The lead character, John Tuttle, in the TV series, Yellowstone, was in the river fishing one afternoon when his buddy said, “I just lost my fly.” Tuttle, played by Kevin Costner, smiled and replied as he reeled in his line, “That’s ok, I lost mine 20 minutes ago.” I feel the same way when my son and I go to the Carolina Panthers games. Like yesterday against the Falcons, I knew that the Panthers would suck, but it’s not about them, just as it’s not about catching trout for Tuttle. It’s about the experience and time spent with my 15-year-old son. We always make a day of it, just he and I, and I marinate in it. These days are limited and in short supply. Soon he starts driving, will get a part-time job, and go off to college. So, win or lose Panthers, I don’t really care. I do care about winning and losing in fantasy football, and I know you do as well, so let’s talk about a few football things we saw over the weekend.
A Pair of Broncos Are Running Wild
In fantasy football, we hate split backfields. We want McCaffrey, Carson, and Henry to run all day long. But all of these running backs are out with injuries for at least the fantasy football season, so maybe the NFL teams with running back by committee approaches are doing it right. The Denver Broncos have found a winning combo with Melvin Gordon and rookie, Javonte Williams. In Sunday’s game against the Lions, both running backs scored 2 touchdowns and put up at least 20 fantasy points each. Denver ran the ball 39 times with Gordon taking 24 and Williams carrying 15. It’s hard to argue against fresh legs running on a tired defense. And both running backs have a good shot at 1000 yards rushing on the year which would put them in rare air. Only eight running back duos in NFL history have accomplished this feat. I have JW on my fantasy team, but I’m pulling for both of them.
Why Not Run Over the Dirty Birds?
The frustrating aspect of being at a Panthers game is being there. Profound, I know. The Panthers gave the fans hope on their opening drive by moving the ball 65 yards for a touchdown. They rushed the ball 6 times against the 27th ranked run defense and threw only 3 passes on the drive. The fans in the stands thought Rhule figured out the magic formula – play to your strengths, avoid your weaknesses. With Cam at quarterback, you know where the Panthers land in that equation. After all, Rhule stated that he wanted his offense to run the ball 33 times in general. But well…, it’s the Panthers.
On their second drive, they ran 11 plays and rushed only 4 times before Cam threw a pick-6 on the seventh pass of the drive. The Panthers finished with 35 pass attempts and 26 rush attempts in a very ugly game that neither team deserved to win. To Newton’s credit, he did run well with 10 carries, 47 yards, and a TD. Chuba Hubbard led the backfield with 10 carries and a TD, tied with Cam, which is a joke. Why does the lead back on a team that says they want to run the ball only get 10 carries? And why not keep running the ball down the throat of the Falcons until they stop it?
Who Is the Alpha In Green Bay?
When my league mate, Witt, bid $80 for Green Bay running back Aaron Jones at our live auction draft in late August, I doubt he imagined that teammate A.J. Dillon would out-snap Jones 35 rush attempts to 15 over the last 2 games – in the midst of the late-season dash for the fantasy football playoffs. Jones did suffer an MCL sprain in week 10 but returned healthy 2 weeks later. Then the Packers had a week 13 bye to rest Jones even more, but yesterday Dillon still saw more rush attempts, 15 to Jones’ 5. This must be a frustrating trend for fantasy owners like Witt when you need your high-dollar studs to produce, but then again, my other league mate, Zero-RB Brad, would argue that it’s stupid to pay so much for running backs.
The Chiefs Are on the Warpath
After 4 early losses through the first 7 weeks, questions swirled if Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs lost the magic that took them to 6 straight playoff appearances and 2 Super Bowls. Then the New York Giants traveled to Arrowhead on November 1, and the Giants are a good get-right team. That victory launched a 6-0 Chief run, including the 48-9 thumping of the Las Vegas Raiders yesterday. The Raiders have been unfortunate victims twice during this 6-0 tear losing with a combined score of 23-89. These two Raiders games are the 2 of the 3 highest scores for the Chiefs all season. In the Chiefs’ first 7 games, the offense scored 27 points a game, and ironically, during the last 6-0 stretch, the offense also averaged 27 points a game.
So, how do the Chiefs win the last 6 with 27 points a game, yet lost 4 out of their first 7 with 27 points a game? Defense, of course. Defense wins games, right? The legendary Bear Bryant thought so, and the Chiefs are proving it. The Chiefs defense allowed 29 points a game through the first seven, yet in the last 6, that number is just less than 11. In fact, in four of the games, Chiefs’ opponents scored single digits. The Chiefs’ defense has swarmed, forcing 16 turnovers during the last half of the season, compared to only 7 in the first half. We all know that Mahomes can perform in the supernatural and with his defense playing lights out, who’s their Super Bowl opponent – the Packers, the Cardinals? Not Fatboy McCarthy and the Cowboys, we all know that.
Now I need to go watch Stafford and Sony take me to the playoffs, but hope I don’t get Cooper Kupped. Good luck this week!
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