2017 EYE IN THE SKY NFL SCOUTING REPORTS
Once again in 2017 (come September), we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
The Miami Dolphins pulled off a giant upset last week, coming from a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 20-3. For the Falcons it was déjà vu all over again. If you read my column last week I said I didn’t think the Fins could hang with Atlanta’s Offense, and that was certainly the case in the first half. But again, when he didn’t throw a pass for almost an hour old “Matty Ice” got ice cold once again.
The real question at this point is whether this was a turning point in Miami’s Season, or simply an aberration.
Fantasy-wise, the only decent performance came from Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 130 yards. Jay Cutler only threw for 151 and 2 TDs. They went to Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry, who (respectively) caught 4 passes for 39, and 8 passes for 62.
This week Miami’s home, trying to wreak revenge on the last place New York Jets, who trashed them Week 3. The Jets are not a good team, have been playing way over their heads. Miami, on the other hand, is a halfway decent team who has simply sucked. Pretty much a pick ‘em here.
WR DeVante Parker missed last week’s game with an ankle injury suffered on the first series of the week before, so he’s missed 2 games already. He has not practiced all week, so we wouldn’t count on him suiting up to face the Jets.
I’d say the only Dolphin who figures to be worth a crap in Fantasy this week is Jay Ajayi. Only trouble with that little theory, when they played New York 3 weeks ago Ajayi rushed 11 times for 16 yards. The Jets obviously are going to stack the Line of Scrimmage, make Jay Cutler beat them. Well, it worked last time, so you would expect them to keep doing it.
Fantasy-wise that makes the key players in the Fins passing offense a bit of a lottery. Miami spread the ball around quite a bit under Ryan Tannehill, and that hasn’t seemed to change much now Cutler’s there. WR Jarvis Landry figures to be the best bet in PPR Leagues, though Kenny Stills might catch more TDs over the course of the Season. Still waiting for TE Julius Thomas to justify his salary.
Fins Fans really hate losing to the Jets, the cheapest team in the League, especially at home, when half the stands are full of Jets Fans. Wish we could be approaching Sunday’s game with some semblance of confidence. That was a big win last week versus Atlanta. Hopefully that has turned the year around.
Unfortunately, this is the Miami Dolphins we are talking about. The schizoids.
One other note – Miami has a short week following the Jets game, playing the Ravens next Thursday night. Right now their record is 3-2. This could be the most crucial juncture of the whole Season for the Fins; over the course of 5 days they could be anywhere from 5-2 to 3-4.
Good luck this week!
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
SCORE - New England 24 New York Jets 17
Passing – QB Tom Brady put up 257 yards against the Jets recording 2 TDs as well. But, this was the first game passing for less than 300 yards, and though it led only to a Jets punt, Brady did throw an INT. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a sign of Brady slowing, the Jets put good pressure on the air attack. But next week is the Falcons, they average 210 allowed passing yards per game, juts under ten less than the Jets’ pass rush. Brady will still put up 200+ yards, but if the Falcons play as they have, he’ll have to rely on the ground more. I don’t expect bad numbers, just not big numbers this week from Brady, assuming his performance at MetLife is any indicator.
Rushing – The New England rush improved even if only by five yards this past week, putting up 118 yards. RB Dion Lewis was the biggest performer with 52 yards off 11 carries and a TD, RB Mike Gillislee was solid as well with 44 yards off 10 carries, though he also had a fumble which was recovered by Jets CB Buster Skrine and resulted in a Jets’ TD. RB James White came away with a good average earning 23 yards off 3 carries. The Falcons D-line has been effective at keeping the run game under control, with an average of just over 100 yards per game earned by their opponents. With the current way they’re playing I could see RB Dion Lewis, RB James White, and RB Mike Gillislee all being viable choices on the ground, in what I assume will be a dual front attack next Sunday.
Receiving – The New England receivers were solid as always, WR Brandin Cooks had six grabs for 93 yards, TE Rob Gronkowski had 6 grabs as well for 83 yards and 2 TDs, WR Danny Amendola had 3 receptions for 40 yards, and RB James White had 4 receptions for 22 yards. The Falcons defense is a bit laxer statistically on receivers than the average passer, and given the strength of the New England receivers I would feel comfortable with TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandin Cooks and WR Danny Amendola doing well in this game despite the coverage.
Defense – The defense showed a bit more aptitude this time around, but did allow 354 yards through the air off the arm of QB Josh McCown. Alternatively, they held the Jets’ ground attack to just 74 yards on the day, those are Denver numbers. They recorded 4 sacks, 2 from LB Kyle Van Noy, one from DT Malcolm Brown, and one from LB Don’t’a Hightower. Also, S Devin McCourty got one of 2 INTs on McCown Sunday, while CB Malcolm Butler on top of recording an INT on McCown, also caused the controversial fumble in the end zone that prevented a Jets TD late in the game. The defense made some key plays to preserve the win, but they also gave McCown his biggest game of the season. Unless the Falcons are truly on a skid, I would expect the 6th best passing attack in the NFL to put up big numbers on this defense, the ground attack may be less of a threat.
Kicking – PK Stephen Gostkowski wasn’t as effective as last week going 1 for 2 on FGs, though he made all his extra points. Kickers have off weeks and this wasn’t too bad. He’s still very much a viable option come Sunday.
Takeaway – This game was far too close by the preseason’s estimations, the defense did alright but they still need to find an answer for a competent air attack if they want to avoid losing the next few weeks.
Injury – RB Rex Burkhead OUT, CB Stephen Gilmore OUT, LB Harvey Langi OUT, LB David Harris Inactive, LB Shea McClellin IR
Upcoming Game – The Falcons are a tougher opponent than the Jets and have a chip on their shoulder. New England’s defense needs to step up in the pass rush or the offense is going to have a lot of work ahead of them. New England’s luck may be tested, I foresee a potentially difficult win.
