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.
Welcome to the party, pal! Some of the local media were reporting how the TV announcers were being so critical of the Dolphins Offensive Line and the play calling of Head Coach Adam Gase while Miami were getting their ass kicked by the Carolina Panthers last Monday night. What have you been watching all Season? You’re just figuring this out?
The Fins truly sucked (once again), losing their third game in a row, getting blown out in two of those. They are now 4-5. Prior to this 3 game skid they were 4-2. They still looked like they sucked, but you couldn’t really say that because they were 4-2. Now they are 4-5 and obviously not in contention for anything but a high draft pick in 2018.
We don’t want to go into a lot of depth. These guys ain’t worth the time. Jay Cutler’s a Jeckyl & Hyde. Gase keeps playing Damien Williams ahead of Kenyan Drake, who is an obviously superior talent. And the Miami Receivers don’t rack up any Fantasy Stats until garbage time. Of course, the Silver Lining here is that this team is looking at A LOT of garbage time.
This week Miami is home to face Tampa Bay in a game which was moved thanks to Hurricane Irma from Week One to what was supposed to be the Bye for both teams. We have a little more Silver Lining here, because the Bucs have been a HUGE disappointment much like the Fins. In addition, starting QB Jameis Winston will not be playing.
Fantasy-wise, don’t know what to tell you. Used to be one state, when you were convicted of a capital crime, you were given a choice between firing squad and hanging for your execution. That’s pretty much where you are with the Fins. Damien Williams or Kenyan Drake? Jarvis Landry or DeVante Parker?
On paper it would seem like a pretty good opportunity to play any Dolphins on your roster. Tampa Bay ranks 27th overall on Defense, 19th versus the Run and 4th against the Pass. It is not unusual for a team who is low in the rankings versus the Rush to look better versus the Pass, because if they can run against you – why bother throwing?
Into this, however, we must factor that we are talking about the Miami Dolphins. Their O-Line is a mess which they refuse to fix, year in and year out, and the play-calling of Adam Gase has left much to be desired. (I am being nice here.) In addition, both backs have done a lot of their damage catching passes. As far as Passing is concerned, two words – Jay Cutler. Will it be Dr. Jeckyl showing up this week or Mr. Hyde? And who will be the beneficiary if he does have a good game. It could be DeVante Parker or Jarvis Landry. Cutler hasn’t gone to Kenny Stills much, but the Fins have been taken to task all year for not throwing the ball downfield. Stills was still the leading receiver bersus the Panthers, with 5 catches for 69 yards. TE Julius Thomas caught his second TD last week, his second in the last two games, but it was on a 2-yard shovel pass. For the game he finished with 2 catches for 8 yards. You do the math.
Obviously, giving up 45 points last week, and 40 points 3 weeks ago versus Baltimore, tough to recommend the Dolphin D, even against a back-up Quarterback.
This Season started with such promise. Now the Fins are strictly fighting for respectability.
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
SCORE – New England - 41 Denver - 16
Passing – QB Tom Brady went 25 for 34, he managed 266 yards, first time under 300 yards in 2 weeks, but he also threw 3TDs and had no interceptions. QB Brian Hoyer threw 3 times for 37 yards at the end of the game. The Raiders’ pass defense isn’t as lauded as the Broncos and have allowed at least 25 points in their last 3 games. It’s likely Brady will kick back up to at least 280 yards and likely score in the air as he has in the last 8 games.
Rushing – The running game wasn’t especially dynamic, but RB Dion Lewis had 55 yards with a TD as well as a 103 yard Kick return for a TD, and RB Rex Burkhead had 36 yards. Again, the Raider’s this season have a more porous defense. It’s not likely that they’ll break 200 yards, but RB Dion Lewis, RB Rex Burkhead and RB James White are all viable weapons and good dual threats.
Receiving – The receivers had a solid game, TE Rob Gronkowski had 74 yards on 4 catches, WR Brandin Cooks had 6 catches for 74 yards, TE Martellus Bennet had 38 yards, WR Danny Amendola had 4 catches for 36 yards, and RB Rex Burkhead had 3 catches for 27 yards and a TD. TE Dwayne Allen had an 11 yard TD catch, and RB James White had 3 catches for 11 yards and 1 TD. The air defense in Oakland allows more than in Denver, it’s possible a good balance with offense will keep the defense fresh, but even so there will likely be good play from TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandin Cooks, with RB Rex Burkhead, and RB James White as flex receivers.
Defense – The defense held Denver to 3 FGs and only 1 TD, they also tacked on 1 INT, RB Rex Burkhead blocked a punt, and they forced a fumble from WR Isaiah McKenzie. In all a FG and TD were gained through special teams 10 points from the defense. The Raiders present a stronger offense then Denver even as they have struggled, so tougher than last week but not likely to sway the game all too much.
Kicking – PK Stephen Gostkowski went 2 for 2 on FGs and went 5 for 5 on XPs, it’s likely he’ll have fewer chances against this defense, but he’s still likely to be high percentage.
Takeaway – The Broncos actually played relatively well, but standout performances on the Patriot’s special teams made their offense just insult to injury as the Broncos never got into a rhythm amidst their own special teams gaffes.
