Daily Fantasy Game Reviews: Patriots at Chiefs, Falcons at Vikings
Game Summary: Oh god, what an ugly game from the Patriots. I thought I was watching a Redskins game. The Chiefs totally dominated both ends of the field, completely overpowering the Patriots in the trenches.
- Tom Brady continues to be quite mediocre at QB going back to the 2013 season. There doesn’t seem to be much age regression at QB as we see at other positions, so it’s hard to tell what’s going on. It could be that Brady is not a great QB anymore. The offensive line and receiving core isn’t helping, but Brady is playing badly too. I wouldn’t touch him this season.
- I worry about the entire teams fantasy implications after this game. Belicheck behaved like a college coach, benching several starters in game, even their best offensive lineman, then sometimes bringing them back in the game. This team is in total disarray, and I don’t think anyone should be played on the Patriots until the team gets some momentum.
- Julian Edelman had a poor game, failing to get his usual open looks and dropping a few catchable passes. I think he will bounce back, he’s been one of the best players on the team this season.
- Brandon LaFell has a great game, most of which came on an insane broken tackle followed by a 30+ yard scamper for a TD. LaFell has never been great and had barely any production in previous games so I wouldn’t think anything of this.
- Rob Gronkowski played 31 snaps out 50 total team snaps, which was not much more than the previous weeks. He does not look nearly as explosive as he used to, and even said on SC that he still doesn’t trust his knee completely. Healing from an ACL injury takes time, and I would think Gronk does return to his old form or something close to it. With the team struggling, we may see a lot more Gronk next week.
- Shane Vereen played a lot more snaps than usual, but failed to make a lot of them. His stats were decent for his salary though. Vereen has looked very good in the past, and with so much turmoil on the team, it would seem that he could get more of an opportunity. Then again, it could be RB James White gets all the carries next week. I’d probably grab White in your fantasy league if you have the roster spot just because I think anything could happen.
- The Patriots defensive line must be one of the worst in the league and should be run all over this season. The secondary hasn’t been much better, but I expect Darrelle Revis to start playing better and shore it up. This team should give up a lot of fantasy points to RBs.
- The star of the game was TE Travis Kelce, who caught 8 balls for 93 yards and a TD. Jon Gruden made a comment during the game that Kelce reminded him of Rob Gronkowski, and that wasn’t hyperbole. Kelce was not taken down by one man the entire game, constantly breaking tackles. They used him in the screen game a fair amount, and he dominated as a run blocker. Kelce only played about 50% of snaps, which is about his season average. But with how well he’s playing, I think we should see increased snaps and an increase in production. I’d probably start him in a tough matchup against the 49ers. He appears to be the focal point of the passing offense.
- Alex Smith had a great game, but the guy barely throws the ball over 10 yards. Versus a better defense, I don’t see this kind of game happening.
- Jamaal Charles was another star of the game, running in 3 TDs and nearly 100 yards rushing. Charles looked really good as usual, but seemed to have some issues not being fully healed from his high ankle sprain. He only played 50% of snaps, which makes this game even more impressive. Knile Davis was quite bad, earning a stare down from Andy Reid on a ball he dropped that would’ve easily been a TD. I think we see Charles a bit limited next week, but should return to full strength soon, and won’t be splitting playing time with Knile Davis. Charles played about 90% of snaps last year, expect him to return to that number. Next week I think 75-80% of snaps seems to be a reasonable estimate.
- With the Chiefs short passing attack, I can’t imagine any WR having a good season on this team. Don’t expect Dwayne Bowe to return to 1000 yard receiving form.
- The Chief’s defense is finally getting healthy and should have some opportunities to become good DST picks in the coming weeks.
The full game debut of Teddy Bridgewater. This was a back and forth offensive affair, which each defense barely able to stop the opposing offenses. Bridgewater looked fantastic, as the Vikings went with a run heavy attack while Bridgewater managed the screen game well, occasionally throwing darts downfield and showing off his elusiveness and speed in the pocket with a 20 yard run for a TD.
- Sportsbooks continue to show that the Falcons have the worst defense in the NFL, so I think we should take everything we saw from the Vikings with a grain of salt.
- Bridgewater was just awesome. He avoided sacks on multiple occasions and found open receivers for first downs. They definitely were conservative with him, but when he had to throw the ball downfield he was very successful. if his price stays low I think he’s a good play in a good matchup.
- Jairus Wright had a monster 8 catch, 132 yard game seemingly coming out of nowhere. Wright was almost exclusively used on crossing routes and screen passes, which was odd since you’d expect them to do this more with Cordarelle Patterson. Bridgewater is probably comfortable with Wright because he has been passing to him in practice on second string. But my guess is that we see Greg Jennings and Patterson continue to be the top receivers on the team.
- Jerrick McKinnon moved up from about 30% of snaps to 40% of snaps last week and was incredibly effective. McKinnon was a 3rd round pick who ran a 4.3 40 at the combine, and that speed showed last week. Asiata should continue to get all the goal line snaps, which diminishes McKinnon’s fantasy value. Both RBs are going to become tough plays as they share the workload. If Asiata gets injured McKinnon will become top fantasy value.
- Matt Ryan had a decent fantasy game, but unspectacular. He looks good as a passer, but his receivers had a really tough time getting open. Ryan had an awful 2013 but I think he will return to 30 TD form this year, mostly because the offensive line seems to have vastly improved in pass blocking from a year ago.
- Steven Jackson is the #1 RB, but he is getting less than 50% of snaps and the Falcons are putting 4 RBs in the mix for carries. The offensive line has been one of the worst in run blocking this year according to PFF. I don’t see anyone in this backfield gaining fantasy relevance.
- Julio Jones had a sub par game by his standards, but he looks awesome. He has dropped 0 passes in 40 targets this season, and has elite size and speed. I think he takes a leap this year beyond his 2012 numbers, mostly because of the absence of Tony Gonzalez and the regression of Roddy White gives Ryan less options. White is getting up there in age at 32 years old and looks quite slow. His TD came on a designed screen pass to Julio that the Vikings bit so hard on that Ryan just lofted it up to White instead for a 20 yard wide open TD. I think Jones is a top play every week.
- Devin Hester got more involved this week in the passing game, running pass routes on over 2/3rds of passing plays. The coaching staff keeps talking about how great Hester is and how he has earned more touches, so expect Hester to continue solid fantasy production at his price.
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