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Week 11 Observations
I’ve been bitching so much about mistakes and imperfections in otherwise solid weeks I had forgotten what a truly awful week felt like. Now I remember.
It started off with some last-second tinkering at kicker, which is never a good idea:
I did not make history — as Gano shanked two PAT attempts and scored zero points. Mercifully, Folk missed two FGs of his own and only scored four — otherwise, I would have defenestrated yesterday, and you wouldn’t be reading these words. In fact, I’m surprised Behrens is still alive after he late-swapped out Bironas that day. Speaking of Bironas, he himself met a tragic end under bizarre circumstances.
But let’s not let Bironas’ death detract from what’s important: Week 11 was a total disaster for me. I’m 0-4 in NFFC, pending a tight game against Dalton Del Don in the Primetime wherein I would have four more points but for the Gano-Folk swap. I’m up 4.4, with Kittle, but he has the 49ers defense and Elijah Mitchell. Whatever happens, I’m good as long as I don’t lose by less than four.
My resurgent Steak League team scored only 76 points, my 15-5 superflex Vegas League team will lose to an 0-20 team if Kyler Murray doesn’t play tonight and I went 2-3 in the Circa Millions, after Nathaniel Hackett rug-pulled me yet again (my own fault) and the Steelers fell apart against the Bengals in the second half.
And the Giants lost to the Lions, lost their top cornerback Adoree Jackson for 3-5 weeks and emerging receiver Wan’Dale Robinson for the year to knee injuries while Saquon Barkley had ony 22 rushing yards, pushing him back to second place.
Maybe it says something about me — I’m not sure what — but oddly, I’m less embittered by a total disaster than by one or two errors in an otherwise perfect week. It’s easier to flush and move on.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce (10-6-115-3) were too obvious to stack this draft season, though you could have gotten them in the fifth and second rounds, respectively. No, I had to go with Trevor Lawrence, Christian Kirk and Travis Etienne. The great thing about Mahomes-Kelce is there was no need to waste picks on anyone else, either. Kelce is the fastest slow person in the league — somehow he runs by people even though he ran a 4.61 at the 2013 Combine.
Isiah Pacheco (15-107-0) ran well, but isn’t used in the passing game, can’t pass protect and made one of the worst return decisions I’ve ever seen by catching a kick clearly headed out of bounds at the 10-yard line.
The Giants sold low on Kadarius Toney, and this is why. The guy is always hurt. Plus, he was penalized for a crack-back block, though that seemed ticky-tack to me.
Justin Herbert looked a lot better with Keenan Allen (8-5-94-0) back. Joshua Palmer (10-8-106-2) had a monster game while Mike Williams aggravated his ankle injury on his first target. Palmer might be better off with Allen back and Williams out than the reverse.
The Steelers defense did not get nearly as much heat as I thought they would on Joe Burrow. If the Bengals offensive line is better now, they’ll be dangerous again in the postseason once Ja’Marr Chase is healthy.
Najee Harris (20-90-2, 6-4-26-0) finally looked like the guy you drafted in the first round.
George Pickens (6-4-83-1) had a decent game, but it would have been a lot bigger had he not dropped an easy TD (and Kenny Pickett not missed him on another.)
With all the tight end carnage, Pat Freiermuth (12-8-79-0) is a top-five option. He reminds me of peak Zach Ertz.
Nathaniel Hackett called a timeout on the Raiders final regulation drive, presumably to preserve a few seconds for Denver’s offense. But the Raiders had no timeouts and were about to spike the ball to stop the clock! So instead of 2nd-and-10 inside the red zone, i.e., two shots at the end zone before having to tie with the field goal, the Raiders got three.
Russell Wilson still passes the eye test for me. He’d be good again if they get rid of Hackett and put together a real offense.
Davante Adams (13-7-141-2) is always so wide open. Even in overtime.
Melvin Gordon fumbled yet again (though the Broncos got the ball back.) It’s amazing he’s lasted this long.
I thought the Cowboys were a good buy-low against a Vikings team coming off an incredibly close win in Buffalo, but 40-3 was shocking. The Vikings are now 8-2 with a minus-two point differential. The 7-3 Giants, on the other hand, still have a positive differential (+1).
Wonder where Tony Pollard (15-80-0, 6-6-109-2) would go in a ROS re-draft. Second round?
I picked up the Team’s defense in one league at least.
I was disappointed to see Lamar Jackson get that late rushing TD to salvage his day. After a massive start, he’s done almost nothing the last 6-7 weeks.
The Giants game was a tough watch. They had the Lions three-and-out on the opening drive, but a ticky-tack roughing the passer kept it alive, and Detroit got a field goal. There were a couple other big turnarounds in the first half — some third-and-long conversions where the ballcarrier was breaking tackles that hurt them too. But the story of the second half was the Giants not being able to stop the Lions offense at all. Even though Danny Dimes played great and was moving the ball, a soul-crushing fumble by Isaiah Hodgins and the inability to get stops doomed them.
Adoree Jackson’s and Wan’Dale Robinson’s (13-9-100-0) injuries were big for the Giants, and they also lost their other starting corner Fabian Moreau to a rib injury. Keep in mind opening week starter Aaron Robinson was already on IR. They also lost their starting center, Jon Feliciano (neck), during the game.
Darius Slayton (10-5-85-0) is the last man standing unless you count Kenny Golladay (2-2-29-0) who actually made plays (2) for the first time all year.
What a lost season for the Rams.
The only silver lining of the day was the Pats-Jets game wherein the Jets lost despite not allowing a TD or commiting a turnover. The work QB1 did off the field should never be forgotten, but his team had two total yards of offense in the second half. Wilson for Darnold SU to the Panthers, who says no?
I was disappointed to see the Eagles come back and win in Indy. After losing to the Team and nearly losing to the Colts, Philly hardly seems invincible in the NFC, but it’s hard to find other serious contenders. The Vikings have a negative point differential, the 49ers can’t string two good games together and the Seahawks are still proving if they’re for real. The Cowboys are probably the second strongest team at this point, though the 49ers have upside. (I would have shilled for the Giants, but the injuries to the secondary (also safety Xavier McKinney is out) and lack of playmakers at receiver will be tough to overcome.)
The Browns with Deshaun Watson will be interesting, but he’s coming back too late for it to make a difference.
Were NFL games in the 1970s moved to alternate locations due to snowstorms? If it’s possible to play in the snow, they should play. Weather is a feature in football, not a bug. (Maybe it really was impossible, I don’t know.)
Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most electrifying players and freak athletes in NFL history. He’ll go into the Hall of Fame as a kick returner, but he should have been used more from scrimmage in his various stops.
Justin Fields hurt his left shoulder late in the game and was apparently in some pain after it. Fields is the best of both worlds as a running QB — fast like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, but physical at the goal line like Josh Allen and Cam Newton. Unfortunately, it’s the worst of both worlds for getting injured.
Streaming defenses and kickers is all fun and games until you wind up with something like this:
As I said, it was an awful week.