Tag Archives: Drew Lock

Week 13 Primetime Moneymakers: Four the Win

A week after having the NFL primetime schedule extended into Wednesday we will do so again in Week 13. It’s an attempt to get back on track. Week 12’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens took so long to be played that their matchups this week have been pushed back in response. Pittsburgh will play the Washington Football Team on Monday at 5:00 PM ET; technically not in primetime but the unique time lands it on the list. Baltimore will face the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday at 8:05 PM ET.

Sitting at 9-14 after a pair of brutal weeks, we finally hit it big going 3-0. We nailed Bears-Packers outright but only got Seahawks-Eagles and Steelers-Ravens covers because the spread changed. So what, we’ll take it at this point. The record now sits at 12-14 with a chance to go above .500 on the year for the first time. It’s been an absolute rollercoaster of bad beats but there’s still money to be made. If anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us!

Picking Four to Win in Week 13 Primetime Moneymakers

Denver Broncos (4-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-1)

Spread: Chiefs -14

O/U: 51

Drew Lock should be back under center for the Denver Broncos (6-5 ATS). They had to face the New Orleans Saints with practice squad receiver Kendall Hinton, a converted college quarterback. It did not go well as they lost 31-3. The Broncos average 22.7 PPG in Lock’s seven starts this season. They’ll need every bit of it with their opponent this week. Defensively they rank 10th in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and seventh in sacks. That’s a testament to the job head coach Vic Fangio has done without Von Miller this season.

If ‘unbothered’ was a person, that person would be Patrick Mahomes. Undaunted by the reputation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense (which was largely overblown anyway), he and the Kansas City Chiefs (6-5 ATS) put up 27 fairly easy points on them. They held off a late rally to reach double-digit wins for the sixth season in a row and seventh in eight years under Andy Reid (they won nine games the other year).

Perhaps in some alternate universe Lock is developed enough. And Miller and Courtland Sutton are healthy so the Broncos can keep up with the Chiefs. In this reality, though, he and the rest of the offense aren’t equipped to take advantage. The Chiefs defense ranks 17th in DVOA and has just 20 sacks on the season. Good luck to that secondary containing Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman. No secondary is that deep. Take the Chiefs but just moneyline. For some reason, 14 points feel like too many to lay against a divisional opponent even with such a lopsided matchup.

Washington Football Team (4-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0)

Spread: Steelers -10

O/U: 42.5

The Washington Football Team (6-5 ATS) have had a surprisingly competitive season. And that’s not just because they play in the worst division in professional football which means they still have a chance to host a playoff game. It’s also because their defense is ranked fifth in DVOA despite the offense being 27th and 24th in scoring. Alex Smith has led the Football Team to back-to-back wins but has just three touchdowns to five interceptions.

By now the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3 ATS) have to be tired of COVID as much as anyone. On top of having their own problems with the virus, they have had their games moved twice already due to their opponents handling of it. Still, they are undefeated and coming off a disappointing win (per Mike Tomlin) against a depleted division rival. Can their offense (sixth in scoring, 15th in DVOA) take a break and ride the defense (first in scoring and DVOA) to another win?

Some might be questioning the validity of Pittsburgh’s record after watching Ben Roethlisberger and co. struggle against Baltimore but that’s just how those games go. Washington will need them to play as sloppily as they did in Week 12 to have a shot because a shootout guarantees a Steelers victory. Barring that this will make it 12 wins for Tomlin’s team but maybe not by the double-digit margin predicted. The quick turnaround might lead the Steelers to run more with guys still missing in action and that would be just fine with the Football Team. Steelers moneyline seems best as does the under.

Buffalo Bills (8-3) at San Francisco 49ers (5-6)

Spread: 49ers +1

O/U: 48

If it seems like the Buffalo Bills (6-5 ATS) aren’t losing much lately it’s because they aren’t. Since back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs they have gone 4-1 with a huge win over the Seattle Seahawks included. Buffalo, led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, is 10th in scoring offense and eighth in offense DVOA despite not having a ground game worth mentioning. Being so one-dimensional can be detrimental to any team, especially when your defense is 16th in DVOA and 18th in scoring.

Don’t look now, but the San Francisco 49ers (5-6 ATS) find themselve very much in the playoff hunt despite all of the games they’ve lost to injury this year. They’ve gotten some key players back in recent weeks including Richard Sherman and Raheem Mostert so maybe they can start stringing wins together. They still rank ninth in defense DVOA but are just 19th offensively. Jimmy Garoppolo (and likely George Kittle) won’t be walking through that door and Nick Mullens caps this team’s ceiling.

