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The Chiefs needed to win in order secure the AFC West title…and they did.
The Dolphins needed to upset the Chiefs to stay in the playoff race…and they really would have had a decent chance if they could have gotten to 8-8 but they flopped. Just like they flopped versus the Bills last week.
The Dolphins actually gave the Chiefs a fight for a bit and then they do what they do…rolled over. Got shutout in the 2nd-half, and got put to sleep for the 2017 season.
The Chiefs are locked into the #4 playoff seed which is a dream for them…because they'll likely face the Ravens in round-one, a favorable matchup at KC. If the Chiefs win that one then it's off to New England where they’ve already won this season.
I don’t think the Chiefs will run through the AFC playoffs to the Super Bowl, but it's not totally crazy if it were to happen. I predicted the Cowboys would beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl in May 2017, so I could have some no-one-cares redemption if KC gets to the title game.
Just a couple of player notes and then right into looking at Week 17 for KC with Patrick Mahomes starting…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Week 17 numbers may change this, and I always look at a season through Week 16…I don’t even count Week 17 in my internal numbers for trends, etc., but Tyreek Hill (1 carry for -1 yards, 6-109-0/7) finished #3 in nonPPR fantasy PPG this season. Hill finished #6 in PPR, tied with Julio Jones.
Several thoughts looking back on our special Tyreek relationship in 2017, a continuation from 2016…
1 = I had an email yesterday from someone mad at me that Tyreek didn’t finish as a top 10 scorer/asset in fantasy this season…as I pushed that he might be and that I needed to re-think my scouting. It wasn't a prank. This is my life…life with fantasy addicts. Never satisfied…
The email made me think – where would Tyreek be in a 2018 redraft today? I know the mainstream fantasy people aren’t considering Hill a top 12 asset because they were so wrong about him this season. 'They' usually do not apologize and jump on the proper train with players…rather they talk about 'let downs' and such on players they don’t like (See: David Johnson going into this season, and Tyreek as well). Hill will be on many 'due for a dip' lists in 2018.
Talent-wise, he's THEE most dangerous WR in the NFL. He just finished near the top of scoring for fantasy 2017.
Here are the players I think are 1st-round redraft material (today) for 2018 for the mainstream…
QB/TE = They don’t believe they are top 12 assets
RB = David Johnson, Gurley, Elliott, Fournette, Bell, Kamara, Hunt, Gordon, McCoy
WR = Antonio, Hopkins, OBJ, Michael Thomas, Julio, A.J. Green
15 names…for them.
For me…I’d rather have Tyreek than Julio and Thomas right off the top. I don’t believe in Melvin Gordon as a top 12 asset. That gets the list down to 12 names…I think I'd rather have Hill than McCoy, Hunt, and probably A.J. Green. If that's true, then Hill is at least a top 9-11 fantasy asset going into 2018. He'd be the #4 WR. Maybe the #2-3 WR if Big Ben retires and takes Antonio Brown down to a WR1.5-2.0.
I suspect the mainstream will have Hill around #25-30 overall, an early third rounder for 2018.
2 = Tyreek Hill played FANTASTICALLY as a WR this season. I thought he'd be an OK '#1' WR, but more lethal as a 'weapon' WR. He was lethal as a weapon but he was also terrific catching passes on routes, amid traffic, etc. He has 'A' hands and concentration as a normal WR, much better than I ever could have hoped for.
For the future, Hill is not only a 'weapon', but he's a legit WR.
3 = Last season, Hill was a monster running the ball…24 carries, 11.1 ypc, 3 long TDs. This season, he was scaled back to an unimaginative 17 carries, just 3.5 ypc, and no TDs. Part of the issue is teams are hyper-focused on him whenever in the backfield. KC could help by putting him in the backfield more.
As long as Andy Reid is here, the big run game totals are not likely to happen. I thought he'd get 30+ carries this season. I was wrong. The NFL is not chasing the WR/RB theory at all.
4 = Hill should be a 10+ TD per season weapon, but he only scored 7 receiving TDs this season. KC is leaving opportunity on the table. Had Alex Smith hit him for one more 60+ yard TD, instead of under and overthrowing them, or too scared to throw, then Hill would have been top 3 WR in PPR scoring.
This was a great year for Hill, and that's with several big plays left on the table because Smith simply will not throw deep passes out of fear.
5 = The deep ball fear is going away with Patrick Mahomes. The mainstream will probably choose – 'We don’t know whether Mahomes and Hill will work'. I will choose…Mahomes is probably the key to Hill becoming the #1 scoring WR in fantasy in 2018.
