Twas the great Mark Twain who said that reports of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.
Of course, the Fantasy community loves to predict the demise of Fantasy production from all types of players, often exaggerating in the process. So that will be the theme of this week’s BtBS, as we look at a few players whose demise was reported, but apparently quite erroneously.
Some might still see their Fantasy production dwindle, but let’s start with one Lamar Miller whose demise was prognosticated by many.
Week 5 Beyond the Box Score
It’s Miller Time
Doesn’t it seem like just last week when those out there were saying D’Onta Foreman would be taking over for Lamar Miller any day now? Well, how’s that working out for you Foreman owners?
A peek at the box score will show Lamar Miller completely outplayed Foreman. But a little research shows Lamar Miller played 56 of 64 plays. Foreman played just nine plays. Foreman is playing through a hip issue so that explains the situation a little better, but that only bolsters the argument. Miller is not losing his starting gig to Foreman anytime soon.
Of course, Miller is not holding off his understudy as well as Alex Smith, whose demise many thought was coming but were wrong as well.
No player has surprised me more this year than Alex Smith. I thought Patrick Mahomes would be the rookie quarterback with the best numbers this year. But the way Smith is playing, Mahomes should get very comfortable holding a clipboard. But unlike Jared Goff who has a new coach, or Carson Wentz who has new receivers, very little changed in Kansas City. So why the sudden explosion in offensive output?
Well, I did a little digging. Is it possible that Smith is not actually better, but those around him are? Kareem Hunt is obviously helping, but Kansas City has often had a strong running game, even if by committee. I’ll allow Dennis to supply the answer as to who might be helping Smith the most:
We turn to our friends at NextGen Stats and sure enough, we see Albert Wilson makes frequent appearances amongst league leaders across multiple stats. For one, he is third overall in catch percentage at 84% just behind Danny Amendola and too small of a sample size Jeremy Kerley. Perhaps the most telling stat is that he leads the league in average separation. And this is all while having one of the lowest percentage shares of a team’s air yards. That will happen when Travis Kelce is your tight end, but Chris Conley has a torn Achilles and is done for the year. Don’t be surprised if Albert Wilson suddenly becomes a very valuable receiver if Alex Smith continues to play this well. Wait, that’s backwards. Don’t be surprised if Smith continues to play this well as Wilson becomes a valuable receiver!
Perhaps the most telling stat is that he leads the league in average separation. And this is all while having one of the lowest percentage shares of a team’s air yards. That will happen when Travis Kelce is your tight end, but Chris Conley has a torn Achilles and is done for the year. Don’t be surprised if Albert Wilson suddenly becomes a very valuable receiver if Alex Smith continues to play this well. Wait, that’s backward. Don’t be surprised if Smith continues to play this well as Wilson becomes a valuable receiver!
Let’s just say the way Doug Martin looked on Thursday night aint so cray-zee.
We credit James Koh who discussed this earlier in the week and tweeted the top and bottom five offensive lines in average yards:
Fournette has been terrific but his O-line deserves a ton of praise, generating the most yards in the NFL before a defender closes in pic.twitter.com/HlQ7kwjmuv
— James Koh (@JamesDKoh) October 10, 2017
Koh praises Fournette in his tweet, but I guarantee you that Fournette will see more and more men in the box. Teams will make Blake Bortles beat them. However, teams know that if they stack the box against Martin, Jameis Winston will beat them. Some have said to sell high on Doug Martin. I’m a Doug Martin owner and I’m not selling.
Meanwhile, the other half of that tweet is noteworthy as well. All of those waiting for the Joe Mixon breakout or banking on Elijah McGuire this week might want to think otherwise as the Jets and Bengals are two of the worst.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum is a veteran whose demise I half joked about in the preseason.
Clock Striking 12 for Big Ben?
A bad outing against the Jacksonville secondary does not mean Roethslisberger’s demise has begun. But let’s review:
Roethsliberger’s demise might not be exaggerated: he currently has seven INTs to just six touchdowns.
He followed his five interception nightmare with a post-game interview, including a melancholy, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But it probably does reflect his mental state. Big Ben has probably had his clock rung too many times.
Remember him weighing retirement this summer? “It’s just, it’s 14 years. That’s a long time.” He followed that up with “…in the offseason, I love getting to spend time with them [his kids], and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time.”
Roethlisberger’s head seems elsewhere. 19 targets to a well-covered Antonio Brown reeks of “I don’t give a crap anymore.”
There are reasons for optimism. The first five weeks of the seasons have been brutal and the schedule does get easier.
However, my own eyes say otherwise. While watching him play in person earlier this year, “nothing special” was the description that came to mind during that game. He was proficient in finding the open receivers that kept finding the soft spots in the zone. But if he needed to thread a pass or launch it downfield, it failed miserably. He overthrew receivers constantly. He looked more like your intramural league quarterback than he did a a Hall of Fame worthy quarterback.
Like the picture above, things are looking down for Ben. And it looks like his demise has begun.
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