The first week of the NFL season is all about overreaction and the jerking of knees. To honour that I will be looking at everyone’s opening week performances and drawing some wild conclusions about what it means for the season ahead. In the absence of enough data to actually draw any real conclusions that’ll just have to do for you.
East Flanders Dungeoneers
Hot Take: Keenan Allen is broken! Quincy Enunwa is the new Brandon Marshall! Carson Palmer’s about to go full Peter! I remembered Kevin White plays for the Bears! Coby Fleener didn’t get Drew Brees a birthday cake! That’s right, my wild conclusion for Pete’s Dungeoneers is that their receiver group that looked so good on paper in pre-season is actually a stinking turd. “But Maxuell,” I hear you cry, “The Dungeoneers scored 6.38 points per receiver, which was bad, but the Firebirds were worse at 5.94 points per receiver!” It’s true, the Dungeoneers were only the second worst team on a points per starter basis this week but the Birds had 7.4 per player on the bench and the Dungeoneers had 5.4.
Srsly? Yes. Allen is really done and the Bears’ offence looks pretty dire. Fleener’s situation does not look good either and Pete’s backup TEs don’t look great. Obviously it’s not as bad as all that. Cooper is still a stud and Marshall and Floyd will get theirs but I had high hopes for this group that look like they won’t be borne out.
Here Comes The Brees
Hot Take: The Breeses are the best team in Peter (not saying much, I know, see below). Andrew Luck is back to his gunslingin’ best and even in a week where Doug Martin, Devonta Freeman and Lamar Miller didn’t get into top gear the Breeses’ offence still averaged 11.57 points per starter, good for 2nd in the league. The defence was in the bottom half of the league as you’d imagine but this team has the raw power to bludgeon other teams to death with the power of their attacking options.
Srsly? Yes. The Breeses and the Sadness were the best two teams in Peter this week by a comfortable margin. Looking at the rosters of the 5 teams there’s no doubt that the Brees have the edge in offensive power so as long as their defence can maintain its position of slightly below mediocre then they should be good to go.
Hot Take: Tamworth Two will be picking at #1 in the 2017 rookie draft. T2’s starters in week 1 were uninspiring. I mean, they’re rolling out 52 year-old Anquan Boldin at WR and a Cleveland RB. Things look better on the defensive side of the ball but the nerfing of big plays brings the ceiling down on their elite DTs and it’s not hard to see everyone else except Kuechly and Jones hanging T2 out to dry. This team is very average rather than bad but everyone else has upped their game and Mat are getting left in the dirt.
Srsly? No. Everything’s very close in Peter to my mind so it’s not impossible but I think T2 have enough quality and Mat and James are good enough GMs that they won’t finish bottom. Although they have Slatz’ first round pick so they may still end up with the #1 pick in the rookie draft…
The People’s Republic of the 4th Dynmension: Dynasty of Sadness
Hot Take: Teddy Tinyhands’ injury will lead the Sadness to the playoffs. We all know Michael likes to tinker. He’s never happy with his lineups and his choices and he’s always going backwards and forwards. This often leads to him getting too clever on his choices and overthinking them. For that reason, Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending injury was a very good thing for the Sadness. Drew Brees is a consistent, top of the line fantasy QB and he was on the bench for the Sadness last season. Now, unless Mangboob develops inexplicable Brockules man-love, Brees will be starting every game he’s available for and the Sadness will be better for it. Perhaps the hotter take here is that I think the Detroit RBs will pave the way for a playoff appearance but both Abdullah and Riddick looked great and Mangboob could start both of them in a week and still be confident of results.
Srsly? No. The Colts looked monumentally bad on Defence in the game against the Lions and Riddick and Abdullah will not get that open that often against many teams. On the Brees front, I trust him, I just don’t trust Mike. It’s a three way QBBC with Brockules and Goff when he starts. Don’t ask me how it makes any sense, I don’t get it either.
Hot Take: The Losers should be in re-building mode. Look, they low-scored this week, they were third bottom in points scored last season and bottom in potential points. Their running back corps consists of two 30+ year-old guys and a random assortment of limbs. His defence looks like it was assembled by accident. It’s time to get over that deep-seated tradeophobia, ship out some of the top talent and stack picks for the next couple of drafts. Re-building around Moncrief, Landry and that stable of young QBs is the way forward for the Losers and week 1 proved it.
Srsly? Yes. The team lacks youth and depth and you’re relying on a very high hit rate in the draft to get out of that if you don’t sell assets and stack picks up. Free Agency should improve in quality over the next few years so it’s not impossible to rebuild that way but if Slater looked to sell the likes of Wilkerson, Forte and Sanders he could go into the 2017 draft with 10+ good picks and maybe even get back into the first round.
