Just when you think the Denver Broncos are the best team in football… down they go to the Buffalo Bills, 26-16. Many a person was miffed by this one. Analysts are calling it a shocker. It's only a shocker if you enter the arena with bad logic… the logic that the Buffalo Bills are a bad football team, that they're 'the Bills.'
The media isn't going to give the Bills the time of day, until forced, for several reasons. (1) No one cares about Buffalo. It's not a hotbed for the media. See also: Jacksonville. (2) Sean McDermott is not playing along with the crowd. He's not doing it THEIR way. He's not listening to the Mike Mayock crowd. McDermott traded Sammy Watkins *GASP* among a flurry of several trades and free agent moves, purging himself of Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley let downs and disasters and bringing in professional football players. You CAN'T trade Sammy Watkins because the groupthink media all group-thinks that he's the greatest WR ever seen. Afterall, he went to Clemson. Can you imagine how good he'd be if he went to Alabama? McDermott basically gave him away... Actually, he robbed the Rams and Les Snead of several picks and a useful player. 'Too Cool' Les Snead get pickpocketed by Stone Cold Sean McDermott.
Because the football media understands nothing and spends so much time crafting thoughtful monologues on team unity and opposition to the President concerning the national anthem that they spend no time on actually studying the games, teams, players… They believed McDermott was tanking/rebuilding this offseason. They thought, “No one in their right mind would trade Sammy Watkins on purpose!” McDermott did… along with several other players. He had the same attitude in free agency. McDermott has been one of the shrewdest, if not THE shrewdest personnel guy in 2017. All happening right under the media's nose because he's doing things opposite of what their groupthink chart tells them to do with each player.
So, “hapless” Buffalo hands it to Denver this week, to go to 2-1 on the season… After a near miss in Week 2 against Carolina that nearly had them at 3-0. The media focus will be on what Denver did wrong or something about a letdown after a big win last week. The story should be this — the Buffalo Bills are about to make a run at the playoffs. Only one team in the NFL hasn’t allowed a passing TD this season—I'll let you guess who—and it's not the vaunted “no-fly zone” Broncos.
FYI, the Bills open up at -8.0 at Atlanta Week 4… The Falcons are 3-0 but could very well be 1-2 without a win over battered-down Green Bay. No respect for Buffalo still.
Denver played a pretty good game here. It wasn't a letdown. They just faced a playoff caliber team, led by their defense, at Buffalo… and lost. They had some things go against them which would have pushed them to winning this game but Denver got out-Denvered by Buffalo. In 2017, that's not the crime people think.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The first thing I did with this game tape was watch only Trevor Siemian (24-40 for 259 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) versus the Buffalo Bills defense. Why? I wanted to see if Siemian gave us a head fake after I endorsed him and I wanted to see how real this Bills defense is… a defense that has allowed no TD passes and has 4 picks on the season and is #1 in the league in points allowed with 12.3 per game.
The verdict? The Buffalo Bills defense is damn good, and Trevor Siemian, spare 1-2 throws is still really good.
I'm getting a lot of 'Siemian or Goff' to stash questions as a QB2 for people. I'm good with either, but I think Denver wants to pass less and rely on defense so edge to Goff there.
Siemian was fine in this game, especially considering how good the Bills' defense is. He was robbed of a 44-yard pass play on an Emmanuel Sanders (7-75-0/15) catch downfield that I don’t know how was reversed into a 'didn’t control the ball to the ground'. He caught a pass, turned and ran 2-3-4-10 steps, got hit and bobbled the ball a slightly as he was going down and landed on it. I have no idea why it was reversed under the 'full control rule'… which is a sickening rule after watching this. That play would have taken Denver from their own goal line to midfield, and driving. Siemian might have racked a 300+ yard game and maybe take away some Buffalo momentum at that point. The NFL is a fickle 'game of inches'.
For the most part, Siemian was noticeable throwing nice completions or throwing passes where only his receivers could make a play. Sanders ended up with two drops of 70+ yards worth of passes in this game. They weren't Siemian's fault… nor normal for Sanders. Siemian did try to force two passes on the run and got caught for picks. His WRs didn’t help him out on them at all, but he still didn’t make great throws. Besides that, I thought Siemian looked a lot better than most QBs I saw on Sunday.
The Bills defense is really good; very meticulous and energized. This is the Sean McDermott that built the Panthers' 2015 Super Bowl run defense and launched Josh Norman as a top corner. On his Bills' unit, he has 1st round pick Tre'Davious White (7 tackles, 4 PDs) as a top corner. Siemian tried to pick on him but White wasn't having it for the most part.
McDermott has remade this defense in his image, taking draft picks and no names and making the NFL's top defense after three weeks. They won't finish at the top but they'll likely finish top 10. They're doing this without much from their best defensive player, the injured Marcell Dareus.
After Week 4 at Atlanta, this defense gets Dalton-BYE-Winston-Carr-McCown. There are a few useful DST spots in there.
-- Jamaal Charles (9-56-1, 1-1-1/1) had his first 'better than' C.J. Anderson (8-36-0, 2-7-0/2) game of 2017. Charles deserves some kind of equal billing or feature on this offense. That may speak to you to pick up/hold Jamaal, or to sell CJA off… but Jamaal is going to be a cloud hovering over Anderson all season.
I think the coach is all in on Anderson, so I'm not ready to get ultra-excited yet for Jamaal… but the coach may have no choice if Jamaal keeps showing off.
Nothing against CJA but when you have healthy Jamaal Charles, he needs to have some kind of prominent role.
-- Bills LB Ramon Humber (8 tackles, 1 PD) is averaging 10.3 tackles per game this season and has become IDP gold for the Sean McDemott's new defense.
-- LeSean McCoy has 30 yards rushing on 26 carries the last two games combined. I don’t see anything wrong with McCoy. It’s just everyone stuffing the box when he's in. You gotta stick by him. He's not a sell or a buy, he just is. He hasn’t scored a TD yet in 2017, but I'm sure he'll get them ahead. If anything, I’d buy McCoy low than sell or worry.
-- Demaryius Thomas (6-98-0) vs. Emmanuel Sanders (7-75-0/15) working with Trevor Siemian…
9.7 targets, 5.3 catches, 54.3 yards, 0.67 TDs = Sanders
8.3 targets, 5.7 catches, 78.7 yards, 0.00 TDs = Thomas
Looking at this game tape, it looks like Siemian doesn’t favor one guy. He favors that guy's matchup or opportunity. He works DT on a lot of shorter, quick hitters and tries to stretch things with Sanders.
2016 in three games against OAK-NO-KC… where Denver was in the thick if the AFC West race, the weather hadn't turned, Siemian back healthy and had 7 TD passes in three games:
5-56-0/10, 8-87-1/11, 5-60-0/8 (6.0 rec., 67.7 yards, 0.33 TD) = Thomas
5-47-0/11, 5-54-0/9, 7-162-1/10 (5.7 rec., 91.0 yards, 0.33 TD) = Sanders
I don't see any real pattern between these two except Siemian uses them a lot but doesn’t rely on them as much in the end zone. He seems to prefers others in the red zone. These two guys are constant WR2s… 4-7 catches and 40-80 yards per game, 5-7 TDs on the season.
-- Jordan Matthews (3-61-0/5) is inching his way towards WR3-4 status. I think he might be a WR2-3 eventually this season, but we're not at WR3-4 hardly. Limited passing game, limited TD passes.