What I Saw: Thoughts On Every Game, Week 15
Hello again, everyone. My name is Sam and I’m a fantasy football Dorkus Malorkus. That’s Latin for you cretins that don’t speak it, but it means that I watch every game every week, or at least half of them, and then I tell you all what you missed. With the semi-finals over, if you’re still checking out this kind of content, good luck trouncing your opponents next week in the finals!
Broncos Vs Colts
QB: Well, the Broncos are back. Trevor Siemian played briefly before exiting the game with an injury, and Brock Osweiler came in for him, playing very well (surprisingly), including throwing a couple TDs. So the carousel of qb’s persists for the Broncos, but not in a bad way. Osweiler was making some tough throws and played very competently. I’m not saying to fire him up in the finals, but maybe we don’t need to be afraid of starting our Broncos anymore. Jacoby Brissett did not do nearly so well. The Broncos D is also playing well again, and Brissett just wasn’t able to get much going. He threw for a pathetic 158 yards, although he did not throw any picks, took only 1 sack, and did not fumble. While Brissett is not a terrible QB, I would really like to see the Colts get a new QB if Luck truly cannot play football anymore.
RB: CJ Anderson remains firmly in control of the backfield, rushing for an incredible 158 yards on 30 rushes. He was gaining chunks of yards on most of his rushes and really played with a lot of heart. He out-touched DeVontae Booker, who didn’t do much and will continue to be the lead back while healthy. Neither Frank Gore nor Marlon Mack got much done on their side of the ball, but I would say the biggest contributor was Denver’s commanding control over the clock. Of course, that control is because Brissett and his receivers weren’t able to sustain drives, but still, there wasn’t a ton of offense for the Colts.
WR: While Osweiler played well, there wasn’t a lot of passing going on for the Broncos this game, and the passing was spread out a bit. Demaryius Thomas got one fewer target and a couple fewer catches, but had about the same yards at Emmanuel Sanders and even Cody Latimer who caught one of the TD’s was about even. It was a good game for the Broncos as a team, but no stud performance for the receiver corps this time around. I expect at least one of Sanders or DT88 will do better next week, probably Sanders. For the Colts, the fact that TY Hilton had just 41 yards should be about all you need to know. Next week at Baltimore will probably be even rougher.
TE: Jeff Heuerman caught a 54 yard TD, but that was the only target he received. Denver just doesn’t seem to be using TE’s much. Jack Doyle had a healthy 8 targets and 7 catches, but his yardage total at 47 ain’t nothin’ to write home about outside of PPR. Even then, his involvement in the offense isn’t regular enough to be a recommended filler for the finals next week.
Lions Vs Bears
QB: For being a division game, this whole affair was pretty underwhelming for the most part. Matt Stafford played competently, but not overly well. He had a few great tosses and no interceptions but it just wasn’t an exciting game from Stafford. Mitch Trubisky, along with the rest of the Bears, really just beat themselves. I like Trubs a lot and am looking forward to seeing what he can do with better receivers, but the 3 interceptions he threw are all on him. He’s a rookie and he will improve, of course, but it was an ugly affair.
RB: Detroit still has very little running game to speak of. None of Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, nor newbie Tion Green put in much of a performance. In fact, there wasn’t much offense from the Lions as a whole and for what little there was, most of that was through the air. I do like how Green looks, and would like to see him get more carries, but Detroit relies too much on Stafford for that to be likely. Jordan Howard was putting in the work to try and make something happen, but he and Tarik Cohen are simply buried under an avalanche of bad offense. The Bears had way, way too many flags thrown against them, and this time it wasn’t even bad referees that were responsible. Howard had a couple big plays called back, and Cohen returned a punt down to the 11-yard line just to have it called back to the opposite end of the field. In one of the Bears’ final drives, I think I counted 7 flags. It was pathetic and everyone suffered for it.
