Monday - May 20, 2019

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JL’s Week 4 Observation Deck

As I stated in my Week 2 article a couple weeks ago, blowing huge second half leads has become a trend here in the NFL. Funny thing is, the Dallas Cowboys did it the old-fashioned way. Instead of getting too conservative as I warned teams not to do, Tony Romo threw two pick-sixes as the Cowboys were too aggressive. I will say though, Romo’s third interception was definitely the worst of the three, mainly because it wasn’t even a mental error, rather a physical one. He had the opportunity to throw the ball over the top of the defense and simply did not throw the ball far enough. I definitely won’t flip-flop on Romo though. He is a franchise quarterback in every sense of the word and the Dallas Cowboys will be in the playoffs at year’s end.

What do the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders all have in common? All these teams not only have played playoff caliber football, they all have less than $8.5 million in free cap space. What do the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos all have in common? Besides, of course, all having losing records and having multiple bad losses on the season, they all have more than $17 million in free cap space. You want to win more games in the NFL? Spend more money. It doesn’t always make the difference, but it certainly gives you a better chance from the get go.

Darren Sproles in the most targeted running back in the NFL with 35 targets to date, the same number as Larry Fitzgerald and Stevie Johnson. Sproles should be starting in all point per reception formats. Coach Sean Payton designs plays for him just as he did Reggie Bush in years past; the only difference is Sproles is actually a better open field runner and can do even more with his 9-12 touches per game.

Speaking of targets, Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown has been targeted eight or more times in three of his four games played. Brown is off to a slow start production wise mainly because he has only caught 45.5 percent of the balls thrown his way, which is the second-lowest of anyone in the league with 30 or more targets, only behind Reggie Wayne. I do expect Brown’s production to make a couple sharp increases in the coming weeks. He is still a big play threat whenever he gets his hands on the football. Ben Roethlisberger knows it, and that is why even with the lack of yards so far in the first quarter of the season, the Steelers will keep going his way.

With as much talk about the Buffalo Bills’ offense as there has been, let’s focus in on their defense for a minute. Two sacks on the entire season! Worst in the NFL. Almost any quarterback in the league can carve them up when they get as much time as they want. Andy Dalton throwing for 298 yards in a tight game is a prime example. Another team that gets talked about a lot, the Detroit Lions and their vaunted defensive line has five total sacks in four games, ranking 28th in the NFL as they have given up 301 pass yards per game. I have always believed it is relatively pointless to start looking during the preseason at what defenses might present tough matchups during the regular season. Now is the time to start seeing what matchups could give you an advantage down the road. Hopefully, you have watched enough football to know when you see a vulnerable defense. If not, you could always e-mail me.

Pretty hard to believe four weeks into the regular season Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Hasselbeck are all Top 10 fantasy quarterbacks. Even more amazing is they have moved into the Top 10 at the expense of Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. That is fantasy football for you right there in a nutshell.

Calvin Johnson is scoring on one out of every three of his receptions. Amazing pace he is setting here. Randy Moss’ touchdown record is in serious trouble. As is Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 catches, as Wes Welker is on pace for 160. Welker is also on pace for 1,200 yards and 10 scores … by Week 9.

It didn’t take long for me to see Monday night that I was correct in predicting Curtis Painter would give the Indianapolis Colts a much better chance to win. Painter clearly had a much better grasp of the offense and really was in command of it. He is so inexperienced it is hard to even really learn anything by looking at his stats. He should unquestionably be the Colts’ starter the rest of 2011. If nothing else, he is the guy who has been sitting in the same meeting rooms as Peyton Manning the last three years.

I will also strongly stand by my other prospective quarterback change. Rex Grossman is not the guy who should be leading the Washington Redskins. John Beck’s upside is so much greater then Grossman’s. I really cannot imagine how coach Mike Shanahan has let this pass him by. Beck will get his opportunity soon enough, and I will be sure to write an ‘I told you so’ paragraph when he starts winning. Beck isn’t the only quarterback who will get his own paragraph when he starts putting wins in the statbook. I will do the same for Tim Tebow.

Have a great week!

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