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Did I not tell you the Rams were the Best Bet of the week? Actually, The Computer (now 71%+ in Blazing Five picks YTD) did that.
Did I not tell you that the Rams were a legit Super Bowl contender/top 5 team in the league?
Did I not tell you that Jared Goff is the new Tom Brady?
This is information you need ahead of time…not 2-3-5+ weeks from now when the football media wakes up to it. The time to buy on the Rams, and everything logical fantasy-related, is now…and has been for a few weeks. Buy now before the prices go sky high.
This game was an ass-kicking. Plain and simple, as predicted. This is what happens when the league’s best-coached team plays arguably the worst coached team – a 33-0 shutout on a 3.5 point spread from Vegas.
Still, people don’t believe. This will be blamed on ‘Europe’ and ‘Carson Palmer hurt’. There was never any doubt. The Rams lived in the Arizona red zone…the Cardinals were a couple Cooper Kupp quasi-drops away from a 40+ to nothing game here. The Rams were 13-of-19 (68.4%) on 3rd-downs…drink that in. The league average is around 40% with 50% being ‘best in class. The Rams are #2 in 3rd down conversions YTD (49%+), behind Philadelphia…and just ahead of New England, KC, and Dallas.
This Rams team is for real…this QB is for real. It’s not a one-year story like Atlanta 2016…this is the future of the NFL because Sean McVay is smarter and a better manager of talent/people than 31 other people doing this…including Bill Belichick. That’s saying a lot. I know what I am saying. Maybe not in 1985 but in 2017…McVay.
All of the opposite of that = Bruce Arians. He’s managed this team into the ground despite a load of base talent. You’ve seen the Amazon and NFL documentaries. You’ve seen the way he acts. That routine was good for the 1960-70-80’s…it doesn’t play now. Arians has continually drafted/signed wounded birds that he could nurse to health and make them beholden to him. He’s like the Cathy Bates in the movie of Misery…only as a football coach. https://youtu.be/2pbfkNI2d_A
This Arizona loss is devastating for all us David Johnson owners…with a bad team and no Carson Palmer…why push Johnson to get back. If you’re DJ…why rush back at all? If you’re Cardinals management…why not put DJ in protective bubble wrap for a year?
We have one hope for DJ…actually, two…
1: If Arizona comes off their BYE and beats the 49ers…they’re 4-4 heading into a Week 10 battle versus arch-rival, likely 5-3, Seattle. Beat Seattle and both teams are 5-4 and in the thick of the wild card and thus Arizona with a temporary tiebreaker with Seattle. Then a returning David Johnson would be seen as a possible savior, scuffling without Palmer, for Arians’ final NFL season as a head coach.
If Arizona loses Week 8 to the 49ers…this baby is over.
2: Even if the season is over, like if Arizona is 3-6/3-7 and DJ is back to 90% by Week 10-11 let’s say…what would you do as President of the Cardinals? Logic would say, in a lost season, don’t even waste time or put your prized asset in jeopardy.
That’s what normal people with normal brains would do.
NFL people do the exact opposite.
If Arizona is 3-9…you’ll see a triumphant return of David Johnson taking 20+ touches right through to Week 17, putting the entire franchise at even greater risk. It happens without fail in the NFL…teams pushing star players in blowouts and in Week 17’s of a season.
Summary of this week/game: Arizona is done…and the Rams are heading to an NFC Championship showdown with Dallas where Dak Prescott and Jared Goff become the ‘Magic’ and ‘Bird’ NFL version of that NBA golden age.
Hold that thought. Mitchell Trubisky is calling me…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I have to keep repeating myself on Jared Goff (22-37 for 235 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 2-13-1) for two reasons…
1: I can tell by my discussions with people that no one is really on-board with me…at least, not as far on the edge of the plank that I have walked. I had these same discussions about Dak Prescott last year about this time; it’s OK. Skepticism is good.
2: To reinforce what I am seeing every week. To let you know what the temperature gauge is at and whether it has changed. Oh, I got a fever…and the only thing that can cure it is more Jared Goff.
The new age Tom Brady is among us and he has his Bill Belichick (Sean McVay); a better Bill Belichick…an offensive-minded Belichick.
I watch Goff now and I marvel…he is so smooth in the pocket. He subtly moves from danger as needed. He throws pinpoint passes with velocity from all different types of arm angles and feet placements. He reads the defense and find options and takes what he is given like an elite QB – he is Brady 2.0…not much to look at without a shirt on, but just great at his job.
‘Next Brady’s’ must have their Belichick…which seemed impossible to have happened, but here we are in L.A. Jimmy Garoppolo would fail so hard with Hue Jackson…
Couple of notes on Goff’s performance in this game – beyond 13-of-19 on 3rd-down conversions and knocking on the door of the end zone most of the game, and noting that the Rams punted twice and had a 40-20 minute time of possession advantage over Arizona…
Goff led a long drive right out of the gates, culminating by hitting Cooper Kupp in the hands in the end zone for a score, but the defender popped his arm in and distracted Kupp and the TD bobbled away. We should have had a Goff TD first-series. Soon after, another drive down into the red zone and Kupp dropped a mistargeted throw to get a first down forcing a field goal…bad throw by Goff but a ball a professional WR has to make the catch on.