WR: Marvin Jones made a huge catch that literally had my jaw drop. I thought for sure there would be an interception on a deep bomb from Stafford, but Jones snatched it from his hands in the last moment and set up the first Lions TD. It was incredible and well worth watching the highlights if you have not already. Golden Tate does not seem as involved in the offense as he used to be, and I can’t tell why. He’s still a great player and had at least one really good catch-and-run, but he certainly isn’t being featured the way he was earlier in the season. Kenny Golladay could have had a decent night, but his biggest catch was negated by offensive passing interference as he pushed off the defender to make it. The saddest part was that I think he could have caught it even without the OPI, and TJ Jones simply is not used consistently enough to be valuable. The only thing I want to say about Chicago’s receivers is something I read on Twitter: Bears receivers as a unit: 98 catches, 1,239 yds, 4 TD. Antonio Brown: 99 catches, 1,509 yds, 9 TD. Now given that AB is a monster, but the entire corps for CHI is doing worse than he is. That’s pretty much emblematic of their game against Detroit.
TE: I still don’t care much for Eric Ebron but I think I’ve got to admit he’s fixed his problem with drops. His TD catch was a thing of beauty, pulling it down commandingly in the back of the end zone over two defenders. Still probably not worth playing in finals, but better than he was. Adam Shaheen is probably the Bears’ best pass catcher right now. I wouldn’t fire him up in the finals, either, except out of desperation, but that’s not because of Shaheen, it’s because of the rest of the Bears.
Browns Vs Ravens
QB: I’m really disappointed in DeShaun Kizer. I feel like he can improve a lot if given the chance, but this game was a huge regression for him. I feel like every week he has to try so hard to get things going for the Browns, that this week was just a bit too much. Either that, or the Ravens are just really, really good defensively. It might be a little of column A and a lot of column B. In any event, it was not a great showing. Joe Flacco played much better than Kizer, as you would expect, and even had a rushing TD to help buoy his stats. He didn’t need to do much as the Browns simply aren’t good enough to put up much of a fight.
RB: Isaiah Crowell had at least one truly great run, which went for 59 of his 72 yards. He didn’t do much otherwise, but he’s mostly the victim of being a Brown. There isn’t much going for a running back on a team that can’t move the ball effectively. Duke Johnson, Jr also had just an OK day yards-wise, but did have the only Browns TD of the day. He also fumbled, which led to a Ravens TD and seemed to really just take any energy out of the Browns for the remainder of the game. With the Browns run blocking well, Alex Collins didn’t do much which was pretty disappointing. Javorious Allen did much better, but COP backs sometimes do that. I wouldn’t expect their roles to swap outside of injury. If you have Collins, fire him up against Indy and expect CJ Anderson types of numbers.
WR: Josh Gordon deserves a better quarterback. He has too much talent for Kizer. Gordon had 11 targets but only came down with 5 catches. It was just a bad performance from Kizer and Gordon has made other bad QB’s look great in the past, so Kizer has to be really, really bad for Gordon to be struggling like he is. Corey Coleman doesn’t have much of a role with Gordon there, either. It’s the Josh Gordon show, and only when Kizer can manage not to mess it up. Mike Wallace is, at this point at least, the only Ravens receiver worth consideration. Maclin is still questionable and probably won’t do much next week, either.
TE: Between David Njoku and Seth DeValve, I actually like DeValve better, but since both play for the Browns, there’s nothing to see here. Benjamin Watson, while having a great game altogether, is not featured regularly enough by the Ravens to merit consideration outside of specific matchups, such as this one. Apparently, he plays well against his former team.
Rams Vs Seahawks
QB: Boy, what a slaughter. Jared Goff didn’t even have to try in order for the Rams to absolutely trounce the Seahawks in their own stadium. It was a pathetic showing from Russell Wilson and the ‘Hawks as they failed to get anything going. Wilson made some uncharacteristically bad decisions like intentionally grounding while standing well inside his own end zone and throwing a forward pass well in front of the Line Of Scrimmage. I don’t expect the same from them next week, but wow what a disappointment.
RB: Todd Gurley was just incredible. He destroyed the Seahawks both on the ground and through the air for 4 touchdowns. The Seahawks have apparently never watched tape on the Rams and were completely unprepared for anyone to be trying to just run the ball up the middle of the field. Neither JD McKissick nor Mike Davis were of much use. McKissick did have at least one nice looking catch but it was such a pathetic showing from the whole Seahawks offense that there just isn’t much to write about.
