The 2020 NFL Draft was the only live sporting action in April and for those in the UK it came at a cost to a normal sleep pattern but hey, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, right?
As teams have started to make post-draft moves to free up room on their rosters for draftees it has given us some clues toward how the forthcoming Fantasy season may play out.
Let’s take a look at those who have had been given a boost Fantasy-wise from the near-300 selections and those who might be slipping down your depth chart…
I bet the Cowboys couldn’t believe their luck when CeeDee Lamb was still available at 17. Was a wide receiver something the Cowboys needed to go after in the first round? Of course it wasn’t. They’ve got Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for goodness sake.
However, you look at this trio of wide outs and they are – assuming Lamb lives up the hype – in the upper echelons of a pass catching corps in the league.
This opens it up so nicely for Prescott who already put up the fourth most points in Fantasy last season with Jason Garrett as coach. Whilst Mike McCarthy may not be the saviour for Dallas I expect this Cowboys to be a side that is involved in a shootout every other week and Prescott sits right at the heart of that.
If you’re in a Dynasty league, this is to me is the situation where only a crazy offer should even tempt you into giving up Dak.
Make no mistake; the Broncos are all in on Drew Lock.
Denver had the draft capital to trade up if they really wanted to and we all know what John Elway is like with QBs but here we are, foot to the floor in the Drew Lockmobile (patent pending) speeding into the 2020 season with some raw but wonderful talent.
The Broncos drafted two wide outs with their first two picks, added a center, a guard, a tight end and another wide out amongst other defensive selections.
The first of those receivers was Jerry Jeudy who, much like Lamb with the Cowboys, was something of a pleasant surprise to the Broncos when he fell was available at 15. You only had to look at the footage of Elway reclining at his home after the pick like a super-villain in a future James Bond film to know how pleased he was with this pick.
This gives Drew Lock the following options: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Phillip Lindsay on a screen all playing behind an offensive line that has received some much needed bolstering in the offseason.
I’m not expecting Lock to catapult into a QB1 situation but if he can build on the promise of the limited amount we saw in 2019, he’s a viable QB2 and depending how deep your league is perhaps a QB1.
After filling in for Melvin Gordon’s holdout-induced-absence so well and performing at a high level after MGIII’s return in the 2019 season it was likely Ekeler was going to be heading into the 2020 season on a high.
The Chargers drafted Justin Herbert and strengthened the offensive line in free agency (the Okung/Turner trade is still baffling me), which just makes me think Ekeler will be the key man for the Chargers this coming season.
Expect an increase in the number of touches as Herbert could be eased into the starting role at LA, assuming Tyrod Taylor doesn’t explode in pre-season that is…
Oof. That was a tough one for Camp Rodgers.
Hoping that your team will take a wide out from one of the deepest classes in years and instead having your replacement taken in the first round in Jordan Love and the second pick being used on a running back to complement Aaron Jones?
As many have written before me, this is the beginning of the end for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
In short, your team are moving to a more run-heavy offense, your only viable pass catchers is still Davante Adams and your replacement is in the building – albeit not literally – ala Rodgers’ being drafted to replace Favre all those years ago.
It may be worth your while picking up Adams as your WR1 but stay away from Rodgers as your QB1.
Imagine you’re Damien Williams…
You beat out Shady McCoy for the starting running back job, turn in a fantastic Super Bowl performance and your team takes running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their first pick?! A penny for Williams’ thoughts…
This isn’t to say that Williams is depreciating in value compared to where we were in 2019 but pre-draft I think Williams would have been quite high up people’s draft boards as a late first round/early second round RB1 but yeesh, this really knocks him down my draft board.
This is along the lines of Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay.
Your team trades away one of the best wide outs in the league in exchange for a running back that may not produce more than Duke Johnson and coming out of the draft the only wide out you’ve gone out and got was late in the fifth round?
The Texans signed Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb but neither of those two produce like a fantasy WR1 whilst their options at receiver are Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee and Will Fuller. None of those receivers came close to a 1,000 yards last year and frankly I don’t trust them as a group to stay healthy or in consistent form to help Watson out enough.
Right now I’d have it as a coin flip between taking Drew Lock ahead of DeShaun Watson in a Fantasy Draft and this is purely down to the decisions made in the front office rather than a criticism of Watson’s abilities.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the big live NFL Draft event planned in Las Vegas has been shelved and, rather than sitting together in physical “war rooms”, team representatives are now preparing to dial in remotely from home. Obviously, all 32 teams could do with a successful haul come close of business on 25 April but if they can master Zoom or Skype, which teams really need to nail this first-ever virtual draft?
(7 picks: #1, #33, #65, #107, #147, #180, #215)
The league’s worst team last year obviously need as good a draft as any but it’s not quite as crucial as usual. In Cincy terms at least, they had an active free agency and filled a few holes, especially in defence. That said, with Andy Dalton still under contract, and Dre Kirkpatrick and Cordy Glenn released, Cincinnati’s best chances of acquiring extra picks didn’t come to fruition so they’ll just have to make the seven they do have count.
Trades notwithstanding, the Bengals are due to pick first in every round, giving them the next 10 days or so to decide what to do with the first overall pick (as if we didn’t know) and several hours each evening to consider any trade offers they receive before starting Days 2 and 3. They shouldn’t mess this up but you only have to go back 12 months to see how a draft can be a total washout. With injuries (Jonah Williams) and underperformance (Drew Sample, Ryan Finley) in abundance, only LB Germaine Pratt came out of the class of 2019 with any credit.
After, we assume, Ohio native Joe Burrow becomes their new franchise quarterback, the Bengals should get a couple of skill-position weapons for him to work with (as AJ Green and John Ross both hit free agency next season), at least another offensive lineman for protection and probably another linebacker.
(7 picks: #2, #66, #108, #142, #162, #216, #229)
Picking second after a terrible 2019, it should be no surprise to anyone that Washington also feature in this article. They have a sackful of needs, even after a busy free agency, just the standard seven picks with which to address them and a new Head Coach in Ron Rivera who’s going to want to make progress PDQ. So this draft matters.
Almost everyone has the ‘Skins taking Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young at #2 overall and while the defensive line isn’t their most pressing need, it would be hard to pass on a player widely regarded as a “generational talent”. Then again, they may trade the second spot away to someone like Miami, and grab one or two other first round picks. After that, the Redskins don’t pick again until #66, so they’re not going to get the pick of the bunch. They’ll need a tight end or two after Jordan’s Reed’s departure and Vernon Davis’ retirement, and a WR mate for Terry McLaurin: Chase Claypool or Antonio Gandy-Golden maybe?
If Trent Williams decides he’s washed his hands of the franchise after sitting out last year, left tackle will suddenly become a pressing need too.
The Dolphins opted for a total reboot last year, trading away the likes of Kenyan Drake and Minkah Fitzpatrick in exchange for a million draft picks (OK then, just 14, including three in Round 1 alone). Having acquired all this capital in exchange for bombing last year out, the Dolphins can’t afford to waste any of it now they have so many holes to plug.
With Josh Rosen probably not the guy and Fitzmagic a stop-gap at best, the Fins will probably take Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, and have the ammo to move up from #5 if they need to. Their woeful pass rush has been bolstered in free agency with LB Kyle Van Noy and defensive end Shaq Lawson, and they now have the highest-paid corner in the business in Byron Jones, so that leaves their O-line as the other main priority. Picking at #18 may mean they miss out on the top-tier OL talent and have to wait for someone in the second wave, like Isiah Wilson or Ezra Cleveland, or they may double-dip on Days 1 and 2.
