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.
Next up in our NFL series taking a look back at the 2019 season, we travel to Heinz Field where we look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, where there was another Big Ben who was taken out of action for while…
Entering the season
An offseason removing the diva distractions of Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell saw the steelers lose obvious talent, but probably gain some locker room harmony.
They were aggressive in the draft trading up into the top 10 to select linebacker Devin Bush and were hopeful of nice follow up seasons from JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner.
Talk was quiet on the Ben Rothelisberger retirement front and as with most seasons, the Steelers started the year as many experts pick for the AFC North crown.
during the season
How quickly can a season unravel?
An opening Sunday Night Football embarrassment on the road in New England was a bad start. The loss of their starting QB for the season in week 2 was a heartbreaker. An 0-3 start was confirmed with defeat to the surging San Francisco 49ers and many people were getting their pitchforks ready to declare the season over before it had even really began. Do we never learn anything? Winners of 5 out of their next 6, all of a sudden the Steelers had a winning record and hopes of a playoff berth.
An in season trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick proved fruitful as the defence kept the team in games whilst rotating through Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges at quarterback.
JuJu and James Conner through a combination of injuries and poor quarterback play have not reproduced at the level people had hoped for but through good coaching the Steelers have hung around. A 3 game winning streak had them with control over their own playoff destiny but a late season skid sees them just fall short.
A season that the Steelers can be proud of, considering the hand they were dealt. Fitzpatrick has been a roaring success on the back end of the defence. TJ Watt has been a dominant force in the pass rush department and Devin Bush has grown as the season has developed.
The offseason focus will surely be on the offensive side of the ball. Will “Big Ben” return is the most pressing of questions.
All of the noises indicate that he wants to return and if that is the case some new weapons will be required. JuJu may not be the number 1 receiver they had hoped for so help is needed out wide. James Conner has struggled when healthy this year so an upgrade in the backfield would not go amiss either.
The line is solid and the defence is always competitive. Mike Tomlin should have a mention for coach of the year honours (he will not win it) so a restocked roster will see the Steelers primed to go again in 2020.
By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y) and Euan De Ste Croix (@dissy89)
be the Turkey at Thanksgiving?
they’ve done away with the Galloping Gobbler award on thanksgiving, many people
will be looking to see if Jason Garrett will be ripe for roasting once again as
they host the Buffalo Bills in their traditional home Thanksgiving game.
A lot of criticism
went Garrett’s way after his decision to kick a field goal late in the game at
Foxboro’ and the dangerous Buffalo Bills could put Garrett and his coaching
qualities under the spotlight once again.
The Cowboys missed an opportunity to steal a march on the NFC East, which would have given him a bit less of a hotseat. With the Eagles now having an easy stretch of schedule, the Cowboys cannot afford to slip up, although it’s likely the NFC East title will come down to their Week 16 game, even if the Cowboys fall to a game behind. IF that scenario does play out, will Garrett even be the coach then?
Other potential Turkeys include third stringer QB David Blough for the Lions who goes up against a Bears defence that’s actually giving up less points than they did last year (funny how our opinions see them as less fearsome), Mitchell Trubisky (no explanation needed) and the Atlanta Falcons, who have to prove it all again after their defeat to the Bucs as they host the Saints.
game between the Steelers and Browns needs no introduction but this particular
fixture will have more spice than Jamie Oliver’s cookbook.
be a few key protagonists missing from the game that were involved in the
skirmish 2 weeks ago, some through suspension (Garrett, Pouncey) and some
through inability to function as an NFL player (Rudolph).
be lost is the heavy hitting, cheap shots between the players looking to
continue their scuffles.
Keep an eye
on the referees in this one as they will try to maintain order in the AFC North
battle. The Browns will want the win more as they still have an outside shot at
the playoffs, but can they keep their composure, can they execute their plans,
something they’ve struggled with all season.
The mouthwatering clashes keep on coming for the neutrals as 49ers and the Ravens, the 2 trailblazers with a combined record of 19-3, meet this Sunday. Yet again the 10-1 49ers are the ones who seemingly have to prove their credential for the Super Bowl whilst many are quick to brandish Lamar Jackson the MVP award and the Ravens a Super Bowl berth.
This is of course a Super Bowl rematch from the “Harbaugh Bowl” back in Super Bowl XLVII when the Flacco led Ravens came out victorious of the Colin Kaepernick led 49ers in the Mercedes Benz Super dome (and of course that famous blackout).
Can the 49ers now do it on the road after recording home victories the past few weeks against the Packers and Cardinals. Teams usually get their due when travelling to tough environments in the NFL as home comforts can usually get you bye in case of any struggles.
There will be no room to hide with the spotlight currently beaming down on these two teams and it will be fascinating to see who comes out victorious when the dust settles.
LA-st chance Saloon
That Jared Goff Contract is not looking like it will be conducive to them reappearing in the Super Bowl anytime soon.
With their embarrassing loss to the Ravens at home on MNF, the Rams are now 6-5 and 3 games back off Seattle, 4 off of the 49ers and 2 games back in the Wildcard race where the Vikings currently sit with the #6 seed.
It’s amazing how not even a year ago, the Rams annihilated everyone that was put in front of them and it was about this time last year when we were treated to the 100+ game in LA vs the Chiefs.
That Rams team is a far cry away from what it is now and you have to wonder whether or not McVay and co have the ability to turn it around.
Their recent trade for Jalen Ramsey means they don’t have any picks of great value for the next couple of years and Jared Goff’s salary means that they can’t move on from him (nor Todd Gurley’s for that mattter).
It could be a spiral out of control situation and it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that the whole organisation is blown up.
PS: Dallas, send the Rams a 1st round or 2nd rounder for McVay.
An AFC South battle sees the current #8 and #9 seeds going toe to toe in effectively a playoff matchup.
Indianapolis and Tennessee will leave it all out on the field in Lucas Oil Stadium as the winner could potentially move in to the 6th seed which the Steelers currently hold. Pittsburgh face the Browns and the #7 seeded Raiders face the Chiefs, so chances are the winner here leap frogs all of them.
