M&M_spokescandies

After the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season, the clock was on for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who “won” the right to select No. 1 in the NFL Draft. There was nary a doubt that they would select a quarterback with the top choice. Sorry to all the Josh McCown and Mike Glennon fan club members out there. The question became which one: Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota?

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Marcus Mariota, 2015

COMP ATT COMP% YDS AVG TD INT
61 97 62.9% 833 8.59 8 2

Jameis Winston, 2015

COMP ATT COMP% YDS AVG TD INT
47 90 52.2% 678 7.53 4 3

But Winston is more pro-ready they said! Okay, to be fair, there were many that said Mariota was in fact more pro-ready. The main thing gathered from the Winston-Mariota debate was that because Winston played in a pro-style offense in college, he would be the better choice. That’s all fine and dandy, but Famous Jameis threw 18 interceptions last year… in college. Sometimes having more practice time and experience is a bad thing when you keep doing it incorrectly.

This is not a Jameis Winston versus Marcus Mariota WWF steel cage match. This article is all about Marcus Mariota. We all know about his week one game against the Buccaneers: 13/16 209 yards with 4 touchdowns. He was awesome and the Titans employed some of the offensive elements that Mariota used at Oregon. Bottom line: the Bucs stink.

Week 2 against the Browns was a different story. Mariota threw 37 times, completed only 21, threw two touchdowns but was harassed by the Browns defense all day. Cleveland took away the quick hitters in the middle and played more man coverage against the Titans receivers. Because of that, the receivers had difficulty gaining separation which led to Mariota holding onto the ball a bit longer and getting sacked seven times.

Against the Colts in week three, Mariota was really good: 27/44 367 yards 2 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. One of the interceptions wasn’t his fault as the defender hit the receiver and caused the ball to pop into the air. The thing I want to focus on is his poise and accuracy. He doesn’t miss on the short to intermediate throws, often allowing his receivers to run after the catch. He did miss a few long throws, but that’s to be expected. What really caught my eye reviewing the tape was his pocket presence. He moves his feet adeptly within the pocket, steps up when he needs to, but always has his head up looking for receivers.

He knows the playbook and understands where he needs to go with the ball. The one play that stood out to me was: 2nd and 10 at the Colts 21 with 1:45 left in the game, down 8. The Titans line up in shotgun formation with the running back off-set to the right of Mariota. There are three receivers on the left with a lone receiver on the right. The Titans motion one of the receivers to the right side. Pre-snap, the Colts look like they are in a base defense just rushing four linemen. The previous couple of plays, the Colts defense had been playing soft.

At the snap, the Colts drop the right outside lineman/linebacker into coverage and bring a linebacker and safety on a blitz from the left side. Mariota sees it, steps up in the pocket and, as he is about to get tackled, throws it off one foot to Dorial Green-Beckham who was running across the field.

I have always had an affinity for the running quarterback. Read my History of the Running QB article. I drafted both Tyrod Taylor and Marcus Mariota in my super-flex league, so I’m obviously biased.

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With that said, I’m very impressed with Mariota’s game from the pocket. The Titans aren’t relying on the zone-read offense. In fact, Mariota has only rushed five times in three games. During the offseason evaluation process, Mariota stated that he wanted to emulate Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers. Remember people, he’s doing all of this with Harry Douglas, Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker as his primary pass catchers.

Through three games, Mariota is the sixth ranked quarterback in fantasy football. He’s scored one less fantasy point than Carson Palmer. Has he topped out? I say no.

Dorial Green-Beckham is a beast at 6’ 6” 225 lbs. The Titans are already utilizing him in red zone packages. Over time, he could be that element that takes the top off the defense, with Wright and Walker doing damage in the middle. Mariota is going to run and those fantasy goodies will accrue for owners.

Mariota has proven that he can throw the ball with accuracy so teams cannot play zone all the time. What the Cleveland game showed was that bringing pressure while playing man coverage behind could be the way to give him trouble. The problem with that is if Mariota breaks the pocket, there will be huge amounts of real estate to run. Obviously, defensive coordinators will mix it up but I think pressure with man coverage behind will become more prevalent. That will expose the defense to quarterback runs and explosive plays in the passing game.

VERDICT

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You can follow Stan on Twitter.

  1. WillisReid says:
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    Mariota doesn’t have nearly the talent Winston has to work with, making what he’s done even more impressive. I’m 3-0 with him as my starting QB.

    Do you think he starts using his legs more as the season moves along?

    Do you think DGB becomes more of a weapon for him at some point this year?

    • WillisReid says:
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      You kinda answered those questions already. But I guess I’m looking for a timeline. As in will their be improvement on a week to week basis?

      • Son

        Son says:
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        @WillisReid: I’m sure there will be improvement from week to week. Mariota looks to have the mental acumen to decipher and adjust, so it really depends on what defenses present to him and how they change up from week to week.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @WillisReid: I agree 100%. I think he uses his legs more as the season goes on and I think DGB becomes a big weapon for him. He’s already beasting in the red zone. I think it’s going to be interesting to see the chess match that will unfold between defensive coordinators and Mariota.