Injury – DE Cassius Marsh, OT Marcus Cannon, DT Marcus Brown, WR Chris Hogan – All Questionable, WR Matthew Slater - Doubtful
Upcoming Game – If the defense plays as good as they did against Denver this will be a solid win for the Patriots. The close wins and solid losses for the Raiders don’t make their odds good against New England.
NEW YORK JETS
SCORE - New York 10 Tampa Bay 15
Passing – QB Josh McCown went 23 for 39 with 262 yards with 1TD and 1 INT
Rushing – The run game was stifled totaling only 56 yards on the ground and no scores. RB Bilal Powell lead the team with 30 yards on 10 carries but lost a fumble that resulted in a Tampa FG, and RB Elijah McGuire had 22 yards off 8 Carries.
Receiving – The passing game wasn’t stagnant but only 2 receivers put up more than 50 yards. WR Robby Anderson had 85 yards on 4 catches and the Jets’ only TD, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins had catches for 67 yards, RB Elijah McGuire had 36 yards on 4 grabs, WR Jermaine Kearse had 4 catches for 35 yards, and WR Chad Hansen had 3 catches for 33 yards.
Defense – The Jets’ defense held the Buccaneers to just 15 points, 3 FGs and one late TD, they went shot for shot against the Bucs’ defense, and managed a sack and an INT on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. They just couldn’t fight their fatigue when 10 of the offenses’ drives ended in a punt or a turnover.
Kicking- PK Chandler Catanzaro was 1 for 1 on FGs, with a long of 47 yards
Takeaway – The offense played poorly and that left the defense tired enough for Tampa’s fourth quarter TD, the fault falls on 10 failed drives, 3 turnovers and only one Red Zone trip. The running game has to be a factor for sustainable offense.
Injury/ Transaction – DE Ed Stinson IR, RB Matt Forte, C Jonotthan Harrison, CB Morris Claiborne – All Questionable
Upcoming game – BYE WEEK
Coming off the bye the 7-2 Steelers struggled in Indianapolis against the 3-7 Colts winning 20-17 with a field goal on the final play of the game. The offense except for surging rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled mightily. The performance against the worst scoring defense in the league with an extra week of practice was extremely disappointing. Next up is a home game on a short work week in prime time on Thursday night versus the 6-3 Titans. The Titans are on a four game winning streak and have beaten the rest of the AFC North in their last three games.
QB: The bye did not help QB Ben Roethlisberger. He again looked lethargic completing only 19 passes in 31 attempts with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Roethlisberger continued to repeatedly miss open receivers and could have been picked off several more times by a better secondary. He has yet to throw for 3 or more touchdowns in any game this season. Roethlisberger did come alive on the final, game winning drive compiling 76 of his passing yards. The Titans have the 19th ranked passing defense and on paper present a nice match up. Still, trying to find a better fantasy option would be the prudent course.
RB: Once again RB LeVeon Bell had a huge volume of touches. Unfortunately like the game before the bye against the Lions his production was down. Bell managed only 80 yards on 26 carries adding 5 catches for 32 yards. He did not get into the end zone. Touches alone make Bell an every week fantasy starter. He is due for a breakout against the Titans, the short work week should not matter.
WR/TE: Smith-Schuster led the team with 5 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. He is clearly fantasy relevant with 12 catches for 290 yards plus a pair of touchdowns in the last two games. Smith-Schuster has established himself as the Steelers number two receiver ahead of WR Martavis Bryant. Returning from suspension Bryant played just over half the offensive snaps. He caught 3 passes for 42 yards and added a 2 point conversion. He is not in line to get enough opportunities to be a starting fantasy option at this point. WR Antonio Brown was held under 60 yards receiving for only the second time this season. He finished with 3 receptions for 47 yards missing opportunities on several completions either due to short arming the catch attempt or being missed badly by Roethlisberger. Brown is due for a bounce back performance with a solid match up against the Titans at home. TE Vance McDonald and TE Jesse James split playing time almost equally. James did not have a catch. McDonald had a pair of receptions and a touchdown. McDonald aggravated his ankle injury and is unlikely to play on Thursday night. Neither are fantasy options in any case.
K: Kicking indoors in a dome was not kind to PK Chris Boswell. He had an extra point blocked and missed a potential game winning field goal in the fourth quarter that hit the upright. He did win the game on the final play and had 6 total points. There are better fantasy options.
DEF/ST: The defense got burnt for two big plays. A whopping 121 of QB Jacoby Brissett's total of 222 passing yards came on long touchdowns to WR Donte Moncrief and WR Chester Rogers. DE Stephon Tuitt, LB Vince Williams and LB Bud Dupree each had a sack. LB Ryan Shazier produced the only turnover with an interception. CB Joe Haden suffered a non-displaced broken fibula that will not require surgery. He will reportedly miss from 3 to 6 weeks. S Mike Mitchell has missed practice time due to an ankle injury, he is listed as questionable. The defense has done a solid job limiting yardage against, but has lacked big plays. The ground and pound Titans are not a great match up.
