Honing the Knife
Written By Bo McBrayer @Bo_McBigTime I am not an idiot, so to speak. I feel the need to come to my own defense here, because the 2020 season’s PICANTakes have been leaning more toward “town drunk” than razor sharp oracle of pigskin art. Before you guys get your panties in a bunch about how bad my hot takes have panned out so far this season, you should dive a bit deeper to see how truly outlandish they have been and how close some of them have come to a truly historic premonition by yours truly. This trend continued in Week 5, where none of the PICANTakes fully came through, but one was true until the final minute of regulation. Every week, I examine the full NFL schedule and try to predict at least four unexpected occurrences. I have not nailed any of them 100 percent to date, but I have a few pushes and, as mentioned previously, came within mere seconds of my first victory lap of the season last Monday night.
His name is Justin Jackson. He is a third year running back out of Northwestern, who has long been pushed downward on the depth chart by Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, and the injury bug. He also was supposedly playing second fiddle to rookie Joshua Kelley, who I have said all along (since his UCLA days) is “Just a Guy.” I assured you all that JJ would lead the Chargers in scrimmage yards on Monday Night Football against the Saints. If not for quite possibly the catch of the year by Mike Williams at the end of regulation, Jackson’s 94 scrimmage yards would have put him as their leading yardage gainer. I know, I was wrapping the towel around the champagne, ready to pop the bubbly in jubilation. These close misses give me hope that my idiosyncratic process isn’t entirely bonkers.
My other spicy shots weren’t entirely terrible, but also never really threatened to blow my kilt up. I predicted a Gallup breakout game where he would explode into the top 12 of all wide receivers for the week. He was more of a stable producer last week than we have seen, and he made some amazing catches in the clutch that led to the Cowboys victory, but he fell a great deal short of the target without scoring any touchdowns.I also thought the pathetic Cowboys defense would somehow keep a professional offense to fewer than 20 points. If I use some really fancy gymnastics, I can say they really didn’t allow more than 20, with only allowing two offensive touchdowns. But, in reality, I can’t take away the five Graham Gano field goals that were scored. I can also defend the take with the defensive touchdown on DeMarcus Lawrence’s gorgeous strip sack that was ushered into the end zone by Anthony Brown, but that wasn’t part of the prediction. My beloved Cowboys’ win was stained with the sadness of Dak Prescott’s gruesome ankle injury and I would have a really hard time taking a victory lap on that one if it came true. Kyle Allen over 25 fantasy points and a Washington Football Team upset of the Rams was off to a somewhat promising start when Allen scrambled in for a rushing touchdown, but was quickly and thoroughly dashed when he hurt his arm and was pulled for Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Smith. It is a truly heroic story with Smith, but WFT got curb stomped the rest of the game by a very good Rams team.
I truly must be an eternal, hopeless optimist, for I feel like I am honing in on nailing at least one of this week’s PICANTakes. My blade has a clean edge, ready to slice clean through this butternut squash of an October NFL slate. As always, sound off on my Twitter and let me know your spiciest takes and how wrong mine are going to be.
The Atlanta Falcons Will Get Their First Win By 7+ Points
It simply isn’t spicy enough to say that this year’s most disappointing team would finally get a win against a Vikings squad missing their bell cow. Minnesota has almost been as disappointing, but nearly everyone is favoring them over Atlanta this week at home. Gone is perennial choke artist Dan Quinn, who seemed to always have the keys to winning any game, but left them in the ignition in a bad neighborhood. The talent is still there on offense. Julio Jones is obviously an extremely valuable piece, for Matt Ryan was putrid without him on the field.Raheem Morris is one of my favorite coaches, whom I predict will send his guys the right message to take home the shootout win. Neither defense in this contest can stop a good passing attack, but the main difference in the game will be how massively overrated the Vikings running game will be without Dalvin Cook. I predict key drives stalling for the Vikings from too many 3rd and long situations, where the play action assault that makes Kirk Cousins better than average won’t work as well.My ATL homies can finally stop dreaming about replacing Ryan with Trevor Lawrence and maybe focus on some better pieces on defense for next year.
Chase Claypool Will Score Fewer Than 10 PPR Points
The “Eh” Team in the North has dubbed this Notre Dame rookie from Abbotsford, British Columbia “Mapletron” for his rare combination of size and speed, not unlike Calvin Johnson. Many dynasty players, including myself, were very high on him in rookie drafts when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a historic rate of success with the wide receiver position. He exploded from the proverbial birthday cake last week, scoring five total touchdowns (one called back on a ticky-tack penalty). He drew the tractor beam of attention from Big Ben, especially once Diontae Johnson left the game with a back injury. This take has zero correlation to my overall outlook on Claypool’s very bright future in the league. The young Canadian benefitted from a perfect storm of opportunity, high school level pass coverage, and Philadelphia obviously not including him in their defensive game plan as someone to worry about. This week, there isn’t much reason on the surface to doubt Mapletroncan put up another good line, but there are a few things that make me lean the other direction. First of all, Cleveland is going to make damn sure Claypool doesn’t make them look as bad as the Eagles did. He will be a focal point of their scheme, especially with Johnson ruled out this week. Another concern is the flow of the game. Philadelphia’s offense was having loads of trouble staying on the field by moving the chains. As good as the Steeler defense has been, the Browns have been successful running the ball every week under Kevin Stefansky. This leads me to believe this game will likely be another AFC North grinding, physical game that will be won in the trenches. Ultimately, it will come down to my overall hesitancy towardchasing points, especially with a rookie wide receiver. All the normies are fitting this kid for a gold jacket already; I say,“Pump the brakes.”
Miles Gaskin Will Be A Top Five Running Back
Everyone knows the Jets are terrible. Their only decent player is Jameson Crowder and, as much as I admire Frank Gore the way anyone admires their tough-as-nails grandfather, he can’t carry an entire team anymore. Lost in how poorly coached the New York offense is under Adam Gase, is how starved for talent their defense is under Gregg Williams. They are near the bottom of the heap at giving up points to running backs. For this reason, I predict Miles Gaskin will parlay his 25+ touches in the game to a massive yardage output and at least one touchdown. A few of the sharps I know like him this week, but I freaking LOVE him. He always impressed me as a Washington Husky and ripped the bell cow role out of the ether this preseason from the expected tandem of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida. Running back matchups don’t get much juicier, but still not many are seeing Gaskin as an upper-echelon slate-breaker. He is immune to game flow as a capable receiver out of the backfield and has been equally effective between the tackles as he is in space. I will have the Dolphins’ new leading rusher in nearly all of my DFS lineups in order to add cash value to the impending victory lap.
Mark Andrews Will Score 30 PPR Points AND the Ravens Will Score 50+ on the Eagles.
Remember Chase Claypool? He was thought by some to be more in the mold of a tight end with his size and catch radius. Philadelphia has allowed some truly unbelievable numbers to opposing receivers down the seam, whether they are classified as a tight end or inside slot receiver. Since most of us can picture a huge performance from the Ravens’ gifted tight end, I am doubling down on this game and proposing a truly epic beat-down at the Linc, where it might actually be pleasant without the fans in attendance. In addition to Andrews putting on a show, Lamar Jackson will silence his doubters and put some extra nails in the coffin before it’s over. I also expect big games from the Baltimore defense and all three running backs in the rotation. This might be the one team that couldn’t possibly be a worse matchup for Philadelphia. I might as well put the cherry on top with a bonus prediction for a Duvernay kick return touchdown. Baltimore will have to get to 50 somehow, and it will take all three facets for this one to hit its mark.