-- On the other side of the ball, we had 'junior Tyreek'…Jakeem Grant (1-3-0, 4-107-1/6). As with most 'Tyreeks' NFL O-Cs haven’t a clue how to use them, and really no desire to. Their little notebook of plays they've had since they were teens…it didn’t account for a Tyreek Hill or Jakeem Grant type talents because the play creators are not former talents. Their mind doesn’t work in terms of 'raw talent'…it works in terms of 'grinding' and 'deception' to beat the opponent…because that's their life story. Using Tyreek is 'too easy'. So, thus, with that mindset, Jakeem Grant doesn’t play much WR all season.
Grant started showing he's too good to ignore, started getting more playing time the last few weeks…and 'surprise' he's fantastic. He's a 'weapon'. Still, only 11 snaps in this game. Unreal.
If Adam Gase appreciated what he had, he would have been pushing Grant before Weeks 14-15-16. I suspect, Gase will draft or sign more traditional WRs and make Grant an ignored bit player 'weapon' in 2018 as well. BUT there's a chance Gase has woken up to the possibilities of Grant as a #3 WR weapon in the mold of Tyreek.
-- Will Kenyan Drake (13-57-0, 0-0-0/3) be the Dolphins #1 RB in 2018?
I'm not sure who will be or who will be added to make this a split backfield but there's almost no way Gase is going into 2018 with 'all-in' on Drake. Drake is good but he's a high injury risk back to his college days and he's a bit of a 'handful' off the field.
Drake is going to matter, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think Miami is going to give him the Jay Ajayi red carpet…as they’ve been very reluctant to do so up until now.
-- I'm including the Week 4 preseason recap (bottom of this post) of Patrick Mahomes' 'start' and my deeper thoughts on where I see Mahomes headed in the NFL.
The short version…
Extremely gifted QB talent…especially throwing medium-deep.
Takes extreme risks trying to make plays…and either has a highlight reel play or 'stupid' pick.
Will Andy Reid put up with the bad to savor the good? NFL history says, "No." Reid is going to try to put Alex Smith's sensibilities (half-smart, half-puss) into a fearless (to a fault) gunslinger. Reid is either going to choke the upside out of Mahomes, constantly…or Mahomes nods his head and then does whatever the hell he wants anyway.
I really don’t know how this is going to go. Betting my life…I say that Reid tries to choke the life out of him and limits his upside.
But this week, Week 17, Mahomes starts with the backups. So, what will the impact be?…
*Mahomes has nothing to lose so I suspect he's going to 'go for it'. There will be some magical throws and probably a pick or two. Facing Denver…this could be a sloppy/beautiful mess.
*Charcandrick West gets 15+ touches at RB. He'll have room to run as defenses fear Mahomes. Not sure how much Mahomes will dump off to West in the passing game.
*Demetrius Harris will likely start and have a decent game with odds at scoring a TD.
*Demarcus Robinson had a 3-127-1/3 game with Mahomes in his preseason start and half+ of game play. Robinson has become a starter regularly for KC now, but not a key guy…so he may play with Mahomes a bunch this week…but might get Aqib Talib, if Talib plays.
Mahomes would have the most reps with Jehu Chesson right now. He'd be a deep sleeper for Week 17.
Snap Counts of Interest…
42 = D. Robinson
15 = De'Anthony Thomas
03 = Chesson
54 = Landry
48 = Stills
44 = Parker
11 = Jakeem Grant (4-107-1/6 in just 11 snaps)
Dynasty-Fantasy Football Analysis - 2017 Preseason Wk 4: Titans v. Chiefs
Not surprisingly, the Chiefs crushed the Titans 30-6 in this final preseason game. The battle of Patrick Mahomes (9-16 for 183 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) v. Alex Tanney (9-22 for 101 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) was doomed from the start for Tennessee.
Nothing much happened in this game that was all that shocking for dynasty-fantasy, except the extended look at Patrick Mahomes, which I'll get into in detail because what happened here is everything about Mahomes in the future. We'll end on Mahomes, but first a few quick notes not-Mahomes…
Fantasy player notes…
-- KC IDP LB rookie Ukeme Eligwe (6 tackles, 1 PD) looks pretty normal/natural at ILB for KC. An OLB in college (Georgia Southern), he played middle for KC in this game and looks really nice there. He played along side Kevin Pierre-Louis (5 tackles), who also looked solid but I wouldn’t say KPL looked any better than the rookie.
Eligwe made tackles on three of the first five plays. He has a natural instinct for the ballcarriers/plays, whereas KPL is a better athlete and has more experience, but lacks a little in ILB instincts.
KPL will be the backup ILB this season, and Eligwe behind him -- but a potential starter for KC in 2-3 years.
-- Titans' rookies Taywan Taylor (0-0-0/1) and Jayon Brown (5 tackles) started in this game, which means I assume neither is starting Week 1 of the regular season. Brown, I would expect not starting. Taylor, I thought would be protected. The fact Taywan played here means, to me, that Corey Davis is ready for the regular season and the team doesn't see Taylor as 'wow', but more 'useful'…a young Harry Douglas.
