Fantasy Football For Breakfast – Friday, December 14

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Friday, December 14

Thursday Night Thoughts & Hot Takes

For those checking their lottery tickets, last night’s players were Mike Williams, Damien Williams and maybe Justin Jackson. If you started Tyreek Hill, sorry. If you started Spencer Ware, you are Stephen A. Smith. I think Mahomes and Rivers both underperformed expectations. Neither one had a bad game, they just didn’t have a great game. But how about Mike Williams? It’s been a wild ride for M-Will. If you recall, he comes from the same draft class as guys like Corey Davis, John Ross, Zay Jones, Curtis Samuel and JuJu Smith-Schuster. All those guys, including Williams, are from the 2017 draft class in the first two rounds. There’s some big disparity here but we’ve seen flashes at the very least from every one. The yardage and consistency hasn’t been there yet for Williams, but he now has nine TDs on the year. There’s a certain lanky, long-striding hot mess to the way this guy plays. He’s not a crisp runner. But in the red zone, he’s money. Jump balls, high-pointing it. He’s got that in spades at 6’4″. Williams finished the day with seven catches for 76 yards and TDs plus he took a reverse 19 yards for a TD. That’s 36.5 FPs in PPR. The nine targets he saw was a career-high.

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised by Damien Williams. He’s a low-center of gravity ball-carrier who can contribute around the goal-line. He did that. He has good hands as his 100 career receptions would show. He finished with 49 rush yards and two TDs plus six catches for 74 yards. He doesn’t have game-breaking speed or power. But he’s a good all-around back and showed that. What did surprise me was that Williams was the Chiefs leading receiver. That can’t happen with Travis Kelce and Hill both playing. Look if Antonio Gates has more receiving yards than Tyreek Hill, we’ve got problems.

What’s pretty wild about this game is that the Chiefs definitely got after Rivers but he’s a gamer. He’s shown that throughout his career. The Chiefs had five sacks and 12 QB hits. They knocked down six passes and collected two INTs. That’s a pretty good game if you ask me. Especially for the Chiefs who have struggled to contain their opponents. The difference here is that the Chiefs and Chargers had their best and worst quarters in the first, respectively. And while the fourth wasn’t quite that bad for the Chiefs, the Chargers were surging by the start of the fourth. Los Angeles scored TDs on three of their last four drives.

Here’s name I haven’t mentioned yet: Keenan Allen. He came down hard on his side/hip and left the game in the second quarter. He did not return. He at least had an excuse. I’ve mentioned him a few times but I’m just blown away anytime Tyreek Hill has a bad game. He’s very inconsistent, which can be the kiss of death for Fantasy owners. Hill hasn’t scored a touchdown in his last three games. Two of his point totals over that same stretch are less than 10 PPR pts. Hill has scored at least 32.7 PPR pts in a game four times. That’s nuts. But when he is off his game, he’s OFF.

Definitely have to mention Justin Jackson. Not a great game but a solid game filling in for Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Jackson rushed for 58 yards on 16 carries with a TD, plus three catches for 27 yards. Jackson has gone over 15 PPR pts in two of his last three. It’ll be interesting to see how this backfield shapes up this offseason. Ekeler has one year left on his rookie deal and Gordon had his fifth-year option exercised this past spring. I believe if he’s cut before a certain offseason deadline there is no cap hit so you never know. The Chargers may opt to invest more money in the defense rather than give a big contract to Gordon.

Last but not least, I was disappointed by Travis Kelce. He had an OK game with seven catches for 61 yards. But he needs to be undeniable in games like this. In Week 1, the Chargers held him to one catch for six yards. And if you recall, the Chiefs weren’t hurting offensively that game (they scored 38, Hill had three TDs). The way I look at it is if it’s not Kelce, it’s Hill. Or vice versa. If Damien Williams is leading your team offensively, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Chargers were able to come back late and win this in really exciting fashion.

