News Or Noise: Week 2 Edition

Peyton and Eli Monday Night Football broadcast draws 800,000 viewers. "Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli" featured the brothers talking about the Ravens-Raiders game with guest appearances from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
At Least These Guys Have Super Bowl Rings

I don’t have cable. I cut the cord several years ago because I had Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google TV, etc. etc. I also have an ESPN+ subsrcription. This was the key piece of my Monday Night Football experience this week.

Peyton and Eli Manning have had some funny moments over their careers. They’ve had commercials with each other, Peyton has a slew of commercials on his own. He is naturally charismatic, doesn’t carry himself like he is one of the greatest QBs of all time, and seems like an all around good guy.

In the world of comedy, Eli compares to his older brother similarly to the way they compareed on the field. Peyton throws some wobbly duck jokes out there hoping they land. Eli just throws stuff in the air and hopes someone rolls with it. Not the greatest recipe for success hosting a “talking heads” type show, especially in this format. In this format, he was just another guy.

Not saying he wouldn’t make a good commentator in the long run. He very possibly would. Obviously the guy knows his football and could grow into the role. I’m almost thinking he underperformed due to the shadow of his big bro. There could have been so much more from him. In my opinion, he fumbled this one. Typically on a Monday night game, the announcers talk about football. Most of this broadcast was not that. So much that it almost felt like the football got lost somewhere. Love the show, but it was like having old friends over to watch a game and they talk over it the whole time about the past with the occasional jab at each other. There wasn’t enough commentary for me.

I’d love to see ESPN roll these guys out into their own show. I think having the guests on and having those genuine interations with some of the all time greats across multiple sports is a formula for success. Just not when there’s a game going on. Either you’re paying attention to them, or you’re tuning them out and trying to figure out what is going on with the game.

Full disclosure: I was studying during the game. I’m working on getting some financial licenses for work and studying never stops. I really needed to hear an actual broadcast to have any idea what was going on. Every once in a while I’d look over and the score would change. No idea how that happened so I’d have to look it up online.

I could have watched the regular broadcast on my phone, or listened to ESPN radio so I wasn’t exactly without options. I was just intrigued by the concept of throwing the brothers Manning out there and seeing what happened. I know there are people on both sides of the fence on this one, and I respect that.

I’m on the “let’s not do it again” side. Give them their own show on ESPN+ maybe breaking down some games on Tuesdays. A pregame show on Thursday. Basically any time that is not talking over a football game. The guests were great and the stories were usually funny, especially when they were presented by Peyton. Showing the stats of Eli’s 0.0 QBR was a nice touch. I think he got better than that this week, but I’m benching him as a commentator. Maybe Daniel Jones is available…

Without further ado…On to News Or Noise!!!

Aaron Rodgers downplayed one of the worst games of his career after his  coach called the effort embarrassing
Rodgers In Another Uniform? I’m OK With It.

Aaron Rodgers Gets Traded Mid-season

Seriously? This is absolute noise, and surprisingly more of it than one bad game should bring. Rogers’ off-season was rife with speculation that he was going to be moving teams. A few team names came up, none moreso than the Broncos.

With Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock as the options in Denver, it’s no surprise they want Rogers. He turns any team he is on into a competitior. The Broncos have a strong defense, a surplus of talented skill position players, and gets good protection from their line. Rogers could potentially have carried them to a championship had the trade gone down in the offseason.

There are many things wrong with the deal now. The season has started and a franchise QB doesn’t move mid-season. It just doesn’t happen. Why would it? These guys will always keep you in games (Week 1 aside), they bring their team together (see Davante Adams’ contract negotiations this offseason), and the team trading for them has to accept a feeling out period for the new guy in town. Even Tom Brady was slow to acclimate last season, but there was no preseason so he had an excuse. He also silenced the haters by engineering a midseason run that ended in another championship.

The Broncos don’t have six games to let Rogers get on the same page as his receivers. They’re in a tough division with the Chiefs who are as close to a guarantee for the playoffs as you can get in the league (obviously pending the health of Super Duper Star Patrick Mahomes.) Then you have a Raiders team that showed it was scrappy in this Monday’s night game. The Chargers have great talent on both sides of the ball as well with their own franchise QB in Justin Herbert. No easy wins there.

There’s another thing the Broncos have to be thinking about. Why go trade a boatload of assets when the guy is obviously walking at the end of the season. They can wait and get him for straight cash homey. This type of play is found in the NBA quite a bit. If Rogers wouldn’t have restructured his contract to bring him back, a trade would make sense. Getting him to sign without draft pick and player compensation? That’s a thing of beauty.

I don’t see the Broncos being in such a hurry to go and get him, especially on the current contract. He has an out at the end of the season. Say they paid the world for him (which is what the Pack were expecting) and he decides he doesn’t like the offense. Or he doesn’t like the talent surrounding him. There could be front office conflicts there too. Heck, maybe he decides he doesn’t like mountains. Any way you slice it, trading for him now without securing him to an extension (which wouldn’t make sense for Rogers midseason either for all the above mentioned reasons) is a fool’s errand.