Good luck this week!
Going into week 11 the Texans are at home facing the Cardinals. QB Tom Savage played a horrible game for the most part against a very good Rams D last week. Can he play better this week? Of course he can. These are the Cardinals. Just wish his OL could play better.
His best options are TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, WR DeAndre Hopkins and the running game. RB D’onta Foreman and RB Lamar Miller have had limited success this year but should do better this week against an average Cardinal D. WR Will Fuller V injured his ribs last week so he should be a no-show.
The front seven played well early but the lack of a consistent pass rush really exposed the secondary in the second half. OLB Jadeveon Clowney continues to be a pleasure to watch play. There are other bright spots on D and should have more luck this week against an average at best QB Blaine Gabbert.
Without QB Deshaun Watson to cover the OL deficiencies the fans are starting to talk about next year already. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.
The special teams haven’t shown us much this year especially when it comes to scoring. Be wary of starting your Texans. Lamar Miller. Fiedorowicz and DeAndre Hopkins should be your only possible starters to consider. Despite what seems to be a lost season I expect the Texans to play hard and win in a low scoring squeaker.
Good luck this week!
I am away on a mission in Lima, Peru. When I return in one week, the Colts previews will resume. Thank you and good luck!
New England Patriots 41 Denver Broncos 16
Denver's special-teams miscues were too much for the team to overcome. New England took a two-score lead in the first seven minutes of the game, and never looked back. For a second consecutive game, the Broncos drove inside the 25, but came up with only field goals. QB Tom Brady has struggled in Denver throughout his career but that wasn’t the case in this game. Using short and intermediate passes, Brady spread the ball all over the field, completing passes to nine different receivers in the victory. The N. E. offensive line deserves credit for keeping OLB Von Miller at bay but the rest was all Brady. RB Dion Lewis rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while also adding a 103-yard kickoff return. RB Rex Burkhead rushed 10 times for 36 yards plus three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Denver WR Emmanuel Sanders hauled in six-of-11 targets for 137 yards and was unstoppable in the early going, but couldn’t keep it up after halftime. WR Demaryius Thomas 5/8-44-1; WR Cody Latimer 3/5-28-0; TE Jeff Hueruman 1/3-4-0. RB C. J. Anderson 10-54-0; 1-1-1 led The Broncos' run game. RB Jamaal Charles 8-38-0; RB Devontae Booker 8-24-0. S Justin Simmons had the Broncos only sack. K Brandon McManus was 3/3 on field goals.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos
A match up between two 3-6 teams that were projected to win at least nine games in 2017. Cinci HC Marvin Lewis may have reached the end of his tenure and Vance Joseph is being called names that got Howard Cosell fired from MNF by some Denver fans. The Bengals are lead by QB Andy Dalton with a 62% completion rate (13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions) and overrated RB Joe Mixon and under performing WR A. J. Green. The Broncos come into the game with quarterback bust Brock Osweiler with a 52% completion rate (2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions) and no help in sight. Denver worked hard to improve their running game and run defense. They succeeded, but forgot that you run when you win, not win when you run. The Broncos are pretty much a fantasy waste land for fantasy owners. WR Demaryius Thomas has lost a step and Emmanuel Sanders is battling nicks and bruises. RB C. J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker are all over 4.0ypc, but all are under 15 carries a game and have a hard time getting into the end zone even with their use in the passing game. Teams with more offensive penalties generally lose more games. Denver ranks number eight in offensive penalties and Cincinnati number nine. Denver is a meager 2.5 point favorite at home against an equally struggling Bengals team. Cincinnati 17 Denver 20
Broncos placed RT Menelik Watson on injured reserve, signed T Cyrus Kouandjio and waived OLB Kasim Edebali.
QB Brock Osweiler may be worth 9-13 points RB C. J. Anderson may be worth 8-9 points RB Jamaal Charles may be worth 5-7 points RB Devontae Booker may be worth 4-9 points WR Demaryius Thomas may be worth 11-17 points WR Emmanuel Sanders may be worth 11-16 points WR Bennie Fowler III may be worth 3-7 points WR Cody Latimer may be worth 1-4 points TE A. J. Derby may be worth 4-8 points TE Virgil Green may be worth 1-4 points TE Jeff Hueruman may be worth 1-3 points PK Brandon McManus may be worth 6-7 points.
DST may be worth 6-11 points.
Good luck this week!