Let’s talk about the AFC. In Week 10, the Steelers blew out Carolina and it looked like they were the bosses of the AFC. Then the Chiefs put up 51 and lost to the Rams in Week 11 and everybody was assuming that was Part 1 of 2 with the Super Bowl not coming soon enough. Then the Titans reeled off their 8th straight win against the Titans in Monday Night and the Steelers lost and the Chiefs had the week off so Houston briefly held the crown. Then in Week 13, the Chargers took down the Steelers. Then in Week 14, the Pats, Texans and Steelers lost to what I consider bad teams. Now, the Chargers just stuck it to the Chiefs. LAC is on a four-game win streak and in their last two losses, they lost by two points combined. That’s right. One-point losses in each case. They are also the fifth-seed because Kansas City holds a slight edge in win percentage in division games.

Both LAC and KC have clinched playoff berths. Both NO and LAR have cliched their divisions. KC, NE, PIT, HOU & BAL (the other five teams that would be in the playoffs if they started today) are all coming off a loss.

Follow the author of Fantasy Football For Breakfast on Twitter: @mattkdelima

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Tuesday, December 11

Monday Night Thoughts & Hot Takes

I’ve seen some odd games in my day but this one takes the cake. The score was Seattle having a 3-0 lead for a big chunk of the game. Then Seattle scored two TDs in the span of about 18 seconds in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Chris Carson had the best day on paper with 90 rushing yards and a TD. Only one Seahawk player had more than one reception (Tyler Lockett, 5-42). Russell Wilson had a game-breaking 40 yard run and totaled 61 rushing yards but he only had 72 passing yards and one INT.

The Vikings just had no answer for Seattle’s defense. Stefon Diggs (4-76) and Adam Thielen (5-70) were mostly held in check. Dalvin Cook rushed for 55 and he added five catches for 28 yards and a TD. He was the only Vikings player to play up to expectations. Kirk Cousins couldn’t keep this offense on the field. They only converted 2 of 10 third downs. They had scoring opportunities twice in the fourth quarter but turned the ball over when the game was within striking distance. Minnesota didn’t even run a play in Seattle territory until there was five minutes left in the third quarter. Pretty embarrassing display. The Vikings are still the sixth playoff seed but there are three teams right behind him with a 6-7 record. This is not the 2017 team we were all rooting for in the postseason.

The offensive playmakers are there for Minnesota but these sorts of games really expose their mediocrity. If they aren’t banging on all cylinders, this is what they are. Going up a decent defense throws them off and Kirk Cousins has a habit of underperforming in these sorts of national games. It’s really frustrating because Thielen and Diggs are so good but Week 14 was an unfortunate time for them to have an average point output. Dalvin Cook has zero rushing TDs this year (he’s played eight games this year). Going by points per game, Cook is RB26 in PPR leagues. That’s well below where most would’ve had him entering the season. He’s definitely the type of back who is a matchup play or flex play. A better balance may be the answer but the team just doesn’t have the same magic as last season and games like tonight really underscore that. Besides Thielen and Diggs, I’m not too trusting of anybody here. Remember Kyle Rudolph? I don’t think Minnesota does. No TDs since Week 3. Only one game over 50 receiving yards since Week 4. Only averaging four targets per game. The offensive line isn’t getting it done if he’s not running more routes.

That being said, I wouldn’t want to mess with Seattle in the postseason. Their offense is boring but they are in a good place defensively. They play fast, they play downhill. The offense? It’s ultimately why they will eventually lose and not make it to the Super Bowl. A good running game and a diverse set of backs can take you far. But every team has flaws and this team is riddled with flaws on offense. Without Doug Baldwin, this offense goes from good to not very good very quickly.


Monday, December 10

Week 14 Injuries

  • Ben Roethlisberger left the game just before halftime but did return later in the second half with a rib injury.
  • Lamar Jackson missed the final moments of the game due to an ankle injury. X-rays were negative and we’ll see if the Ravens opt for Joe Flacco next week.
  • Seen walking with a limp after the game, Ryan Tannehill injured his right ankle. He said after the game it felt like “crap.”
  • LeSean McCoy left in the first quarter. RB2 Chris Ivory was injured late in the game as well with what looked like a shoulder injury.
  • Jordan Reed sprained his toe/foot early during the Redskins’ game and was unable to return.
  • Jonnu Smith injured his MCL on Thursday night. He’s done for the rest of the season.
  • Austin Ekeler aggravated a stinger injury and will likely need more testing to determine the severity.

