 carries for 9 yards otherwise. I like Williams, but I thought Miami would be forced into Drake. They don’t seem to feel the same way. If Drake cannot win this ‘battle’, I’m not sure what his NFL purpose is. His purpose is getting chucked to the waiver wire by me.
-- Matt Moore has come in relief of Jay Cutler twice this season and thrown 3 TD passes…all 3 to Kenny Stills (7-180-1/8). There is definitely some connection between Moore-Stills…which should work vs. the Patriots as I’m sure they’ll be throwing a lot this week.
-- The Tampa Bay DST is starting to show life. In their last 4 games, they’ve allowed opponents to score: 17-30-10-20 points…three of last 4 holding opponents to 20 or fewer points. The Saints got 30…7 off a blocked punt TD.
The Bucs have a solid defense but it’s been so banged up all season…it isn’t fair to judge their YTD stats because they haven’t been healthy until recently. Possible sneaky DST play Week 13 at GB…but otherwise the schedule is unkind the rest of the way.
Snap Counts of Interest…
38 = Drake
27 = Williams
57 = Stills
57 = Parker
54 = Landry
46 = OJ Howard
41 = Brate