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
CHIEFS WEEK 11 OUTLOOK:
WEEK 10 SNAPS:
WEEK 10 TARGETS:
Here’s what we need to know about the Giants D regarding KC players... QBs have thrown 20 TD passes on the Big Blue D... 10 have gone to opposing TEs (top in the NFL) ... TEs have amassed 632 yds vs NYG, 3rd most... NYG gave up 50 catches to TEs so far, 5th highest total this yr... yes, this is a Kelce gm to circle in red... 5 of Kelce’s last 8 gms have been over 70 yds receiving, with 3 topping 100 yds... Kelce has a Td in 3 straight gms... in last 8 gms Kelce has hit at least 7 catches 5 times... rookie RB Hunt avg’d 3.3 YPC and scored 0 TDs in his last 4 gms... his first 5 gms as a pro Hunt gained 6.3 YPC and notched 6 TDs (4 run, 2 receiving)... yes, there really is a rookie WALL... the bye wk break has to have helped clear Hunt’s head and refresh the wheels... RBs gain 4.0 YPC vs NYG over last 4 gms, running in the endzone 3 times... watch for Hunt’s gm use; Coach Reid was spelling Hunt often last 3-4 gms... NYG have let up 8 TDs to WRs all season, 6 coming in the last 3 gms... Giants’ DBs have been lit up for 9 pass plays of 40+ yds, 3rd most... hello Mr. Hill!!! ... Hill has a TD 2 of last 3 gms... though his tgts and receptions are up from last season, Hill has topped 70 yds just 3 times this season... his YPR is far above his 2016 number; 15.4 from 9.7... all other KC wideouts are essentially non-descript utility performers that are high risk-low reward options... QB Smith has an astounding 18 TDs to 1 INT... Smith YPA is a sharp 8.3 this season, bettering any season in his career... Smith went into the bye on a 1-3 cold streak... NYG ripped for 9 TDs over last 3 gms... NYG burned for over 310 yds passing 3 of last 4 gms, with the 4th gm being 288 yds... if Smith wants to throw early and often, it will be to Kelce and Hill, with no others that thrill... eyes on Hunt and his secondary yds pick-ups... if he’s still getting 3 and a cloud of dust coming out of the break, may be an issue rest of the season for Hunt... get RB West behind Hunt if possible.
GIANTS WEEK 11 OUTLOOK:
WEEK 10 SNAPS:
RB- Vereen 30, Darkwa 26, Gallman 10... WR- Shepard 66, Lewis 54, King 53... TE- Engram 52, Ellison 26
WEEK 10 TARGETS:
WR Shepard 13, TE Engram 9, RB Vereen 4, WR King 4, WR Lewis 4
Talk of Manning being benched in favor of who? ... G. Smith? ... rookie Webb (who I do like and feel he has excellent pro tools)... if Manning does sit down expect coach McAdoo to showcase Webb over retreading Smith... McAdoo may be on his last stretch of gms as NYG HC anyway... beware adding Manning for playoff runs; there’s smoke in the benching talk, if for any reason, due to the team’s record and no hopes of a post-season berth... NYG WRs are a patchwork unit after 2nd yr man Shepard... WR Lewis hauled in 3-33-1 TD last wk... Lewis can shine down the stretch if Manning stay son the field... Shepard crushed it last wk; 11-142, no TD though... KC has given up 16 TD passes tgts season; 15 went to WRs... both Shepard and Lewis have PPR and TD potential here... TE Engram has led the Giants in receiving most of the season after Beckham went down... KC denies TEs the endzone, allowing just 1 score, but gets beaten for chunky yds by TEs (17.8 YPR- highest allowed)... Engram has 31 tgts over last 3 gms, catching 16 and scoring a TD in 4 straight gms... Engram is likely to pick up good yds here, but the TD is a tough get... RB Darkwa runs with smart vision and is efficient in his movements... he turns north ASAP and gets what’s blocked... Darkwa gains 5.1 YPC, but has just 1 TD... rookie RB Gallman took a backseat to vet RB Vereen last wk... Vereen saw 9 touches, but did little with them (38 YFS)... over last 3 gms KC allows 4.3 YPC to RBs, and 3 TDs... RBs rushed for 8 TDs this season vs KC, 2nd most in the NFL... Darkwa is a wk11 gem... WRs Shepard and Lewis shine at home in wk11... Engram may get his yds, but the scoring streak ends.
To the point... the Giants are the NFL’s worst TE cover defense in the league. Travis Kelce is one of the top 3 TEs in the NFL. The perfect matchup.
Giants’ rookie TE Evan Engram has been a terrific performer so far. He’s a Travis Kelce clone. But the Chiefs defense has seen Kelce every day, every practice and knows how to box out that kind of big man from the endzone. Engram may get his yards here as the Chiefs allow over 17 yards a pop to TEs, but the scoring buck for Engram stops here.
Eli Manning has taken a lot of heat this season, more than usual. Most of it is well-deserved. Week 11 Manning turns it around, at least for 1-game. The Chiefs are getting torched by opposing QBs and WRs. Manning and WR Sterling Shepard hooked up for 13-142 yards last week, and fellow WR Reggie Lewis hauled in 3 of his 4 targets for 33 yards and a TD. Both young wideouts benefit from the throwback performance of Eli Manning against the leaky Chiefs’ secondary. Fantasy coaches reap the rewards as well.
John Cooney is a senior fantasy football writer at FFMastermind.com.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Last week, the 3-6 Los Angeles Chargers were defeated by 6-3 Jacksonville Jaguars by the score of 20-17. This week, the Chargers take on the Bills in L.A. This report will be a review of the loss to the Jags, as well as a preview of the upcoming Bills at Chargers game.
