*The Top 5 Trade For/Away, Waivers, etc. will post later today or more likely tomorrow morning.
For now, here's the instant reaction to Week 4 Sunday, subject to change when I go through the tape fully a second time…
Football and Fantasy Football seem pretty meaningless on a morning like this but the show must go on and sport/entertainment can help to give us respite from the weight of real life. So, try to enjoy a break from reality.
I went to the dog park this morning, as is my daily, early a.m. routine. I'm usually there alone (with Molly girl) around 7 am. However, a guy came in at the same time with his dogs and we made small talk, and obviously the overnight events was the topic of discussion. He said he had eight friends who went to that festival and he has not been able to contact any of them, they are not responding to texts nor have they updated their Facebook profiles, etc. to show 'safe' status. He had planned to go to that festival with his wife too but he had a conflict and didn’t go. I mean of all the people you randomly meet in a dog park… I can't even imagine what he is going through. I can’t imagine what family members of people who had loved ones at that festival are going through. You just want to go to a music festival to have fun and forget about life for a while -- and then this breaks out. Heck, my son was just in Las Vegas a few weeks ago…I can't even imagine not being able to contact my son, if he were there, and wondering if he might have wandered over there or just near there.
Everyone always says, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to…blah-blah," but do they really? There are so many calamities going on right now I think my compassion reserves are tapped. Until it hits closer to home or 'to home' it's hard to truly understand, or at least I can't. For me, the Vegas news was "Wow. Sick. Man, my son as just there a few weeks ago." For this guy I met at the dog park, he almost went to that exact festival and can’t get in touch with any of his eight friends who did. My thoughts and prayers pale in comparison.
When they do the 'thoughts and prayers' call…for those inclined to do such things…you want something tangible to pray for – I pray this random stranger I met today is able to locate his friends in healthy condition.
I also heard an interview of a military guy on the radio, as I was leaving the dog park, a guy who was just back from Iraq talking about what he saw and how he tried to help the wounded. I'm thankful for the fact that as bad as the world can be – it's usually a few bad eggs but there are much more people willing to help, even risking their own lives, in times/locations of danger/crisis. That's what this country represents – for any 'bad' we have, there's way more 'good'. That's why I would never take a knee or avoid the National Anthem...I'll find some other way to raise awareness for my causes. A guy just back from service to the country/world, off the clock, enjoying a music festival…and he's rushing around gunfire to help people because he's trained and compelled to. There are more like him in droves than there are wingnut shooters. That's our country – warts and all. We'll spend all day/week on this shooter in the news. However, the guy who helped move the wounded and apply tourniquets during the firing, etc. -- no one will really know he exists. Thank God we live in a country where there are way more good eggs than bad…that's my prayer.
Now, onto to stupid football…
-- Alvin Kamara (5-25-0, 10-71-1/10) is going to be one of the big things of the week on waivers after his 10 catches in their London game. It will be a Darren Sproles comparison week, all week, with Kamara…tempered somewhat because the Saints have a BYE this week.
-- Miami didn’t scale back Jay Ajayi (12-46-0, 1-8-0/1) much in this game due to any knee issues – it's just the offense is so pathetic. Neither Damien Williams nor Kenyan Drake stood out either.
-- Ted Ginn (1-9-0, 2-25-0/2) did not have any near-miss TD events in this game – the offense is Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, and everyone else will have random moments. Move on from Ginn to more interesting things.
-- Strange game all around. The Jags gave up 23 points, but 7 came off a thought-to-be-tackled runner near the LOS, but it was a bit of an optical illusion and the runner got up and kept going for a 75-yard TD as defenders stood and watched. It was that kind of day for the Jags. Besides two long runs of 75 and 69, the Jags had this game in check. A fake punt by the Jets also set up another score.
-- As long as Matt Forte is out, Elijah McGuire is going to be a big part of the run game. I still suspect the Jets' coaches like McGuire better than Powell.
-- For the second time this season, DE Yannick Ngakoue (2 tackles, 2.0 sacks) has registered 2.0 sacks in a game. Last season as a rookie he registered 8.0 sacks.
