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Big Ben and Tom Brady Highlight the Week 6 Takeaways
This was an odd week to say the least. You had a multitude of unexpected players such as Case Keenum, Kenny Britt, and Jay Ajayi dominate the football field and put up huge numbers, whereas your usual studs such as Mark Ingram, Ben Roethlisberger and Allen Robinson put up massive duds. To tell you the truth, I faced off against Britt in one of my season long leagues with my college friends, and when I went to give him props for starting him, his response was, “I just wanted to start a Ram and I needed a flex.”
Welp, that’s just how fantasy goes sometimes isn’t it?
My Kenny Britt sob story aside, there were a couple of key things that happened Sunday that we should dive into. This is a new series that I am going to take a whack at and for now, I’m going to emulate what the great Eric Karabell from ESPN.com does and use a “four-down” layout. It may evolve from that, but we’ll keep it as it until further notice.
The San Francisco 49ers continue to be the defense that keep on giving. The 49ers lost their fifth straight game in Buffalo Sunday afternoon, and while the majority of the attention was on the change at QB, the state of the defense was status quo. The defense has now given up five straight 100-yard rushers, four straight games with TDs allowed to the opposing RB and three out of those four games they’ve given up multiple touchdowns.If Doug Martin is ready to go after Tampa Bay’s bye, he’s easily going to be ranked as a top 10 RB. Even while getting gouged on the ground, they also somehow managed to allow Tyrod Taylor to finish as a top-12 QB, despite the fact that he sat a big chunk of the 4th quarter in the blowout win. Jameis Winston is going to be a great streaming option next week, provided that the Niners are able to keep the game somewhat close.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was a massive disappointment today. Heading into the Week 6 matchup, Miami ranked in the bottom half of passing yards allowed, and dead last in rushing yards. There was even a cleverly photoshopped picture circulating on Twitter where the end zone was edited to say “Welcome Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.” Granted, Ben Roethlisberger did wind up getting hurt (being reported that he’s going to have to get surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is expected to miss a few weeks at the minimum), but even before Big Ben got hurt, it was apparent that the Steelers did not come ready to play. It seems to be a common occurrence in the Mike Tomlin era that whenever the Steelers come in as massive favorites, they completely bottom out. If you go back just a few weeks ago when they faced the now struggling Philadelphia Eagles, and then even further back to 2014 when they got tripped up against the Cleveland, Tampa Bay and the New York Jets when they were all large favorites. Maybe this is just coincidence, but it’s something that Steeler fans are a bit too accustomed to seeing.
The bigger story here is the status of the offensive skill players now that Landry Jones is taking over. My initial expert reaction (ha) is that the passing game is going to suffer, including Brown, but the running game should be just fine, if not better. Per NFLResearch, since 2015 the Steelers have averaged almost 50% fewer passing yards when Ben isn’t in the lineup compared to when he was, but their rushing yards have increased by almost 75%. There’s no certainty as to how long Ben will be out, with some optimists thinking that he’ll be back after missing the Patriots game. Thus my advice when it comes to Brown is that if you need to win now, you should look to move him but if you can take the hit of a few weeks of lesser production, this is the type of trade that could win you a championship in December.
Maybe this should’ve been the first down because it pretty much makes the rest of what goes on in the NFL this season moot but Tom Brady is going to continue to do his best General Sherman impersonation and treat the rest of the season as his “March to the Sea.” While the offense was relatively quiet through the first half, things changed after their defense forced a safety and went on to score touchdowns on four straight possessions. Last week it was Martellus Bennett leading the charge with three touchdowns but this week it was Robert Gronkowksi and James White combining for 15 receptions, 209 yards and three scores. Regardless of who was catching the passes, it was their leader in the midst of it all, going 29 of 35 for 376 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He’s currently on pace for a 4600+ yard, 36 TD season…in 12 games. With all respect to the legitimate Matt Ryan (and silly Derek Carr) MVP talk, if the Patriots continue to roll like this, there’s no doubt in my mind that Brady will win his 3rd MVP award. The offense will only continue to get better the more that Bennett gets comfortable with the system, and then the potential addition of Dion Lewis in a few weeks will only make a terrifying attack even scarier. There’s no QB I’d rather have the rest of the season than General Brady.
We’ve had six weeks of football so far, which is by no means a small sample size, so when is it time to bail on guys we paid high draft picks for? Guys like Allen Robinson, Aaron Rodgers, and Mark Ingram all cost an arm and a leg on draft day, and have been massive disappointments thus far. The general rule of life is that you should never sell low, but at what point do we try to get what we can and move on? Last year it was CJ Anderson, Randall Cobb and Andrew Luck. Had you sold them around this time last year, you would have been able to net a solid return on investment, but the longer you waited, hoping that they would turn it around, the lower their value got. I’m going to have another article out about guys I want to buy or sell, but for now, at least keep an open mind to the fact that you may want to move big name guys who still have value. For now.