Everyone… This is a tough week. I find myself in the midst of a very close matchup in the Fantasy Football Evolution Round of 32 in their Main Event bracket. At the end of it all the winner receives $25,000 and (somehow) I’m still alive in this tournament. So I don’t want to sound vain, but lets all pray for me… Alright! Thank you! Let’s move on past me and discuss some Hot Takes from Week 13…
Like a Broken Record... Here's this week's Alex Smith Rant...
OH! Stop me if you heard that before in this column! But Patty Mahomes needs to be active and playing football! I do not care if the Chiefs jumped out to an early lead. I don’t care if Andy Reid gave up the play calling duties. The Chiefs continue to suck… And mort importantly, the Chiefs continue to LOSE. Isn’t that what is most important to a football organization? Wins? Kansas City is 6-6. They lost to the Jets this Sunday. Alex Smith threw for 366 yards with four touchdowns, and he ran for 70 yards on another fluky play. Again, the Chiefs attempted just 11 rush attempts against the Jets. Did Alex Smith lose the game? No. But as long as they keep losing I’ll keep arguing that Patrick Mahomes can spark this offense like no other until I’m proven wrong. It was reported before the game that the Chiefs have no plan to start anyone but Smith this year. The Chiefs are currently 6-6 and have games against the Chargers and Raiders coming up. Mahomes needs to get in. It doesn’t matter if Smith put up numbers. Eventually, when the Chiefs are put in an awkward position after losing so much, they have to start Mahomes. The Mahomes show is coming!
Case Keenum is STILL a Top 10 QB in the Fantasy Playoffs
I feel the need to break this down a bit. Because it’s worth understanding the importance of being a Top 10 QB, while adding context. By no means was Keenum regarded as a Top Ten fantasy QB prior to this season. Hell coming into Sunday’s contest hearing that the Falcons would be without Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole, I thought Keenum would have a massive game. So I loaded up on Keenum and Vikings stacks heading into Sunday. Big mistake on my part, I’m well aware. Keenum, even in a great matchup, didn’t light up the scoreboard. He threw for just 227 yards on 25-of-30 pass attempts with two touchdowns and ZERO turnovers. Perhaps that is the key. He never allowed the Falcons to get back into it.
Going forward the Vikings face the Panthers (on the road), Bengals (at home), and then the Packers (on the road). Dearest Keenum owners, you should pray that Aaron Rodgers is active for that game so both QB’s get into a shootout for playoff contention. Despite the off game this past Sunday I like Keenum’s schedule/opponents to keep him in the fray as a top fantasy QB option down the stretch. Sure it helps that the quality of quarterbacks is diminished in 2017 than in recent years, but Keenum is a QB1 the rest of the way.
Marquise Goodwin and Jimmy Garoppolo Might Have Something…
As a Patriots fan I’ve seen Jimmy G’s potential… Scratch that, I’ve seen his potential with Super Bowl talent surrounding him. I didn’t really know what to expect from him in this scenario. Granted, this was sort of a homecoming game for the guy. He grew up in the Chicago area, and went to Eastern Illinois. He should’ve been comfortable in this game. And to an extent he was! From a fantasy perspective you have to like how much he threw the ball. On 37 pass attempts he completed 26 for 293 yards. He did throw a pick, but luckily he faced the Bears who couldn’t capitalize on his lone error. He targeted Marquise Goodwin eight times, which Goodwin caught all eight targets for 99 yards. Quietly he always connected with Trent Taylor on all six targets for 92 yards. These connections will be worth watching going forward. Is there garbage time potential going forward for San Francisco? Perhaps, but the specific connection between with him and Goodwin is evident and could lean to something special going forward.
