There's no more of a 'dead in the water' team than the Miami Dolphins right now. Totally listless. The team has taken on the image of its QB. The Dolphins should’ve taken all the millions they paid Jay Cutler and lit on fire…and they would have achieved the same results this season. But, HEY!! He knows the Adam Gase offense!!!! Knowing the Adam Gase offense has yielded 6 points the past two weeks to the vaunted defenses of the Jets and Saints. Miami is done for 2017. Tennessee (if Mariota playing) and Atlanta the next two weeks…Miami will probably be 1-4 after Week 6…on their way to a 3-4 win season.
The Saints have transformed into a run and safe pass team with an improving defense. Drew Brees (29-41 for 268 yards, 2 TD/0 INT) has thrown for 220 and 268 yards in their two wins the last two weeks. If Carolina falls out of favor and if you see Tampa Bay as a fraud…the Saints are the only team that can push Atlanta in the NFC South -- and they won’t face each other until Weeks 14 and 16.
The problem for the Saints is that they are no longer a high-powered offense with great weapons all over. They throw to great hands/slow feet Michael Thomas and run too much of a three-headed RB monster. The Saints have scored 20 or fewer points in three of their first 4 games of 2017 – and just scuffled on offense despite facing Miami with a rookie CB starting last second. The Saints are the quintessential 8-8 team that can beat teams they shouldn’t and will lose to teams they shouldn’t…basically like they've been the last few seasons.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- This is the game that launches Alvin Kamara (5-25-0, 10-71-1/10) into PPR starter status, I guess. Rookie + 10 catches in a game = Rookie Derangement Syndrome. It should. I just wrote that it was Kamara-time a day ago – here we are. For leagues he's on waivers in still…note the Saints are on a BYE next week.
The Saints are transforming into a controlled, safe offense…which is why Kamara will be the top Saints fantasy RB – simple dump passes are a charm for Brees. Sean Payton has grappled with Mark Ingram for two years and Adrian Peterson for two weeks about touches and playing time. Ingram and AP come in and out of the games with no emotion; disgusted by the rotation (it seems to me looking at their body language) – whereas Kamara races in and out like an excited puppy. It's Kamara time now. Coach's Pet.
Cohen…McCaffrey…Kamara…here come all the 'RBaWR's into the NFL because the college game is much more offensively advanced and free than the NFL.
-- OK, I cannot defend Ted Ginn (1-9-0, 2-25-0/2). He had no 'near-miss' TDs in this game. Drew Brees is only looking to Michael Thomas first, second, third among WRs/TEs…and then everyone else randomly and intermittently. Only when the Saints face a shutdown corner will it change but they don’t have many of them on the schedule this season.
Ginn can be dropped in 12-team/15-16 man roster leagues. Deeper rosters…he may matter down the line if he and Brees just need 'time together'.
Ginn is averaging 4.0 targets and 0.75 carries per game this season. That's not enough to work for traditional fantasy.
-- Jay Ajayi (12-46-0, 1-8-0/1) didn’t seem to favor his knee or anything like that – he was just ineffective because he's just a 'solid' (not great) talent and his offense is 'terrible' in general.
In his last 8 games, Ajayi has tallied 221 yards rushing on 81 carries…2.7 ypc.
In his last 8 games, Ajayi has one game over 50 yards rushing.
I thought Damien Williams (1-1-0, 0-0-0/2) might see more opportunity in this game, but he had his usual sporadic touch count. Even if he rises to starter due to any Ajayi injury, Williams has little hope in this offense.
I think Miami would push Kenyan Drake (1-6-0, 2-5-0/3) ahead of Williams to begin a post-Ajayi week. I like Williams to win the battle over Drake, if it comes to it, but I don’t think anyone wins in this Miami backfield.
-- Miami is going to be down in games a lot in coming weeks, so as much as I watch DeVante Parker (6-69-0/8) work in games and shake my head at what a weak WR he really is (for a 'star') – I know he'll be getting a ton of targets in junk time so he has FF value. He's just not my cup of tea.
When I watch Miami tape, I see Jarvis Landry (6-40-0/7) seems to be the focus when the game is still a game, and Parker is more a guy when things get out of reach.
Targets per game (2017)…
Parker: 9-8-10 (9.0 per game)
Landry: 15-11-7 (11.0 per game)
-- Julius Thomas (2-29-0/4) got a big payday a few years ago, and apparently just 'enjoyed it'. He looks as disinterest in Miami as he did in Jacksonville. What a total piss of money down the drain he was since leaving Denver. He has not registered over 30 yards receiving in his last 10 games going back to 2016.
-- I sheepishly endorsed the Saints defense as possibly 'on the rise' after last week's performance, now that Ken Crawley (4 tackles, 2 PDs, 1 INT) is back. He's a talented cover guy and the Saints has some nice young talent in their defensive backfield.
The Saints have young talent all over the defense. With more time they might continue to gel…and make a run at the NFC South since Atlanta is getting exposed as a bit of a fraud.
I'm not endorsing the Saints DST for pickup or anything yet…just noting they are not the patsy everyone makes them out to be.
Ken Crawley has 2.0 PDs per game since his return to action Week 3.
-- Rookie LB Alex Anzalone (1 tackles) got hurt on one of the first few plays of this game and never returned – a shoulder injury, which has been an issue for him back to college. If he's out…note – the Saints called up Ben Heeney from the practice squad last week. He might be ready for some playing time Week 6, after the Saints Week 5 BYE.
For those that haven’t been with us for years – we graded Heeney as one of the top linebackers in the 2015 NFL Draft (up there with Eric Kendricks). Heeney was starting to get playing time last in his rookie year, and posted three games with 7 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his final 7 games of 2015. He was a starter for Oakland, and the playcaller to begin the 2016 campaign…and then a rift, then a benching after Week 2…then hurt…then released this offseason. I will be so jacked if Heeney comes in for the Saints and starts pounding 10+ tackle games as Oakland sinks below .500 and sinks to the bottom of the defensive rankings.