I like Taywan but he is beyond buried here. Lot's of talent on the Titans' WR depth chart.
-- OK, Patrick Mahomes (9-16 for 183 yards, 1 TD/0 INT)…
Patrick Mahomes is whatever you want to believe he is. He's like Jameis Winston, but far superior – the media is going to overlook all the turnover issues because they really like him/hate the incumbent QB. There was a two play, back-to-back event with Mahomes that happened in this game that is the essence of who Mahomes is as a QB.
On the first of these two plays, Mahomes had his primary read taken away and the protection broke down, so Mahomes calmly escaped the pocket looking downfield. On the run/jog he quickly flicked a pass about 30-40 yards on the absolute money to a receiver in stride right before the out-of-bounds line. It's a throw only a handful of QBs can make, and Mahomes makes them with regularity…and he makes them look easy. When you see them on the highlights it's magical.
Here's the problem… The very next throw after that, Mahomes is calmly in the pocket surveying and throws a pass into the middle of the red zone to a not-open receiver and it's picked off…but the defender bobbles as he falls to the ground with the INT and it is overturned on review. It doesn’t count on the stat sheet, but it was real. Mahomes had another forced throw in this game that was bobbled by the receiver and picked off but ruled not in-bounds ruled. There was another throw in this game, a simple one where Mahomes should have just thrown it away but he tried to force it in and got lucky it wasn’t picked, as it went harmlessly incomplete.
If I took 100 random throws by a QB in the NFL and put them in a fictitious bag, and pulled out one at random…80-90% of the odds you grab tape of Tom Brady making a smart or safe or logical throw with 10-20% chance at pulling a 'wow' factor throw (at age 40). Blake Bortles almost all one/no-read throws you'd hate grabbing from the bag. Jameis Winston 50% of the throws are on target to receiver (covered or not), 50% way off the mark (even if wide open). Alex Smith 2% 'wow' throws and 98% boring. Patrick Mahomes is different, unlike most any QB in the NFL today – about 60% of this throws leave your jaw dropped that a human could make that pass. 40% of the throws would make you sick to your stomach, and you can't believe a QB would force that throw in that spot. It's like he has no other gear but the extremes. Like a great point guard who gives you Magic Johnson passes one play and then stupidly turns it over trying to make a cute, creative pass the next play…and back and forth he goes.
Guess which passes SportsCenter and the NFL Network show on the highlights with Mahomes? So, guess what the public perception is on Mahomes? He's what you want him to be…what you choose to believe. The media and scouts should know better, but I laughed as I typed that too. Busy fans can't watch all these guys in detail…so they consume what is offered. It looks SOOOO good on Mahomes the way highlights are packaged.
That's why I'm here. I'm your eyes and ears.
Patrick Mahomes is like the 'evil' Dak Prescott. Dak is unflappable and almost always smart with the ball, and not the greatest downfield passer – Dak cuts you apart with a thousand paper cuts. Mahomes is unflappable, a deep-ball master and is a 50-50 coin flip what he's going to do next. Mahomes' 'best' is as good as there has ever been…his bad is virtually unsustainable in today's NFL. I know the NFL…they hate turnovers more than anything. Coaches, and fans sometimes I think, would rather lose a game than have a forced throw turnover or a WR 'drop' or RB fumble trying to 'make plays'. Until Mahomes has the full spotlight/scrutiny his legend is going to grow and the media is going to force out Alex Smith because they want the 50% amazing throws guy…it’s all they look at so he's 100% amazing throws to them. The media doesn’t care if what they do has irreparable damage…they never have and there is never accountability. They just move on from Blake Bortles as if they didn’t proclaim him a god from the jump.
The easy way to assuage fears on Mahomes is to say, "He'll just need to clean that up." A favorite coach and media saying. If only it were that easy. Jameis Winston and Cam Newton have been riding that excuse for years, and it's now been exposed on Bortles. Mahomes will have 2-3 years of fawning media to cover him over so he should work for fantasy ahead, for the most part.
There should be some enthusiasm for Mahomes more than my 50-50 pitch…because Mahomes's 'good 50' is better than anyone else's fitty. If he REALLY can somehow magically 'clean it up' then you have pure greatness here. I just think he is a true gunslinger in every sense -- it in his DNA. It's what makes him great is what also makes him flawed. You take the good with the bad…if the NFL can stomach it.
I'm guessing when the turnovers hit, he'll be over-coached into a different style and be stripped off what made him great and the restriction kills off the 50-60% 'great Mahomes'. Hopefully, he gets the Big Ben treatment – do whatever you want whenever you want because the good outweighs the bad. Let Mahomes be a riverboat gambler -- and he can do things rare other QBs can. Make him a cardboard cutout West Coast guy…you'll steal his soul and he'll be a disappointment.