Tag Archives: Andy Dalton

NFL Week 6 Primetime Moneymakers

In the age of COVID, NFL games are constantly subject to being rescheduled. We have already seen the Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, and several other teams have their seasons rearranged already and it’s a safe bet there will be more to come. We’ve already had this week’s Thursday night matchup moved to Monday afternoon since the Buffalo Bills had to play on Tuesday.

We went 1-2 on our picks last week and missed on our weekly prop of Rob Gronkowski scoring a touchdown. Woof. Alas, there is more money to be made. And if anyone is going to make it, it should be us, right? With that let’s dive into three games to eye this week for their earning potential.

Road Teams Dominate in ‘NFL Week 6 Primetime Moneymakers’

Los Angeles Rams (4-1) -3 vs San Francisco 49ers (2-3)

Are the Los Angeles Rams good again, or at least, as good as their record says they are? Who knows, but they have been getting the job done against the spread this season (3-2 ATS) including last week’s 30-10 drubbing of the Washington Football Team. San Francisco isn’t as bad as Washington, but they are plenty banged up, especially on defense. L.A., averaging 27.2 points per game, should be able to score almost at will after the Miami Dolphins hung 43 on the 49ers defense.

San Francisco is 0-3 at home and 2-3 against the spread and just had their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, benched for throwing two picks and taking several sacks. In his defense, it was his first start since suffering an ankle injury. Working against him is the Rams defense is worlds better than Miami’s surprising bunch. An early Rams lead could spell quick doom for a 49ers team undoubtedly looking to run it a lot in this one.

One team has looked playoff-ready most of the season and are laying just 3.5 points to a team that has looked disjointed and is certainly in diminished form. San Francisco looked decent against the New York Giants a couple of weeks ago but the Miami game is probably closer to what we should expect from their defense. That spells trouble against Los Angeles. The over has been hitting for the Rams but the expected emphasis on the run from the 49ers could suppress the score so the under looks more attractive here.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) -4 vs Buffalo Bills (4-1)

These two teams should come into this one pissed off. Both suffered embarrassing losses in Week 5. The Kansas City Chiefs watched the Las Vegas Raiders beat them 40-32 in Arrowhead playing their own game as Derek Carr threw touchdowns of 59 and 72 yards. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills got shellacked by the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday. Perhaps they wouldn’t have won the game anyway, but losing 42-16 wasn’t in anyone’s forecast.

Allen was the clubhouse leader for MVP but his performance surely allowed Russell Wilson to at least close the gap. More concerning is how simple he was rendered ineffective by the Titans. Playing a bunch of zone coverage, they limited Buffalo’s ability to stretch the field with Stefon Diggs and kept Allen from breaking off any big runs. Patrick Mahomes was harassed all game by the Raiders so Buffalo will have to pressure him better than they did Ryan Tannehill or they’ll suffer the same fate.

Both teams have the same records straight up (4-1) and against the spread (3-2) so nothing immediately jumps to mind. If it simply comes down to who do you have more faith in, it’s hard to vote against the guy who already won an MVP against a guy chasing his first. To be honest the only thing we might have any comfort in is the under hitting; 57.5 is fairly high.

Arizona Cardinals (3-2) -1.5 vs Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

The Arizona Cardinals are still a team in transition. They have victories over the lowly New York Jets and Washington Football team one top of their surprise win over the 49ers in the opener. Their losses have come against the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers, teams whose offensive talent is closer to that of the Dallas Cowboys than any of the opponents Arizona beat. The x-factor in this one will be Andy Dalton who takes over for the Cowboys at quarterback following Dak Prescott’s ankle injury.

Kyler Murray was the preseason favorite in this space for MVP but he has been inconsistent. and turnover prone. He’s thrown a pick in all but one game this season and threw three against the Lions in Week 3. Dalton steps into a role that had Dak breaking records for passing yards to start the season. There aren’t many better backups in the NFL, as evidenced by his completing nearly 82 percent of his passes in a comeback win against the Giants last week.

Dallas laying any points (+1.5) at home is funny when you think of where we thought this team would be. But Arizona is a challenging foe capable of taking advantage of a suspect Cowboys defense that’s allowed no fewer than 24 points in any game this season. Dalton should have time in the pocket after the Cardinals lost Chandler Jones for the season, but will he be as effective as most think he can be in this offense? It’s hard to confidently bet on a team switching quarterbacks, especially with Dallas 0-5 against the spread this season at full strength. It still feels like people are undervaluing the rest of the talent on the Cowboys and overvaluing the Cardinals. Take Dallas plus the points even if you expect Arizona to win outright.

Week 6 Waiver Wire: Banking with Chase

Week 5 came and…well that’s it because at the time of this writing, the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans had yet to play their matchup. It was rescheduled for Tuesday after the Titans had a self-inflicted outbreak of COVID. Similarly, the New England Patriots had their game against the Denver Broncos pushed from Week 5 to Week 6.

