Well, the answer to the question going into Week 2 of whether the Green Bay Packers defense was for real was just answered two ways: (1) The Packers D got smoked by Atlanta. (2) Seattle's offense, which GB squashed Week 1, just got squashed by the 49ers… a.k.a. one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Seattle really should have lost this game. This wasn't a sloppy performance by Seattle leading to SF hanging around… this was the 49ers playing toe-to-toe with the Seahawks AT Seattle. The spread was +/- 14 and Seattle damn near lost it. Imagine how insufferable I would be had they lost…0-2 and headed to Tennessee. This narrow win doesn’t change the fact that I'm right about Seattle's problems, just like I was with Arizona, ahead of the curve -- Seattle is terribly coached. They are now so bad that they can’t outplay the 49ers at home. Someday the world will agree with me, but we're still not there yet. We would have had more people on my side today had they lost but they pulled out a miracle win because Russell Wilson converted several third downs with his feet late.
Seattle is very lucky they have an easy 2017 schedule to mask their issues. Even if they lose at Tennessee next week, they then have Indy the following week and then they are at the Rams. They'll likely be 3-2 when they hit the Week 6 BYE. If they are 2-3 with a loss to the Rams Week 5…we might get the one thing that could fix all the problems. Seriously, it's just one thing to patch up 2017: fire Darrell Bevell the offensive coordinator. Seattle is so very lucky their division has turned to garbage and they drew the AFC South in the rotation this year, so they play Indy without Andrew Luck. The great fraud of 2017 will be division leading/winning Seattle. The easy wins, which won’t be easy, will help keep the team complacent from doing what needs to be done big picture to win a Super Bowl.
The 49ers are still awful. If they weren't so awful they would have claimed this gift, but Brian Hoyer is terrible yet again for another team while everyone sings his praises as 'not so bad' and believes Kyle Shanahan has pixie dust to sprinkle on him.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What I foresee with Chris Carson (20-93-0, 1-7-0/2) is difficult to explain… a complex and narrow path to walk. So let me try to explain wit 2,000+ rambling words.
The easy thing to do/have done with Chris Carson Week 2 analysis is the typical pattern of fantasy analysts…
(1) I could have been saying two weeks ago, "Hey, they like this Carson kid." If you wrote down every "They like this kid" and “keep an eye on player X” you hear in a typical fantasy football podcast or XM show… you'd need the front and back of the piece of paper. It's the great fantasy analyst con… label every rookie you don’t know a “Sleeper” in some way, shape or form and then when they run for 93 yards on 20 carries, you jump up and say, “See, I told you!” Well, no shit… you told me to keep an eye on about 147 players last week. My roster only holds 15.
(2) Go radio silent on every one of the 147 players not fulfilling the 'keep an eye on' that they prophesied.
When you have control of the microphone you get to talk about all your wins/good calls and never mention your losses/bad calls. THEY hope you don’t remember the bad calls. It makes you feel like you're insane or a lesser human because they tout all these guys who were good last week, but you lost last week… If only you had chosen the right 15 players of the list of 147. Sorry, loser.
Maybe, you’re like me. I tend to remember people's bad predictions more than their good ones. That’s probably why I harp on it so much in my articles, come to think of it. Results matter. I don’t fault them for being wrong all the time... well, I do, but… I fault them for never explaining why they like anything and then never examining what went wrong, if it did, later. You can't just keep liking everything until it's no good anymore and just hop onto the next hot thing like nothing happened.
Actually, I guess you can because I just described 99.9% of football coverage, NFL or fantasy.
I say all that as a lead into this: It's not easy making a very specific call on Chris Carson, especially against the grain. I mean, I'm used to it now… but when it's out on a limb, if I'm wrong you'll think I'm an idiot. I run that risk every day. I think if you've read enough of my work, you know I'm not an idiot. I'm also not afraid to fail… I'm that confident. I'm the best at what I do. I believe I identify football situations and talent better than anyone on the planet. I may rank Tom Brady #2 in a week at QB when he's scored #1 in a given week and thus not win any ranking contests, but I know talent… and I mean the details of talent. Not just he's 'good' or 'bad.’ I think I know the degrees of talent better than anyone because I spent every day for years studying it to crack the code. I don't watch football highlights and join the herd of opinion for safety, and then do fantasy basketball and baseball when those seasons hit. I'm all football all the time.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be wrong. I'm just a lot less wrong than anyone else.