Los Angeles Chargers
(7 picks: #6, #37, #71, #112, #151, #186, #220)
On paper, the Chargers don’t look in bad shape so suggesting they need a blinding draft might seem to be over-stating it. But many of their best players –DEs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, TE Hunter Henry and centre Mike Pouncey among them – are entering the final year of their contracts. It’s time to put some successors in place now, as they won’t be able to keep them all.
In Philip Rivers’ wake, Tyrod Taylor is the bridge QB for now but LA are touted to pick their playcaller of the future at #6; whether that’s Tua, Herbert or Love remains to be seen.
Free agency signings such as corner Chris Harris and right tackle Bryan Bulaga suggest the Chargers might be going all out this year. Another lineman or two are on the cards too, so expect a tackle in Round 2 – a Josh Jones or a Lucas Niang maybe. Later rounds will give the Chargers the chance to fill out the wide receiver room and beef up the secondary.
Having shelled out $33 million for Teddy Bridgewater, a full-scale rebuild seems to be on the cards in Carolina under new HC Matt Rhule.
Jets WR Robby Anderson joined during free agency, so their offensive focus can probably be directed towards O-line help to support the running game of Christian McCaffrey, and a TE to replace Greg Olsen. That said, they’re more likely to look at their immediate defensive needs. With Luke Kuechly’s retirement, only one starting cornerback of note and the D-line needing help, just picking the best defensive player available for several rounds might not be a bad tactic.
They have more than enough picks to haul in a strong draft class this year. They’re out of the gate at #7, behind three QB-needy teams so they’ll be spoilt for choice when their time comes: at least one of LB Isiah Simmons, CB Jeff Okudah and DT Derrick Brown should be there for the taking.
You could argue that the salary-cap-strapped Jags need help pretty much everywhere and anywhere. HC Doug Marrone is in one of hottest hot seats in the NFL and needs his 12 picks to pay off if he’s to avoid another losing season.
Jacksonville’s defence has more holes than a block of Emmental, having lost Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye and Calais Campbell, so they’ll need to use some of their extensive draft capital early on. With picks #9 and #20, they could start at corner and on the edge. If Okudah falls to them, they’ll snap him up and Yetur Gross-Matos would be a solid pick at 20. Gardner Minshew may yet get some competition on Day 2 if the Jags consider Jacob Eason at #42.
Las Vegas Raiders
(7 picks: #12, #19, #80, #81, #91, #121, #159)
Las Vegas made some decent FA pick-ups, including LBs Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski and safety Jeff Heath, so a few more shrewd selections could propel them from also-ran to playoff contender.
Now that the draft is online rather than at a massive public event, there’s slightly less need for the former hosts to make a big splash in their new home. Nonetheless, the Silver and Black have two first round selections with which to make some Day 1 headlines, with wide receivers like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and CeeDee Lamb being widely mocked to the Raiders. If they go that route, their selection would probably leapfrog Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones in the pecking order.
Cornerback could bethe other likely first-round target while Days 2 and 3 will likely see them hone grab a defensive tackle and added depth at safety and linebacker.
A contract extension for QB Kirk Cousins can only mean one thing: the Vikes are in “win-now” mode. But if they are going to go a step or two further than last year, they’ll have to address several areas, on both sides of the ball, with their dozen 2020 picks.
Offensively, the Stefon Diggs trade to the Bills means a viable #2 wideout to support Adam Thielen is vital. The WR class is deep this year but I suspect pick #22 or #25 could well be used on someone like Tee Higgins or Laviska Shenault.
A guard or two might be wise, having released Josh Kline, but addressing the defence is arguably as pressing. They could do with two or three corners to fill the vacancies left by Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander (both Bengals now) and Xavier Rhodes, now with the Colts. There’s also no depth at safety and with Eversen Griffen also off to pastures new, a defensive end like Iowa’s AJ Epenesa is also on Minnesota’s shopping list.
There was a time, not that long ago, when suggesting the Pats really need to nail this draft would’ve been considered heresy, or even the first signs of madness. But for a change, they need a lot of their 12 picks to hit the target.
With the untested Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer their only choices at QB, Bill Belichick suddenly has much to ponder in the post-TB12 era. Are they happy with their options or will they be in the market for someone like Jordan Love at #23 or even Jalen Hurts in a later round?
Both are possible, but their offense could really benefit from a track star who can take the top off a defence. If they go WR in Round 1, Henry Ruggs could be available, or they might wait for Denzel Mimms or Chase Claypool. Post-Gronk, there’s also been a noticeable TE-shaped hole in the Patriots’ ranks so the top dog here, Cole Kmet, might even be the first selection.
In later rounds, New England really need some of those compensatory picks to find viable replacements in their defence, having lost linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton, during free agency. And they don’t have a kicker on their roster, so a top prospect like Tyler Bass may well be Boston-bound.
(7 picks: #43, #50, #163, #196, #200, #226, #233)
In complete contrast to the Dolphins, the Bears don’t pick till midway through Round 2. Having had limited cap space to play the free agency field, Chicago are going to have to play a canny game to make the picks they do have count.
Having already acquired Nick Foles to give the troubled Mitchell Trubisky some competition, they’re not likely to consider anything but a late-round ‘project’ at QB. Therefore, expect the gaps in the backfield left by departing safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and corner Prince Amukamara to be the ones the Bears fill at #43 and #50. Could Grant Delpit fall that far, for example, or maybe Antoine Winfield Jr?
It won’t be until staggering 113(!) picks later that Chicago will get the chance to do anything else, like find a wideout to complement Allen Robinson or add a piece to their O-line, but they’ll probably need to do both with their Day 3 choices.
First on my list of dynasty sells is Derrick Henry. Henry drove the Titans to the 2019 playoffs with his powerful running and it appeared that defenders were scared to try and tackle him. In fact, during one run, Henry used Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas as his lead blocker when a devastating stiff arm spun Thomas around! Henry rushed for 1540 yards and 16 touchdowns in the 2019 regular season, eclipsing his best ever season by nearly 500 yards! He then backed this up with another 446 yards and two touchdowns during the 2019 playoffs. So why does he make the ‘sell’ list?
In my opinion, Henry has reached the ceiling and with that, his maximum value. I would certainly be putting the feelers out there to see exactly what you can get for him. Henry has been in the league for 4 seasons and whilst he has been improving year on year, he will not eclipse last seasons performances. Before 2019, Henry had a best season of 1059 yards and 12 touchdowns and in the previous 2 seasons hadn’t reached 1000 yards and only managed 5 touchdowns each year.
There is no doubting that Henry is one of the better running backs in the league at this moment in time but when playing dynasty, you need to capitalise on players at their maximum value. I think Henry’s first three seasons are a better representation of what you can expect if you hold onto him. Don’t expect him to clock up over 1500 yards each year. Get the value now as someone is always desperate for a running back and will no doubt overpay for someone like Henry!
(Image credit: Katharine Lotze – Getty Images)
James Conner RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
At the beginning of last season, James Conner started as the 8th running back taken in the draft (on average) and has now fallen to an average draft position (ADP) of running back 22! The main issue here is health. In 2019 Conner played just 10 games and rushed for a measly 464 yards with a longest run of just 25 yards. There was a lot of hype and expectation on Conner when he took over from Le’Veon Bell and he produced a good year in 2018, rushing for 973 yards and adding 497 receiving yards.
James Conner is still rumoured to be the starting running back for the Steelers franchise (according to Steelers GM Kevin Colbert) which means that he will still have value now. If you are of the belief that he won’t regain the form of 2018, then his value will only drop. If you aren’t sold on him I would consider using him as trade bait. If you want to keep him, he is a third running back at best right now.
