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Dynasty-Fantasy Football Analysis – 2017-18 Playoffs Vikings v. Eagles

January 23, 2018 12:48 AM
January 23, 2018 12:30 AM

Even if you thought the Eagles would win this game…you would never have imagined it to be a blowout. Not in your wildest dreams. But…it happened.

There was only one reason for this blowout (not the win but the blowout) – and that was Nick Foles. His performance was arguably one of the best 2-3 works of art I’ve ever seen him produce. Tough to top his 7 TD game versus Oakland in 2013, but Foles-2013 was alive and well on January 21, 2018. More on his performance on the player analysis section in a moment.

I’ll just say this – you and I, especially long term readers know my thoughts on Nick Foles. You’ve lived and died with me on him back in 2013-2014-2015. You know the history. You know how good I feel about all this. Many are asking me – will Foles get a shot to be a legit NFL starter somewhere now?

Sure, we saw ‘it’ Sunday and then we try to use logic…but you’re asking an NFL question, not a logical question. So, the NFL answer to that NFL question is – “Hell, no. Foles will not get a chance to start for a team in 2018.”

The NFL establishment will do what it always does…the wrong thing. They’ve already ruined Foles’ career once. Every single man, woman, and child in the football business thought Foles was talentless and a byproduct of Chip Kelly. I’ve already written a thousand times on why the Chip Kelly thing is ludicrous – Kelly failed in the NFL with every QB he had in both Philly and San Fran EXCEPT when he had Foles, where he nearly won 80% of his games. Chip Kelly is out of the league because he traded Nick Foles. He traded his meal ticket.

Because NO one in the NFL establishment thought Foles was worth a cup of spit…they tore him down at every turn. They mocked his historical 2013…a thing that should’ve been celebrated and in demand…it was instead made fun of and called ‘lucky’, and a 2014 downfall was preached. Foles’ only downfall was playing for Jeff Fisher, but when Foles struggled there…Foles was blamed. The NFL has sided with NFL-failed Chip Kelly and absolute joke Jeff Fisher…they’ve sided with them against Foles.

The media and analyst community was so harsh on Foles, he could hardly get work. He contemplated retiring. The guy you saw Sunday in a major game with a blaring spotlight on him…the guy who looked better than any QB in the Final Four – that guy wasn’t deemed worthy of even a chance at being an NFL starter the past few years. This was not a 60-40 opinion among football brains…this was 100% to zero everyone who ‘knows’ football just knew Foles was no good.

They don’t think any differently today. They may mouth nicities but they don’t believe. They’re waiting for a chance to stick a dagger in again. They cannot have you realizing that they were so unbelievably wrong about player scouting. Foles must not succeed. It’s bad enough Tom Brady is the greatest player in the sport and none of them saw it coming…now, here comes a guy like Foles to embarrass them. We can’t have that…because who will want to listen to them as they push you Jameis Winston and Blake Bortles and Sam Darnold if people realize they have no idea what they are doing or talking about with player scouting?

Here’s where we go from here with Foles…

Eagles lose the Super Bowl, Foles is patted on the head and is the Philly backup for the next 3-5 years.

Eagles win, Foles is game MVP, it will all be blamed on Doug Pederson and John DeFilippo…DeFilippo will get a head job soon because he’ll be seen as a QB whisperer if he can turn awful Nick Foles into something. Every Pederson-related offensive coach will be hired over the next two years…part of the miracle workers who made terrible Nick Foles into a one-time winner.

Foles would have to be traded for to have a chance in 2018. The Eagles hold his contract for several years. It makes no sense to let him go unless a team made it really worth their while. No team will. It would take an NFL team admitting their long-time mistake on Foles, identifying it was the media that led NFL people and the fans astray, and then making a big commitment to him. None of that will happen. Teams will be afraid because they’ve been conditioned by the media that Foles stinks. No NFL exec wants to be the guy that gets ‘bad Foles’ and thus look bad at their job. The safe thing to do is stay far away from Foles. Sure, some team will offer like a 7th-round pick for him (and it will get rejected) but no one will take any serious measures to commit to Foles…and thus the media assassination of a player via the destructive weapon of them being totally awful at scouting football talent will continue with Foles. The guy should have been a starter for the last five years and could possibly one of the 10 best QBs in the league right now…instead, he’s now pigeon-holed as a career backup. All because the media and analysts are awful at their jobs and the NFL teams are even worse because they take their cues from them.

It’s not just Nick Foles, I could cite similar players every day for the rest of this calendar year. 

Congrats Jacksonville Jaguars – you could’ve won the Super Bowl if you pursued Foles this offseason and made him your starter, but you didn’t. You stuck with Bortles and you almost snuck by…but you didn’t. Victory was a Foles away…and you ‘passed’.

Congrats to Nick Foles – I hope he throws for 5 TDs and wins MVP of the Super Bowl in two weeks and sticks it up the football establishment’s ass even further.

