Seahawks and Raiders

Seahawks -3.5 @ Raiders

Yards and yards and yards. While NFL offenses around the league spew bursts of lava into the skies, Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer continue to arduously roll their boulder up the slope of the steepening mountain.

Pound the rock. Pound the rock. Pound the rock. Lose.

This is their game plan.

Meanwhile, Mount Wilson sits dormant, waiting patiently for the appropriate (front office) seismic shifts.

That being said, it’s the Raiders vs. Wilson, and even with two hands (and legs it seems) tied behind his back, he will probably find a way to prevail. Seahawks. Sigh.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Buy Wilson. And Lockett. And Baldwin. And Prosise. And hope like hell an epiphany is coming to Seattle.

Chris Warren: Because Lynch is old, because Martin is ineffective, because Gruden brought him in, because he was a beast in the pre-season and because Matt Waldman’s RSP looks at him favourable. P.S. – buy Waldman’s RSP.

For the record – week 6

Chargers -1.5 @ Browns

Baker Mayfield is still learning, Hue Jackson is still coaching and the Chargers have, so far, lost two games to two great teams (Rams & Chiefs). Rivers and company are better than Baker and company. Chargers to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

This is your last chance to get David Njoku because this is the week he’s finally going to justify his lofty dynasty ADP. It’s a tight end bear market and he’s Amazon 5 years ago.

It’s still too early to get Justin Jackson, but he’s an injury away from being to top free agent pick up. Be ready.

@ Texans -8.5 vs. Bills

This is an awfully big spread for a Texans team that hasn’t beaten anyone. Also awful: rookie season Josh Allen. Bills to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

The Texans remain without a true answer at running back. Bolstering their thin depth chart with the likes of the underused Duke Johnson or the non-existent Ameer Abdullah are personal pipe dreams that make too much sense to happen.

I suspect they’ll keep the status quo and hope Donta Foreman defies his injury odds. Groupthink suggests this is never going to happen so you can always zig while everyone zags and stash him on a hope and prayer.

But what if Bill O’Brien just steals a page from his old boss’ playbook and uses Keke Coutee as a short yardage, running back substitute a la Julian Edelman. Watson’s play extension using Coutee as a dink and dunk outlet underneath while Fuller stretches and Hopkins does Hopkins stuff. Whether I’m right or wrong about the role, you likely need to own a piece of this offense and Coutee is the cheapest current piece.

@ Bengals 2.5 vs. Steelers

A tough divisional game pitting Ben Roethlisberger and Antonion Brown against Andy Dalton. Steelers to cover and win please.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Who is next year’s Jerrick McKinnon is a question with many answers. Earlier this season the answer was Tevin Coleman. He’d leave Atlanta and become a #1 elsewhere. Recently the answer is TJ Yeldon. I can get on board for either of those guys, but how about a little love for Gio Bernard? Should Bell leave Pittsburgh I’d be happy to see his impression of DeAngelo Williams.

@ Falcons 3.5 vs. Buccs

Groupthink loves them some Winston this week. Nary a DFS ticket will be absent his name (save for the winners most likely). I certainly see the case. Atlanta’s defense remains a hot mess. The question will be how well tuned the Buccs offense will be given the week off and the three and half weeks of Fitzmagic. Can they keep pace with Matt Ryan and company? I’m betting no, and they’ll use this week as a tune up. I’d also bet this is finally the week that Julio makes some noise in the end zone as I think Atlanta hangs a big one up here.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Austin Hooper is an under the radar talent in an increasingly scarce position. He’s a got the hands and athleticism to be a TE1 threat and the blocking capability to get a giant snap count, all at the ripe age of 23. The old NFL would write Hooper off as a victim of too-many-mouths-to-feed, but that old adage is drawing its last breaths. A fast, indoor track, a very good QB, a capable coordinator and a bounty of surrounding talent give Hooper a ripe environment in which to succeed now and for years to come. He’ll be a slow riser, so get him now on the very cheap.

Bears -3.5 @ Dolphins

A very interesting and difficult game to call. Chicago seemed to finally unveil their long-promised new-age offense two weeks ago, in a coming out party of sorts for Matt Nagy. In the meantime Adam Gase is trying to keep the bloom on his rose. I have doubts about how this plays out, and when in doubt, take the home team, particularly when they are getting points. Dolphins.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Bargain bin buys for deep rosters: Kalen Ballage. Drake is getting the reps but Ballage may be the under the radar plater putting in the extra hours.

