Michael Nease brings you his insights each week for the world of Fantasy Football. Follow him on Twitter @mikeinsights
As we head into Week 5 our heads are spinning. Before I get into what was going to be my focus this week, please allow me to digress.
There has been way too much negativity in the world over the last month.
- Hurricane Harvey
- Hurricane Irma
- Hurricane Maria
- Mexico earthquake
- Las Vegas shootings
- Various terrorist attacks
- Tensions rising with North Korea
- The ideological gap diving Americans continued to grow wider
- And undoubtedly other tragedies I have overlooked
And of course this list excludes all the personal issues that affect all of us—death, debilitating illnesses, family matters, job pressures, financial challenges and a countless myriad of other issues.
According to depression statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 9 percent of adult Americans have feelings of hopelessness, despondency, and/or guilt that generate a diagnosis of depression. Not too surprisingly, most experts agree that depression rates in the United States and worldwide are increasing. Studies show that rates of depression for Americans have risen dramatically in the past 50 years.
In my opinion, the media is grinding us down with a continuous flow of horrific news. The TV networks and other media sources seem to find a need to inundate us with minutia any time a disaster strikes. Sadly, depression is a factor in more than two-thirds of the 30,000 suicides that occur in the United States every year
So what do all these depression statistics tell us about Americans with depression? Perhaps the key take-away is that depression is a powerful condition affecting many. If you have symptoms of depression, you are not alone and help is available. The earlier you start treatment, the more likely you are to get a handle on the condition. The best defense against depression may very well be knowledge and awareness.
A few years ago, my friend Lise Schleicher wrote a piece on depression that was printed on the Huffington Post website. It is a good basic description of how depression can overwhelm us. Just press Control-click to follow this link to learn about the Gorilla on Your Back.
Ok, now that I have that off my chest. Let’s talk some football. Being a Bears fan for almost 60 years, I was not too surprised with their 1-3 start. In fact, with a tough opening schedule and coming off a 3-13 season, I expected worse. Yet, other than that, the first four weeks of the season have been full of surprises.
Unexpected Starts to the Season
- Los Angeles Rams—with a 3-1 start, the Rams are no longer a weak spot on everyone’s schedule. Jared Goff is showing why he was a high draft choice in 2016. Todd Gurley is running like a man possessed, leading all fantasy scorers after Week 4. Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp have helped Goff improve by giving him viable targets, an unusual happening for the Rams. Greg Zeurlein finally has an opportunity to show the kicking skills that made him a Rams draft choice several years ago.
As if it is not enough that the offense is one of the best in the league, the defense is playing at an extremely high level as well. Historically speaking, teams with a quality QB, a stud RB and a punishing defense usually go pretty far into the playoffs. This is a team to watch.
- New England Patriots—on the other side of the standings coin, the 2-2 Patriots were awarded the Super Bowl by many pundits before the season even started. Tom Brady is one of the top QBs as expected and they have scored 129 points already. Unfortunately, the defense is like a dam that has 11 leaks, rather than a cohesive unit that can stop opponents from scoring. In fact, they have given up 128 points, one less than they have scored.
Even Tom Brady cannot win games all by himself. Averaging 32 points per game has only given him a 2-2 (1-2) at home) start. The only team in the NFL that has yielded more points is Indianapolis with 136. Nobody has talked about the Colts being a Super Bowl caliber team in about 10 years. With that defense, New England fans shouldn’t have to worry about making reservations in Minneapolis next February.
Some Good and a Bit Bad as Well
- QB Carson Palmer, Ari—despite averaging 328 passing yards, the aging QB has a 5/5 TD/INT ratio and a very, very low QB rating below 80, down among the worst starting QBs in the league. If he was a race horse, this is about the time he would be retired and put out to stud. His stud QB days are surely behind him.
- Out of the Top 10 list of RB yards per game we see four rookies:
- Kareem Hunt, KC (#1)
- Dalvin Cook, Min (#3)
- Leonard Fournette, Jac (#7)
- Alex Collins, Bal (#10)
It is too soon to say for sure, but maybe this year we are seeing a return of the stud RB. I know I was surprised to see Collins in the Top 10. The Ravens offense has been pretty much anonymous this year.
This list does not even include Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Tarik Cohen, Alvin Kamara, or Chris Carson. Cohen, McCaffrey and Kamara all have over 20 pass receptions already and look like good potential all-around RBs. Five rookies are among the Top 20 fantasy scorers at the position. Unfortunately Cook and Carson are now gone for the season with knee injuries. Hopefully we will see them back next season.
- With emerging stars at RB, the WR position rankings is anything but clear and much different thus far than expected. Draft favorite Antonio Brown is up among the leaders, but Julio Jones and Odell Beckham are down among the common folk. Who expected Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to be #1 and #3 in receiving yards per game?
As far as rookies go, the RB scoring explosion did not carry over to the WR position. While there are some good ones, none are all that highly ranked as yet.
Despite the fact that Week 4 was the low point of my season thus far, I relish the opportunity to have something I enjoy doing to take some of the edge away from all the tragic news that keeps happening and happening again on a pretty much daily basis.
Next week we will return entirely to fantasy football. I thought we could all use a collective hug this week. Hopefully we will all be able to keep that gorilla off our backs. Remember we are all in this world together.
Good luck! Have fun!