A Season with the Heat Boys: Week 3
As I discussed in the Week 2 aftermath article, the Boys are down to three of our original six picks. But we will persevere, and we will win many thousands of dollars because we are the Heat Boys and we refuse to lose! Let’s talk some match-ups (despite having used Seattle and Carolina in some of our selections, I’ll still give you a blurb with my thoughts on the game).
SEA -10 vs. SF
We have used Seattle in two of our three entries, but even if we had not I still am not sure I am ready to trust them. The most glaring issue has been Russell Wilson, though perhaps more specifically it’s been his “high ankle” (someone still needs to explain to me what a high ankle sprain is beyond “it’s the worst kind!”). Though passers can still pass with a sub-healthy ankle, Wilson (and the Seattle offense as a whole) relies heavily on his mobility to create big plays by extending them. This is similar to what Roethlisberger does, though their methods are very different. At any rate, if Russ isn’t very mobile, their strategy becomes a lot more straightforward and a lot easier to defend. And despite having talented backs (long time Christine Michael SPARQ score fan), the offensive line is not far from good, so it’s tough for Seattle to pound the ball and rely on their defense to maim the 9ers. Speaking of that defense, they HAVE been playing well. There isn’t much to say beyond the points they’ve allowed: 10 to Miami and 9 to LA. Not juggernauts, no, but not many points, either. If you want to trust Seattle, focus on the defense and hold your nose while you submit your entry. If you aren’t sure, remember that Gabbert has played well so far. The receivers are little more than fine, I’ll grant you that, but Chip Kelly can do Chip Kelly things! San Fran’s D also shut out the Rams in their opener (remember? they used to have a good defense like three seasons ago), so maybe they are finding their form as well. Oh right, the Panthers shellacked them (funny story, there is shellack in my garage). But those were the Panthers and these Seahawks… are not those Panthers.
If you take Seattle, you’ll probably get away with it. But look ahead: they still have to host ATL, BUF, PHI, and LA (REMATCH!!!). With other options this week and Seattle not themselves, I’d pass on the Hawks for now and hold out for something better.
CAR -7 vs. MIN
Minnesota loses [very talented player] but front office secretly thinks they can still win and, would you look at that, they go out and beat [reasonably good team] and, would you also look at that [Stefon Diggs/Minnesota defense/Sam Bradford]! Just incredible!
Ham-handed use of brackets aside, Minnesota has been wowing the league and are 2–0. Carolina faced a very similar team that had a strong defense and a no-better-than league average QB an a decent stable of running backs and what happened? Oh right, Carolina lost to Denver. I went into that season opener thinking that Carolina had so much time to prepare (for the altitude and their gameplan) and were so angry following the Super Bowl, how could they lose? The lesson I learned? Against top 5 teams in the league, even great teams might not win. Carolina has looked great at times, but they can’t do anything to take back losing to the Broncos. This is a similar team. And don’t forget, a guy named Fozzy is expected to run the ball for the Panthers this week. Against that Minnesota front? Give me a break.
Not only does Carolina have plenty of future value where they don’t play teams they may or may not see in the NFC Championship game, but seven points is way too much here. Stay away.
DAL -7.5 vs. CHI
Dak Prescott has single-handedly talked millions of Dallas Cowboys fans off down from their collective ledges with his steady QB play over the first two weeks of the season. They had a chance to beat the Giants (who are good?) and handled the Redskins (well enough) on the road to bring their record to a very reasonable 1–1 on the season. While Romo will eventually dash all hope come December, Dak has convinced me that he is at worst a very steady hand to have steering the ship for as long as he must. Dallas’ defense is meh. But I’m OK with that because…
Chicago is beyond garbo this year! Their running game stinks, their passing game has been distilled to “throw it high toward that Jeffery guy,” and their defense is injured (and was already very bad!). Oh, and that Jeffery guy? He might not play. Oh, and their incessantly disappointing QB of the last eight years (has it been EIGHT YEARS?)? His widdle thumb is hurt, and he will not be playing.
It is high time that Ezekiel Eliot prove deserving of his draft status, and I cannot imagine a better opportunity for him to do so. He may run for 150, he may run for 200, or Alfred Morris may turn out to be the guy. With THAT offensive line, it almost doesn’t matter.
As we look ahead, we have to remember that Romo comes back at some point. But we also have to admit there are not many good matchups (Philly home and Cleveland on the road). None of those future games are very appealing. Let’s stick with this week: Dallas wins easily — don’t overthink this one.