Kevin White, because the offense in Chicago might be about to get interesting.

@ Redskins -1.5 vs. Panthers

Washington seems to be favoured in this one based on their victory against the Packers in their only home game this year. Fair enough, but I’ll opt for the much better Carolina team coming off a bye week. Panthers to cover and win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

If anyone will part with Jordan Reed in this tight end bear market (and the direness of the TE market has not yet been fully realized) buy the hell out of him for this season. He has yet to provide returns but he has talent worth betting on and the early season some may be completely attributable to his familiarity with Alex Smith, who is also due to recover.

Seahawks -3.5 @ Raiders

Yards and yards and yards. While NFL offenses around the league spew bursts of lava into the skies, Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer continue to arduously roll their boulder up the slope of the steepening mountain.

Pound the rock. Pound the rock. Pound the rock. Lose.

This is their game plan.

Meanwhile, Mount Wilson sits dormant, waiting patiently for the appropriate (front office) seismic shifts.

That being said, it’s the Raiders vs. Wilson, and even with two hands (and legs it seems) tied behind his back, he will probably find a way to prevail. Seahawks. Sigh.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Buy Wilson. And Lockett. And Baldwin. And Prosise. And hope like hell an epiphany is coming to Seattle.

Chris Warren: Because Lynch is old, because Martin is ineffective, because Gruden brought him in, because he was a beast in the pre-season and because Matt Waldman’s RSP looks at him favourable. P.S. – buy Waldman’s RSP.

@ Vikings 10.5 vs. Cards

I’m not sure we know who the Vikings are just yet. Beat the Niners, tied the Packers with half a Rodgers, got slaughtered by the Bills at home, fell short to the Rams, and barely beat the hungover Eagles. I appreciate that the Cardinals look horrible and that Rosen is playing a pretty big road game early in his career as a starter, but he eeked out a win last week in San Fran, what’s to say he can’t keep it close in Minny. Cards to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Brokem record: Buy the tight ends. I’d take Rudolph because he is healthy and Ricky Seals Jones because he’s getting a surprising number of air yards and targets and he’s only one week deep with Rosen. With Larry Fitzgerald dinged up it would seem obvious that Seals Jones would become the safety blanket here. It starts this week with 2 TDs.

For the record – Panthers versus Giants

@ Panthers -6.5 vs Giants

A Panthers team fully rested versus a Giants team full of regret for not having drafted a quarterback in this year’s draft. Panthers to win and cover handily.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Today’s Giants’ narrative will be replaced sometime between now and next season, when the team is certain to acquire a new QB. Price for discounts to the big four of: Barkley, Beckham, Engram and Shepard in the off chance you can catch an impatient, short sighted GM on a bad day. Aside from that very unlikely scenario, throwing a Hail Mark on Kyle Lauletta seems like a reasonable prospect. Prior to the week 9 bye week the Giants face the Panthers, Eagles, Falcons and Washington, and it’s hard to imagine Eli turning things around versus that group. If the switch is made, Lauletta would face the 49ers and Buccaneers in weeks 10 and 11. Any signs of encouragement down the stretch would make him a hot commodity going into 2019.

 

Colts and Texans

@ Colts -1 over Houston

Andrew Luck’s possibly failing arm at home versus Small Sample Size Watson behind the worst offensive line in the league. Luck hasn’t been as bad as advertised, while the Colts defense has been a pleasant surprise. What has been horrible has been the Texans offensive line, run game and prematurely-anointed hall of fame quarterback. In this game I’m with Vegas – I don’t have a clue who wins. But I fear it will be messy and unpleasant. I suspect the Colts staff might be better to game plan around Luck’s passing deficiencies, but the Texans won’t be able to compensate for an afternoon of jailbreak pass rushes. I also suspect the heat on Bill O’Brien is going to get turned up a notch. Colts to cover.

IN DYNASTY TEMRS

Buy low, sell high they say. If you sold Luck two + years ago, kudos to you. Pre-injury Luck was a top dynasty asset at the time and you likely made off like a bandit. Two years and a few surgeries later and Luck is quickly dropping down the ranks. Skepticism about his arm is high and replacement value easy to find it seems. Quarterback performances in recent weeks, or just this past Thursday night, have significantly diluted the market. It seems that anyone can put up elite numbers in today’s NFL with its QB and receiver friendly rules. Luck’s price tag will continue to fall with each passing story about his arm. I’d take advantage of this high-risk bargain, as you’d be buying a highly intelligent, seasoned and motivated player who plays half his games in a fast track dome.

