Patrick Mahomes 2019 Crisis Management Plan 1.0
I was looking forward to my first game of the year where I was not going to watch a live solo night game in my office…not working on stuff between commercials…enjoying the game out among a packed house at the local Buffalo Wild Wings (94% of them there to watch the Astros-Yankees)…sitting with my good friend to watch his Mahomes-Tyreek-Kelce teams prosper all while we ate .65 cent boneless wings. A nice time to get out and live a little and enjoy good times.
Well, apparently, I can’t have nice things…
It wasn’t long before the emails and texts poured in about Andy Reid running an oh so dangerous QB sneak…and lamenting about how all fantasy seasons tied to Mahomes or Tyreek were now over. It wasn’t long before my friend was on his phone checking the availability of Gardner Minshew on waivers. It wasn’t long before I was waiver wire wondering if a Mitch Trubisky turnaround would be possible. It wasn’t long before those who had a Mahomes-Murray combo were texting me their undying love.
I’ll just re-say this… Having two strong QBs in fantasy is really dumb (per the experts) until it isn’t.
There are rare few players that losing them is totally devastating…and it’s a lesson on proper valuation of fantasy assets…
You can’t easily replace Christian McCaffrey. But the rest of the 2019 RBs have been random, nicked up, missing and somewhat replaceable
You can replace any/every WR you might lose. There’s more WRs around than we know what to do with.
You can replace kickers and DSTs, even the Patriots, via streaming (you might butcher the choices, but the options exist to find).
You can’t easily replace a top tier PPR tight end because there is nothing on waivers. You might get lucky but it’s a long shot.
You really cannot replace a top 5 QB in 6pts per pass TD and/or bonus scoring leagues via waivers with just one guy. It’s going to take a village/streaming…and it’s not easy. It looks like it is, but it’s usually a fool’s errand over time.
That’s why I almost always start a fantasy season with two top tier QBs and TEs…top QBs and TEs according to my data, not THEIRS. Every fantasy ‘pro’ thinks that idea is stupid. New readers of my work reject it all and go away because the experts have taught them it’s stupid. And then all anyone does is complain about and scramble for QBs and TEs during the season…while I hold the gold…to use or trade. How many people have inquired about trading for your TE2 Waller or QB2 Kyler the past few weeks?
All that aside…if you just lost Mahomes for several weeks, and don’t have a strong QB2 for just such an emergency – you’re pretty screwed. Hopefully, your rostering of nine handcuff RBs your waiting for the starter to get run over by a steamroller in a bizarre off-field incident can help save your no-QB2 emergency plan. Your ‘my RBs are killing’ mindset is killing the rest of your team in ways you don’t even realize because you will not stop fixating on your RBs as Rome burns around you.
I’m not trying to rub it in…I’m trying to educate. I don’t want the world to adapt to my philosophies…I just want my customers to consider it, so we can play this game differently without anyone getting in our way. Let the other 9-11+ teams in your league fight over the same roster planning mindset.
Well, all that doesn’t matter now for some of you. By whatever means, and maybe it was my brilliant Mahomes-Baker plan, you don’t have a real QB for Week 8…or 9+ now.
This is the game of fantasy. This is the fun. How maddening…how ever-changing. This is why we love it – we love hating it – there is always something to worry about and fix and improve or plan for emergencies, etc. Fantasy Football is an ever-engaging puzzle filled with so many twists and turns. It’s why I encouraged slow starting teams to stick with the plan, don’t mentally quit…because as other teams lose their Saquon or Mahomes at just the right time it’s starts to open the door for your comeback with our better scouting and planning over time. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Except, now, it’s a sprint at QB for some…a sprint while your hair is on fire…if you had Mahomes and nothing else viable in the hole.
What do we do, R.C.? Our fantasy nation’s lonely eyes turn to you.
As they should.
Let’s go through this in four pieces…
(1) The Mahomes issue. (2) The Mahomes repair issues. (3) The Mahomes fallout issue. (4) The prospering from the Mahomes issue.
(1) The REAL Mahomes Issue…
Three weeks out is being floated around? How about four weeks makes a lot more sense considering KC has a BYE Week 12? Mahomes can miss the next 4 games (Weeks 8-11), take a 5th week off on the BYE and then return fully healthy(?) Week 13.