(Image credit: Matthew Stockman – Getty Images)
Phillip Lindsay RB – Denver Broncos
Phillip Lindsay is one of the most frustrating players in fantasy football. You can watch the highlights and think he is lighting it up every week but if you delve into the stats he just wasn’t consistent enough. Lindsay will get 20+ points one week and 3 the next! He has value though. If you look at the seasonal stats he has amassed over 1000 yards in each of his first two seasons with 1037 and 1011 yards respectively.
In my opinion, he won’t make it to 1000 yards again in 2020 and his value will drop. Going into 2020, Lindsay will now be splitting time with Melvin Gordon and/or Royce Freeman which will limit his opportunities and he needs to make bigger improvements in the receiving game where he did not have 1 single touchdown in 2019. There just aren’t enough upsides to keep Lindsay right now. Whilst you may have lost the value with the Gordon move, still try and move him on to someone that is a bit more bullish about Lindsay.
(Image credit: Aaron Doster – USA Today Sports)
AJ Green WR – Cincinnati Bengals
AJ Green is a stellar wide receiver, there is no doubting his ability. However, he missed the entirety of the 2019 season due to injury and only played 10 games the year before. He is also 31 years old. Whichever way you look at it, the value that you can potentially get for Green is only going to go down. He may still be of value to a team that is looking for a short-term guy to help win a championship in 2020 or 2021. He certainly won’t be an option for a team that is currently in rebuild mode.
This is where you need to know your league and the teams that make it up. If you know that there is another team that may be one receiver short of having a real chance at winning the championship, you may be able to get some value for Green. AJ Green will likely be staying in Cincinnati and he will probably have rookie QB Joe Burrow throwing him the ball. If he can stay healthy, he is still one of the best receivers in the league. Its a risk to trade him but also a risk to trade for him!
(Image credit: Scott Varley – Staff Photographer)
Keenan Allen WR – LA Chargers
In 2017, Keenan Allen finally proved that he could stay healthy and since then he has amassed three seasons where he has averaged over 100 receptions and over 1200 yards. As good as these numbers appear, he hasn’t been able to score more than six touchdowns each year. He is also losing Philip Rivers at QB. No matter who is under centre for the Chargers next year, it won’t be a big upgrade on Rivers. The uncertainty that Allen now faces leaves a little bit of a problem for dynasty owners. He has been producing good numbers but we have no idea who will be throwing to him in 2020.
You can get good value for Allen and replace him with a young receiver from the draft as his name will still carry a lot of weight. If you can manage to get a mid first round pick for him, you can let the new owner deal with the wide range of possible outcomes for Allen in 2020.
Welcome to the Chargers season review, by me, a fan.
It’s January and unlike January last year, there has been no playoff football for the Chargers.
Yes, 2019 didn’t end in a Superbowl either, so it was a failure – Just as this season has been but at least the book closed with hope last season. This season, the book closed with questions, and lots of them.
Entering the Season
Well, at least we get to start on a positive note.
Like I alluded to above, yeah getting smoked in the divisional round to the Patriots wasn’t a great way to bow out of the playoffs last year but at least the Chargers had won a playoff game for the first time in what feels like forever and won 12 games in the regular season – Often having to dig deep in those games and get over the hump with a big play, or gutsy play call, or sometimes even a last minute kick.
Optimism was high and some people, fans and media members alike, where talking up the Chargers to make a Superbowl run in 2019. And you know what? The optimism wasn’t misplaced. The team, on paper looked talented and full of playmakers, they’d just come off a 12 win season and their playoff win was one where the coaches out coached the Ravens coaches and they shut down Lamar Jackson almost completely. It looked like everything was coming together.
Thomas Davis came in to sure up the linebacking room and add some experience and steel – Something that was deemed to have been required to stop teams running all over them, like New England did in Foxborough the night the season ended.
Jerry Tillery was added with the 28th overall pick – another mechanism for plugging running lanes but also to add some interior pass rush to match the high quality rushers off the edge that they already possessed.
The signings, whilst not plentiful, seemed sensible and logical. The draft class outside of Tillery contained exciting safety, Nasir Adderley and linebacker Drue Tranquill, and some potential high upside projects, like left tackle, Tray Pipkins – Something the Bolts thought they could afford to wait on, given the talent at their disposal.
It was all looking rosy… Until it wasn’t.
Melvin Gordon started his well publicised contract hold out, Derwin James broke a metatarsal and Russell Okung contracted a Pulmonary oedema.
Adderley then split a hamstring tendon and Tillery was taking longer to adjust to the speed of the NFL than expected and Pipkins wasn’t supposed to play yet…
Where did that sunshine go? Where did out draft class go?
Then the gamesbegan.
During the Season
After the early optimism. things weren’t looking great off the field in some respects, the spring felt quite a long time ago but we were going to roll with it and we still backed ourselves. Now the Colts were rolling into town
A prequel for a playoff game perhaps? An early season gut check.
“At least Hunter Henry was back”, “we can get away with having no Gordon, we’ve got Ekeler and Jackson”, oh how we comforted ourselves.
And Derwin? Well yeah, we’ll miss him badly but he’ll be back around week 8 to lead us into the postseason.
Well, we beat the Colts, just. In overtime. “This is what we do, we can grind wins out against good teams”, “Just like last year”. Like idiots we allowed ourselves to think like this.
The signs were there. We just didn’t know what the signs were yet. Rivers was picked off superbly by Malik Hooker, in the endzone, in this game. Yeah… You know where I’m going. The Chargers, from week 2 onwards well, as the saying goes, Chargered (It’s a phrase that pisses me off whenever I see it, I hate it, it’s what idiots say on the internet to score cheap points or likes but I’ll use it, because this season was just as irritating).
Detroit, week 2 – Rivers threw a pick going for it all instead of just allowing the team to kick a field goal and Austin Ekeler fumbled on the goal line, trying to leap over the pile – Something he’d done successfully earlier in the game. 1-1.
Houston another winnable game goes awry and later Denver and Tennessee…
Gordon was back by now but looking extremely rusty. The whole holdout thing was how exactly not to do it, a disaster for all parties from start to finish.
When I say Gordon was back, it was just in time to fumble literally inches away from scoring a game winning touchdown in Tennessee as the clock ticked its final few ticks.
We’re 2-5 and weeks are ticking by, wins that should have been won are slipping through our fingers and players are dropping like flies. Adrian Phillips to a broken arm the latest. The glue of our defense gone.
No Derwin, no Philips, Tillery still not producing, no discernable attempt at fielding competence opposite Haywood at corner, King only present in body. Where has our defense gone?!
Christ this season is falling apart. Like I said, Chargering is irritating at best.
The weirdest game ever – in terms of my post match feeling, at least – followed. At Chicago, week 8.
A game we won as Eddy Piniero missed a walk off field goal. A WIN!
But I was p****d off, we played terribly and didn’t deserve the win. I didn’t feel like celebrating. This wasn’t the team we all thought it was from a year ago. This very much felt like it was papering over some exceptionally large cracks.
I’m eight weeks in now and the issue I mentioned in week 1 has bubbled without exploding in our face yet. It was about to. Through 8 weeks, Rivers had 7 interceptions. Many stupid, needless and costly.
“Rivers is always prone to the odd game like this”, “It’s the line’s fault”, “we’re 3-5, we can bring it back”.
Oh how we deluded ourselves. Well… to add to the delusions. We went and beat Green Bay. Just what we needed. Although it wasn’t. The Chargers would only beat a hapless Jags team the rest of the way.