First Thoughts

Kudos to George Kittle for catching seven passes for 210 yards and a TD in the FIRST HALF. He somehow didn’t do anything in the second half. With that game, he’s put himself in the conversation as a Top 4 or 5 Fantasy TE next season.

Jared Goff definitely cost people money in their Fantasy leagues and in DFS. He completed just 20 of 44 for 180 yards and FOUR INTs. Yikes! I don’t think you can bench him if he’s carried you this far and you have a shot with him in Week 15.

Fantasy owners, likely in their league’s postseason, had to stomach a meager 8.8 PPR points from Todd Gurley last night. 5.8 in standard scoring.

On the other hand, Christian McCaffrey is cementing his status as a Fantasy difference maker by posting 101 combined yards and two TDs. That’s 12 TDs since Week 8 (seven game span).

Here are some of the RBs who scored TDs this week: Brandon Bolden (2), Kenneth Dixon, Isaiah McKenzie, Trenton Cannon, Damien Williams and James Develin. Who didn’t see that coming, am I right? Speaking of Dixon, he’s averaging 6.0 ypc in his last two games.

If you took a chance on Amari Cooper after his move to Dallas, kudos to you. He rewarded you yesterday with 10 receptions on 13 targets to go along with 217 receiving yards and THREE TDs. For the record, I was poo-pooing the idea of it when he changed teams.

Josh Allen had 101 rushing yards and a TD in Week 14. That’s three straight games with at least 99 rush yards.

Kenyan Drake had six carries on Sunday which makes nine games with eight carries or fewer this season. Luckily for him he scored that Miami Miracle TD to seal the win over the Patriots. Great job by New England putting Gronk on the field there as the last man. I suppose he’s there to knock down hail mary attempts. Also the Pats are now 3-4 on the road. Is Tom Brady eating McDonalds instead of those blueberry smoothies this year?

DeAndre Hopkins only went for 36 yards, his worst total since Week 6.

Jeff Wilson only managed to catch one pass after snagging eight last week. But he did rush for 90 yards on 23 carries. The volume keeps him relevant at least although once Matt Breida returns, Wilson will return to a backup spot in all likelihood. Also why are the 49ers winning football games? Broncos had nothing going in the first half. Same with Oakland. Now the Giants, Raiders and Niners are all 3-10. We’ll see who “wins” the first pick.

I’m still reluctant about re-joining the Jarvis Landry bandwagon. Only four targets, but he caught three of them for 57 yards and a score. Good, but not great. I’m only starting him if I have no other halfway decent options.

Only six teams have a winning record in the NFC: Saints, Rams Bears Cowboys, Seahawks and Vikings. They’re the only teams qualified for the NFC postseason.


Friday, December 7

The Problem With Inconsistency

OK. I’m going to try to not too critical of a guy who just rushed for the 19th-most rushing yards in a single game (Derrick Henry, 238). That’s the highest total since 2016 when Le’Veon Bell rushed for 236 yards against the Bills. Barry Sanders never went for 238. Jim Brown didn’t. Emmitt Smith didn’t. My favorite name from this most yards in a game list is Jerome Harrison (Remember him? Probably not. He went for 286. Crazy.) To add to the craziness, Henry did it in less than 20 carries, 17 to be exact. And he scored four TDs, four others have done that when rushing for 238 or more (Five rush TDs  is the highest from this group. That was by Cookie Gilchrist, way back when in 1963.) Fun fact, Lamar Miller has gone for 97 yards twice once in 2014 and two weeks ago against the Titans in Monday Night Football. Final tidbit from this most rushing yards in a game list: Adrian Peterson is the all-time single game leader with 296 back in 2007. I consider AP to be the GOAT RB of all time. I’m a big believer in the fact that the athleticism of today’s athletes is light years beyond what it was in years past. I say this because if Derrick Henry had the tenacity to run like AP every week, Henry could be something special like AP. Unfortunately, Henry lacks killer instinct. But before I begin ranting about Henry, let’s give him his proper due to some extent. Of course, the highlight of this game besides his yardage and TD totals was Henry’s 99-yard run. That ties Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard run back in 1983. It was a great run and it even reminded me a little bit of Marshawn Lynch’s infamous run against the Saints from some years ago. It’s really crazy to see Henry hit that last gear when guys his size simply don’t have that. His size plus that gear genuinely doesn’t make sense to me. Henry “only” had a 4.54 yard dash back in his combine but he’s 6’3″ and 238 pounds. So why then does Henry continue to underachieve when he’s capable of such brilliance in these small moments???