You have to plan for a QB to replace him for the next five weeks (and you may have that in-house already). That’s a lot of season to wait…five long weeks. And then, guess what? It kinda gets to be worse news from there – upon a Week 13 return, he faces Oakland…which is good news. The problem is Weeks 14-16, your fantasy playoffs – at NE, DEN, at CHI. Currently, three of the top 5 pass defenses in the NFL. NE-CHI top three, and those games are AT those top pass Ds, AND potentially/most likely in unfavorable weather conditions.
If Mahomes is out Weeks 8-11, and then the Week 12 BYE, and Weeks 14 and 16 are unfavorable to a HUGE upside – you’ve got, hopefully, nine more weeks of Mahomes, and two weeks you’ll use him confidently or at all! One of those two good spots in possible cold KC condition vs. top pass defense (suspect) Denver?
You’re going to tie up a roster spot for the next five weeks, the trying to make the playoffs stretch, hoping to get Mahomes back for those FF-playoffs for which he may not be a great play in.
Your best move, in redraft (NOT Dynasty), may be to go find your new QB…and to include Mahomes in the deal and let someone else be ‘clever’ and sit on him to get him back late in the season…not realizing (or caring) about Weeks 14-16 schedule issues.
If you are a scrapping 3-3 type FF team, and you lost Mahomes and have no real back up – you gotta find a QB for the next five weeks AND have an eye on that QB helping Weeks 14-15-16. If you are in ‘just trying to make the playoffs’ mode – I’d advocate you put Mahomes in a deal to get a QB, if a deal makes sense, because you need a QB NOW. Weeks 13-16 is a way’s away…a stretch of time you might not see if you don’t get through now.
There will be people willing to grab Mahomes from you thinking he’s a buy low/steal that they’re investing in for later. If there is a 5-1/4-2 team with two QBs on their roster, and you go get one of them…the thought they can make a deal and get Mahomes to sit on, they might be delighted.
If you agree, make those deals now, verbally committed to and then make the player exchange go through next week. Don’t wait to make a deal next week and for people to figure out this late season schedule thing. If the Mahomes reports are all 3-4 weeks…then you will have people with their team doing well right now thinking they just stole a title from you because they can wait on Mahomes to return later.
(2) The Mahomes Repair Issue…
So, how do we fix this? What QBs to look at given depleted waiver wires and people not wanting to trade QBs?
Let me throw a couple concepts out there:
First, let’s comb the waiver wire – you’ll probably need to make claims RIGHT NOW before Sunday before more QBs get hurt, etc. Some names to consider…
Gardner Minshew is the most talented guy likely on waivers (if he is). Coming off a bad Week 6, many analyst’s DEEP conviction on Minshew lasted all of ‘one bad FF game’ last week. He works Weeks 8-9 (NYJ-HOU) but then Week 10 BYE hurts…Week 11 at IND is OK, but then Nick Foles starts to loom. Minshew is something but it’s not perfect. Weeks 14-16 LAC-OAK-ATL would help…if Minshew is still the starting QB for the Jags.
Kirk Cousins may work better than Minshew, in the short term – Weeks 8-9 WAS/at KC…then at DAL/DEN Weeks 10-11 before a Week 12 BYE (which is the BYE issue with Mahomes and Kyler too). Cousins is in a better place to help the next few weeks than Minshew.
I’m not a big Jacoby Brissett guy, but DEN-@PIT-MIA-JAX-@HOU Weeks 8-12 is not bad at all…for a mediocre QB with a nice O-Line to help push him. He’s an option.
I don’t like Sam Darnold, in general, but any port in a storm…and this Mahomes storm Weeks 8-12…Darnold has @JAX-@MIA-NYG-@WAS-OAK in that stretch…a weak QB with a great schedule might be OK. I think he might underwhelm expectations because of the O-Line and his weak arm, but it’s not a bad option in this crisis.
Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t look great to me, on the field, and the whole SF passing games is odd, BUT they face ARI-SEA-ARI Weeks 9-11. Week 8 vs. CAR, I hate…but Weeks 9-11 may be pretty nice. Week 12 vs. GB isn’t great either. This would be a play on his Weeks 9-11. Get another QB for a week for Week 8. Get used to the fact you might need to claim two QBs to have one to stream your way through.