-- Wayne Gallman (11-42-0, 2-8-1/2) looked 'meh' in his debut. He's a 'C-' RB talent with good hands. He looks 'good' when you see him compared to Paul Perkins, but remember Perkins is the worst RB in the NFL. I wouldn’t chase Gallman hard off waivers. I'd trade him this week in dynasty while the hype simmers some this week.
-- I will never speak of the following two words in the same sentence again – 'Shane Vereen' and 'Sleeper'. I keep trying to find the NYG RB alternative to Paul Perkins, but the running game sucks for all of them and Ben McAdoo has his head up Perkins's ass for some reason.
-- O.J. Howard (2-63-1/4) scored a TD but he's not close to 'arriving' for fantasy. He was left wide-open on a misdirection play…even the defense doesn’t think he'll ever see a pass target. Don’t go chasing him in your fantasy TE despair, if you have some. I see no signs of anything developing.
-- Andy Dalton since the O-C change: 6 TD/0 INT in two games. Analysts will be mildly excited by that, but BUF-BYE-PIT-IND-JAC-TEN-DEN ahead…two useful matchups next 7 games.
-- Joe Mixon was a dud this week. He had a few moments of 'there's that guy' but too much halted around the LOS. He has yet to have his breakout moment or play. He looks fine…just nowhere to run. The Cincy RBs combined for 57 yards rushing on 26 carries.
-- In two games with Corey Coleman gone, Duke Johnson is averaging 8.0 catches, 82.5 total yards, and a TD in each game.
-- Buffalo defense and their points allowed in games this season starting with Week 1: 12-9-16-17 (13.8 PPG). They've also allowed 1 TD pass with 6 interceptions. They've stuffed 2–1 NYJ, Cam (who just smacked the Patriots, Siemian (who's been good this year), and now Matt Ryan.
Dalton-BYE-Winston-Carr(?)-McCown the next five weeks.
They were an 'get in on early' sleeper for us last week…now many will be awoken to them.
-- Taylor Gabriel (0-0-0/5), the Falcons' TD leader at WR last season, with Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu both hurt…he doesn’t get plays set up for him. He doesn’t get leaned on. This is why I do not trust Matt Ryan or the new O-C. The Falcons deserved to lose and they're damn lucky they are not 1–3 instead of 3–1.
Gabriel goes from waiver sleeper to waiver confusion.
-- LeSean McCoy (20-76-0, 3-32-0) has rushed for 32.0 yards per game the last three games. He has also yet to score a TD this season.
-- Dalvin Cook goes down and then Latavius Murray outcarries Jerick McKinnon 7–2, so I guess the answer to everyone's obvious question is 'Latavius Murray'. I'll bite on it too, because if Dalvin Cook gets that kind of workload (that he has) I assume Murray will get pretty good touches too. Jerick cannot be ruled out, but that's been false hope for years now.
-- Lions DT Anthony Zettel (3 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 4 QB hits) has had at least one sack in three of four games this season and has 4.0 sacks total. That's more than Ezekiel Ansah (3 tackles) had last season total.
-- I've been making excuses for Theo Riddick (4-4-0, 18-0/2) because he always finds his way to 4–5+ catches a game, but he has 3-4-1 catches his last three games. I'm not totally ditching, unless I have a better idea, but I can’t entertain starting him in most leagues Week 5.
-- OK, I'll tap out on the Patriots defense. 33 or more points allowed three of four games. I was right about the Jags' and the Steelers' defensive uprisings…the Patriots aren't working. I was wrong, apparently. I just know they'll turn this around…but I'll probably miss out/be long gone. Winston-McCown next two weeks looks OK, but I don’t think I can even trust them next week. I'll just shuffle off to Buffalo…
-- Christian McCaffrey's (6-16-0, 4-33-0/6) numbers are starting to slide as teams focus on him. He's averaging 2.9 yards per carry this season. Catch counts of 5-4-9-4…aside from the outlier of 9 catches, you could get 4–5 catches in a game from about 20+ RBs right now. Duke Johnson and James White are better FF plays than McCaffrey now, among others.