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to be critical of Henry? Well I lied. So with all those numbers swirling around in our heads, let me bring it all back down to Earth. This sort of GD nonsense, yes I’m calling it GD nonsense, by Derrick Henry is EXACTLY why I’m off his bandwagon and have been since being all-in on him his rookie year. I don’t know what it is but you just can’t trust this guy. Let’s keep throwing context at this this situation. Henry hadn’t rushed for 60 yards all season. His 17 carries in this game is only the third time this season he has had at least 15 carries (18 carries twice in Weeks 2 and 3). So since Week 4, he’s had double-digit carry totals five times including Thursday night and single-digit carry totals five times. How can you trust Henry at this point? Point blank, if you started Henry last night, you got lucky. Plain and simple. Yes, Jacksonville has struggled against the run at times so maybe you pulled the trigger on Henry. The problem is you probably had a good gut feeling about him a half dozen other times and he did jack squat.

Consistency is what separates the great from the good in Fantasy Football and Henry is about as inconsistent as the wi-fi connection in my laundry room. Henry’s inconsistency and this performance tonight, his first 100+ yard game in over a year (last time was Dec. 3, 2017), are not enviable. In PPR scoring, Henry just put up about 50% of his point total up to that point in one night. Depending on your scoring, he’s around 145 FPs on the year. About 48 of which came last night. So before tonight’s explosion Henry was a little worse on a per game average than Theo Riddick, Bilal Powell and Latavius Murray. But do any of those guys have the raw talent like Henry to rush for 238 and four TDs? No they don’t. Not really. And that’s fundamentally my issue. Henry has tremendous potential which has drawn in so many Fantasy owners since he entered the league and he underachieves week after week. Just when you’ve really really finally given up on him and wouldn’t even think about starting him… Boom. 47.8 Fantasy points. Lovely. Just great. Thanks a lot.


Thursday, December 6

Cam Newton may need offseason surgery

Newton is still battling with his throwing shoulder. He describes it as being “healthy enough to play.” Carolina is still in the mix for the playoffs so it’ll probably need to wait until the Panthers are eliminated (or win it all! You never know.)

LIMITED PRACTICE (WED.)

  • QB Cam Newton
  • QB Deshaun Watson
  • QB Joe Flacco
  • QB Matthew Stafford
  • QB Tom Brady
  • RB Joe Mixon
  • RB Josh Adams
  • RB Kenyan Drake
  • WR Bruce Ellington
  • WR Calvin Ridley
  • WR Cole Beasley
  • WR Danny Amendola
  • WR Keke Coutee
  • WR Kenny Golladay
  • WR Pierre Garcon
  • WR Sammy Watkins
  • WR Sterling Shepard
  • TE Evan Engram
  • TE Rob Gronkowski

DID NOT PRACTICE (WED.)