Mitch Trubisky – he found magic last season for fantasy after Week 4…he was a top 1-3 fantasy QB for a chunk of the middle part of 2018. Can he get back there? Maybe. Probably not…because this offense is so pathetic…BUT, there’s a lot of pressure on Nagy and this offense. It can be cured much like Kirk Cousins of the past few weeks – go out and prove everyone wrong. The Bears are at a crisis point and may let Mitch’s hair down again like last year + when he runs the ball, he’s FF-gold. Weeks 8-13 aren’t bad…LAC-@PHI-DET-@LAR-NYG-@DET. The media has crushed him so much, he’s definitely available in most leagues. He’s the most hated QB in the NFL by the analysts.
Derek Carr is a deep sleeper here. Had a weak FF game vs. CHI, like everyone…but 2 TD passes in each of the two games prior. IF he has Tyrell Williams with (now) Zay Jones and Darren Waller…it’s got some juice and Carr is pretty good. However, Jon Gruden is too conservative, and Tyrell may be really hurt for a while. It’s something but not my favorite.
Of the waiver wire potentials (your league may vary) my rankings would be…
1) Kirk Cousins – best WRs, best team, great schedule for the next two weeks. Just for two weeks is worth it in the crisis if off waivers.
2) Sam Darnold – the schedule is just too easy Weeks 9-14
3) Jimmy Garoppolo – to try to take advantage of the two ARI games Weeks 9 and 11.
4a) Mitch Trubisky – to try to find lightning in a bottle a la middle 2018.
4b) Jacoby Brissett – solid QB, good O-Line, solid enough schedule, will run a little. Could be #3 on this list but I’m too biased.
5) Gardner Minshew – Week 10 BYE and then does Foles mess this up? Love what I see talent-wise, but now we’ve got a crisis and we can’t get this wrong/or fall short.
6) Derek Carr – last gasp hope.
*Teddy Bridgewater vs. ARI Week 8 looks sweet too, and is…but we’re not 100% sure Brees won’t be back that week. Probably not. You could use Teddy for a spot start here too with no Brees.
OK, so maybe you should trade for a QB?
The QB who people hate right now (and have all season): Jared Goff…especially off the 78 yards passing event last week. Week 9 BYE and Week 11 with Chicago – so, a perfect pairing with Jimmy Garoppolo’s two ARI matchups those same weeks. The Rams gotta throw and Goff can put up Matt Ryan type efforts/numbers in good matchups.
Drew Brees…a gamble that he comes back Week 8, but then BYE Week 9…BUT THEN…ATL-TB-CAR-ATL Weeks 10-13. A nice bridge to a Mahomes return, if you’re playing it that way. Get Cousins for Weeks 8-9, then have Brees for Weeks 10-13.
Kyler Murray…I mean, I couldn’t have made this clearer since February. You had Mahomes, and you missed Kyler, and didn’t think ‘buying low’ to have a QB2 like him was as important as a revolving door of RB prayers…you’re reaping what you sowed now. His value is way up today, but not at full hysteria – you could just sell (redraft) Mahomes + ___ good thing for Murray, if the other team has another plausible QB – and they might love your ___ and be dazzled by buying low into Mahomes.
I don’t know that you need to sellout for Kyler IF you could connect Goff-Garoppolo or Brees-Cousins.
Who I am NOT looking at?
Daniel Jones – schedule is great Weeks 14-16, but I gotta get there first and his Weeks 8-13 are bad news.
Matt Stafford – don’t like the schedule or upside.
Aaron Rodgers – name is too pricey for the junk returns he’s giving and a not great schedule and Davante Adams out for who knows how long.
Mason Rudolph – Don’t like the Steelers passing game plan well enough. Could use Week 8 v. MIA.
Matt Moore – Duh.
What about Baker Mayfield?
He is death on a stick Weeks 8-10…at NE, at DEN, BUF. The whole offense looks terrible. The O-Line is a mess. We don’t know what will happen with this team until after Week 8. It could be a bit risky…but might be all we got.
Now, Weeks 11-16 are pure LOVE…PIT-MIA-@PIT-CIN-ARI-BAL.