Location, location, location. The 49ers might appreciate the change of venue for this one since they’ve allowed 15 touchdowns at home compared to just 10 on the road. Their offense has also scored more on the road. Buffalo sees a drop in their offensive scoring, mostly in rushing scores. But their defense actually improves away from Bills Stadium. Additionally, even though it’s a small spread it’s worth mentioning the 49ers haven’t covered the spread in any game they haven’t won outright this season and that isn’t to be expected here. Take Buffalo and don’t be shocked to see over hit even with San Francisco so undermanned.

Dallas Cowboys (3-8) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

Check back soon once the line is set for this game to get the pick!

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire

Another week in the books just means more opportunities to work the waiver wire. It wasn’t a great week for quarterbacks or running backs; save for Patrick Mahomes and Dalvin Cook, respectively. Tight end has been another issue altogether. We did hit on Joe Burrow and Brandon Aiyuk in Week 8, but it was a rough one overall for our suggested pickups.

There were, as usual, more injuries that will have a fantasy impact. However, they aren’t as pertinent as the status of injuries we were already monitoring. They still provide us with some fill-ins with the Bengals, Brown, Eagles, and Rams all on bye. What might be most shocking is there were a couple of rookies who had strong performances without an injury to a player ahead of them on the depth chart.

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire: Lock Your Carr

Quarterbacks

Drew Lock

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos pulled the upset and got the win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday thanks in no small part to Drew Lock. The second-year pro threw for 248 yards and three scores against L.A. He struggled in his first two games back from injury, completing just 53 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four interceptions. But Lock completed better than 63 percent of his passes on his way to being the QB7 through Sunday’s games.

He gets the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, in Week 9. Only three quarterbacks have finished outside the top-12 against them; Teddy Bridgewater (in the rematch), Matthew Stafford, and Nick Foles. Lock is a solid option for those going without Burrow this week.

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders

Staying in the AFC West, we land on the most senior quarterback in the division. Derek Carr is in the middle of a career-year in real-life. That hasn’t necessarily translated to fantasy, though, where he’s just QB20 on the season. But he has had usable weeks, peaking as the QB9 in Week 5. He should be back on the streaming radar in Week 9 as Las Vegas takes on the divisional-foe Los Angeles Chargers.

They’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and just traded away a member of their already depleted secondary. Lock was able to get himself untracked against them, scoring more than 20 fantasy points. Burrow (QB20), Bridgewater (QB21), and Gardner Minshew (QB14) are the only two passers to not crack the top-10 against the Chargers.

Running Backs

Zack Moss

Buffalo Bills

Despite the fairly even overall split of the carries, Zack Moss is the more desirable back going forward for the Buffalo Bills. Devin Singletary (14 carries, 86 yards) drew the start and had more yardage. But Moss (14/81/2) got the ball in high-leverage situations, including all the work inside the 10-yard line. Week 8 was also the first time Moss got the majority of the snaps. Perhaps Moss can help solve Buffalo’s rushing woes.

His Week 9 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, are tough on backs but this could be a long-term play on the waiver wire. They’ve also allowed 145 yards to Chase Edmonds and 112 yards to  Alexander Mattison in recent weeks. Moss obviously won’t score two touchdowns every week. And Josh Allen, who was playing at an MVP level earlier in the year, is always a threat to take it himself around the goal line. But Moss might be the next best option for a team that led the league in red-zone plays entering the week.

Jordan Wilkins

Indianapolis Colts

What seemed to be out of the ordinary actually has a logical explanation. Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich came out Monday and said rookie starting running back Jonathan Taylor is dealing with an ankle injury. Taylor still managed 11 totes but he could only turn them into 22 yards. Instead, third-year man Jordan Wilkins turned his 20 carries into 89 yards, also catching his lone target for 24 yards. This is Taylor’s role when healthy and Nyheim Hines gobbles up the receiving work pretty effectively.

There is also the matter of the Baltimore Ravens, Indy’s Week 9 opponent. They’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to backs in 2020. Though, if we’re being honest, four of the seven backs they’ve faced have been the RB17 or better. And two of the other types of performances came over the first two weeks. Wilkins might have a tough time reaching the top-15 considering he gets almost zero action through the air. But he can certainly be a top-24 play in Week 9.