I say all that as a lead into saying the best way to play and interpret the Chris Carson situation is to avoid it or acquire him to trade hot right now. That's not what people want to hear if they have him. I know. It's not what anyone else is saying. I know. He's a rookie and he might be the next Gale Sayers. I know. But here's the way I see it…
Chris Carson is a very good running back talent. He's not great. He's not future elite, but he's good. He could rush for 1,000+ yards as a full starter this year. This is not a question of Carson's skills. He's fine/solid. This is about the situation he is in… mixed with his talent evaluation. This isn't David Johnson, where the talent is obvious and he just rips up the stupid plans the coach had with other players. Carson is good but he's not sending everyone to the bench to watch him in Seattle.
Thomas Rawls (5 carries for 4 yards) looms...lurks. He may get put on I.R. at some point and make the lane less crowded, but for now Rawls is/was a team favorite, a guy who hit the scene with a bang… much like Carson is now. If Rawls is healthy, he looms waiting for a Carson misstep, bad game, fumble, or just to split to keep everyone fresh. Everytime Rawls is a hint of healthy he's pushed to the head of the class.
If Carson were to overcome Rawls, by whatever means, then there is C.J. Prosise (3-22-0/6), a running back that has wide receiver skills… and can also run the ball. CJP is not sitting by idle when healthy. He will take the PPR life out of a Carson-led backfield.
On top of Rawls risk, and CJP touch sharing… you have Seattle as one of the worst offenses in the league featuring terrible game plans and an awful O-line… and a QB who will run for the occasional TD near the goal line as well.
With Chris Carson, you have a very narrow window of high-end fantasy success… the kind of lofty success levels being touted in the media because 'new things might be great, who knows?' I bet "they like this kid" too. Carson is being built up into a god of the moment. Be careful not to join hands with the media on this and miss an opportunity here.
What just happened in Week 2? Chris Carson was the workhorse running back at home versus the worst run defense in the history of football in 2016, a run defense that doesn't look much better this year. Lacy was inactive. Rawls left early. Prosise never ran the ball. The absolute perfect storm of 20 carries for Carson versus a garbage defense and what did you get? 9.3 fantasy points. 10.3 PPR.
It's not Carson's fault. He ran like a champ. This Seattle offense sucks out loud. You’re asking a nice/solid RB to overcome an entire offensive structure and Rawls, Prosise, Lacy, Wilson to find his way to fantasy gold in 2017. It's a lot to ask.
I have no problem sitting on Chris Carson or using him as needed for 2017. There is hope. But when I wake up and see that the media starting to push him as the greatest RB ever and the sure future in Seattle a la Christine Michael 2016 (and Carson is way better than Michael ever was)... I smell an opportunity. I would suggest if you claimed Carson last week, you should try to trade him this week – only trading him 'high'. He's suddenly kissing RB1 legendary status. I would advise you to sell this stock as hot as you can. He's an RB2.5-3.0-ish RB for PPR, maybe… and you might can sell him for RB 1.5 prices or better. I think you do that. You'll find other RB2.5-3.0's. Hell, Chris Thompson is better for PPR than Chris Carson and people barely care about Thompson.
Chris Carson for Tarik Cohen in PPR—you go get Cohen and don’t ask any questions. Laugh all the way to that bank people go to laughingly.
If you have Chris Carson or get him this week, the best thing you can do is trade him at peak rookie derangement.
Long term, for dynasty, I'd have some similar thoughts. Chris Carson may be the future for Seattle, but likely as part of a duo and the same Seattle minds are there now and likely later. Nothing against Carson... it's all economics and situations.