-- We've got a Brandin Cooks (3-38-0/6) problem. Targets in games this year: 7-4-7-6. That's not improving and that's not near 'star treatment'. Basically, Cooks falls behind James White, Gronk, Hogan, and Amendola. Cooks looks great. Tom Brady misthrows it to him (at his feet, over his head) every other throw it seems. Cooks's big plays have been amazing catches, not a sweet, in-sync collaboration with the QB.
You either hold and wait to see if the relationship turns…or you trade while there are still people sniffing a deal. I'm truly unsure what the right path is. He looks fantastic, but he's 'just a guy' right now…a really good guy. I could argue for holding…or trying to 'sell high'.
-- I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of important Goff v. Prescott matchups in the next 5-10 years. Both looked great. I was even more impressed with how cool Goff looked – 'next Brady' (in an era that doesn’t want Brady-like QBs) is back on the table. Goff + McVay = Magic.
-- After a white-hot start, Jason Witten (1-9-0/2) has just one catch in each of his last two games…on a total of 6 targets. Another TE hopeful bites the dust…for now.
-- Sammy Watkins (1-17-0/2) eradicated all of his trade value from last week by reminding everyone Jared Goff doesn't lean on any one receiver…except Todd Gurley.
Gurley has 20 catches this season, Dez Bryant has 16.
-- Alex Collins (9-82-0, 0-0-0/2) started and was 'the workhorse' for the Ravens. Look, the Ravens offense is horrible so who they use as the lead RB is likely to be terrible for FF as well.
-- Justin Tucker is killing us. It's not him, it's the offense can’t get into scoring position. They can barely get first downs. I don’t know what to tell you. He's the best kicker in the league on a terrible offense. He has faced the Jags-Steelers the last two weeks…so it might be a blip of bad scheduling. Ahead, it's much brighter – OAK-CHI-MIN-MIA-TEN the next five games. I'm sticking by him unless I can slide Greg Zuerlein in there. Even then, I'm not sure I can pull that trigger.
-- Another week, another less than 300 yards passing…another less than 250 yards passing game for Ben Roethlisberger. Ben has thrown for 263-243-235-216 in four games. His throws are getting sloppier and sloppier. As I’ve said for weeks – he can’t be trusted anymore for FF.
-- Deshaun Watson (25-34 for 283 yards, 4 TD/1 INT) is on fire and will be the waiver darling of the week in 12-team leagues. The Texans seemed to run the simple college spread offense and the defense didn’t rush Watson for fear of his running…and Watson just gashed them with simple passes all over. KC-CLE-BYE-SEA ahead may not be as easy a stretch as NE-TEN has been the last two weeks. I need to re-watch this tape to see what happened. This game didn’t seem lopsided early on, just bad luck for TEN (like CHI on TNF)…and then before you knew it everything came unglued.
-- I don’t know what is wrong, but Demarco Murray (7-31-0, 2-4-0/2) doesn’t look right. Take out the 75-yard TD run against SEA Week 3, where SEA just gave up…and he has 140 yards rushing on his other 41 carries…3.4 ypc. Where I have him, I want out…but there may be no takers willing to make it worth dumping him.
-- I love Rishard Matthews (3-49-0/8), but he's dead money if Marcus Mariota is out. Matt Cassel is an abomination to NFL quarterbacking – the Titans deserve to lose every game he plays. They did this to themselves.
-- I really like Jaron Brown (8-105-0/12) and I'm glad he is finally getting his opportunity. I'm not sure I'm ready to trust him in a normal FF league but I have to consider rostering him in PPR – the best alternative to Larry Fitzgerald for Carson Palmer.
-- Andre Ellington (5-18-0, 9-86-0/14) has to be taken even more seriously now. He's essentially a WR classified as an RB…like every other RB anymore.
-- Matt Breida (9-16-0, 1-4-0/3) got more work this week with Carlos Hyde's hurting hip…but he didn’t pop in the box score. However, he did score a TD that got called back. He definitely has some juice in his legs. It still seems he's a fish out of water as an RB. He's better as a RBaWR (RB acting as a WR), except his hands are a little shaky…and he's not really being pushed in that way.