We all know what happened from here… We threw it all away. Literally and repeatedly.
The team were disjointed on the field and lacked joined-up thinking off it. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, was a casualty and nothing much changed. Was it his fault? Or was it actually the offensive line?
13 more Rivers interceptions, 4 multi-pick games: questions about effort and in-fighting reigned from inside the locker room.
The end of an era was nigh. Rivers? Lynn? Telesco? All three? Who was going? In the end it only seems like it’s goodbye to Philip Rivers, and hello to, well, we’re not sure yet. Cam Newton or Justin Herbert? Or Tom Brady? Who knows… Rivers is reportedly moving himself and his family to Florida. Where everyone goes to retire, right?
All we know it’s there’s more questions than answers at this point and the optimism is long gone.
Lots of work to be done. That’s what the outlook it.
Look, this group isn’t too bad, far from it, they have some very talented players and a bunch of good draft picks to take.
The General Manager and Head Coach probably won’t survive another poor season either, so you’d like to think it’s time to push the chips into the middle of the table and make some moves.
First things first – The deadwood needs clearing out. There are a few players who have either, just not worked out or are earning way too much to keep around compared to the end product on the field.
Next – Well, maybe this over anything but maybe you need the money from clearing out the deadwood but anyway, SIGN JOEY BOSA.
Don’t mess around like you did with his rookie deal. Walk in with a smile on your face and a blank cheque in your hand and say: “Joey, you’re the face of the franchise now, you write whatever number you’d like on that cheque and you can have it”. Get it done. No amount is too much. If this team is serious about making a fist of it in Los Angeles, then you absolutely have to keep Bosa in the building. AND! This team could do without the drama of another holdout. Thanks.
Next, have a good draft!
Telesco’s drafts have been spotty at best – We’ve had some notable hits but also some notable misses – Especially in round 3 (If Gordon goes elsewhere in free agency, the Bolts should receive a 3rd round compensatory pick), so eyes peeled for that one. I want to see another QB. Whether it’s Justin Herbert at 6 or Jalen Hurts on day 2, this team needs to usher in a new era at SoFi Stadium, even if the new era begins with Tyrod Taylor under center.
Hopefully we’ll see the 2019 draft class come to the fore too and therefore they’ll be like new signings too.
There’s always room for optimism in the offseason and as I said earlier, there is talent in every room for L.A. but some careful surgery is needed. If they receive that, then we could be looking at a worst to first candidate in 2020.
Week 9 in the NFL saw the an undefeated team lose, an unsuccessful team win and Houston Texans demolish Minshew Mania in the final game of the International Series in London.
Here’s what else to take away from the weekend’s action.
And then there was one
With the Ravens beating the Patriots on SNF, that leaves just the San Francisco 49ers as the last undefeated team. The 49ers themselves were run close on TNF by Arizona and as well all know, anything can happen on any given Sunday.
With the schedule toughening up slightly down he stretch, it’ll be a tough ask to expect the 49ers to go the distance, but i am sure their main priority will be to clinch the division and a 1st round bye in January.
They’ll be kept honest from here on out as the Seahawks and Rams are not too far back so the pressure will be on all the way to week 17.
Kiss my butt-ker
In a slobberknocker from the early slate, the game between 2 of the better teams in the NFL got in on and the Chiefs were able to come away with the win due to the boot of Harrison Butker.
We all know about the fragility and volatility of kickers, their jobs and reliability but the Chiefs kicker put in a textbook effort that even Johnny Wilkinson would have been proud of.
With his perfect performance of 4/4 on FG (including a 54yard long) and his 2 XPs, Harrison Butker has surpassed HOF Jan Stenerud (356) for the 2nd-most points scored through a player’s first 3 seasons in Chiefs history (trailing only Cairo Santos).
I wonder what price Chicago would pay for him…
Talking of Chicago, there are some real troubles in Illinois. The first half was. not. pretty.
The last time these two met, it was in the divisional round of the playoffs last year (#doubledoink) and ever since that class, it’s all been downhill since.
Mitchell Trubisky had just 2 passing yards at the end of the 1st quarter, the Bears gained their first down INSIDE THE 2 MINUTE warning of the 1st half. Whilst they gained some traction in the 2nd half, if you can call it that (Trubisky ended up with just 10 completions for 125 yards) they were out of sight at that point with no hope of winning the game.
Nagy, Trubisky and even the defence which committed more offsides than a Fillippo Inzaghi masterclass, are all under fire for their performances to date this season.
What made matters worse, returning former Bears Alshon Jeffrey and touchdown scorer Jordan Howard enjoyed a good day on their new teams. They would have gained plenty of pleasure from heaping more misery on their former employers.
For Chicago, they must all be feeling like grizzlys with sore heads.
lockett and load it
With the 12 currently enjoying the prospect of Josh Gordon joining the wide receiving core imminiently, it’s another of their wideouts that is stealing the show.
The Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett connection is pure poetry in motion and it’s no flash in the pan.
Last season Wilson enjoyed a perfect passer rating when throwing to #16 and it’s easy to see that this has carried forward to this season.
Since the start of last season, Lockett has hauled in 103 receptions from 124 targets, averaging over 14 yards per target and a healthy 83% catch rate. For a team that use a run heavy approah, you could say that Lockett is just as important to the team as QB Russell Wilson and Chris Carson.
Lockett, a former 3rd round pick in 2015 is still searching for his 1st 1000 yard season with the Seahawks but with 615 receiving yards at the half way point, he looks certain to accomplish that achievement. He’s turning into one of the league’s best wide receivers and certainly one of the most reliable.
That will be music to the ears of Pete Caroll, Russell Wilson and the 12 as they make a push for the postseason.
The Tank Continues…..
We have been witnessing a team intent on losing in South Florida for what feels like the entire season. That continued this weekend, but not from the Dolphins themselves who chalked up their first win of the season. The narrative has been that Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them the best opportunity to win and he had himself a nice afternoon, throwing 3 touchdown passes with preseason darling Preston Williams finding the end zone twice.
Surely Adam Gase will be one and done in New York and that should signal the end of his NFL head coaching opportunities for the foreseeable future. The supposed quarterback whisperer oversaw a performance from Sam Darnold that lacked any explosion as short range passing to Jamison Crowder, Lev Bell and Ryan Griffin dominated the game plan. Much optimism in the preseason feels like a distant memory and give me the Dolphins right now to finish with a better record at season end than the men in green.
Same Old Browns
Remind me next year to not buy into any hype. Another Sunday, another defeat for the Cleveland Browns and the likelihood is that you can “stick a fork in them” when it comes to playoff aspirations. A team that has preached the importance of discipline and execution every day of the week, once again fails to deliver that mantra on Sunday. This weekend it was Jarvis Landry and OBJ wearing cleats which violated the leagues uniform policy. Not to be outdone the starting free safety then had a twitter meltdown and threatened to fight and kill anyone who rightly criticized his awful performance.
This is a team that looks lost and unfortunately the captain of the ship appears to be all at sea also. Freddie Kitchens continues to make puzzling play calls and personnel decisions such as having Nick Chubb on the bench for 2 running plays inside the Broncos 5 yard line. That sequence led to a turnover on downs and the Broncos marched the field to all but ice the game. In truth, it never felt like the Browns would do anything other than find another way to lose on Sunday.
Backing Up The Backup
Jacoby Brissett has played so well this season that the Colts haven’t had to mourn the loss of Andrew Luck on the eve of the season too much. Brissett has proven to be a more than capable starter who has marshalled the troops to a respectable position. Check the injury news this week though as he suffered what appeared to be a nasty looking injury when one of his own lineman first stood and then fell on his leg.