 

Patriots versus Dolphins

@ New England -7.5 over Miami

The Patriots are like that bad guy in the horror movie. They lie motionless and seemingly dead in the background, while the relieved heroic survivors share a sobbing embrace, all the while the movie theatre audience screams “Cut his fucking head off! He’s not fucking dead!! He’s right behind you! He’s getting up!!! The head! Cut off his fucking head!!!” And that’s how I feel about the New England Patriots. They just won’t die, but for the first time in a long time they are looking wounded.

Yes they’ve had slow starts before, and yes people have been making this call for an awfully long time. But something seems a little different this go round. This season they have eked out a win versus a Texans team that might be truly awful, lost to a very good and inspired Jags team and then lost to a Lions team that isn’t scaring anyone. Not a strong start. This is probably the week the Pats pull themselves up off the ground and get their hands back on the axe. The 3-0 Dolphins are probably in for a rough time, but the Patriots effort and execution will be telling. If this is not a resounding win/statement game for New England, 2018 may be an actual turning point. But until the head is officially off, I’m not betting against the Pats ability to rise to the occasion, and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

The Patriots, as they are wont to do, defied convention by rostering the bare minimum of wide receivers. Gronk plus a smorgasbord or wideouts and quasi-receiver running backs were to be enough for New England. Injury and mediocrity have reared their heads though, and now the Patriots seem to be groping for their go to personnel. Julian Edelman will return, and Gronk will certainly improve, but that might not be enough. The absence of underrated 2017 stalwarts Dion Lewis and Brandin Cooks are now being felt.

The frugal Patriots opted not to pay those monster contributors, and decided instead to draft Sony Michel and have since had Josh Gordon gifted to them. If the aforementioned monster is to awaken from his seemingly premature death, Gordon and Michel will have to play significant roles.

Gordon is a strange situation. He’s a long absent, once super talented wideout going to a team that has a long history of failed wide receiver acquisitions (Ocho Cinco, Kenny Britt, every draft pick at the position ever) along with several amazing pick-ups: Moss, Welker, Amendola. There are understandably mixed feelings about Gordon along with some real questions about whether New England is a spot he can succeed.

I suspect Gordon will be slow to pick up the Pats offense, having arrived late to the party and not being familiar with the nuances of the Pats offense or having any chemistry with Brady. Recall how Sammy Watkins late arrival to the Rams played out last season. If Gordon doesn’t impress early I’d imagine that many impatient owners will be quick to part ways with him. The “I told you so” crowd will not be shy and they will certainly shake the confidence of some Gordon holders. And this will be the opportunity.

The Patriots, as noted above, get stronger as the season goes on. They adjust and re-adjust and save their best players for when it matters most. Down the stretch last season one of the key components to New England’s success was Dion Lewis, a player who was used sparingly in the early going to preserve the oft injured back’s health. While not saving Gordon from injury, Belichick and McDaniels will take their time with Gordon, readying him for the late season kill shot. It’s hardly a certainty, but given how ill-equipped this team currently appears, Gordon could be a late season necessity for a team with win-now intentions. With this in mind, if and when this next period of 3 – 5-week period brings a likely Gordon dip, we should all be aggressive buyers.

Also, buy Sony Michel, because he will have to matter as well.

For the record – Rams vs Vikings

@ Rams -6.5 over Minnesota

On the surface, it’s the 3-0 Rams versus a Vikings team who just lost to Buffalo, at home.

So the narrative might go like this: the humiliated Vikings will be out for blood and Zimmer will have them on their toes. Easier said than done. The Vikings offensive line is likely not up to the task of the Rams defense. Cook and Cousins will have little time to generate yards, despite their best efforts. It is hard to imagine a game plan that would compensate for the fatal flaw of no blocking.

In devil’s advocate terms, a case could be made that the Rams are a bit of a mirage, given that two of their three wins came against the seemingly lowly Raiders and Cards. It’s feasible that the Rams come in overconfident and aren’t ready for the Vikings fury, but I doubt it. The Vikings’ holes are just too big.

And those holes do not begin and end with their offensive line. The early season 2018 defense has been a serious downgrade from last year’s unit.

