This was a blowout from the word go. This was just too much Dallas… too much Dak… too much defense, as we predicted. Imagine my sarcastic smile when Colin Cowherd led one of his shows this week breaking the news that Dallas has a real defense and found a pass rush. I wonder where I’d heard that before in Summer 2017? Hmmm. Well, now that Colin is on to it, it will only be a matter of time before football media has the same thought…at the same exact time.
Seriously, Dallas has a top-notch, young defensive unit. In another couple weeks, bleeding into 2018 and beyond, this is possibly the best young defense in the NFL. Sit on that for a moment. The best young defense. The best O-Line. A solid+ RB. The best young QB, arguably. This is the best team in football… the new Patriots dynasty lives in Dallas. Just a couple WRs away from world domination.
*And losing Dan Bailey in this game...that’s HUGE to this title run. They need him back for the stretch run and playoffs.
The 49ers got crushed and are a punchline at 0-7, but they actually played OK here considering the onslaught that was Dallas off a BYE week. The 49ers are going to beat somebody ahead. I wouldn't be shocked if they got two wins by season’s end… and one of them a takedown of a top team.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- OK, let’s talk Marquise Goodwin (4-80-0/8). Let’s go back in time.
Goodwin was a nondescript WR for the University of Texas for four seasons. Everyone knew he was fast; a track and field star and Olympic runner. He was a dangerous kick returner but only returned one kick for a TD in 44 returns in college. The knock on Goodwin was “Typical Track guy… great speed, soft, poor hands.”
At the NFL Combine, Goodwin ran a 4.27 40-time and people looked past all the concerns. At his Pro Day, he ran a 6.66 three-cone. Combined with the 4.27 time… we’re talking off the charts. We’re talking Tyreek Hill-like. Goodwin was drafted #78 overall by Buffalo in 2013. (Tyreek: 4.29 40-time, 6.53 three-cone)
In Buffalo, he was lost. He was in the E.J. Manuel/Kyle Orton/Doug Marrone era followed by the Tyrod Taylor/Rex Ryan era. Let’s just say that Goodwin wasn’t going to progress much in his career with those guys masterminding the passing games.
Goodwin caught 3 TD passes on 17 catches as a rookie (2013). He had some sweet lightning strike plays and games. Like, one catch, long TD… nothing else. A ghost. He barely played in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, he had his best season: 29 catches, 3 TDs. Rex Ryan was too preoccupied with Percy Harvin to recognize Goodwin had a similar talent, apparently.
Four quiet years in Buffalo surrounded by whispers of “Track & Field guy” and the lackluster Bills years. I assumed he wouldn’t get much beyond the minimum deal as a free agent. The new 49ers regime ponied up a 2-year/$6M deal with $4.5 guaranteed. Odd for a no-name WR with little output. ‘Odd’, but obviously there was some serious interest and commitment by the new regime.
Goodwin was hurt off and on in the 2017 preseason and didn’t see as much action. He came out of the gates in the regular-season slow, but seeing some targets: Six targets in each of the first two games but for only 3 catches each game with 21 and 26 yards with no TDs. He started losing ground to Aldrick Robinson, it appeared.
Then, BAM… Goodwin struck for 5 catches, 116 yards against the Colts. Sweet, but a one-time heat up versus the Colts is not confirmation of anything big. In Week 6, he followed that up with a 2-catch, 26 yards day on 5 targets…but did get a jet sweep/carry for 6 yards. Then Week 7. The C.J. Beathard era begun and Goodwin saw 8 targets for 80 yards, including a sweet catch-and-run 50+ yard play he nearly took to the house. Several nice catches after that. Seemed to be involved in the offense every series… even as Dallas shellacked them.
Fantasy people are taking notice of the 116 yards three weeks ago, and then this 80-yard effort Week 7. Things are beginning to stir. But not enough… ESPN says he’s barely 5% owned as of Tuesday. No one is really taking the bait. Why should they? A nothing in college, or in Buffalo, or for weeks with the 49ers… and who cares about the 49ers anyway? We barely care about Pierre Garcon.
My pitch is this: Sure, you could go Robert Woods or JuJu Smith-Schuster or hold Danny Amendola (examples), and you’re not crazy to do so, but what if Marquise Goodwin is about to take a step? Not 2-3-4 steps, just a step. A guy paid a decent amount of money to play for SF… a guy starting to see nice targeting levels. A guy who has off-the-charts athleticism. A guy who plays for a team down a lot and throwing a lot. If I could get three garbage time catches from Goodwin, I like my chances that he’s going 50+ yards on one of them. If he starts to pop, he’ll start to see handoffs, etc. He’s a long shot at something special. I know what I’m getting with a lot of other guys. I’m not sure what will happen if Goodwin hits… but it could be amazing.