Hot Take: The Firebirds will make it to the Owl again. A week 1 victory against the reigning champs? Check. A monster defensive performance? Check. The renaissance of CJ Anderson? Check. A dominant offence? Ch… wait. Oh. Lowest scoring offence this week, you say? Only 5.94 points per starting receiver, you say? Second worst QB performance after Kirk Cousins, you say? Oh. Look, the fact that Neil’s boys put up nearly 200 points and won their matchup despite a poor offensive performance is exactly why I’m backing them. You think Snead will be on the bench next week? You forget that the Seahawks offence often starts slow? Geno Atkins and Ndamukong Suh won’t put up over 40 points every week but they won’t need to. I can see this team going places.
Srsly? No. Of course not. Neil will probably trade away all of his good players for a second tier DE and a 5th round pick.
Dyna Hard With A Vengeance
Hot Take: Braithwaite’s boys will be held back by weak running backs. So, Gurley is a bust right? OK, that may be an over-reaction but when the opposing defence can put ten players within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage on 1st and 10 because they know your QB can’t throw it further than that you’re going to be really up against it. Apart from Gurley Chris is calling on Jamaal Charles (not healthy and coming back to a backfield dominated by Spencer Ware) and Jeremy Langford (just shit and only scoring points because there’s no-one better there yet) to do the business. The rest of his RBs are long-shot rookies or backups and this could get ugly. In week 1 they averaged 7.87 points per starter and 2.13 per player left on the bench (of which Shaun Draughn was the top scorer with his 16 yards and 1 vultured TD). Gurley will have his big weeks but I don’t like any of the rest of these guys to produce consistently.
Srsly? Yes. The hot take is harsh on Charles who isn’t the kind of player you don’t give a role to when healthy but I do think there will still be a big role for Ware all season long and that caps his ceiling. Jeremy Langford’s best case scenario is that he keeps the job and continues to churn away his 3-3.5 YPC but any week he doesn’t get in the end zone is likely to be a low scorer. Chris doesn’t have the TEs to only play 2 TEs and his best bet might be to hope for an injury to Rawls or Ryan Matthews to get Christine Michael or Kenjon Barner involved.
Kelkowski Don’t Play By No DynaRules
Hot Take: Kelkowski have one of the top three defences in the league. 3.58 per starter at DT/DE (7th in the league), 4.06 at CB (worst in the league) and 53.50 points total on defence (worst in the league). Those stats should tell you everything you need to know to backup the point right? Look, no-one’s going to pretend this defensive performance from Kelkowski wasn’t disappointing. I imagine the men (man?) themselves had something to say to their players after the game but the reality is that the majority of this bad performance was down to a low-scoring secondary and a donut from Malik Jackson. Every secondary in the league can have bad games, the position is very fickle, and Kelkowski have a good group full of potential. Malik Jackson will start to rack up the points once he adjust fully to playing in Jacksonville and they still have one of the strongest groups of LBs in the league. They’ll be fine.
Srsly? Yes. This really is a very talented bunch who just had an off day. Kelkowski were good in 2014, they were good again in 2015 and they’ll be good again this year. Someone over there (presumably Ian because it’s almost certainly not Jay) knows what they’re doing.
Champions of the Sun
Hot Take: The Champions of the Sun will go from first to worst in Tim. It was only a freakish performance from Ben Roethlisberger and DeAngelo Williams that even made this week 1 matchup with the Firebirds respectable. The Champions scored ok on offence (largely due to the two already mentioned) but their much vaunted defence of last season did not show up at all. Their 63.18 points was good for 8th worst and the main problem was upfront where their line scored a measly 1.75 points per player. There was an average of 6.83 points per player on the bench but whether Cubberley has the nous to pick the right players week-on-week is seriously up for debate.
Srsly? Of course not, I’m a hustler baby. Here comes Owl number 2!
Hot Take: Week 1 was a flash in the pan and the Bombermen will slide back to the pack and miss the playoffs. The Bombermen were the best team by a country mile in week 1 with a whopping 13.72 points per player on offence (best in the league). Their receivers racked up 85.8 points, only just missing out on the top 5 receiving performances of all time in the league. So am I a crazy person? That all depends on whether you think Melvin Gordon is going to get 2 TDs per fame when the Chargers are always playing catchup. Or on whether you think Ryan Shazier (questionable for the weekend with a knee injury, again) can play regularly. Or on whether you think Jordan Matthews is breaking out or if you think he was just up against the Browns. There are obviously stars on this team (AJ Green, David Johnson, Brandin Cooks, Aaron Donald, Greg Olsen) but I think week 1 was just right place, right time, their QBs are terrible and this kind of performance won’t be repeated every week.
Srsly? No. Did you see the list of players I wrote down as the stars on the team?! I even left some out. The Bombermen are stacked. They were many people’s favourites to win the Owl in 2015 and week 1 establishes them among the favourites to win it this year.
If I remember, I’ll post up a picture of the year’s average stats here when I do a blat.
Weekly Peter vs Tim-watch: For two seasons now, Peter has been the Wallace Shawn to Tim’s Andre the Giant but could the tide be turning? Every Stat Blat I will take a couple of lines to compare Peter vs Tim so we can all keep an eye on the situation.
Week 1: Peter (average) 179.68 vs Tim (average) 192.14. Tim wins. 1-0 to Tim.