Raiders and Texans and Cardinals, oh my… Patriots and Vikings and Jaguars… Oh, my. Rams and Dolphins and Chiefs! OH MY!
Fine readers of the Going For 2 fanbase my name is @TheBLeagueSays and I am 100% here for the Rhett Ellison breakout game, (I’m sorry Evan Engram – you’re great, however) he’s due! And thank you for the awesome feedback and conversations following last weeks Pros and Cons – we were a little off with our predictions but that’s ok, we’ll get after it again this week – I’m not sure anyone was really expecting Wendall Smallwood to have a great game but here we are once more. Once again please remember that the articles I bring to you will be based on the Pros and Cons of players or scenarios that the Fantasy Football Community has split ideas on heading into future fixtures for your matchups.
So before we get started – Thank you, and enjoy!
How is your memory going? I know my memory can be shot sometimes so I’m sincerely asking.
Lately, I’ve been having some short-term lapses and whatnot. Did I eat breakfast? Is that where I parked my car? Things like this I forget daily. I’m 33 so to say that if this wasn’t so sad it would be pathetic would be honest but the truth is I forget everything all the time. You name it. I do remember some things that happen a while ago though. It feels like my long-term memory is still holding up its end of the bargain which is a plus. And after the past weekend of results, a part of my memory came to the forefront of my mind after hearing and reading the opinions of many. Let me run this by you and see if you remember this:
An Alex Smith Offense puts 42 points up on the Patriots on the opening night of the 2017 season. As a reply, Brady threw for over 400 yards and a victory against a Drew Brees led Saints in Week 2. But the biggest shock out of all of this? Then Rookie DeShaun Watson pushes Tom Brady to the brink in a 3 point victory at Foxborough followed by a tight loss to the Panthers in Week 4. After the first month of the 2017 season, the majority of pundits were writing New England, Tom Brady, and pals off. But, an eight-game win streak gave you a 10-2 record heading into the final Rounds can shut a lot of people up pretty quickly. And in their last four games of the season, the Patriots did suffer one loss and that was to the Miami Dolphins. Ultimately as history will tell us that New England went to the Super Bowl in 2017 and lost in a classic battle with Philadelphia. It seems to be same people however that believe the end is here – like it was when they went 2-2 to start last season – again.
Again. And again. And it’s happening again. And again. People want to see this Franchise fail again and again. It’s ridiculous.
After a 1-2 sluggish start displaying some lackluster performances has everyone talking about the demise of one of sports current Dynasties. Is it the loss of Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia? Is it losing Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis? Is it losing Nate Solder in free agency and having Isaiah Wynn tear his Achilles before the season starts showing weakness in their Offensive Line? Is it Julian Edelman being suspended something that caused more issues than everyone anticipated, or is it that Sony Michel not being fit for to start the season something that hurt Tom Brady‘s options? Josh Gordon’s arrival could help but who knows? Could it be the drama with Rob Gronkowski and if he was going to be traded at the start of the year that upset the apple cart?
Could it be all of this? I’d doubt it. Could it be none of this? I’d doubt that also. Or is it that fact that everyone wants to be the first to put their hands up and scream ‘I called it, they’re done! Brady is done! Belichick is done!’ It feels that way to me.
