I'm going back through some team notes from games last season, and in the following/current year I like to pick a few teams and post all their game recaps in order and make a few, quick new year/season observations -- and it gives us some spring/summer reading material when football news is slow.
The first team I selected to post from 2018 season -- the Kansas City Chiefs. The team responsible for the most successful regular season fantasy football we've had as a company. Let's walk down memory lane week-by week (one per day) and re-live it because it was great, culminating with that Monday Night Football game vs. the Rams...and then we kind slid from there.
Now, enjoy the playoff game where Andy Reid showed anyone who is looking that he's not a great head coach, he's debate-ably a 'good one'. Think that's harsh? Please read on...
2018/19 Conf. Champ Playoff Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Patriots v. Chiefs
Well, Brady-Belichick does it again. You can’t have this much success, and in some cases that much ‘luck’, unless you’re truly better at this than anyone else…ever. Or, literally, God has ordained or blessed them for some reason (I’d like that blessing too, please!), and thus they are near-impervious to bad bounces or close referee calls. That moment late in the game when Brady was picked off, but Dee Ford lined up offsides to bring it back…man, if you don’t believe in God, one that wears a sweatshirt with the sleeves cutoff walking around heaven, then you should probably start kicking the tires on the possibility after that play/this game.
It also helps the New England cause that 30 other NFL teams hire somewhere between ‘OK’ and ‘total buffoons’ as head coaches and GMs. I’ve typed several times each year, and let’s keep the streak going with this new year…”I don’t know if Bill Belichick is a genius or if he’s just the smartest man in a room full of idiots.” You might lean ‘the surrounded by idiots’ theory when you look and see Tyreek Hill had one touch in the biggest game in recent (and somewhat distant) Kansas City history.
I don’t want to say we called it on our Handicapping Group chat this week, but we joked about the under-utilization of Tyreek Hill in a big spot by Andy Reid, and…’boom’.
You’d think NFL head coaches could not be this dumb, but the moronic among us are people like myself thinking…SURELY, they won’t make this mistake again! And then they do…and then the next time I’m REALLY sure they can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again!
And guess what happens?
I’m the dumb one for thinking it that something so obvious is obvious to NFL head coaches.
Imagine the Steelers making it to the Final Four and targeting a fully healthy Antonio Brown just three times and letting him touch it one-time/one catch? I could see Antonio Brown being shut out of game by double coverage or Jalen Ramsey…ditto Michael Thomas or OBJ – but with Tyreek Hill, you have one of the most proficient runners of the ball at WR in the history of football (only the Patriots’ Cordarrelle Patterson and Carolina’s Curtis Samuel are statistically more proficient scoring TDs running the ball at WR) and Tyreek got exactly zero carries this game. How hard is it to call for him to get a jet sweep? Last week, he got ONE carry and went for a 30+ yard TD.
The last two times Tyreek has carried the ball as a rusher…a 36-yard TD and 15-yard TD. You definitely don’t want to see if that would work again. After a guy in baseball hits homeruns in his last two at-bats, you definitely pull him for a pinch hitter his next at-bat.
With less than a minute remaining, KC down 3 points and needing a big kick return to help set up a quick drive into FG range…or, perhaps, a return TD would win the game…and the Chiefs opted to have rookie CB Tremon Smith back to return the kick instead of Tyreek Hill. Tyreek is probably the most dangerous player with the ball in the history of the NFL. In KC’s biggest spot of need…Hill not in the game.
That’s all you need to know about Andy Reid…and all you need to know about Matt Nagy…and all you need to know about Doug Pederson…and all you need to know about Mike McCarthy…and all you need to know about any ‘Andy Reid disciple’ now or later at head coach. Whatever is great, special, working…well, that’s a great opportunity for using them as a decoy because the other team expects them to use their top weapon so Reid will use them as a decoy to outsmart the opponent. Wink-wink.
Great…it’s working really well.
Andy Reid is now 2-7 in the playoffs since 2009 (with Philly 4 years and the Chiefs for 6 years in that span). He now has a 12-14 career playoff record. I don’t want to hear any more talk about how great a coach Andy Reid is, please and thank you. Mike Tomlin has been better…purely basing on track records into the playoffs. Bill O’Brien is on a similar track as Reid for a playoff maker/failure. Dan Quinn has had a better run in as short time. John Harbaugh has been way better – where are the John Harbaugh disciples coaching in the NFL? Can anyone name one…just one? Doug Pederson has reached higher heights. Ron Rivera has been better. Sean Payton has been better. Mike McCarthy has been a better but similarly disappointing coach. Pete Carroll better. Mike Zimmer about the same Reid-like track record rolling. Belichick is obviously the king of all coaches.