It’s not like Bridgewater or Lock is going to challenge him for a starting spot. The Broncos feel like a natural landing spot. Peyton finished his career there and got a championship in the process for precedence. There is a lot of young talent to throw to with no holes in any level (other than QB obviously), a defense that could compete for a championship with the right offense keeping them off the field and putting them in good situations when they have to be out there, and he could consistently throw the pigskin over those mountains over there in the thin air of Denver eight or nine (not really sure how that works) games a season.

The Broncos would save their picks, use them on defense, and with the talent around him, Rogers might not even be salty as he is every year the Packers screwed him in the draft. There are just too many question marks for a mid-season trade, but I do feel they’re going to be a front runner for him in the off-season.

If the Bears' offense and defense are this bad, it's soon going to be Justin  Fields Time – The Athletic
Can Fields Be The Best Quarterback From Ohio State In History? I’ve Still Got My Money On Shane Falco.

Justin Fields Will Start By Week 3

I’m really split on this one but I’m leaning noise. In looking at the schedule, the Bears have the Bengals this week and the Browns next week. It was widely assumed that the Bears were holding Fields back against the Rams due to they didn’t want him to get killed by a defense in Week 1. Always better to not destroy a young QBs confidence right out of the gate.

Dalton wasn’t exactly a world beater in Week 1, but who really expected much out of him? As I said, the Rams are good on D. They’re goods on offense too, but that doesn’t matter to Dalton’s performance. He went 27-for-38 for no touchdowns and one interception. Bears fans are going to want Fields’ sooner than later. Dalton just doesn’t have it. I honestly don’t know if he ever did.

I could see them unleashing Fields this week. The Bengals aren’t amazing on defense. They make it work though and being in the AFC North means you typically will have a reasonably good defense. The week three opponent has a really solid defense though and the whole point of keeping him out of week one was to not throw him to the wolves. The Browns came into the season with defense as a bright spot for their upcoming season. They also have a good run first defense keeping the offense off of the field. This puts the quarterback in an awkward position of having to make every posession count. Not saying there are ever any “take a play off” drives in the NFL, but with a limited amount of chances it makes it very much more difficult, especially on a rookie quarterback.

Here’s why I put the over/under at Week 3: Week 4’s match up is very much easier to see him making his debut. They are playing the lowly Lions. He would have plenty of time to settle in and run the offense how it needs to be ran, and the defense should keep them in it even if he struggles out of the gate. This is the perfect chance for him to dive in and succeed. Getting his first win right off the bat will set a precedent for success as well. Another thing is the Bears know they aren’t competing this season. Holding off on Fields is not going to disrupt their future plans. If anything, it gives them a better chance at a high draft pick to build around Fields.

Fields has a shot to be special and I think the Bears are bringing him along right. Week 3 is going to be tough. If he makes it on the bench through the Bengals game, I think he gets his first start against the Lions. Dalton is gonna have to keep it together until then. Or not. In the long run, who really cares?

Jameis Winston throws 5 TDs as Saints embarrass Aaron Rodgers, Packers -  The Athletic
Winston Had A Line Similar To Jerome Bettis’ Five Touch Three Touchdown Game

Jameis Winston Throws For 40 Touchdowns This Season

This is definitely news. Winston has a great shot to get to 40. There is a possibility for more.

Winston has been a polarizing figure even before hitting the league (remember the crab legs?) He got drafted by the Bucs and was just ok after coming into the league with much fanfare after winning the Heisman in 2013. He was just OK most of his career until he made history with his 30/30 season two years ago. The Bucs moved on from Winston for a guy named Brady, so it wasn’t like he just got benched.

Instead Winston moved over to the Saints. He swallowed his pride and accepted a backup spot, granted behind one of the top four quarterbacks of all time. Taking that year to learn the offense and bond with the locker room seems to have paid off in spades for him.

Now, I’m sure you’re reading this and saying Winston is never gonna get there. Week 1 was just a blip. Jameis was 14-for-20 for 148 yards. You see that part of the line and there’s no confidence in the guy whatsoever. The weird thing is he threw for five TDs. You read that right. 14-for-20 for 148 yards with 5 TDs and no INTs. Ridiculous.

People are going to say that my take is a knee jerk reaction to one week and the numbers won’t hold up through the rest of the season. And I agree with you. There’s no way Winston drops a nickel every week. I don’t even think he is going to average three TDs a game through the rest of the season. The beautiful thing is he doesn’t have to.

With five TDs already and 16 games left, he only needs to average 2.1875 TDs per game for the rest of the year to hit 40. I am so solidly behind my belief of this being news has a lot to do with having the extra game. All of our season total records are going to fall with the 17 game season in effect. It might not be this year. It might be next. One at a time they’re all going to fall. You’ll see more 2,000 yard rushing seasons. You’ll see 1,500 yards receiving. CMC could easily be a 1,200/1,200 guy. With that extra game in there, we are looking at a great increase in stats for everyone, including Jameis.

