Oh my God. Oh my God. That was one of the worst games of football that I’ve ever seen, and I went to Mira Loma High School in the early 2000s. The Horsey Bowl might as well have been played by actual horses, given how well the receivers and quarterbacks comported themselves tonight. Nyheim Hines suffered an early concussion and left the game, little did we know that Hines’ mental cognition was the only thing holding this game together. Everything fell apart after that, and we sat through one of the worst games of the season. There were two plays over 21 yards in this game, and one involved Courtland Sutton ripping the football away from another Bronco. This thing was a nightmare, but is there anything worth worrying about from this one? Let’s take a look back at some of the fantasy-relevant storylines that came out of week one with this week’s Thursday Night Football Absurdity Check.
Is Matt Ryan a Problem for Michael Pittman?
Going into the season, most analysts had Michael Pittman inside their top fifteen, and he was there in a tier with other wide receivers who could justifiably end the season as a top-12 WR. Through four games this year, however, Michael Pittman has a catchable ball rate well outside the top 30, coming in with just 22 catchable targets going into this game, according to PlayerProfiler. Matt Ryan was way off on a ton of targets in this game, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number go down after this one. As of right now, Michael Pittman averages 5.5 catchable targets per game.
In 2021, just one receiver inside the top-ten, and two inside the top 24 had 5.5 or fewer catchable targets per game. That’s because, and follow me here… you need catchable targets to get fantasy points. So, Michael Pittman’s talent is likely to carry him into a top-24 finish, but unless Matt Ryan gets his act together, then his upside is extremely limited with Matt Ryan under center. See if you can convince someone that they’re buying low on Pittman and see what you can do to get him off of your roster.
Are We Seeing Alec Pierce’s Emergence?
Alec Pierce had his first catch in week three, and since then, he’s had 3/61, 4/80, and tonight he finished with a team-high 9 targets for 8 catches and 81 yards. Unlike last week, however, when a good chunk of his yards came in desperation heaves, Alec Pierce was involved early and often, including multiple key catches for first downs (though one had to be challenged). The Colts desperately needed a second wide receiver to take some pressure off of Michael Pittman, and at this point, it looks like they found their guy in rookie second-round pick Alec Pierce. Not only is Pierce getting the targets, but he’s also getting targets in lieu of other receivers. Over the last three weeks, Pierce has been the clear #2 receiver, getting five more targets than Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin and Mike Strachan combined over that stretch.
Pierce is well worth an add in all standard-sized PPR leagues, and if you listened to my Sicko Stash of the Week last week, you’d already have him on your roster.
Should We Drop Russell Wilson?
Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Yeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss.
Russell Wilson looks beyond cooked in Denver, and it isn’t just a Russell Wilson problem. Wilson and the receivers can’t get on the same page, and Nathaniel Hackett doesn’t seem to know what this team is or what he wants the offensive philosophy to be. In a game where he’s feeling out Mike Boone and Melvin Gordon, Nathaniel Hackett threw Devine Ozigbo, who should be the RB4 once Latavius Murray gets worked in, out there for no discernible reason. Nobody knows what is going on in Denver, and last week’s Las Vegas Raiders game feels like it was a million years ago. Through five games, Wilson now has one game with multiple touchdowns, two games with one touchdown, and two games with zero touchdowns. You can’t justify having this man on your roster any longer. The Broncos are a discombobulated mess and you can fully justify moving on from them after this complete disaster.
Was Spending Up on Mike Boone a Mistake?
This week, people went to their FAB waiver system and punched in somewhere between 30% and 50% of their waiver dollars to put Mike Boone on their roster. In his first game, the only game he will have without Latavius Murray, mind you, he had one nice 34-yard catch and run, which at that point in the game, felt like a breath of fresh air. But, he ultimately touched the ball just ten times in this game, though he did rip off 8.5 yards per touch. It was a good game for Boone, but the one thing that I feared in adding him reared its ugly head: ten touches. People had visions in their heads, based on my Twitter interactions, of him getting 15 touches or more. That was never in the cards, especially when you consider that the Broncos kept Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams to about 15-20 touches each, and they’re both better all-around backs than Boone.
Spending up on Boone was not a mistake, he will get involved. But, without a touchdown, this is ultimately your best-case scenario game for Boone. If you didn’t start him, then good luck squeezing fantasy points from him in the future. If you spent that much on Boone, you should have been ready to stick him straight into your lineup. If you paid up and didn’t reap these rewards… then I’m sorry. Melvin Gordon finished the game with 18 touches for 103 yards, and they split snaps near-evenly, with Melvin Gordon getting 52% of snaps and Mike Boone getting 46% of snaps. Boone will have a role going forward, but if the Broncos continue to spiral, who knows how big that role will be? As of right now, it was not a mistake to add him, but you might have overspent. He’s a hold, for now, but the touch count wasn’t encouraging, though the efficiency was great.