The Titans has seen a resurgence under Ryan Tannehill, currently the highest rated QB since he took over from Mariota. HC Mike Vrabel and OC Arthur Smith will look to keep on rolling as they face a slightly banged up Jacoby Brissett, Marlon Mack-less Colts team. Indy have won the last 3 between these two so recent history is against them but this wasn’t a Ryan Tannehill led Titans team.
The Titans then travel to Oakland before facing Houston in 2 of their last 3 games.
You have to feel the Titans have it all in their hands. The question is can they grab it?
Can the decibel best the mentor?
Bill O’Brien is comfortably the most successful graduate from the Bill Beikchick coaching tree but that is hardly a seismic feat. After serving under the most successful head coach of the modern era from 2007-11, O’Brien must be considering privately, this Sunday Primetime game, would represent his best chance to finally claim a victory against the New England dynasty. But Bill is currently 0-5 against them and 0-2 since the drafting of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Perhaps the closest the the Texans have come was in Watson’s rookie season. Not going for a 4th & 1, saw the Texans hand the ball back to new England and miss out on their best chance to beat their perennial superiors rivals since 2011.
The New England offence, post the loss of Gronkowski, is still attempting to find an identity and it’s output won’t be one that will scare any potential opponents and particularly Watson and the Texans offence who will likely fancy their chances, all things being equal. The key will be – can O’Brien’s Houston team learn from the great one and play mistake free football? A central theme to the success for footballs ever persistent powerhouse.
The Texans have their not so secret weapon in speedster, Will Fuller, who O’Brien publicly declared the up turn in Hopkins and Watson’s game when he’s on the field. Fuller, often injured, but immeasurably effective when on the field, has missed the previous two clashes with Watson under centre.
If O’Brien and his coaching staff can come out of the headlights of a primetime game win against his professor, prior to move Pat’s personnel chief, Nick Caserio, to Houston as GM this off season. Then the Texans will possibly have their first one over New England in a long time, until at least the play-off’s.
A Cross-State Battle with more Questions than Answers at QB.
Tampa Bay visit their Florida rivals in Jacksonville this Sunday in a game that will likely be shunned by neutrals and for good reason. The visiting side perhaps put their best performance of the season against division rivals in Atlanta, last Sunday. Jameis Winston, continues to the show up short of his draft status and the franchise is at a cross roads on what to do with the 5th year passer.
Taking last weeks game in isolation, that alone would suggest Winston would be in line for an off-season extension, but his interception filled stint would not in Tampa, would not. Winston has 5 games to avoid a career as eternal back-up. Regardless the outcome, a year on the franchise tag may be all he can hope for, if he’s to stay in south Florida.
On the other side of the field, a similarly intriguing proposition lies, as big money free agent and former super bowl MVP, since returning form injury has appeared to take Jacksonville backwards. In his absence, Gardner Minshew appeared to have won the job in 9 games posting, 13 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and racking up 2,285 yards at a completion rate of above 60%. Losing both games since his return, albeit putting up more accurate passing numbers, Foles has thrown two TD’s but the team doesn’t appear to carry the same spark as it did, when Foles was watching from the sidelines.
The Jag’s are not so far removed and from an AFC championship berth but have had many salary-cap casualties when signing Foles to a his deal. It could be argued that the lack of cap space was the initial driver of the Jalen Ramsey trade and it would seem they are lily to lose edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. A lot is riding on Foles to be successful in Duval county but it would seem, the rest of their roster has suffered in an attempt to replace the Blake Bortles saga.
Both teams are looking for reasons for optimism but it would seem change lies ahead in either coaching or personnel to revive either teams fortunes.
Games to Get Right Or Quelling underlying fears?
Both Philadelphia and Carolina face two games which on the surface of it would seem automatic wins. Both are 10 point favourites. Both, on the surface have strong rosters and will feel their respective records should be healthier than they currently read.
Regardless if they win by the outlined margin, does the 6.25% step forward, really represent anything other than short term progress. The Eagles, at the outset would have been set for a Super Bowl run or at least deep into the play-offs, by many on lookers. Hindered by a poor secondary and a quarterback – who after a number of injuries and changes to his offensive personnel – seems lost, in not overwhelmed. Wentz’s regression is stark and in spite of a bounce back game on Sunday against Miami, there are longer terms concerns for a team who were heralded for Howie Roseman’s roster building acumen. This is now the second consecutive season of under achievement after their Super Bowl win and concern has to be there and unaffected, even by a 50-point win on Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers, have a quandary at the most important position in all of sports also. The continual decline of Cam Newton’s health has seen Kyle Allen step in a lead the ship admirably. An underachiever in the college game has never been doubted talent-wise but it would appear his consistency and application has. There have been some strong outings for Allen. But he also has has some games to forget, the showing at home versus at Atlanta, rightly called into question his decision making. Even with a strong follow up performance against a struggling Washington team, Kyle will be looking to re-assert some positively after their narrow loss to New Orleans. A game they should have won, if not for the missed five points by their rookie kicker Joey Slye.
There are question to be asked about how much Allen’s play is bolstered by Christian McCaffery’s all-pro and possibly MVP calibre season at running back. As limitations have been shown, so is there enough there to give confidence to ambitions new owner, David Tepper? A many who made his fortune in investments, will shortly tell us how willing he is to invest the future of the franchise in Kyle Allen.
Does Defence win Championships still?
The adage has been echoed round NFL-based discussions for decades. If you didn’t have a league leading defence with multiple blue-chip players, at all three levels your chances were nullified. This uprising of the San Francisco 49er’s has perhaps shown that the notion is alive and well. The undoubted strength of the team is it’s defence. The litany of first round draft picks across its front seven make it difficult for the opposition to move the ball. Whether it’s, Ford, Bosa, Armstead, Thomas or Bucker. There isn’t 5 tougher blocking assignments for an offensive line in the game.
This front has allowed the linebackers and secondary to flourish with the additional pressures this unit brings. Witherspoon finally seems to be realising his talent at corner and Richard Sherman appears to be having a plus year, after looking not his former self last season. So the leading statement has proven to have varying levels of validity across the season. So much so, the performances have been questionable from their quarterback but Jimmy-G plays within a system that he suited to and it doesn’t require him to chase big plays outside of it. The running game the defence will ensure that’s not the case. But Sunday they face their biggest test of the year.