It's likely you'll hear no one of the same opinion this week. When that happens your first inclination is to think me mad/crazy. No, I'm not crazy. I'm just not into conning the audience by group-thinking with people who are always wrong about such things. I'm trying to win all of us a title and I'll do it by any means necessary – one of the ways is to know when to 'sell high', one of the most difficult things to do in fantasy.
It's SELL HIGH, not sell no matter what. If we redrafted today, Carson would be a consensus top 30-40 player taken I suspect…this week. Go get Tarik Cohen… Tyreek Hill… Brandin Cooks… even if that means putting a tiny sweetener on the deal. Use the full force of Carson's current valuation to your advantage. Someone in your league wants Carson and is willing to pay. Find them! There's more than one, I guarantee.
How's that for an opening note?
I'll try to be quicker on the rest of these…
-- Was I wrong about Jimmy Graham (1-1-0/1) selling last week? Bet you wish you had. You've about run out of time now. He has little/no value now. Some of you pulled some slick deals last week using the remaining Graham value points. Congrats.
I was wrong about Graham going into this season, seeing him as the best of the not-top 3-4 tight ends, hoping he could recapture some glory. Nope. More of the same from 2016. The key thing about being wrong is not going radio silent… it's seeing the issue and acting upon it. I tried to get you out with something of value in return last week. This is why I advocated Evan Engram to pair with him going into 2017… because this risk was on the table.
Graham is totally ignored by the passing game, a passing game that is getting worse… plus, he has to stay in to block more than ever. It's hard to click the button but he's droppable. You might get some value putting him in a multiplayer deal as a thrown-in that seems impressive or trading him for a low-level gamble guy…but the clock is about run out on JG for 2017 FF.
What about dynasty for his looming free agency? Sell now, reacquire even cheaper in a few weeks… or just pick up off waivers. Or don’t worry because he'll be 30+ years old and playing for God knows who… and all tight ends are made of glass anyway. Hold if you want, in dynasty, if you can’t get anything. His only 2017 value in dynasty is what might be in 2018.
-- The 49ers are giving more touches to Matt Breida (4-35-0, 1-3-0/2) and he has that lightning strike ability, but I'm really not interested. SF might try to make him a Tyreek-like thing, but Breida just doesn’t have the hands for it. He's straight-line fast and that will lead to a long TD at some point but he's not taking over this backfield. He's a 4-6 touch a game guy you hope pops one.
If I owned him, the week he pops one – I'm a fast seller.
-- George Kittle (2-13-0/4) has all the right measurables on paper, but every time I see him work it's never exciting. He is not a smooth athlete. He's more of a clunky, lumberer… but has good speed on paper. I'm still watching for a change, an uptick but I still don't see it.
-- Tanner McEvoy (0-0-0/2) dropped two key passes in this game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got cut because of it. Now, one drop was not his fault but could have launched him into more playing time if he made the catch. He had a high-point pass thrown to him in the end-zone and he leapt up and had his hands on it, but he was also double covered and got hit as he jumped and grabbed it, and lost it soon after. Incomplete. A TD moment taken away. Later, on a critical 3rd down, he had a pass over the middle for a 1st down and he just flat dropped it. Right in his hands.
Huge moments, career-changing moments…and McEvoy blew it, for now.
-- Good to see Tyler Lockett (6-64-0/9) getting action again. I like Lockett but we're years into this and there are so many WRs like him entering the league. He was the tip of the spear in 2015 but is just another really good WR among about 100 of them now in the NFL 2017+. Lockett could be great in the right situation but he lost his early chance by constantly getting hurt and now works on a terrible passing game offense.
I want to get excited, but I cannot.
-- What to do with Russell Wilson (23-39 for 198 yards, 1 TD/0 INT)? I love him and think he's a much better QB than the numbers show, but he's dead like Chris Carson in this offense. Wilson is constantly running for his life working with a terrible offensive coordinator.
If Seattle loses next week and somehow is 2-3 after Week 5… I'm going to be interested in a buy low if I sense an O-C change is coming. Wilson is a sleeping fantasy giant waiting to be unlocked. Until Darrell Bevell goes… he's imprisoned.