  • RB Isaiah Crowell
  • RB James Conner
  • RB Kerryon Johnson
  • RB Melvin Gordon
  • WR Antonio Brown (coach’s decision)
  • WR DeSean Jackson
  • WR Dontrelle Inman
  • WR Julio Jones
  • WR Michael Thomas
  • WR T.Y. Hilton
  • TE Eric Ebron

WILL NOT PLAY

  • WR A.J. Green (IR, toe)
  • WR D.J. Chark (quad)
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders (IR, Achilles)
  • WR Martavis Bryant (IR, knee)
  • WR Trey Quinn (IR, ankle)
  • TE A.J. Derby (IR, foot)
  • TE Greg Olsen (IR, foot)

FULL PRACTICE, EXPECTED TO PLAY

  • QB Mitchell Trubisky
  • QB Sam Darnold
  • RB Austin Ekeler
  • RB D’Onta Foreman
  • RB Doug Martin
  • RB Gus Edwards
  • WR Jordy Nelson
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • WR Ryan Switzer

Wednesday, December 5

DeSean Jackson (thumb) may be out for year

The Bucs are debating what to do with the recently-turned 32 year old. DJax is frustrated in Tampa Bay, partly due to the emergence of Chris Godwin and the team is divided on what to do with him. He has one year left on his deal ($10M) but he can be safely cut this offseason with no cap hit. The decision seems pretty obvious to me with Godwin performing well. Jackson can get the boot.

Redskins going to sign Josh Johnson

Washington just lost QB Colt McCoy to a broken leg. Johnson, many years ago, was with the Cincinnati Bengals at the same time as Jay Gruden and he also has a long relationship with his brother Jon. Johnson is a non-factor for Fantasy owners. There were rumors about Gruden pursuing Colin Kaepernick but shocker, they aren’t going to get him.

C.J. Anderson headed to Oakland

Anderson joins the Doug Martin and Jalen Richard committee. I wouldn’t bother sparing a roster spot for Anderson.

D’onta Foreman activated by Texans

With Lamar Miller performing relatively well these last few weeks, this a slight surprise. But don’t be surprised if Foreman outperforms Miller here and there. If you have the roster space, I’d handcuff Foreman to Miller.

Bills waive Kelvin Benjamin

I won’t pile on because people have been rooting against this guy for quite some time. But I had to jump off the sympathy train when he threw Cam Newton under the bus then acted like a punk when Cam came to see him before practice to try to squash it. KB, bruh, look inward. The problem is you.

Malcolm Brown out for year

Brown broke his collarbone. The handcuff to Gurley is now either Justin Davis or John Kelly. Good luck figuring out who will see more playing time.

Greg Olsen done for season

Olsen requires foot surgery after re-injuring a previous issue. He will be placed on IR soon.

Kareem Hunt has multiple off-field incidents

Many are expecting his suspension to include 2019 games in addition to 2018. It’s been real KH.

Steelers opting for RB committee

Jaylen Samuels is a promising rookie but he doesn’t even have 20 touches to his young career yet. They want to get Stevan Ridley (yeah, remember him?) some work as well. They’ll stick with the hot hand. James Conner has already been ruled out for Week 14.

Chris Carson on track to play

Mitch Trubisky still likely to play


Monday, December 3

Week 13 Injuries

  • A.J Green re-injured his toe injury that sidelined him for three games. That might be it for Green for the 2018 season. Tyler Boyd will continue to carry the load and this is a small boost for John Ross and C.J. Uzomah.
  • Greg Olsen ruptured his plantar fascia in his right foot, which is the same foot that cost him three games this year and nine games in 2017. Rookie TE Ian Thomas is the man now, dog!
  • He only briefly left the game, but Rob Gronkowski took a big hit and needed a minute on the sideline. We’ll see if anything comes of it.
  • Matt Breida continues to battle an ankle injury that hasn’t been right for him all season. Rookie RB Jeff Wilson handled the bulk of the work.
  • Matthew Stafford sustained an unknown injury and the team did not comment on what the problem was. I guess we’ll find out eventually.
  • James Conner suffered a lower leg contusion. Rookie RB Jaylen Samuels is the likely starter in Week 14. Ryan Switzer is in concussion protocol.

Week 13 Reflections & Hot Takes

Christian McCaffrey was at it again. He rushed for 106 yards on just 10 carries and added in nine receptions for 55 yards and a TD. We all knew he was going to have a big year but seeing him do it on the field has been fun.

