Welcome to Toad’s Fantasy Football Weekly Review, where I summarize the aftermath of the past Thursday through Sunday games, but more importantly ten thoughts and their lasting fantasy impact.
It was a week full of ugly football as many games played out as expected but to brutally ugly results. Injuries messed up a lot of what could have been better games, which in turn would have given us fantasy football players more to be excited about. But as I break down another week of NFL football, we are reminded that while it’s not always pretty, there’s always something to learn that will help us down the road.
1. Jared Goff has achieved streaming status
It’s a proud moment to see young quarterbacks taking steps at becoming good, contributing teammates. On the fantasy level, we hope we’ll someday get more elite quarterbacks than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees But all quarterbacks have to start somewhere and Goff showed us how high his ceiling can be with improved personnel, a scheme that supports his best traits, and a favorable matchup. All of those three things are a formula that earns a football player streaming status. That’s a good thing, you want to see a player excel when the matchup is good and Thursday night’s game we saw it all (I still hate Thursday Night Football). If he can do it consistently, he’ll make another jump to QB2. If he can do it consistently, regardless of opponent, then maybe we will see Goff take the biggest leap. But baby steps first, Goff is a streamer.
2. Week 3 monkey wrenches prove what little the preseason shows us
It takes a good month to six weeks before we can get an accurate picture of who these NFL teams are. But Week three was an absolute bloodbath of misreads and upsets that will throw some pause and further study for week four and moving forward. The Bears took advantage of a long, slumbering Steelers team. The Jets took away the Dolphins swagger. The Bills stole the Broncos’. The Saints stunned the Panthers. The Raiders were a shell of themselves. Baltimore forgot they were traveling to London to play football. And lastly, the Vikings bounced back with Casey Keenum to beat the Bucs. Analysts, fantasy football team owners alike need to take Week three’s information not as an indicator of who’s for real and not, but reminds us that the first month of football can give a false sense of security because so many teams are still figuring out what their strengths are, what their needs are, and as a unit play to their full potential and also…
3.Time heals all wounds
Okay not all wounds, but in the case of Odell Beckham and his high ankle sprain, it did. Five weeks removed from that ugly preseason play that forced him to the sidelines, Beckham finally went to work, looking much better and figuring it out and scoring two touchdowns. The entire Giants passing game looked better this week but remember, the G-Men still can’t run the ball. However, Beckham was still the same asshole making like a dog posing in a dog pissing stance.
4. The fiery flame of Darren Sproles is out and the rest of the weeks’ biggest injuries
• Darren Sproles – What few touches Sproles were getting were amounting to little. Sproles had 15 carries for 61 rushing yards and seven receptions for 73 yards before suffering a broken arm and a torn ACL on the same play. Wendell Smallwood has the younger legs that can do all of the things and is more durable.
• Michael Crabtree – left the game with the Redskins with a chest injury. X-rays were negative but he did not return and will need to be monitored for his Week four status.
• Samaje Perine – In the same game, Perine broke his wrist and did not return. Mack Brown replaced Perine. Chris Thompson continues to be the running back to own in this thin backfield.
• Kelvin Benjamin left Week three early after his left leg bent awkwardly. Once he left the game, so did the Panthers’ offense. They just don’t have the personnel to replace Benjamin if he can’t go in week four.
• Sammy Watkins had a breakout game Thursday night, but he suffered a concussion near the end of the game and will enter protocol.
5. The Lions offense with a healthy running game and without Calvin Johnson should be feared.
How is this possible? Without pulling all the statistics up, I can say that it’s keeps everyone involved in the offense more so on any given play, any of the receivers could make a play as opposed to waiting for Matthew Stafford and Megatron to hook up. Okay, I do need a few statistics to back me up.Having a run game to lean on helps immensely but not since 2011, when Stafford and Johnson had their best year playing together have the Lions looked this good on offense. From 2012-2015 with Johnson, the Lions averaged 22.6 points. The feared drop off when Megatron retired only dropped to 21.6 points. But with a healthy backfield, the Lions are averaging 28.3 points per game in three games. Who does this benefit in the end? Kicker Matt Prater and Stafford numbers for sure.
6.Tampa Bay needs Doug Martin… real bad
Without Doug Martin the Bucs don’t know how to run the ball. Against average to below average defenses like the Bears, the Bucs used Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber to run the ball for 29 rushes for 114 yards and one touchdown. Against a much better defense, the Vikings, the entire team ran for 26 yards. Total. I don’t know how much better Martin makes this offense, but the Bucs can’t control the clock by dropping back every play.
7. Don’t sleep on Buffalo’s Defense
Against the Bills, the Jets ran 15 times for 38 yards.The Panthers had just 77 yards off of 28 rushes. Finally the Broncos got 111 yards off of 23 rushes. All of that equates to the Bills holding teams to 3.4 rushes per attempt. That’s an average of 75.3 per game. Ranking them 7th in the league. I expected the Broncos, the Vikings and the Eagles to be there but given the Bills are one of the surprise teams here. If you look closer at this game, C.J. Anderson broke off one 32-yard run, Jamaal Charles got a 19-yard run. Take those two runs away and you have the Bills holding the Broncos to 60 yards off 21 attempts. They dictated the pace of the game and took the run away from the Broncos in the second half once they began pulling away. Oh and the Bills are and fifth in the league in both turnovers with a +3 and sacks with 10.0.
8. Don’t go chasing waterfalls
What’s the best thing to take away from the week three London game that saw the Jaguars roll up 44 points on the Ravens? Besides knowing that Marcedes Lewis is still playing in the league? Not much. Marqise Lee and Lewis tied the team with four receptions. Lee led the team in seven targets but only led the team with 65 yards. With Lewis’ three touchdowns, he’s going to gain some attention in the waiver wire because of how banged up that position is. Unfortunately, no one cashed in on Lewis’ big day and chasing him to get those kind of numbers again is a dangerous fantasy habit to have.
9. Rookie RB Watch
The Saints running back by committee is getting clearer but it’s not good news for Mark Ingram owners for the long term. Alvin Kamara had just two carries and scored on a 25 yard touchdown, the only rushing score of the season despite 27 total carries for 149 yards. Adrian Peterson even got in the act, running for 33 yards too. Ingram got 86 total yards in the game, but look at what he’s done so far. Ingram has 28 carries for 125 rushing yards. 11 receptions for 108 yards and counting… and no scores through three games. Kamara has to show he can do everything asked out of a running back but Kamara is just waiting for more action because when he does, it might be hard to go back, like in Cincinnati…
10. Rookie RB Watch II
Joe Mixon finally got some real touches worth writing home to mom about. He got 18 carries for 62 yards and added three receptions for 39 yards. The offense improved with new Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who also made sure that A.J. Green was targeted more and Brandon LaFell was targeted less. This tweak in the offense could help salvage the years for Mixon, Green and perhaps even quarterback Andy Dalton. As for Mixon, dust off the helmet, he’s about to get some serious touch counts.