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Another week, another Dallas win…three-in-a-row without Ezekiel Elliott. This one was tough, as the real secret sauce for the Dallas offense went down mid-game (LT Tyron Smith) and Dak + the emerging defense had to gut this out for the win. A successful fake punt and a whatever that whole piece of paper to measure for a 1st-down conversion was…and then a Derek Carr fumble at the goal line to seal it. ‘Luck’ doesn’t begin to describe this win.
I love that the turning point of the game was decided by a person holding a pole, connected to a chain and another pole, at a certain angle combined with someone eyeballing a spot from a different angle/vantage point…and then a folded piece of paper comes into play and fits between the pole and ball but is deemed past the pole despite the paper fitting in-between what he was trying to determine as ‘past’ the pole. I don’t get it but it’s great theatrics, and I won a bet on Dallas…so, I’m happy and that’s all that really matters.
Dallas keeps its playoff hopes alive, but they are on life support as Atlanta muddled its way to an MNF win in Week 15. The Falcons are in perfect position for the wild card, but if they lose their next two games they open the door for DET-SEA-DAL. Too many hurdles to overcome for Dallas to finish this off, but if a game/season can be changed by a folded piece of paper from a smirking referee…anything is possible.
This loss ended Oakland’s long-shot playoff hopes. They just aren’t a very good team. They had a back-door chance at the AFC West title had they won, but they didn’t…by a folded piece of paper and a fumble one foot from paydirt. The Raiders now move on to plan for 2018.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I guess Dak Prescott (18-27 for 212 yards, 0 TD/2 INT, 6-32-1) goes back to his norm with Elliott back Week 16? I mean, there was all this hysteria of Dak with and without King Ezekiel…so, now, it just goes back to whatever it was?
Before the crisis hit, Dak had thrown for 2 or more TDs in a game in six of 7 games. When Alex Smith did that early on, he was an MVP candidate. Case Keenum hit a similar hot streak and is now beloved. When Dak did it…it was all because of Elliott.
TDs in games by Dak (air or ground)…
Weeks 1-9 (pre-EE out): 1-2-3-3-4-4-0-3 (2.5 per game)
Weeks 10-12 (1st 3 without EE): 1-0-0 (0.3 per game)
Weeks 13-15 (last 3 without EE): 2-3-1 (2.0 per game)
This season, excusing the 3-game blip, Dak is averaging 1.9 passing TDs, 0.44 rushing TDs, 2.34 total TDs per game. I’ll take that for fantasy. Again, like I’ve mentioned several times and we all saw it last week – Seattle does not scare me at all. All-in on Dak Week 16…IF Tyron Smith is good-to-go.
-- Dak’s TD pace is among the league leaders if you ignore that three-game crisis. He’s one of the best ‘producer of numbers’ QBs in all of fantasy. What’s remarkable about that is, and you saw it if you watched this game (or any Dallas game this season)…is Dak has nothing but pure garbage to throw to. The Cowboys may have the worst offensive weapons in all of football, as a collective, around Dak.
Dez Bryant (2-59-0/4) has become Kenny Britt-south. Dez will be gone from Dallas next season and out of the league in like two years after Cleveland or Seattle tries to rehab him before that.
Cole Beasley (1-15-0/5)…I cannot believe they are not pushing Ryan Switzer more, even just to scare Beasley into catching the football…or just getting open.
Jason Witten (4-47-0/5) is a Hall of Famer but he’s running around like he’s made of wood…encased by cement. He’s not a weapon, just an option.
Terrance Williams (3-19-0/5) shouldn’t be on an NFL roster but is somehow a multi-year starter for the Cowboys.
Alfred Morris can’t catch a football, and Ezekiel Elliott is wildly overrated as a pass catcher.
Dak is pulling miracles with this motley crew. Imagine when they ply him with weapons in the offseason.
-- Now the Raiders are done, essentially…will they push Marshawn Lynch (16-76-0, 3-16-0/4) or will they give the other RBs a little run? Most namely DeAndre Washington (2-3-0, 2-16-0/3). What’s in it for Oakland? What’s in it for Lynch?
If they start moving away from Lynch, especially Week 17, I have to figure Washington to get the deeper look over Jalen Richard (0-0-0, 2-21-0/2). Richard has battled fumbles and inefficiencies this season…he’s carried the ball once in the last 3 games with 5 targets in that span. Washington has 12 carries and 5 targets the past three games.
-- Major game…this was..for Oakland. A critical need for plays to be made. Their top guy for big plays, including a 100+ yard kick return in this one called back…Cordarrelle Patterson, and he had just one carry and one target.
Again, like with Tarik Cohen… I’ve used my advance scouting eyes from years of experience to figure out the hidden trick to knowing when Patterson is going to take a carry. It’s the one time he’s in the backfield the entire game. ‘Surprise!’, 13 guys tackled him when he got the touch. I think Ed Too Tall Jones and Cliff Harris split the TFL.
When it doesn’t work once…definitely don’t try it again for like 2-3-4 weeks.
-- UDFA Safety out of Greenville College Nicholas Morrow (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) had another big tackle day. In his last three games, Morrow’s posted 8.3 tackles per game.
Morrow is 6’0”/216 and runs a 4.52 40-time, 7.08 three-cone, 37” vertical, 23 bench reps. He’s a big, physical safety with decent athleticism. He was a ‘buzz’ defensive player in training camp who has made the team and is getting more and playing time.
Oh, and he’s bulked up and is playing more inside/outside linebacker…which makes him a very athletic inside backer. An IDP sleeper that I hadn’t locked onto until this week.
-- The Dallas defense has held opponents under 20 points in each game in their last 6 games where Sean Lee (10 tackles, 2 TFL) has played major role/amount of snaps.
I also saw where Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie have some of the best CB ratings in the league the past few weeks.
I’m telling you, this is an emerging shutdown defense of the future. Game wreckers all over the D-Line, a great, young secondary, and Sean Lee stirs the drink. They need to find and groom the Lee replacement so there is not an utter collapse the next time Lee gets hurt, as he often does.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Dallas held Seattle under 20 points this week.
Snap Counts of Interest…
77 = Shepard
75 = Roger Lewis
48 = Darius Powe
37 = Gallman
24 = Vereen
19 = Darkwa
33 = Morris
29 = Rod Smith
49 = Dez
35 = T Williams
29 = Beasley
24 = Noah Brown