But, do you know…
- Currently 1-2 heading into their Week 4 matchup; only twice in the last 5 years have the Patriots been over .500 in their first month of the season. 2-2 in 2017, 3-1 2016, 4-0 in 2015 and 2-2 in 2014. So this could be the third time in five years they have gone 2-2 to open a campaign. At worst they could be 1-3 if they lose to AFC East Division Rival…
- And currently undefeated Miami Dolphins, who are lead by Ryan Tannehill. We should mention that Ryan Tannehill, who since 2012 has had five starts against New England at Foxborough and never won. Three times, however (2016 20-10, 2014 33-20, 2013 24-20) has Tannehill beaten the Patriots and they were all at home. But…
- When they meet in the North-East, there has been a 6’6, 265lb problem that the Dolphins have yet to figure out. Excluding years in which he was injured, Rob Gronkowski has scored on the Dolphins all but twice at home and in that time over his last three games at Foxborough, ‘Gronk’ has not had less than 80 yards with 4 Touchdowns too. Since 2010, he has bagged 8 Touchdowns against Miami, which is the equal second most that Gronkowski has over any opponent (Buffalo 12, Pittsburgh and New York Jets 8). So, if you didn’t know – play Rob Gronkowski with confidence… (The fact that I said that makes me want to hang my head in shame right now…)
Well, @TheBLeagueSays at least you didn’t put anymore talk about Kickers this week. You showed restraint for once and we thank you for that. But get on with it, what are this weeks…
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills:
Yeah, I’m far from a romantic. And I won’t say anything about Josh Allen (good or bad) that I wouldn’t say about any of the experienced of Veterans. He was far from great when you watch the film – he was fine. But his first win was on the road against Minnesota – and yes it was a massive team effort with turnovers while frustrating a high powered team whose mind may have been overlooking the Bills for their midweek matchup with the L.A Rams. Ok, call it a fluke on Allen’s behalf. Or call it a brainfart on the Viking’s behalf. How about we call it an oversight on Mike Zimmer and John DeFilippo’s watch. Call it what you want. But damn, that’s a way to get your first win and introduce yourself with 196 yards and a Touchdown with 2 rushing Touchdowns of his own – and seeing as he was bolstered by household named rockstars you’ve never heard of like Jason Croom – I’d see he did well enough!
There are a couple of new faces entering the gridiron this week which sees another two of the five first-round Rookie Quarterbacks get their first start in their new surroundings before Week 4 is through. So I think it is fair to say that we have officially ushered in…
The New Breed:
And so it goes! With Josh Allen and Sam Darnold both getting a win as starters already this season we now turn our attention to Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen whom both got the nod to take over their teams (Cleveland and Arizona – but you knew that already, I hope) this week. Mayfield shined as he brought Cleveland back from the dead after Tyrod Taylor went down with a concussion for the Browns first win (although not his first start) in over 630 days. Rosen, on the other hand, was thrown under the bus against Chicago with some egregious Mike McCoy play calling that hurt the Cardinals. But what we know is this; Mayfield likes Antonio Callaway (who saw 10 total Targets last week) and Rosen likes Christian Kirk (who saw 8 total Targets last week). I don’t know about you, but it reminds me of Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp; a young Quarterback aligned with young, fast, possession Receivers who run good routes – it makes sense to me, having good rapport from the get-go is essential in moving to ball downfield – so keep an eye out on all four of these guys this week.
Chicago didn’t sign Kahlil Mack. They signed an actual bear and dressed him up as Khalil Mack:
Prove me wrong…
And while I’m waiting for you to do so I’ll chime in with the following fun info; Khalil Mack so far since arriving in Chicago has more sacks than his previous team Oakland has total sacks and Khalil Mack has also had more opposing Quarterback pressures than his previous team Oakland has also totaled in the first three weeks of the season already! Chicago leads the league in sacks. Chicago is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposition Quarterbacks this year. And finally, they play Tampa at home against Ryan Fitzpatrick, who in his last game had three interceptions and three sacks while the Buccaneers also a lost fumble too against Pittsburgh at home on Monday night.
Just a weekly reminder that John Gruden still can’t find a good push-rusher in the NFL and that this is the guy that Oakland didn’t want to pay. I’m not saying that Chicago’s Defense wasn’t improved already and they weren’t going to have a good year – they very well could have. But I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – Chicago at the moment looks like this years 2017 Jaguars. Beating teams on Defence while getting by on Offence. Has an awfully familiar feel to last years AFC Contenders.
Well… At least you didn’t give Scott Linehan and the uninspiring Cowboys a tongue-lashing again, even though they look useless and lost all at once. Good for you for restraining yourself once more – it must have hurt that brain of yours! So what are…
Titans Smashmouth Football is back baby!:
This is the most ridiculous ‘Con’ you will ever see (yes, even by my standards) for a team currently that holds a positive record. The Titans hold a 2-1 record with both wins coming against Division rivals Houston and Jacksonville. You’d think there would be more optimism around a team that on paper seems to be trending in the right direction and their Defence seems stout and competitive enough also which is a huge bonus too… But have you actually seen them play? Last week they pumped Jacksonville 9-6 in Duval. Rivetting stuff!