Again, Minnesota will be fired up for this one, they will likely put up a good fight for a few quarters,  but I think in the end their shortcomings will be revealed, and the Rams will take advantage. Rams to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Still buying all the Brandon Cooks you will sell me. Again, he’s younger than both Woods and Kupp, considerably more talented then either and has the speed to take advantage of defenses preoccupied with Todd Gurley. He, along with Goff and Gurley are signed for the foreseeable future. There are years and years of top ten points to be had here, and yet 2017 Watkins comparisons have him undervalued. Another big week and that skepticism is likely to disappear.

Dalvin Cook is likely in for a rough ride this week and his early season lackluster numbers may have some owners ready to talk. Next week against Philly may be equally discouraging for stakeholders. It may not happen this year, but eventually this offensive line will get better and we will all be reminded of pre-injury 2017 Cook.

For the record – week 3

Weekly picks and dynasty transactions

@ Jags 6.5 over Titans

Hard to believe that the Titans, missing so many starters, were able to beat the Texans last week. It’s harder still to imagine a scenario where they are able to keep it close versus a very impressive Jags team. Of course, this could be viewed as a trap game as the Jags may be a little overconfident coming off their win versus New England, but I’m going to bet the momentum, and Titans injuries/inferiority carry them through. Jags to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

The window to buy Keelan Cole is closing rapidly. Fast, capable receivers who make hay off of play action on a team that wants to run the ball, is a very good recipe. The fact that the likes of highly regarded Matt Waldman and Matt Harmon are pounding the table here, suggests the price should climb considerably as more evidence is provided to support Cole’s case. Get him if you still can.

@ Chiefs 6.5 over 49ers

An early season battle of small-sample-sized, offseason darling QBs. At the moment Mahomes owners are likely dividing their time between giddiness and skepticism. It has been an incredible start, one that is set for certain regression. This week marks Mahomes’ Arrowhead debut, a stadium that has been historically unfavourable to visiting teams, and I’m guessing the fans will be jacked up for this one. Satiating the hometown fans will be a new test for Mahomes. In the face of such expectations we’ll see how the young QB reacts. Will he press a little looking for the big play and create some long-overdue turnovers, or will the honeymoon continue? Let’s bet he doesn’t disappoint. Chiefs to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Buy Spencer Ware. Andy Reid has a history of supporting multiple backs. Ware was the starter before getting hurt last year, and should Hunt get falter or get Hurt, Ware is an immediate RB1/2. This is fertile soil for all offensive weapons and Ware should grow too.

@ Panthers 2.5 over Bengals

Home favourites are certainly a thing this week. I’ve been reluctant to join the Bengals early season bandwagon and see no reason to do so this week on the road. This isn’t an easy call though, but when in doubt, on a tight spread like this it is wise to bet on the home team. Take the Panthers to win and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Wonderful as he’s been, I think now is the time to see what the market has to offer on Cam Newton. While he’s only 29 years old, as Indiana Jones once said “It’s not the years it’s the mileage” and there are plenty of those on this run first quarterback. Recent QB entries into the league are changing the QB landscape, as new names emerge Cam’s star could very well fade. Why not see if there isn’t a buyer out there.

@ Falcons 3.5 over Saints

These are two teams that are struggling to find their bearings. Both are 1-1 and have given little in the way of confidence-inspiring play. The Saints barely escaped week two against the Browns after getting embarrassed by the Buccaneers. Sean Payton won’t allow them to flounder for long and it seems more likely that he resolves what ails the Saints (defense it would seem) versus Atlanta’s spotty passing game and red zone issues, which, as far as colors go, would more aptly be called a black hole. Saints to cover and win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

If and when the Falcons do fix their red zone issues, Julio Jones will be a certain beneficiary, but so to will Austin Hooper. The very talented Hooper has produced very little to date, but this season he has been targeted multiple times in the red zone and managed to score last week. Many seem to have given up on the 23-year old, third year receiver, but the tight end position takes time to develop, particularly those tight ends who are not quasi receivers. Hooper is being developed into an all-around tight end, making major strides in his run blocking last season. He has more than enough talent to figure out the receiving game. Balanced tight end, those who can block and be a threat are becoming a rarer commodity in today’s NFL. If Hooper puts it all together he should be around for a very long time. Go get him, he’s cheap.