NEW YORK JETS
SCORE - New York 17 New England 24
Passing – QB Josh McCown put up his biggest numbers of the season with 354 yards in the air and 2 TDs, though he also threw 2 INTs one ending up in a New England TD and the other a FG. Overall a very solid game for McCown showing off a veteran performance that no one was expecting. Miami has the fourth ranked overall defense allowing under 250 yards in the air average per game. That’s a significant difference from the New England pass rush this past Sunday. I expect QB Josh McCown to return to form throwing for under 300 yards and maybe a TD, although hitting a good number of his receivers for some substantial numbers.
Rushing – The rushing game was stifled again. After a breakout against Jacksonville the Jets haven’t got back to that rhythm. RB Matt Forte returned and put up just 22 yards on 9 carries, RB Elijah McGuire also had 22 yards on 10 carries and the third rusher and the only other over 10 yards was QB Josh McCown with 21 yards on 3 rushes. With the Miami defense averaging just 80 yards allowed on the ground it looks like another tough week for the Jets’ rushing attack. I wouldn’t expect big numbers on the ground.
Receiving – For another consecutive week, McCown’s receivers are making the catches and putting up good yards. McCown had 6 targets put up more than 25 yards receiving. WR Jermaine Kearse had 4 receptions for 79 yards, WR Robby Anderson put up 76 yards on 4 catches, WR Jeremy Kerley caught 2 for 61 yards and a TD, RB Matt Forte had 8 grabs for 59 yards, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins also caught 8 for 46 yards and a TD, and RB Travaris Cadet caught 3 for 26 yards. I can’t say how effective they’ll be in terms of scoring, but if McCown can keep on his feet I would expect at least somewhere near 30 yard+ games from TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Jermaine Kearse, and WR Jeremy Kerley. McCown and the receivers’ success will be the Jet’s key to winning this game.
Defense – The defense managed to prevent a Patriot’s score on 75% of their drives, but on the 4 scoring drives they let up 2 passing TDs to TE Rob Gronkowski, and one on the ground, which was enough for New England to take the game. They looked very good early on forcing a punt on New England’s first possession and CB Buster Skrines recovered a fumble by RB Mike Gillislee, and followed up by getting an INT on QB Tom Brady in the drive following New England’s first TD. Unfortunately, they couldn’t force any turnovers in the second half and New England pulled away with consecutive scoring drives. Despite their falling short, the defense had a good showing and given the 32nd ranked offense coming out of Miami, if they can keep up their game plan and execute as well the first half against New England they make take much of the pressure off the offense to win this game.
Kicking- PK Chandler Catanzaro was 100% again 1 for 1 a 28 yard FG and 2 Extra Points, unless the Miami special teams is something special he should have another solid game at Sunlife.
Takeaway – The offense had a real chance to win against New England until the controversial Endzone fumble stole away their momentum, and the defense mad some key plays early to pull them ahead in the first half. If the offense can keep from making mistakes and the defense keeps competitive the Jets are far better than they were expected to be.
Injury/ Transaction – RB Bilal Powell is Inactive.
Upcoming game – They’ve beaten the Dolphin’s before, but just as they’re looking better so is Miami, it’ll be a game of checks and balances. If the Dolphin’s can put together an offensive showing it’ll be difficult game for the Jets as they have to make sure their defense can keep some pressure off the offense’s performance.
The report for this week has not yet been released.
The 4-2 Steelers handed the after Thursday night 5-2 Chiefs their first loss of the season by the score of 19 to 13. The win was the Steelers third straight in the last two years against the Chiefs. Next up is a visit to Pittsburgh from division rivals the 2-3 Bengals. The Steelers are currently undefeated in the division. The Bengals won two straight before last week's bye after losing their first three games.
QB: The struggles of QB Ben Roethlisberger continued. He completed 17 of 25 passes for 252 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown was on a deflection to WR Antonio Brown resulting in a 51 yard completion that should have been intercepted. Brown stopped a slant pattern early resulting in the interception. Roethlisberger has not even been performing well at home throwing 5 interceptions in his last game at Heinz Field against the 3-3 Jaguars. Continue to avoid him for fantasy purposes if possible.
RB: Why RB LeVeon Bell wasn't utilized more against the Jaguars remains a mystery. In Kansas City OC Todd Haley went back to feeding the ball to Bell early and often. He rushed for 179 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown. Bell added 3 receptions for 12 yards. Backup RB James Conner made the most of his 2 carries with 14 yards including a nice 10 yard run. Bell remains a top fantasy back, probably the top fantasy back, regardless of matchup. Play him if you have him.
WR/TE:Brown totaled 8 catches for 155 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Along with Bell he is arguably among the best two fantasy performers on a weekly basis. The Bengals have the second ranked pass defense in the league. This doesn't matter at all for Brown. The rest of the receivers are a different story. None should be in a fantasy lineup. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had 3 receptions for 32 yards in Kansas City. His value is tied to getting into the end zone which just does not happen often enough. The big plays have dried up for WR Martavis Bryant. Reports that he requested a trade were denied by Bryant and his agent. Whether he did or not is really not an issue, Bryant does not have enough value to be moved. TE Jesse James was held out of the box score for the first time this season.
K: Once again PK Chris Boswell had few opportunities. He had 5 points on a pair of extra points and a field goal with no misses. Boswell just is not utilized enough to be fantasy relevant.
DEF/ST: The defense limited big plays much like last season in the playoffs in Arrowhead Stadium. They also made few of their own. A poor snap by C Zach Fulton resulted in a safety for the first points of the game. Brown failed to field the subsequent free kick which was recovered by the Chiefs and resulted in a field goal. ILB Vince Williams had a pair of sacks and OLB James Harrison a sack after being a healthy inactive for two weeks. The defense produced no turnovers. Williams did not practice on Thursday due to a hip injury, DE Stephon Tuitt due to a back injury. Tuitt not practicing was a bit of a surprise. The defense is ranked third in total defense and first against the pass. The Bengals in Heinz Field is not a bad matchup by any stretch.
Good luck this week!
Going into their bye the Texans are in a three way tie for the lead in the AFC South.
QB Deshaun Watson has been fun to watch, so has WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Will Fuller. Fuller’s speed is taking the top off of opposing D’s. Hopkins has more freedom to operate and is mastering the Art of ‘dirty play’ of an NFL receiver. By that I mean pushing off to get open to the degree that the refs allow…and then pushing the envelope.