-- You might be OK using LAC passing game weapons @NYG and @OAK the next two weeks – then you need to get the H*** out. Weeks 7–11…DEN-NE-BYE-JAC-BUF. Tyrell Williams (5-115-1/6) is droppable heading into that stretch in a 12-team, 15–16 man roster league.
-- UDFA rookie RB Austin Ekeler (1-35-1, 2-23-0/2) is pushing his way to a possible useful FF role with LAC. Melvin Gordon is dying as a runner for the Chargers, Ekeler adds a little electricity Gordon doesn’t have. Ekeler would only be a 3–5 carry, 3–5 target type guy at best. Anthony Lynn is a fool, and he'll want to keep banging the football versus opening things up with a change of pace guy.
-- It's Blount this week, it’s Smallwood the next…it's hard to get too high or low on any Philly RB for fantasy. Two weeks ago people wanted to cut Blount from the Eagles much less their fantasy team. Don’t trust Doug Pederson's RB rotation unless you have no other choice.
-- Demaryius Thomas (1-11-0/5) is falling down the same well that Julio Jones and Dez Bryant have, I suspect…the 'well paid, fat, happy club'. Oakland has a bad secondary and lost their top corner to injury during this game…and this is what DT puts up? He hasn't scored a TD in his last 6 games. He has three 100+ yard games in his last 25 games. He's not a star anymore, especially in this era of young WRs just walking in and tearing up the stat sheets. The pass-catching RBs are better flex options all of a sudden. DT trades as a WR2…I’d use the name appeal to move to more interesting players.
-- Last week, Jamaal Charles (5-33-0, 1-14-0/1) had touches equal with C.J. Anderson (20-95-0, 4-17-0/4)…not so much this week, which has been the norm. Vance Joseph is all-in on CJA. Jamaal is barely hanging on to hope or FF-usefulness.
-- The last two weeks for Marshawn Lynch (9-12-0, 0-0-0/0) – 15 carries for 30 yards (2.0 ypc). Carries the last three weeks 12-6-9. Lynch is barely an RB4 in PPR.
-- That Chris Carson injury looked horrific. In fantasy, we see that and go right to 'next man up' thoughts. Who takes over now?
Eddie Lacy (11-52-0) got some work but he is truly terrible…there's a reason he's been inactive.
J.D. McKissic (4-38-1, 1-27-1/1) has deserved this opportunity for a long time…but he just makes this scene muddier and he will go to the back of the line once C.J. Prosise returns.
Thomas Rawls is the likely 'winner' if he can ever get back on the field.
For the same reasons I have said to trade Carson for two weeks, it is the same logic for not marrying any Seattle RB option – there are too many options, operating behind a bad O-Line working with the worst offensive coordinator in football. You'll never guess this right even if you do for a moment.
If I had to have one it would be Rawls or McKissic…because I don’t think Prosise (or Rawls) can stay healthy.
-- Jimmy Graham (4-61-0/6) had another disinterested performance. He had a nice, 33-yard pass catch in this game or he was headed to a pretty weak output. He looks so un-Jimmy Graham-like each week it's jarring and sad to watch.
-- Andrew Luck estimated return? Had the Colts pulled this win off it might have been a sooner-rather-than-later but still the AFC South got turned on its ear Sunday. Houston went from dead to 'best team in the world' and the sure thing Titans and Jags both got dumped on their heads. The Colts are alive at 1-3 and if they beat the 49ers next week… 2-3 might be tied for first place after five weeks. Week 6 at Tennessee, if the Titans don’t have Mariota will be a potential win to get to 3-3 heading Week 7 Jacksonville for a potential Andrew Luck return.
I thought Indy would be fading away -- so why rush Luck? But the entire 2017 season is turned upside down so anyone can get hot and win divisions/the Super Bowl right now…even the NY Giants. Even the Colts. If it sounds crazy…then it might be true in 2017.
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