For the record – week 7

@ Chargers -6.5 vs. Titans

The Chargers have been better than their record, the Titans have been worse than we could have imagined. Weird things happen in London games, and perhaps the Titans, can surprise this week. The coaching staff has apologized for the offenses output in recent weeks (post Eagles game) but the real problem may still be Mariota’s tingling throwing arm. I’m guessing it’s another ass -backwards UK game with too many turnovers, not enough scoring and the Chargers eking out a win against a modestly frisky Titans team that cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’m betting that the Titans eventually look better. Mariota’s arm gets healthy enough to make Corey Davis matter and Dion Lewis has a second-half-of-the-season half bump as well. So, trade for these Titans if they’re cheap.

I’m also betting that Austin Ekeler or Melvin Gordon eventually go down to injury and Justin Jackson plays enough to matter. I’ve you’ve got the space, get him while he’s cheap.

@ Colts -7.5 vs. Bills

Here’s a game I hope I don’t have to watch. I’ll go Colts.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’ll sit this one out.

Vikings -3.5 @ Jets

The Vikings aren’t as good as you think and the Jets aren’t as bad as they probably should be. The Vikes have yet to clean anyone’s clock and it is high time they make a statement and kick someone’s ass. The frisky Jets seem like a ripe candidate. Vikings to romp.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Elijah McGuire is coming back in the next two to three weeks and he may find himself in a good spot. The coaching staff, by all accounts, love him and he can easily improve the RB passing game in New York where Bilal Powell and Isiah Crowell have made little noise. Game scripts should favour the passing game and outlet passes should be a Darnold favourite. Beat the waiver wire rush and grab him this week or next.

@ Eagles -5.5 vs. Panthers

The Eagles just aren’t very good this year. I have no doubt they’ll get there in time, but there are just too many injuries to overcome at the moment. Expect this one to be close. Panthers cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

With the receiver position so deep this year I don’t see any reason for us to pretend that Devin Funchess is good.

When the Eagles do get their shit together, don’t be surprised if it’s on the back of Darren Sproles, who will finish the season and likely his career with one last explosion.

@ Buccaneers -3.5 vs. Browns

A few similarities between the Buccs and Browns. Both have promising offensive coordinators, directly beneath lousy head coaches. Both of those head coaches have likely extended their agonizing tenures with better than expected starts. Both are potentially very exciting offenses if only their recently anointed or returned-from-suspension quarterbacks can sharpen their games. The Buccs have the advantage of home field while the Browns have the advantage of a functional defense. My best guess is the defense and a healthy dose of Nick Chubb bests a still sloppy Winston and a freshly installed defense.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’ve been a broken record about getting yourself some Nick Chubb and it is now officially too late. The David Njoku coming out party date has been pushed back a few times but this could very well be the week he goes north of 100 yards.

Chris Godwin has been a decent play several weeks, but should any injuries befall Evans of Jackson his stock could spike. Ditto Peyton Barber, whose best game last week is a sign of things to come.

Patriots -3.5 @ Bears

If the Patriots can best Mahomes at home, I have little doubt they’ll be able to contain Trubisky in Chicago. Look for New England to amplify their usual dink and dunk game, using screens-a-plenty against the Chicago front.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Plenty of fantasy assets to like here for this year and beyond. I’m selling Brady, White and Hogan in New England, but buying all the Gordon, Gronk, Michel and Edelman I can get.

Chicago offense can be bought across the board starting with the increasingly affordable Howard. I’m also buying Cohen and Miller where I can. I’m avoiding Gabriel and selling Allan Robinson, who still may hold some value from his Jacksonville WR1 success.

@ Jaguars -5.5 vs. Texans

The Jags appear to have maturity issues to overcome, while the Texans have a horrid offensive line and questionable head coach to contend with. Neither have lived up to pre-season expectation. The Jags, playing at home following a humiliating loss to Dallas last week, should have a fire in their belly. Adding Hyde to the backfield mix should help anchor the offense and open up the passing game. I’d be a big buyer of Keelan Cole for this week. Jags to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’m buying Keelan Cole for this week and beyond. He put up considerable chunks of yards in 2017 through play action, and getting Carlos Hyde helps the depth of the backfield. Things may get suddenly more consistent in Jacksonville. They need to turn the season around quickly, and the aggressive Hyde move should be applauded.