Having to throw less than two and a quarter TDs a game from here on out should be no issue, especially with the YOLO attitude he has towards throwing the ball. They’re also going to get more talent on the outside coming back before too long. Deonte Harris is currently out but not for the season so we should be seeing him back in a few weeks time.

Another guy that is going to be coming back is Michael Thomas. You guys have probably heard of him before. While I don’t think Thomas is going to be the fantasy monster he has been in the past, I think he enhances the offense significantly by drawing the number one corner from the other team. This will open up guys like Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris to feast.

Having a five touchdown game with two of your top three wide outs hurt makes you look like a rock star. Winston may or may not get there. He’s on the right path so far this season.

Mike Evans Helping Bucs Prepare for Road Ahead - Bucs Nation
“Hey Tom! I still play here too!”

Mike Evans Is Going To Have A Top 30 Wide Receiver Season

This is news. Don’t let one week tell you otherwise.

I know it’s always a challenge to get ahead of the trends in fantasy football. You don’t want to hold out on a starter too long and have him bring your team down. EVERYONE CALM DOWN!!!

The beginning of the Bucs season went very similarly to what I expected. Godwin was a target monster catching nine balls on 14 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. My sleeper(ish) call of the preseason came to fruition with Antonio Brown getting seven targets and turning them into five receptions for 121 and a touchdown. Even Leonard Fournette had seven targets of which he caught five but didn’t turn them into much.

Evans had only six targets of which he caught three of them for 24 yards. Very underwhelming numbers. While I’ve been off the Evans train for some time now, he’s not done just yet. The guy is sitting on seven straight seasons of 1,000 yard performances. He has 61 touchdowns over that time period with 13 of them coming last year alone. Brady knows he can go to the guy. He’s just not going to do it every week.

Brady and AB are close. Like personally close. They are going to have a connection regardless of circumstance. Godwin is probably the best receiver on the team. He is going to demand targets. Evans is going to be the third option, but that’s not irrelevant.

Brady threw 50 passes Thursday. I don’t think that will be the standard, but 40to 45 a game is not out of the picture, especially since they keep their rbbc which means none of them can get a flow going. The passing game is going to be flowing and Evans will be there to reap the benefits.

Evans has been the big dog on the Bucs for years, but when he started there was another big dog already there in Vincent Jackson. Both of them went over 1,000 yards that season. Jackson eventually moved on once the Bucs knew they had their guy. I see this as what’s going on right now with Godwin. There are obviously plenty of mouths to feed with Gronk being heavily involved and the running backs getting looks. Evans will get his.

Why Kellen Moore made the right decision not to force-feed Ezekiel Elliott  in Cowboys' loss to Bucs
Well That Was A Sad Turn Of Events

Ezekiel Elliott Is An RB1 Going Forward

Noise. Elliott has been one of the best backs out there up until last season. He just wasn’t able to get anything going with Dak Prescott out with his ankle injury. The offense stagnated as there was a QB carousel. It was just bad football. No fun to watch and even less fun to play in I’m sure. I’ll give him a little bit of a pass on last season.

This season however is a different story. While the Bucs have a good run defense, his performance was less than desirable. He had 11 rushes for 33 yards and two receptions on two targets for six yards. The fact that the Cowboys only gave him 13 touches should be alarming.

There was chatter in the offseason about reducing Elliott’s workload this year. Tony Pollard had seven touches. With some easy math, that brings us to a 65/35 split. With the amount of passing Dak is going to do with CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup all out there at the same time. It almost, but not quite, makes you forget about Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz who are both skilled tight ends.

With all these mouths to feed, the Cowboys are going to have to share the love. Tony Pollard is a good back. Not great, but he can show up when his number is called. Giving him 35 percent of the touches out of the backfield is definitely a way to keep Zeke fresher throughout the new 17-game season.

Now here’s the big question; what do I do with him in fantasy? If you have him, hold him. Don’t give him away for anything less than RB1 compensation. Just because he’s not going to see the ball as much doesn’t mean he won’t be ultra-productive with the touches he sees. Zeke is still a very talented player. I do think he’s lost maybe a quarter of a step over the past couple years, but he’s only 26 so I could be wrong there.

If you are looking for Zeke, hope his owner goes into panic mode and hits the sell button. Even if Zeke doesn’t give you RB1 numbers doesn’t mean he’s not uber valuable. The guy is not in a full blown committee or anything like that. He’s just not going to be as big of a ticket. I do think he is going to be able to perform well enough to be a top 15 guy and he will win you the occasional week. I don’t think he is going to be rocking anyone’s world season long.

Looking for a lineup question to be answered? Got offered a trade you’re just not sure on? Think fantasy football is neat and want someone to talk to about it? Get in touch with me @IHeartCaravans on Twitter. Hope to hear from you soon!

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