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..
I mean, what do you want me to say about this game? The best part of it was Jeff Fisher being unable to figure out which pocket in his ‘coat of many pockets’ contained his red challenge flag.
The bigger news to break concerning this game, I guess, was the Jeff Fisher contract extension…a contract signed several weeks ago, but just announced Sunday morning. Where do I begin to tell you how fishy this all is?
First, when a contract extension is signed with a coach you would think it to be immediate news. This was shrouded in secrecy. For what reason? Were they ashamed? Were they waiting for a better moment? How could they not think they would eventually be embarrassing themselves by delaying the announcement? Also, you noticed the news was released on Sunday morning – when everyone is asleep or otherwise prepping for an NFL Sunday. This announcement was done on purpose to avoid attention. This is the most gutless, stupidest move an ownership could make…a botched, secretive contract signing of the NFL’s worst head coach. How do you even analyze that?
The players were really enthused by this news of Fisher staying around to lead them to more losses…as they came out flat a few hours later versus the Patriots, and never got any better in another embarrassing ass-kicking.
We’ll address the player ramifications of the Fisher deal in a moment.
The Patriots are suddenly in an interesting spot. After several weeks of easier opponents, they now face two thorns in their side ahead. Desperate thorn in their side teams – home against the Ravens (in a neck and neck battle for the AFC North) followed by a trip to Denver (fighting for their playoff lives). If Oakland wins on Thursday night against KC, then the Patriots cannot afford to lose one of these games in the battle for the #1 seed in the AFC, but they might lose both games. This is a very depleted, flawed New England squad.
If I know the Patriots luck…KC will beat Oakland and give the Pats needed breathing room. I don’t think the Patriots can win both of their next two games. They’re going to stumble in one of them. They can get away with it if KC takes down Oakland Thursday (and I think KC will).
— My first reaction to the Jeff Fisher contract news was to throw my hands in the air in frustration over Todd Gurley’s (11-38-0. 2-9-0/3 targets) future. I mean, he’s been awful this season (for how talented he is) and was weak the back half of last season as well. He’s a total fantasy bust, of sorts. It’s not his fault. I can see it. He’s still ‘got it’. This problem is opposing teams knowing that the Rams offense is a joke. The know they can play up on Gurley without any consequences. It’s like the Vikings offense. Zero fear from the defense as they know most everything is happening up close and any shot deeper is likely to fail.
You have to believe Gurley is not the issue here before my next statement…
Now, is the time to buy Todd Gurley in dynasty.
My first thought on the Fisher contract was – Gurley is doomed. Most people’s reaction to the Fisher contract is that everything Rams-related is doomed. Put yourself in the position of a Gurley owner – a great start in 2015, the toast of fantasy for a few games, and then a quick tail off. High hopes in 2016, and then this disaster. Now, a coaching extension that has everyone mocking the Rams. Gurley holders have no hope today. The price of this ‘thing’ is maybe as low as it can get. That’s the best time to strike. You only get chances at major talents on the cheap like this maybe once in their career. Todd Gurley is the ultimate dynasty stash.
You don’t acquire him with the mindset that you are building your team around him. You don’t even think you’ll start him in 2017. He’s a backup plan. Acquire him as an investment. You should not pay more than a so-so RB2 or WR2 or some combo of lesser, prospective things. You might offer a 2nd-round dynasty rookie pick straight up. Sure, you’ll get bluster about a comeback season or whatever – but trust me, most all Gurley owners are fed the hell up. If you find the thing to trip their trigger, you can get him cheap. No one can confidently say, “He’ll be better next year.” How? Jeff Fisher is going to do something different, really?
Don’t ask for Gurley directly by name…or you’ll freak out the current owner. You want to slide in the back door and let the current owner try to dump Gurley on you. The initial ask will be high, but you express fear over Gurley-Fisher and say maybe for a lesser price. They’ll balk, but stay in touch and you might be shocked. The Gurley panic is right now because the story is hot/funny about Fisher right now. You get to the offseason and then stories of O-C changes and optimism will begin, and he becomes untouchable on ‘hope’..
The key to trying to acquire Gurley, if you are so inclined, is that Fisher could still be fired in a few weeks. The contract is no different than firing any coach in year two of a four-year deal. The Rams ownership may pay to make this go away with a few more embarrassments to end 2016. The time is now…to steal Gurley, not overpay, but to steal. Be coy, and don’t act like that guy on the Sonic commercial when he wants to hang out with the guys in the other car. Be cool. Be smooth. Be willing to walk away.
— Ditto for Jared Goff (14-32 for 161 yards, 1 TD/2 INT). If you think Jeff Fisher never leaves L.A., then Goff is a terrible investment. But if you believe a surprise firing may be at hand in a few weeks – it’s game on with Goff, a bright future… a head coach would be brought in to suit Goff.
The price for acquiring Goff is also never lower than today, I would suspect…if you wanted to stash him as a QB3 in dynasty.
The worst case on Goff is bad – at least Gurley does something with Jeff Fisher, he’s not totally useless. Goff would be fantasy useless with Fisher in 2017+.
— The Malcolm Mitchell (8-82-0/10 targets) train left the station fast. He’s everyone’s fave now. Here’s the thing – not a great start this week versus the Ravens, but plausible…and a no-go versus the Broncos Week 15. For redraft, he’s not a must get.
If you want to trade for him in dynasty – the price will dip after the Denver game so hold your horses.
— I could be crazy, but I am getting a vibe that Dion Lewis (5-27-0, 4-11-0/5 targets) is getting ready to push past James White(3-17-0, 4-18-0/5 targets) more. Split snaps in this game – 29 snaps for White, and 20 for Lewis. It’s still a pretty even split on workload. However, NOW comes the critical games – Baltimore and Denver. No more fooling around and getting everyone fed – now, it’s time to roll with the best. I think Dion Lewis might be that guy this week…setting up him as ‘the guy’ the rest of the way. Pure speculation.
— The Rams rolled out rookie CB UDFA Mike Jordan (8 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 PD) for 54 snaps in this game. He looked OK, I wasn’t blown away by what I saw, but it was just his first game. I need to see more.
Jordan had a nice college career. He had 22 passes defended his final college season at Western Missouri and 5 interceptions. He’s scrappy.
The vitals: 6’1″/200, 4.6+ runner (below average) with a 6.87 three-cone (above average). He’s out of the Richard Sherman style of cornerback play. I didn’t see any ‘it’ in this debut game, but he did have decent numbers in this game.
— Every week I watch the Patriots, I see Kyle Van Noy (5 tackles, 1 PD, 1 INT) becoming more a part of the defense…an impressive part. I’m happy for him. He’s not become IDP-worthy yet, but his stock is rising.