QB: Last week, Chargers QB Philip Rivers was 21/37 for 235 passing yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. As you may be aware, Rivers self-reported a possible concussion, and is currently under NFL concussion protocol. The probability is that Rivers will play, but given the fact that he’s coming off of a concussion coupled with the fact that Buffalo has allowed opposing quarterbacks a 77 rating, with only 7 TDs allowed against 11 interceptions, Rivers doesn’t appear to be a particularly strong fantasy candidate this week. Use him if you need him, but don’t be shocked if his numbers are not overwhelming.
RB: Last week was a poor showing for RB Melvin Gordon. Gordon carried 16 times for only 27 yards with no TDs. Gordon also had 5 receptions for 15 yards. RB Austin Ekeler seems to have surpassed RB Branden Oliver on the depth chart, unofficially if not officially. Despite a costly fumble, Ekeler actually outperformed Gordon with 10 carries for 42 yards and no rushing TDs, plus 5 catches for 77 yards and 2 receiving TDs. The Bills run defense is poor, allowing 117 rushing yards per game and 14 rushing TDs on the season. Despite last week’s disappointment, consider Gordon an RB1 with a strong chance of 1 or more TDs. Ekeler is better than you might think, although he looks like a reasonable FLEX play for those in need.
WR: In short, the Chargers wide receivers aren’t doing much. It’s hard to figure out, really. There’s a good deal of talent and certainly Rivers can wing it. But the numbers aren’t there and they haven’t been for most of the season. Last week, WR Tyrell Williams led L.A. wideouts with 2 catches for 49 yards and no TDs. WR Keenan Allen caught 4 for 48 yards and no TDs, while WR Mike Williams saw a slightly more prominent role with 2 catches for 24 yards and no TDs. This week, I don’t love any of these guys against a tough pass defense. Consider Allen and Williams fantasy WR3s, while Williams should not yet be owned. Streaky “boom or bust” WR Travis Benjamin was shut out last week. He’s the kind of player who can catch a 75 yard bomb for a TD or post a fat goose egg. I wouldn’t start him, but if you are badly in need, he’s an extremely weak WR3 or weak FLEX due to inconsistency.
TE: I love TE Antonio Gates, but he’s done. 1 catch for 3 yards. This will almost certainly be his last year in the NFL and he probably should have retired last year. Avoid! TE Hunter Henry had only 1 catch for 7 yards. Henry has big talent, but facing a tough Buffalo pass defense and catching balls from a concussed or 2nd string quarterback is far from ideal. Consider him a TE2 this week, although he could surprise to the upside.
PK: Los Angeles PK Nick Novak was 1/1 on FGs, hitting a 50-yarder, as well as kicking 2 extra points. I’m not expecting a scoring fest and I think at this point in his career, Novak is average, making him an average option this week.
DEF: The Chargers have underrated LB Denzel Perryman back from injury and he led the team with 9 tackles and an assist. The Bolts recorded 3 sacks but no forced fumbles. The Chargers defense is actually pretty solid and should have some success against Buffalo. They are definitely worthy of starting consideration.
Lions at Bears
QB: The Lions came out a little flat on Sunday against the Browns but QB Matthew Stafford got hot with 3 TD passes in the second half and ended up with a nice fantasy day. He was 11 of 15 for 193 yards in the second half. The Lions activated LT Taylor Decker from the PUP list before the Cleveland game, so he is back to protect Stafford’s blind side. He rotated out for some plays but we’ll see if he is ready for full duty this week. The forecast for Sunday looks like it will be cold but sunny, and after a dominant performance on a cold night in Green Bay I don’t think that will be an issue for Stafford on Sunday. A John Fox defense might be a problem. Stafford did not play very well against the Bears last year.
RB: Going into Sunday we weren’t sure if RB Ameer Abdullah would be in the doghouse at all after two fumbles in week 9. I didn’t think there would be much of a change in the running back situation, and there wasn’t. In fact, Abdullah and RB Theo Riddick both scored against the Browns. RB Dwayne Washington is on the injury report with a hip, so look for RB Zach Zenner to be the third back this week, but it’s all about Abdullah and Riddick. They shouldn’t be every week starters in your lineup but Abdullah gets volume and Riddick still has PPR value.
WR/TE: I had noticed in a few places last week that the Browns had been poor against tight ends but I didn’t mention it because I figured TE Eric Ebron is pretty much off the radar. But Ebron did manage to score a nice 29 yard TD on Sunday. I haven’t played any daily games this season but I suppose he is a guy that could be an interesting cheap option with low ownership when he has a good matchup. WR Kenny Golladay returned finally from his hamstring injury and only played 11 snaps, but had 2 catches. If Golladay’s workload increases, that could mean a drop in targets for WR Marvin Jones. There was one roster move this week with WR Jared Abbrederis getting released but he was fifth or sixth on the depth chart with Golladay back.
K/DST: The Lions defense did it again, with CB Nevin Lawson contributing a scoop and score for yet another return TD for the Lions. There were some issues with the run defense though as they somehow allowed the Browns to run for over 200 yards. That must be corrected this week against a Bears team that will clearly want to run with Jordan Howard. This seems like a good matchup for the Lions defense as Chicago ranks near the bottom in many offensive categories, but the Lions defense has been living on turnovers and I expect a risk averse game plan as usual from the Bears as they will attack on the ground. I think the loss of DT Haloti Ngata was felt last week and will be felt again this week.