I like Baker as a part of the plan (considering he’s dirt cheap today) for Weeks 11-16, in 6pts per pass TD leagues, but you gotta get through Weeks 8-10 (and maybe Week 9 will be OK at DEN).
Baker + Darnold (@JAX-@MIA-NYG Weeks 8-10…and then a great schedule from there too if Baker dies)
Baker + Cousins (WAS-@KC-@DAL Weeks 8-10) *Love this if you believe in Baker.
Baker + Brissett (DEN-@PIT-MIA Weeks 8-10)
Baker + Jimmy G. (CAR-@ARI-SEA Weeks 8-10)
(3) The Mahomes Gone Fallout Issue…
What about Tyreek and Kelce without Mahomes?
Definitely, not a good thing.
Tyreek Hill is kinda everything proof…matchup proof, QB proof – because if you just get him the ball short (or long) things happen. Andy Reid still doesn’t fully appreciate it, so there’s that risk. But Tyreek is now a shaky WR1. He’s not the obvious ‘the man’ that can lead every WR in fantasy scoring. That’s off the table, I think. Mahomes was the special sauce. Tyreek is just regular great, not great-great for FF…and frustration weeks will happen with Moore.
Travis Kelce was already FF-scuffling, and this REALLY hurts him. QB is the most important thing for a TE, and this is trouble. You won’t fix the Kelce issue off waivers (like you could a Tyreek/WR or even the QB issue). Kelce is still good, relative to the TE economy. He’s just randomly week-to-week good, not a no-brainer top guy every week.
The other WRs, including Sammy Watkins…dead. I’m sure one will catch a TD randomly in a given week but you’re not playing any of them on purpose with Matt Moore.
The RBs are boosted here, out of necessity…but this is an ugly RB trio/RBBC, so don’t get too excited. I’d trade off LeSean McCoy as fast as possible off a decent night -- and (hopefully) when people start theorizing he’s a winner from all this. He’s useful for BYE week despair but this KC offense is dreadful with a bad O-Line without Mahomes. McCoy might get 12-15 carries in a game…for 3.5 ypc and gets pulled near the goal line almost every time they’re there. Damien Williams looks terrible, again. Darrel Williams is a deep sleeper to just get into a split if KC moves on from Damien Williams.
Kansas City has all the makings of a bad offense…injured O-Line, no real run game, overrated and terrible HC/O-C combo…all masked by Patrick Mahomes’s genius. It will be exposed now.
(4) The Prospering from the Mahomes Issue…
No Mahomes for the next 4 games is likely going to expose all the KC/Andy Reid/Eric Bienemy issues. And having Matt Moore as your Plan B in this day and age is unconscionable, but I think Andy Reid would rather work with guys like Chase Daniel and Matt Moore than groom raw talent. They want buddies they can talk film and playbooks with fro 12 hours a day…not QBs that can make actual plays on the field…just QBs who can talk about how to do it.
So, if KC’s offense goes from ‘the best’/most feared to one of the worst…that’s good for opposing defenses ahead. They play at GB, MIN, at TEN, LAC the next four weeks.
A huge boost for GB-MIN to win the NFC North now. What was once two very likely losses at KC are now likely wins…Chicago misses out on that gift because of timing (they play them when Mahomes is back later in the season). Chicago’s team is hurt huge by this turn of events.
The Green Bay-DST gets a boost…OAK, @KC, @LAC, CAR the next four games is not so bad a stretch now with the change in KC perspective.
The Vikings-DST gets a huge boost…@DET, WAS, @KC, DAL, DEN the next five weeks is four maybe five strong starts.
The Titans-DST now has Winston-K.Allen-Moore Weeks 8-10. Facing LAC Week 7 is solid, and then Weeks 8-10 got really nice for them.
The Chargers stink and Mahomes might be back Week 11, maybe, so no help there so much.
Green Bay and Minnesota are likely to win the NFC North and the other be a wild card…and leave Chicago at home for the playoffs. For sure, the Bears NFC North hopes really took a hit. Other 9-win type teams hoping for an NFC wild card are hurt by this sudden +1 win for GB/MIN…like the loser of the Dallas-Philly game this week, the Rams, and maybe Carolina.