And then there’s the Minnesota Vikings…

Hey, they just had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of Nick Foles starting to get comfortable with his surrounding cast and the offense. This loss is going to sting for a while.

Jacksonville losing just before reaching the Super Bowl…people are going to go ‘Hey, great base of a team and they just need a QB’. There’s optimism, even if delusional, with the Jags today. Not so much with the Vikings.

No one believes in Case Keenum, right or wrong. He’s a free agent…so too Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. The prospect of any of them at QB is not exciting. Pat Shurmur, the best thing about the offense…the reason for the major uptick…he’s likely gone and Mike Zimmer will replace him with Darrell Bevell as sure as I sit here. Jerick McKinnon, arguably the most talented offensive weapon they have…he’s gone via free agency. Mediocre Dalvin Cook will be the feature again. Everything that was good about Minnesota 2017 is leaving. This team is going to revert and the fans will be agitated.

This was the year for the Vikings and they couldn’t capture it. A spike in offense that wasn’t planned two years ago by Zimmer…this offense fell in his lap from the O-C change from Norv Turner to the QB situation with Keenum getting hot to Dalvin going down and forcing him to go Murray-McKinnon. This wasn’t how Zimmer planned it…his plan being thwarted from his takeover is the best thing that happened to this team. Zimmer gets to make choices in 2018…so, look out below. On top of that, Green Bay lost Aaron Rodgers. The Bears could’ve been a contender but John Fox is Jeff Fisher…and now, new blood in Chicago is happening…and the next Aaron Rodgers at QB, Mitchell Trubisky. The Lions had chances, but coached their way out of them…Matt Patricia is coming over, the best of the Pats coaches on the move. The future looks increasingly difficult.

Minnesota is very likely going to be that team that goes from almost great to last place the next season…and it’s going to be painful to watch it slip away as a Vikings fan. You touched the brass ring, you couldn’t grab it…now the brass ring is about to move hundreds of miles from view. The next uptick coming when Mike Zimmer gets run out of town in 2-3 years.


Fantasy player analysis…

 -- One or two (or ten) more things about Nick Foles (26-33 for 352 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) in this game…

This performance was not ‘mediocre QB has a couple of lucky throws’ type of event (like Keenum last week)…no, this was a masterpiece. One of the best games of quarterbacking, and the most exquisite of throws you will ever see. A better performance than any QB in any playoff game this year. Perhaps, the single best QB performance of the 2017-18 season. I’m not just saying that to hype my boy.

You’re talking about a quarterback that was throwing passes on the money on all game…some of the throws in spots where only the WR could touch it and into some tight-ish windows. Foles was so brilliant there weren’t super tight windows he had to deal with because he was seeing guys open before they even got open. He looked like he was toying with the Vikings most of the game. 10-of-14 on third downs. 78%+ completion percentage against what was billed as the league’s best defense. Foles was unstoppable. Some of his throws were elite level…like he used to throw back when he was allowed to start and work with the first-team offense.

There are rare few QBs who have the capability to make plays and throws like Foles did in this game. If you really watch these types of things and study these types of things…you would have seen utter brilliance on a HUGE stage as an underdog here. You did see it. We’ve both seen this version of Nick Foles. Only everyone in the NFL from the teams, to the personnel departments, to the analysts, to the beat reporters, to all the media are the ones that CANNOT see ‘it’.

A guy’s career has been ruined by these people and it makes me sick.

I’ve had contact with various parts of the NFL community/teams in my football scouting career…my work is there for all to see. I’ve had NFL and CFL subscribers to College Football Metrics over the years, probably still do (more of them should use anonymous email addresses). Nick FolesDavid Johnson…so many players I could have delivered to NFL teams for cheap – these people see it and are not moved. That’s how out to lunch they are…it’s one thing if they don’t know. It’s another that they do know and they’re unmoved because (and I hear this every week of my life) “Well, that can’t be right…because no one else in football thinks that.” Even when I’m unbelieveably correct on radical things…’it’s just luck’.

I have no desire to work with the NFL, ESPN, etc. They don’t get it. I’ll stay anonymous working in the shadows of the fantasy and handicapping community and they can do a 30-for-30 about me 30 years after I’m dead. Why talk to people who won’t listen or can’t hear?

Nick Foles is 19-6 as a starter since his 2nd-year in the NFL and not including that Rams nightmare year, but including playoffs. 53 TDs/14 INTs in that span. In three career playoff games, 5 TDs/0 INTs. And this guy will not get a serious job offer in 2018, I know it as sure as I sit here. I wish I were wrong.

If this Nick Foles, the one we saw Sunday, ‘happens’ in the Super Bowl (and he has another two weeks of prep now)…the Eagles will win and Foles will be the MVP – and I will cry like a proud parent.