An apposing body evidence to this argument would be the Baltimore Ravens who, defence is strong in its own right and have done an amicable job of letting players go and finding replacements throughout the draft. But their real revelation has been the improvements show in the game of second year quarterback, come magic man, Lamar Jackson.
After crashing out the play-off’s he has come back with vengeance. Their unique brand of offence is an intriguing one which relies on the run. The league seem to have changed and in a way that has allowed Jackson to flourish rather than one that would have traditionally rejected his athleticism. His play and level at the offence is running at, is unrivalled through this point of the year. The two and three tight end sets have allow Baltimore to control the line of scrimmage and pick off high percentage throws and run the ball to the tune of over 200 yards per game.
The 49ers perhaps pose the strongest test of their system to get the best out of Jackson. This Sunday, will likely be one for the old school lovers of ground and pound running game. Whilst the game could provide a timely reminder that in 2019 offence may well win championships. Or is the old platitude still correct? The number 1 rushing team plays the number 2 team in a clash which should help us in that understanding, come Sunday.
Only the Young & Offensive Minded need apply
When a failed college head-coach in Cliff Kingsbury was hired by the Arizona Cardinals it seemed odd. Relieved from his duties at Texas Tech, he had only just taken up the Role of USC’s offensive co-oridnator in the weeks prior. But some how he had landed one of the prized 32 gigs to coach at the highest level. It seemed odd on the face of it. Kingsburry was allowed to draft Kyler Murray No1 overall in this years draft, re-make an offence and a team with limited talent for year one of a multi-year project.
Last off season – that was the latest trend for every franchise who wanted to get ahead of the curve or at least join it, was to hire a specific model of coach, to take them into the next decade of a changing league. At one point last off-season the common joke was: “I once cleaned Sean McVey’s pool so I’d like to apply for the Head Coaching job.”
Fast forward not even three quarters of a season and those remarks certainly won’t contain the same level of relevancy, compared to when team owners/GM’s were looking for a new team leader, last off season. Often referred to as an acronym off ‘Not For Long’ the NFL has a habit of building you up just as quickly as it will bring you down with a crash. The Ram’s offence appears to have embodied a typical NFL cycle and crash it has done, but with such alarm. After letting linemen leave the building and extending Jared Geoff, no longer receives to the same level of protection and wide open targets he previously enjoyed. It would seem that their once heralded system appears to have dropped in effectiveness. Just as the brightest head coach in the NFL galaxy doesn’t appear quite as bright as it once gleamed.
Now, Sunday represent a milestrone game and clear barometer of how these two young coaches are set for the following seasons and beyond. Both need a further influx of talent to be competitive with the play-off calibre teams. But it will show, how was has Geoff fallen from his perch of league leading offence against a questionable defence – out with safety Budda Baker. But it will also show how the QB of choice, young dream coach experiment is rounding into shape.
It will be an intriguing watch if this archetype is desired for the next round of, off-season, head coach carousel, in 2020.
Oakland Raiders rookie fourth round DT Maxx Crosby had a monster 4 sacks against the Bengals to move up to joint 9th in the NFL and 3rd amongst rookies.
Sam Darnold had 4 TD passes for the New York Jets in their 17 point win against the Redskins, his first 4 TD day in his 20 game career.
Talking of the Redskins they managed their first TD since the 3rd Q against the Dolphins on October 13, thanks to second year RB Derrius Guice.
The Atlanta Falcons won their second game in a row whilst only allowing their opponents to get a single-digit score (this week 3 against the Panthers).
Minnesota’s 4 point win against Denver is the first time since 2014 a team has come back from 20 or more points at half-time to win a game.
With 788 rushing yards Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is ALREADY 7th in the all-time rushing yards gained by a QB in a season. He needs 252 in 6 games to get the crown.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman tossed the 2nd TD pass of his career to beat the Eagles. Edelman is one of 15 non-QBs to have a career perfect passer rating.
And a final historic appetiser – One former NFL non-QB leads the NFL all-time in passing yards (350), passing touchdowns (9) and interceptions (6) – take a bow Walter Payton.
Steelers (5-5) @ Browns (4-6)
The Steelers were on a four-game win streak, and the Browns were in danger of their entire season imploding as we went into this TNF divisional matchup. It was a torrid affair for the eyes, as Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph looked dreadful even before WR Ju-Ju Smith Schuster went out with concussion.
This was an old fashioned brutal game that was personified by a hit dished out by Browns safety Damarious Randall on WR Dionte Johnson that caused blood to come out of his ear. The hit could be justified as not a complete head hunt, but what followed was indescribably common assault. The Browns, who rode the storm of an ugly contest were 14 points up as the Steelers mounted a final meaningless drive.
With 14 seconds left Mason Rudolph threw a short pass that gained 11 yards, then all hell broke loose. Rudolph was drilled by DE Myles Garrett. Rudolph then tried to remove Garrett’s helmet and failed. Garrett then managed to remove Rudolph’s helmet and then five seconds later cracked Mason on the top of his skull with the black and gold lid. Steelers C Mike Pouncey reacted immediately and kicked Garrett whilst he was on the ground, pinned to the end-zone by Steelers G David DeCastro. To top it off Rudolph still vocalising his displeasure was knocked to the floor by Browns defender Larry Ogunjobi.
I’ve been watching the NFL since 1985 and I cannot recall an ending like this. Garrett, Pouncey and Ogunjobi were ejected from the game and soon after all received bans, Garrett suspended indefinitely, to definitely include any involvement with the 2019 NFL season.
Using a fist to punch someone in the face is bad enough, take the Andre Johnson Cortland Finnegan fight (Week 12 2010) as an example. A helmet did get ripped off but it was thrown away, to effectively level the playing field.
On Thursday night Myles Garrett used Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon to cause harm. This was not an accident, this was done with intent, albeit with red mist clogging up the former #1 overall pick’s ability to behave rationally.