Hold out LT Duane Brown is still gone, he’s missing all the new found fun. He is a good guy, I hope he shows up soon. The Texans OL is surviving without him but it’s totally not cool for the fans, the RBs and of course the QB.
RB D’onta Foreman and RB Lamar Miller are gaining yards but not scoring TDs. The TDs are going to the receivers.
Although the TEs are contributing, it doesn’t look like the game plan calls for TEs catching TDs. You can do better than starting TE Ryan Griffin on your fantasy team.
The DBs played well last week against an inferior Browns O. They are hoping to get more of their CBs back from injury after their break. OLB Jadeveon Clowney is fun to watch again now that he has to be the Man for the D. He has made lots of friends here in Houston with his all-out play. This D is fair but probably won’t score many points for you this year.
PK Ka’imi Fairbairn’s is also gaining friends with his consistent kick-offs and long field goals. He is an impressive kicker. Punt coverage was better last week but the coverage and return teams stink big time.
The Texans are off this week so my tip for you is to trade for Watson, Hopkins and Fuller. Play them from here on and start trying to figure out where you’re going to place your 2017 Championship trophy!
Hey there Colts’ fans! Due to the Colts playing in the MNF game, I assume that you all saw it. And for that, I will apologize on behalf of the state of Indiana. It was hideous, but a style of game to which a Colts’ observer has become accustomed. As always, the team falls completely to bits after halftime and turns into a grade school team after the 4th quarter starts. The Colts have now allowed 88 points in the 4th quarter alone this year – more than four other mediocre teams (MIA, CIN, BUF and SEA) have allowed all season! It is not all the defense though – they might just be worn down. The Colts did not punt in the first half, scoring on all of their possessions. They then started the second half with three consecutive 3-and-outs and a fumble. An astonishing juxtaposition of competency and incompetency from the same players; this surely indicates poor coaching and an inability to make halftime or in-game adjustments. I won’t belabor the same old points week after week, especially since this time it was nationally televised (to the utter dismay of all football fans across the country). Onto this week where a glimmer of hope still may exist…
Injuries: There was a significant loss in the game on Monday as RB Robert Turbin was lost for the season with an elbow injury. This means that any goal line and 2-minute offense work should probably go to the veteran Gore, and if Mack shows he can pass protect he will likely take over the 3rd down duties. The often underappreciated Turbin was 12-for-12 in 3rd-and-1 conversions the last two seasons, and also is a key member of the special teams coverage units. Late last week (after my report came out) the team placed starting RG Jack Mewhort on injured reserve with a knee injury. While Mewhort had been playing poorly, he was one of the few veteran presences on the line. Perhaps the more disturbing thing was the commentary about QB Andrew Luck on MNF by former teammate Matt Hasselbeck. He basically said that he has seen quarterbacks and he has seen Luck a lot up close over the years, and Luck is “not even close” to being ready to come back. This certainly flies in the face of the implications coming out of the Colts’ complex for the last couple of weeks. In addition, it also became known today that Luck received a cortisone shot in the shoulder and will rest this week with “no timeline” for a return to practice, so apparently there has been a setback.
QB: QB Jacoby Brissett actually played very well to the eye test for the first half, and then the offense totally stagnated after halftime. Despite basically playing an error-free game, he still was statistically sub-par and was a fantasy bust this week despite a plus-matchup. This week he gets to face the top-ranked Jaguars pass defense – a much harder challenge. If he could not be a fantasy force in the MNF matchup, I definitely have a hard time recommending him this week except in the most dire of circumstances.
RB: It is my guess that RB Frank Gore will pick up most of the duties previously held by Turbin, since he is better than rookie RB Marlon Mack in pass protection and in running between the tackles. He will likely forego some of his usual duties on early downs though, to keep him fresh. This slight shift in the division of duties, coupled with an eminently beatable Jaguars run defense means that there should be a fairly big dose of Frank Gore this Sunday. Gore likely makes a solid #2 and a great #3 or flex this week. I still do not see enough touches available for Mack to warrant a fantasy start, especially in a relatively light bye week.
WR: What the heck happened to WR TY Hilton this past week? A weak secondary and a home game under the lights, and Hilton totally disappeared. The Titans showed everybody that the same old methods of slowing down Hilton are still working : press coverage and bump him off the line, and he is generally useless. As this is the style of defense that the Jaguar secondary usually plays anyway, this could be another invisible game for the guy that they call “The Ghost” If I had to bet on a guy this week, it would be WR Donte Moncrief. Despite dropping a TD on his first target, he had season highs in targets, receptions and yards this week (sadly, this is true with 5-67 on 7 targets). I don’t feel confident about either guy, but Moncrief has higher TD potential so he might rank slightly ahead of Hilton this week. Hopefully you have better options.
TE: TE Jack Doyle had a really rough game with a few more key drops, a fumble and some missed assignments. Nonetheless, he still led the team with 7-50 and a TD. He might be adequate in PPR leagues especially, but he is hard to trust. With no significant fantasy tight ends on bye this week, there might be no reason he should be in your lineup either. He is a high end #2 this week in PPR formats
K: PK Adam Vinatieri is stuck on a poor team. Fortunately for his fantasy fortunes, they have moved the ball well in the first half of games before sucking in the red zone, so he has had a lot of FGAs. Jacksonville is pretty good at allowing kickers to amass fantasy points, so Vinatieri is probably a low-end #1 this week, and definitely a dependable stop gap measure this week if you have one of the bye week or recently-injured kickers.
D: While the defense has actually played better than the stats indicate, they simply are not generating enough turnovers and sacks to merit consideration. LB John Simon had another solid IDP day with 11 tackles and a pick 6, and might be the only one that is a surefire IDP fantasy starter. Look elsewhere as a team unit, and perhaps consider Simon and to a lesser extent the defensive linemen. For leagues that afford return scoring, KR Quan Bray is again having a great year and is among the AFC leaders in kickoff returns; he surely gets a lot of chances with the scoring being allowed by this defense!
