Let’s all just exhale a bit… Week 9 was so annoying… Whether you dealt with injuries, Julio dropping a wide open TD catch, A.J. Green getting ejected, or Andy Reid leaving Kareem Hunt on the bench… We all made it through together. I’ll avoid the Atlanta Falcons this week. It’s pretty clear they cannot execute on offense and anyone who has read this knows I don’t care much for how the offense is run. So we’ll turn our attention elsewhere…
RIP Deshaun Watson
A lot can be said about mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. Whether it’s Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, or Deshaun Watson. These types of QB’s are injury risks. For anyone complaining about Cam Newton’s usage and lack of running recently maybe this is why. Front offices and coaching staffs are so paranoid about letting these gazelles run free that they keep them locked into the pocket to turn them into true pocket passers. But that’s just not who they are. Yes it’s unfortunate that Watson tore his ACL in practice, but this is the risk that ownership had to have known they were getting into. To be honest, it was a freak accident. Hell Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater tore their ACL’s in practice! And this is why Cam Newton owners clamor to let Cam loose and let him be the runner that he can be. It’s just who he is. Just like how Watson is a bit of a scrambling QB that should be allowed to run the ball. Obviously Watson’s phenomenal rookie campaign is cut short, and it absolutely sucks. But if you own him in Dynasty formats or plan to take him next year you’re aware of the risks. But you also hope the coaching staffs understand that this is who Watson is. He’s a high upside QB that needs his legs to make plays. They can’t plan on keeping him in the pocket for the rest of his career. He’s like Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys, he’s a peacock and you gotta let him fly!
The Curious Case of Kareem Hunt
Yep, I’m officially worried. I was frustrated much like all of you who own Hunt. Andy Reid is notorious for misusing his timeouts, not his RB’s. So naturally this matchup against the Dallas seemed like an obvious game for Hunt to go off and find the end zone, right? RIGHT?! WRONG! Hunt touched the ball 13 total times for 61 all-purpose yards. When the Chiefs were winning their first five games, they were FEEDING Hunt. He had 113 total touches and six touchdowns in his first five games. He also totaled over 100 all-purpose yards in each game. But in the last four games for Kansas City, the Chiefs have lost three of those contests. And it’s not just that, but they’ve gradually gone away from Hunt in the most crucial moments of the game. On Sunday against Dallas when KC was down 11 points it wasn’t Kareem Hunt who was on the field. It was… Charcandrick West? Yes, they kept Hunt on the bench when they were down two possessions. Kareem Hunt, who averaged 11.0 yards per catch. The same Kareem Hunt who is one of the leaders in yards after catch for running backs. But it’s cool Andy Reid, just go with West. It’s just baffling. A lot of fantasy pundits think that defenses have figured West out, but I’m not one of them. I just think Andy Reid thinks defenses have figured him out and he’s taking the ball out of one of their most explosive players hands. And this is typical of Kansas City. Every year it seems like KC will dethrone New England or Pittsburgh with a hot streak and then, in true KC fashion, they do this. And it’s painful to watch as a football fan. Hunt and the Chiefs are on Bye next week. But you really gotta hope they go back to the well and get Hunt involved more in this offense in two weeks.
Need a TE Next Week? Start George Kittle!
Next week features players like Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and the legendary Jared Cook (HA HA) on Bye. Not to mention Rob Gronkowski goes up against the Broncos defense in Denver. It’s hard to know if the Broncos defense is still legit or not because they got lit up by Phildelphia on Sunday without Ertz. But if you need to stream a TE next week look no further than George Kittle. Yes, the same George Kittle who has just 24 catches for 250 yards and one touchdown on the year. The good news is the 49ers play the New York Giants at home next week. The Giants have given up a touchdown to opposing TE’s in EVERY game this year. When Zach Ertz was declared inactive earlier on Sunday a lot of people were wondering who to pick up in lieu of Ertz. Well Tyler Higbee, although it wasn’t an explosive performance, still found the end zone. Gerald Everett, another TE for the Rams, had 44 receiving yards on a big catch as well. If you need to stream a TE going forward, you may not get much but you can target the Giants defense.
To be completely honest… Rest of season? I kind of like Kittle. The 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo and they’ll obviously want to get a look at him at some point. He’s a free agent after this year and they could easily franchise tag him. They didn’t give up a second-round pick to have him sit on the bench the rest of the year. They’ll want to see what they have in him. And with Pierre Garcon ending up on IR, Kittle’s value could go up as well as Marquise Goodwin’s. These aren’t necessarily players you need to grab now, but they’re worth keeping an eye on.
