Manic Monday: Week 3

najee harris

As the Dolphins and Raiders overtime wraps up, normally I’d be looking at my notes and getting ready to try to bring a humourous opening to Manic Monday. To be honest, I’m exhausted. I didn’t sleep well at all and I’m emotionally drained after Saturday.

By now, I’m sure you all heard that we lost Mike Tagliere on Friday night. Mike was my best friend in this space and I had the pleasure to spend a few days with him and his wife Tabbie back in 2016. Tags was truly a credit to this profession and one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.

To get a better idea of what kind of person Mike was, I published this tribute on Saturday. So many people reached out and were touched by my writing and it means a lot to me. I hope those of you who appreciated Mike and are in a position to help his family will.

Mike’s signature piece, The Primer, was one of the finest pieces of analysis ever conceived and deployed, and man, was it a beast. Nobody could ever fill Mike’s shoes and my attempt to have my own weekly article seems so feeble by comparison.

Everyone who met Tags or read his work is better off for having known him. And as difficult as it is for those of us left behind, we must push forward. Ultimately, I think that’s what Tags would have wanted in the hobby that he loved so much.

Missed Opportunities

The theme for the early slate of games seemed to be missed opportunities. I’m sure the under bettors loved the way Sunday began.

• Hollywood Brown dropped a pair of would-be long touchdowns.

• Matt Prater missed what would have been an NFL record 68-yard field goal that was then returned for and NFL record 109 yard Jacksonville touchdowns

• It seemed quarterbacks threw an inordinate amount of reckless pass up for grabs, yet one of the few that actually worked was from….Jameis Winston?

• Good to see Jaylen Waddle snap a dozen balls, one of which was in the end zone. Of course, it was the wrong end zone and netted the Raiders a safety.

• Chicago’s offense missed their fight to Cleveland.

• The Jets apparently missed with the No. 2 draft pick, that doesn’t surprise anyone

Where We Were Right

We had Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris as a top-5 option in Week 3 and the rookie rusher enters Monday as the No. 1 fantasy running back in PPR scoring thanks to snagging a whopping 14 passes. Harris was about the only good thing that came out of the Steelers’ offense on Sunday.

FullTime’s projections dropped QB Aaron Rodgers out of our top-10, just for one week. Turns out, that was spot on as Rodgers didn’t have a bad game and his club won in San Francisco, but Rodgers was comfortably outside of the top dozen QBs from Week 3.

After his blowup game last week, we were cool on WR Terry McLaurin‘s matchup with Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace. McLaurin was limited to 4-of-7 targets for 62 scoreless yards. Not a bad day at the office, but well outside the top-30 wideouts ranks for the slate.

Where We Were Wrong

Russell Wilson should have rolled to a top-3 performance against a Vikings squad that was allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers entering the week. And it looked like a good call at halftime but the Seahawks didn’t mount any credible offense in the second half, leading to a lackluster overall outing for Wilson, and a total miss for Tyler Lockett.

Can I get half credit on this one? Out projections really liked Chase Edmonds against the Jaguars and he did rack up 18 touches. However, it was my guy James Conner, who I hyped up all preseason, that punched in a pair of goal-line scores, right after I reluctantly started moving him down my rankings. Outside of Conner, it was a pretty modest outing for an Arizona offense that looked like the top unit in the league in the first two weeks of the season. At least I wasn’t too high on Rondale Moore….see, I found another way to sneak him into every article.

Knowing how impotent the Jets’ offense has looked, ranking Courtland Sutton as a top-15 wideout wasn’t without risk. Sutton did tie for a team-high five grabs, but only accused 37 receiving yards. The Broncos coasted to an easy win, and Teddy Bridgewater was able to simply grind out the clock without the need to push the ball downfield. It would have been nice to see Sutton break one early after last week’s huge outing, but it just didn’t come to fruition.

Moving Forward

This weekend was an odd blur. Losing Tags hit me harder than I thought it would. Maybe it brought back residual pain from my dad’s passing back in June, but I just wasn’t prepared to have to move on without another important person in my life.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in this space, but Tags was, and is, so much better than me. And he always did things the right way. Mike was an inspiration to me and countless others and we forged a real friendship, were there for one another ‘off the clock,’ and cared about each other’s families.

Please take the opportunity to let the people that matter to you know that they do.

I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to do this for a living, and I care about people willing to take the time out of their busy lives to read my ramblings. Thank you for the support, and one more time….#TagsStrong.