From my fingertips to God’s ears…


 -- As Nick Foles’ value jumps off the charts…Case Keenum’s (28-48 for 271 yards, 1 TD/2 INTs) value further declined through the playoffs. Keenum isn’t bad but at no time ever in his life or during this hot Vikings run has Keenum looked like what Foles looked like in this game. They’re incomparable. However, Keenum happens to be a free agent so teams will take a shot. Foles is stuck in Philly unless some team makes a big play for him…which they won’t.

Keenum will likely try to leverage this 2017 magic into a nice deal with Minnesota for 2018 on a 3-4 year deal with easier outs for the team. Keenum should strike as fast as he can before Minnesota goes with Teddy Bridgewater and Keenum finds what Blake Bortles will find…there isn’t much of a market for their services as much as they thought.

Keenum has been cooling down for weeks. Had a couple lucky plays last week to get by the Saints and then got outclassed by Foles here. Keenum better cash in while he can…if he values himself too highly he’s going to get burned. Too many free agent QBs out there competing for the spots available this year (and into the future).

If Pat Shurmur goes to coach the Giants, Keenum may go there but Shurmur is a Sam Bradford guy, plus there is the Eli shadow. Case’s best case is to hoodwink the Vikings while people still remember fondly the 2017 season…and don’t dwell on how Keenum sagged down the stretch.


 -- Jay Ajayi (18-73-0, 3-26-0/3) logged another mediocre performance. Thankfully, the Eagles have Foles popping and no longer have to rely on their muddling run game.

So, the Super Bowl is now set…Dion Lewis, who no one wanted leads one backfield along with James White and Rex Burkhead – facing Jay Ajayi, who the Dolphins couldn’t get rid of fast enough. Tell me again how important running back is in the NFL? Dion Lewis and Jay Ajayi are your headliners here.

RB X-factor for the Super Bowl…LeGarrette Blount returns to the big game -- this time, not as a Patriot. I’m guessing he’ll run inspired in a couple of weeks.

Buckle up for all the Saquon Barkley is the best thing in the 2018 NFL Draft and how much a running game matters; blah-blah-blah. The NFL will never learn. Most all the coaches are married to one workhorse RB and build an offense around it to their eventual demise (see: Andy Reid). The two coaches who have been the leaders in RBBC, no-name RB rotations and unpredictable RB usage…they’re facing each other in the Super Bowl.


 -- Jerick McKinnon (10-40-0, 11-86-0/12) now hits free agency and part of the gift he brings to the world is what you saw in this game – very reliable receiving back, arguably the best constructed/most talented receiving back in the NFL…because he could be a 15+ carry a game RB if needed as well.

I’ve said for years…McKinnon is mini-me David Johnson. Potentially ‘special’. Wasted away in an offense that pushed Dalvin CookJerick McKinnon is better on his worst day than Dalvin at his best, but the NFL die has been cast…they love Dalvin and are asleep on McKinnon’s true upside. Another crime to a man’s career.

Hopefully, that will get rectified in free agency the next few months. An early guess of where he winds up…New England if Bill Belichick is still around. NY Giants with Pat Shurmur, although I don’t think he sees Shurmur as his friend given they pushed Dalvin Cook. If not New England, I’ll take the 49ers.


 -- I’m a huge Adam Thielen (3-28-0/9) fan, but I did not like they way he ended 2017-18 season. The back fractures may have played a role…but ‘back fractures’ is not what I want to hear for my potential WR1 for dynasty long-term.

In his last 8 games, including his two playoff games, Thielen scored just 1 TD…he only scored 4 TDs all season…in 18 games. He had one game over 75 yards. 4.8 catches, 57.8 yards, 0.13 TDs per game…is not a WR1. Case Keenum is not a starmaker.

Pat Shurmur is leaving and the Vikes have an unknown QB today for 2018…how can I not worry and see Thielen as more of a WR2 for 2018?


 -- Mychal Kendricks (8 tackles) keeps ‘showing out’ going into his free agency. He’s been a part-time player for the Eagles most of this year, and only getting a chance when injuries to others hit. He’s going to go start somewhere he’s wanted in 2018. He had 17 tackles in a game earlier this season against Carolina. He should be a star instead of a role player.


 -- Four straight games for the Philly DST holding opponents to 10 or fewer points. They’ve really reignited. We’ll all focus on the offenses in the Super Bowl lead up…but the Pats v. Eagles features two of the best defenses in the NFL, and both have been getting better as the season went on.

The Eagles have held seven of their last 11 opponents to 10 points or fewer…that’s stunning. In the playoffs, they’ve held Atlanta and Minnesota to 10 and 7 points.


Snap Counts of Interest…

30 = Ajayi

21 = Clement

11 = Blount


54 = McKinnon

13 = Latavius Murray


37 = Mychal Kendricks (55% of snaps)

15 = Laquon Treadwell (remember when draft experts told you he was the best WR in his draft?)

19 = Jaleel Johnson (going to be an IDP factor someday, potentially)

33 = Derek Barnett

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>