Ideally the Texans will take a page out of the Jags book and trade for running back depth. Ameer Abdullah still feels right to me.

@ Dolphins -0.5 vs. Lions

I’m not betting on back to back Brock Osweiler wins. If Matt Patricia can’t be counted on to formulate a plan to flummox Osweiler, then why exactly was the defensive mastermind brought in. All that can defeat the Lions here are costly mistakes and turnovers. Lions to win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Long-term buys, despite short-term mediocrity: Kalen Ballage and Kenyan Drake. Both seem well suited for Gase’s system, and assuming he sticks around long enough as head coach, Frank Gore will eventually open up carries and targets for his understudies.

@ Ravens -2.5 vs. Saints

Possibly the game of the week. The Saints can sometimes stall on the road versus formidable defenses and that’s exactly what this week looks like. The game goes one of two ways: the Baltimore D has answers and keeps the Saints to short and frustrating drives OR they have no such luck stopping them and find themselves in a shootout pitting Flacco versus Brees. I’m very interested to see which way it breaks. Either way 2.5 favouring Ravens seems backwards. I’m leaning Saints to win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

With Ginn sent to the IR, this was your last week to by Tre’Quan Smith. He should be a feast of famine WR3 the rest of the way.

If the script goes Baltimore’s way this week Alex Collins should feature prominently and possibly turn his disappointing season around. Regardless of that play for this week, it is quite obvious the Ravens need help at running back. Something I’m certain they may do this offseason. Before that happens, however, Kenneth Dixon will be provided one last shot to earn his keep. He’s a few weeks away from returning but be ready to pounce, he could be the late season jolt you need for the homestretch and playoffs.

Rams -9.5 @ 49ers

Nine and a half is a lot of points for a road game. Missing Cooper Kupp ad playing a banged up Brandin Cooks, I expect the Rams may do only what is necessary to prevail in San Fran, rather than blow their doors off. A divisional game blow out in the host city seems a tall order, no matter how great the Rams have been. Niners cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

If the Rams are going to be a legitimate dynasty and Sean McVay is going to be the next great coaching mind, you would be well served buying some exposure to this offense. I’ve gone on and on about Brandin Cooks, and you hardly need to be told to buy him, or the other two receivers, for that matter. But given the mounting injuries, this could be a time for Josh Reynolds to gain some relevancy. At the moment he’s just a guy to watch and get a feel for, or a very deep bench stash.

@ Washington -1.5 vs. Cowboys

Along with the Bill vs. Colts, this will be another game I will try to avoid.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Rico Gathers has made a few modest appearances on the score sheet. As Dallas continues to search for offense it would not be a huge surprise to see him creep into relevancy territory, particularly in this dreadful tight end market. He’s a raw athlete who a more imaginative coaching staff would likely have embraced long ago. But this is Dallas.

Aside from Derrius Guice coming back next year, I’m not a buyer of anyone on this roster of J.A.G.s.

@ Chiefs -6.5 vs. Bengals

The Chiefs almost managed to beat Belichick and Brady at Foxboro, I’m feeling confident they bounce back this week at home versus Lewis and Dalton.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’m selling al things Bengals with the exception of Gio Bernard. I’d suggest he is the only undervalued asset on the team at the moment, while Dalton, Mixon and mostly particularly Tyler Boyd, are vastly overpriced. Green is always expensive and always worth it.

There are no bargains to be found on the Chiefs, though unlike the Bengals I believe they will hold their value. The one player I recommend stashing away on deep benches is Spencer Ware on the basis that this team is great and the position is so thin across the league. If Hunt goes down you have an instant RB1.

@ Falcons -5.5 vs. Giants

Falcons have had a few set backs this season and hosting Eli and the Giants at home seems like a great way to get things back on track. Falcons to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

It’s not too late to buy Austin Hooper or Ito Smith.

 

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.