Expect More of the Same from Tom Brady
Look I’m a TB12 guy. If I was to ever have kids I’d at least consider acknowledging the possibility that I may hope to find a woman that would let me potentially list “Twelve” as a name for my third-born son. That’s a bit of a reach, I’m aware. I love the guy. But perhaps this was what fantasy pundits were talking about with Tom Terrific when they said he could be a weak fantasy option this late in the season. The reason for optimism is that the Pats are still in it. The game against Pittsburgh in a few weeks will pretty much determine the top seed in the actual playoffs. But there’s no doubt that Brady burned fantasy owners this week. Will the Patriots be competitive in the coming weeks? Yeah, probably. But they’re currently in the midst of a three-game road trip. Luckily they’re staying on the East coast. Next week they’re in Miami and then in Pittsburgh and they end the season with two games at home against the Bills and Jets. Inside New England’s locker room I expect the Pats to be preparing for January at this point. That’s when the actual season starts for New England. Brady could potentially get owners to the championship week with a big game against Pittsburgh, but that’s if owners can get past a potentially underwhelming game against Miami where the Pats could take their foot off the gas against the Dolphins.
Meanwhile on the Other Side of the Ball...
The New England defense has been legit. While everyone’s talking about the winning streaks of the Rams, Saints (although it’s gone), Vikings, and blah blah blah the Patriots have won eight straight games while holding their past eight opponents to under 18 points each. They’ve forced eight turnovers over their last four games to go with 12 sacks. Sure this is the same group that still gives up a lot of yardage and was killed for a ton of po
ints earlier in the year, but New England has turned a new leaf lately. They’re still widely available in a lot of leagues and they face Miami next week in primetime on Monday night. They should be started next week if you’re in the playoffs and you need a streamer. They’ve been one of the very best defenses in the league over the least two months.
Josh Gordon Will Be A Game Changer in the Playoffs
Josh Gordon made his long-awaited return to professional football. And for a guy who hasn’t played in a few years he did VERY well. On 11 targets Gordon caught four passes for 85 yards, the longest of which was 39 yards. Hue Jackson said prior to Sunday’s game that the Browns had a lot of plays involving Gordon that they planned to use. A lot of times this is bait for DFS players and fantasy owners, but Gordon did not disappoint. There are only two wide receivers this year to collect at least 85 yards and they are Keenan Allen and Josh Gordon. He faces the Packers next week and coming into Sunday Green Bay gave up 244+ yards per game through the air. Josh Gordon will most certainly help some owners move on to week 15.
Last But CERTAINLY Not Least… We Don't Need to Start Kareem Hunt Anymore…
Cue the Sarah "I Will Remember You" song... I take pride in the fact that I point out when I’m wrong. It may not be the route most fantasy “experts” or analysts take, but I do my very best to be transparent and honest. After all this is a “hot takes” piece and though I’m late to the party with this one, the time has come. Kareem Hunt is no longer trustworthy. Hunt hasn’t found the end zone since week three. But over the next two weeks he still rushed for over 100 yards. Even in weeks six and seven he did enough in the passing game to give decent value. But since week eight he hasn’t totaled more than 25 receiving yards and hasn’t hit 100 rushing yards. His touches have oscillated from nine rushing attempts to 18 attempts and back to nine over the span of a few weeks. In week 11 everyone thought it would be a “get right” game for Hunt. He was playing the Giants, they were dealing with injuries, and Andy Reid is a GOD coming out of the bye week. The Chiefs would go on to lose 12-9. The next week Hunt got the Bills. He was hyped up in DFS and season long formats. The Bills traded Marcell Dareus and the rush defense has been non-existent for Buffalo ever since Dareus’s departure. Hunt would go on to rush for 17 yards on 11 attempts. Then this week Hunt would go up against the Jets. Not only was Charcandrick West out, but Andy Reid was handing over the play calling duties. This had to be time for Hunt to break out, right? Wrong! He rushed for 40 yards on just nine carries, but he did have three catches for 23 yards. He had three carries in the second half while the Chiefs were still in contention. This has been a disaster over the past few weeks. And sure, I’ve been the biggest Kareem Hunt apologist and still believe he’s got all the right tools and all the potential in the world. If you’re unlike me and are looking for reasons to ride Hunt through the fantasy playoffs then the good news is he has three straight home games coming up against the Raiders, Chargers, and Dolphins. The bad news? The Chiefs suck. Sure I’m late to the party on this, but also feel awful and dumb at the same time. Kareem Hunt can be benched going forward if you have another top 20 RB candidate.
Don’t forget to cheer for my Fantasy Football Evolution team! 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!