This was a fun game to watch. A lot of passing but all field goals because of the offensive inefficiencies, until the clutch TD in OT. It's exciting two watch OT and see that first FG and then the other team gets a chance to win with a TD or lose if the drive fails. Two teams, I don’t find that exciting to watch, played a very exciting to watch game.
Because these teams don’t seem that exciting it would be easy to blow past it, but I'm glad I re-watched this in detail because a few 'rad' things jumped out at me. We'll get to that in the player section.
Arizona won, luckily, in OT…the second lucky-OT win in three weeks. This team could easily be 0-4 but are 2-2. A bad, flimsy 2-2. However, us David Johnson owners should pray the Cardinals keeping winning. The more Arizona has a delusional chance to win the division…the more likely DJ comes back and/or comes back early. If Arizona falls to 2-8 by Thanksgiving…DJ might as well take a vacation. A 5-5 Arizona team in a topsy-turvy NFC West might see him back quicker than expected for the Thanksgiving week of games.
If Arizona beats Philly this week, and Seattle takes down the Rams…a three-way tie at 3-2 after five weeks in the NFC West -- and a very fertile ground for DJ to hurry up and get back to. A Cards loss (likely) and Rams win (likely) sends Arizona to 2-3 and the Rams to 4-1. The Cardinals would still be alive but on shaky ground if they lose this week and the Rams win.
I think Week 10 hosting Seattle will be Arizona's 'moment' of 'done' or 'alive'. I think they'll be 4-4 entering that game with Seattle probably 4-4 as well. The winner takes a huge step forward in the wild card. A 4-4 Arizona team heading to play Seattle would crave DJ returning sooner-rather-than-later. Winning in Week 5, a game they are likely to lose, would be a huge step in the faster return of superhuman David Johnson.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The biggest revelation from this re-watch: I think Trent Taylor (5-47-0/10) is about to happen. A legit WR3 in PPR out of the ashes of the 49ers depth chart.
The reason I believe it's Taylor-time is because I just watched him go to war with Tyrann Matthieu. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the master craftsman/Welker-esque Taylor eat alive the ridiculous Honey Badger a.k.a. the most overrated safety in football and wildly overpaid, and a big reason why the Cardinals' franchise is going to collapse/is collapsing. That's a long a.k.a., but appropriate and what I've said for 2+ years now.
Taylor slid in and out of pass route cuts and left Matthieu on his backside by 1-3 yards every time. Tyrann got so mad he body slammed Taylor after one particular catch and then got up in Trent's face…and no penalty. He tried to intimidate and cheap shot Taylor all game and TT just worked him.
It's important to know the backdrop of Taylor v. Tyrann from this game. My interest isn't just 'Taylor saw 10 targets, and that's cool, maybe he'll see targets next week too'. It's deeper than that. No one on the 49ers could watch this game tape and not see what a little spark plug they have in Taylor…a Welker/Edelman/Amendola/Beasley/Snead type receiver they have here – limited size and speed, but stellar agility and routes/cuts and ultra-reliable hands. We all knew that from most scouting sources, so I'm not hitting you with anything fresh, per se…but you can see 'next Wes Welker's' everywhere on paper, it's another thing to see them succeeding in hand-to-hand combat with a respected slot cover guy…and winning the battles, as a green rookie.
For fantasy, it's another thing to see the QB see it and trust Taylor enough to keep throwing it that way. On the very first series, Taylor had three targets and two catches. Here's what everyone could miss – on the final drive for the 49ers, their FG in OT – Taylor saw 4 targets on the drive, but only one officially. He was so in Matthieu's head that they were grabbing and hitting him all over. Taylor had 10 targets officially, but he really had more like 13 with the late penalties nullifying some.
This game, I could see it – Hoyer trusts Taylor. If that's true, here comes several 7-10+ target games, with 4-7 catches for X amount of yards each game.
Taylor's 2017 to-date:
Week 1: 24 snaps, 1 catch on 1 target
Week 2: 21 snaps, 2 catches on 4 targets
Week 3: 37 snaps, 3 catches on 4 targets
Week 4: 47 snaps, 5 catches on 10 (13) targets.
2016 for La. Tech: 9.7 catches, 128.8 yards, 0.86 TDs per game (14 games).
Taylor is a legit talent at 5'8"/181, 4.63 40-time, but 6.74 three-cone/4.01 short shuttle. He is Wes Welker reincarnated, only better…trained and raised to be a Welker-like receiver and in Week 4 of 2017, we saw the first real signs of it happening. His issue for fantasy production isn't on himself but on Brian Hoyer. I think Hoyer will like this short, safe, simple outlet.