The initial look didn’t look good, but there was encouragement that he walked off the field under his own power, and remained on the sidelines throughout. The Colts will be desperate to get him back as soon as possible but will be fearing the worst as Frank Reich explained it could be an MCL sprain. Brian Hoyer came in and looked pretty much as he always does and proved why he was signed to fulfill the role of backup. The Colts will be hoping in a competitive division that they don’t have to play the backup to the initial backup for very long.
Double Dolphins celebrations
Not only did Week 9 witness the Miami Dolphins win their first game of the 2019 season on Sunday, their legendary 1972 undefeated team remain the only squad to go through a whole season without a loss.
Baltimore Ravens second year QB Lamar Jackson not only got the win against the New England Patriots, he managed to personally elevate himself into the running for NFL MVP in the same game. LJax and the dominant running game stomped all over the Patriots for another team 200+ yards on the ground, and three rushing scores.
Mark Ingram went over 100 yards and LJax scored twice on the ground and once in the air. The scorer of the Ravens passing td was none other than Nick Boyle, a backup tight end, and five year veteran of the NFL, who up until Sunday had bizarrely never scored a touchdown.
I hope he didn’t get too excited and throw the ball into the crowd. At his current rate he won’t get another leather souvenir of that type until 2024.
Minshew Mania mangled at Wembley
The 80,000+ crowd on Sunday were treated to plenty of replica moustaches, and even some authentic ones, along with an assortment of bandanas and handkerchiefs wrapped around fans heads as they dressed up in respect of Jacksonville Jaguars rookie QB sensation Gardner Minshew III.
Unfortunately the real Gardner Minshew failed to board the plane from Florida last week as fans were left watching a sixth round rookie perform like a sixth round rookie. Minshew Mania misfired for 60 minutes, including two interceptions, three sacks allowed and two fumbles lost, as the Houston Texans, in large part thanks to two seismic runs from Carlos Hyde, dominated a game that was billed to be a shootout. The 26-3 win for the Texans would have likely been even bigger if their All-Pro DE J.J. Watt would have been playing.
I know its not Halloween anymore but Nick Foles will be smelling blood after Minshew’s misfires. Napoleon Dynamite v Minshew Mania – for the Jaguars starting QB – sounds like an ITV PPV wrestling matchup.
Living up to their Bill-ing as an easy scalp
The Washington Redskins are trying, trying fans patience that is, after a third consecutive game without a touchdown. 0, 9 and 9, points per game, consisting of six total field-goals, is not going to earn Bill Callahan a shot at the permanent head coach position at the end of the season.
This was the first official start for rookie QB Dwayne Haskins, who looked uncomfortable all game once forced out of the pocket by the likes of Bills DE Jerry Hughes. To his credit Haskins lasted the whole game and did not commit a single turnover, which is a positive sign, but without any offense aside from Adrian Peterson and fellow rookie Terry McLaurin to move the sticks the prospects for the team in burgundy and gold look bleak. Even punter Tress Way who was leading the league in punt average had an under par game.
Thankfully the Redskins were on the road, against a Bills fanbase that were aggressively booing their own QB Josh Allen despite his team having an 11 point lead at one point in the contest.
Right now Redskins fans don’t care if they deliver 10 yards of offense per half (incidentally more than the Chicago Bears did in the first half of Week 9) if they get a few more wins.
One for the road…
Chargers now finally plugged in
No-one expected the Packers to lay an egg against Los Angeles this weekend.
Aaron Rodgers and the high flying packers have stormed to an NFC North divisional lead on the back of 4 straight wins.
For the Chargers though, this win puts them at 4-5 and right back in the wildcard hunt.
Mainly down to the dynamic and destructive duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers defence had it’s way with the Packers offensive line and Aaron Rodgers who turned in a Chicago Bears impersonation in the first half.
Whether the firing of Ken Whisenhunt had anything to do with it, we’ll unlikely to ever find out, but the Chargers, notoriously slow starters, are now giving themselves a chance at playing January football.
For their fans, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get fully charged.
It’s just about the half way point in the NFL regular season. Depending on your outlook on such things, that’s good or bad.
In this series of articles, we take a look back over those 8 glorious weeks of pigskin action and also project how the 2nd half of the season will play out.
Kansas City Chiefs 5-3
Oakland Raiders 3-4
LA Chargers 3-5
Denver Broncos 2-6
Midseason Grade: B
How has it gone so far?
The offensive juggernaut picked up where they left off. Patrick Mahomes has spread the ball around with ease despite missing Tyreek Hill for most of the 1st half of the season. A trade on the eve of the season for LeSean McCoy had solidified the backfield and Travis Kelce remains the league’s best tight end.
However the achilies heel is once again the defence. In particular it has been the Chiefs inability to defend the run. Only the winless Bengals have given up more yards on the ground and teams have found a formula to beat the Chiefs.
Having tasted defeat in 3 of the past 4 contests the Chiefs will be anxious to get Mahomes back from injury to allow the offence the greatest opportunity to make up for the defensive deficiencies.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Chiefs are comfortable within the division and the 3 losses they have tasted were against quality opponents. They take care of business in the games that you would expect them to do so. They will not be concerned with regular season record however as they will be concentrating on what they want to achieve in January.
Fixing the run defence will have to be a top priority as the ground game becomes more of a factor as we get towards playoff time. The offence will continue to cause problems for anyone and outside of games with the Vikings and Patriots, the Chiefs will be big favourites in the other contests they have left to play.
Regular Season Record Prediction – 11-5 – Division Winners
How has it gone so far?
The team of hard knocks has very quickly moved on from Antonio Brown to post some decent performances in the first half of the season.
Losses to the Chiefs, Vikings, Packers and Texans are nothing to be ashamed of. Derek Carr has been very accurate, completing over 72% of his passes as he has found himself 2 new best friends. Darren Waller has been a revelation at tight end, he leads the team with 46 receptions,over twice the amount of the next leading receiver.
Josh Jacobs is arguably one of the leading candidates for offensive rookie of the year honours with 620 rushing yards from the 7 games played.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Winnable looking games against the Jets, Bengals and Chargers provide plenty of optimism for the Raiders in the second half of the season.
The impending move to Vegas should hopefully mean plenty of motivation to give the fans over in the Bay area a good send off.
Look out for the continued development of the 2 young playmakers mentioned as the Raiders may have stumbled across a nice young core to develop with.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 7-9
How has it gone so far?
In the conversation for the most underwhelming team of the 2020 season, the Chargers have fallen off massively from where they were last year. The offensive line has been a problem throughout and what feels like the standard injury curse has once again struck. Melvin Gordon backed himself in a contract hold out in a move that appears to have backfired having been outperformed by Austin Ekeler during the campaign.
Mike Williams found the endzone on 10 occasions last campaign but has yet to find pay dirt this time around. In fact Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are the only 2 skill positions outside of the running backs that have scored a touchdown for the Bolts so far.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Looking for consistency, the Chargers need to stop beating themselves. 2 games against the Chiefs along with difficult looking matchups against the Vikings and Packers make the road ahead look difficult. WIth 5 divisional games still ahead though, with a heavy fair wind the Chargers aren’t quite out of things just yet.
Getting Michael Badgeley back on the field will help also as even if the Chargers get into winning positions the find a way to lose.
Regular Season Record Prediction:7-9
Midseason Grade: D
How has it gone so far?
