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Maybe the most entertaining game of the weekend…
First series, Arizona drives down for TD. As one who was pushing the Washington DST as a play against an Arizona O-Line allowing Carson Palmer to get crushed the last few weeks – I was crestfallen by the early score…especially because David Johnson fumbled it away on the first drive, but the loose ball went right to an Arizona Cardinal. Palmer also had a pass batted high into the sky that first drive, but no Redskins around to take advantage of the gift. Instead, the Cards avoided the mishaps becoming turnovers and went in for the quick score. That was the only TD of the first half, so ultimately I was feeling good (during the live watch) about how good the Washington D looked. 10–3 Arizona at the half.
Washington makes it 10–10 quickly into the third quarter. Soon after the Redskins go up 13–10. Washington gets the ball back and is on the move, and I am thinking I am a genius with the Washington D. Little did I know the Cardinals, who struggled all game, would score 21 points in the next 19 minutes of play. The ‘on the move’ Redskins have a sack turned into a fumble, scooped up by Arizona and taken back deep into Redskins territory…the beginning of the 21-point pop. Washington scores a few plays after their sack-fumble to make it 17–13 Arizona.
Washington comes right back with a TD. 20–17 Washington.
Arizona drives, and then flips a short pass to David Johnson…and he spins it into gold. 24–20 Arizona.
Washington then cuts the lead to 24–23 Arizona with six minutes left.
Arizona then drives down, and Palmer throws an ill-advised deep ball to double-covered J.J. Nelson, who makes the catch while diving down into the end zone between two defenders. 31–23 Arizona. Washington drives right back in the two-minute drill, and just when it looks like Washington is going in for a potential game-tying TD…Cousins is picked off. Ball game.
I felt like Washington had the better team, but Arizona played with maximum effort…and played well enough, got good bounces, and won the game.
Arizona plays three of their next four games on the road, and projects to split the four games, 2–2. If they do, they’ll finish the season 7–8–1, and out of the playoffs. Win three of the four games, and they’ll be 8–7–1…not good enough for the playoffs. Arizona is not going to the playoffs unless they win out…and they are not winning out.
Washington’s schedule is projecting a 3–1 finish, to wind up 9–6–1. They could go 4–0 to go 10–5–1, but let’s say 9–6–1…and that will get them to the playoffs in the NFC. Washington would really have to screw up not to go to the playoffs this season.
— Speaking of that Washington DST…
This marked back-to-back games where the Redskins’ defense gave up exactly 31 points. So why do I keep pushing them for fantasy? I think they have a respectable unit, but more so I’m liking their schedule. All DSTs are a muddy mess right now. I’m not sure there is more than one confident start every week right now. After that, it’s a random play against the opposing QB.
Washington faces Wentz-Cam-Barkley the next three weeks. At least two of those matchups are juicy. In a sea of chaos trying to find DSTs, the Redskins are a legit option…as legit as any other option.
— I’ve been inclined not to trust Vernon Davis (5-47-0/6 targets), but as a fill-in TE for fantasy – he’s working to some degree. Davis has five or more catches in four of his last six games. He’s hit 50 or more yards in a game in five of his last seven games (47 yards here). He’s not racking TDs, but he’s getting his catches and yards with or without Jordan Reed in the lineup.
My suspicion is that Jordan Reed will play this week…and that he only plays if he can catch the ball reasonably well and can take hits. No reason to force him out there otherwise. We won’t know until Friday–Sunday morning probably. If he’s active, you start him in most cases.
— Carson Palmer (30-46 for 300 yards, 3 TD/0 INT) does not look great to my eye, but he is jacking good numbers. He is doing some Bortles-esque work. Partly because Arizona’s defense is allowing points and the Cardinals are playing from behind, but he’s also benefiting from dump passes to David Johnson turning into gold. And he’s dumping a lot of passes to DJ now…smartly so.
He’s back to legit QB2 option, and possible QB1 for the needy.
300 or more yards passing in four of this last six games.
11 TD passes in his last five games.
— Kirk Cousins (21-37 for 271 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) is putting up nice numbers too. His nice stretch is coming from the lack of a serious running game, and the passing game working so effectively. He too has 11 TD passes in his last five games. He also has four 300+ yard efforts in his last six games. He and Palmer are mirroring each other of late…for different reasons.
— Pierre Garcon (7-78-0/9 targets) catches in games the past five games: 6-6-6-4-7. Just 1 TD in that span, and only 2 TDs this year.
— Duke Ihenacho (6 tackles, 1 TFL) was back starting for the Redskins, and Donte Whitner (2 tackles) plummeted from a nice spot-starter run prior. I guess we shift the excitement to Ihenacho.