Wow, has Tampa Bay gone sideways in a hurry. What a fragile thing the NFL is. So much rides on your schedule/opponents and the momentum you gain or lose, combined with injuries…before you even get to talent and coaching.
Tampa was 2-1 after Week 4, 8-3 in their last 11 games at that point. Everyone, but me, was on their bandwagon. They are now losers of five in a row, and Jameis Winston has been benched/protecting his arm.
Where are my Jameis Winston apologies? It seems any halfway competent QB can have a decent season…just look at Tampa backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. A half a season of success or a favorable schedule-led stretch happens, or just the ball bounces the right way a few times – INTs get dropped. Screen passes turn into 50+ yard scores. Over time, the truth comes out…and that truth is hitting Tampa Bay. Winston hasn’t been terrible, he just hasn’t been very good…not the elite you were promised.
Sadly, for the Bucs management team…they have the shoulder injury to hide behind to excuse this. It will put off them dealing with reality for another two years, and they might even force themselves to let the media talk them into giving Winston a long-term deal…which would be the death of the Bucs. The drafting of Jameis Winston is destroying this franchise because everything is built around it – he’s a team captain and he’s bigger than the coaches. Dirk Koetter will get fired and a Winston-friendly coach will come in…and then it will be worse. They thought they had an ‘A=’ because all the football people said so…and they woke up with a ‘C’, at best.
100.0% of the football media and analyst community said Winston was a future star and the single biggest young QB of the future. It’s not true…and they will never be held to task for those comments. It would be a bigger story but the media doesn’t grace Tampa Bay, they all hang in new York recycling and stirring up stores about Ben McAdoo and the Giants ‘giving up’. Has anyone seen a Tampa Bay game the past five weeks? Where are the big headline stories on Dirk Koetter and players ‘giving up’? No one cares…it’s Tampa.
Plus, the football establishment doesn’t want your attention drawn to the Winston collapse and Bucs cratering…or you might ask “Who all thought Winston was the greatest and the Bucs were playoff bound.” We can’t have that. Cover-ups and cozy ups in the media…the order of the day/year – just like they do with political figures and Hollywood assaulters.
The Saints…they’re on that magical ride. Again, sometimes the schedule hits just right and your team stays injury free, and you’re good enough to get on a roll. Welcome to New Orleans 2017. It’s a good team getting a nice schedule push and playing well. We’ll see how they do with at BUF, WAS, at LAR, CAR the next 4 weeks. If they come out 2-2/3-1 then I’ll be impressed. I think 2-2 is reasonable, which would make them 8-4 heading into a stretch with all losing record teams by that time – ATL-NYJ-ATL-TB. 10 wins is pretty locked in for the Saints and 11-wins is very possible. They are going to the playoffs one way or the others…NFC South winners or wild-card.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I want to start by praising a much-maligned player…a guy you maybe started 2017 with and then dropped him in frustration, and then hesitated getting back in and are possibly missing out on…the #20 nonPPR, #26 PPR WR in PPG this season – Ted Ginn (4-59-1/5).
3 TDs in his last 6 games…just missed on another 3-5 more scores in that span.
83.5 yards per game receiving the past 4 weeks.
11.4 PPG (15.7 PPR) on 4.3 rec., 83.5 yards, 0.50 DTs per game the last 4 games.
He’s really done well, considering what people think of him and currently perceive what he’s done this season. But I want to add this – he looks terrific. Maybe, playing the best ball I’ve seen him play. He’s making tough catches in traffic. He’s getting open often deep. He’s just a really solid WR2…and yet still sits on waivers in some 12-team leagues.
In this game, Ginn had another near-miss moment of greatness. He blasted off deep, left double coverage in the dust by 5+ yards and Brees threw a rocket out to him for an easy 87-yard TD…only Brees overthrew him by 5-yards. A 14+ point fantasy play sitting there for the taking. Things like that are happening every week. He’s capitalizing on some and near-missing others.
He’s virtually a WR3/flex start every week, if not your WR2.
He’s also somewhat matchup-proof because he’s virtually uncoverable deep. The only thing that stops Ginn is Brees throwing it properly.
-- I don’t expect to see Jameis Winston (7-13 for 67 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) back for weeks if not shut down for this lost season.
Not much changes with Winston out…and that’s how you know he’s wildly overrated.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will still throw heavy to Mike Evans.
The only change is probably Cameron Brate goes from strong TE1 to cross-your-fingers TE1.
I don’t see much hope for O.J. Howard (1-6-0/2) in all this either. Evans and DJax are the biggest winners…Fitz locks on to veteran WRs and throws to them no matter what.
-- Doug Martin (8-7-0) is dying with dying team. Peyton Barber (11-34-0, 2-20-0/3) jumped in the 2nd-half with Martin mostly sidelined.
All I know is – Peyton Barber is not an answer to any of this. He isn’t half the RB Martin is. If Martin is flopping with this group, so would Barber…only worse.
Martin may be falling to waiver RB, but Barber wouldn’t be an improvement.
-- Wow, what a season for Saints DE Cameron Jordan (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFLs). He has to be a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
7.0 sacks in 8 games, 2 forced fumbles, an INT, 4 PDs, and 4.8 tackles per game. High-end numbers for a DE.
-- Mike Evans (1-6-0/2) getting suspended and A.J. Green not -- it is confusing. Both deserved it.
I was thinking about Mike Evans in this sea of oversupplied WRs, and extinction of ‘the guy’ WRs…
If Antonio Brown is about to lose Big Ben. Julio Jones has been asleep for 1.5 seasons. Are we down to Mike Evans and Odell Beckham as the most sure-thing WRs in fantasy for the near future?
I say that because…is Mike Evans the best player you could trade for right now, right this second…with the price dipped a bit. Dynasty or redraft?
He’s missing a game this week, and some of his owners may be very WR desperate this week with a season on the line if they’re 4-5/3-6, etc. Jameis Winston is usually given credit for Evans…and now Winston out (we know it’s the other way around)…this also scares Evans’ owners. Evans isn’t having an eye-popping season. Is this the time to get Evans at some kind of discount and have him for a great schedule stretch ahead for 2017 and still be ‘the man’ in 2018?
I could make that argument…
Snap Counts of Interest…
49 = M. Thomas
37 = Ginn
30 = Br. Coleman
18 = Snead
36 = Ingram
26 = Kamara
37 = Howard
34 = Brate
23 = Barber
18 = Martin
18 = Sims