WR: Robert Woods seems to still have a great rapport with Goff coming back from injury. He was wide open for a 1 yard TD as I would assume Seattle looked up and realized that the Rams have a running back and finally tried to stop the run. Oops, they don’t know that the Rams seem to frequently throw TD’s in short yardage situations about as often as they have Gurley take it in. Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins both put in a bit of work as well, but again they just didn’t need to do much this game. None of Seattle’s WR’s topped 20 yards, and only Paul Richardson topped 10 yards. I’m sure Pete Carroll and the rest of Seattle would rather just forget this game ever happened.
TE: Don’t worry about any Rams TEs. Lord knows Goff doesn’t. And Seattle’s lone TD came from Luke Willson, which is strange because you would expect Jimmy Graham to catch a TD and not to end up with -1 yards on 3 targets. What a game lol. Go Rams!
Bengals Vs Vikings
QB: What a pathetic showing. The Bengals have clearly given up on the season as the defense didn’t even seem to try to stop the Vikes. It was ugly from the start unless you’re a Vikings fan. Andy Dalton finished with a miserable 113 yards and 2 INT’s. I would guess you’re as like as not to see a repeat next week against what has been an up-and-down Lions defense. Something big needs to change in Cincinnati if they want to put up a fight next season. Case Keenum did what he’s been doing all season, throwing a couple TD’s and plenty of yards as well as rushing on occasion. Frankly, I’m surprised he threw any TD’s at all given how terribly Cinci was playing and how quickly the Vikings were up.
RB: Giovanni Bernard went for a few yards and got himself a TD, but as a Bengal he’s going to be a high-risk player next week. I wouldn’t chance it. Jerrick McKinnon had a pretty darn good showing, most of which was catching passes. He had an easy time against a Cinci D battered in more ways than one. Latavius Murray also had a pretty nice showing and was able to walk in a touchdown early in the first to start the slaughter. Good on Murray for showing up these last few games with Dalvin Cook out for the season. A lot of people are down on Murray for talent, but he’s looked pretty good for a while now.
WR: AJ Green didn’t have anything going drawing double coverage or losing out to Xavier Rhodes. His 30 yards on 2 catches are likely to be repeated against Darius Slay next week. I’m not a big believer in Green talent-wise, but I can’t see how the Bengals can muster enough motivation to turn in a better performance the rest of the season. Brandon LaFell had more yards than Green, but that was garbage time and even though there will be plenty of garbage time next week, he’s probably not trustworthy. Stefon Diggs caught 16 yard TD that was like watching poetry in motion, and for once wasn’t completely outplayed by Adam Thielen, but neither really needed to do much given that the Bengals let the Vikings go up big to start and then didn’t really do much to stop the running backs.
TE: Don’t worry about Tyler Kroft, he didn’t do much and probably won’t next week either. Kyle Rudolph, however, at least caught a TD. He’s being used in the RZ reliably enough that even though he doesn’t usually have a ton of yards, he might still show up for you if you need him to next week.
Saints Vs Jets
QB: I didn’t expect much from the Saints, but they pleasantly surprised. Drew Brees had just one INT and threw 2 touchdowns. It was a good showing, and frankly, I expect a better week against the Falcons as they try to get revenge for week 14. Bryce Petty didn’t ruin the game for the Jets, which is kind of a surprise, but he isn’t worth consideration.
RB: Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are continuing to show why they’re a dynamic duo. Ingram benefited from an overturned Michael Thomas TD at the 1-yard line and Kamara just did his thing, running and catching, including taking one of Bree’s two TD’s to the end zone. Bilal Powell also had a pretty great performance, though most of his production was from just one drive. Elijah McGuire is being featured even more, and I guess I’ll have to admit the guy has some moved. Despite not being a big fan of McGuire talent-wise, he ended the game with 70-ish all-purpose yards and a TD. Matt Forte didn’t do much this game despite the Jets’ reliance on the RB’s to prevent too much of Petty’s influence on the game.
WR: Michael Thomas is continuing to show that he’s a pro-bowl caliber player. He could have had a second TD but was ruled down shy of the goal line on a review, and the ball was then turned into an Ingram walk-in. I expect more of the same next week from Thomas. Robby Anderson, unfortunately, won’t have much going for himself as a Jet now that McCown is out with injury. His 12 targets only turned into 5 catches for 40 yards, and Jermaine Kearse faces the same fate. Maybe the Jets will draft a QB and try again next year!
TE: Rather than worry about TE’s from either team, here’s a video of centers not snapping the ball when they should. It makes me laugh every time. Good luck in the finals!