With a little more efficiency Goff might have had 2-3 TD passes instead of one cheap one late. He rushed for a TD…and that took a TD pass opportunity away, potentially.
This was such a no-contest that the Rams ran the ball a lot in the 2nd-half with backup RBs…more numbers Goff eschewed for the sake of an easy win. Soon/into the future, as Goff and McVay get more Brady-Belichick comfortable…they’ll throw more routinely in the red zone instead of playing it safer. I don’t know that it is time to go ‘killer instinct’ with this young team. Best to play it safe and field goals are OK against inferior opponents.
All that to say – Goff is going to be a fantasy QB1 the rest of the season. You just have to believe. For many of you, one’s just losing Aaron Rodgers, this was your first Goff test and it was ‘OK’. It was almost a lot more. Don’t look at the half-empty cup/Kupp…look at the half-full one from this game.
-- Cooper Kupp (4-51-1/10) led the WR group in targets and scored a TD, so is he Goff’s BFF WR? I still say, ‘No’…it’s Robert Woods (5-59-0/7). There’s room for both to thrive and the argument is not closed…Kupp dropped a TD and missed a few other moments. Could have been a great Kupp day, but when this game was still young and not the blowout – the tough passes were going to Woods. I felt from the live watch and re-watch later that Woods was ‘that guy’ for Goff…but note that Goff doesn’t lean ultra-heavily on any one guy…yet.
Sammy Watkins (3-42-0/5) will not be having an Amari Cooper renaissance game anytime soon. He looks lost and Goff has not shown any desire to force it to Watkins. The relationship with Woods-Kupp is WAY ahead of the Watkins one.
-- Drew Stanton (5-14 for 62 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) is a worse Carson Palmer…trying to bomb’s away deep but the ‘it’ isn’t there with Stanton. Plenty of turnovers and issues to come with Stanton.
Larry Fitzgerald’s (3-29-0/3) value has to go way down here as the TDs dry up, plus as I noted since summer and again last week – the schedule started turning on Arizona…Stanton inherits that schedule turn in full, a terrible outlook for this passing game.
-- The Cardinals won’t be able to throw effectively…nor run it with hype bubble Adrian Peterson (11-21-0, 1-12-0/4). Get used to a lot of these types of stat lines from AP now. Peterson is already not as good as he used to be, but now the schedule toughens and there is no passing game all of a sudden.
-- Deone Bucannon (12 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) has something to play for – contract talks should be taking place now or early 2018. Bucannon is the kind of player to build a defense around so he should be in for good money…and he’ll help his cause with big numbers. 9.0 tackles per game the past three weeks after a rusty return debut game four weeks ago.
-- We were hot on the Rams DST before they even started to turn, and now we’re three weeks into their upswing. The Rams defense has allowed 16-17-0 points the past three weeks. Besides Drew Brees Week 12, the Rams could be a starting DST every week the rest of the season.
Eli-Watson-Keenum the next three weeks after they return from their BYE.
-- People are starting to ask me if Greg Zuerlein (4/4 FGs) is the kicker they should keep over Justin Tucker going forward. When we promoted Z as a play after Week 2…several picked him up already holding Tucker to see what developed…and now you have a top kicker on your team along with Tucker, who is now returning back to prominence.
The case for Z over Tucker is logical – the Rams are constantly moving the ball but are not so perfect they won’t stall and settle for FGs given their defense. Tucker comes with the issue that his team is so bad that they have a hard time getting to FG position, and late-in-game FGs won’t do down by 20+.
About the only kicker I’d walk on Tucker for is Zuerlein.
Don’t be dismissive of “Oh, it’s just a kicker.” Look back at (assuming 12-team, 15-man or so rosters) those RB/WR hopefuls you’ve been picking up and cutting every week…are they producing for you? Possessing top kickers is useful and they tend to outscore WR3-4 gamble guy you were hoping would come through for one week. You can keep holding onto Samaje Perine…or you might hold a second elite kicker to get past BYE weeks before dropping to just one for the ROS.
I say this because Zuerlein is about to be dropped by many fantasy GMs who ‘play by the book’. I’d grab him and wait past the BYE in a heartbeat, to have him for the rest of the season, before I made a run at Wayne freaking Gallman or whatever else RB3-4 hopeful tickled your fancy this week.
Snap Counts of Interest…
69 = Woods
67 = Watkins
63 = Kupp
19 = Austin
46 = Fitzgerald
42 = Jo Brown
31 = Ja Brown
28 = J.J. Nelson
54 = Higbee
22 = Carrier
18 = Everett