Speaking of fun pass-catchers out of the backfield, it was a big Tarik Cohen week . He went nuts in PPR formats catches 12 passes for 156 yards and rushing for 30 yards. And just to keep you on your toes, he threw a TD pass to Anthony Miller. When you have boom or bust players like Cohen, you have to live and die by their success. This week he did right by Fantasy owners.

This guy Todd Gurley, you might’ve heard of him. He had a great day as well by rushing for 132 yards and two TDs and also had three receptions for 33 yards.

One of the biggest performers was Travis Kelce as he caught 12 passes for 168 yards and two TDs. Adios Kareem Hunt. We’ll see if Kelce finishes strong with these targets opening up in the Chiefs’ offense. Speaking of which, expectations were crazy high for Spencer Ware and he didn’t really do diddily. He rushed for 47 yards and a TD and caught one pass for five yards. That’s decent but many experts had him as a Top 10 back.

For the fourth straight week, Keenan Allen found the end zone. On top of that he had his best day of the season with 14 catches for 148 yards. Huge numbers in his 1 vs 1 against Antonio Brown. The Chargers won and Allen had the bigger day, if only slightly.

AB caught 10 passes for 154 yards and a score. JuJu Smith-Schuster disappointed Fantasy owners only catching six passes for 49 yards. They can’t all be monster weeks.

Some of the guys who disappointed me this week were Andrew Luck (Colts lost 6-0), David Johnson (8.2 PPR on 21 touches), Jared Goff had just 8.1 points, Julio Jones only scoring 3.8 PPR is a crime against humanity. Some other notable names who fell short in Week 13 were David Njoku, Sony Michel, Trey Burton, Marlon Mack and Tyreek Hill, just to name a few. This isn’t an exhaustive list.

Jeff Driskel leading the way didn’t look pretty. As much grief Andy Dalton has received over the years, he’s a solid QB and the team isn’t the same without him.

Mike McCarthy probably stayed one season too many with the Packers. It is what it is.

Panthers on a four-game losing streak and you have to wonder who between D.J. Moore, Devin Funchess and Curtis Samuel is going to emerge to carry this passing attack with Greg Olsen out and furthermore, Olsen could retire this offseason.

I’m not sure why the Giants are playing for wins right now. I’ll never understand why some really bad teams don’t just roll over to get the better pick. I suppose it’s a pride thing where the team doesn’t want to quit and wants to play the spoiler. Kudos to them for fighting. It just makes me scratch my head as somebody fancying himself a GM.

Jarvis Landry finally showed a pulse by catching six passes for 103 yards. Still think he’s a bust this season. Not sure there’s enough room in the short and intermediate area for him and Njoku to co-exist.

The Cardinals need to trade David Johnson or find an OC who knows how to use him. If one of those two things doesn’t happen this offseason, I can only assume the team’s management is living in denial. Johnson is officially a Fantasy bust.


Friday, November 30

Rob Gronkowski added to injury report

Gronk is still healing from ankle and back injuries. He got in a limited session on Thursday. If you have any temptation to start somebody else, you disappoint me.

Emmanuel Sanders added to injury report

Sanders was only a limited participant as he’s dealing with a heel issue. He’s still a PPR darling. Consistent but rarely game-breaking.

Marlon Mack gets in full practice

Mack exited concussion protocol and got a full practice in. I thought he was slowly warming up until his concussion. I do think he’s the best back on the team by a healthy margin. You just have to keep throwing him out there into your starting lineup unless you have a couple legit studs on your roster ahead of him.

Kenny Stills says he can’t throw the ball to himself

“I couldn’t tell you exactly why I’m not getting more targets. I can tell you I’m getting open,” Stills said. “There are other guys open on plays, too, that aren’t getting hit. … I can’t throw the ball to myself.” Stills has a whopping six catches since Week 5 when Ryan Tannehill went out.