As you would expect a Joe Flacco led offence to look, a little pedestrian. Ranked just 28th in points scored at just 15.6 per game the defence is keeping the Broncos competitive. That unit ranks 8th in terms of points against so its clear to see where the issues are in Mile High. An 0-4 start has been followed by a 2-2 stretch for a team struggling to establish an identity.
Philip Lindsay is still the most valuable offensive piece but despite his superior production he is stuck in a timeshare with Royce Freeman. Von Miller is having a relatively quiet season with only 4 sacks so far on the campaign.
Rest of Season Outlook:
After criticizing the defensiveness of offensive play calling Joe Flacco has miraculously picked up an injury so Brandon Allen is in at QB. The schedule does not look kind with Vikings, Texans and Chiefs all still to come. The Broncos would have been hoping for more of a boost from Vic Fangio than they have received and this has a feeling of a 1 and done season.
Development of the young wide receiving core will be crucial as the Broncos will hope that Drew Lock will be able to take over this offence in the non to distant future.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 3-13
San Francisco 49ers – 7-0
Seattle Seahawks – 6-2
Los Angeles Rams – 5-3
Arizona Cardinals – 3-4-1
Midseason Grade: A
How has it gone so far?
Without doubt the surprise package of the season, the 49ers are not so much dark horses, but sparkly rainbow unicorns, with the only undefeated record in the NFC. How are they racking up the W’s?
A perfect blend of creative and consistent running and a tough tackling defense led by rookie Nick Bosa and wily veteran CB Richard Sherman. Jimmy Garoppolo has been upright all season and only sacked 11 times. He needs to cut down interceptions (7) but at a nearly 70% completion rate Garoppolo is just fine. The strong running game is led by a three-headed monster of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert who have combined for over 1000 ground yards already and 10 combined touchdowns.
The receiving unit has been a big letdown, with the exception of All-Pro TE George Kittle, so a mid-season trade for Emmanuel Sanders from Denver was a welcome boost.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The remaining part of the 49ers schedule is much harder than the first half. Two matchups against the Seahawks, plus the Ravens, Saints and Packers. The 49ers will not go 16-0 regardless of however hard they run or tackle.
The two Seahawks games will define the season, and will provide the difference between a division win and a wild-card. Emmanuel Sanders will need to strike up immediate rapport with Jimmy G, as ridiculously his nine touchdown passes this season have gone to nine different team-mates. The return of versatile FB Kyle Juszczyk in the final third of the season will be a big boost.
Regular season record prediction: – 12-4 (and a wild card)
Midseason Grade: B+
How has it gone so far?
The Seahawks have not been convincing in 2019, winning their six games by a combined 32 points, including two one point wins. Regardless Russell Wilson is having a spectacular season, 2,127 yards, 17 touchdowns and just the one int in 8 full games.
Elsewhere the offence has been performing admirably, RB Chris Carson is on track for 1,200-1,300 yards and the mix of veteran WR Tyler Lockett and rookie WR DK Metcalf is providing a winning combination.
LBs Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright continue to play at a Pro-Bowl level and the addition of DE Jadeveon Clowney may not have yielded gaudy sack totals, but he leads the team in tackles for loss and forced fumbles.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Seahawks have the 49ers clearly in their line of sight, and the two games they face against each other will be box office television both times. It’s all NFC games for Seattle for the rest of the season and six more wins is a realistic target. Seattle and San Francisco should have safely punched their ticket to the post-season by Week 16, so the Seahawks hosting the 49ers in Week 17 will likely determine who wins the division.
CenturyLink Field is no longer a fortress for the Seahawks, but they will use the wet-weather to squeak a W17 win and with it a division title.
Regular season record prediction: – 12-4 (and a division win)
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for the Rams so far, starting with a three game win streak, followed by a three game crash, before crushing two awful teams.
In the space of three weeks (2-4) L.A. put a beat down on the Saints, scraped past the Browns and then leaked 55 against Tampa. Jared Goff is on pace for 5,000 yards and WR Cooper Kupp is looking like an All-Pro. Kupp’s 220 yard outing at Wembley will take a long time to forget.
Todd Gurley has flattered to deceive, his 7 touchdowns hiding a rather unimpressive season so far. LBs Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews are on pace for double digit sacks. The biggest impact on defense is CB Jalen Ramsey who was traded in from the Jaguars in October. Ramsey is currently undefeated as a Rams star.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Super Bowl hangover is for real.
A tough run of games against Seattle, Dallas and San Francisco are sandwiched between two contests against the Cardinals. There have been five receiving yardage leaders on the team in eight games, and Todd Gurley has not had a single 100 yard rushing game this year.
Two home MNF games (Chicago and Seattle) will put the Rams in the spotlight, but they are not going to make the playoffs because their offensive line is their weak link, that will cost them dearly in the Winter months.
Regular season record prediction: 9-7
Midseason Grade: C+
How has it gone so far?
Three wins and a tie in half a season is above expectation for a Cardinals team expected to be near the foot of the conference whilst they let rookie QB Kyler Murray settle in to the team.
The three wins were against weak opponents by a combined 10 points. Murray has shown improvement from his first four games, but he has been let down by a poor running game, which now has former Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake moving to Arizona from Miami.
The immortal WR Larry Fitzgerald is still churning away, and with an upsurge in targets could get another 1,000 season under his belt. David Johnson is still underperforming and he has more touchdowns catching than he does rushing.
Rest of Season Outlook:
There are not a lot of winnable games left for the Cardinals in the second half of the season, ending in two tough road-trips to Seattle and L.A. Kyler Murray is going to see better days as the Cardinals move into a new era.
The youth movement will soon takeover throughout the roster, with WRs Christian Kirk, KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella making competition healthy of offense. Arizona still need help on the defense and offensive line, but another impactful draft could see them competitive as early as 2020.
One small shoutout to LB Terrell Suggs, coming up to his 38th birthday, as he is still performing at a high level – five sacks, four forced fumbles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Oh and he can act too if you have seen Ballers.
Another week, more takeaways from the National Football League.
This week saw the first Wembley game, more controversy from the officials and the dolphins threatening to win a football game.
Tuesday sees the Trade deadline shut for NFL teams wanting
to adjust their rosters for the business end of the season.
We’ve already seen players like Mohammed Sanu move from
Atlanta to New England and Emmanuel Sanders move out west to San Francisco.
They have been able to slot in to their new teams seamlessly and it remains to
be seen whether or not that could be the difference between a runners up prize
or the Vince Lombardi.
Other teams have traded with the future in mind though, as
Miami running back Kenyan Drake is that latest player to move cities as he
packs his bags for Arizona.
Expect teams to make a few phone calls to try and get last
minute deals but one thing is for certain, there’ll be no extension granted to
that deadline #brexitjoke.
they’ll be kicking themselves
This season has seen the most missed kicks (XP and FG)
through week 8 in the last 25 years with 121.
The next closest in terms of misses is 109, which was
“accomplished” in 2017 and 2001.
You’d think with all these misses, the coaches would try and
make it as easy as possible for them… Nope.
Matt Nagy and Dan Quinn doing their kickers no favours
whatsoever and we of course have the hall of Fame quote from Bruce Arians from
a few weeks back that his kicker Matt Gay’s Field Goal miss was “better from 5
Add to that a plethora of missed FGs in controlled dome
environments, it wasn’t a week where you’d get many highlights from a special
Shout out though to Adam Viniateri, who poked one through
from 51 yards (again with no help from Frank Reich!) to help his team win the
game vs Denver despite having his troubles in this game and this season.
Who is the King of the NFC North?