Damien Harris

New England Patriots

You cannot trust a New England Patriots running back. You cannot trust a New Patriots running back. You cannot tru…you get the idea. That’s typically the case but we may be seeing a shift in philosophy that has been looming since Tom Brady left for Tampa. James White has enjoyed the most stable role in this backfield, serving as a safety valve for Brady. But with the Patriots going with a more run-heavy approach with Cam Newton, Damien Harris might be emerging as the most trustworthy asset.

Harris has gotten 10-plus carries in three of four games he’s been active and has hit the century mark in two of them. New England lost all four games; hopefully easing at some concern over his being phased out by game script. He isn’t without worry, though. White isn’t likely completely gone from this offense and Rex Burkhead is the quintessential vulture. But Harris has been playing for Sony Michel and has given no reasons why he shouldn’t continue doing so.

Gus Edwards/J.K. Dobbins

Baltimore Ravens

For one week, at least, fantasy players finally got a glimpse of how the Baltimore Ravens backfield would produce with just two mouths to feed as opposed to three. The results were both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins finishing in the top-15 in Week 8. Should Mark Ingram (ankle) miss another week, Edwards and Dobbins could be right back in the top-15 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Which of the two should be a priority might depend on your format. Edwards had one more carry and got the lone tote inside the 10-yard line so it’s likely him if your league is standard scoring. But Dobbins out-gained him (113 to 87) and was the preferred third-down option. He should be first-priority in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones

Detroit Lions

Things have a way of coming full circle in sports. That usually manifests in the form of a veteran player signing for a final year, or even a one-day, contract to retire as a member of the team that drafted them. For Marvin Jones, it’s a little different. He was generally drafted toward the end of the eighth round or so as part of what was supposed to be a high-octane passing attack. He is just the WR52 on the year. In Week 8, however, he was the WR8.

A large part of why he was able to reach the ranking he did in Week 8 was because he caught two touchdowns. He caught two of them against the Colts; his just his second and third of the year. But he also got more opportunity due to Kenny Golladay exiting early with a hip injury. Golladay has already missed three games this season so perhaps Detroit takes the extra precautious approach. The Lions face the Minnesota Vikings who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers; just ask Davante Adams.

Darnell Mooney

Chicago Bears

We have had reason to suspect this was coming but it was nice to actually see Chicago Bears rookie receiver Darnell Mooney on the receiving end of a deep pass from Foles. For one thing, the Bears need all the offense they can muster. But, more important for fantasy purposes, it was the process paying off. Mooney has received three-plus targets in every game and has at least five in every game from Week 3 on.

Anthony Miller led Chicago in targets in Week 8 but that includes Allen Robinson; something no one should expect to happen again barring injury. He also still played fewer snaps than Mooney yet again. If one of these two performances was an outlier, it’s probably Miller’s. Sunday was his first game with more than four grabs all season. He’ll need to put together a couple more outing like this to regain the trust he began the year with. But the Tennessee Titans (seventh-most points to wide receivers) on tap, Mooney could yet again crack the top-16 like he did this week.

Kendrick Bourne

San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are probably the most injury-riddled team in the NFL. They’re already down one All-Pro pass-rusher and two other key pieces from their vaunted defense. They are also without their top running back and lost his backup in what was his first game back. Now they will be without stud tight end George Kittle for basically the rest of the season. All of this is to say someone has to catch passes and in Week 8, at least, Kendrick Bourne was one of those people.

Bourne registered just one fewer target and had just 10 fewer yards than Brandon Aiyuk who led the 49ers in both categories. He’ll make for a better asset in PPR than standard, touchdowns will be harder to come by with Jimmy Garoppolo also set to miss an extended period of time. Nick Mullens has shown he can get the ball to his playmakers and with Deebo Samuel set to miss a couple more games, Bourne could be a nice FLEX play.

Tight Ends

Trey Burton

Indianapolis Colts

Another week, another rushing touchdown for Trey Burton. No, he hasn’t switched positions. He has just landed in one of the friendliest offenses for tight ends in the NFL. Frank Reich’s system helped revive the career of Eric Ebron and might be doing the same with Burton. He’s already surpassed his yardage and touchdown totals from 2019 with the Bears and he’s done so in half the games.

Mo Alie-Cox started in this role but got injured a few weeks back. This has allowed Burton to emerge for Reich, whom we won a Super Bowl as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. There are obvious risks. Philip Rivers hasn’t been great this year, Jack Doyle isn’t going away, and Burton is still a part-time player. Indy also plays the Ravens in Week 9. Their sturdy defense has been just okay at stopping tight ends and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers Eric Ebron to catch four passes for 48 yards and a score.