That’s all besides the point though because we’re here to find some help for out ailing fake football teams. Injuries have the quarterback of a high-octane offense, a rookie wide receiver that looks like a tight end, and a backup running back making the case for more time all available on the wire.

Andy Dalton

Dallas Cowboys – QB – 99.8% Avail

First and foremost, let’s send wishes for a speedy recovery to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. While trying to fight for more yardage on a scramble he suffered a compound fracture and will miss the rest of the season. He has a long recovery ahead and the Cowboys will have to try and regroup with their backup.

Fortunately for them, Andy Dalton has nine years worth of starting experience in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the AFC North. Dalton threw just under 3500 yards in 13 games last season with a far less talented group. Putting him under center may not cure what ails the Cowboys (hint: it is ailments) but he could do wonders for you if you’re hurting at QB.

Dalton hasn’t been a top-12 fantasy quarterback since 2016, but this is by far the most offensive talent he’s played with. He also doesn’t need to be elite, just get you through a bye week. But the fact that a 30-something quarterback carries the kind of upside Dalton does in this offense is rare for a backup quarterback.

Alexander Mattison

Minnesota Vikings – RB – 58.4% Avail

Dalvin Cook is one of the most talented backs in the NFL right now. Unfortunately, staying healthy has been his biggest hurdle. That’s why the Vikings took Alexander Mattison out of Boise State in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. All he did in relief was take 20 carries for 112 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in a losing effort.

Cook is expected to miss Week 6 against the woeful Atlanta Falcons with his abductor injury; a predictable move given the Vikings Week 7 bye. Cook becomes a plug-and-play option in this situation. He’s only averaging 68 yards in the five games he’s handled double-digit carries, a figure aided by his output last week.

Still, Atlanta is 0-5 and dealing with an interim head coach while Minnesota is third in rushing yards and fourth in attempts as a team. There is a risk this becomes a shootout, and Mike Boone is a threat to vulture any week. But finding 18-plus carries on the wire isn’t anything to sneeze at, even if it’s likely only for one week.

Chase Edmonds

Arizona Cardinals – RB – 53.5% Avail

We head to the desert to find another back on the wire. This one carries more long-term potential but is far more speculative. Whereas a Cook injury opens a brief window for Mattison, it’s the ineffective play of Kenyan Drake that has many hoping that Kliff Kingsbury opts to move on from a player they’re paying $8 million on the transition tag.

Arizona’s big-money, short-term commitment plodded his way to 60 yards on 16 carries against the lowly New York Jets, scuffling to 3.3 yards per carry; up from 2.7 the week before. Edmonds only had 36 yards (and a touchdown) on three carries but that’s 12 yards per tote. The former Fordham runner also had five catches for 56 yards, another aspect of Drake’s game that’s been lacking.

Again, this is speculation with a hint of hope. Drake was a part-time player in college and with the Miami Dolphins. It would make sense that Edmonds at least eats into his workload regardless. But the Alabama alum might be forcing his coach’s hand. Even though an injury didn’t knock Drake out of last week’s game as some had expected, his poor play just might.

Chase Claypool

Pittsburgh Steelers – WR – 91.2% Avail

Ok, so maybe you don’t need this guide to realize that Chase Claypool should be added. Anytime a receiver goes for 110 yards on seven grabs and three touchdowns you take notice. When that player also gets three carries and scores a rushing touchdown you make them a priority. And when that player is but a rookie you get the types of hyped headlines we have seen this week.

Claypool stepped in for Diontae Johnson (back) and proceeded to shine so brightly he overshadowed Philadelphia Eagles wideout Travis Fulgham who had 10 catches for 152 yards and two scores of his own. His 11 targets were nearly double those of the next pass-catcher, Eric Ebron. They were also the second-most looks a Steelers receiver has gotten in a game this season.

It was Ebron’s drops, a recurring issue throughout his career, that made way for Claypool who looks more like a tight end than a receiver. Johnson’s injury seemingly opened the door for Claypool and Ebron being himself held it there. It was the rookie’s own performance though that could have him looking like a modern version of Plaxico Burress.

Mike Williams

Los Angeles Chargers – WR – 65.4% Avail

From one big-bodied wide receiver to another, Mike Williams was a popular player before the season but early passing struggles and a strong ground attack left Williams’ owners feeling burned. Perhaps his two touchdowns and 109 yards on five catches will get some investors back in the fold.

Williams has battled injuries and he actually got hurt at the end of Monday Night Football but was able to walk off the field under his own power. Just keep an eye on it. He wasn’t the only receiver to go down as top-option Keenan Allen also left early with a back injury. If Williams was just banged up, he could be in for a big role if Allen (who has also battled injuries) misses time.

The injury risk this season has been devastating and even worse for the Chargers. Keep that in mind with Williams. But even if he misses time, he could be useful as we continue through the bye weeks. Any concerns about the offense should have already been laid to rest with the announcement that Justin Herbert would start at quarterback the rest of the season.