This insanity has been unpicked by former players, journalists and fans across the globe. Garrett has already broken a quarterback’s leg (Trevor Siemian) this season, but he was not known as dirty. Now he will have the helmet hit follow his career…..that’s when he gets one back.
Texans (6-4) v Ravens (8-2)
Billed as the matchup between the two most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks on the NFL (sorry Josh Allen you are a respectable third) this was supposed to be a classic high scoring contest coming down to who had the ball last. Instead we got one team on fire and one team on ice.
Despite a non-scoring first quarter this was not going to be the Houston Texans day as their first three drives ended on a turnover (fumble lost), a failed fourth down attempt and a punt. After an equally frustrating first period Lamar Jackson woke up and went 5-5 including the opening score to the lesser spotted Seth Roberts. From that point on the Ravens flicked a switch that they didn’t turn off until the fourth quarter.
The Ravens got a second TD, LJax to TE Mark Andrews to take a 14-0 lead at the half. When Jackson threw his third TD pass on the opening drive of the third quarter, to RB Mark Ingram II, it was effectively game over.
One play of note in the second half was Lamar’s 39 yard dash on a 2nd and 1. Another entry in the Baltimore QBs MVP application form. The Ravens finished with 263 yards rushing, thanks in part to a 63 yard TD rumble by Gus ‘the mini bus’ Edwards in the late stages.
Chiefs (7-4) v Chargers (4-7) in Mexico
Philip Rivers saw his season committed to the grave in a country the celebrates the Day of the Dead, as Mexico hosted the final International regular season game of the season. Four interceptions, including one in the end-zone, on a potential game-tying pass was a microcosm of another failing season for a Chargers team that on paper has talent throughout.
The Chiefs Patrick Mahomes was not en-fuego in the air, but some chunky RPO (run pass option) plays yielded chain moving first downs precisely when they were needed. Veteran KC RB LeSean McCoy, who carries the ball in the same way a granny would after collecting a seeded bloomer from their local bakery, was able to take his loaf into the end-zone. He was also targeted 6 times, hauling in 4-28 to outpace KC’s number one WR Sammy Watkins (2-26). Big respect to L.A. RB Austin Ekeler who had 8-108 in the air. His 65 catches only trails leading pass catcher WR Keenan Allen by 5 pigskins.
The Chiefs are still atop the AFC West, and undefeated in the division, but the rather stinky breath of the Oakland Raiders is fresh in the face of those in red and white as the pirates trail by one game and are on a three-game win streak.
Matty Ice cracks top 10
With his seventh 300+ passing game of the 2019 under his belt Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan moved to number 10 in the all-time regular season passing charts.
The man he happened to pass has a bronze bust in the NFL and CFL Hall of Fame – Mr Warren Moon. Moon in fact has a Super Bowl winners ring, as a Seahawks broadcaster, earned 13 years after he was enshrined in Canton.
Ryan himself will tip over 50,000 yards by the end of this season, having reached 49,383 since his 2008 rookie campaign. Ryan has started 183 games in his career, having missed his first start in since 2009 just a few weeks ago. An absolute model of professionalism, Ryan is Hall of Fame worthy with 313 career TDs and just 142 interceptions. Don’t expect Ryan to run, but be instead mildly surprised that he has darted for 1,225 yards on the ground and 9 scores.
Four Pro Bowls, one All Pro appearance, one NFL MVP and one Super Bowl played is not the most impressive CV of all time, but anyone who reaches 50,000 passing yards, which Ryan will, likely by Week 14, deserves a moment of praise.
Week 10 saw shocks, drops and stops as the 49ers tasted their first defeat, the Saints got pummelled by the Falcons and the Browns won!
Here are 10 takeaways from week 10 in the NFL:
Baker Mayfield Feeling More at Home
A first home win of the season for Baker Mayfield emphasised his improved play over the past 3 weeks. Riddled with turnovers and poor decision making the 2nd year QB had tossed 11 interceptions and committed 3 fumbles in the opening half a dozen games of the season. Fast forward 3 weeks and games against good pass defences in New England, Denver and Buffalo and Mayfield has only added 1 takeaway to those numbers.
He looks more decisive in the pocket and his completion rate of 68.4% on Sunday was a season-high. He regularly looked for his top 2 targets in Jarvis Landry and OBJ whilst leaning on a stout run game. The entrance of Kareem Hunt into the offence gives the Browns a new dimension and with a favourable schedule on tap a winning streak is a realistic possibility.
The Browns #6 seed credentials will be key to any such possibilities.
Big Man Rumbling
“Never judge a book by its cover”. The age old phrase that continually catches all of us out. Derrick Henry is a home run hitter! His scamper for 68 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday marked his 4th touchdown run of over 65 yards since 2017 which is the most by any player in the NFL over that span.
His almost customary plunge from 1 yard away was tacked onto his big day as he gashed the Chiefs woeful run defence to the tune of 23 carries for 188 yards with 2 touchdowns. Henry has often been used in a timeshare during his time in the league but Mike Vrabel appears to have figured out that he gets better with more usage.
The only player outside of a few Tannehill scramble to carry the ball on Sunday, Henry is on pace for 1300 yards plus on the campaign for a Titans team that are as unpredictable as the British weather.
Just Win Baby
“Knock on wood if you are with me”. Who would have thought that when Jon Gruden continuously barked those words throughout hard knocks that his Raiders team would be in with a realistic opportunity of competing for a division title?
Thursday night football was a huge victory in the division that put the Raiders right on the heels of the Chiefs. A performance that saw yet another Derek Carr 4th quarter comeback win moved the Raiders to 5-4. Josh Jacobs continues to look like the runaway winner of offensive rookie of the year, scoring the game winner in this one.
Winnable games upcoming against the Dolphins and Jets next on the schedule have the silver and black primed for a late season playoff run. Maybe, just maybe that bloke who used to commentate on Monday Night Football can actually still coach?
You spin me right round baby right round like a record
If you have seen a better spin move this season than the one made by Lamar Jackson on his TD run this weekend you will have either been at the World Yo-Yo championships or at some kind of ice skating Olympic qualifier.