Good luck this week!
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Week 10 Review: I was at the game against tbe Bears soaking in the atmosphere – literally because of the intermittent drizzle coming down. This week QB Brett Hundley did better from a real game perspective and less from a fantasy perspective. He completed 18 of 25 passes for a 72.0% completion percentage, 212 yards, no interceptions, and 1 touchdown. He still had guys open to throw to. He apparently sees things to his right a lot better than he sees anything on his left as he looks down field. This is a two game trend. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, he needs to get the ball out quickly and not hold onto it. He was also sacked 3 more times. He is starting to do the things he should, but he needs to more of it. OG Justin McCray played in OT Bryan Bulaga’s place and did well. Again, 6 guys participated in the running game and 9 guys were part of the passing game. So here is how it all shakes out this week. WR Davante Adams had 5 receptions for 90 yards and 1 touchdown. With that performance it becomes clear that Adams is Hundley’s favorite receiver. WR Randall Cobb had 3 receptions for 52 yards. WR Jordy Nelson had 3 receptions for 20 yards. TE Lance Kendricks, TE Richard Rodgers, RB Jamaal Williams, RB Aaron Jones, and FB Aaron Ripkowski all had 1 reception for minimal yardage. RB Ty Montgomery caught 2 passes for 14 yards, and had 6 carries for 54 yards for a total of 68 yards and 1 touchdown. Williams had 20 carries for 67 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones had 3 carries for 12 yards. The Packer defense, in an about face, forced 5 punts and 1 fumble which was recovered. When they had trouble stopping the Bears they allowed field goals – 3 of them. The defense had 5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hits, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and allowed 16 points. That was good enough for 6 fantasy points according to the scoring system I am tracking. K Mason Crosby scored 11 points to put him at 53 for the season. That projects to 94 for the season. Crosby got chances and made good on 3 of 4 field goals and 2 extra points.
Week 11 Preview: The Packers play the Baltimore Ravens in Green Bay on Sunday. The Raven offense so far is averaging; 21.1 points per game (19th in the NFL), 286.6 yards per game (30th in the NFL), 165.7 passing yards per game (32nd in the NFL), and 129.9 rushing yards per game (10th in the NFL). These guys are only marginally better than last week’s opponent – the Packer defense has a chance. It helps that the Packer defense had no further significant injuries. On defense, the Ravens are averaging; 21.1 points allowed per game (15th in the NFL), allowed 310.6 total yards per game (6th in the NFL), allowed 184.7 passing yards per game (3rd in the NFL), allowed 125.9 yards per game (28th in the NFL). Given that you could see a steady diet of running plays and just enough passes to keep the chains moving. Season ending projections for Green Bay’s prominent fantasy players are as follows: WR Jordy Nelson – 59 receptions, 636 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Jordy is trending down slightly. WR Davante Adams– 75 receptions, 878 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Adams is trending up slightly. WR Randall Cobb – 64 receptions, 660 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Cobb is holding steady. RB Ty Montgomery–126 rushing attempts, 564 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 39 pass receptions, 286 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns. That is a total of 850 yards and 4 touchdowns from scrimmage. Ty is holding steady. RB Aaron Jones – he sprained his MCL. K Mason Crosby has point total of only 53 points.
Recommendations: I you think that QB Brett Hundley will continue to improve, then start him. However, 212 yards and 1 touchdown is not much in the fantasy world for a quarterback. Adams at least so far is Hundley’s favorite receiver. You may wish to consider starting him. Jones isn’t going to play. Montgomery may not play either. However, RB Jamaal Williams is healthy and will probably play. Start the Packer defense or Crosby at your own risk. I will be back next week to review the Raven game which I will be at and preview the next game vs the Steelers.
Good luck this week!
Last week the Arizona Cardinal found out they are probably not playoff material by losing at home to the Seattle Seahawks 16-22 on Thursday Night and lost to a team in NEON GREEN uniforms. That just isn’t good. The Cardinals sunk to 4-5 and only 2-2 at home. The Arizona Cardinals have 10 days to recover and travel to Houston to face the Texans to see if they can even their record at 5-5 and have a shred of chance to make the playoffs.
Fantasy Stars Week 10 for the Cardinals:
QB Drew Stanton 24/47 for 273 yards and 1 TD. Not great, but not horrible. Unfortunately, QB Drew Stanton was injured in the game.
RB Adrian Peterson 21 carries 29 yards. Ugh
WR Larry Fitzgerald 10 catches 113 yards 0 TD. A PPR victory!
TE Jermaine Gresham 5 for 64 yards and 1 TD (Really!)
IDP S Budda Baker 9 tackles 8 Solo (a star is born!)
In week 11, the Cardinals travel to Houston and have an early game against the Texans. The Texans are 3-6 and in desperate need of a victory. The Cardinals started out a 1 point favorite with the Over/Under at 43.5 points. Not a high scoring game predicted.