Robert Tonyan

Green Bay Packers – TE – 51.4% Avail You may have forgotten but the last time we saw the Green Bay Packers they were being carried by third-year tight end Robert Tonyan. Okay, “carry” may be too strong for an offense featuring Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones. Tonyan put on a show nonetheless. Six grabs, 98 yards, and three touchdown catches is one way to get your name out there.

What was most notable about Tonyan’s performance was that it was his third-straight game with a score and second with 50-plus receiving yards. He’s just one target shy of his 2019 total and has already surpassed his catch and yardage totals from last season. Aaron Rodgers playing lights out right now is the cherry on top.

The elephant in the room here is Davante Adams. He missed the game against the Falcons and left early in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. His imminent return will put a dent into Tonyan’s production. But, despite investing draft capital at tight end in each of the past two drafts, Tonyan appears to be the best option the Packers have at the position.

Quarterbacks (Unsurprisingly) Dominating Off-Season Headlines

All of you “defense wins championships” folks will hate to read this but, the 2020 NFL off-season is just another dominated by quarterbacks. They’ve dominated the headlines and are the object around which NFL general managers formulate their off-season plans. Even the ones who are trying to build their defenses do so with the intent of negating opposing quarterbacks.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs just gave us our most recent example of this playing out. A stout San Francisco 49ers defense (2nd in yards per game allowed) couldn’t hold the third-year, former MVP down for an entire four quarters. In a league that has shifted so far towards favoring offenses, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Quarterback Talk Will Dominate Headlines Again

Background

Since the league went to 32 teams, the NFL has seen its average pass completions per game jump from 20.1 in 2002 to 22.1 in 2019. It should also be noted that the 2002 number was a relative outlier. The average was around 19.3 and lower the six years prior and four years after the ‘02 season. But all this proves is that teams are passing that much more, right?

Wrong! In this same period, pass attempts have gone from 33.8 18 years ago to 34.9 this past season. That’s an increase of nearly three completions per game but only 1.1 more attempts. Put simply, quarterbacks got more accurate as displayed in the average completion percentage rising nearly four points from 59.6 percent to 63.5 percent.

Any number of metrics can back this up, but we only need to look at the headlines to see the trend. Mahomes winning Super Bowl MVP aside, the next biggest talking point has been about where Tom Brady will play in 2020. He’s 42 years old and didn’t have his best season (statistically or via the eye test) but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from churning.

Pro-Style

Among the many hypothesized destinations have been the newly-dubbed Las Vegas Raiders, the Los Angeles Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In addition to the potential drawbacks to making a large commitment to a quarterback who is less than a decade away from AARP eligibility, all of these teams have quarterbacks either in place or in limbo.

Those incumbents have also been the subjects of trade rumors in their own rights. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers recently moved (a la Brady) to Florida turning up the volume on speculation he could be elsewhere in 2020. Cam Newton has been tabbed by speculators to replace him in L.A. after his Carolina Panthers hired a new head coach and general manager.

It isn’t just the big-name guys getting all the headlines either. Cincinnati Bengals free-agent quarterback Andy Dalton, an average starting quarterback by most metrics, has been spoken of as a possible savior for teams viewed by many as being a “quarterback away” from being true contenders. Even perceived busts like Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans have been given new life by the rumor mill.

Incoming

The NFL Draft is in April and guess what position the presumed first pick, Joe Burrow, plays. Yep, quarterback. A draft that is thought to be strong at wide receiver and other skill positions could have five passers go in the first round. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is one of those prospects and he is recovering from a serious hip injury just to illustrate.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young at the top of a lot of big boards and the Bengals have a significant need for a pass rusher. But that is dwarfed by their need to upgrade the quarterback position. This illustrates the shift in ideology. Rather than build from the trenches, Cincinnati is set to pick Burrow based on one (historic) season.

Even supposed projects or guys missing something are getting first-round love. Justin Herbert was buzzing last year but needed the Senior Bowl to solidify his spot near the top of the draft. The Jacob Easons and Jordan Loves of the world, though, are first-rounders based more on potential than production.

Face Facts

This isn’t some earth-shattering revelation. The transition to a quarterback-driven league has been advertised and vocalized to the point that it’s almost fait accompli you’ll hear “it’s a quarterback-driven league” after a play. The announcers and pundits know it. The fans know it.

Even the league knows it. After revamping the protections on quarterbacks and receivers some years back, the NFL did so again recently. The most heavily debated being challenging pass interference. It’s a change that can and has aided defenses but was clearly developed with offenses in mind.

This might not even just apply to current and future quarterbacks either. It’s fair to wonder if the controversial Colin Kaepernick would be such a lightning rod if he played any other position. His very vocal supporter and former teammate Eric Reid did sign a multi-year deal last February.

Headlines Were Made for Quarterbacks

Again, this isn’t exactly new or revolutionary, we’ve always idolized the quarterback position.  But it has become more intentional along with the devaluation of the running back has been the elevation of the quarterback. Super Bowl Sunday was just a reminder that while defense wins (conference) championships, it is quarterbacks that win Super Bowls.