Three overtime games, no ties! I’m the least OCD person you’ll ever meet. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a dirty person. Do I miss the laundry basket from time to time? Sure. But, the dishes get done, the rooms get cleaned, etc etc. One thing that I am OCD about is team records with ties in it. Thet say that ties are like kissing your sister but apparently there is a corner of the internet that is into that, but I haven’t found people that are into ties. Maybe I’m just not into 3rd columns. This could be one of the reasons that I never got into watching soccer or hockey. It makes me cringe when I see the standings. Don’t even ask me to look at the NFC or AFC North standings, woof. It makes the standings look messy and it upsets me that these teams couldn’t figure it out in 70 minutes. If one of the four teams that already has a tie in this young season ends up in another tie this season I will be beside myself. How do you figure out playoff scenarios for teams with TWO (2) ties? I don’t have to worry about it for now so there is no reason to get too stressed out about it. Let’s talk about some games, shall we?
I’ve found something worse than a tie. It’s driving 3 hours to watch your favorite team lose by 38 points. Mitch Trubisky had a career day on Sunday against Tampa Bay’s defense. Let’s not get carried away with picking up Mitch Trubisky on the waiver wire. Tampa Bay can’t generate a pass rush and the secondary literally has no idea what it’s doing. I can’t remember a play from yesterday where somebody wasn’t left completely wide open. Trubisky only completed 19 passes for an average of 18.6 yards per completion.
I do think that Matt Nagy is a good coach that is creating a great scheme for this offense. Nagy used a heavy dose of Tarik Cohen to exploit Tampa’s weaknesses of picking up running back passing routes. Cohen led the team in targets and rushes on Sunday. It was a slow day for Jordan Howard, but I wouldn’t look too much into it. Taylor Gabriel took full advantage of Anthony Miller’s absence and caught all 7 of his targets for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
On the Tampa side of the ball, there wasn’t too much to be excited about. It looks like the reign of Ryan Fitzpatrick has ended. Fitzpatrick is back to not being decisive in the pocket and making poor throws. I fully believe that Jameis Winston will be the starting quarterback when Tampa comes out of their bye week in week 6. I also think that Ronald Jones will become more and more involved in the this offense as the season goes on. Jones outpaced Peyton Barber by 3 carries on Sunday. Although it wasn’t an eye-popping performance from Jones, he had a couple of nice runs and it was much better than what we saw out of him in the preseason. Cameron Brate is back to being a top-20 tight end. Jameis threw his first touchdown of the season to Brate late in the game. O.J. Howard’s injury isn’t thought of as serious, but if he were to miss anytime, Cameron Brate is a top-10 TE play.
There was a lot to take away from Baltimore on the offensive side of the ball. The first thing is that Joe Flacco should continue to play as well as he’s playing. He loves targeting John Brown and his tight ends. He is a completely different quarterback when he has pieces around him. Another thing that I like about the Raven’s is their exotic play calling. The package where they bring in Lamar Jackson is fun and it’s also interesting to watch where they are lining up tight ends and running backs on any given play. Even though these plays don’t always work, it keeps the defense on it’s toes.
I’m not sure that Alex Collins will hold much value going forward. After his fumble around the goal line, he didn’t see very many snaps inside of Pittsburgh’s territory. Collins was still used in the second half and saw a handful more carries, but Javorius Allen looked better running the ball. Javorius Allen was on the field for the last two series when Baltimore was running the clock out. Buck may not be the most talented back in the league or maybe even on his own team, but he should see the vast majority of the goal line work going forward and that’s not a bad gig when you play in an offense that scores a moderate amount of points.
Pittsburgh just couldn’t get anything going. I think that not having Le’Veon Bell on the field is hurting them more than people realize. Seriously, we can stop pretending that slotting in James Conner is a reasonable replacement for Le’Veon Bell’s production. When you don’t have to scheme against one of the best running backs in football you can shift your focus to scheming against the best wide receiver in football. You’re never going to completely be able to take Antonio Brown out of the game, but by double teaming him all game and leaving it up to Vance McDonald and JuJu Smith-Schuster to pick up the slack, you can vastly limit the damage.
Speaking of limiting damage, there is not much that you can do to keep the Saints from scoring 30 points. Michael Thomas had a slow day at the office and that opened things up for Alvin Kamara to score three touchdowns. This offense will be even scarier with Mark Ingram returning next week. With the 1-2 punch back in the backfield next week, I don’t think we will see 12-15 catch games from Michael Thomas anymore but he will still be a WR1 play who will see big play and red zone opportunities each week.
I’m actually really happy with all of my Saquon Barkley shares. He has 3 touchdowns through the first four weeks and the game that he didn’t score a touchdown, he still caught 14 passes for 80-some yards. Whether it is healthy for the Giants or not, he is the center of this offense and that’s great for Barkley owners. Now is not the time to panic about Odell Beckham Jr. He wasn’t able to score on Sunday, but he still paced the team with 11 targets on Sterling Shephard’s break out day.
There is a lot to unpack here and it’s a game that I will probably watch a couple of times on Game Pass. Baker Mayfield is the answer in Cleveland, that is clear. But, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be full of costly mistakes. After all, he is a rookie. Antonio Callaway saw nine targets and that should continue to happen while he works out his kinks. He is an explosive player and almost found the end zone in the 4th quarter. Jarvis Landry found the end zone but wasn’t able to do much else. This might be a good buy-low opportunity if you need a solid WR2. Nick Chubb is showing why the Browns took him in the second round. Chubb found the end zone twice and went for over 100 yards on 3 carries. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees 10 or more carries next week.
I made a mistake not taking Marshawn Lynch anywhere. He was so cheap for a volume back that can get you 15 fantasy points and not even score a touchdown. Amari Cooper is so hard to predict, but I don’t think that you can leave him out of your lineup anymore. He’s most likely going to see double digit targets every week. Jared Cook has been great for Derek Carr this year as well and deserves weekly TE1 consideration in all formats. Also, this is the second week in a row that Jordy Nelson has scored. He was probably in a lot of lineups this week and it paid off. I think now is the time to sell on Jordy if you can get any kind of worthwhile return, but otherwise I don’t think there is any way that you can sit him in 3-WR leagues or 12 team leagues with a flex spot.
Since I was at a stadium yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to watch a bunch of games so we are going to wrap up after this fifth and final game. We need to talk about the Patriot’s backfield. Your chances of buying low on Sony Michel have passed. Sony carried the ball 25 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. Sony does have a cap on his value in PPR because James White will be handling most of the pass catching duties. Still, for what you probably paid for Michel in any format? Well worth it. With Rex Burkhead being out of the picture, the roles in this backfield are not left up to interpretation anymore. That means that you can comfortably put James White in your line up every week as well in PPR.
Josh Gordon caught both of his targets for 32 yards and I think that as the season continues, Gordon’s role will significantly grow. With Julian Edelman coming back next week, the odd man out has to be Chris Hogan. He was a waste of a speculative mid-round draft pick, but you can’t nail them all, otherwise fantasy football would get boring. I’m not sure what to tell you what to do with Rob Gronkowski. I didn’t draft him anywhere. I’m sure that he will be fine, but this is not the kind of start that owners were hoping for after spending a lot of draft capital.
The Miami Dolphins are wasting Kenyan Drake. Admittedly, I haven’t seen a ton of Dolphins games but giving Frank Gore more carries isn’t the answer. If you want to get the most out of a talented running back, multiple weeks of single digit carries isn’t the answer. It’s a shame to see Kenny Stills wasted by Ryan Tannehill. I still like Stills a lot, he and Albert Wilson paced the Dolphins with 6 targets a piece.
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