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I must confess, on Sunday afternoon into evening…I know I was supposed to be intently watching the Patriots-Steelers showdown, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the Titans-49ers contest going on at the same time. Maybe it’s Jimmy Garoppolo’s Hollywood good looks, but I can't look away. He’s mesmerizing me with his play at quarterback.
Down 23-22 with 1:07 left, Garoppolo marched his team down the field and into scoring position and a late game, game-winning field goal from Robbie Gould…his 6th field goal of the game. Three wins in a row for Jimmy Franchise™. The legend is growing…. and the reverse of that is happening in Tennessee.
Two losses in a row for the Titans has them on death’s door…another loss will knock them from the AFC South title and on the outside looking in at the playoffs. When they needed a break from the schedule, they get a top NFL team/opponent with the L.A. Rams this week.
The Titans are terrible, getting worse every week…and if they lose to the Rams Week 16 and wind up in a cluster of teams trying to get to nine wins, but 8 wins could get the 6th spot – the Titans have no quality AFC wins to help with tiebreakers. If the Titans lose this week and face a Jacksonville team still with seeding to play for in Week 17…the Titans could lose out, drop to 8-8, still be tied for the last wild-card spot, and lose that through the tiebreakers. On the other hand, one more win could sneak them in. Either way, they’ll be a sacrifice to the #3 seed, which is probably Jacksonville…so, the Jags might roll over to let the Titans beat them Week 17 if the game is meaningless to the Jags for seeding. The Jaguars would probably love to face the Titans in round one…it’s a virtual ‘BYE’.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- There’s not much more I could say about J-Franchise (31-43 for 381 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) other than…would it kill you to throw a few TD passes? He’s completing 68.1% of his passes for 336.0 yards per game in his three starts…but has 2 TDs/2 INTs in those 3 games.
The first two games of his reign, he wasn’t as ‘knocking on the door’ as he was in this game. One 49er TD was a slip screen to Trent Taylor (4-4-0-/5), who slithered his way for 18-yards and fumbled the ball 1-2 yards shy of crossing the goal line, but an alert 49er fell on it for the score. Jimmy should have had at least 2 TDs passes in this game, if not 3. Garoppolo is working with a 2nd-team-ish, young, rookie-laden group and he’s only been starting 3 weeks. Eventually, the rhythm will be down and ‘pow’.
However, not this upcoming week versus the Jaguars.
You think people are excited about Garoppolo now, watch what happens if he takes down the Jaguars this week. He’ll go hyperbolic. It likely won't happen. He doesn’t have the blocking or the weapons. If he has a so-so game it’s another entry point for some to make another run at trading for him since you ignored me earlier or thought you had more time. The time is nigh.
-- Marcus Mariota (23-33 for 241 yards, 2 TDs/0 INTs) is playing poorly but he did what he seems to do this year in more games than not…makes enough plays to be decent/good for fantasy scorer.
Mariota has stopped running, so I have no interest anymore…but note that he had a decent game passing…against the 49ers, and this upcoming week Blake Bortles gets that same 49ers pass defense. If you think Mariota is a joke and he did OK against the 49ers…how about Bortles in the midst of his hot streak?
-- One reason why Mariota looked a little better – Rishard Matthews (6-95-1/8) seems to be getting back to 100%. You can talk Corey Davis all you want but Rishard is Mariota’s guy and will probably be so in 2018 with Davis honing in on a little more action.
Every QB has their ‘guy’, so respect Rishard.
‘The guy’ trumps ‘talent’ for QBs.
-- Marquise Goodwin (10-114-0/13) is JG’s ‘guy’ for 2017…somewhat out of necessity, but Garoppolo is really pressing/forcing it that way. He’s not really concerned about overusing him – he just delivers it and defenses can’t stop it. Well…CHI-HOU-TEN couldn’t. It’s a different story with Jacksonville this week.
-- Rookie UDFA WR Kendrick Bourne (4-85-0/6) had a huge catch and run on the final drive to set up the 49ers in great position to move up and into FG position. Bourne is a natural WR talent…great hands, so-so speed and nice agility. He’s going to be a player someday. He might be where Jimmy goes this week against the Jags if Goodwin is taken away but I have a feeling Trent Taylor becomes a thing Week 16 because the Jags take Goodwin-Bourne away.
-- JG also loves Garrett Celek (3-61-1/3).
Three games with JG, Celek has averaged: 2.3 rec. (3.7 targets), 53.3 yards, 0.67 TDs per game. Garoppolo’s favoring him over George Kittle (4-52-0/5) in key spots. But he’s really working with both.
-- Titans’ Rookie LB Jayon Brown (5 tackles, 1.0 sacks) got his first sack and had a nice 5 tackle game. His numbers have been up and down for weeks but he’s starting to make plays and get noticed. Not ready for IDP time now, but is a stash consideration for 2018 usage…he might be a starter next season.
Snap Counts of Interest…
63 = Goodwin
34 = taylor
33 = Murphy
31 = Bourne
51 = Hyde
19 = Breida
48 = DeMarco
16 = Henry
28 = Jayon Brown
31 = Sheldon Day
14 = Eli Harold
24 = Logan Ryan