I feel like I could copy and paste the same commentary each week about the Colts and Bengals…neither team is going anywhere, and I only watch to observe Joe Mixon…and get frustrated at the way the teams uses him. I could stop here…the shortest recap in history. We press on…
Cincy is 3-4 and still clings to playoff delusions. They are about to embark on a three-game road trip with three more-legit playoff teams (JAC-TEN-DEN), and they should lose all three and the playoff hopes are dashed and the Marvin Lewis replacement discussions begin.
The Colts finally announced the obvious – Andrew Luck isn’t playing this season. It wouldn’t matter if he did. The Colts are being gutted by the new GM and the head coach and most leftover players from the last regime will be moved along this offseason. The Colts’ players and coaches are playing for jobs elsewhere in 2018.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let’s start with things having nothing to do with this game…the Colts’ GM trying to trade all their WRs before the trade deadline. You weren’t shocked to hear Donte Moncrief’s or Frank Gore’s names tossed around but when you heard T.Y. Hilton (2-15-0/7) in the rumor mill you might have had a brow furrow. You may have even got excited about the possibilities if you owned him…it’s been a tough year with him (which is why I advocated dumping him before the season to avoid all this to come).
I would say this…TYH is ‘a thing’ a lot in large part due to Andrew Luck and being the #1 guy on a team with not-great WR talent on the roster. Where would you say Hilton could be traded to generate better value than him in Indy?
The new GM obviously doesn’t think Hilton is worth his large deal and telegraphed such during the trade deadline. So, Hilton is going to be gone in 2018…and TYH not on Indy is something you’ll likely not like for fantasy purposes. Teams with WR talent in place aren’t adding expensive Hilton as an extra toy. Only teams that cannot draft or sign talent on purpose would make this trade. Enjoy your time in Cleveland, T.Y. A move to Chicago could be his only salvation. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Why the T.Y. ‘shoulder shrug’?
Because…do any WRs really matter anymore? Tell me, outside of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, and maybe Mike Evans, what WRs do you watch work and go ‘wow’? Tyreek Hill? But that’s his athleticism that’s ‘wow’. We are in an era of QB talent flooding into the NFL and we are in an era of the ‘B’ talent WR glut. Even if that’s ‘A’ talent WRs who just half-ass it every week (Dez, Julio, Demaryius to name a few).
Every time these ‘B’ WRs put up big numbers, because of the QB and a temp #1 WR status on the team, they then sign monster deals…and never live up to them. T.Y. Hilton, Randall Cobb, Golden Tate…they’re not difference makers…they just exist…and ebb and flow with the QB talent. Honestly, how valuable is T.Y. Hilton when he’s made two long catch & run plays this season and been empty 99% of the other time just because of the QB. I think I know what Antonio Brown's numbers would be if he were on the current Colts squad…nowhere near as good as they are now.
You need ‘best WR on roster’ + ‘beloved by coach’ + ‘relationship with QB’ in your FF WR1…and when Hilton gets dealt he’s going to be missing most/all of those things.
-- Did you know Andrew Luck will be 29 years old to start next season? That’s not ‘dead’ in QB terms/years but for dynasty purposes…he’s lost most of the last three years of development. He’s been injured in serious ways. He returns in 2018 with likely a whole new cast of characters around him. There are young QBs popping up everywhere…Dak, Goff, Trub, Jimmy G. Andrew Luck’s dynasty value…and that of any of these top QBs is down on a supply and demand principal.
-- Joe Mixon (11-18-0, 3-91-0/3) is utilized so poorly by the Bengals it makes me want to scream. The guy is Le’Veon Bell reincarnated. The Bengals have no O-Line. However, every time they dump passes off to Mixon he makes magic happen every other time. So, why is he only getting 2-3-4 targets per game? The Bengals could use him a la David Johnson…or even current day Matt Forte, and make him a real weapon they could ride to try to sneak into the playoffs by hiding their O-Line deficiencies.
You think the coach is changing his playbook and play calling for that? You’re crazy. Jeremy Hill will continue to waste touches and drives and Mixon will keep getting 2.0 yards per carry while about breaking every screen pass for a TD…but only get 1-2-3 passes per game.
NFL head coaches are success adverse.
Tony Gonzalez said something on ‘The Herd’ this week that floored me. He said something to the effect of – the problem with offensive coordinators (over his long NFL career) is that they don’t like mobile QBs in general because their running/improvising to make plays means the O-C doesn’t get credit for their play design and play calling. He also translated that to all things the O-C worries about.
Bubble screens to Tyreek Hill, and him taking them to the house is too easy. Fakes to Hill and shuttle passes to Travis Kelce for four sneaky yards is where the real genius lies. That’s why I love Mike Tomlin – more touches to Antonio/Le’Veon and you know it and you probably won’t stop it. Does anyone think Tomlin/Haley are geniuses? No, because they ‘blame’/give credit to Antonio and Bell. The real ‘blame’/credit goes to Tomlin/Haley for letting stars be stars and reaping the rewards. Most/all coaches are too egotistical and/or paranoid to do what Tomlin does. Tomlin will never get credit for not seeking credit/getting credit. His genius is not getting the credit and everyone hating him or castigating him as not smart because of it.
You wonder why these coaches are so stupid with their play calling? Some of it is the fans are insatiable…crying about everything that goes wrong and never being satisfied (not in a good way) with anything. Don’t run your fantasy team like that…although we tend to. Everything is negative, nothing is positive. Bad things are because we’re jinxed or dumb and good things are we got lucky and you know we’re in for double-punishment of karma next time.
In summary, Joe Mixon should get the ball more.
Someday he will, with a coaching upgrade (maybe) and will be Le’Veon 2.0-ish.
-- Marlon Mack (11-27-0, 3-36-1/5) is solid/good but cannot hold a candle to Mixon’s talents. But for FF 2017 PPR, you might rather have Mack. He is the Indy Alvin Kamara…10 +/- carries, 5+ targets a game and a chance at popping one. If Mixon got the same touches as Mack…he’d be a star already.
I said last week that Mack would be an RB1.5 the ROS in PPR because of the touches and the Colts being so bad/garbage time…this game was the perfect example to make me look good.
-- Just FYI…Tyler Kroft (5-46-0/6) is still slightly poor man’s Tyler Eifert. A TE1 for the ROS. No worries. Jack Doyle (12-121-1/14) is a higher on the food chain TE1, but Kroft is going to be very useful and has been. He’s probably the lead dog TE for them in 2018 as well.
-- Rookie Josh Malone (2-35-1/3) got his first catches and a TD. He’s every #4 WR an NFL team could ever have. Could fill in as a starter for a moment, or could kick around the league for years. He’s OK but not breaking out.
-- Colts rookie DE Tarell Basham (2 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 QB hits) got his first NFL sack. Bashem looks like a superstar at a glance. Nice size and reach and frame of a pass rusher but I thought he was so-so on his pass rushing abilities scouting him out of Ohio University earlier this year. There’s hope but I’m not seeing anything imminent.
Snap Counts of Interest…
35 = Mixon
14 = Gio
07 = Hill
39 = Mack
36 = Gore
09 = Basham
41 = Carl Lawson
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