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I feel like I could just save a lot of time here and just reprint my Steelers Week 4 recap here. I'm not going to talk about the Steelers first…I'm not going to do what the entire media is doing – disrespecting Jacksonville because the Jags didn't win, the story (according to them) is the Steelers lost…why they lost…how could they lose…is Big Ben done…is there strife in the locker room…?
Zooming right past the football media is – the Jacksonville Jaguars are bad-asses and are closing in on having the best defense in the NFL and no one cares. They're getting the cute 'dem Jags are better -than-you-know' winks from the football media, but they missed this story this summer and continue to now. Instead of doing their job – football analysis and study/reporting, the football media did none of that. They ignored A.J. Bouye to the Jags in free agency as a monumental shift in the AFC South. They ignored Jalen Ramsey as a better rookie in 2016 than Ezekiel Elliott (and you know I'm right…was a year ago…the Dallas Cowboys will regret not taking Jalen Ramsey instead of Ezekiel Elliott…I think the Cowboys may already realize that). THEY didn’t care that Calais Campbell left Arizona for Jacksonville. The Jags drafting Leonard Fournette #4 wasn't as interesting as Dallas drafting Ezekiel Elliott #4 in the NFL Draft…and they damn sure aren’t saying Fournette is 2x the RB talent than Elliott today, but he is...
The football media is only interested in drama…which THEY manufacture half the time. THEY aren’t trumpeting the Jaguars today, THEY're trying to get Big Ben to say something divisive or telling. THEY're too busy telling you who stood for the National Anthem and who didn’t and how wonderful it all is. The football media, like the political media, doesn’t represent the majority of fans and THEY're always on the wrong side of a story or weeks/months late figuring it out.
This isn't a 'what's wrong with the Steelers' story…it's a 'what's right with the Jags' event. Not to the media. Watch the Steelers go knock off the Chiefs this week…I don’t even know the spread of that game yet, but mark me down already as the Steelers as the best bet. The Steelers have issues, but there is no shame getting whacked by the Jaguars…if the media was paying attention to anything at all THEY'd realize that.
The Steelers were already in some football execution/ability peril, but no more than New England, Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle…every good team has flaws. But now the media is here to disrupt and pour accelerant on the campfire to turn it into a five-state forest fire. Don’t blame Ben or Antonio…blame the football media who are no more than TMZ rip-offs. They goaded teams into this National Anthem issue and now they're going to divorce Ben from his confidence, and this football team…just because they smell blood in the water. THEY destroy things for sport and the THEY move on…whether THEY were right or not. The Steelers Super Bowl window of opportunity this final year of Ben…it's about closed now thanks to 'drama', not football.
The best case the Jags have for the Super Bowl is the media doesn’t care about them and won't lower themselves to go to that city. Maybe the Jags should relocate to Connecticut to get any respect.
Summary: Jags 'good', likely to win the AFC South unless Bortles Bortles' it up. Steelers not as bad, but the media is going to try their high school drama tactics to destroy them…just because they like drama, not anything against the Steelers.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Anyone watch this game? Anyone think Leonard Fournette (28-181-2, 1-3-0/1) was the best RB on the field? That’s saying a lot since Le'Veon Bell (15-47-0, 10-46-0/10) was on the other side.
Talent and skill-wise, Leonard Fournette is the second-best RB in the NFL right now. Only David Johnson can claim to be better. Fournette is better than Hunt-McCaffrey-Gurley-Elliott…it's not even close. Le'Veon is the only other worth arguing…and we'll see how he does without Ben next season.
For fantasy 2017, I'm not sure Fournette will be better in PPR than Hunt-McCaffrey-Gurley-Elliott because the Jags offense is so obvious, but if you assume the Jags address QB in the offseason…Fournette will be the best fantasy back to have overall except David Johnson and maybe Le'Veon, depending on his situation.
I've had a couple people ask this question the past week or two, considering the suspension stuff – would I trade Ezekiel for Fournette? The answer is yes, in a flash. In another 20 years, Fournette will be a Hall of Famer and Ezekiel will be on some VH1 shows for washed sports stars who blew all their money and have no other way of making a fancy living but to do appearances beneath their dignity.
594 total yards and 6 TDs = Fournette
527 total yards and 3 TDs = Elliott
If you decide to give up for 2017 and play for 2018 in dynasty, or your planning to sell-off a big-time name for other big-time names…Fournette is one to invest in for the future and should be final all 2017.
-- Jacksonville has a contender for best RB in the NFL (Fournette) but they also have a contender for best CB in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey (7 tackles, 4 PDs) and thus the best cornerback duo in the NFL with Ramsey-Bouye. That's one of the reasons why the NFL should fear the Jags – they're the new 'no-fly zone'.
Antonio Brown's (10-157-0/19) best/longest catch came early when he pushed off Ramsey so blatantly…but the NFL never calls OPI just DPI. That big play led to a field goal…that should have never been. Once the blowout ensued the Jags let up on Antonio just trying to swarm him for easy picks or just keep them out of the end zone. The strategy worked pretty well. Ramsey was awesome when it mattered. He should be up for Defensive Player of the Year, but he won’t…Jacksonville isn't acknowledged as a real NFL team.
-- Speaking of the Jags defense, I think this game solidifies their arrival as a top DST…totally humiliating the Steelers at Pittsburgh. They've had a bad half versus Tennessee and the Jets got lucky on a play or two the prior week. Mostly they've been not 'good' but dominant.
Week 6 vs. Goff is their toughest game the rest of 2017. They have a schedule that is begging they finish out as the top DST for 2017 in fantasy from Week 7 on.
-- Speaking of DST's…many of us have either/or PIT or JAX. Don’t think poorly of your Steelers DST because of 30 points allowed here. 13 came on defensive scores and then the very late give-up 90-yard TD to Fournette. 10 points allowed was the 'real' number in my mind.
In regulation this season, the Steelers defense has given up 18-9-17-9-17 points in their five games. This is a really good defense. I don’t love them against KC Week 6, but I love them most every week the rest of the season (except Week 12 v. GB and Week 15 v. NE).
-- I've written enough about the demise of Big Ben (33-55 for 312 yards, 0 TD/5 INT) going back to the 2nd-half of the 2016 season. Plenty of people are talking about it now, and Ben is as well. Ben will likely have a few more good games up his sleeve, and I expect the Steelers to win the NFC North (maybe) but I have little doubt this is Ben's last season.
When Ben goes, your Antonio Brown stock is going to take a hit. You almost have to keep Antonio now and enjoy this last great season and then maybe trade him when the Steelers sign some name QB that gets people excited in 2018.
-- Javon Hargrave (10 tackles) had a huge game for tackle totals, but a lot of that is due to the running the ball 37 times and passing just 14 times. This was just a blip, not a sign Hargrave is about to become a useable DL IDP yet. He's a talent, but not IDP-worthy yet.
Snap Counts of Interest...
65 = JuJu
62 = Martavis
72 = Jesse James
15 = Vance McDonald
39 = Hurns
34 = Lee
27 = Keelan Cole
39 = Fournette
15 = Ivory
01 = Corey Grant
33 = Hargrave (61%)