@ Vikings 16.5 over Bills

16.5 is a big number but if anyone can’t cover that big a spread, it’s the Bills. Take the Vikes to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I have long been a Laquon Treadwell apologist, urging patience on a talented player who would eventually figure it out. And while you don’t need to be told this: cut him. He’s not rosterable. And if like me you had some ridiculous loyalty to him, if he ever pops at some point down the road you’ll be the only person putting a waiver claim on him.

And yes, this isn’t added value advice, but for me it’s a cathartic admission of failure, a mea culpa. My name is Jason and I am a Laquon Treadwell addict.

No more damnit. No more.

@ Eagles 6.5 over Colts

Carson Wentz is back but several of his weapons are gone. Ships passing in the night it seems. While everyone remembers how great Wentz was last year and how much they loved him, everyone seems to be forgetting Andrew Luck. It wasn’t so long ago that he was the second coming of Peyton Manning, and I think those dismissing him and his repaired shoulder are going to be reminded of that several times this season. One of those times will be this weekend. Colts to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

The window to buy Andrew Luck is still open. People suspect his shoulder is a time bomb, they forget his first years in the league, they are distracted by the shiny new toys with names like Wentz and Watson and Mahomes, but what if Luck continues to progress, continues to throw deeper? What if Colts management has learned they need to protect their QB? What if that defense is horrible and the Colts have to throw for the new 5-10 years? Luck is a good buy low candidate as a player who could be top 5 again before long.

@ Dolphins 3.5 over Raiders

The Raiders have been dreadful and Jon Gruden has become a punching bag in the football community. The Dolphins are off to an unexpected 2-0 start. Those wins came against a Titans team that suffered a string of injuries in the week 1 contest and then the Jets in Sam Darnold’s second ever start. Both of those teams might actually be horrible. This smells like a let down game for Miami. The Raiders meanwhile, have lost to a dominant Rams team and just barely lost to the Broncos, in Denver. Take the Raiders to cover and win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

As long-term investments go, I can’t see any I’d willingly make to any player on either of these teams and that includes the hot and cold Amari Cooper. Cooper receives a tremendous amount of coverage in the fantasy community thanks to his skill set and early career success. He may very well prove to be a serviceable starting WR for years to come, but at this point the conversation about him being an elite receiver should be over.

@ Ravens 5.5 over Broncos

The Ravens at home, coming off a loss versus a Denver team travelling across the country for the early game with a banged up (and possibly lousy) quarterback. Both of these teams still seem unsettled to me. The Broncos are 2-0 on two tight wins at home against two teams that appear to be in disarray. A new coaching staff next year and a new Quarterback mid-year would not surprise me in Denver. The Ravens offense is loaded with new names. Each week they should get a little more familiar with one and other. I think Mornhinweg starts to get this offense working this week. Take the Ravens to win and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

The buying window is closing on John Brown. After looking good in the pre-season, he put up 90+ yards last week when he had to, and 40 plus versus Buffalo when he didn’t. Flacco’s deep ball makes him an interesting play this year, but if he is able to manage his health issue long-term, a future as Lamar Jackson’s target offers real value.

In buy extremely low terms, I am holding out hope that the possible week 11 return of Kenneth Dixon may finally reward us Dixon-truthers. The wait has been long and painful and this is likely one of his last chances to shine in Baltimore. He’s a bottom of the roster waiver wire pickup between now and late October.

Possibly cheaper, probably somewhere between Brown and Dixon is Broncos QB2 Chad Kelly. Kelly is a favourite of the aforementioned Matt Waldman and it would appear Keenum will afford him a chance to audition at some point this season, possibly as early as this week. He’s a big upside stash if you can make some roster space.

@ Texans 6.5 over Giants

After watching the first two weeks it’s hard to imagine how anyone can comfortably bet the Giants here. The Texans are still trying to find their footing and playing the Giants at home is a great place to do it. Watson production has reverting to the mean as predicted, but given this week’s matchup and the outside motivation from a local school superintendent, this feels like a week he could pop. The bench Eli drumbeat also seems eager to intensify. Texans to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

The early season swoon for the Giants makes it an opportunity for patient buyers to go fishing for the likes of Beckham and Barkley. And while it’s unlikely a big discount is available on either, kicking the tires on Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram might be worth your time. And if you have the roster space, Kyle Lauletta is eventually getting to audition with all four of those guys, isn’t he?

