NFL Week 7 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.
When the games started Sunday and Chase Edmonds was the first player to get into the end zone, you knew exactly what kind of a week it was going to be, didn’t you? Brutal on so many fronts with maybe just a splash of joy. Just a splash. As a result, a week like this produces all sorts of anxiety, anger and, best of all, hot takes. So here you go, #FANation. Here are mine:
The Injury Report is a Joke & All Teams Lie
Those who started David Johnson in Week 7 fantasy football match-ups are due an apology from the Cardinals and their head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Dealing with an ankle issue, the running back returned to a limited practice both Thursday and Friday and while Kingsbury said Johnson would be a game-time decision, reports from Adam Schefter, the ultimate of all insiders, said Johnson would play. Oh, and he played. He even started. Johnson was out there for the first series against the Giants and was never heard from again. Those who started him ended up with a whopping 0.2 points for the day.
Meanwhile, about 20 minutes into the game, Darren Urban, a beat writer for azcardinals.com, posted this:
Kingsbury said David Johnson was only going to play in a “need-based” situation.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) October 20, 2019
WTF is that? Are you serious? By the time this was tweeted, Chase Edmonds had two 20-yard touchdowns and Johnson owners were flipping out. And rightfully so. This is straight garbage from the NFL and all those clowns who claim to be reporters. There is no way this wasn’t revealed prior to the game. Kingsbury didn’t text Urban mid-game to tell him. So where was this tweet before kickoff? The Injury Report is a joke and there is not one beat writer who doesn’t have the coach’s hand up his ass, working his mouth like a little puppet. When it comes to player injuries, you should just assume you are always being lied to. Beat writers are too afraid to be kicked out of the locker room for doing actual reporting and Schefter is becoming nothing more than a mouthpiece for the NFL. Take everything with a grain of salt moving forward.
Matt LaFleur is the Best Thing to Happen to Aaron Rodgers
The battle between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy got so ugly over the final few years, you weren’t just waiting for McCarthy to lose his job, you were also waiting for Rodgers to pack it in after an illustrious career. His 2017 was marred with another major injury and his 25 touchdowns in 2018 was the lowest he’s produced in a season where he played no fewer than 15 games. Was it time to go? Did the Packers need a makeover?
Enter, Mat LaFleur, a first-time head coach in the NFL who spent the last two seasons as an offensive coordinator. Of course, one of those seasons he was touched by the Hand of McVay so we all know what that does, right? Nevertheless, the job was his and the media immediately put a wedge between him and the franchise quarterback. Would Rodgers buy into LaFleur’s system? Who was calling the plays? LaFleur said it was him. Rodgers said he would have autonomy at the line. This season was earmarked for disaster by many.
But Rodgers may not be the cold-hearted son of a bitch everyone makes him out to be. Who cares about a rift with his family? I’m a pretty nice guy and I haven’t spoken to my family in almost a decade. Shit happens. It’s family. Rodgers, meanwhile, has completely bought in to LaFleur’s system and while the run-heavy scheme may not be the most glamourous, even Rodgers knew, if pulled off successfully, it would open up the passing game as the season progressed. And look at them now. The Packers are 6-1, sitting atop the NFC North, and Rodgers is still on-pace for over 4,200 passing yards and 20-plus touchdowns. At 35-years old, he’s not looking for the 5,000-yard season. He doesn’t need to prove he can throw for 40 touchdowns. He wants a Super Bowl one last time before he rides off into the sunset and LaFleur is just the man who can help him get there in the twilight of his career.
Ryan Tannehill is the Savior of Tennessee
Anyone who watched Sunday’s Titans victory over the Chargers saw a completely different team from what they’ve grown used to in Tennessee. Granted, they got a little help at the end as the refs refused, multiple times, to give Melvin Gordon credit for breaking the plane before he was down at the end of the game, but that’s another story. What we want to do here is give one final “F.U.” to Marcus Mariota who has clearly been more of the problem than a part of the solution all this time. This is Ryan Tannehill ’s team now, Marcus, and don’t you forget it.
With Tannehill under center, the Titans actually looked like a legit offense. Long, sustained drives had them win the time of possession battle, they converted third downs when they needed to and they amassed over 400 yards on offense. Derrick Henry actually saw a defense that wasn’t stacking the box against him, Corey Davis was actually relevant and the Titans are now 1-0 under new leadership. Enjoy it now, because, of course, this is still Ryan Tannehill we are speaking about. Rein in the enthusiasm just a bit. Lets see how he and the rest of the team fare against a rested and improved Bucs defense next week, followed up by a trip to Carolina. We ain’t out of the woods just yet, but there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Chargers Should Keep Melvin Gordon on the Bench
Granted, the Chargers defense has been riddled with injuries, but has anyone noticed the team is 0-3 since the return of Melvin Gordon ? Likely playing his final season as a Charger, Gordon provided us with yet another listless performance, averaging just two yards per carry and offering up very little in the passing attack. Sure, he got into the end zone when he was uncovered and caught a one-yard pass, but he posted minus-3 yards through the air on the day. On top of that, this version of Melvin Gordon continuously got stuffed at the goal line and cost the team the game at the end. The leg-strength certainly isn’t there and his inability to punch home a touchdown burned fantasy owners as much as it did the team. Meanwhile, Austin Ekeler continues to perform like a stud and deserves more than the share of touches he saw in this contest. Yes, the seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown were great, but imagine how much better a day he and the Chargers could have had if those 16 wasted carries on Gordon went to him. Fantasy owners can’t even start Gordon with good conscience anymore. Twenty-nine all-purpose yards? More like no purpose, even with a touchdown added in.
