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…
In the battle of teams giving up on the season, Carolina won. It was 23-0 into the 2nd quarter, and Carolina just muddled through from there and both teams matched ineptness and no enthusiasm until the finally gun mercifully sounded.
Both teams are done for the playoffs. San Diego will be turned upside down in a few weeks, I’m sure. There’s no way Mike McCoycan keep his job now. The problem is as much to blame on Philip Rivers, but I’m the only one saying that…outside of some Chargers’ fan who watch every week and aren’t blinded.
Ron Rivera will be staying on as coach in Carolina, obviously, but he will probably wish he moved on if he could see the future. The adventure known as ‘Diva Cam’ is already upon us, but the mainstream football media will try to cover it up in perpetuity. The only national media person sounding the alarm is Colin Cowherd, and whenever he tries to get a guest to agree/debate with him…they change the subject or side with Newton. Cam will be protected by the football media more than Hillary Clinton was during her Presidential run. The will make fun of Andy Dalton all the time, and they will denigrate him as not even worthy of starting in the NFL. Cam gets every excuse in the book. Someday, we’ll look back and people will debate “What happened to Cam? He was so promising?” But not right now. This season will get swept under the rug for a while.
— The main event from this game – Melvin Gordon’s (3-5-0, 1 target) hip injury.
First off, do you remember when Gordon went for 196 yards and 32 carries a few weeks ago versus Tennessee? Aside from that game, Gordon is averaging 3.61 yards per carry this season. Last year, he averaged 3.5 yards per carry the entire season. Gordon’s claim to fame is ‘guy who got goal line carries when San Diego was getting near the goal line a bunch this season‘. Gordon is closer toMatt Asiata than he is David Johnson.
Now, Gordon has a hip injury. It may be a week or two thing, or a rest of the season thing. We don’t know if it is a long-term thing or not (at the time of this writing), but it doesn’t appear to be major. It’s likely Kenneth Farrow (16-55-0, 6-23-0/6 targets) takes over for at least Week 15, if not the rest of the season.
So do we care about Kenneth Farrow?
In general, not really. But we do care about him in Week 15 if he’s going to get a ton of touches versus Oakland #26 run defense YTD), and then against Week 16 versus Cleveland (#31 run defense YTD).
An average/good running back for the University of Houston. He had his best year in 2014, as a junior, in a season where the Cougars started a pro-style QB for half the season, and then ditched him for a run-first QB midseason and changed the offense over. Farrow ran for 1,042 yards (5.2 ypc) and 14 TDs with 20 catches for 149 yards and 1 TD in 2014 – his best season. He followed that with a very similar season as a senior. He was ‘college good’.
‘College good’ doesn’t get you an NFL Combine invite, so Farrow flew under the radar and had a decent Pro Day workout – 4.59 40-time, 6.95 three-cone, 23 bench reps, 38″ vertical. All of which are NFL-worthy, not great, but solid/mixed bag of measurables for a 219-pound RB prospect.
Farrow went undrafted but impressed the Chargers enough this summer to elevate him when Danny Woodhead went down early in the 2016 season. For 10 weeks, Farrow did little but take a few carries here and there. This week, he got an extended chance when Gordon was carted off very early in this game.
I re-watched this game just focusing on Farrow’s every touch. My summation – ‘he’s fine’. Nothing special, but serviceable…and thus interesting for fantasy if you assume he gets 20+ touches without Gordon around. Farrow gives 110% on each carry, running like his (NFL) life depends upon it – because it does. He’s not a breakaway runner, but he has quick feet to jump cut away from traffic. He has decent hands for the passing game. Not special as a pass-catcher, but he’ll grab the dump and screen passes fine. Farrow’s pretty strong too, so he’ll put his head down and try to ram for extra yards. He’s solid. He reminds me of a poor man’sDonald Brown or a rich man’s Robert Kelley…or a different looking version of Branden Oliver.
I don’t believe the Chargers will try to push Ronnie Hillman over Farrow or even entertain a split. It’s Farrow’s game with Gordon gone. If the matchups were bad, I’d run away…but OAK and CLE – I’ll take it if I need it…and even if I don’t. Gimme 20+ touches with an ‘effort’ guy against bad teams…or at least let me keep him away from my competitors.
— Philip Rivers (21-39 for 236 yards, 2 TD/3 INT) and Cam Newton (10-27 for 160 yards and 1 TD/1 INT) could not be playing any worse at quarterback if they tried.
Rivers is throwing a solid amount of TD passes, but just as many picks of late. He’s current league leader in interceptions thrown (which is what will get McCoy fired as much as anything).