Where is this electric Matt LaFleur offense we were promised? No, really? Where is it? The next coming of ‘L.A’s savior Sean McVay’ can’t seem to get this team firing. No, it doesn’t help when your starting Quarterback Marcus Mariota hurts his elbow and can’t grip a ball which leaves you with Blaine Gabbert under center, but to be fair, Gabbert won a couple of games in a David Johnson-less Arizona last year and he has (arguably) a more talented team around him right now. So what gives? Is it that when Derrick Henry is on the field they are probably running in a straight line? A little predictable but sure. Is it that their Offensive Line wasn’t healthy to start the year, which is one of their team’s strengths? I’d say that is a huge factor considering they’re meant to protect Mariota and help open up lanes for the run game. Are their Receivers making plays? Well…
Mariota has struggled without Delanie Walker and now the team has released last years top Wide Receiver in Rishard Matthews, who this week asked for a trade or release. Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor need to step up and take the pressure of their leader and Dion Lewis who has the second most receptions on the team. Corey Davis, last years Rookie First Round pick seems to be a spark, kind of. He is seeing Targets but isn’t really getting anywhere and has gone three games already without a Touchdown (which means he is yet to score a Touchdown in regular season games) – yes, this is considered ‘the’ spark in Tennessee right now.
Over the next month, the Titans are at home the Philadelphia, at Buffalo, home to Baltimore and away to the Chargers. At 2-1 right now, there is a massive possibility in another months time we are looking at a team that could be 2-5. But the way this year is going who knows…
Poor, poor San Francisco…
They traded for Jimmy Garoppolo last season then paid him big time this offseason. And before you can say ‘handsome devil’ he tears his ACL in Week 3 (hey, did anyone question why in the world he didn’t just run out instead of trying to side-step back in?) I’m no expert at running in straight lines (that’s a lie, I actually am – legitimately, that is apart of my day job – but that’s not the point) but I can’t imagine what was going through his mind trying to drop a shoulder on Defenders bigger, stronger and heavier than him for an extra yard. I get the heroics and that’s cool, I’ve seen Varsity Blues, but that seemed kind of unnecessary to do at that point in time – and now because of that is put on the shelf for the rest of the year. Ouch. Also this season the 49ers went after Jerick McKinnon in free agency and also paid him handsomely to be their star running back but didn’t he didn’t suit up once, as he also tore his ACL prior to Week 1 beginning. Ouch, again.
Now I am not going to say they are the only team to see new players succumb to injury but the feeling about this team on the rise was that they are heading in the right direction. But now?
Now we are in Week 3 seeing the 49ers line up with C.J. Beathard under center. Last year Beathard went 1-5 and threw for over 250 yards twice and had 4-to-6 Touchdowns-to-Interceptions differential. Carlos Hyde grabbed a stack of Targets (50 in 6 games from Beathard) from dump offs, and that could be great for Matt Breida. Marquise Goodwin, maybe not so much. He went 32-13-1 TD-335 yards during that six-game period of time. George Kittle? Maybe the old Iowa College connection and another year as second-year players with this coaching administration could be a bigger deal than we seem to overlook.
There is a lot to process this weekend with the boys from the Bay Area. Standby this weekend as results may vary…
Speaking of bombing an opportunity…
This one won’t take long;
No Julian Edelman. No Danny Amendola. No Brandin Cooks either. The number one Receiver for the aforementioned Patriots was coming off the back of a Super Bowl appearance and Chris Hogan, I gotta say – has bombed out. If you (like I) grabbed a fat stack of stock into Chris Hogan when you drafted your teams then you must be fuming. It was about Target share, opportunity, health, lack of recruitment and the departure of others – all of it – stars perfectly aligned to send Hogan into the next Tier of Patriots players. No one frequently gets to be the go-to for Tom Brady and yet in this short period of time we saw Chris Hogan go from having that chance and being at the top of the depth chart to being possibly behind Josh Gordon and the returning Julian Edelman before they even play a snap. Phillip Dorsett has at least shown a burst of speed every now and again and we know that Cordarelle Patterson is great for Special Teams.