I think he has a chance to lead this team in catches and yards before the season is over…and lead all 2017 rookie WRs in catches. The circumstances may be 'just right' here. I’d like to see Week 5 to get a better confirmation, but if he has 10 more targets and 5+ catches…you'll be in a dogfight over him off waivers.
— I’m so fired up about what I think I saw with Trent Taylor that it’s making me overlook a fantastic performance by Jaron Brown (8-105-0/12). Jaron is just a very good, physically bigger-than-we-think, professional wide receiver. He reminds me a little of Rishard Matthews. There were a few times in this game where Brown physically dominated his coverage.
I don’t trust Carson Palmer (33-51 for 357 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) all that much anymore, but I also know Arizona has no running game and the only way they’re going to hang with opponents is by throwing. Even if they’re throwing down by 21 trying to get back into the game. I see a lot of throwing in Arizona future.
You think they’re going to throw to Larry Fitzgerald (4-32-1/7) all the time because he had that unbelievable Week 3 Monday night game -- but have you seen his numbers outside of that one game? 4-32-1/7, 3-21-0/6, 6-74-0/13…4.3 rec., 42.3 yards, 0.33 TDs per game.
John Brown (3-47-0/7)? He hasn’t been relevant for three years. But I agree he’s there.
JJ Nelson (3-43-0/4) is a sweet deep threat but he keeps weaving in and out of being the most important receiver on this team for fantasy, but never seems to put 2-3 games in a row together consistently/healthy.
A healthy Jaron Brown has a chance to be the stable force in this passing game a la Rishard Matthews – which means we're talking more of a WR3 candidate with a shot at WR2, but WR2 is on the table – Jaron has that kind of talent. There’s a lot of other passing game mouths to feed in Arizona to get too too excited here.
I love this for Jaron – the schedule is going to be great for a couple more weeks, so he has usefulness in the cards the next few weeks at least. @PHI, TB, @LA, BYE, @SF.
Jaron's targets the last three games: 11-6-12
4.7 rec., 68.3 yards, 0.33 TDs per game…and another TD called back in the Dallas game in the last three weeks.
— There was a little concern with Carlos Hyde’s (16-68-0/5-27-0/6) hip going into this game, but he was active and looked just fine. A few of us were prompted to pick up Matt Breida (9-16-0, 1-4-0/3) off waivers as a Hail Mary shot just in case but not much came of it.
Breida flashes athleticism and looks lost simultaneously working in this backfield after 4 weeks…like he’s just learning how to be an NFL RB -- which is logical for a UDFA jumping to NFL action. He has an athleticism and burst like Tarik Cohen, but nowhere near the instincts and receiving ability. However, he did shake loose and catch an 11-yard TD in this game, but it got called back on a penalty.
Breida definitely the Carlos Hyde handcuff, and a longshot to be a change of pace/PPR back you could use from time to time and fantasy. I don’t think fantasy relevance is around the corner for Breida unless Hyde gets hurt, which Hyde tends to do.
— Aldrick Robinson (3-52-0/12) got a bigger opportunity in this game and didn’t do much with it. I think I am done looking for Robinson to emerge anywhere. He has the athleticism. He makes highlight reel plays every so often, but there’s just never any consistency.
— I'm not an Andre Ellington (5-18-0, 9-86-0/14) fan, I’ve never been…but this current Arizona situation warrants interest in Ellington especially because Arizona needs to throw all the time – so, Ellington‘s going to see a lot of work in the backfield as the best receiving option; an easy check down, safety valve. He also made some nice catches on intermediate throws in this game. He’s going to be a legit RB3 in PPR, I have a feeling…while David Johnson is out.
Ellington's last two games with his new role established: 7.0 rec., 72.0 rec. yards, 20 rushing yards per game.
— Rookie DT/DE Solomon Thomas (5 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2.0 TFLs) started to flash a little bit more in this game. Every week I see a little more of him progressing, and I think this was his best game by far. I don’t know whether his role in 2017 will lead fantasy relevance but we’ll see. I love him as a DT prospect, but not so much as a DE option. He works just fine as a DE, but projects with star numbers for DT…but he seems to be more of a DE at heart.
3.0 tackles, .025 sacks, .075 TFLs per game = Thomas YTD
-- The 49ers defense is a joke, right? They've allowed 23-12-41-12 (22.0 PPG) in regulation (not OT) this season. That's not bad. #15 against the run, #22 against the pass…young players developing. They won’t be a 2017 story, but just note they are not a joke like in 2016.
Snap Counts of Interest…
82 = Jaron
82 = Fitz
53 = John Brown
25 = JJ Nelson
74 = Garcon
73 = Aldrick
47 = Taylor
09 = Goodwin
58 = Hyde
26 = Brieda
69 = Solomon Thomas (80%)
42 = Deone Bucannon (1st game back in 2017)