In-season, I’m pumping out content faster than editing can keep up with. I don’t want to hold the recaps for hours waiting on perfection. We will correct errors after the fact, but for now – forgive any of my gaffes. I dictate some of my notes, and the computer software or Siri interpretation can be comical. I try to correct them all before publishing it, but I miss it sometimes…in the 50,000+ words I pen each week during the season (not including all the emails). I’m moving fast, and want to get the product out there ASAP at 98% ‘good’…vs. big delays trying to get to 99.9% craftsmanship. So here you go…
Philip Rivers, owner of a 51-57 record the last seven years but is never fingered as culpable for the Chargers’ losing ways, blew another game for the San Diego this week. Down 28-21 in the fourth quarter, with the team driving into Bucs territory, Rivers threw one up for grabs to a completely covered, inferior WR (Inman), and the pass was easily picked off. 2 INTs for the game for Rivers…7 INTs in his last 3 games…10 INTs in his last 5 games…14 INTs on the season. And Rivers is not to be blamed. For all intents and purposes, the Chargers’ season is over and Mike McCoy should probably be relieved of his duties, but they’ll just hire anotherPhilip Rivers lapdog…so ‘who cares’ who the coach is? Watching this game a second time, a lot of people dressed up as empty blue chairs in San Diego at this game. The Chargers are a playoff team going to waste because no one can reel in Philip Rivers. As long as Rivers is there this team goes +/- a game around .500.
Tampa Bay was a huge winner in Week 13. They won a game they should have lost, both on the field and on paper they should have lost. At the same time Atlanta coughed up a win and fell into a tie with Tampa Bay at the top of the NFC South…and the Redskins gaffed at Arizona (TB and WAS are battling wild card as well). The Bucs are now in a position to win the NFC South or fall into a final playoff spot. Everything hinges on this week hosting the Saints. Get a win this week, and then Tampa just needs one more win in their final three games to get to 9-7…and 9-7 probably does the trick for a wild card spot. Lose this week, and then lose next week to Dallas…suddenly they are 7-7 and in all kinds of panic. I think they get to 9-7…and then hopes the Redskins don’t find a way to 9-6-1.
— Tyrell Williams (2-47-0/4 targets) looked fine to me. I’m not sure why he had a low target game. Williams had no targets in the first half, and watching it live on Sunday, at the half, I’m thinking: “Well, I was right to worry. He’s hurt. He’s a decoy.”
In the second half, he had four targets and a TD, and they came right of the gates to him in the third quarter.
Target 1: A quick slant across the middle, his bread and butter route. Tightly covered. He catches it for a moment and then can’t hang on. He takes a hit/bang from the defender, and gets flung to the ground, but twists his body away from a direct landing on his bad shoulder.
Target 2: Quick slant again, but he’s not open at all. The ball hits his hands, but he’s wrapped up by the defender the moment the ball arrives. It ricochets up into the air and into Lavonte David’s hands for a game-changing pick six TD.
Target 3: The bomb TD. A sweet move, he gets open by 5+ yards and Rivers hits him in stride for the score. The interesting part – he catches it in the end zone, and the defender shoves him after the catch. Not illegal, just a shove as Williams slowed in the end zone to make sure his feet were in. The shove and Williams’s sprint caused his momentum to keep going forward towards the barricades. Williams dives/falls to the ground post-shove, and kinda turns his body to land on his back and not shoulder. He got up fine. No whincing or holding his arm, etc.
Target 4: Late in the game, a simple 7-yard pass, thrown high and Williams reached up and grabbed like a normal play. This was the first time a pass was ‘high’ in the game, where he had to reach…and Williams didn’t flinch.
Williams looked fine. He fell to the ground a couple of times and didn’t come up in pain. He caught a pass up over his chest. He played 96% of the offensive snaps. After watching this game again and watching all Tyrell’s moves…he looks fine to me, in my medical opinion.
I’m starting to ‘take the gloves off’ on reducing his expected output until I’m given reason to worry. Why he wasn’t targeted early in this game…I have no idea. He was ‘normal Tyrell’ in the second half.
One more loss ends the Chargers’ false playoff hopes, so I expect Williams to be fine for this week, and then I think there is a fear San Diego shuts him down, smartly, Week 15 or 16 or for sure 17.
— Just like someone has to be the non-Antonio Brown…someone has to be the non-Mike Evans weapon for the Bucs. Cameron Brate (6-86-1/9 targets) seems to have become that guy. Brate’s not as exciting as Ladarius Green, but he works. He keeps drifting in and out of fantasy lineups and rosters because of target levels all over, but he’s more TE1 material than not ahead with the Bucs schedule.
In his last four games, Brate is averaging 9.0 FF PPG (13.5 PPR) on 4.5 rec. (6.8 targets) for 50.3 yards and 0.67 TDs per game. He has scored a TD in four of his last 6 games.
— Doug Martin (17-455-1, 1-23-0/1 target) got hurt and was not playing in the fourth quarter. You have to watch practice reports and injury reports on him this week.
Martin has several concerns: His back injury (we don’t know how bad). A possible Charles Sims return. Teams are stacking 8+ defenders on known/thought to be running downs because they do not fear Jameis Winston.
Martin has positives ahead, if healthy: two games with the Saints in his next three games and Martin is a talent that usually fights through stacked defenses well enough for decent fantasy production.
— San Diego tight end numbers…
33 snaps, 4 targets = Antonio Gates (4-37-0/4 targets)
24 snaps, 1 target = Hunter Henry (1-14-0/1 target)
You’d think the Chargers would move away from Gates as the season winds down in favor of Henry, but San Diego hasn’t shown a desire to do that prior with Ladarius Green…so ‘who knows’ this year? Henry is only a deep sleeper to the finish at this point.
— Mike Evans (3-38-0/6 targets) factoid…
Evans has played four games this year where he didn’t score a TD (prior to this game). When that happens, he has scored a total of 5 TDs in the following games…1.3 TDs per game after a zero the week prior.
After Evans has a 2 TDs game this season (three times), he has not scored a TD the following week.
— Bucs IDP Keith Tandy (5 tackles, 1 INTs) is a player we think has some IDP promise. He was part of our IDP stash report last season. He’s just now getting a chance to start. One to keep an eye on if he continues to see playing time.
— Chargers IDP Jahleel Addae (10 tackles) is back from injury and pushing to become a top 10-15 IDP DB play week-to-week. 10 tackles in this game. He has 9.0 tackles in his two games back from injury. He has 7.3 tackles per game in the four games he’s played this season.
— Korey Toomer (10 tackles) continues to play terrific football in the absence of Jatavis Brown. He’s a great IDP play with Brown out, and a suspect one when Brown returns. Another loss by San Diego and Brown may not play much the rest of the season – maybe they shut him down, and then Toomer is hot the rest of the season?
— Some of you are looking ahead to that Week 16 Chargers v. Browns matchup for a DST play for the finals. I get it. The Chargers do have a pretty good defense, but by that time the Chargers may be dead and buried…and it will be ‘out of it’ San Diego headed to the cold Midwest, where they rarely fare well – traveling to the cold in December.