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THE FIRE SALE: Week 6 Going Up and Coming Down

It’s amazing that Matt Cassel is still playing football. Talk about a guy who beat me, Cassel beat me.

When I worked for the Patriots, I co-hosted a radio show and Cassel was in his second season. Let’s just say he wasn’t a practice player. He threw so many interceptions in practice that I nicknamed Cassel “Pick 6.”

On our radio show I would occasionally tell stories about my old gambling adventures and how much money I used to put on the line. One day some guy e-mailed us and said he was down big money. He asked me to give him one pick from the weekend’s upcoming games to get him out of the hole and if it won he would send me a video iPod retailed at $499. He managed an Apple store (or so he said).

I selected Ohio State -4 at Michigan State. Well, the Buckeyes won 38-7. I hoped the guy got out of trouble but figured I’d never hear from again. However, the next week he emailed us and said the iPod was on the way. I’m sure he paid for it.

A few days go by and I don’t get the iPod. We look into it and apparently, it was sent to Matt Cassel’s locker by mistake. Get it? My last name is Casale. His is Cassel. We go down to the locker room for player access and there’s Cassel, listening to a brand-new iPod. I walk over and say, “Hey Matt, did you just get that iPod?” I think it belongs to me.” He plays dumb for a minute (or maybe it wasn’t an act) and then hands it over. Seriously though, the package said “Thomas Casale.” Does that look anything like Matt Cassel?

You know me, I get on the radio spouting off at the mouth about Cassel stinking and stealing my iPod. I believe my final words were, “I can guarantee you all one thing, I’ll last in the NFL a lot longer than Matt Cassel. His career will be over at the end of the year. You’ll never hear his name again.”

Let’s forward 11 years. Cassel is still playing football. He’s led two different teams to 10+ win seasons. He’s made around $80 million. On the other hand, I’m writing The Fire Sale and coaching first grade flag football. That video iPod no longer works. I’ve made…Well, let’s just say it’s significantly less than Cassel.

Hey, at least I have you guys. I know you can’t see me right now but I have actual tears running down my face.

You can follow my crazy ramblings and fantasy observations on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I never sleep and I respond to every tweet. Hit me up with fantasy questions or just to tell me I’m a remarkable human being.

Now, on with The Fire Sale

Going Up

Aaron Jones, RB Packers

Have you ever heard the story of Wally Pipp? I’m not going to tell you about it here. Google it. Awful story about a nice man who ended up dying alone with nothing. Ty Montgomery may have just got “Pipped”.

Montgomery is a good football player but as I pointed out this summer, I’m not sure he has the body-type to play running back in the NFL over a 16-game season. I tell people all the time, I don’t think most fans understand how big these guys really are just watching them on TV. I’m not trying to insult your intelligence. I was the same way until I saw them naked in the locker room. They’re even bigger than they look on TV. There’s a reason why players like James White can’t hold up to 20 carries a game.

Montgomery is 6-0 and 215 pounds but he runs like a receiver. If you don’t think that’s a “real thing” talk to NFL scouts. It is. It means he takes more hard hits than he needs to take. You know who else I thought ran like that coming out of college? Darren McFadden. Did he have any injuries?

The Cowboys defense is trash but Aaron Jones impressed me as a runner. He’s going to be a big part of the Packers offense for the rest of the season. Montgomery will too. You know Bill Belichick would find a way to use them both. It’s time for Mike McCarthy to earn his money.

By the way, Wally Pipp’s favorite meal was milk toast. You won’t read that in any other fantasy column on earth. I guarantee it.

Marlon Mack, RB Colts

Sometimes I see things before you do. That’s why you come here and read my stuff. Other times situations are obvious. You don’t need me. This is one of those times.

Do you have eyes? If you answered, “yes,” you know Mack is a much more explosive running back than Frank Gore. You know when Gore takes a hand-off it’s a victory when he gets five yards. You know if a Colts running back breaks a run 20 yards down the field, it must be Mack.

Mack is so impressive even Chuck Pagano admitted he needs more carries. That’s shocking. Pagano is what I like to call a “Small Town” coach. That means he gets the information we all know like two years later. For example, I live in a small town and kids around here are still doing the dab. You think kids in California are doing the dab?

Mack will get more carries but it will still be a while before dabbing Small Town Pagano turns him loose. Make sure you grab Mack though. He’s the real deal.

Dion Lewis, RB Patriots

Back when I made my awful 2017 predictions, I said Lewis would be the steal of fantasy drafts outside of Dak Prescott. Remember Dak was going in Round 11? More on that below.

I didn’t quite hit my Lewis call on the head but he may be starting to gain some momentum in New England. Against the Buccaneers, Lewis racked up 63 yards on nine touches. Right now that’s just enough volume to be a pain in the butt to the other New England running backs. However, Mike Gillislee hasn’t been setting the world on fire. He’s gained 132 yards on 36 carries in his last three games (3.2 YPC).

Lewis has posted just under 10 fantasy points in back to back weeks in PPR formats. He averaged 12 touches per game in 2015 before tearing his ACL and don’t forget, he was one of the most important weapons in New England’s offense at the time. It’s probably a long-shot that he’ll get back to those numbers but Lewis finally looks healthy again and if Gillislee doesn’t start producing, he could see his role increase.

I was told before the season Belichick wanted to change the Patriots running game so Tom Brady isn’t forced to throw the ball 40 times a game. Brady has thrown the ball 36, 39, 35, 45 and 40 times this season. If the Patriots running game doesn’t improve soon, changes could be in store.

Evan Engram, TE Giants

I don’t know if the rumors are true but I heard the Giants were at our flag football practice this week scouting receivers. I doubt it’s true considering we haven’t thrown a pass all season long. You know TC is running the Wishbone option offense at the first-grade level.

The Giants lost so many receivers in one game, they too may have to turn to the Wishbone offense. The only problem is I have better running backs than the Giants. That part isn’t an exaggeration. Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and Dwayne Harris were all injured in one game. Beckham, Marshall and Harris are out for the season. Shepard is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury. Oh yeah, the Giants are 0-5, they can’t run the football, Roger Lewis may be their new No. 1 receiver and they travel to Denver Sunday. Besides that, everything is great.

It’s hard to find a bright spot on the 0-6 Giants. Yes, I’ve already given them a loss to the Broncos. However, Evan Engram is that lone bright spot. The rookie will need to grow up in a hurry. He’s going to see a lot of targets for the rest of the season unless Roger Lewis excites you. He doesn’t excite me.

A.J. Derby, TE Broncos

My top sleeper finally woke up in his last game catching four passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Was it a one-game mirage? I don’t think so.

The reason I don’t think so is because Derby gets the Giants this week. New York’s defense has given up by far the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The Giants have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends and at least one in every game this year.

Derby is still owned in zero percent of fantasy leagues. That’s not entirely accurate because I own him but needless to say, Derby is likely available in your league. So grab Derby and let’s start him together. Who’s with me?

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.