Atlanta won this game 24-21…saved by a missed Tampa FG at the buzzer from going into overtime. The Falcons had a 3-10 point lead most of the game but they couldn’t put the Bucs away. At first, you might think…well, every team cannot be great every week; give them a break. I get that but in-game here – the Bucs lost about half their team to injury…it was crazy. Atlanta extended out the lead as player after player was taken out of the stadium for the Bucs…with a 10-point lead and backups to backups playing for their opponent the Falcons let Tampa Bay right back into the game and almost got sent to OT.
Had Atlanta lost, that probably would have been the domino toppled which set off a chain of events forcing the Falcons out of the playoffs in the end. But, they won…and it puts them in perfect position for the playoffs. Basically, one win in their next two games and the Falcons are back into the playoffs. The problem is that they play two tough games to finish out…at N.O. and hosting Carolina. Both those teams have everything to play for. It’s going to be a wild finish.
No wild finish for Tampa Bay. They are just waiting for the season to end so they can fire Dirk Koetter…the first of many Jameis Winston scapegoats to come. The next coach of that team will be fired within 3 seasons because ‘Winston didn’t hit his potential’. On and on it will go. The Bucs have married themselves to Winston and it will cost the team for the next decade probably. They’ll have good seasons and maybe sneak into a wild card one year…but they are not likely to ever sniff the Super Bowl until Winston moves along…and that could be a decade from now.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- A few weeks ago, Julio Jones (3-54-0/8) planted 12 catches, 253 yards, and 2 TDs on a sad Bucs secondary. This time around…he struggled like usual. Once again, Julio has one monstrous game in a season against a bottom feeder secondary dealing with multiple injuries…and then is ‘good-ish’ the rest of the games.
Here’s Julio Jones’ 2017 season minus that one ‘monster’ TB game…
7.9 FF PPG (12.8 PPR) on 4.9 catches, 74.0 yards, 0.08 TD per game…to be clear, that’s ONE TD in his other 13 games. This is the elite of the elite WRs, right?
Here’s where those numbers in all but one game rank in YTD PPG fantasy performance against all other WRs (7 or more games played):
#29 nonPPR…tied with Kenny Stills, a shade ahead of Mohamed Sanu
#25 PPR…tied with Nelson Agholor.
In all but one game, in all his other games this season…Julio Jones has been a nice ‘Flex’ option this year.
Good luck with nap-time Julio facing a top cover corner like Marshon Lattimore this week, and Julio a little banged up.
-- Short and sweet…
Doug Martin probably won’t play again this season, and likely never again for the Bucs. Peyton Barber (13-53-0, 3-15-0/3) will now be ‘the starter’ on a team missing 60% of it’s starting O-Line. The Bucs couldn’t run the ball with a healthy O-Line, now they for sure aren’t with a devastated OL and a very slow, non-electric Barber.
Barber faces Carolina/Kuechly this week…no contest. Barber will have to hope the Bucs get a drive down to the 1-yard line so he has a chance at a decent fantasy day off a 1-yard plunge.
-- O.J. Howard (1-30-1/1) caught his one pass for the game and made it FF-worthwhile…a short crosser and then OJH turned upfield, raced down the sidelines and hit the pylon for the score. He was hit low (legal) and injured…out for the rest of the game.
The thing to consider/remember here – most of O.J.’s 6 TDs this season have been of the catch and run variety. Rare for a tight end…but Howard is a rare tight end. He and Evan Engram are the future of the NFL at tight end, the future of fantasy at tight end.
In 2018, we will be building our fantasy teams around acquiring both…possibly taking two tight ends, in a league that utilizes the flex, in the first 5-6-7-8 rounds. We’ll might have two TEs before some teams get their first.
In dynasty, it’s not crazy to try to acquire both and hold for the power of controlling the TE market. Using one as the flex and/or in an emergency/injury to one.
-- I watched Matt Ryan (17-31 for 212 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) in this game and I just don’t get it. So dull. So lifeless on offense…and yet the Falcons have the #1 third-down conversion rate in the NFL.
The last two league MVPs…Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, both had career years and reverted the following season. I mention that because everyone spiked the ball on great they both were and mocked anyone who was skeptical of them during the aberration year. I’m just saying…remember that when it probably would have been Carson Wentz winning the MVP this year had he not gotten hurt. Another QB who you cannot question. I have small, minor questions.
Watching this game, Jameis Winston (27-35 for 299 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) looked like twice the QB Ryan will ever be. Since returning from injury, Winston has thrown for 284.7 yards and 2.33 TDs per game.
I’m not a Winston fan, but I have to separate reality from fantasy. Winston is not ‘Brady’ and he’s one of the sloppiest, most turnover prone QBs in the league. However, he’s not without some talent. He’ll be down and throwing a lot in games, racking stats most of his career. The Bucs will hire a new coach to coddle/build around him so…Winston for the NFL ‘C-‘…Winston for fantasy…probably a ‘B’. Varies with the matchup.
Snap Counts of Interest…
15 = Takk McKinley
00 = Kazee
35 = Keith Tandy
21 = T.J. Ward
32 = Barber
26 = Sims
02 = Jacquizz