So where does that leave Hogan?
14-7-84 yards-2 TDs is what he has to show for his work, but the reality is that the garbage time Touchdowns against Jacksonville pretty much saved Hogan until at least Week 4. From a pure Fantasy Football perspective, I get that it is hard to trade him with that lack of production, and it’s hard to justify cutting someone we instilled our draft capital into too. I think we are hoping for a breakout game this week before the cavalry returns. Maybe then we may get some return from him to set him up to be moved on.
All projections are for the respective Players ceiling
Chris Hogan – Targets: 5 / Catch Rate: 60% / Receptions: 3 / YPC: 16.53 / Yards: 49.53 / TDS: 1
Rob Gronkowski – Targets: 10 / Catch Rate: 60% / Receptions: 6 / YPC: 14.74 / Yards: 86.4 / TDS: 2
Corey Davis – Targets: 8 / Catch Rate: 65% / Receptions: 5 / YPC: 11.04 / Yards: 55.2 / TDS: 1
We are clearly in the ‘me first, I said it first’ generation. I won’t get on a rant about social media and its effect on speed and information. I could care less to be honest; you can use it however you want. I used Twitter and Facebook to get this article to you and that, to me is freakin’ amazing!
But the reality is that we have seemingly forgotten the brilliance of Tom Brady due to a few performances and replaced it with wanting to see him, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots fail and fall off a cliff. Why? Because of a few bad results, it’s time for a change? A few bad passes and all of a sudden Brady doesn’t quite have that ‘zip’ anymore? Because the Patriots lost to Nick Foles in a Super Bowl and despite the Eagles playing lights out that there should be no way that could ever happen? Or because we are sick and tired of the same old thing and want to see something different, seeing Sam Darnold on the rise and Miami off to a great start (even Buffalo look to be in complete rebuild mode) all looks great for a previously washed up AFC East? Yeah, it is exciting, for once. It’s all of the above and some more.
I think over everything happening on and off the turf for New England this offseason that this selfish commentary is what everyone is hoping to happen to massage their own ego. Everyone wanted to tell you when Peyton Mannings wheels were falling off like it was some sort of badge of honor. Do you know what we got out of that? Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler. Is that what you really wanted? To be right? For that to ultimately happen? I’d take another 5 years of the old-man ‘running’ and underthrowing it to Demaryius Thomas over that garbage that followed him.
When was the last time the Patriots went 1-3? If my memory hasn’t let me down this time (fingers crossed!) again it was in 2001. And I’m pretty sure they won the Super Bowl that year too… Ironically it was Miami they faced off against in Week 4 that year as well. But 17 years is a long time ago and I’m sure that history can’t repeat itself right? Like, what are the odds of New England going 1-3 (again), making a comeback and winning their Division and heading to the playoffs? And hey, maybe they go on a run and beat an up-and-coming team like they did last year with Jacksonville (hey, it could be Kansas this year!) and maybe they get to the Super Bowl and win it all…
Now I want you to do the following:
Ask yourself what’s more likely this time around; The Patriots prove us all wrong (again) and getting to the post-season despite the slow (but not historically bad start), or the fall of possibly the greatest Coach-Quarterback duo we may ever see and they fail. Miserably. Like we have never seen them do so before. You tell me…
I want to thank you for getting this far and taking in everything I have presented. It’s Round 4 and I couldn’t be more amped up. Set your lineups accordingly and check out the DFS and Weekly Content all the hard-working staff is pumping out to get you best prepared. Also – download the Going For 2 app, then and rate, review and share with your loved ones. You all deserve it!
You can as always follow and find me at @TheBLeagueSays and offer any view or conversation about this. Let’s all get better together!
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