Overall: Everytime I want to think there is a light at the end of the tunnel for this team, it apparently is the colonoscopy camera coming in hard instead. The have two wins and remain a game out of first place in their division….but the only teams they have beat are the lone winless teams in the NFL, and they could (should?) have lost both of those games. Hard to predict anything other than a loss, maybe in the range of 27-17. And another AFC South loss at home when coupled with the potentially disastrous news about Luck…it makes this team look like they might be getting a top 5 pick in the draft this year.
That is all for this week from the Crossroads of America. If there are any late week injuries to impact your lineup decisions, you will see them on FFMastermind.com’s Quick Bits . Until later friends, I wish you good luck in the heart of your fantasy season and remember to stay….COLTSTRONG!!
New York 23 Denver 10
The Broncos didn’t just lose, they were beaten up. As they try to move forward after a 23-10 loss to the Giants, they must do so with potentially serious injuries. QB Trevor Siemian has a shoulder injury (not his throwing shoulder); RT Menelik Watson, a calf issue; WR Isaiah McKenzie, an ankle injury. WR Emmanuel Sander's (ankle) status won't be known until he gets his MRI results, but this looks like a multi-week and potential season-threatening injury. WR Bennie Fowler should see more time in two-wide sets with WR Jordan Taylor playing outside in sub packages. WR Demaryius Thomas, is also less than 100 percent after injuring his lower leg. After getting off to a hot start, Denver's offense is running on empty. They were -3 in turnovers (2int; 1fum) and 11-88-1 when that happens. For the third straight game, they couldn't capitalize on their red zone tips, managing only 10 of a possible 28 points. The run defense faltered with poor tackling and a 47-yard run. Coming off a bye week, rested, with returning players, the whole team came out flat. While Head Coach Vance Joseph will get the blame, these are professionals who are supposed to come to work and do their jobs just like you and me. We can be "down" but we are still expected to get our work done. The Broncos have now lost 2 games that they should have won in a young season.
Denver Broncos @ L A Chargers
Neither team is the same as they were during their first meeting. The Broncos are struggling (3-2) while the Chargers are on a two-game winning streak (2-4) against the Giants and
Division rival Oakland. Charger RB Melvin Gordon averages 3.6 ypc on 16 carries a game; plus 4 receptions/37 yards per game. QB Phillip Rivers has a 61% comletion rate with 10 TDs and 5 Ints. (QBR 43.6). WR Keenan Allen averages 5/74; WR Tyrell Williams 3/47; TE Henry Hunter 2/38. QB Trevor Siemian has a 61% completion rate with 8 TDs and 6 Ints. (QBR 43.8). RB C. J. Anderson averages 4.2 ypc on 16 carries a game; plus 2 receptions/13ypg. WR Demaryius Thomas averages 5/76; WR Bennie Fowler III 2/28; TE A. J. Derby 1/28. The Broncos have just three healthy wide receivers. Los Angeles is favored by 1.5 at home. LA 21 Denver 20. This is a good chance for Denver to steal a game they are supposed to lose. Denver 21 LA 20 Transactions LB Shane Ray (wrist) will practice this week and will play with a cast on his wrist for the rest of the season. WR Emmanuel Sanders and WR Isaiah McKenzie are out for the Chargers game. Both will be "week-to-week" after that. The Broncos released NT Ahtyba Rubin and placed G Billy Turner on IR.
QB Trevor Siemian may be worth 13-15 points RB C.J. Anderson may be worth 10-15 points RB Jamaal Charles may be worth 5-7 points RB Devontae Booker may be worth 4-6 points WR Demaryius Thomas may be worth 14-18 points WR Bennie Fowler III may be worth 6-11 points WR Jordan Taylor may be worth 1-7 points TE A. J. Derby may be worth 4-8 points TE Virgil Green may be worth 3-5 points TE Jeff Hueruman may be worth 2-5 points PK Brandon McManus may be worth 6-7 points.
DST may be worth 7-9 points.
Good luck this week!
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
CHIEFS WEEK 7 OUTLOOK:
WEEK 6 SNAPS:
RB- K. Hunt 42, A. Hunt 5, West 3... WR- Robinson 49, Hill 42, Thomas 36, Kemp 8... TE- Kelce 52, Harris 18
WEEK 6 TARGETS: TE Kelce 7, WR Hill 7, RB K. Hunt 5, WR Robinson 5, WR Thomas 4
And then there were none... KC was the last of the “unbeatens”, but lost last wk to PIT... PIT, previously horrid stopping RBs, shut rookie RB Hunt down on the ground... Hunt was still able to break 100 YFS thanks to his match-proof receiving skills... RB West sustained a concussion... RB Spiller re-re-signed this wk; signs West is not able to go Thursday night... RB A. Hunt is able to man West’s receiving assignments if called on... WR Hill thought to have a concussion, but he is good to go this wk... OAK has allowed just 4 RB scores this yr (2 run- 2 receiving); 3 have come over last 2 gms (2 run- 1 receiving)... LAC RB Gordon wrecked the
Raiders for 150 YFS and 2 TDs (1 run- 1 rec) last wk... RB K. Hunt hauled in 89 yds receiving in wk6 vs PIT on 5 catches... Hunt owns 6 total TDs, but none over last 3 gms... rookie wall looming for Hunt now?... first 3 gms Hunt avg’d 8.5 YPC, last 3 gms he gains 4.7... still good but a clear drop... closer look; last 2 gms Hunt down to 3.4 YPC... not surprising that Hunt had his worst rushing gm with WR Conley out; Conley is a strong downfield blocker... KC’s o-line is missing several starters and the holes are not as vast and spacious as earlier in the season... QB Smith is putting the ball in the air more over last 3 gms than in first 3 gms... last 3 gms Smith avg’s 36 tosses a gm; first 3 contests he heaved it 28 times per... over last 4 gms vs OAK Smith has chucked 5 TDs vs 4 INTs... Smith has yet to throw a pick this season... KC WR unit is hurting... Conley out for the yr... Hill didn’t suffer a concussion but has managed some hamstring and now a neck ailment... TE Kelce fought his way back from his own concussion to suit up this past wk... WR Wilson toughed out a knee injury and played in wk6 vs PIT... WR Robinson, in for Conley, saw 5 tgts and only snared 1... Hill held to 5-34 and Kelce mustered just 4-37; both had 7 tgts... OAK has checked Kelce at 42 yds or less 3 of last 4 gms, and 0 TDs in those 4 tilts... last gm vs OAK Hill grabbed all 6 tgts for 66 yds and a TD... WR Thomas was most effective receiver last wk vs PIT; 3-61-1 TD... in last 4 gms vs OAK, WR Wilson has just 5 catches and 0 scores... OAK has allowed just 1 WR TD over last 4 gms, and only 1 WR has topped 52 yds in that span vs OAK... OAK is poor covering TEs, lit up by LAC’s Henry last gm for 5-90... KC needs Kelce to be clear-headed and on top of his gm this wk... RB K. Hunt once again will play a feature role but the wear may be hitting the freshman about now... another tough outing for the Chiefs’ skill guys in wk7.