Selling Jameis Winston
Let’s be honest, the article is called “Hot Takes” but sometimes the Takes are medium rare at best… So I’m gonna go a little bolder and say I’m selling Jameis Winston. That’s in re-draft leagues, dynasty, DFS (well, maybe not), etc. I think he’s awesome at giving pre-game speeches. The whole licking the fingers and being hungry act you’d think this guy was shopping for crab legs at a local Publix in Tampa. And if you’ve never been to a Publix you should definitely get to one. Publix is definitely a #1 overall pick in terms of grocery stores and amazing customer service. But back to Winston… He had improved his numbers his first two years. And sure you can say he’s still developing. But he has weapons now. He has two big tight ends to target, two legitimate wide receivers, there’s depth at running back, and the offensive line has done okaaaaaay. Has the defense been good? No. But that’s where Winston’s fantasy value should kick in! The Bucs defense has given up 30+ points in four straight road games. This is where Winston could rack up garbage time points, but even if you project his numbers the rest of the season they’re just a moderate improvement on last season.
And sure Winston left with an injury today, but in general he hasn’t been a QB1 this season. He still might be able to reach 4,000 passing yards as he did in his first two years, but he only has ten touchdowns with eight turnovers. He just hasn’t been that good and if Mike Evans gets suspended for his actions in Sunday’s game against the Saints then I’m even less optimistic about Winston’s value. Lets not forget the Bucs don’t have a Bye week the rest of the year. They’re playing 16 straight weeks of football. That wear and tear will take its toll eventually.
Re-Invest in Carolina
This looked doomed just a few weeks ago, but if you watched the Panthers offense on Sunday you noticed that they seemed to move better and faster. In their first game without Kelvin Benjamin the passing game relied on just three players (Devin Funchess, Christian McCaffrey, and Curtis Samuel). Curtis Samuel needs to be picked up because it looks like he’ll get worked into the offense more and more. But more importantly, the Panthers seemed to trust Cam Newton and his legs. Newton led the team with 86 rushing yards and a touchdown. Personally it was kind of hard to believe they kept giving the ball to Jonathan Stewart after he lost two fumbles in the first quarter, but there was a vibe and a groove with this offense.
One thing I loved, and I know the coaching staff didn’t, but in the second half when it was 4th & short Ron Rivera tried pulling the offense off the field. Newton & Co. voiced their displeasure with possibly kicking a field goal because they wanted to put the game away and go for it in that spot. I love that kind of confidence. The offense knew they had something going today. It wasn’t pretty by any means and they only owned the possession clock with a little under 33 minutes of TOP. But this offense showed promise of being something exciting. Maybe they won’t try big, deep plays post-Benjamin but they could be quicker and utilize younger players like McCaffrey and Samuel more.
What To Do If You Own A.J. Green
If you own A.J. Green you’re frustrated because he only logged one catch and he’ll likely be suspended for a fantastic matchup against the Titans next week. The Titans have given up just 169.3 passing yards per game over their last three contests but those three outings were against the Colts, Browns, and Ravens. That’s not to say the Bengals have an explosive offense, but this would be a very enticing matchup for Green. Let’s be honest, Green choked another player and threw punches. He’ll likely be suspended. This opens the door for other players like Brandon Lafell, Tyler Kroft, John Ross (if he can play) and even Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard could get in on the action. You might be able to get Lafell and/or Ross on waivers, but this is a very annoying situation for A.J. Green owners.
On The Horizon
Keep an eye on Teddy Bridgewater, Paxton Lynch, and Dede Westbrook this week. Bridgewater and Lynch could be guys to monitor in 2-QB or Superflex leagues. It’s hard to believe Bridgewater is this close to playing after the severe injury he suffered in last year’s training camp, but he’s definitely fought his way back. It also might finally be time for Paxton Lynch to take the reigns of the Broncos offense after a real bummer of an outing from Brock Osweiler. I’m a firm believer they should’ve started Lynch at the beginning of the season, but who cares what I think? Lynch should get his chance next week. Dede Westbrook is definitely a player to stash this week. He should be activated off the IR and could make an impact in the Jaguars passing game immediately.
Last, But Certainly Not Least
This is just fantasy sports, folks. Whether you won or lost today, you always get to play again next week. I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard by now, but there was another mass shooting at a church in South Texas this morning leaving several people affected by this tragedy. It’s never something you can easily comment on. Hell I just talk about fantasy football and make some “bold calls” every Sunday night based on the previous week’s games. And I’m not a religious person. But I admire what religion does for people and how faith can bring people together for a Sunday congregation. And it’s really hard to fathom how somebody can follow through with such an egregious act. But keep those impacted in your thoughts and prayers and don’t get too upset over losing your matchup this week. There are certainly bigger issues at hand. This is just fantasy football.
Feel free to give me a follow on Twitter (@RealDANlanta) and throw Twitter tomatoes my way for some of my takes that go awry. Thanks for reading! Stay strong the rest of the way!