I just named 11 NFL head coaches with similar or better coaching runs in their career within the past decade…good records, division titles, their share of playoff disappointments as well -- but better than Reid’s collapses, while some got to a Super Bowl, and some won a title. That’s 11 names without even trying to really delve into it. Let’s just say Reid is ‘middle of the pack’ as an NFL head coach…yippee! Good luck with that. Enjoy knowing that whatever kind of great regular season you’ve had that Bill Belichick…or Mike Mularkey will out-coach you and end your Chiefs’ season on a disappointing note.
Not even Patrick Mahomes and his miracle throws could overcome The Curse of Andy Reid (the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie for their franchise).
With the best QB talent any of us have seen in a while, Reid did not grow and improve all season…he got worse/figured out as time went on (per usual). KC finished the season 2-3 in their last 5 games. 4-4 over their last 8 games.
Let’s look at the fantasy impact from this game…
April 2019 Notes: Well, Reid often did NOT get Tyreek involved enough in big game...let's see how his offense works without Tyreek at all.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Tom Brady (30-46 for 348 yards, 1 TD/2 INTs) is a freak show. How does he look better now, at age 41, than he has in years…in weeks? Patrick Mahomes (16-31 for 295 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) three best throws from this game…Brady couldn’t make in his prime. However, the other 40+ ‘normal’ throws in this game were ‘advantage Brady’.
My son, who rarely/never watches football, was caught up into watching the 4th-quarter of this game. I watched the 4th-quarter through his eyes. He doesn’t really know who Mahomes is. All he saw was this Mahomes guy scrambling around and flinging prayers (mostly off the mark)…and watched Brady making throws so on the money in tight windows where only the receivers could make a catch and a split second ahead of a the DB knocking the ball away that even my son marveled at the difference between the two QBs. He didn’t feel Mahomes deserved to be in the conversation with Brady based on his whole one quarter of viewing football in 2018-19 season.
I gained a new appreciation for Brady watching it through my son’s virgin-like eyes. You forget Brady is the greatest of all-time. Sometimes you need to slow down and appreciate art or a poem for its utter brilliance.
Mahomes hit a cool half-court shot three-pointer, had some neat no-look passes for easy baskets…but in the end, Brady just quietly dealt out 15 assists, scored 25 points, hit 95% of his free throws and 100% of them down the stretch…and his team won the game. Mahomes won the highlight reel contest, though. St. Patrick can hoist the trophy for ESPN’s #1 spot of top 10 plays of the weekend, perhaps.
You want to bet against Brady for FF 2019?
I probably will. The pattern has been Brady starting slow and having up and down fantasy output games until he punches the accelerator in the playoffs.
-- Patrick Mahomes (16-31 for 295 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) may wind up the greatest arm talent QB of all-time, but if he’s stuck with Andy Reid (and then an Andy Reid ‘disciple’ after that) for long…his upside gets capped.
Now, Mahomes, as he showed in this game, can make miracles happen…and it was the St. Patrick miracles that kept this game as close as it was. The Andy Reid plan was a total ineffective nightmare and then Mahomes would pull a big 30-50+ yard play out of his arse and save the drive/day. Without Mahomes, KC loses this game 40+ to 10-14.
If Mahomes is this great with the Andy Reid governor affixed to him…imagine if Kliff Kingsbury were reunited with Mahomes in the pros?
April 2019 Notes: Maybe someday we'll see Kingsbury with Mahomes, but for now it's Kyler Murray. I wonder if KC flops again and people grow tired of Reid, and if Kingsbury isn't an immediate success...or even if he is, whether KC would try to reunite them? Even if Kingsbury as his O-C down the road? Why didn't Reid grab Kingsbury as an O-C when he could?
-- Imagine it for Tyreek Hill (1-42-0/3) too. Hill would score 20+ TDs a season, easily, under Kingsbury-Mahomes.
As long as Hill has Mahomes, Reid cannot take him down too far for fantasy production.