RAIDERS WEEK 7 OUTLOOK:
WEEK 6 SNAPS:
RB- Lynch 30, Richard 17, Washington 5... WR- Cooper 55, Crabtree 49, Roberts 42, Patterson 17... TE- Cook 46
WEEK 6 TARGETS: WR Crabtree 10, WR Cooper 6, RB Richard 5, WR Roberts 3, TE Cook 3
QB Carr rushed back into service and played in a visibly limited and flawed manner last wk... the zip is missing from his usually live arm... Carr appeared to have difficulty with his range of motion and created limited body torque on this pass attempts... Carr did complete 21 of 30 (70%), but just 171 yds (5.7 YPA); 1 TD vs 2 INTs last wk... Carr held under 200 yds last 3 gms he’s played... Carr with 4 TDs and 5 INTs over last 4 gms vs KC, with 204 yds a gm avg in that set of gms... WR Cooper kinda had a better gm last wk... Cooper caught 5 of his 6 tgts, but just 28 yds... other than the TD, WR Crabtree did little in wk6 as well... QB have lit up KC for 8 TD passes over last 3 gms... all 8 scoring throws have gone to WRs... OAK offense doesn’t play for the big numbers, but the way KC’s secondary is getting blazed, this may be Cooper’s turn-around gm... aged RB Lynch impresses in spurts, but appears to be a bit of a ball-n-chain on the offense... Lynch roadblocks playmaker types Richard and Washington... PIT RB Bell hammered KC for 179 yds rushing on 32 carries in wk6... Lynch doesn’t have that kind of gas left in the tank ; 15-17 runs at best... lead RBs roll through KC run D for 5.2 YPC over last 3 gms... Lynch over 4.0 YPC once in last 5 gms... his season high for rushed is 18 (wk1); since then 13 has been his heaviest workload... the Chiefs have not given up a TE score this season... TE Cook is terribly unreliable and a risk... KC will give up some yds to TEs, but tighten up near the stripe... OAK should be able to move the football consistently on KC here... Carr locks on to his WRs Cooper and Crabtree, and Cooper finally breaks out of his extended funk... Crabtree heads up on CB Peters, a tough situation.
Oakland’s most reliable wideout, Michael Crabtree, will butt-heads with the master-thief of the Chiefs’ secondary, Marcus Peters. That leaves stuck-in-the-mud Amari Cooper running mostly singles with either Terrance Mitchell or Phillip Gaines. Mitchell is a gamer, but beatable. In fact, despite the larcenist works of Peters, Kansas City DBs have been set ablaze by opposing wide receivers for 8 TDs in the last 3 games. This is a get-well program for what has been ailing Amari Cooper. FINALLY!
Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith is 3rd among all passers in air yards, tallying 1637 over 6 games. Smith is 3rd overall in TD passes with 12, and has yet to toss a ball into enemy hands. Toss all of that out the window during “rivalry week” in Oakland. Smith’s o-line is missing several starters and the breakdowns in the trenches are getting more frequent. Here’s another top number for Smith; he’s been sacked 20 times, 3rd most in the NFL.
While Amari Cooper’s struggles are hitting epic proportions, his frustrated and hobbled QB seeks other set of hands to get the job done. This truly is a “get-well” game for Cooper, and he should explode out of his 2017 funk, but even if Cooper does break through his personal performance fog, another Raider wideout has the matchup Derek Carr will recognize and attack. Swift Raider slotter Seth Roberts will seek and destroy the Chiefs slot-corner, Phillip Gaines. There is nothing in Roberts history against the Chiefs that suggests this is his kind of matchup, but Gaines struggles with fast, slashing, slanting-type wideouts and Roberts is just that. Michael Crabtree will have his hands full in his encounters with CB Marcus Peters, and I expect the Raiders to pound the line with more Marshawn Lynch this week, just to keep the Chiefs off-balance. Cooper’s resurgence only opens wide ranges for Roberts to roam. And roam he will.
John Cooney is a Senior Staff Writer for Fantasy Football Mastermind.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
In week 6 action, the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders 17-16. This win brings the Chargers season record to 2-4, which is also the Raiders record. This week, the Denver Broncos come to L.A. in a “home game” for the Chargers that’s certain to be filled with Orange jerseys. This report will be a review of last week’s win, and a preview of the upcoming Broncos at Chargers game.
QB: Chargers QB Philip Rivers was solid, but unspectacular. Against the Raiders Rivers was 25/36 for 268 passing yards, 1 TD, -4 rushing yards and no fumbles or interceptions. Rivers is currently ranked #4 in the NFL with 1633 passing yards, but his season so far has not been his best. Rivers faces a very solid Broncos pass defense this week, making him a lower-end top 15 fantasy option.
RB: Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon blew up with 25 carries for 83 yards and a rushing TD, and 9 receptions for 67 yards and a receiving TD. Hey, go with the hot hand and consider Gordon a must-start RB1. There is no other Chargers running back worthy of serious fantasy consideration at this time.
