NFL Week 9 Hot Takes
Howard Bender offers up some hot takes on what went down during the Week 7 NFL games and how you should interpret for fantasy football purposes.
Remember the horror show that was Week 4 this season? Well if that was a horror show, then Week 9 is a veritable crime scene. Fantasy blood everywhere. At one of the most crucial points of the fantasy football season, we were, once again, smacked in the face with reality and now, if you’re on the bubble of your league’s playoff picture, you’re going to need one heck of a recovery. Yeesh! So many teams in such desperate need for change; it’s got me shaking my head on a regular basis. Here’s a look at what’s sticking in my craw this week.
Matt Nagy Needs to Go and Take Mitchell Trubisky with Him
At what point does “clever and innovative” wear out? How about when it takes you almost 30 minutes of football to record a first down? How about when your offense NETS nine total yards on 20 plays in one half of football? How about after four-straight losses that you were never really in it enough to win it? Wipe away all the trickery and the pre-snap motion and all you have is a basic game-plan that isn’t fooling anyone. Call for one more bubble-screen, please. Just one more. Run it up the gut with a 5-foot-6, 190-lb guy who looks like he was birthed by Darren Sproles . They’ll never see that coming. And in addition to an overly-elaborate playbook to eschews the fundamentals required to actually win a game, you’ve got a quarterback who, literally (and I mean this in the millennial sense of figuratively), couldn’t pass his way out of a paper bag. Why are you 3-5 on the year? Maybe because your quarterback has no field of vision and just five touchdown passes six games? The days of thinking Nagy is some offensive guru are over and the Bears, if they want to win, need to move on to someone who coaches actual football and not fake their way through it with a bunch of smoke and mirrors. A change at the helm is needed and once that happens, they can stop trying to pretend they didn’t make one of the biggest draft mistakes of all time in 2017.
Fade Christian McCaffrey and You Will Lose
Pretty obvious, isn’t it? McCaffrey averages just under 26 touches per game, has five 100-yard rushing efforts, two games with double-digit receptions, three with more than 60 receiving yards, six games of 30 fantasy points or more and 13 touchdowns in eight games this season. That’s just ridiculous. Ridiculous. Norv Turner said he will not stop feeding this guy the ball and while skeptics out there continue to say he’s too undersized and you can’t keep giving him this many touches, Turner says, “Up yours. Stop him and I’ll reconsider.” OK, maybe I’m making that quote up, but I’ll bet that’s what he’s thinking. This week in DFS, it was either McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook . If you chose to spend the extra money for McCaffrey, you’re probably swimming through stacks of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck. If you went with Cook, not so much, so lesson learned, right?
Mike Zimmer and Kevin Stafanski Didn’t Get the Memo
And speaking of an under-performance by Cook, who carried the ball 21 times for 71 yards and caught four passes for another 45, what the heck are Zimmer and Stefanski thinking? You’ve got one of the top running games in all of football going up against one of the absolute worst run defenses and you open the game with three-straight pass attempts (all incomplete) to open the game? Really? Then on the next series you hand the ball to Cook once, throw another incompletion and then run the ball with Ameer Abdullah , the ultimate tomato can? WTF? This isn’t rocket science, boys. Stick with what wins and running all over soft, squishy defenses is what wins. Maybe Cook saw 21 carries but it was already too late. The winning formula was thrown away and the Vikings let Matt Moore beat them. Disgusting.
The Patriots Have Been Exposed
Yup! That’s right! Alert the media! Tell all your friends! If you own the Patriots defense, you better put them on the trading block right now before they lose any more value. They gave up 37 points to the Ravens and let Lamar Jackson run all over them. They’re done. That easy early-season schedule got them all hyped up and when they finally face a quality opponent, they get punched in the mouth. It’s time to move on.
For those not picking up on the sarcasm, no, you don’t trade the Patriots defense. Look, this is fantasy football we’re talking about. Who gives a crap if the schedule was soft to open the season? If you were able to take advantage of that, you’re a winner. Who cares what happened this week? The Patriots defense logged you some serious points this season and that train, while momentarily derailed by the Ravens, is still very much headed for Fantasy Champion Station. They head into their bye and then over the next four weeks, the Pats D will be like any other defense. They have four tough opponents to face and they may not give you the 20-spot you’re used to getting each week, but in Weeks 15 and 16 – your fantasy football semi-finals and championship – they have the Bengals and the Bills. If you play to Week 17, it’s the Dolphins after that. Put the pin back in that panic grenade you’re about to throw and relax.