Packers 2.5 over @ Washington

This all hinges on how well Rodgers can play on his leg and a half. Washington beat the lowly Cardinals and then looked dreadful last week against the Colts. Now they host a Green Bay team that is adding Aaron Jones to its backfield. Alex Smith is still getting acquainted with an offense that has several new pieces. It might take a few more weeks, and a weaker opponent before they can figure it all out. Packers to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

In rebuild mode I’d be trying to acquire any of the Green Bay assets that may be slightly diminished by Rodgers limitations. I doubt there is much discount there but is worth pricing now and in the coming weeks if the offense falters.

Impatient or win-now owners may be willing to part ways with Derrius Guice at a reasonable price.

@ Rams 7.5 over Chargers

The Rams have been dominant against the Raiders and dreadful Cardinals. This week they play against a Chargers team that won’t be so easily pushed around. The Rams are no doubt among the elite, but their pre-season ends this Sunday and Philip Rivers and the Chargers may catch them off guard. Chargers to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

I’m a broken record here, but this is just a monthly reminder that Brandin Cooks is slightly younger than Woods and Kupp and vastly more talented than both. Cooks is a receiver-in-full: speed, route running and adaptability. It doesn’t hurt either that he plays against defenses that are terrified of Todd Gurley. Stacked boxes and play action will be his friends for years to come. He’s signed, Gurley is signed and Goff is signed. This is a long-term situation that should only improve with time. Time for you to sign up to the Cooks truther camp. This is a top 10 receiver for the next 5 to 7 years.

@ Seahawks 1.5 over Cowboys

A reminder: both of these coaching staffs will be replaced this offseason. Second reminder, Russell Wilson is greater than anything Dallas has to offer. Seahawks to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

Sign me up for anyone selling Russell Wilson shares. At 29 Wilson has produced a handful of MVP candidate seasons. He has done so all while being poorly protected by his offensive line, provided modest weaponry in the passing game and been hamstrung by a coaching staff who thinks their best course is to “pound the rock”. At some point a rational decision will be made and Wilson will be able to play without one hand tied behind his back.

And yes, I realize Newton and Wilson are the same age and that they have both paid a price physically. The difference is, I believe Wilson has all the passing game tools to adjust his game over time, while I’m skeptical Newton can.

I’m also a cautious buyer of Tyler Lockett. I’ve been waiting 2+ years, what’s one more.

Bears 6.5 over @ Cardinals

The Bears defense was very impressive last week versus Seattle. They have announced their arrival as a unit to be taken seriously. The offense in Chicago, meanwhile, remains a bit of a work in progress. In Arizona nothing has worked. I’d wager there is enough veteran pride and leadership in the Cardinals room to turn things around this week, and at the very least keep this home game a close one. Cards to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

In horrible calls for 2018, my worst has been that David Johnson would be the fantasy MVP. In the early going that appears to be a total disaster and I’m not holding my breath for a turnaround/. The logic was simple: volume and garbage time should equal big passing yardage as the Cards make late game efforts against prevent type defenses. That obviously has not materialized. That being said, for those able to sit and wait on Johnson, it’s worth seeing how a motivated seller might have him valued.

Patriots 6.5 over @ Lions

Bill Belichick coming off a loss, playing against a struggling team headed by one of his former assistant coaches, and a vastly overrated one in my estimation. I suspect this could be a high scoring affair, and I anticipate Gronk bounces back from a frustrating week 2 versus Jacksonville. Pats win this track meet and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

Broken record suggestions here: Buy Gronk, he’s not retiring, buy Sony Michel, buy Kenny Golladay, take a shot on Josh Gordon, sell Tom Brady, sell Julian Edelman, sell Chris Hogan.

Steelers 1.5 over @ BUCCANEERS

I love Ryan Fitzpatrick and hope there is plenty of magic yet to come, but this week I think the Steelers will be desperate to get their season headed in the right direction. Expect a monster game from drama queen Antonio Brown and mix in a little Juju. The Buccs will likely keep this a track meet, but the Steelers will prevail. Take the Steelers to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS:

Juju Smith-Schuster is still only 21 years old. Antonio Brown, like many Steelers star receivers before him, may find himself, regrettably retiring in another team’s colors. Whether he finishes his career in Pittsburgh or not won’t matter to Juju. Like Brandin Cooks, he is both highly regarded and underrated.