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Is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinate amount of games this season where whatever team is winning/going on to win just completely obliterating the opposing team – like the opposing team gives up at a certain point and then it really gets out of hand? And that it's usually the team blowing out the other had just played poorly the prior week and/or was the underdog in this fresh blowout win? Just me?
Oakland is one of the latest 'greatest teams in football'/Super Bowl sleepers to get humiliated in a given week. It's best not to overreact to these things in 2017 because Oakland will probably win by 50 next week…and I don't even know who they're playing at the moment I'm writing this. But given the wild swings in the NFL this year -- put me down for Oakland -50.0 Week 4.
As I was watching this game, I couldn't help but think about what I wrote about Oakland last week – that the Marshawn Lynch carefree ('carefree says the adoring media who share the same thoughts 100% of the time), but I say not carefree but 'care less'...that 'care less Marshawn Lynch' and his dancing queen/fool antics last week opened a Pandora's box that could destroy this team.
Marshawn Lynch could care less about your/his own football team and whether it wins or loses. He is literally using Oakland to build his brand – and they thought they were using him to help win the Super Bowl. By Marshawn Lynch acting foolish during a blowout win on the sidelines as management chuckled – we all saw something that never happens between ultra-controlling coaches and their captive audience players. In the fragile NFL ecosystem of the player as subservient to the head coach who holds the key to playing time, etc. – Marshawn Lynch realized he is in charge, not Jack Del Rio. He can do whatever he wants. He doesn't need the money. He doesn't need their Super Bowl ring. He just needs a camera on him and a fat paycheck if they're willing to give it to him…but he doesn't even really need the money either; he's set. Oakland literally has nothing to keep Lynch in line. Lynch doesn't care about touch counts, extra film study...he doesn't care about anything. I have no problem with that except for the NFL team unit is not built on players being carefree – it's built on them being meticulous, stuffy, subservient.
Last week, Marshawn Lynch put it on full display – the inmates run the asylum in Oakland. One player being a free spirit is one thing – when more teammates join him it's a problem. When the ones that don't join him start to get aggravated by his/the other's antics and their lack of 110% effort/seriousness, the fragile ecosystem breaks down. It's not the first time it's ever happened – but this particular situation stood out to me glaringly last week.
This week, the offensive line couldn't block, the supposed next Aaron Rodgers couldn't complete a pass, and Marshawn Lynch couldn't run the ball…but I didn't notice Marshawn on my TV screen at one moment bouncing his head around like he was peacefully listening to a song only he could hear during this whitewashing. Typically, you're supposed to look solemn/in tears during a loss. Not Marshawn Lynch…he doesn't care. I'm not saying he has to…but I am saying when others start to cop the same attitude there's going to be a locker room fracture. And then there's going to be difficulty bringing in free agents if it continues into next year. More free spirits want to play for the undisciplined team while more diligent players go to New England or Kansas City, etc. – that's a recipe for disaster.
For all I know, Oakland will go on to win the Super Bowl with their free spirit ways. I'm just laying out something to watch for if Oakland fall short of lofty expectations…or if this is a way to win in the new era. I'm fascinated with it. I'm not 'Marshawn Lynch is a jerk' guy…I'm genuinely fascinated to see how this plays out. I think it's comical. As a person who likes anarchy, I kinda can't take my eyes off what might happen here. I like the prisoners (the players) rebelling against terrible authority (the coaches).
I'm not sure that we can all bow down to Washington after this game because it appeared as if Oakland had never played American football before in this game. I'm not sure the Raiders realized Chris Thompson was an actual player for the Redskins it was eligible to touch the football or that they were allowed to tackle him. Has there ever been a guy more wide-open and with more room to run after the catch than Chris Thompson last night?
If Washington can continue to throw simple, obvious player passes to Thompson out of the backfield and he takes all of them for 50+ yards every time – the Redskins might win the Super Bowl this year. I'm guessing that's not going to happen.
Fantasy player notes…
-- Let's talk some Samaje Perine 19-49-0, 1-6-0/1)...
It's going to be an unpleasant conversation for some. It's not an interpretation that I guarantee or is meant for dynasty circumstances. This is more for right here, right now 2017 redraft.
Samaje Perine's situation is like a worse version of Chris Carson's – the Chris Carson I told you to trade last week and will again this week. Only you can't trade Samaje Perine. Nobody really wants him.
The reason I believe you should've traded Carson hot last week is because he works behind a bad O-Line, has an incumbent, similar RB constantly lurking that the coaches like too (Rawls), and there is a receiving back that's going to steal much of the PPR juice (Prosise). Chris Carson is in a box in Seattle that makes him an RB2-3 in PPR, but the media was/is pushing him as Seattle's new Savior. You had to make a stock trade on that if someone was paying RB1 money.
Samaje Perine has a worse situation…
Rob Kelley is the beloved incumbent. There has never been a moment in the preseason or regular-season what are you saw any signs of Jay Gruden pushing Perine over Kelly. Not for a second. Chris Carson got better treatment from his coach in the preseason up to before last week than Perine did.
Chris Thompson is playing better than C.J. Prosise. Chris Thompson isn't going away. Even if Rob Kelley goes on the IR, Perine is then splitting work with Thompson.
The last similarity between Perine and Carson is they work behind a bad O-Line. We all realize that with Seattle, but doesn't Washington have a good O-Line? I don't know, you tell me – Matt Jones flamed out. Rob Kelley stinks. Samaje Perine had 400 carries for exactly 3 yards each time last night…what about the Redskins run blocking excites you exactly the past two seasons? If it's not the O-Line then it's the playcalling. All I've seen are tugboat Redskins' RBs slamming between the tackles for little gain the past two years. What I saw with Perine last night was him slamming into tacklers at the line of scrimmage all night and it didn't give me one ounce of enthusiasm for next week.
