This game was meaningless for both teams in Week 17. I re-watched it about a week+ later, and I’m madder about it now than I was when I saw it live.
Can I just ask a question again that I ask 100+ times a year? What in the blue hell are football coaches and NFL organizations thinking? Why in the world, in a meaningless game, in Week 17, would you even waste time putting your long-time franchise quarterback out onto the field? Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton almost went the entire game – Dalton did and Ryan Mallett came in for Flacco with about two minutes left. Why the hell? There is absolutely nothing to be gained and everything to lose – and if anyone says they want to end the season on a positive note, you can shove that up John Harbaugh’s ass. End on a positive note? Who even remembers who wins or loses meaningless Week 17 games?
You know what would be great to do in Week 17 – give your inexperienced players an opportunity to show what they can do. Perhaps discover something you had not noticed before. At a minimum, at least throw them a bone for all their hard work during the entire season and then never getting to play.
Was it really that critical to get Dennis Pitta (11-91-0/16 targets), coming off two major hip surgeries, 16 targets in this game? What are you proving with Flacco throwing to Pitta on over 33% of his throws? Why is Flacco throwing 49 times in Week 17? Maybe Harbaugh wants him hurt? What if Pitta hurt his hip and needed a third hip surgery – he should’ve sued the organization for being idiots.
What is Baltimore’s fascination with ancient players? Did Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, and Dennis Pitta really pay off this season? Does anyone see the Ravens as a fantastic franchise for the future? The Ravens have hit a wall, going from perpetual playoff threat to constantly just short of the playoffs. The next stop is perpetual top 10 draft pick team. This organization is stagnant and needs an enema.
The Bengals have hit a similar wall – their first nonplayoff season in the Andy Dalton era. There are lots more of them to come for them. Uninspiring offensive weapons and a defense that has been slowly melting since Mike Zimmer left. Dark days ahead for both of Baltimore and Cincinnati…not good enough to be a playoff threat, but not bad enough for anyone to blow the whole thing up. They’ll be spinning their wheels for a couple of seasons ahead.
— What do you know? Rex Burkhead (27-119-2, 2-15-0/2 targets) gets an opportunity to be a lead running back and rushes for over 100+ yards and a couple of scores. Who would’ve figured? So glad he just wasted away on the bench for the last few seasons.
Burkhead will get his revenge as he hits free agency. It’s going to be very interesting to see where he winds up. There will be teams, smart teams, that see the Danny Woodhead possibilities. While everyone else is throwing big money at ‘names’ or drafting inexperienced RBs later in the draft – some NFL team is going to swoop in for a very inexpensive contract and make Burkhead their Danny Woodhead. Which means Burkhead is going to matter in PPR in 2017… I hope.
I’ve been talking about this Burkhead opportunity for two years – finally, I believe it’s going to come to fruition. If he re-signs with Cincinnati, I will disown him. I do not think he’s dumb enough to do that. He wants out more than we want him out.
— Kenneth Dixon (10-44-1/3-19-0/4 targets) was the main Ravens’ RB in this game and looked like the best running back on the roster…per usual. I think he could be in for a big 2017. Obviously, I’m not alone in that thinking among the mainstream. However, I saw what you probably saw – as soon as the season ended John Harbaugh, and his affinity for making no sense with the skill players, was rambling on about adding a breakaway running back. Yeah, that’s what the Ravens lacked – they were a breakaway run away from winning the Super Bowl.
You would think, after what we saw in the second half of the season, that the Ravens would turn to Dixon as their New Age Ray Rice. My fear is they will do what they’ve done since they’ve lost Rice – they’ve been completely random with running back usage. Has there been a Ravens running back that has mattered for fantasy for more than 2–3 weeks for a stretch? The Ravens/Harbaugh design of late is not to lean on one running back for everything – that’s fine for the NFL, but that sucks for fantasy.
I’m not taking a big position on anything to do with the Ravens backfield ahead of 2017. There’s been nothing but disappointment and false hope there for years, fantasy-wise. Just when you think Javorius Allen has a future, he’s gone. Just when you think Lorenzo Taliaferro is their best guy – he gets random opportunity and benching, and hurt. I’m not going to keep ramming my head against the wall trying to guess the Ravens’ RB situation.
— I’m also not going to try to guess the Ravens’ WR situation either. If I had to guess, I’m going to assume that the Ravens’ best WR in 2017 for fantasy will be someone who is 30+ years old. I’ll assume Steve Smith (3-21-0/5 targets) returns from the grave, but if he doesn’t it will be some other veteran WR – Pierre Garçon or Anquan Boldin or Jerricho Cotchery…someone like that.
The most talented guy the Ravens have at WR is Breshad Perriman (4-62-0/8 targets), and he proved that fact time and time again with several stupendous catches that would impress Odell Beckham…or anyone in the media if they were looking, but he got the Torrey Smith treatment – an irregular pattern of targeting, and only/mostly deep ball throws. They are not working him like a #1 WR, and they don’t seem to even discuss the possibility of it.
I love what I see from Perriman, but I’m not counting on much from him in 2017 or with a John Harbaugh lead Ravens unit. Sad.
— How Cody Core (4-82-0/5 targets) emerged as the Bengals’ go-to WR upon AJ Green’s injury is a mystery to me. Core is a solid WR, but I’m shocked that Tyler Boyd (2-39-0/3 targets) blew his opportunity – what a weak rookie season.
Look back over Andy Dalton’s career and tell me what non-AJ Green WR has never really mattered for fantasy? Marvin Jones would matter for about a week or two and then go into hiding for a week or two, and then get injured. Mohamed Sanu had like three games that mattered in four seasons and a lot of WR5-levelperformances. Cincinnati’s offense is built for AJ Green to star in fantasy and no one else. Similarly, the Ravens’ offense is built for one ancient WR to see the bulk of targets and everyone else gets random opportunities.
— Speaking of random opportunities – why is it Michael Campanaro (1-10-0) gets a jet sweep WR running play in the first halves of games and takes them for 10+ yards almost every time…and then never sees another carry the rest of the game? Can’t even get a target even though he’s worth running on the jet sweep? Obviously, someone sees something in order to build a running play specifically for him. It may be a crazy concept for me to pitch here – but why not try a pass play to him as well?
— You know who looks good, but is not going to matter all that much unless a Tyler Eifert injury pushes it – C.J. Uzomah (3-13-1/3 targets).
Tyler Eifert has one more season until free agency, but he’s also often injured. If Eifert has another one of his famous injuries that has him missing 4–8+ games to start the season – Uzomah with fill in quite nicely.
Uzomah is a free agent in 2018 as well. If I ran the Bengals, I would sign Uzomah to a three-year, cheaper extension…with real designs on making him my tight end in the future. You cannot count on Tyler Eifert staying healthy – and you certainly don’t want to pay the big price he’s going to demand in free agency in order to see him on the I.R. more than on the field.
If you draft Eifert in best-ball drafts coming up – you want to add/handcuff him with Uzomah, not Tyler Kroft.
— Nick Vigil (6 tackles, 1 PD) got some extra time at linebacker in this game, finally getting an extended chance the season (but just 51% of the snaps). He looked about as good as I thought he would. He’s a legit ILB prospect and IDP sleeper.
However, I don’t think he’ll get much of a chance in Cincinnati unless several injuries happen in front of him. The Bengals are a team sold out to Vontaze Burfict types, not Nick Vigil types. Vigil may have to wait until free agency before we get a chance to use him in IDP.