Wow, what a yawner…an easy win for the Saints.
All you need to know about this game, besides the fact that the Panthers played half-assed and the Saints wanted it more – Panthers with the ball, 7+ minutes left in the 3rd-quarter, 4th & 5 on the Saints 35-yard line – a prime opportunity to 'go for it' versus a short punt or long FG…and 'Riverboat Ron' elects to punt…down 24-6. Of course, the punt went out of the end zone…a 15-yard net punt. The Panthers went on to lose 34-13.
I think when Rivera elected to punt, it squelched the last shred of energy/confidence from the Panthers. When the punt went long out of the end zone…that was the dagger. They should've just called the game there.
All the fake machismo from these football coaches, all the 'leave it all on the field' BS…and Rivera is too afraid to go for it in a spot he had all the logical justification to go for, especially when his team is going down in flames and needed a spark.
Most NFL coaches prefer losing doing things 'the right way' than trying to win games getting a little radical. The decision wasn't radical at all. No one agrees it was the right thing to do. The final score didn't either.
Fantasy Players Notes…
-- I know I'm going to drive you crazy with this and you will not 'believe', and that's fine…but you don't realize how close we've all been to a world where Ted Ginn (1-15-0, 2-44-1/3) has 5+ TDs right now on the season. He's had a two near-miss TDs in each game this season…and finally got one in this game – a great catch on a bomb, I might add.
Early in the game, Ginn had his man beat by 5+ yards on a 50+ yard TD…Brees overthrew him by 5+ yards. Later, Ginn got his red zone handoff, as usual, and he raced 15 yards, falling just 2 yards short of a rushing TD…he's been circling the wagons to have a rushing TDs a few times this season.
Ginn is getting prime TD shots. In a non-PPR, I'd have to argue Ginn is a WR2-3 hopeful any given week.
-- I'm starting to see the slow move towards Curtis Samuel (1-31-0, 2-5-0/5) in the Carolina offense – to try to get him touches in his wheelhouse.
Samuel had a nice 31-yard end-around. He also saw two bubble screens set up for him. Sings of hope, but I'm not seeing Samuel 'pop' off the screen for me yet. He's good. Promising. Not 'wow' for me yet. Not like…I just watched ATL-DET – Taylor Gabriel is 'wow'…comparing similar players.
I thought Curtis Samuel might take another step forward this week because Kelvin Benjamin is nicked up and Devin Funchess may be the worst WR in the NFL…worse than DeVante Parker. BUT Samuel got hurt and will miss Week 4. The story of his entire 2017 has been 'hurt'.
Damiere Byrd for a breakout vs. the Patriots in Week 4, anyone? By 'breakout' I mean a 50+ yard TD and no other touches.
-- So…how's that Christian McCaffrey (4-16-0, 9-101-0/11) is the greatest dual-threat player of our lifetime thing going? He's essentially a WR. He's a really cool fantasy asset because he is a RBaWR. He's also #16 in PPR PPG through three games…6 spots behind #10 ranked Tarik Cohen (through Week 3).
-- Alvin Kamara (2-37-1, 3-5-0/50 continues to produce…but also sees less and less touches for some odd reason. 13 opportunities (7 carries, 6 targets) opening week…8 opportunities in Week 2, and 7 opportunities in Week 3. For some reason, Adrian Peterson is still seeing touches.
Eventually, Kamara will matter for PPR as an RB2-3. 12-team redrafts should try to get in ahead on it if he's even out there on waivers anymore. He will be after this week as NO hits a NYE Week 5.
-- Michael Thomas (7-87-1/8) is not my favorite WR, but even I know the Saints try to target him over all their other options – Carolina apparently wasn't aware. It's odd to watch defenses not really throw a lot of coverage at him…I think they realize he's a pretty weak #1 WR. Carolina had linebackers covering Thomas at times.
I don’t dispute Thomas will be a top 15-20 WR this season in PPR, but I just can’t believe the Saints have fallen this far where he's their top target.
-- I know I'm a lunatic, but I still see something in this Saints defense trying to emerge. Not a Browns-like greatness to come, but a solid unit…and not the joke we all think today.
In Week 3, Saints CB Ken Crawley (8 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PDs) debuted and made an instant impact. He's a great cover guy and P.J. Williams (3 tackles, 1 INT) is improving as well. There is some talent here. I bet they whack the Dolphins in London this week.
FYI, CFM-FFM love Ben Heeney was called up from the Saints practice squad, but will not play this week.