You may know Jason Katz from his published football work on sites like FantasyPros. You may also know him as a member of our Handicapping Group. You may also know him, or will get to know him as a die-hard Dallas Cowboys' fan.
I asked Jason to follow the Cowboys for us all year...for fandom and fantasy. I did so, because he's convinced, like most fan(atic)s that thinking something good will happen will jinx it to not make it so. I have a different theory -- when I see a jinx potential, I pour it on to reverse the jinx. I see a jinx and yell 'this is a jinx' just to spit in the face of the jinx. The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl this season, and I am not a biased fan...and the more I say it...the more it's likely to come true...and the more l say it...the more likely Jason loses sleep and hair follicles.
Jason is a talented young writer, so please enjoy him manically following the 'Boys...but also sharing fantasy ideas, as his blood runs FFM green and CFM crimson.
Follow more of Katz's work on Twitter: @jasonkatz13
Before I get into the first game of the week, Vikings-Lions, I must comment on an ESPN video clip that was intentionally misleading to generate clicks. No one in their right mind would even suggest that Adam Thielen is anything other than a fantasy WR1. Yet, ESPN has this clip: http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=21490425 with the caption: “Adam Thielen is a top 20 fantasy wide receiver.” So naturally, I click on this because I wanted to see exactly what this discussion looked like. Because forget top 20, Thielen is a top 5 fantasy WR. True to form, ESPN continues to be the worldwide leader in bullshit as the discussion was not about whether Thielen was a top 20 WR, but whether Thielen was a top 20 fantasy player – all positions. I consider ESPN’s fantasy football platform to be the worst in existence, which is right on par with their fantasy analysis.
Here’s another fun one from last week. Watch Matthew Berry stumble over his words as he realizes that everything he is about to say contradicts his laughable claim that Jay Ajayi is an every week RB2. http://www.espn.com/video/clip/_/id/21489683. Hey Matthew, show me an every week fantasy starter in the history of football that only played 13 snaps. I’ll wait.
Now onto the games…
Latavius Murray is not good. On his first quarter goal line carry, he had an easy touchdown to the left side and instead decided to charge head first into the back of a bunch of linemen. He plays way too much.
Matt Stafford’s touchdown drive at the end of the first half took 27 seconds. It is infuriating to watch most coaches just sit on the ball in that spot. Good job by Jim Caldwell trying to score.
Mike Zimmer’s 3rd quarter challenge on Theo Riddick’s non fumble as atrocious. It was John Fox-esque. Riddick went down on his elbow, then knee, then rolled onto his back, laid there for about 2 seconds, and then the ball popped out. What an awful challenge.
I can’t ever endorse punting from the opposing team’s 37 yard line. Just go for it if you don’t want to kick a very makeable 55 yard field goal.
The game was probably already over, but Jim Caldwell calling timeout at 2:45 left in the 4th quarter is unacceptable. He cost his team 40 seconds and solidified the win for Minnesota. By calling timeout at 2:45, he allowed the Vikings to run the next play through the two minute warning, whereas if he didn’t call timeout, he would’ve forced the Vikings to call another play on the front side of the two minute warning, thus allowing him to call timeout with about 1:55 left. Instead, the Vikings’ drive was able to take the clock down to under 1:20. They weren’t going to win anyway, but Caldwell made sure his team had no chance.
CJ Beathard took a true Stafford with about 2:30 left in the first half. Instead of kicking a 55 yard field goal, the 49ers punted the ball 21 yards.
Sean Payton botched the final 15 seconds of the first half. He needed to call timeout to make Sean McVay think twice about attempting a 63 yard field goal. With under five seconds left, there was no downside.
Brett Hundley also took a Stafford in the third quarter. Well…it should’ve been a Stafford because Mike McCarthy should’ve punted rather than attempt a 57 yard field goal. My friend, sitting near me, articulated my thoughts exactly: “57 yard field goal? In Pittsburgh? What are you doing?” Sure enough, the kick wasn’t close.
This part is just your weekly reminder that Antonio Brown is the second best WR in NFL history. That is all.
So…the Cowboys are awful.
Byron Jones completely misplayed Keenan Allen on what should’ve been a short completion on the Chargers’ opening drive. All he had to do was hold his ground and make the tackle. Instead, he let Allen run past him to setup 3rd and short. Fortunately, Philip Rivers was unable to convert and then Nick Novak botched the easy 35 yard field goal attempt, which we later discovered was due to a back injury.
The offense just looks stagnant. I don’t know if it’s the play calling, the receivers, or Dak, but the Cowboys aren’t executing any pass players where the receivers catch the ball in stride. Everything is underneath or within a few yards of the line of scrimmage. There’s no opportunity for splash plays.
Jourdan Lewis’ dropped pick mid second quarter was an absolute killer. Instead of Cowboys ball, the Chargers ultimately converted on 4th and 1 on a pass interference call and scored the first points of the game.
I know Dez Bryant isn’t good anymore, but for the Cowboys to not attempt a single pass more than 8 yards down the field or target Dez at all in the first half is just bad game planning.
I don’t know if the Cowboys actually have the worst third down defense in the league, but it sure looked like it on Thursday.
Dez finally made a play on a 3rd and 5 early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys finally scored a couple plays later, but failed to convert the two point try after Dak missed a wide open Terrance Williams by overthrowing him.
The tackling on Keenan Allen’s 42 yard touchdown is that of a team that has completely given up. The defense has probably had enough of the offense not scoring. The Cowboys are done. I expect a 5-11 season. This entire game was embarrassing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this cost Jason Garrett his job. I hope it does.
Dak has more touchdowns to opponents than Cowboys over the past three weeks. I am officially done defending this team as Dak’s team. This is Zeke’s team. They are nothing without him. The line played well enough that it’s no longer an excuse. The defense did its job for a half. The Cowboys are so bad they can’t even score points in garbage time.
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