In 2018 we were running out of superlatives to describe Patrick Mahomes, and this season the same is getting said about the Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who is now getting MVP type chatter beyond his own appreciative teammates.
Yes this was the 0-9 Bungles L-Jax faced, but if you have not seen the move he made mid-run against Cincy then find it online and start to drool. Fantasy fans were left a little bit sore after the Ravens had such a ridiculous lead they let Lamar sit for the fourth quarter whilst former running QB phenom Robert Griffith III performed mop-up duties.
Talking of RG3 Coach Harbaugh’s decision to line up the former Baylor superstar as a running back in a split-backs formation was a treat, and then watching L-Jax pitch to him on an outside run was masterful.
Falcons D rises from the ashes
It’s supposed to be a Phoenix that rises from the ashes, but after NFL alignment some years ago there is no longer a team in that said city. Instead we have to make reference to another feathered friend that has arisen from the depths of despair.
The Atlanta Falcons beating the 7-1 New Orleans Saints was the biggest upset this season since Darnold and the Jets downed the Cowboys.The Falcons defense had 6 sacks including 2.5 from Grady Jarrett.
This by itself is not headline worthy, but considering the team had 7 sacks all season before this point showed that sticking a rocket in places rockets should not be placed sometimes works. The Saints offense was held without a touchdown and Alvin Kamara the so-called fantasy stud had 74 total yards, including just 24 on the ground.
We all know it’s too late for the Dirty Birds to resurrect their season, but sometimes wins like this can turn around fortunes in the long term. One question to quietly ask is ‘was it right to bring back Brees considering Teddy’s hot streak?’
Anti-tank missiles spotted in Miami
Maybe they are not red hot, but the Miami Dolphins are on the boil after securing their second consecutive win in a season that was supposed to be all about displaying ineptitude not grizzly bearded attitude.
Ryan Fitzmagic may not win another game in Miami but he will forever be remembered for bringing some respect to a franchise that has been written off more than a scrapyard full of old bangers. The contrast in styles between Lamar Jackson’s mesmerising TD run and Fitzmagic’s plough through the field for his score was like chalk and cheese, but both ended up in exactly the same result – six points and the extension of a lead.
Sympathies do go out to the team Miami beat in Week 10 as the Indianapolis Colts are akin to a M.A.S.H. unit, especially at WR, so this was a great time for the ‘Fins to paddle their way to a victory. Miami now have their sights set on at least a third win in Week 17 when they face Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Steel-ing another W
If you listened to the F10Y Week 10 look ahead podcast Lawrence predicted a Steelers win against a Los Angeles Rams team that is looking like a shrivelled balloon, the type you might find on the floor when sweeping up from say a Super Bowl party.
The Steelers are using gorilla glue, frog tape and any other legally sanctioned substance to patch together wins against half-decent opponents and despite the criticism Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph is hanging in there. It’s a little reminiscent of Big Ben Roethliberger’s rookie season when he led the team to a 15-1 record despite performances that were not exactly pretty.
The Steelers now boast a four-game win streak, and their first above .500 record of the season. With Cleveland twice, the Bungles and the Cardinals ahead we could be looking at a rather strong 9-4 Steelers team a long time before Rudolph the Kyle nosed reindeer takes to the skies.
Vikings run and plunder a win
He can’t win in prime-time, he has a routine he can’t break, he crumbles under pressure. Three common perceptions of Vikings QB Kirk ‘you like that’ Cousins in big and important games. Three perceptions that were proven to be untrue on Sunday night as Minnesota came away from Jerry’s world having pillaged a big ol’ bag of booty including a big shiny W.
To be fair this was not a game dominated by clutch Cousins passes, as the Vikings ran, ran and ran some more, including one 10 play touchdown drive that was on the ground from start to finish.
The MVP conversation as usual is dominated by special quarterbacks and a dash of Run CMC, but at the pace he is going and the rate he is being fed the ball, don’t be surprised if Dalvin Cook makes a ’late run’ for the NFL’s most valuable player.
The Vikings remain one game behind the Packers in the NFC North, but things can change quickly.
HEY mr wilson!
The Seattle Seahawks dealt the San Francisco 49ers teir first loss of the season. No surprise that current MVP favourite Russell Wilson was the main culprit for the defeat.
In what was a Monday Night Classic, the performance of Russell Wilson may have left the thoughts of “what if” for 49ers fans as Jimmy G on the other side was many classes below the Seahawks signal caller.
The 49ers and Jimmy G had a chance to seal it in overtime where perhaps a better thrown ball to Deebo Samuel on the sideline in stride would have seen a walk off touchdown. The ensuing drive saw Wilson take the Seahawks 40 yards in 81 seconds (no timeouts) to allow Jason Myers’ to score from a 42 yard field goal with 4 seconds left on the clock.
With Full10Yards favourite Tyler Lockett being taken to hospital, I’m sure Russell Wilson will be able to overcome any time that he may miss to add to the long list of adversities he’s been able to overcome in this offence.
It was billed as the second coming of Patrick Mahomes but it was the otehr Quarterback at Nissan Stadium that took the plaudits.
Ryan Tannehill completed his 3rd 4th quarter winning drive this season in just 4 games as the starter. That is only 1 behind the season leaders Josh Allen and Russell Wilson.
The drive, which started with 1:21 on the clock, ended just 58 seconds later with a 23 yard touchdown throw to big off season free agent WR signing Adam Humphries also included a 18 yard scramble on the first play
The decision to bench Marcus Mariota may be a game or two too late and could potentially cost the Titans a playoff berth this season, the redeeming factor though, is that they may not have to go searching for a QB in next year’s draft.
For Tannehill, frequently lambasted at his poor quarterback play, will rightly get the plaudits in this one though, which is an incredible feet considering the jumping Patrick Mahomes was clearly in the spotlight. Questions now turn to Adam Gase, who coached him in Miami, as to why he looked so average in a teal jersey.
Massive game for those chasing the division titles in the
NFC and NFC North as the Dallas Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings.