Probably safe to say the NFC North will be sending 2 teams
to the playoffs this year as we reach the midpoint in the season.
Question is though, who wins the division? Both the 7-1 Packers
and 6-2 Vikings have looked red hot in recent weeks and both teams enjoy a
favourable homefield advantage for different reasons.
The Packers currently have the edge with a game lead and the
tie breaker against the Vikings after beating them in week 2.
Getting a home game in January is paramount in having a deep
run in the playoffs and that will be the goal for these two teams on the back
The week 16 clash between these 2 teams will likely decide
who’ll get that home game in January.
Did I Reid that right?
Say what you like about Andy Reid’s time management skills
or coaching decisions, but you cannot undersell his abilities as a coach.
Many were expecting a bloodbath in Kansas for a few weeks when Mahomes went down with a
dislocated knee, but Matt Moore went toe to toe with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday
Night Football to the tune of 24-of-36 (66%),267 yards and 2 TDs with no
interceptions which gave them a halftime lead. Moore completed passes to 7
different receivers and looked like he had been in that 1st team
offence for months, not days.
Playbooks and play-calling does not have to be rocket
science, but Andy Reid makes it’s that easy for whomever is his quarterback.
Remember, this was a guy that made Alex Smith look like an MVP.
Sunday saw a battle of traditions go blow for blow as the
Chargers doing Charger things battled the Bears’ kicker woes.
It seems that the force is strong with the Bears’ woes with
kickers as Eddy Piniero hooked his FG attempt wide and saved the Chargers from
It’s amazing how certain things can get engrained into
franchises (just look at the Browns!) and you have to wonder how this would
have all played out if Robbie Gould had just been re-signed…
Let’s not forget the circus act of the offseason where the
Bears had a competition to identify their new kicker!
If Piniero does get kicked to the kerb at some point, I wonder
how long the line will be at Soldier Field to try out for the gig.
Shanahan Can Masterplan
The 49ers obliterated their stiffest test to date, putting
up a 50 burger on the Panthers who were coming off a bye.
Brian Baldinger does some great content (Baldy’s breakdowns)
on Twitter and he looked at the Kyle Shanahan offence from this game.
It shines a microscope on the level of detail in a Kyle
Shanahan offence and there are multiple instances of the same paly being drawn
up but a different player getting the ball upon reading the defence reaction.
You can kind of understand why some players have historically
found it hard to adjust when joining the 49ers or why rookies struggle out of
the gate. Multiple players including the great George Kittle have come out an
divulged at how difficult the system is to get to grips with.
When you get used to the system however, the results are
yards, touchdowns and just disarray on the defence. Just as Shanahan dialled it
As for the 49ers collectively, even the most stubborn of nay-sayers
must now understand that this team is a legitimate one.
How aggressive is too aggressive?
Talking of dialling up plays, there’s a lot of scrutiny on
the other end of the phone these days on every single play from scrimmage in
the National Football League.
As time progresses, the more analytical the world becomes.
This is especially true in sport.
One area that’s always under the spotlight is coaching
decisions on 4th down depending on the point in the game, the
yardage required and the scoreboard.
Hindsight usually dictates the social media view on these
plays and this week was no different.
Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals had a 4th and 1
in the 3rd quarter down 10-6 from their own 30 yard line which
resulted in being stuffed on a run up the middle.
Other games saw Jon Gruden and his Raiders and Andy Reid’s
Chiefs punting lateish in the 4th Quarter in their respective games.
Neither coach got the ball back meaning the game was lost but lead to some criticising
Depending on your mentality as a person or whether you’re playing
Madden, there’ll always be these debates on when it is the right time to “go
for it”, but essentially when the gavel comes down, the opinions of the
majority are based on whether you won or lost the game.
PS. Follow @surrender_index on twitter for an index on
Can you teach this Darn-Old dog new tricks?
Sam Darnold seems to be reverting back to his 2018 self. 7
Interceptions through his last 2 games and now 8 on the season for him in his 4
More ghastly interceptions, more ghostly shenanigans, Sam
Darnold will do well to get through this rough patch. Whether he is still
feeling the effects of mono and isn’t quite there yet remains to be seen but
the season is now done for gang green so if he is still not 100%, Gase should
think about who should be under center.
Talking of Adam Gase, the Jets Head Coach in his career as “the
guy” is now more likely to lose by double digits (has happened 25 times in his
career) than win a game (24). He isn’t a quarterback whisperer and is an
imposter of a Head Coach. You have to wonder whether the Jets front office will
blow the whole thing up once more in the offseason. More so for the sake of Sam
Darnold, who seemingly isn’t going to progress whilst Gase is at the helm.
The antics of Jacksonville were somewhat entertaining though,
with Jackson De Ville jumping down into the stadium as a ghost and the
Jumbotron showing Darnold’s lowlights to date playing to the tune of
Ravens should start Browns-nosing
I hope Lamar Jackson and John Harbaugh were watching the
game between the Patriots and the Browns on Sunday.
Despite what the boxscore says, the Browns matched the Patriots
in quite a few categories and if it wasn’t for 3 consecutive turnovers, 13
penalties and some absolutely shocking output from the Kitchen, the Browns
could’ve given the Patriots a real scare.
Yes, the conditions helped play in to the script of the game
but the Cleveland Browns put a show on how to potentially beat the Patriots and
the Ravens could capitalise considering their modus operandi.
One thing going against Jackson and the Ravens though is the
way Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have taken care of all the 1st
round Quarterbacks in the 2018 draft so far this season. Jackson is last on
In most companies, there is a something that needs reporting,
you should be able to confidentially whistle blow on bad practice.
In the NFL though, whistle-blowing has caused many fans to
feel aggrieved at the official’s practice.
Yet more instances on Sunday of perhaps whistling that may have
been a bit premature.
Leonard Fournette has almost toted the rock 200 times this
season, is the 2nd leading rusher in the NFL but only has 1
touchdown to show for his efforts. If Brad Allen and his crew held off for just
a second or two more whilst the pile was
being pushed, it would have been paydirt for the second time this season for
the Jags RB.
The biggest one of the weekend was definitely in Nashville,
though, where Brett Kern fumbled the ball on what appeared to be a botched Field
Goal attempt. He scooped the ball up and made haste for chains but got his soul
taken from him by the Tampa Bay defence. Of course, when you lose your soul,
you also lose the football. Unfortunately for the Bucs, Adrian Hills’s zebra
crew blew this one dead and whilst the ensuing return from the Bucs was credited
with possession of the football, they were not rewarded with 6 points that they
perhaps could’ve have inherited due to the play being blown dead.
Whistleblowing eh? Makes you want to keep quiet.
One for the road…
it was Touted to be a poor game
Despite what the announcer may have said, there were quite a
few empty seats at Wembley for their first International Series game of the
Very much a sore point with NFL fans across the UK, the
touts may finally be getting the point.
With plenty of people happy to point out how low ticket
prices were for the Rams vs Bengals game, you have to wonder if the tide is now
turning not only for the NFL, but for events in general.
Week 7 is in the books. 2 teams going into the weekend undefeated remained so and a future hall of fame QB had himself a career day.
Lot’s of stories, lots of stats, so let’s get them injected in to your eyeballs.
If I said to you that Aaron Rodgers had a career day, you have to think of some pretty big numbers considering how glittering it has been thus far.
As a Cowboys fan, I have seen plenty of stellar performances
from the Packers’ #12.
Sunday against the Raiders, Rodgers lit up the Black Hole
for 25/31 429yds, 5 TDs and an extra one on the ground. It was the first time
ever, a QB for the Packers posted a perfect passer rating and was the first
time Rodgers had posted a 400+ yard passing game and 5TD combination.