Chris Thompson poised to return

CT has only played one game since Week 5 and he didn’t do much of anything in it. When he’s healthy, he can put up a half dozen receptions easily. It just hasn’t been a good year for him at all. I’d give him a shot in PPR formats, especially if I’ve been holding out for him to return all this time.

Stefon Diggs expected to play

Diggs has been dinged up most of the year but he’s got a TD in each of his last three games while going for 100+ yards in nearly half of his performances this year (four times out of ten). You’d think a knee injury would slow him down but he’s been very effective all year.

Thursday Night Football Hot Takes

Cowboys 13 – Saints 10

Sometimes there is a result in the NFL that seems so improbable that just by the fact that it did happen makes you wonder why you thought it was so improbable at all in the first place. Are the Saints the greatest team ever? Of course not. Are the Cowboys the worst ever? Well… OK no they aren’t. The Fantasy Football community (mostly myself, but also plenty of people) all guffawed at the fact that the Cowboys traded a first round pick for Amari Cooper. And not that he’s solely responsible for the results since then, but since he’s arrived Dallas is 4-1 with four straight wins.

New Orleans started the season with a somewhat fluky loss to the Tampa Bay then reeled off 10 straight wins. They won big games against the Rams, the Vikings and smashed the Eagles in a prime time game. Dallas on the other hand has just been stout on defense and mostly balanced on offense. Nothing flashy per se beyond the fact that it was working. Now where are we at? The guys who got you here still have to be your studs. You really can’t count on anybody from Dallas, can you? Except Zeke, right? Let’s recap quickly:

If you have Dak Prescott, I wouldn’t start him. If you need 250 pass yards and a TD pass, he’s your guy. The rushing TDs make him a less bitter pill to swallow but he’s still a high-end QB2 statistically. Ezekiel Elliott is a stud and he’s no-brainer every week. Amari Cooper is turning it around and he’s maybe a flex play if you’re in need. Cole Beasley and Michael Gallup aren’t worth the trouble and the Dallas TE situation remains as unsavory as it was before the season began.

And what’s so strange about last night’s result is that the Saints basically have the opposite problem but they just didn’t show up. That doesn’t mean it should affect your lineup strategy even one iota moving forward. Drew Brees? Fantasy stud. Alvin Kamara? Stud. Mark Ingram? Maybe not a slam dunk this year but two weeks ago he had back to back games with 100+ yards. Michael Thomas? Stud. Tre’Quan Smith? OK he’s very boom or bust so I would understand why you give him a chance. Ben Watson? Quietly vanishing like Marty McFly in a Polaroid picture over the last month.

Now that you’re relatively uncomfortable with how often I’ve been calling these guys studs, let’s revisit the so-called media narratives around these teams. The Saints have been the toast of the town yet a month ago, we were asking if the Cowboys were going to be completely dismantled starting with their head coach. Now, the narrative has knee-jerked in the other direction and we’re probably undervaluing the Saints and overvaluing the Cowboys. Does anybody want to face the Saints in the postseason, especially in their house? Exactly.

Defense made all the difference here. Should go without saying if you saw the game. Brees wasn’t himself and it trickled down to the rest of the offense and the Cowboys deserve tons of credit for implementing that strategy to keep him off-kilter. What’s even crazier is that Prescott was sacked seven times. SEVEN! Dallas lost two fumbles. TWO! Yet the Cowboys eeked it out. Yet this was the lowest point total for the Saints in three seasons and it was Dallas who won it in the end. Dallas iced it with a late and unlikely INT, only the third Brees INT this season.

I wouldn’t let this game ruffle your feathers too much. I definitely already preferred Brees at home. For example, I have a team with Jared Goff and Brees and I went with Goff based mostly on the fact the Saints weren’t at home and on a short week. Brees’ home-away split is 20 TDs and one INT at home and 10 TDs and two INTs on the road.

Bottom line, I’m still going to be leaning on my Saints players to carry me forward nine times out of ten. You don’t have much other choice this time of year. A star-aligning second option like me having Goff as a backup isn’t usually the case so don’t do anything rash.

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Matt De Lima
About Matt De Lima 13 Articles
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