With Philadelphia on a bye, the Cowboys need to win to keep
their heads just in front of Philadelphia and it’s looking fairly likely that
the 2nd placed team in the East could miss out on the playoffs.
Minnesota at 6-3 still sit one game behind Green Bay over in
the North and whilst, this one is possibly less important for the #SKOL army,
they don’t want to run the risk of running in to the cowboys for the wildcard
and losing on the head to head tie breaker.
It may be a tight, cagey affair on Sunday Night Football,
and that’s just Kirk Cousins we are talking about. Whilst Kirk most recently
won vs the Redskins on Primetime television on TNF, it is more than well
documented that Cousins can have the tendency to be a rabbit in the floodlights
when push comes to shove.
Can Captain Kirk pull his socks up and lead his Minnesota team to a victory this week? His current record of 6-13 in primetime games suggests not.
Life after Cam
It’s going to be interesting watching how Kyle Allen performs down the stretch now that he is going to be starting from here on out.
Cam Newton has recently landed on Injured reserve, leaving
us to wonder whether Cam Newton will ever be seen in a Carolina jersey again
(look out for an article on that coming your way) but now you have to debate
whether the pressure is now more on Kyle Allen to perform as he is “the guy” or
whether there is less pressure on him as he no longer has to look over his
shoulder or live in Cam’s shadow.
Kyle Allen does have the pressure of getting the Panthers to
the playoffs though as they are right there in the thick of the wildcard race
and that adventure makes it’s next stop at Lambeau Field.
Lights, Kamara, Action!
Some of the NFL’s biggest superstars should be returning to
the field this week with Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes and New Orleans Saints running
back Alvin Kamara should be available to suit up for their respective teams.
It’s fair to say though that the rest of the roster and the
Head coaches has performed admirably in their absences over the past few weeks.
It says a lot about the adaptability of these teams to be
able to read off a different script and still pull out the level of
performances that they have. Unfortunately now for the rest of the league, two
of th most potent and high octane offences get arguably, their main cogs back.
Will Wilson win in the West?
MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson and the Seahawks travel to
Levi’s stadium to face the last undefeated remaining team in the 49ers.
A win for the Seahawks here and the NFC West is all to play
for. A win for the 49ers, and the NFC West is pretty much all wrapped up.
Russell Wilson is coming off a 5TD performance vs the Buccaneers last week so
confidence couldn’t be much higher, and Josh Gordon has just walked through the
However, he will need to be at the peak of his powers once again as he faces one of the best defences in the league away from home to stand any chance of picking up the win on Monday Night Football.
Nowhere for haters to Hyde any more
We are just over the half-way point of the season and the general trend for feeding a lead back seems to be on the rise from twelve months ago, or maybe there has simply been less injuries at the RB position.
Standing at number eight in the 2019 rushing charts is a back that has bounced around the league and is now on his fifth team. This season, based on current projections, Carlos Hyde will break all of his own personal rushing records, and easily have his first 1,000+ season.
Hyde had two monster runs at Wembley last week, even if the longest resulted in a fumble on the goal line. His opening carry was as important as it was a tone-setter for the Texans – a 9 yard dart. That drive ended with Houston taking a 3-0 lead. Hyde ended the game with 160 yards rushing and the respect of over 80,000 fans.
For someone who never settled in Cleveland or Jacksonville, and didn’t even make it to the regular season in KC, this is a genuine comeback player of the year candidate. No need to Hyde in the shadows any more Carlos.
We’re all going on a Chubb-Hunt
Two seasons ago Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards, outpacing Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell as a rookie.
Fast forward to Week 10 2019 and Hunt finally makes his season debut for the Cleveland Browns. His last NFL action was over a season ago in the game of the season as the Rams beat the Chiefs 54-51. Hunt was cut by the Chiefs for lying, when questioned, about an incident of domestic abuse that was recorded and went on to be shared on TMZ.
Many people are still divided as to Hunt’s ability to pick up his career after a half-season suspension, and the majority of teams would have stayed away from signing him because of what they saw. It does seem that in the U.S.A. and especially the NFL that players in the main get a second chance despite committing acts that are completely unacceptable.
Hunt has been out a year and starting Browns tailback Nick Chubb is no slouch, but Cleveland do need to snap out of their nightmare stretch and Hunt could offer that spark in the red zone.
Steelers storming back?
With Big Ben Roethlisberger out for the season it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Following an abysmal 0-3 start Steelers are on a three game win streak and beyond the Rams face the Browns twice, Bengals and Cardinals weeks 11 to 14. Mason Rudolph has been streaky but is hanging in there. The Steelers run game has been a bit under par and James Connor is ruled out of this weekend’s contest. Another big dose of Swiss army knife Jaylen Samuels is expected. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has been underwhelming 33-459 and 3 touchdowns and the #2 and #3 WRs Dionate Johnson and James Washington have been uninspiring.
Despite all this adversity the Steelers are on a three-game win streak and have only lost once, in an epic tussle against the Ravens, since the start of October. 1-4 to a genuinely possible 9-4 record will save Mike Tomlin his job and put the Steelers in an improbable playoff position. Enjoy Sunday’s game it will be a barnstormer.
Godwin and Evans epic season wasted
What a shame that easily the best wide receiver combination in the NFL at the half-way point, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, are on a 2-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
The Godwin/Evans combo has 104 catches, 1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns. Outside of this pairing any other WR combined have 14 catches for 145 yards and one score. Evans and Godwin have moved the chains 82 times between them to date and together are averaging 100 yards in the air each per game.
Under normal circumstances this pairing would equate to wins, but they are getting thrown the ball from an erratic Jameis Winston who goes from a 5 interception game (at Tottenham v Panthers) to a zero pick impressive display on the road at Seattle.
The Buccs offensive line is part of the problem, with Winston already on the receiving end of 30 sacks. It will be fun to watch this combo battle it out for the most impressive stat line. Who said both are going to the Pro-Bowl – I did right here!
Doggedly avoiding a cat-astrophe
In a sports league filled with bears, lions, Bengal tigers, jaguars, broncos, rams, panthers, and colts it took a four-legged friend to stroll across an NFL field last week to create a media furore akin to a niptastic Super Bowl reveal.