This week in Fantasy:
QB: The Cardinals will send out QB Blaine Gabbert to start in Houston. Some good outings during pre-season give us hope. Well, a little hope. Okay, I was wrong, I would rather have had QB Pat Mahommes than LB Hassan Reddick (and I like Hassan Reddick a lot!).
RB: RB Adrian Peterson carried the ball 21 times for 29 yards last week. Peterson should do better this week and be a bit more effective. There are some bye weeks that need accounted for so Peterson may not be a bad substitute.
WR: WR Larry Fitzgerald now has a catch in 203 games in a row and is over 15,000 yards receiving. All Hail Larry!!!! WR John Brown, WR JJ Nelson, WR Jaron Brown have all had issues catching the ball. WR Chad Williams (2017 3rd Round Pick) has not been able to be healthy. WR Larry Fitzgerald is the only one who can consistently catch a football. Not good.
TE: TE Jermaine Gresham had a good week, but how many stupid penalties can a TE with his level of experience have? Is he helping or hurting?
K: Phil Dawson…. Ehhh.
D/ST: Not this week until I see them start to tackle better, but IDP S Budda Baker is doing very well.
I look for the Arizona Cardinals to finally step up and win a road game 27-24 this week. I think the team will be loose and decide that it’s time the Cardinals step up and win this fan base back! Cards win 27-24,
Good luck this week!
The game in Arizona started out like the refs had a plan to make sure Seattle lost. Some of the calls were beyond ridiculous. Getting called for hands to the face is hard when the replay shows your hands don’t go above your waist. But then everyone started getting injured and the calls seemed to swing back to neutral. Seattle ended up with a win on another ugly edition of Thursday Night Football, but it devastated the LOB.
LT Duane Brown made it through 33 snaps before he was added to the injury count. He is really needed back against a strong Atlanta pass rush. LT Mike Tobin came in for him and it was a noticeable drop in protection. The rest of the line made it through uninjured.
QB Russell Wilson sort of went through a concussion protocol and then shortly after produced one of the most incredible plays of his career by running for his life from a pass rush for around 35 yards in the backfield and then throwing a strike to WR Doug Baldwin who was not even on the checkdown list for a 54 yard completion. Wilson ended with only 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. He continues to have little support in the rushing game so it is all riding on Wilson’s shoulders. Continue to start him. The explosive plays are a fantasy coaches friend.
RB- RB CJ Prosise came back from injury, played 13 snaps and is out for the season. The dude can’t catch a break. RB Mike Davis was brought up from the practice squad to replace him and is now 4th in the depth chart. What does that really mean though? RB Thomas Rawls and RB Eddie Lacy continue to find no traction. RB JD McKissic is really a scat back and gets only a few carries per game. This time he nearly tied Rawls with the most rushing yards in the game at 26 and he had 4 catches for 20 yards. He is likely still in your waiver pool unless you already picked him up like I recommended. So Davis is a wildcard and looked really good over the summer when Seattle seemed to have a plethora of starting caliber running backs. That has not turned out to be the case so do not be surprised if Davis gets 15 carries against Atlanta. Be prepared to pick him up if he does well, but otherwise none of these guys are predictable enough to start as RB2.
Baldwin is having an amazing season and managed to chalk up 95 yards last week in a very tough game. He is a must start every week and should match up well in Atlanta. WR Paul Richardson and WR Tyler Lockett are playing their roles but tend to only put up solid numbers when Baldwin is shut down from the slot. That should not be the case this week.
Another week of around 9 targets going to TE Jimmy Graham. This time he managed two touchdowns and 27 yards on his 6 catches. Graham is improving and should be started, but he is not consistent and could disappoint.
No field goal attempts for PK Blair Walsh. Only two XPs on the night makes for very little fantasy value. I don’t know what to predict with Atlanta coming to town on Monday Night for this guy. I think I would let him ride the pine.
The LOB will not be facing QB Matt Ryan on Monday. CB Richard Sherman is lost for the year. FS Earl Thomas may not be ready to go and SS Cam Chancellor is still having his neck examined so he may not play either. But the run stoppers are still in place as are the pass rushers, so all is not doom and gloom. WR Julio Jones will do some damage. Stopping him will be the key to the game. If Jones gets 100 yards, Seattle loses. In the last Super Bowl the ‘Hawks were in we saw what a top caliber quarterback can do to a banged up LOB. Ryan is not Brady, but if none of these three can go does it matter?
Good luck this week!
LOS ANGELES RAMS
WELCOME HOME! After three consecutive wins away from the Coliseum, the Rams returned to Los Angeles and dominated the Houston Texans 33-7. The Rams struggled to a 9-7 halftime lead but got it together in the second half to cruise to their seventh win of the season. Los Angeles heads to Minnesota to take on the 7-2 Vikings. Let’s take a look at Fantasy production against the Texans and potential for the Vikings game.
