Week 4 Observations
Sometimes I think the purpose of watching the NFL is to learn equanimity. Something happens that you don’t like? No problem. The world denies us the objects of our desire regularly. It often brings us objects of aversion instead. It has been the case for kings and peasants alike from time immemorial. What better illustration than fantasy football and betting on a given Sunday?
Personally, there were a few unwelcome outcomes yesterday. First, I got it in my head that Travis Etienne would have a breakout game. I thought the Jaguars would have to throw a lot against the Eagles, and I liked what Etienne had done late in the Chargers game. Accordingly, I did this:
(I threw in Freiermuth for good measure.)
Literally, any of the players over whom I started Travis Etienne in various leagues would have been a better choice, and most a far better choice. Oddly, it might not cost me a win because I’m looking at 2-3, and in the three losses, one of them I didn’t have a good alternative, one I might have lost anyway (we’ll see how Cooper Kupp does for him) and one of them I don’t have Etienne and was actually facing him.
And while my reasoning was not terrible on its face, I think, in retrospect, I wanted to see it that way because I was so heavily invested in him. And I think I kind of knew it but figured all these guys are inconsistent, YOLO! Not the ideal process. It’s one thing to waste a high pick on someone who doesn’t have the role for it, and quite another to compound the error by refusing to use the shrewd mid-round picks you made in case the risky/upside Etienne pick didn’t work out!
The Giants covered and won fairly easily, though losing both quarterbacks wasn’t ideal. Credit to Tyrod Taylor who was playing great in relief of Daniel Jones and got concussed on an important third-down conversion he made to keep a drive alive. The announcers criticized Taylor for risking the big hit, given that Jones was already out, but they were nutless monkeys — it was a selfless and courageous play you have to make, especially as a backup.
I’m worried about the Giants going forward, though, as Danny Dimes was barely able to hobble when he came back in, and at 3-1, there’s actually something at stake now.
All things considered, it was a difficult though not entirely disastrous Sunday — I survived, while ATS 2-3 is bad, it’s not catastophic and the Etienne move was bad, but the silver lining is those other players I should have used are still on my teams.
The Chiefs offense looked especially good against the Bucs. I sat CEH (19-92-1, 2-1-2-1) against that run defense, but they had no problem opening up holes for him and Isiah Pacheco (11-63-0). I can’t berate myself too much though, as this is a rotation, the Colts shut CEH down entirely last week and the Bucs ostensibly have a great run defense. Then again, CEH dropped a pass in the flat that could have given him an even bigger day.
Tom Brady (385 yards, three TDs) looked sharp, but unlike the Super Bowl, it was the Chiefs who got pressure on him, not the other way around.
Mike Evans (10-8-103-2) is still the main game in town with a hobbled Chris Godwin and Julio Jones unable to make big plays. In fact, both got hurt again, though Godwin returned after a brief absence.
I watched too much of the Raiders-Broncos game because I had the Broncos +2.5 as one of my Millions picks. It set up perfectly for the cover too, as the Broncos were down nine and were mounting a final covering drive, but Mike Boone, who was only in the game because Javonte Williams hurt his knee, dropped a wide open pass on fourth down. Boone was also only in the game because fumble-machine Melvin Gordon gifted one to the house earlier. But as I’ve said many times, you can’t bitch about woulda/coulda/shoulda — deserve’s got nothing to do with it.
Incidentally if Williams is out for the year, that’s gonna really hurt me in the 14-team Steak League. Fortunately, the eaters will feel bad for me in that case and not run up the bill.
Russell Wilson is still the guy — no idea why there seems to be so much hate for him lately. Yes, he’s a strange person, but so are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Being openly strange is a good quality for a quarterback — it means you don’t give a shit what other people think.
The Raiders dominated on the line of scrimmage, and Josh Jacobs (28-144-2, 6-5-31-0) had a monster game. He looked the part too. It’s easy to forget who chronically dinged-up players are until you see the healthy versions again.
I barely watched the Carolina game, so I won’t say much about it. My 12:1 Panthers to win the division bet is looking shaky, not because of where they are in the standings (one-game back), but how bad they look on the field.
At least Christian McCaffrey (8-27-0, 9-9-81-1) reprised his proper role.
For Survivor purposes, I was really hoping for a tie in the Pats-Packers. Mason Crosby has shanked his share of kicks before.
Damien Harris (18-86-1, 1-1—2-0) and Rhamondre Stevenson (14-66-0, 5-4-23-0) alternated series as usual, but it was on Stevenson’s series when they seemed to call for passes to the back. Of course, I keep starting the wrong guy every week.
Baily Zappe played passably for a rookie thrown into the fire when Brian Hoyer got hurt.
Aaron Rodgers threw a terrible and uncharacteristic pick six, but otherwise slung the ball around pretty nicely. Romeo Doubs (8-5-47-1) would have had a huge day had he retained possession to the ground on a long would-be TD in the fourth quarter. He and Allen Lazard (8-6-116-0) seem to be the guys, but Christian Watson might creep into the mix.
Austin Ekeler (13-60-2, 7-6-49-1) finally got it going, something for which I am not here. I didn’t really watch this game, so I won’t say much else except that I will be dropping Joshua Palmer.
Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen came down to earth, but again I didn’t watch much of this because I was focused on more pivotal games like Jaguars-Eagles and Bears -Giants.
I used the Steelers -3 in the Millions, which looked good at 20-10, but all’s bad that ends badly. QB1 mounted two fourth-quarter drives to nail it. He seems to have a knack for delivering the goods once a game’s minute-mark gets into its 40s.
The Kenny Pickett era has begun. RIP to bold prediction No. 8 (and No. 6) this week.
As someone overly invested in Etienne, I could live with James Robinson being sharper off the Achilles tear than I expected. I cannot live with Jamal Agnew (6-4-50-2) taking the short throws I thought would go to Etienne. That’s game over.
Strange that Trevor Lawrence had never played in rain before. Not only did I start him over Matthew Stafford this week, but I had the Jaguars plus 6.5 in the Millions. By some miracle of miracles the Jaguars got the ball back, down eight, with a chance for a final drive, not only to cover but to get Lawrence, Etienne, and Christian Kirk (in whom I have three shares!) some desperately-needed points. What happens? On the first play Etienne rushes for 11 yards. On the second, pass for no gain. On the third, Lawrence fumbles (and loses it) for the fourth time!
The purpose of watching the NFL is to learn equanimity.
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