Some of the best social media and digital activity includes a mocked up Madden 21 cover featuring the black cat along with the Panini Huddle digital trading card app that issued a special cat card with a paw-print autograph. There has been previous animal hijinx on NFL fields before, a simple YouTube search will reveal squirrels and pigeons causing chaos in recent years.
Reality is that there are canines that make it into the seating areas of every NFL stadium every week, even when teams play in London, after all where would we be without a delightful half-time hot dog !!!!
It’s just about the half way point in the NFL regular season. Sad times.
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.
Baltimore Ravens 5-2
Pittsburgh Steelers 2-4
Cleveland Browns 2-5
Cincinnati Bengals 0-8
Midseason grade: B+
How has it gone so far?
The Ravens came flying out of the blocks with bug wins against the Dolphins and Cardinals. Back to back defeats to the Chiefs and the Browns raised questions about if this team was “for real” but a subsequent 3 game winning streak including an impressive road win in Seattle sees the Ravens with a healthy lead in the division.
Lamar Jackson is on historic pace for yards on the ground and has shown progress throwing the football in year 2. The defence isn’t as feared as it once was but still ranks highly and is 11th against the pass and 2nd against the run respectively.
Rest of Season Outlook
It’s fair to say that the schedule stiffens for the Ravens down the stretch. With games to come against opponents with a plus 500 record in the Patriots,Texans, Rams, 49ers and Bills. A weak division means this commanding lead would appear to be extremely secure however with a divisional game against each opponent and the lowly Jets providing the other contest. Even on a “worse case scenario” basis you have to fancy the Ravens getting to at least 9-7 from here and that should be ample to win the division.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 10-6 – Division Winners
Midseason grade: D
How has it gone so far?
The product has certainly not lived up to the preseason hype. Steamrolled by the Titans and 49ers along with close losses to the Rams and Seahawks the Browns face an uphill tussle to get back to relevance in the division. A defeat coming out of the bye week to the Patriots has again raised questions about discipline and preparation
A big road win at Baltimore was the lone bright spark on what has been a disappointing campaign. The promising end to the 2019 season seems like a distant memory and Baker Mayfield appears to be regressing in year 2.
Rest of Season Outlook
Ironically despite the record, everything is still in play for the Browns. The schedule is such that 5 divisional games remain and as stated earlier, they have won the only game of such nature to date. The plan will be to go 6-0 in the AFC North and hope that tie breakers enable them to find a way into a wildcard berth. For that to happen though they need to improve massively, reducing turnovers and penalties, a category that they lead the league in with an average of 10 per game.
The talent is there, can they turn it around?
Regular Season Record Prediction: 7-9 – Miss Playoffs
Midseason grade: C
How has it gone so far?
Smashed by the Patriots on opening night and losing your starting quarterback part way through your 2nd game isn’t exactly the way the Steelers drew up the plans for this season. The reality is though that the Steelers season was probably over before it had even really began following the QB injury. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges have anchored the squad to some respectable performances and with a turnover differential of plus 7 they are getting opportunities within games.
Big names JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner have struggled to reproduce anything close to what they did a year ago and the offence lacks weapons outside these 2. Defensively the rank middle of the pack but an in season trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick signals intent to improve the playmaking on the back end.
Rest of Season Outlook
Similar to the Browns in that the division schedule is heavily back loaded so 4 games still to play in that regard and an opportunity if they can build momentum to make a late run. Difficult to trust that Mason Rudolph will be able to get them there however. Ranked 30th in both team passing and rushing there just isn’t enough production from this unit. The defence ranks 6th in points allowed so the Steelers will stick around in games but its hard to see anything better than a 500 record at this point.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 6-10 – Miss Playoffs
Midseason grade: E
How has it gone so far?
A record of 0-8 will pretty much answer that question. With the worst record in the NFL at the week 8 stage the Bengals can’t get any worse. Ranked 28th offensively and 27th defensively, unfortunately there is not an obvious quick fix as the poor play is on both sides of the ball.
Offensively AJ Green has not been able to dress after picking up an injury in the preseason and Joe Mixon has not been able to get anything going on the ground. Defensively the pass rush has been a little non-existent with only 9 sacks and they have not taken the ball away with any regularity.
Rest of Season Outlook
There are some winnable games on the schedule with games against the Browns, Dolphins and Jets all on the horizon so nobody should be panicking around a 0-16 season just yet. Unfortunately for the Bengals, wins will now likely only hinder draft capital as the season is well and truly lost.
The remaining games need to be used as an assessment of the roster and a decision needs to be made with regards to the long term future of Zach Taylor. The Bengals are very likely to pick high in the upcoming draft and now that Ryan Finley is in the driving seat, his performances over the back nine will determine how high up in the rounds they take their next QB (if at all).
Regular Season Record Prediction: 2-14 – Top 3 pick
Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
Detroit Lions (3-3-1)
Chicago Bears (3-4)
Midseason grade: A
How has it gone so far?
One of the most intriguing storylines to follow at the beginning of the season was the union of new HC Matt Lafleur and franchise QB Aaron Rodgers, so far the results have been good with the offence improving with every game.
In the early part of the season, it was the defence that was leading the team, DC Mike Pettine’s unit looking vastly improved from the previous year. Free agent signees Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have contributed hugely, added to standout corner Jaire Alexander and leading tackler in the NFL Blake Martinez, have led to a unit that may have conceded yards but has stood up when needed.
Given the injury suffered by leading receiver Davante Adams, Rodgers has entered one of his hot streaks at precisely the right time.
Rest of Season Outlook
The Packers look well set for a playoff run, time will tell whether it will take them all the way to Miami in February. With the head to head wins vs all their division opponents thus far, they are looking quite rosy to maybe even push for a wildcard round bye.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 12-4
Midseason grade: B
How has it gone so far?
Behind the leading rusher in the NFL in Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have bulldozed their way into the playoff discussion. Beyond this though, there has been some discord within the group, notably receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen expressing frustration with the offence. Kirk Cousins’ improved play of late has helped to quell these noises, with Diggs especially going on a tear of late to the tune of 453 receiving yards in the last 3 weeks. The defence has continued to perform at a high level throughout, with Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks particularly impressing.
