Written by Craig Talley. The unofficial old man of the group on the Fantasy Life App. You can find me on FL App @Slymsuknhogs or on Twitter @cbtalley
I’m going to have to open my special file, “the Good”, the “Bad”, and the “Ugly”
…………I know it's really early in the season for this, but it must be done.
So you’re the Pittsburgh Steelers, great tradition of winning, you’ve got your #1 RB back from injury and looking great again, you’ve got the #1 WR in the league, your O-line is finally healthy, and as always, you’re being led by ole reliable, Big Ben and he’s gonna…..SNAP. Why does it seem like this always happens right when you think the Steelers have it all put together? The only salvation here is the Browns and Bengals are horrible and the Ravens probably won’t hold up against the schedule they have left, so winning the division is still possible. But these next few weeks, oh these next few weeks, starting this week with the still pissed off Patriots coming to town, are going to be Ugly.
While we’re on the subject of Ugly, paging Carolina’s Defense, Carolina’s Defense please pickup a white courtesy phone. It’s become kind of a tradition for the Super Bowl losing team to not make the playoffs the following year, but wow. The same defense that was top 3 over the last few years has now given up over 450 passing yards in each of the past 2 games. Are you telling me Josh Norman meant THAT much to this group?
I was going to list some Good items, but I’m a on roll, so let’s keep going. Drew Brees throws for over 450 yards and 4 touchdowns and yet somehow the Saints needed a “as time expires” field goal to win their game? Ugly.
Quick stat review: 2015 saw this team go 14-2, win their Division, and average over 27 points a game. This year, the same team is barely averaging 18 points a game and has only delivered wins over the likes of the Dolphins and Jets on the way to a 2-4 record. Who am I? The Bengals. The interesting thing is that AJ Green is on pace or 1,600 yards, so it’s not on him. Believe it or not, Cincinnati misses Tyler Eifert more than anyone probably expected. Why? Gio, Jeremy, and AJ are all on pace to nearly match last year’s yardage production. What they’re missing is Eifert’s ability around the goal line. Last year he had 13 TD’s and the Bengals had a Red Zone efficiency of 65%. This year, that number has fallen to a mere 42%. I’ll be kind and say this goes in the “Bad” file and uh Cincinnati, next year is Eifert’s contract year, so stand by, I’m sure his agent has access to a lot more analytics than I do.
Eifert’s situation leads me to my next point. Unless your name is Gronk, Olsen, Reed, or Graham TE’s have pretty much been marginalized. Gronk is averaging around 130 yards a game, Olsen gets just over 100, Graham around 70, and Reed just a bit over 60 yards per game. The other TE’s in the league hover around 32 yards a game. In this pass happy NFL, it tells me defenses have gotten so much more athletic and offenses are using the TE as another O-lineman to protect their QB. In the fantasy football world we always hear about waiting on a TE, if this doesn’t prove that, you’re not listening. This one goes in the “Bad” file.
Last one for the Ugly file, promise. How much longer will the Colts put up with Chuck Pagano and his idiotic coaching choices? The Colts were on the road, needing a win, up 13-9 late in the third quarter and it’s fourth down with less than a yard to go inside the Texan’s 5. So what does Chuck do? He goes from the shotgun to throw a timing pass. Wow, nothing could go wrong with that huh? Big surprise, WR was covered because the DB figured it out and jumped the route, then protection broke down and Luck was thrown for a 4 yard loss. Seriously, you’re on the road, YOU KICK THE FIELD GOAL CHUCK; take the points. And of course, it comes back to haunt them. Up 23-9 with less than 7 minutes left in the game they allow Houston to score 14 points and send it into overtime, where they lose. If I’m Chuck, I’d be very nervous after the week 9 game, those bye weeks can be a bitch for coaches on the brink.
Did you hear the Patriots had trouble communicating with their coach’s headsets? Yeah, neither did they. Wait, isn’t it usually the visiting team that has this problem in Foxboro? Some equipment guy must have mixed up the headsets and mislabeled them. Ah oh, Pats are gonna fire another equipment guy. #Bosegate
Ok, I’ve ranted enough, time to bring out the “Good” file!
So I’ve been out front saying that I think Brady has a picture of Goodell in his locker and we all know why, but now it looks like the football gods may have that same picture, or maybe they just have a good sense of humor. Brady’s first big game was going to be next week against the Steelers and then Big Ben gets his knee messed up on what looked to be a simple grab of his foot, coincidence? Looks like the Patriots are going to be 7-1 going in to their bye week with Seattle up after that.
Speaking of second place in the AFC East, all the Bills have done since firing their offensive coordinator is go 4-0, score 124 points (31 per game), shut out New England, all while averaging about 140 yards rushing per game. Now can it last?
While the Chargers and Dolphins won games they weren’t expected to win (Good for them), I think there were two other games that were more impressive. First was Dallas going into Lambeau and crushing the Packers. Zeke and Dak and the ‘Boys ran through them, they passed over them, they owned them. And Aaron Rodgers has become a very pedestrian QB. There, I said it. And I’m sure most of you have at least thought it. He’s not protecting the ball, his accuracy has fallen apart, but there’s a third issue. I’m not sure if he just doesn’t really like the offense or if he and Mike McCarthy aren’t on the same page, but there’s just too many times when something doesn’t go per plan and Aaron’s expression tells you something isn’t right. The second game was Kansas City’s win in Oakland. 16-2, that’s Andy Reid’s record after a bye week. That’s amazing and definitely going in the “Good” file. After a quick look at the remaining schedule, it also bodes well for Chiefs ROS.
Week 7 – bye
Week 8 – New Orleans
Week 9 – bye
Week 10 – Indianapolis
Week 11 – bye
Week 12 – Jacksonville
Looks like Andy’s time on the management committee finally paid off.
Now get off my yard