WR: We’ve seen WR Keenan Allen get plenty of looks, but he only has 1 TD this season. Last week, Allen caught 5 passes for 45 yards and no TDs. The lack of scoring warrants a downgrade to a fantasy WR2. WR Mike Williams made his 2017 debut with 1 catch for 15 yards. If you have the room, stash him on your bench and see what happens over the next game or two. But bench him for now. WR Tyrell Williams caught 3 for 27 yards and no TDs. Williams has been a bit of a disappointment so far, and the appearance of Williams complicates things further. Consider him a low-end WR3. WR Dontrelle Inman has talent but should be avoided due to lack of opportunity.
TE: It seems like the Bolts are finally starting to use TE Hunter Henry properly. Henry caught 5 for 90 yards and no TDs. With Henry getting more looks and making the most of his opportunities, consider him a top 5 option. God Bless TE Antonio Gates, but the big guy ain’t what he used to be. Almost certainly, this will be his last season in the NFL. Last week, Gates caught but 1 pass for 15 yards. While Gates is sure to vulture a TD here and there, I fear his days of consistent quality fantasy production are over. It hurts me to say this, but avoid Gates.
PK: As previously mentioned, PK Nick Novak is a decent kicker and an upgrade from departed PK Younghoe Koo. But he’s still not a top option. Last week, Novak was 1 of 2 on FGs and he was 2 of 2 on extra points. Consider him a middle-of-the-pack kicker this week. Not bad, but you can probably do better.
DEF: Last week, the L.A. defense held the Raiders to 16 points and had a sack, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble. This week, consider them a slightly above average fantasy option.
Good luck this week!
Here are some thoughts on Detroit’s 52-38 loss to the Saints as we enter the bye week.
QB: You can never question the toughness of QB Matthew Stafford. But he was obviously affected by his various injuries on Sunday as he turned the ball over 5 times (3 INT, 2 fumbles), giving the Saints an unheard of 3 defensive touchdowns. The game plan was geared toward Stafford’s physical limitations with almost all shotgun, and a lot of quick throws. The Saints batted down as many as 12 passes by some counts, and took advantage of a severely banged up Lions offensive line. It bordered on reckless that Stafford stayed in as long as he did, especially when the score reached 45-10 and he took a hard shot to the ribs. But he led 2 TD drives in the 3rd, and the Lions added 2 return TDs in the 4th so the game that looked out of reach suddenly got close. He ended up with 312 yards and 3 TDs. It’s safe to say the bye week has arrived at the perfect time.
RB: More of the same from RB Ameer Abdullah. He makes the most out of what’s there, but at the end of the day it was 14 carries for 54 yards, and 34 of that came on one carry. The Lions still can’t run the ball well consistently. RB Theo Riddick got more playing time with the big deficit and Stafford throwing the ball 52 times. But Riddick and Stafford weren’t on the same page a few times, including two of Stafford’s turnovers. He caught 5 for 45.
WR/TE: It was looking like a big game for WR Golden Tate but he injured his shoulder in the 3rd quarter and could miss a few weeks. He had 7-96 and a TD while he was in there. Tate’s TD celebration was a version of the People’s Elbow made famous by The Rock, and when Fox 2 in Detroit showed the entire celebration during their Lions highlights on a Monday newscast, I took video of it, tweeted it and tagged Tate, and he actually tweeted it out! I think I deserve a few extra fantasy points for that. TE Eric Ebron continued his disaster of a season with just one catch, which came on a deflected throw where I’m not sure he was even the target. Meanwhile TE Darren Fells scored again. WR Marvin Jones had 14 targets, and scored a TD, catching 6 for 96, and depending on how many games Tate is going to miss, is a potential buy low candidate. WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring) sat out again but should return in week 8.
K/DST: Jim Caldwell’s strange fourth down decisions left PK Matt Prater with 2 field goal attempts on Sunday, a make from 39 and a miss from 56. The Lions defense may have had the best fantasy day ever for a unit that was on the wrong end of a 52-38 score. They only truly allowed 31 points, which isn’t great by any means, but they forced three turnovers against a team that had zero turnovers through 5 games, and scored on a punt return and an interception return. I like this DST unit with a schedule after the bye that now includes two games with Green Bay that look a lot softer.
I will see you next week with a preview of the game against the Steelers.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Week 6 Review: This was a tough game to swallow if you are a Packer fan. QB Aaron Rodgers left the game with a broken collar bone on his throwing shoulder. His stats were 4 pass attempts for 2 completions that totaled 18 yards. He will have surgery and there is a very good possibility he will be out for the year. QB Brett Hundley came in and completed 54% of his passes for 157 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. He was also sacked 4 times and pressured 13 times. That speaks to the bad play of the offensive line – in which three players left the game. WR Randall Cobb had 3 receptions for 28 yards. WR Jordy Nelson had 6 receptions for 60 yards. WR Davante Adams had 5 receptions for 54 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Martellus Bennett had 2 receptions for 22 yards. There were four other who had one reception each. RB Ty Montgomery and RB Aaron Jones shared the rushing duties. Montgomery had 10 carries for 28 yards. Jones had 13 carries for 41 yards. Neither scored a touchdown, and both had only 1 catch for minimal yardage. This is more evidence of bad offensive line play. K Mason Crosby had a grand total of 4 points – a 26 yard field goal and 1 extra points. That gives him 32 so far which projects to 85 on the season. On defense, the stat line looks like this; 64 total tackles, 0 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 4 hurries, 1 interception, 6 passes defended, 2 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovered. And they gave up 351 yards and 23 points. All this is looking familiar week after week. And 3 of the 4 starters in the defensive backfield didn’t even suit up because of injury. In addition linebackers, the defensive line, the offensive line, and now the quarterback position have all been affected by injury. Then running backs and wide receivers although all are now playing, are still feeling the effects of their injuries. Not a good week for the Packers.