Rest of Season Outlook:
With the talent throughout on the defensive side of the ball, and if the offensive line can support Dalvin Cook, this team can compete with anyone. They’ll need continuing support from Kirk Cousins though, where for some, the questions remain. They’ll need to settle the score with the Packers in the return fixture and also negotiate a tough stretch immediately starting with the Chiefs and then the Cowboys. Negotiate that, they could look at a first round bye.
Regular Season Record Prediction:11-5
Midseason Grade: C
How has it gone so far?
The Lions have been competitive in every game this season and could easily find themselves right in the mix for a playoff spot. However, poor execution at crucial times have led to a middle of the pack record. They have lost late leads in 2 of their losses to the Chiefs and the Packers as well as in the tie with the Cardinals, with redzone inefficiency plaguing them in the Packers loss in particular.
There have been high spots for the team with QB Matthew Stafford having a very good year. Kenny Golladay and Kerryon Johnson have also been playmakers this year before the latter’s injury, TJ Hockenson has hinted at what might be to come from the TE position too.
Perhaps surprisingly, given HC Matt Patricia’s pedigree, the defence has been the bigger issue. They have struggled especially against the run, where Mike Daniels’ injury has been especially problematic.
Quandre Diggs’ recent trade to Seattle has been met with scepticism too, depriving the back end of the defence with one of their key players.
Rest of Season Outlook
Judging by the 2 teams that preceeded them in this Half-Term report, it is probably a long shot that the Lions taste January football this year, but as a long term view, the Lions fans must be optimistic about some playoff football sooner rather than later. That being said, their schedule does not look too tough with games against Oakland, a double header vs the Bears along with tussles against the Broncos, Redskins and Buccaneers.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 8-7-1
Midseason grade: D
How has it gone so far?
The expected step forward for the Bears offence in the second year of HC Matt Nagy’s reign has yet to come to fruition. The offence currently ranks 27th in PPG, with both the run and pass games struggling to get out of second gear.
While QB Mitch Trubisky has yet to prove his pedigree as a starting calibre player at this level, playcalling has also been an issue at times. The coaches have seemed to go away from the run too early at times, placing too much pressure on the young signal caller. While Trubisky’s development is crucial to the future success of the Bears, at the moment the best chance of success would surely involve committing fully to the rungame and using Trubisky to take judicious shots downfield to keep the defences honest.
The defence is still performing at a very high level (if not quite the league leading unit of 2018), Mack, Trevathan, Floyd, Goldman, Clinton-Dix, Fuller et al are still a fearsome unit, although lineman Akiem Hicks is a big loss after his loss to IR following his elbow injury.
It wouldn’t be a Bears season without kicking troubles either, following Eddy Piniero’s potential game winning missed kick in week 8.
Rest of Season Outlook
While this team certainly could go on a run, they have a hard road back to the playoffs with games remaining against fellow NFC playoff hopefuls Eagles, Packers, Cowboys, Rams. Possibly the best case scenario for the Bears would be that week 17 at the Vikings ended up a playoff eliminator, they have a lot of work in front of them to get that far.
How can we already be nearly half way through the fantasy season? Crazy, isn’t it. Nonetheless, as bye weeks hit full throttle with a plethora of elite fantasy talent ineligible for your week 7 rosters, waiver pick-ups over the next week or two are pivotal to maintaining winning weeks for your teams.
With Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield on bye in week 7 (should you somehow still be trusting these QB’s in your fantasy teams!) Minshew has a great match-up in Cincinnati, and will be a great plug and play this week for any owners that need QB help.
Despite only putting up 4 fantasy points in week 6, Minshew had given fantasy owners no less than 15 points per game since the beginning of the season. Look for a bounce-back here from currently the most popular man in the NFL, especially as the Bengals are leaking the 4th most points to opposing QB’s on a week to week basis.
I could be telling you to pick up Adrian Peterson here like the majority of analysts will likely be doing this week. Peterson has a very hard schedule coming up, and one good week versus the hapless Dolphins does not sell me i’m afraid.
Yes, I know Benny Snell is on bye this upcoming week, but after the bye the Steelers face the aforementioned hapless Dolphins. With Jaylen Samuel still likely out and James Conner yet to break 55 rushing yards in a game this season, Snell could well be playing himself into a decent workload for Pittsburgh. 17 carries for 75 yards against the Chargers in week 6 says he’s ready to prove his worth.
Wide Receiver – Golden Tate, New York Giants – 63.2% owned ESPN
I can’t believe Tate is still available in more than a third of leagues. You realise he is literally the only proven receiver in that organisation right now with Sheperd and Engram out, right?
With those pair still likely questionable at best in week 7, and with a favourable match-up against a Cardinals secondary that gives away 23 standard fantasy points to receivers on average each week, Tate is a solid pick up and play for the Godwin/Evans/Moore/Juju/OBJ owners.
It’s a mini bye-nado this week with all of those elite fantasy stars out on a bye week, so if you’re still on the hunt, also consider Dede Westbrook(70% owned) who faces the Bengals, Dante Pettis (26.2% owned) whose target share increased last week and faces the porous Redskins or John Brown (57% owned) who currently is a fringe WR2 in fantasy that has that juicy inter-division match-up against Miami in week 7.
Tight End – Jordan Akins, Houston Texans – 7.6% ownedESPN
It’s pretty skinny, as always on the Tight End waiver front. But Akins has been seeing his fair share of targets over the last 4 weeks including a breakout game against the Chargers (3 receptions for 73 yards and 2 TD’s) in week 3.
The schedule is the most intriguing factor behind this pickup. Indianapolis and Oakland both find themselves in the top 5 for most fantasy points given away to opposing tight ends so far this season. With the Colts coming to Houston next week and the Raiders being the Texans opposition in week 8, Akins could have some fantasy relevance.
Quick mention to Hunter Henry, who is some of the more casual leagues will be on your waivers. Make sure you invest a heavy dosage of FAAB on the Chargers’ tight end, especially if you are short in this position.