I also got excited about 49ers WR Trent Taylor a few weeks ago, so be careful listening to me. I might be right about the player, but what the team does is a whole other piece of the puzzle.
I’m more into Ted Ginn this week because I know he’s a WR2, WR3 floor. But where I can take a week or two look at Goodwin to see if I unearth something magical… well, I’m a sucker for these WRs that can take carries as running threats because they are so athletic.
-- C.J. Beathard (22-38 for 235 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) did a good job in his starting debut. For a guy making his first start against a hostile and rested defense, he actually held up pretty well. He’s a very serviceable QB. He’s going to shock an opponent in the next few weeks, I bet. He doesn’t seem rattled at all by this promotion… again, new era college QBs have to find NFL offenses rudimentary and over-complicated for no reason. They adapt just fine if they have any talent and backbone.
-- Colin Cowherd now loves the Dallas defense. I have maintained it would be the defense that led them to a title in 2017-18 back in the Spring of 2017. But is it time to get them for fantasy? Good question.
For the next 9 weeks/rest of the fantasy season, the Dallas DST does not have a ‘great’ matchup. They face a bunch of very capable—not great, but capable/good—QBs who are not prone to turnovers… and many of them have a decent O-Line. The ground is not as fertile here as it is with like the Rams DST. At Washington this week is OK. Hosting KC Week 9 is not good… because Alex Smith doesn’t turn the ball over. At Atlanta Week 10… it’s OK. Week 11 hosting Philly… Wentz has been a magician.
I just don’t feel ‘it’ yet. I feel like Dallas’ emerging greatness on defense is like how I felt about the Steelers DST. I started crowing about the potential last year and you could see them coming together as the year went on in 2016… and then the schedule was favorable plus they added pieces for 2017. It all came together and we saw it way ahead of the field. I feel like Dallas is more a 2018 story for fantasy and more a sleeper play 2017. Their tidal wave may turn into a Tsunami and we change the outlook in a week or two but I think we’re in the ‘just a big wave forming’ part of the oncoming Tsunami story.
-- I thought Beathard was Iowa “bros” with George Kittle (1-16-0/2)? In his first start, he deals him his worst game of 2017? Note that Byron Jones was all over Kittle so that was part of it. Don’t bury Kittle yet, but don’t give mouth-to-mouth just yet either.
-- What can you say about Dak Prescott (16-25 for 234 yards, 3 TD/0 INT, 4-26-1)? Was I right or was I right? #1 QB in fantasy right now. The schedule ahead looks clear.
The reason I even mention him is that I can't believe how many people have been acquiring him this week. Like, people still don't believe in the outside world. You may want to inquire/pay up for Dak… you think he’s untouchable but I think people believe this is a hoax still. That he’ll come back to earth. That they’re ‘selling high’. If not this week, the moment he has a mediocre FF week… pounce. His support in the outside world is fragile.
-- Dak is so good, he’s starting to make Dez Bryant (7-53-1/10) plausible again. 4 TDs for Dez in his last five games.
Did you know it’s been 14 games since Dez has had a 100+ yard game? Dak has to throw somewhere, and Dez is his best option. Dez is making a push towards WR1 again… thanks to Dak. Josh Norman and Marcus Peters the next two weeks may pull the rug out on that story.
-- Speaking of my Trent Taylor (5-39-0/5) moment of uber-enthusiasm a few weeks ago… Not a bad little game here. He made some terrific catches over-the-middle. He is the new-age Wes Welker.
The 49ers really have a nice gathering of weapons…Garcon-Goodwin-Taylor with some nice guys behind them. Carlos Hyde. George Kittle. The 49ers are going to be formidable in 2018+. They have some sweet defensive pieces too.
Snap Counts of Interest…
51 = Hyde
15 = Brieda
46 = Trent Taylor
46 = Garcon
39 = Goodwin
30 = Aldrick Robinson
23 = Kendrick Bourne (Don’t even get me started on how good he is)
41 = Terr. Williams
34 = Beasley
23 = Butler
19 = Noah Brown
11 = Switzer
35 = Ahkello Witherspoon
37 = Taco Charlton
15 = Xavier Woods