2-2-3-3-2-2 (2.3 per game) = TD passes by game for Rivers the last 6 games
3-0-4-1-2-3 (2.2 per game) = INTs thrown by game for Rivers the last 6 games
Cam Newton has been dreadful. In his last 4 games, he’s been under 200 yards passing in three of them. He’s also sporting a 43.0% completion percentage (52 of 121) in those four games of dread.
Rivers is a QB from a bygone era. He was very good once, but the new era demands a quicker release and faster feet…and less complaining about everything and everybody after every throw he makes. Man, this guy wears me out watching him. All he does is complain, and no one calls him out for it. “Fiery competitor,” they say. How about a ‘poor leader‘ and ‘tip of the spear of a team that is ALWAYS noted as a good team that disappoints/falls short‘. How many years in a row can San Diego be ‘that team’ and analysts only blame the coaches and coordinators? Rivers will be almost 37 years old to start next season. San Diego doesn’t even have a Plan B on the roster right now.
Rivers’ fantasy usefulness is fading on age, and people eventually realizing he’s about to lead the league in interceptions for the second time in the past three seasons. I worry he’ll start one year too long and that will hurt all of our Tyrell Williams’ stock.
…but, yeah…Andy Dalton sucks.
I don’t know why I am on an Andy Dalton kick here.
Cam Newton – you should read the Week 13 Carolina game recap commentary for more detail on where I think Cam is headed. Cam will be 28+ next season. His main reason for existing as an NFL QB is ‘legs’. In another 2-3 years he won’t have the wheels like he used to, and I believe he doesn’t really have the heart for this game anymore. He’s going to collect his millions for a few more years, trying to take on less and less hits…which will lead to flippant pass decisions/40%+ completion percentages and elevated turnover numbers…and some cool, deep plays.
— Speaking of Tyrell Williams (2-68-0/5 targets)…
In Week 12, Rivers and Tyrell became BFFs. I could see it. The true #1 WR for San Diego…but then he re-aggravated his labrum and it’s been the least amount of targets all year the past two weeks. I don’t know what’s happening – if it is a Rivers ignoring him or purposefully trying to keep Tyrell out of harm’s way. Whatever it is – it’s killing the end of my fantasy season.
I worry that this slowdown is a prelude to San Diego just putting Tyrell on the shelf for the rest of the season. That’s what I would do. However, NFL teams are run like the worst businesses ever…they play star players in the waning minutes of 30+ point blowouts. Who knows what Mike McCoy will do. Assume it will be the stupid thing…so assume Tyrell stays playing, but with limited targets like the last two games.
— Speaking of troubling WRs…
Kelvin Benjamin (1-11-0/4 targets) has fallen off the face of the earth. It’s hard to stick with my original scouting on players if they ever spike up into great production because everyone starts pointing fingers and laughing at the perceived scouting stupidity. If I keep saying ‘bad’ and the results keep coming up ‘good’…I’m perceived to be a fool. If the situation corrects itself later, no one remembers the original scouting.
I should have just stuck to my guns more on Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin. I was not a fan of their attitudes and effort coming out of college or in their early pro careers. I didn’t think Benjamin had what it took to be a #1 WR in the NFL. I didn’t think Cam could be a prolific passer in the NFL…with risk he’d bust as a passer. They both have such physical gifts that I started to assume their tools/size outweighed all the other factors. Now, the argument is swinging back in my direction.
I’m not ready to bury Kelvin because this may be more on Newton than him, but something is off. In 2014, the two of these guys were inseparable, but not so much in 2016. Once Benjamin lost ‘favorite’ status with Cam his fantasy value started evaporating this season. He existed because Cam threw every pass, seemingly, to him back in 2014…and most of their hook-ups were 4th quarters of more garbage time. The numbers were nice. It may be Kelvin had a blip in time never to be repeated again?
I’m more worried about Cam, but Newton’s issues take KB down with him.
I don’t know that Benjamin is startable for fantasy this week.
Benjamin has 1 TD in his last 9 games this season.
Last four games: 2.0 catches (5.8 targets) for 34.5 yards and 0.25 TDs per game.
Some are saying Benjamin was benched for some time Sunday…’Lack or effort’ being whispered. The coach is saying something about a rotation thing. Smells as funny as the Brandin Cooks stuff in New Orleans.
— Jatavis Brown (3 tackles) returned but played just 17 snaps. Not sure if managed snaps or what. We’ll have to see what news comes out of SD about it.
— Daryl Worley (10 tackles, 1 PD) is on fire the last 7 games: 8.6 tackles 0.7 PDs per game. He also got his first career INT in this game.
— Kawaan Short (3 tackles, 2.0 sacks) is perking back up – 4.7 tackles, 1.3 TFLs per game the last three weeks.