Sammy Watkins (4-114-0/8) is the beneficiary of the focus on Tyreek, which creates FF value…but is a shame because Watkins blows and is expensive on payroll -- and if KC had a real weapon across from Hill they’d be an even greater offensive threat. Instead, KC thinks its 2014 and their ESPN Draft Guide magazine says Watkins is a future Hall of Famer. More lost opportunity for Mahomes…and Hill…and the KC fan-base.
Speaking of dumb coaches…the Buffalo Bills traded two #1s for Watkins back in the day.
Watkins has WR2 hopes in FF 2019, IF he can stay healthy…which is an iffy proposition. Why? Just by being in proximity of Mahomes.
April 2019 Notes: Now watch Watkins really flop without Tyreek to take attention away.
**College Football Metrics 2019 subscriptions are now available!!
I have been going through the East-West game prospects and beginning work on the first full scouting reports since December 2018, and they’ll be the first things you see out of the gates when we open up.
I’m shocked by a few of the East-West prospects…some potential ‘wow’ prospects in a game there usually isn’t much ‘wow’ in because they all usually wind up at the Senior Bowl. Not this year. The East-West games will have dynasty rookie draft sleeper wheels turning early.
Haskins-Grier-Lock-Minshew-Murray-Stidham…other? What’s up with this oft-labeled weak QB draft class? I’m not sure it’s that weak…depends upon your perspective. We’ll be analyzing and computer grading all the top QBs and discussing what I mean by ‘perspective’.
It’s NFL Draft overload season…it’s Fantasy title defense or title chase study season… Here comes our 8th year of College Football Metrics to the rescue!**
-- Imagine if I told you the Chiefs would work their offense behind Damien Williams (10-30-1, 5-66-2/8) as the main lead punch in a Final Four game against New England…imagine me saying that in March 2018 when they signed him as a free agent from Miami. Your head would explode from so many questions about it…how?...why?
Williams has the ball in his hands 5 times in the passing game…Hill+Kelce combined for 4 touches.
Is Damien Williams the KC lead back in 2019? Nope. This will all be shoved aside and the Chiefs will spend money on or draft a ‘name’ RB that they hope can give them the same production as Williams just did…and Spencer Ware before that…and Kareem Hunt before that…and Spencer Ware before that…and Charcandrick West before that.
Andy Reid and friends just proved they would do the unthinkably dumb, again, in this game…so, bet your money on a ridiculous splash RB spend for them this offseason. Gotta establish that running game!!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 2019 Notes: Not ridiculous, but smart -- they grabbed Carlos Hyde to be their lead RB in 2019.
-- Speaking of establishing the running game…why was Rex Burkhead (12-41-0, 4-23-0/4) in running the ball on so many key ‘something & short’ plays? Plays he was halted on many times.
Burkhead should not be your key RB at this stage of his career. He does not have the foot speed. Despite this constant gift (Rex running the ball short) the Pats gave KC…Andy couldn’t take advantage for the win.
Michel-White-Rex were the three-headed monster this season.
Next year, it will probably be the same…or Rex swapped with whatever castoff from another team the Pats grab and make a star.
I’m not a huge Sony Michel fan, he’s fine-not-wow, but being the lead RB for New England is so valuable for TDs. You’ll have some down FF weeks as the game plan changes…but stick with the Pats lead back long enough and you’ll get good FF output. Ditto for James White…
…as all these other NFL teams throw big money and draft capital at landing a big-time RB.
Enjoy the Super Bowl featuring Rex Burkhead vs. C.J. Anderson as Todd Gurley cashes another million-dollar game check and as Le’Veon Bell tries to figure out what team will give him $100M+ in a few weeks.
-- God Bless Gronk (6-79-0/11)…he looks like he’s running with a piano on his back anymore, but he made some huge catches with defenders draped all over him in this game. He may have been the winning edge in the end.
Retiring after this season? I’d say 75% likely.
Hall of Famer? 100%
April 2019 Notes: Congrats on the great career, Gronk.
-- I just wanted to point out that Chiefs SAF/LB Daniel Sorensen (14 tackles, 1 INT) played a HELLUVA game here. I love that guy and have for years back when he couldn’t even get onto the field in the regular season.
SHOCKER! Andy Reid misused a talent for years!? Color me so surprised.
I wish Sorensen could leave KC, but he still has two years left on a bad extension deal he signed with KC a few years back.
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