Week 7 Preview: The Packers will play the Saints Sunday at Lambeau. New Orleans has a soft defense, but there is no decided advantage for the Packer offense. So it could be a tough day for the Packer offense. The Green Bay defense will have no advantage against the Saints offense – they are out classed in every category that I track. In preparation for the game, the Packers have promoted QB Joe Callahan from the practice squad to the active roster. He will be the back up to Hundley. Callahan was a division III quarterback at Wesley College. He earned the Gagliardi Trophy, the highest award at that level, for being the first division III quarterback to throw for 5000 yards. To make room for Callahan, CB Quinton Rollins was placed on IR. We are in uncharted territory for the Packers. Hundley had played at the very end of a few games, but he sparkled when he played in preseason as a rookie. How any of that translates to regular season games is unknown. From a fantasy perspective, it is unknown how things will go. I think the best scenario is that it will take a couple weeks for things to settle and readjust. Then we will find out what Hundley is. McCarthy has said that the Packers won’t play as bad as they did against Minnesota again. Hopefully that is true. Some of the Packer players were lamenting all the injuries this year. Season ending projections for Green Bay’s prominent fantasy players would now look like this: WR Jordy Nelson – 67 receptions, 773 yards, and 16 touchdowns. He is still #1 in touchdown passes caught in the NFL. WR Davante Adams – 75 receptions, 904 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He is #3 in touchdown passes caught in the NFL so far. WR Randall Cobb – 69 receptions, 656 yards, and 3 touchdowns. RB Ty Montgomery – 149 rushing attempts, 597 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 51 pass receptions, 344 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns. That is a total of 941 yards and 8 touchdowns from scrimmage. RB Aaron Jones – If you project his last two games over the last 11 games he has 195 rushing attempts, 932 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns. He still has virtually nothing in the passing game so far. Head coach Mike McCarthy made good on his promise Jones won’t be a one man show splitting carries with Ty. That may not work to either ones benefit since it takes time to get into the flow of a game. TE Martellus Bennett – 68 receptions, 564 yards, and 0 touchdowns. K Mason Crosby has point total of only 32 points which projects to 85 for the year and makes him 31st in NFL scoring. He is still perfect in field goals this year – just not enough opportunities. I would continue to start someone else instead of him.
Recommendations: I honestly don’t know who I would start this week for the Packers. Part of it is the lack of history and part of it is the condition of the offensive line. If Hundley can’t be protected it won’t matter who plays the other positions. Maybe consider starting WR Davante Adams, WR Jordy Nelson, or WR Randall Cobb, in that order. I would not start K Mason Crosby or the Packer defense. As usual don’t forget to check the injury reports. Next week we will review week 7 and preview week 8, which is the Packer bye week. That light at the end of the tunnel could just be another train.
Good luck this week!
Arizona 38 – Tampa Bay 33
Passing - QB Carson Palmer threw for 283 yards going 18 for 22 with 3 TDs, while Palmer also threw and INT in the second half, Tampa made nothing of it. Tampa’s pass rush isn’t as strong as the upcoming Rams, who have 7 INTs on the year and have allowed an average of only 210 yards per game in the air and 8 TDs overall. I wouldn’t expect huge numbers through the air against LA.
Rushing - RB Adrian Peterson had a great day putting up 134 of Arizona’s 160 Rushing yards and 2 TDs. I expect that the running game behind RB Adrian Peterson will have a good day against the Rams. The LA Rams allow an average of 139 yards per game on the ground as opposed to Tampa, who typically allow less, averaging 101 yards allowed per game, and Arizona put up 160 on TB.
Receiving - Arizona put up great numbers, but WR Larry Fitzgerald in particular had 10 catches for 138 yards and a TD, but his fumble late in the game went back for a TD and 2-point conversion in the hands of TB LB Lavonte David. WR John Brown had 63 yards and a TD, and TE Troy Niklas had 20 yards with a TD. Given the small amount of passing going on against LA I wouldn’t expect huge numbers against their pass rush, although if Arizona can manage to make it work in the air I’d think WR Larry Fitzgerald may have another solid game.
Defense – The defense pulled off 2 INTs on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, one in the hands S Antoine Bethea for 21 additional yards after the catch and the other by CB Tramon Williams, both leading to TD drives. They also recorded 2 Sacks on Fitzpatrick on the day, and went almost even with Tampa Bay on recorded tackles. Despite the INTs they struggled to stop the air attack, allowing 344 yards and 3 TDs, but did manage to hold the running game to 70 yards overall, though RB Doug Martin did score 1 TD in the ground. The Rams have a comparable passing attack to TB and it’ll be up to the defense to force the turnovers to keep the amount of yards under control. Additionally, LA has a stronger running game than Tampa did and may put more pressure on the defense. If they buckle down more than last week, they will put their offense in a good place, otherwise the dual threat my wear them down worse than TB.
Kicking – PK Phil Dawson went 100% on the day, scoring 1 FG and nailing all 5 extra points. I don’t expect much a difference in a game against LA, he’s safe to start.
Takeaway - The Cardinals need to keep their opponents form putting up so many yards in the air, because making the game a blow for blow affair puts more pressure on the offense than their slower start makes it seem like they can handle.
Next Game – If the defense can balance out their performances on both fronts they may keep the offense ahead of LA, if not it’s going to be a battle of dual front offense and the winner will be determined by who’s defense is overwhelmed first and most often. It should be a close game if the Cardinals can perform like they did this past week.
Good luck this week!
Wow. The Giants looked ugly last week. I don’t see them getting close to 20 against Seattle. Denver barely tried to run the ball and they lost on time of possession and turnovers. They play a nice afternoon game on the East Coast at 75 degrees in October after NYG wins an emotional game as an underdog while Seattle is on a bye. Seahawks all the way in this one.
It looks like OG Mark Glowinski will start at guard next to OT Rees Odhiambo. If not it will be OG Ethan Pocic. Shaking up this line is not good, but if QB Russell Wilson has his head on straight and starts making better decisions about his first check then he should be fine. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is worrisome, but he really seems to be all the Giants have on D. I would start Wilson against these guys.
Seattle should have RB CJ Prosise at full speed all week at practice. Consider picking him up and starting him. RB Thomas Rawls and RB Eddie Lacy were given a good chance two weeks ago and barely made an impression. The team will either turn to Prosise or RB JD McKissic long term. Both of them can catch out of the backfield which will add to Wilson’s numbers.
The Broncos had 20 first downs and over 400 yards of offense but could only score 10 points. It sounds like they were playing the Seahawks not the Giants. That gives every reason to start WR Doug Baldwin in your fantasy league. He is due for a touchdown this week.