GB -7.5 vs. DET
Before the season, the Ringer did a thing where they released very many podcasts ranking their top 10 players at every position. While I would’ve preferred to read these lists and look at gifs so I could really internalize what they were saying (next time, guys, ok?), I came away with two very strong impressions. The first was “how did I forget how good Jordan Reed was?” Yeah, he’s really good. But forget that for now. The second thing was “I can’t believe Kevin Clark left Aaron Rodgers outside of his top five quarterbacks in the league!” He really did. And I thought he was crazy for it. But now…?
Look at Rodgers’ footwork in some of these passes. While I hate the freeze frames where the analyst points out open guys in hindsight (the windows are always SO small if the analyst needs to be freezing time in order to show you), the footwork (or lack thereof) Aaron Rodgers displays in some of these is beyond horrible. It’s worse than my high school days, and I’m not really joking. He jumps to throw, he falls back, he falls left. These are fundamental throwing rules that you simply don’t ever break (if there is not a 300 pound man on top of you). Something is wrong with Rodgers, they could hardly run the ball in the first place, and the receivers are either not 100% (Nelson), have never proven themselves (Cobb), or are completely anonymous players (the rest).
If Kevin Clark was right that Aaron Rodgers is no longer a top-five quarterback in the league, then this team is in heaps of trouble. Oh, and the Lions have a better defense than people realize and can hang points on anyone in a hurry with that Jim Bob Cooter (love it!) offense.
If the Packers find their identity, there will be plenty of times to use them down the road. But this week, stay away.
TB -5 vs. LA
Jameis Winston scored me 4.6 points for my fantasy team last week (he also looks a bit like Franklin the Turtle). No, stories about fantasy teams are not inherently interesting. No, the amount of points that one player scores or doesn’t score is not the only thing that determines whether or not his NFL team wins their game. I’ll grant you both those things. But I will not be trusting Jameis until he earns it back.
As a quick aside, even if I did trust Jameis, don’t we think that last week LA showed enough of a defense for us to worry? Don’t you think Gurley is tired of being ineffective and is going to bust a nut soon? Don’t you think Jeff Fisher goes 7–9 or 8–8 every year?
So let’s leave TB on the shelf this week. When Jameis does earn my trust back, they’ll be hosting Chicago in Week 10. Good enough for a pass this week.
NYG -4.5 vs. WAS
All the pundits have beat this insight to death, so I’ll breeze (Brees?) through: the Giants played a surprisingly low scoring game with the Saints last week, even though we all expected very many points. So Eli played a stinker? Happens. Had enough to win it late, too. And look at that defense!
But what if they didn’t block a punt for a fluky TD? What would we be saying then? We’d be saying “oh, the Giants are the Giants, and you should avoid that rollercoaster of a team as they play a divisional rival who needs a win now more than ever.”
So you know what? The Giants are the Giants, and you should avoid that rollercoaster of a team as they play a divisional rival who needs a win now more than ever. Cousins needs to get paid. Therefore he needs a win. I guess their defense stinks, but they have a lot of pretty reasonable receivers. Let’s just stay away, alright?
Besides, if the Giants do get things on track, they play home against Chicago and at Cleveland in Weeks 11 and 12. Pass.
MIA -10 vs. CLE
I told you that I was afraid for the Ravens chances last week because the Browns had some decent pieces and would inevitably win a game or four. While those sad and depressing Browns ultimately lost the game after giving the Ravens much much more of a scare than some expected, Cleveland has since lost arguably its two best chances at staying competitive on offense: Josh McCown and Corey Coleman (who has a broken hand). Let’s look at what they have left:
Cody Kessler? Yikes. Duke and Crowell? More likely a hip new Lower East Side speakeasy that serves absinthe cocktails than a compelling NFL backfield tandem. The defense? So much for holding onto that 20–0 lead. Joe Thomas? Ok, but so what? This team is in shambles. I trust they’ll turn it around, but I mean in like five years. Not this weekend at Miami.
As for the ‘Phins, what have they done so far this season? 1) Lost by two after shutting down a Super Bowl caliber Seattle offense (though they admittedly struggled to score against what is an excellent defense). 2) Took their annual L at Foxboro against a 3–0 Pats team that beat the Cards on the road and blanked the Texans. And guess what? Tannehill looked vibrant in the second half! He’s back (was he ever here), baby!
I trust the Dolphins to win, and if you trust the Dolphins to win you should take the Dolphins because you won’t be able to select the Dolphins later in the season. Does it matter that 40% of entries are taking this team? Sometimes, but not this time. It’s too likely a win (for an unlikely team to steal) to pass up.
The Boys are here to win it, and winning means taking calculated risks as the season goes by. When the team discusses our entries, I am going to push for two entries on Miami and one entry on Dallas. As always, I will post a quick update on the final decision before Sunday.
Best of luck to you — although you won’t need it if you follow the Heat Boys. Woooooo!