Matt Ryan Quit on the Falcons
There is serious dysfunction going on with the Falcons right now and we fully expect ownership to give head coach Dan Quinn his walking papers. Quinn knows it, Dirk Koetter, the likely interim coach to be knows it, the fans know it and the players know it. Everyone is expecting heads to roll in Atlanta this week. So was it any surprise to see Matt Ryan limp off the field and into the locker room in the third quarter? Absolutely not. But let’s not make this injury out to be more than it is. Did he get his ankle rolled up on? Yes. Enough to knock him out of the game? Probably not. But after five sacks, some horrible play-calling and a 27-3 deficit, Ryan walked off the field with zero intention of returning. Why bother? The team got its clock cleaned and no rally was going to ever be seen. There would be no Willis Reed-like emergence from the locker room. He was done for the day. He left the stadium in a walking boot and reports said he suffered a sprained ankle. Not a high-ankle sprain. No talk of ligament damage. Just a sprain. He’ll sit on the injury report during the week to save face, but you can practically guarantee he’ll be under center this Sunday, regardless of who his coach might be.
A.J. Green Won’t Play in 2019
If you’ve been stashing A.J. Green on an IR spot and it hasn’t affected your waiver claims or ability to move players on and off your bench during the bye weeks, then feel free to skip ahead. If you own Green and, as a result, you are playing with one fewer bench spot than the rest of your league, it’s time to say goodbye. It was actually time to say goodbye a few weeks ago, but let’s not dwell on that. Let’s talk about getting rid of him. Why? Because there is zero incentive for the Bengals to bring him back. Zero. They are currently 0-7 and looking as bad, if not worse than the Miami Dolphins, and with those two teams focused on losing the Tua Bowl when they square off on December 22, any amount of help Green can bring to the table will be unwelcomed. Is there the possibility Green gets traded? Sure. And if that’s the case, the Bengals certainly aren’t going to put him on the field and risk him re-aggravating the injury. That means you won’t see him next week and the Bengals have a Week 9 bye so the earliest you would even see him is Week 11 and that’s only if he’s traded. Is that really worth a bench spot right now? Nope. Not at all.
We’re Done with Zach Ertz
It’s not that I want to take a victory lap after just seven weeks, but I have it well-documented on the SiriusXM show that I was not into drafting Zach Ertz this season. He was a second-round pick for most people which, based on the number of mouths to feed in Philadelphia, was going to be too costly for what you were going to get in production. Well, here we are through seven games and Ertz has just one touchdown to his credit. We could forgive that if he was making up for it in receiving yards (and receptions in a PPR format), but so far, he’s averaged just five catches for 57.7 yards per game so far. His most-productive game was back in Week 5 when he went 5-57-1 and the only other time we saw more than 15 points in a PPR format, was his 15.2 in Week 2. We’re not dogging the talent. The problem is the lack of opportunity.
Time to Target Running Backs Against the Bears
When a guy like Latavius Murray pops off for 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns, you have to take a more in-depth look at the match-up. We can certainly offer credit to the Saints offensive line as they did a fantastic job opening up holes for Murray. They shoved the Bears defensive line around the entire game and never once let up, even when the lead was substantial. While you don’t want to diminish the work of those offensive linemen, let’s not foget that just two weeks ago in London, Josh Jacobs of the raider did the exact same thing. So what’s going on with Chicago? How about the loss of defensive lineman Akiem Hicks . The Bears were forced to put Hicks on IR with a season-ending elbow injury and their run defense has suffered with lesser personnel being rotated into this defense. An exact science? No. This certainly isn’t like targeting against the Dolphins. But with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler set to face them in Week 8, we should have more information.
The Vikings are Winning the Super Bowl This Year
Sorry, Cowboys fans. Apologies to the Patriots faithful. Green Bay? Nope. The Chiefs? Hahaha. That’s a good one. The Vikings have one of the most productive and well-balanced offenses in the game right now and with a top-five ranked defense, they are starting to look like the team to beat. Dalvin Cook is a beast and Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison have this running game in optimal form. Kirk Cousins is getting the protection he needs and now has three-straight 300-yard games with a 10: TD:INT ratio in that span. Currently sitting at 5-2 , they have two tomato can match-ups against the Redskins and Chiefs coming up before they head to Dallas for what could be a preview of the NFC championship if Dallas can stay healthy. From there it’s Denver and then their bye week. If you don’t own a piece of this team come your fantasy playoffs, you best start working those trade phones. Match-ups against Seattle, Detroit and the Chargers are coming your way with a Week 16 Fantasy Championship match-up against Green Bay. Imagine playing for the title knowing you have Dalvin Cook against the 26th-ranked run defense? Oh baby!