Will the real TE Jimmy Graham please take the field. After a few games of shying away from contact, Graham was used primarily as a wide receiver against the Rams and managed a mediocre showing. Which is better than most weeks this year. He looked like this was going to be his best year coming out of camp, but really has done very little. I will start him in my league but it is risky.
All PK Blair Walsh has done is kick the ball through the uprights. He has not been perfect but I put him down for 7-10 fantasy points consistently each week.
Denver’s D is good. Seattle’s is better. Start this team D as the Giants try to find their passing game or their ground game while QB Eli Manning will have to try to be mobile to survive. LB Bobby Wagner remains the IDP pick of the bunch.
NY Football G: 10
Good luck this week!
LOS ANGELES RAMS
SPECIAL (TEAMS) VICTORY! The Rams special teams unit scores two touchdowns and lead the team to a 27-17 road win in Jacksonville. The offense struggled a bit against a tough Jacksonville defense but they did enough to secure the victory. Los Angeles improved to 4-2 and will spend the week in Jacksonville before heading to London to take on the resurgent Arizona Cardinals and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson. Let’s take a look at Fantasy production against the Jags and potential for the Cardinal game.
QB: QB Jared Goff (11-21, 124 yards, and 1 touchdown) did not put up big numbers but did take care of the ball and produced enough to lead his team to victory. Goff is improving in both his understanding of the offense and his execution, which is encouraging moving forward. Arizona is ranked 26th in pass defense allowing 250.3 yards per game. The Cards have given up 13 passing touchdowns while collecting 6 interceptions and 11 sacks in six games. The Rams should have better success against the Cards as the Arizona pass defense is not as good as Jacksonville’s. I am looking for decent numbers in London and would think 250-280 yards with 2-3 touchdowns is possible. As long as Jared takes care of the ball, the Rams have a good chance to win.
RB: RB Todd Gurley (23-116 rushing and 1-4 receiving) ran tough and was productive the entire game. He did not score or catch many passes, but he kept the chains moving and put the Rams in favorable down and distances. RB Malcom Brown (3-17 rushing with a blocked punt return touchdown) scored his second touchdown of the season returning a blocked punt in the second quarter. Arizona’s defense is ranked 9th against the rush at 90.3 yards per game. The Cards have allowed four rushing touchdown in six games. The Rams continue to feature Todd in the running game and even though Arizona is highly ranked against the run, I think Todd has success against the Cards. I think 130-150 yards from scrimmage with 1-2 touchdowns is feasible and Todd is a RB1 in all Fantasy formats.
WR: WR Sammy Watkins (1-11) had another quiet game as he continues to try to get acclimated to this offense. Robert Woods (5-70 with 1 lost fumble) had another solid game but his fumble ended a potential scoring drive. WR Cooper Kupp (2-35) made a crucial third-down reception to move the chains but that was about it. WR Tavon Austin (2-0 rushing) was mostly a decoy and is non-existent in the passing game as well as losing his job as the punt returner. WR Pharoh Cooper (kick return touchdown) opened the game with an impressive 103-yard return for touchdown but that was it. This offense does not have a defined WR1. Woods has recently been the most productive, Watkins has been disappointing, and Kupp is in consistent so I can’t recommend any of these receivers as any more than a WR3. Play them at your own risk.
TE: TE Tyler Higbee (1-0) laid an egg after a few decent games. TE Gerald Everett (1-4 and a touchdown) scored the only offensive touchdown but that was his only reception. Just when Higbee started to look like a sleeper, he is upstaged by Everett. I would not have either tight end on my Fantasy team until one of them establishes some sort of consistency. As a unit, you can expect 3-5 receptions for 25-45 yards and maybe a touchdown. It’s too difficult to determine who will have the better statistics.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (2-2 field goals (56 and 29) and 3-3 extra point). Got back on track and nailed an impressive 56-yard field goal. Greg leads the league in scoring (69 points) and is even better for Fantasy leagues that award bonus points for long distance field goals. I would not be surprised if Greg kicks 3-4 extra points and 2-3 field goals this week and you should definitely play him.
DEF: The defense gave up a 75-yard touchdown run on Leonard Fournette’s first carry but played much better after that. LB Mark Barron (6 solos, 2 assists, and a sack) had a good game while LB Alec Ogletree (4 solos) was rather quiet, but did get a nice extension from the Rams last week (congrats Alec). LB Connor Barwin (7 solo tackles and 1 sacks) celebrated his birthday with a nice game while LB Robert Quinn (2 solos) was almost non-existent in the box score. DT Aaron Donald (2 solos with 1 sack and 1 forced fumble) continues to improve each week and is starting to dominate like he did in 2016. CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (1 solo and 1 interception) sealed the victory with his second interception of the season. The Cards are 3rd in passing at 286.2 yards per game. Arizona has 9 passing touchdowns while giving up 6 interceptions and 21 sacks. The Cardinal rushing attack is last in the league at 6938 yards per game; however, they got a big boost from Adrian Peterson who ran for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns in his Cardinal debut. The Cardinal offense is much improved with Peterson on board and hopefully the Rams defense can contain him while putting pressure on Carson Palmer and force some turnovers. Ogletree and Barron are every week IDPs. Donald should continue to be a force and this is Robert Quinn’s week to get a sack.
The Rams are currently in first place at 4-2 and can make a serious run at the NFC West division title with a victory over the Cardinals. Los Angeles has been improving on defense and special teams while the offense struggled a bit the last two weeks. I think the offense gets back on track and the defense contains Arizona. My prediction is Rams win 34-20. Teams on bye this week are Houston and Detroit so adjust your lineups accordingly. Also, the Ram game is in London so it will be televised earlier on Sunday so don’t forget to set you alarms correctly. Like the Rams I won this week and my record is 4-2. Sorry to Packer fans and Aaron Rogers Fantasy Owners, injuries suck. Love and blessings go to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
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Saturday, September 9th, 2017
OK, the big day has come and gone; your draft is over. You assembled an impressive roster thanks to a lot of time, energy and research dedicated to that task.Tweets by @FFMastermind