Adam Vinatieri Should Retire
We’re done here, right? Come on. This isn’t like watching Kyrie Irving dress up like Uncle Drew and dominating a bunch of kids. This is like watching Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta stepping into the ring together 40 years later in the dumbest movie of all time. The field goal percentage has declined every year since 2014 and after being one of the most reliable in the business, he’s also now missed five extra-points in just 19 attempts. This guy went from missing one extra-point every three years to now missing five this season alone. Wind or no wind, he wasn’t even close when he missed the game-winner and yes, fine, the laces were facing him and the holder should be vilified, but still, we’re done here. The career is over and Vinatieri needs to just quietly ride off into the sunset like he was contemplating in Week 2. Buh-bye.
When All Seems Lost, Call Russell Wilson
I include this not because I think you all need to understand that Wilson is the guy you want leading your team down the field with the game on the line. I think you get that. No, this is more about cementing it into your head that when you do all your analysis and break down all the games’ potential flow and it leads you to Russell Wilson , you f***in stay with Russell Wilson . I made him the cover boy for the Week 9 DFS Watch List because back on Tuesday, he was popping off the freakin’ page to me. I spent all week building lineups around Wilson and then what happened…? I became a total idiot and went against everything I have learned and preached about DFS and got greedy. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. I say it all the time. I forgot everything I learned and tried building lineups with Tyler Lockett , Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin . I tried squeezing in Aaron Jones and Stefon Diggs . I pissed on all my research and, to be honest, I have no clue why. This was bad form on my part and I won’t ever make this mistake again. When my model smacks me in the face and says play Russell Wilson , I will play Russell Wilson .
Who Leads the Lions Backfield is Irrelevant
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Now allow me to put my Captain Obvious cape on….over my J.D. McKissic jersey, that is…and remind you that the Lions backfield doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. And it’s not because Ty Johnson is a piece of garbage and shouldn’t be a lead back. It’s because Matt Patricia and Darrell Bevell are liars. They can say they want to be run-first all they want. The proof is in the carries. Take away Matthew Stafford ’s three rushes and the Lions ran the ball 17 times all game. Yeah, 17. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had 28 rushing attempt all by himself. Patricia and Bevell abandon the run faster than anyone else. Seriously. And it’s not about the personnel because Kerryon Johnson dealt with a limited workload because of it too. Stop telling us you need to run the ball more and then turn out another debacle like this. Anything you’ve spent on the Lions backfield this season is already too much.
The Jets May Have Lost to the Dolphins But At Least They’re Not the Redskins
Listen, if you didn’t see the Jets losing this game, then you need to adjust your way of thinking. After beating the Cowboys and looking like a completely different team from what most Jets fans are used to, they got smacked in the mouth by the Patriots and the front office panicked. So did Adam Gase, whose ineptitude at calling plays, helped seal this team’s fate with a loss to the Jaguars. Leonard Williams was traded to the Giants and then the team put Le’Veon Bell, Robby Anderson , Jamal Adams and a slew of others on the trade market. So you tell me – if you’re down in Miami, your coach sucks and you know the team just tried to sell you off, what are you going to do? You’re going to party all night, enjoy your time in the Magic City and not give a crap about work on Sunday. And that’s exactly what we saw. But a few tweaks of personnel here and there and we can rebuild this. There’s still hope. The Redskins, on the other hand are going absolutely nowhere with Dan Snyder calling the shots. Nowhere. So yes, it may sound lame, but my silver lining is that at least the Jets aren’t the Redskins…
…or the Browns
What’s worse? Having some bug-eyed freak leading a star running back and no one else down the toilet or a team sitting with superstars like Nick Chubb , Odell Beckham , Jarvis Landry , Myles Garrett , Olivier Vernon , Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and can’t put together a winning season? Freddie Kitchens is in way over his head and this team is in dire need of a coaching overhaul. And maybe a quarterback who is more concerned with improving his crappy accuracy rating than he is about his personal image. This isn’t the 70s, Baker, and you certainly are nowhere near being Broadway Joe.
Minshew Mania is Dead
Speaking of the 70s, it’s time to put away the disco clothes and shave that cheesy porn ‘stache. It’s done and it’s over. Minshew Mania is a thing of the past as you will all see come Week 11. Over the bye week, the Jaguars will activate Nick Foles from IR and, more than likely re-insert him as the starting QB. Look, Minshew had some serviceable moments, but he’s just not the passer Foles is. Only twice did he manage over 300 yards and four times, he failed to pass for more than 215. The Texans had little issue with Jacksonville because they focused on stopping Leonard Fournette and, even with the most putrid of secondaries, dared Minshew to beat them through the air. While he tossed for 309 yards, he never even got them close to getting back in this game. And worst of all, D.J. Chark ’s numbers suffered and that is likely to get me a pie in the face again this week.
Unless of course, Amari Cooper decides not to show up for Monday Night Football. Fingers crossed!