Five Week 7 Storylines: Jim Irsay Should Stop Tweeting
My problem with Jim Irsay has nothing to do with how outspoken or controversial he is. It has everything to do with how pathetically awful he is at writing and sending tweets.
You’re a billionaire, Jim. Your net worth is 1.5 billion flippin’ dollars. And yet, when it comes to writing in 140 characters or less, you put together sentences that my 16-month old niece could write.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Irsay said in a USA Today interview, it’s pretty simple. He pointed out the fact that his old quarterback, Peyton Manning, won just one Super Bowl with the Colts – Irsay’s Colts – while the Patriots, Steelers, Giants and Ravens all won at least two during Manning’s career. He said the Colts had “changed the model” with Peyton now gone, implying that all Manning could do was post “Star Wars” numbers.
I mean, it was dumb. Really dumb. But what was even more inexplicable was the Twitter aftermath. Irsay - remember, he’s a billionaire – wrote this on the social networking site after the comments were made public:
"My comments meant if we gave Peyton better SP Teams n Def,we would have won more than 1 Sup/Bowl,instead of asking Peyton 2do too much"
Characters used: 134. Characters available: 6. Words that aren't words: 4 ("n", "Def,we", "Sup/Bowl,instead", "2do"). At least the "SP" in special teams makes sense. Let’s rewrite it so the billionaire doesn’t make the American rich look so idiotic:
"My comments meant if we gave Peyton better SP Teams and Def, we would have won more than 1 S.Bowl, instead of asking Peyton to do too much."
Characters used: 139. Words that aren't words: One-ish. The reformed tweet isn't perfect, but it sure is better than what Irsay tweeted. This isn’t the first time he’s done this, either. As I noted in my Trent Richardson piece when T-Rich was sent over to the Colts, Irsay tweeted:
"This day of MONSTER TRADE,The Tidal Wave Of Deal making...Shocks the system of "..Didn't see THIS ONE COMING!!!!!!" Grig's Rollin' Dice!"
My goodness, use the space bar!
Irsay, along with his ridiculously-annoying tweets and Peyton Manning, is clearly the top storyline for Week 7. There’s not one even close. But aside from it, is there anything else to look forward to this weekend?
How much will Case Keenum struggle?
Is it possible that Case Keenum, an undrafted quarterback out of Houston, doesn’t struggle against the best defense in the league this weekend? Talk about throwing somebody in at the deep end. Seriously, Keenum’s situation is like being tossed in the jungle with nothing but a few ogres (offensive lineman) to protect you against lions and tigers. And bears. Oh my.
Don’t expect a whole lot from the Houston offense this week in terms of fantasy. We do have Arian Foster as our fifth-ranked runner, but that’s more of a volume play than anything else. The Chiefs, as I noted, rank as our top defense, holding opponents to 71 points fewer than an average team in their situation would have this season. It’s not looking good for Keenum.
Will RGIII run more?
It was reported this week that RGIII plans to run more, which begs the question: What does “more” mean?
In RGIII’s rookie season, he ran the ball 10-plus times in five of his 16 regular season games (31.25%), and 5-10 times in eight of them (50%). That leaves three contests with fewer than five carries (18.75%).
Coming off an ACL tear in 2013, RGIII’s carried the ball 5, 4, 6, 3 and 9 times. Lower than 2012? Absolutely. Significantly? You could make the argument either way.
To me, the real issue with RGIII isn’t really volume. If we take a look at our rushing net expected points per rush metric, a number that shows how many points a player is adding towards his team’s expected output with each carry, we see that RGIII’s effectiveness has been much worse in 2013 than it was in 2012. Last year, RGIII’s Rush NEP/Rush was 0.52. This season, that number has dropped to -0.12. In other words, RGIII has effectively been hurting the Redskins with each run with the football rather than generating positive plays on offense.
Clearly an uptick of three or four runs per game will help Bobby from a fantasy perspective, but I’m not sure it will help the Redskins in terms of scoring output. They’ve got bigger problems than a few quarterback rushing attempts.
Will Nick Foles take the starting job?
The statistic has been thrown around numberFire.com all week long: Nick Foles ranks second in passing net expected points per pass in 2013, only behind Peyton Manning. In other words, Foles has done more for his offense on each pass than every other non-Peyton Manning quarterback in the league.
As always, sample size is key. Opponent skill level is vital, too. Foles stepped in against the Giants after Michael Vick’s injury, a team that ranks 28th in pass defense according to our analytics. And last week, Foles faced a Bucs squad that ranks 19th against the pass on a per pass basis. It’s not as though he’s been challenged.
The Cowboys may appear to be bad in the secondary, but they haven’t exactly faced the easiest passers in the league so far this season. They rank dead last against quarterbacks in fantasy, having allowed three separate 400-yard games and 14 passing touchdowns this season. However, when you adjust for their strength of schedule and look at things from a per pass perspective, the pass defense actually ranks eighth against the pass. If you view it from a standpoint where volume doesn't matter, the team ranks 22nd.
Foles is a good fantasy start this week because he should see the volume that’s beaten down the Cowboys this season. But while he’s trending upwards with regards to taking over the starting role in Philly, we have to always keep sample size in mind. Anything can still happen.
Will Kaepernick turn it around in fantasy?
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t had his bye week yet and he’s the 20th-best fantasy quarterback. And really, that number could be lower, as his Week 1 matchup saw a 412-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Pack. If we look at the last five weeks only, Kaep has been – wait for it – the 26th-best fantasy option at quarterback. 26th! That’s worse than Matt Schaub! And Carson Palmer!
It’s not going to get much easier in the short-term for Kaep, either. He’ll face a Tennessee defense that ranks 8th against the pass this year (regardless of volume against), then Jacksonville (28th), a bye week, Carolina (5th) and New Orleans (3rd). He does catch a soft spot in his schedule after Week 11 (outside of Week 14 against Seattle), but it may be a little too late for him at that point.
What should you do? Well, if you’ve been riding Kaep this long, chance are your team isn’t looking too hot. I’d look to keep Kaep and platoon him with another quarterback, waiting for that softer stretch to hit. Kaep should get some receiving weapons back by that point as well, making him a stronger play. Trading him won’t do you much good right now, as his value may be at his season low.
Look for his fantasy numbers to continue to struggle, but for his late-season output to rise.
Can the Jags get a win?
Our analytics say that the Jaguars defense is 25th best in the NFL. Their offense is 32nd. Combined, they – the Jaguars – create the absolute worst team in the NFL. And it’s not even close.
The Chargers, Jacksonville’s opponent in Week 7, have the third-best offense and the 29th-ranked defense. From a power ranking front, the Bolts are the NFL’s 18th-best team.
It's looking like the Jags will lose this game. But a west coast team going to Florida for a one o’clock game is intriguing from an upset perspective. And the way the Jags played against Denver last week was much better than the way they’ve played all season long. There’s no doubt that Chad Henne (-9.68 passing NEP) is the superior quarterback option in Jacksonville (Gabbert’s -51.31 passing NEP is by far the worst in the league), and the emerging star in Justin Blackmon is going to be tough for the Chargers secondary – a bottom 10 one in the league – to defend.
This game has upset alert written all over it, and I expect it to be closer than the -7.5 spread. What do the metrics say? Well, you’ll have to get a premium membership to find out.