QB: QB Jared Goff (25-37, 355 yards, and 3 touchdowns) had another big day and set a career high for passing yards. After struggling a bit in the first half, Goff launched a deep pass to Robert Woods early in the second half that resulted in a 94-yard touchdown. Jared threw three touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for the Texans. Minnesota is ranked 12th in pass defense allowing 213.2 yards per game. The Vikings have given up 10 passing touchdowns while collecting 8 interceptions and 25 sacks in nine games. Jared has had back to back monster games but faces his toughest challenge since the Seattle game. I think McVay will have his team prepared to handle a talented Viking defense and I’m riding Jared and the Rams offense. Look for 250-280 yards with 2-3 touchdowns, which makes him a lower end QB1 this week. Jared needs to protect the ball to keep the offense on the field.
RB: RB Todd Gurley (11-68 rushing and 6-68 receiving) did not score but put up 136 yards from scrimmage. Todd gashed the Texans with big plays and did not have to carry the ball often as the game was in control by the end of the third quarter. RB Lance Dunbar (5-31 rushing) got his first action of the year as he filled in for an injured and inactive RB Malcom Brown. Minnesota’s defense is ranked 3rd against the rush at 81.3 yards per game. The Vikings have allowed only five rushing touchdowns in nine games. Even though the Vikings have a tough run defense, I think Todd will have a big game and be the difference maker for the Rams. I think Todd can gain 150+ yards from scrimmage and score 1-2 touchdowns. Todd is an every-week RB1.
WR: Robert Woods (8-171 and 2 touchdowns) had a career day and has established himself as the number one receiver on this team. WR Sammy Watkins (2-41 and 1 touchdown) scored for the second week in a row, which is encouraging. WR Cooper Kupp (6-47) was productive getting several first downs. WR Tavon Austin (5-2 rushing) has become a jet sweep threat/decoy and occasional running back. WR Pharoh Cooper (2-12) was the target on a fake punt but was tackled short of the first down. Woods has put up spectacular numbers the last two games and has established himself as the number one receiver on this team. Watkins has scored two weeks in a row and his role on this team is growing. Kupp continues to contribute from the slot and is always productive. Woods has earned WR2 status moving forward, while Watkins and Kupp are high end WR3s. Austin and Cooper have little to no Fantasy value.
TE: TE Tyler Higbee (2-22) was limited in the passing game but contributed with his blocking. TE Gerald Everett (no touches) was a no show in the statistics but also helped in the blocking department. Tyler and Gerald continue to help the Rams offense but they do not produce enough individually to warrant Fantasy play.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (4-4 field goals (27, 33, 50, and 33) and 3-3 extra point) had another great game and has been money all year. Greg is another scoring weapon that allows McVay to call plays with confidence. Weather is no longer an issue in Minnesota (domed stadium) so Greg should be productive again. Even against a tough Viking defense, I predict 3-4 extra points and 2-3 field goals.
DEF: The defense forced four turnovers against the Texans and continues to get meaningful contributions from many different players. LB Mark Barron (5 solos and 1 interception) got his third interception of the year and LB Alec Ogletree (4 solos and 3 assists) had a pick six that was called back because of a questionable holding penalty against him. LB Connor Barwin (1 solo) got dinged on the first series but was able to return. Congratulations to rookie LB Samson Ebukam (1 solo, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble) who recorded his first career sack filling in for Barwin. Samson has been steadily improving and could be a star in the making. LB Robert Quinn (DNP) was inactive with an illness. If Robert can get back to his Pro-Bowl level of play, this defense could be truly dominant. DT Aaron Donald (2 solos, 1 assist, with 1 sack and 1 forced fumble) got the sack and forced fumble on the opponent’s first possession for the second consecutive week. CB Trumaine Johnson (5 solos) was busy covering DeAndre Hopkins all game. The Vikings are 12th in passing at 245.8 yards per game. Minnesota has 14 passing touchdowns while giving up 5 interceptions and only 10 sacks in nine games. The Viking rushing attack is 11th in the league at 118.0 yards per game with eight rushing touchdowns. The Vikings lost their top running back (Dalvin Cook) and quarterback (Sam Bradford) to injury but former Ram quarterback Case Keenum has filled in admirably for Bradford. If Los Angeles can put pressure on Keenum and force several turnovers, that should lead the Rams to victory. Ogletree, Barron, and Donald continue to be the only IDP starters for Fantasy.
At the start of the season, no one thought this game was going to be as big as it is with playoff implications for both teams. The Rams and Vikings are both playing really well but at the end of the day, I am going with the Rams because I think Todd Gurley is the best playmaker on either team and he is the deciding factor. I predict the Rams win 34-24 to improve to 8-2. Teams on bye this week are Carolina, Indy, New York Jets, and San Francisco so adjust your lineups accordingly. Like the Rams I got a much needed victory this past week so hopefully we both keep winning. Love and blessings go to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
The Definitive Fantasy Information Service
Week #10: Players to Acquire & Players to Trade
Saturday, November 11th, 2017
FFMastermind.com's Michael Nazarek Tells You Who You Should Acquire & Who You Should Trade in Your Fantasy League This Week... [Acquiring & Trading Targets] <=== FREE VIEWINGTweets by @FFMastermind