Later in the game, Perine fumbled in his own red zone – giving Oakland a perfect setup for an easy score. Jamison Crowder muffed a punt away. Quarterbacks can throw interceptions. Wide receivers can drop passes. Defenders can miss tackles. But running backs are absolutely not allowed to fumble…especially when the narrative coming in was this guy (Perine) wasn't getting a chance because of ball security issues.
Honestly, I look at Samaje Perine in the entire last two months with the Redskins – and I can only theorize that Jay Gruden really doesn't care for him one way or the other. Pete Carroll couldn't love Chris Carson any more in his actions and in his words the last two months. Jay Gruden seems like he might be willing to cut Samaje Perine if he had any other RB talent on the roster.
I say all this not to tell you to trade Perine hot like Chris Carson. You can't because literally no one cares about Samaje Perine. He's done nothing in the preseason or the regular season, all of the media vibe has been against him, his coaches never say a gushing word about him. I mention all of this because as soon as Rob Kelley looks like he's going to play – you might as well run from Samaje Perine in redraft. If Perine is week to week with the hand issue – feel free to drop him for anything else to speculate on.
I know I've been super high on Perine – calling for him to be the Jordan Howard of 2017. I don't rule out that it's still not possible to happen. There's just a lot of debris in the way right now…more than Howard had. Samaje Perine got his big chance last night -- and he blew it, in my mind. The fumble late was the topper -- I know it will be held against him.
You don't have to quick ditch or throw Perine into the trash. I'm just saying don't make any special considerations to hold anymore. It's another sticky situation that's moment to moment fluid...but stacked against Perine. Kelley has to be completely out of the way for this to work now. Perine has to be forced on Gruden, like last week.
Trading Perine to the Kelley owner may be the only value Perine has in redraft right now if you feel you need the Perine space for something else right now. Hold Perine until we know whether Kelley is coming back or not. Loosely hold…
-- I like Chris Thompson (8-38-0, 6-150-1/7) just fine, but if I remove two plays from his 2017 season he is averaging 19.3 yards rushing and 52.3 yards receiving per game with 2 TDs. Still, really good/useful for fantasy.
The Redskins' backfield is such a cluster, Thompson may really be the one to try to ride. He's not a breakout star of the future, but he's good enough and in a good spot for FF-success right now.
-- Let's talk about two WRs from this game that are dying a slow/fast death – Amari Cooper and Terrelle Pryor.
I don’t know how you can trust Amari Cooper (1-6-0/5) as anything more than a WR3 right now. He was ignored in the Jets crush party in Week 2 and was part of the gang that couldn’t get open in Week 3. There is zero spark between him and Derek Carr right now.
Cooper hasn’t had an 80+ yard game in his last 11 regular-season games. In that span – 3.72 catches per game. He's become a joke and he's dropping passes all over the place in 2017. I don’t know how a guy goes from one of the greatest college WRs of the past few years, a breakout star as a rookie and half of his following season…to then going dead the second half of 2016 and into 2017. I don't know what it is…I just know that it 'is'.
Michael Crabtree getting hurt and being out might be the only thing that could revive him.
Terrelle Pryor (2-19-0/4) is not clicking with Kirk Cousins at all. Week 1 had near misses to a 100+ yard game and almost 1-2 TDs. Since that troublesome, but with moments of encouragement, Week 1…Pryor has been targeted 4 times each game and caught just two passes each game. Until you see a change, we have to assume there is trouble in paradise here and start making other plans/send Pryor to the bench.
I wouldn’t quit Pryor because this might just be 'they need time', like how Brady-Cooks needed 2.5 games to show a spark. Cousins-Pryor didn’t click in the preseason, as I harped on…and nothing yet in the regular season.
-- If Michael Crabtree goes down, fair warning…I'm breaking my 'no talk zone' on Cordarrelle Patterson (2-5-0, 1-7-0/2). Carr has to throw to someone? Why not backup RB Cordarrelle Patterson?
-- Preston Smith (2 tackles, 1 sack) appears back on track as a sack master – he has a sack in each of the Redskins first three games of 2017. Smith had 8.0 sacks in limited play as a rookie in 2015. A disappointing 4.5 sacks in 2016. He's on pace for 16.0 sacks in 2017!
-- Speaking of the Redskins defense – we might have to take this unit seriously for fantasy purposes.
Week 1 they gave up 30 points to the Eagles, but 7 points of that on a defensive score late and 7 other points on a total BS Carson Wentz almost sacked, bounces around like a pinball, escapes to find a player wide open from broken coverage due to the sack that never was. Week 2 they kept a lid on the suddenly brilliant Rams offense – held to 20 points. Week 3, they humiliated the once thought to be great offensive the Raiders.
The schedule is choppy but not awful ahead…
Week 4: Alex Smith/KC
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Wentz
Week 7: Dak
Then a three-game stretch with the worst O-Lines in the NFL…
Week 8: Seattle
Week 9: Saints
Week 10: Giants
The Redskins have forced 7 turnovers in their first three games of 2017. Their schedule leans more favorable than not. They are #5 in yards per game allowed, #2 in rushing yards allowed. There is something here. The Redskins, not the Eagles, not the Giants are the real threat to Dallas in the NFC East…and I totally did not see it coming.