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2017 Fantasy Football Player Analysis

Beyond The Box Score Week 4: Day Of Atonement And Forgiving Of Sins

beyond the box score
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This past Saturday was Yom Kippur or literally the Day of Atonement when Jews atone for their sins by asking both God and their fellow man for forgiveness.

So I will start by asking for your forgiveness for not submitting last week’s BtBS in time to get it published. That will not happen this week.

I feel less sinful already!

Whatever. Yet I will continue this theme and in this edition of Beyond the Box Score, we will review those sins deserving atonement related to the quarterback position. Let’s start with a piece from last week’s non-published article:

Beyond the Box Score

Atonement for the sins of last year

Many a Fantasy owner were invested in Jared Goff and the Rams last year. And that did not turn out well. However, the Rams and Jared Goff are looking better this year. Why? It’s amazing what happens when Jeff Fisher is no longer the coach.

Actually, no, it’s not. But to say the change is based upon Fisher not being there is a little simplified. Therefore we will borrow from one of my favorite sources, NextGenStats.

The change can be attributed to Sean McVay’s offensive gameplan. McVay has positioned Goff to no longer constantly force his throws into tight windows (less than a yard of separation between defender and pass catcher). Goff was at the top of the list last year of all quarterbacks with a 25.4 tight pass percentage. This year? That percentage is down to 14.8 percent.

This isn’t the first time for a McVay disciple to see those kinds of numbers either. When McVay coached Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins last year, for example, Cousins threw just 14.3 percent of his passes into tight windows. That was the second-lowest among starting quarterbacks. But even better, when Goff does have to throw into tight windows, he is excelling at it:

Of course, I wrote the above about the Rams last week and Goff continues to impress. He threw for two touchdowns and over 250 passing yards against Dallas this past week. For those who have demonized Goff, you might need to atone for that sin. Even if you do not wish to ask for forgiveness, you might want to consider adding him to your team.

On the flip side, there is one quarterback I would certainly not grab right now–Joe Flacco.

 

Atonement for last week’s underperformance

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A quick look at Joe Flacco’s box scores are enough to throw your hands up in despair. The 31-for-49 and 235 yards this week was pretty ugly, but not as gag-inducing as the 8-for-18 performance for 28 yards the previous week. Even worse, he has one touchdown and four interceptions.

Flacco right now is truly toxic and I wouldn’t even grab him as a bye week replacement in a 2-QB league. And yes, we know that until January hits, Flacco’s play is often “suspect.” But things are worse than usual. We need to look beyond the box score to figure out what might be the issue.

I watched Flacco in person this week and there are still some positive signs. He threw two beautiful frozen ropes, one for a touchdown, that maybe five other quarterbacks in the league might have been able to throw. The issue is those were the exception.

For one, the loss of Marshall Yanda to the Ravens offensive line has given Flacco very little time to make his throws. However, Flacco’s pocket presence is much closer to a rookie’s than a 10-year veteran. He far too often takes drive-killing sacks. And even when he gets rid of the ball, he will often throw while leaping off his back foot like he did on one of his INTs. Watch how Flacco throws into triple coverage around the 7:20 mark below:

 

I will give Flacco the benefit of the doubt as he is returning from a back injury as well. But that is simply another reason to keep him away from my team. There is still a chance that Flacco gets better, but until he does, it would be a sin not to downgrade all Baltimore players.

While Flacco’s career might be near its end, let’s look at another quarterback’s whose career is off to a promising start.

 

Atonement for the sin of reckless abandonment

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I like DeShaun Watson a lot. I recommended him last week in DFS and won some money playing that hunch. His box scores stats surely support adding him to your team as well. But some people are getting carried away. One well-known Fantasy website shows Watson being traded straight up for RBs currently ranked in the top dozen! Slow your roll a little.

Sure, he had big games against New England and Tennessee. But guesses which two teams are giving up the first and second most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this year? Yes, a star can be found on both team’s helmet. Let’s see how Watson does against the Chiefs and their eighth stingiest defense.

 

Until next week, may your team avoid any sin worth atonement.

 

 

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Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg remembers making Jerry Rice his first round selection as well as taking a flyer on a young pitcher named Doug Drabek. His Fantasy analysis has spanned multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, and even golf. A FSWA finalist, his fantasy analysis has been featured in various outlets including but not limited to SI.com, USA Today national magazines, Yahoo! and RotoExperts.
Mark Strausberg

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