  2. Tehol Beddict says:
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    i think I saw a tyrod Taylor mention in there

  3. Dom B says:
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    Flex this week Jonathan Stewart or keenan allen or gio bernard or steve smith Sr or john brown

    Also best QB play this week Eli Manning or Phillip Rivers or I could pickup Tyrod Taylor or Andy Dalton.. can you list the qbs in order Who do I drop for who or keep team

  4. UltraKzilla says:
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    I’m considering dropping Boldin for DGB, thoughts?

    14tm .5 ppr start 3wr. I have D Thomas, AJ green, Boldin, Martavis and Rishard. Not much on the ww available and I have plenty rb for my flex.

    If I keep Boldin, start him or Matthews?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @UltraKzilla: I’m picking up DGB myself. See lots of potential there, but may not be a consistent fantasy contributer. Will have to see how it shakes out. Titans are on a bye this week though. I think you have to go with Matthews over Boldin.

  5. Barker says:
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    10 team 1/2 ppr

    Are tevin coleman and davante adams droppable ?

    My rbs d murray gore blount mathews m jones coleman
    My wrs cooks a robinson garcon adams

    Best available on wire karlos williams and marvin jones also available vereen crowell cj2k dgb

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Barker: I’d drop Coleman for Karlos Williams for sure. I like Adams for the long haul. I like DGB for later in the season as well. Marvin can help you now. Comes down to your personal preference.

  6. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    I’ve got yet another Karlos Williams question. I picked him up after week 1, then dropped him last week for Matt Jones. I actually still consider Matt Jones superior to Karlos so my problem was that I didn’t drop someone else for Jones last week. Now I’ve got to make the tough decision of whom to drop for Karlos and what kind of FAAB bid to submit.

    10 team league, standard scoring, RBs are CJ Anderson, L Murray, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah, CJ Spiller, Ronnie Hillman, Matt Jones. I’m pretty much set on dropping Spiller for Williams. Do you agree that’s the best move here? How much FAAB to spend? I mean, if I were dropping garbage I’d be tempted to spend quite a lot but there’s still a reasonable chance Spiller could have similar value to Williams. And I have to drop a RB for him because of max RB limit. Also, I’m 1-2 in this league and I would definitely find a way to fit Williams into my lineup this week if McCoy can’t go.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @RotoLance: I would drop Doug Martin, but he and Spiller are close. It’s a matter of personal preference I believe. In terms of how much to spend, I’d spend alot. What’s been the history of your league mates in the past? How much have they spent? Can you acquire players after the FAAB process? Without knowing anything, I’d probably spend around $60. I always err on the side of overpaying in FAAB. No need to be stingy. You don’t get points for getting the best price value.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Son: I like your last sentence. I say it this way: It’s not what you spend but the player performance that will ultimately matter. And it goes for auction prices as well.

        It hadn’t yet occurred to me to bail on Martin already, but I guess I could see it. I remember when it was me trying to dampen your enthusiasm a little bit by saying, essentially, team quality leading to a bad game script was his big concern and it looks like that was a good call on my part.

        It’s a $100 budget with $0 bids allowed and players that clear waivers hit FA. I think when you said $60 you meant for a $200 budget? I currently have a $29 bid in.

        Predicting the spending in our league is hard. There’s one or two people in my league that will pay any amount for a player they want, like 80% or more of budget. So my approach is to not even really try to compete with that and just consider what the more normal bids might be. This is generally the week I will be the most aggressive with my bids. In weeks 1 and 2 it’s easier to get away with low bids because people will be shy and there’s still a lot of unknown. By this point that strategy is not worth the risk (of losing out) because we don’t know if there will be another CJ Anderson type this year, a late arrival like he was. Which is to say I’m not going to save my money thinking that there will be another guy to emerge late when it might not happen at all.

        So yeah bidding wise it’s much more about the player and what his performance will be. What do you think the time share is going to be like? Ultimately Williams won’t be all that valuable if McCoy returns to full health, right? I mean, if McCoy is healthy is there any real shot that Williams gets the bulk of the carries? To put it another way, how many touches and standard points per game do you see Williams getting with McCoy healthy? I know he’ll beast while McCoy is injured. Although, isn’t there a very real chance that we’ve seen the best 3 games in a row that Buffalo will have offensively? That seems to be something folks aren’t taking into account. *regression alert* the Bills have scored 12 offensive TDs, behind only the Patriots and Cardinals, an average of 4 per game, which is pretty much a record setting pace.

        So bottom line, what will his performance be like?

        • Son

          Son says:
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          @RotoLance: Your preseason call on Dougie was the right one. Props to you.

          When I said $60, that was for a $100 budget. Williams is a beast. Even if McCoy comes back healthy, Williams will be an integral part of the offense. If McCoy misses time due to injury, then Williams is a stud. I usually prefer guys with talent over guys with just opportunity. I pay for upside.

          As for regression, you are probably right as the defense will dominate most games. If that’s the case, then the running game should be more of a factor and provide more opportunities for McCoy and Williams. Personally, I’m a Tyrod believer so Ryan won’t turtle up like when he had Sanchez. As long as Ryan has faith in Tyrod, he will let him do his thing.

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