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This was an important game for both teams…and Houston pretty much handled and out-played the Cardinals, as the Cardinals did their typical ‘roll over and die’ routine. A couple fluky turnovers on their side of the field kept Arizona in this game early on.
I wonder when the media is going to turn on Bruce Arians for coaching a very good team into the ground the past two seasons? Answer = never. I don’t know why Arians has some mystique among analysts but he’s coached a Super Bowl contender roster from 2015 into a disappointing dud in 2016-2017.
Bill O’Brien has had to deal with more and worse injuries than Bruce Arians but somehow always pulls his team together to stay in the hunt for things every season. One of the most underrated coaching jobs in the NFL the past few seasons. His Savage-to-Watson-to-Savage adjustments to his offense in 2017…he should win Coach of the Year if Houston gets near a .500 record, and especially if they make the playoffs.
The Texans playoff journey is not dead yet. We have maintained for a few weeks that 8-8 is the final wild-card spot in the AFC. If true, 4-6 Houston needs to win 4 of their final 6 to be in the discussion. It’s not going to be easy…4 of their last 6 games on the road. Their season probably comes down to Week 12 at Baltimore…a win pushes them past the Ravens in the wild-card chase, and it might sit them as the actual #6 seed/last wild-card at the close of Week 12…tied, but ahead of many other 5-6 teams in the AFC. It’s a do or die Week 12 for Houston.
If Houston gets to 5-6, they have a game with the 49ers Week 14 and Week 17 at Indy…count those as wins, and that would get the Texans to 7 wins…needing one more win to be in the wild-card discussion. They’d have to pull an upset over one of -- at TEN, PIT, at JAX. Houston cannot think about it unless they win Week 12. A loss to the Ravens pretty much ends their 2017 hopes.
Arizona is done. 10 wins are needed to get to the wild-card, if not 11. Arizona is 4-6, and rolling with Blaine Gabbert. David Johnson will not rush back as Arizona projects to a 5-11/6-10 finish.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- This was the best Tom Savage (22-32 for 230 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) has looked in his NFL run…definitely his best game. It looks like everything is finally slowing down for him. It’s only his fifth game in his NFL career where he started and went about the whole way. For a guy constantly under pressure due to a patchwork O-Line and holding onto the ball too long…Savage was much faster with decisions in this game. He looked at ease and in control. With time to throw he made great decisions and showed off his arm strength, flicking passes with ease all over the field. Glad to see some hope here with him.
Savage’s one INT in this game was a nice pass to a receiver in stride, but they missed the catch and the ball tipped into the air and was grabbed by a DB way behind the play.
Week 12 vs. the Ravens in Baltimore is a huge litmus test to see if this was just a blip or if Savage is turning the corner a little bit.
-- D’Onta Foreman (10-65-2, 2-15-0/3) would have been the free agent of the week had he not been caught from behind on his second TD run of the game and tripped up as he crossed the goal-line and landed funny, tearing his Achilles. Out for the year.
He’s likely to return as the starter in 2018…Lamar Miller costs $7M to keep or $2M to cut next season.
Now, the backfield is wide-open for Miller the rest of 2017.
-- Rookie TE Ricky Seals-Jones (3-34-2/5) came out of nowhere to land two TD catches and generally looked pretty good in his ‘break out’ week.
My first instinct is that RSJ is a former college WR, kinda TE at times, who disappointed more than not at Texas A&M. His best season in college was 2015, as a junior, grabbing 45 passes for 560 yards and 4 TDs. He wasn’t a great WR…trouble with drops, but was physically imposing – 6’4.5”/243, 4.69 40-time, 7.46 three-cone. He has some speed but stiff in agility and no leaping ability (28.0” vertical). I don’t see him as anything to worry about for fantasy/dynasty.
However, re-watching this game…Blaine Gabbert does have some connection with him. They would have obviously worked together as backups. He might score a TD here and there but I don’t see any emerging star…or even weekly fantasy option here.
-- Arizona started pushing their youth this game… Ricky Seals-Jones and then we saw the debut of RB D.J. Foster (2-26-0/2). I was a DJF fan…but only with him in New England playing a very specific role. In Arizona…no real interest for me.
-- The Arizona rookie who was/is impressive – DB Budda Baker (13 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2.5 TFL, 1 PD). He appeared to be everywhere in this game. He plays 100 MPH every play. On a team filled with guys mailing it in…Baker is not, he’s making the most of his opportunity to start.
10.0 tackles per game in his first two ‘starts’. He’s a top 10-15 DB threat in IDP scoring every week right now.
-- Bruce Ellington (6-63-0/7) continues to be an important piece of the passing game to Tom Savage, as has been documented by many of late.
The last three games with savage (Weeks 9-11)…4.3 rec. (8.0 targets), 42.0 yards, 0.33 TDs per game.
This isn’t slowing down. It’s a real thing. He's a legit WR3 week-to-week.
Snap Counts of Interest…
68 = Ellington
65 = Hopkins
61 = Braxton Miller
60 = C.J. Fiedorowicz
13 = S. Anderson
09 = D.J. Foster
08 = Seals-Jones
35 = Olsen Pierre (50%)
37 = Brennan Scarlett (64%)