For fantasy owners, he posted his 2nd highest
score and the most since 2011 with a score of 43.76pts.
We mentioned last week that this Packers team looks pretty
decent and Rodgers had not even really got going yet.
Now he’s gotten going, the league best be on notice.
There may be Trub-les ahead
This Bears offence…yikes.
Prior to garbage time yesterday, Cordarelle Patterson’s
102yd kick off return was more yards than the offence had been able to muster.
There boos were deafening inside soldier field, the fans
have no confidence at all in their franchise QB.
The Bears have yet to put up 300 yards of offence in ANY game
this season and it’s not hard to see why.
What was probably the cherry on top for the Bears, Sean Payton
on the other sideline put on yet another clinic on how to use all the tools at
your disposal to go and win a game. No Cook, no Kamara, no Brees, no problem.
The problems are all with Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears
Hush by Rush
Lamar Jackson once again finds himself in our articles, in the spotlight of the NFL highlight reel and at the forefront of defensive co-ordinator’s nightmares.
Whilst you can try and account for his designed run plays,
Lamar Jackson was like Harry Houdini in Seattle, scrambling for 86 yards, the
most by any QB this season and a record high for Jackson.
Multiple times, the Seahawks defenders thought they had him
pinned down for a loss, only for Jackson to get loose from the straightjacket
and speed down the field for big chunk plays.
Century Link field is not an easy place to go to with the #12
screaming down on to the field but Lamar Jackson had long drives, which caused
the stadium to hush somewhat.
Lamar Jackson is now 6th in rushing yards in the
NFL amongst all players this season. 6th and is well on course to
smash the 1000 yard mark.
Michael Vick’s record of 1039 is not looking like a difficult ask either.
I think his body though will appreciate the Week 8 bye. Rest up, champ.
Melvin Gordon bet on himself, and it seems to be a losing bet.
If you asked Melvin Gordon or even the Chargers “what would be the worst case scenario this year with the holdout?”, how it has played out so far wouldn’t be far off.
As per Evan Silva (@evansilva), 75% of Melvin Gordon’s carries (27/36) have gained 3 yards or less and had 2 fumbles. 11 of his 14 targets have gained 3 yards or fewer. All of Melvin Gordon’s plays since his return have averaged a gain of just 2.3 yards and only 4 plays where he has gained a first down.
This has culminated in a 0-3 record since his return and you
have to wonder whether or not Melvin Gordon is a trade candidate in the next
few weeks. On his current showing, there is no way the Charger’s pay him
anything close to the going rate, especially with Austin Ekeler, who is making
just over $550,000 this season.
Moore woes for KC?
Matt Moore will be the QB for Kansas City for at least the
next few weeks.
On a fateful quarterback sneak on TNF against the Broncos,
Patrick Mahomes dislocated his patella and thankfully that’s all that happened.
Whilst it was a freak occurrence and is desperately unlucky (Madden curse
continues!), Andy Reid now has to prepare for a few games with the 2007 undrafted
rookie out of Oregon State.
To date, Moore has less than 1000 pass attempts, a rating of
81.2 and a 46-36 TD-INT ratio. It’s fair to say the 35 year old will not be
what Patrick Mahomes is, but Andy Reid is a master at getting QBs to do what
they need to with a bit of time and prep. This is a HC that made Alex Smith look
like a world beater.
The red hot Packers come to town on Sunday Night Football so
it will be a baptism of fire. Andy Reid will have his work cut out to try and
devise a plan to take the W here. Luckily for the Chiefs, their divisional
rivals are (knee) capped.
Don’t go Chase-ing my heart
If you fielded Arizona Cardinals backup RB Chase Edmonds in fantasy this week, chances are it was probably because you had to or it was in a bestball format. His 3 touchdowns, all over 20 yards in length was just the 5th time that this has occurred.
David Johnson played just 3 snaps against the Giants and apparently was never intending to see the field despite being made active on Sunday. It’s hard enough to get any appreciation in the NFL in any sphere, but annoying fantasy players isn’t a recommended approach.
How very patriotic
This Patriots’ defence….oh boy.
Before we get in to the details of what can only be described as a suffocating defence, let’s take a moment to commiserate those that would have lost their fantasy matchup despite being in a winning position when playing Sam Darnold at QB…
Right, there we go.
This was the 2nd occassion THIS SEASON that New England scored 30+ points and shut out their opponent after their thrashing of the Jets 33-0 on Monday Night Football. New England have now outscored opponents 223-48 (both lead league by the way), allowed only 1 passing TD Allowed and are 1st in YPG Allowed (223.1) and PPG Allowed (6.9) this season.
If you have them in fantasy, they are currently the 4th highest scoring player in the god damn game, posting double digit scores in every game this season.
They currently have 18 INT so far this season, a mark not bettered since the Packers in 1996. Why do i bring this up? The Packers beat the Patriots that year in the Super Bowl.
Yes they have had one of the easiest schedules (looking at you, AFC East) and it does get a bit harder, but this defence was epitomised when cameras cut to Belichick huddling in and laying the law down with the defence….24-0 up before halftime.
Oh, and they just traded for Mohammed Sanu.
Good luck, everyone else.
Maher-ful kicking display
Brett Maher became the first Kicker in NFL Super Bowl era to
kick 3+ 60 yard Field goals and the first ever to do it in back to back games.
The ups and downs of a kicker are well documented (another doink this weekend too!) and Brett Maher certainly has more thrills than a creeky rollercoaster. One thing that isn’t in doubt though, is his mentality and his self belief. The 63 yarder against the Eagles on SNF would have been good from 66 yards and I have a funny feeling that Maher is going to eclipse Matt Prater’s current record of 64 yards.
A lot was made in Cowboys Nation when he took over from Dan Bailey, hopefully his leash will be just a tad longer, which is always nice for a kicker.
If you go back and watch the game in 40 or the highlight,
make sure to wear waterproof attire, because this one was wetter than a 10year
It wasn’t pretty and it’s one of those games that only come
round every couple of years, but the 9ers did what they had to do. Win, and win
This game was only 2hrs 36 mins in duration, the shortest
game since week 16 in 2009 when the Patriots smashed the Jags in the same
amount of time.
Whilst this will help fuel some skewed stats that sound
impressive, even the most stubborn have to doth their cap to the 49ers start.
The pick of them being (as per @NFLReasearch) that the 49ers have allowed 98
pass yards in their last 2 games combined, which is the 3rd-fewest pass yds
allowed by the 49ers in a 2-game span in the Super Bowl era & the fewest in
a 2-game span by the 49ers since Weeks 8-9, 1977 (62 pass yds).
Cousins and Vikings
It’s amazing what an apology and a bit of play action passing can do to your team.
Captain Kirk makes yet another appearance in the takeaways after another stellar performance (with the assist of some lovely catches, tipped cap to Adam Thielen).
The $84m guaranteed signal caller:
Leads NFL in yards per pass attempt (9.1)
Leads NFL in passer rating (114.3)
Ranks 5th in TD passes (13) and 4th in completion rate (69.8%)
In his last 3 games, he became the first QB in NFL history to have over 300 passing yards and a QB rating of over 130 and also became the first Vikings QB since Dante Culpepper to throw for 4TDs in consecutive games.
With the defence playing how it is, this team SHOULD be going deep in January, unless normal service either with paly calling or Captain Kirk himself resumes.
Until then, he has a revenge game on Thursday Night football againast the hapless Redskins.