NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 5
Well, son of a #*%&$!
I am out of my primary Survivor Pool the earliest in six years thanks to the freaking Atlanta Falcons and the fact they can't gain one stinking yard on the Buffalo Bills. In this past Sunday's game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta took possession of the ball at its own 25 with about three minutes left and after another monster field goal from Stephen Hauschka had given Buffalo a 23-17 lead. I was still feeling pretty confident.
That confidence level grew when Matt Ryan drove his team to the Buffalo 14 and a first-and-5 with 58 seconds left. First down: Ryan incomplete pass. Second down: Ryan pass to Austin Hooper for 4 yards. Third-and-one from 10: Ryan incomplete pass. Now, why on earth are the Falcons not running the ball there? Plenty of time remaining. Fourth-and-one from 10: Ryan incomplete pass. You have to be f*****g kidding me! One yard! If the Falcons convert, they very likely are winning the game.
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Now, would I have taken the Falcons if you had told me star receiver Julio Jones wasn't going to play? No chance. Jones did start but left in the second quarter with a hip injury. In the third quarter, No. 2 receiver Mohamed Sanu left with a hamstring injury. Does Ryan convert one of those third-and-one pass plays with Jones and Sanu on the field? I think so.
But, there's no crying in fantasy football, so it is what it is. On the bright side, I had two fantasy teams win incredibly close games in Week 4 thanks to that wacky ending in the Redskins-Chiefs Monday night game. Justin Houston, I thank you!
I'll be entering a Loser's Bracket in one Survivor Pool, so of course I will continue with these stories all season. It was quite a Week 4 of upsets with several competitions being willowed down thanks to New England losing at home to Carolina and Dallas upset by the visiting Rams. I surely would have used Seattle last week over Indianapolis, but I had already taken the Seahawks in Week 2. Hopefully that's the play many of you went with.
The byes start in Week 5, with Atlanta (%*#*!%^&^!), Denver, Washington and New Orleans off. Here are the picks, with club listed first the choice.
Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville: This should be the primary choice in your competitions this week and really the only crystal clear one. Thus, I might avoid it. The Jags have played way better away from northeast Florida than at home in 2017. Pittsburgh perhaps will be overvalued a bit after last week's win at crappy Baltimore.
Cincinnati vs. Buffalo: This was likely to be my play this week. I believe the Bengals are much better than a 1-3 team and have showed that the past two weeks. Andy Dalton has been vastly better since Coach Marvin Lewis changed offensive coordinators. I still don't believe the Bills are that good, but new Coach Sean McDermott has then playing great defense.
NY Giants vs. LA Chargers: I make fun of Browns-Jets and Colts-49ers below, but this is actually the Toilet Bowl game of the year so far between 0-4 teams. Both are way too talented to be winless and each could have two victories easily. The early start time is a big advantage for Big Blue. Final meeting between Philip Rivers and Eli Manning? Of course, they were traded for one another at the 2004 draft.
Philadelphia vs. Arizona: An early start for the Cardinals, who were taken to the overtime wire at home against the 49ers last week. They just aren't the same without David Johnson. Philly appears to be the early class of the NFC East.
New England at Tampa Bay (Thursday): The Bucs statistically have been the NFL's worst Thursday night team since those games became a weekly thing, while Tom Brady always delivers under the prime-time lights. The Patriots defense can't possibly be this bad.
Detroit vs. Carolina: The Lions were not a good defensive team in 2016 despite reaching the playoffs. They are in 2017 and lead the NFL in takeaways. I'm still not sure what Carolina is even following last week's win - perhaps the Patriots truly are flawed.
Miami vs. Tennessee: One thing that soothed my Survivor pain from last week was Jay Cutler simply sucks and it wasn't just a Bear thing. However, I'd move the Dolphins up at least one category if Titans QB Marcus Mariota is out with a hamstring injury. Tennessee backup QB Matt Cassel makes Cutler look like Joe Montana.
Oakland vs. Baltimore: I'm now convinced the two worst Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks of all-time were both Ravens: Trent Dilfer and now Joe Flacco. The Raiders are stuck with former Buffalo first-round bust E.J. Manuel at QB with Derek Carr out at least a few weeks, but still picking Oakland here shows how little I think of Flacco.
Seattle at LA Rams: OK, Rams, I'm on your bandwagon if you win this game. Why couldn't Todd Gurley play like this last year when he was my first-round fantasy pick? Why couldn't the Bears have hired Sean McVay this offseason?
Dallas vs. Green Bay: Marquee matchup of the week. Packers are totally banged up; have you made an offer to the guy in you fantasy league with the top waiver priority to select Green Bay rookie RB Aaron Jones this week and trade him to you? It's possible Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's suspension could be reinstated this week, but I don't pretend to know all the legal details.
Houston vs. Kansas City: How many teams do you think regret passing on Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson? (Browns have to be kicking themselves for trading that pick.). How many teams do you think regret passing multiple times on Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt? Short week for unbeaten Chiefs, and that's the lone reason I like Texans.
Chicago vs. Minnesota (Monday): Figures, the Bears are going to start the hopeful future of the franchise, Mitchell Trubisky, in a game opposite Game 3 of the Nationals-Cubs NL Division Series from Wrigley Field. Guess I'll be at a sports bar on a rare Monday. I only like the Bears here if Vikings QB Sam Bradford is out again.
Cleveland vs. NY Jets: Plenty of good seats available at FirstEnergy Stadium! If the Browns don't win this one, I think their only other realistic chance of avoiding 0-16 (barring major injury or nothing to play for regarding the opponent) is Week 11 vs. Jacksonville. Maybe at my Bears on Christmas Eve.
Indianapolis vs. San Francisco: Plenty of good seats available at Lucas Oil Stadium! I've only been to Indianapolis once, and it wasn't all that exciting, but I'd imagine there has to be something better to do on a Sunday early October afternoon than watch or attend this. Maybe go visit Hickory High? (yes, I know it's fictional).
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