The NFL’s Best Off-Seasons of 2020

Who had the best off-season in the NFL ahead of the 2020 season? It’s a fair question on its own, but even more so after we laid into the worst of the worst in our previous installment. That list included two members of the NFC North and one AFC South representative. This time around, three divisions are represented and we still span both conferences.

2020’s Best NFL Off-Seasons

3. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills, who went 10-6, had by far the best 2019 of any of the teams mentioned here. But that in and of itself was a surprise so the efforts made by the front office to make it a regular occurrence is encouraging. It doesn’t hurt they made one of the biggest moves of the offseason and followed our theme of surrounding your young passer with targets.

Maybe it doesn’t really qualify as a free agent acquisition, trading for Stefon Diggs was big time. Their package that included only one pick in the first round is good value; only outdone by the Cardinals nabbing Hopkins. Head coach Sean McDermott didn’t just give his quarterback someone to lean on. He brought in a number of his former Panthers players to further his defense.

In the draft, Buffalo surprised many by going with A.J. Espenesa but they needed a power end who could set the edge. The real smart pick was Zack Moss to pair with Devin Singletary. The diminutive pair should make for a nice crutch for Josh Allen and the passing game. Getting Gabriel Davis in the fourth was also a nice steal.

Buffalo has a path to owning the AFC East now that the Patriots as we know them are no more. But with the Dolphins fast-tracking their rebuild and the Jets still growing around Sam Darnold, it won’t be easy. It appears the front office recognizes this and has set out to ensure they are the next perennial winners of the division.

2. Denver Broncos

Offensive weapons are the name of the game in today’s NFL and in this article. The Denver Broncos off-season has been a terrific example of how to go about stockpiling them. They already have their franchise quarterback and a 1,000-yard receiver and running back in the trio of Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, and Phillip Lindsay. That didn’t stop them.

Free agency saw the Broncos lose Ronald Leary, Connor McGovern, Chris Harris, and Derek Wolfe (all starters) but replace all four. And in a surprising case of the rich getting richer, they also managed to lure Melvin Gordon over after the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers let him walk. Gordon and Lindsay are the best 1-2 running back combo in the league.

Sometimes the draft just falls in your favor. That happened when Lock fell to Denver a year ago and it happened again in this draft. Jerry Jeudy was in the conversation to be the first wide receiver taken and even a top-five pick. So his falling to 15 is almost inconceivable. Add to that landing KJ Hamler in the second round and you see why Lock was quoted saying the Broncos “…got some stallions”.

Denver went 7-9 with lock going 4-1 completing 64 percent of his passes for 1,020 yards, seven touchdowns, and three picks. That is impressive for a player thought to be too raw to start as a rookie. With a year under his belt and an improved supporting cast, Lock is poised to breakout. It’s too soon to be talking dark-horse MVP candidate, but Offensive Player of the Year, maybe?

1. Arizona Cardinals

An off-season in which a team nabs a versatile, top-tier talent in the draft after stealing arguably the best wide receiver in the league absolutely has to make any list of best off-seasons. When that team’s other moves highlight their desire to improve their porous defense, like the Arizona Cardinals, they have a good shot at “winning” the off-season.

Free agency was too kind to the Cards. DeAndre Hopkins is third in receptions and yards and is second in touchdowns since he entered the league in 2013. All it took to land him was David Johnson’s bloated deal and a mid-round pick. The Houston Texans made the bad version for this list largely on this trade. Adding De’Vondre Campbell, Jordan Phillips, and Devon Kennard should make Chandler Jones happy.

The reinforcement of the defense didn’t stop in free agency, either. Arizona took Isaiah Simmons of Clemson with the eighth overall pick. The versatile defender will play linebacker to start but expect him to line up all over the field in just as he did in college. Getting Houston tackle Josh Jones in the third round is a boon.

If there is one knock on what the Cardinals did it has to be they didn’t add more talent to the offensive line. Adding Jones and free-agent addition Marcus Gilbert is nice, but Kyler Murray took 48 sacks last season. That number will come down as he learns to get rid of the ball quicker or pull it down and run sooner. But the offensive line was not good in 2019. Will it improve in 2020?

Best Off-Seasons of 2020 in the NFL

This was not meant to be a slight to the other teams that had really strong off-seasons. The Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, and  Baltimore Ravens all had great off-seasons as well. But Dallas and Carolina lost Travis Frederick and Luke Kuechly, no small blows, and Baltimore was 14-2 last season. It’s hard to see them winning more games in 2020.