Rhule Out in Carolina and Dynasty Debates Featuring Zach Miller
Matt Rhule got canned, rookie running backs are taking the league by storm and somehow we’re still asking “What the hell is going on with Ja’Marr Chase?” On this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show, Matt and James are joined by first-time guest Zach Miller for a bit of dynasty chit-chat.
Matt Rhule(d) Out
You can’t talk about Week 5 or the future without addressing the firing of Carolina HC Matt Rhule. Our own Matt poses an interesting hypothetical: Does it get this bad in Carolina if they stick with Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Brady? Under that regime, the Panthers had two 1,000-yard receivers in DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson.
The bar was literally on the floor and Rhule still couldn’t clear it. “All Matt Rhule had to do was come in and not embarrass his team” – Zach. He’s right, and what an embarrassment it’s been headed by QB Baker Mayfield, who may be the worst QB we’ve seen play this season. So bad we’re clamoring for Sam Darnold, let that sink in.
Now Baker is sidelined with a high ankle sprain and Darnold is still recovering from an injury in the off-season, it’s the next man up in Carolina. Cut to former XFL QB PJ Walker. The good news for fantasy draft darling DJ Moore is that it really can’t go down from here.
There’s been some “what if” whispers around the Twitter streets about a potential trade for DJ Moore but Matt isn’t here for your “what ifs”. “He isn’t getting traded mid-season.” Matt reminds us that Moore just signed a new contract and the Panthers aren’t built for a rebuild as they’re third from the bottom in cap space.
On that note, James agrees they’ve got good building blocks in DJM, Christian McCaffrey, and their defense. That being said, James and Zach would rather live in the land of “what if he gets traded” than Matt’s logical land of “no freaking way.”
So, gentleman, what is the dynasty outlook for DJ Moore? Matt has him at WR26. It feels like the Panthers are in a position to acquire a rookie QB next year, even if he’s a high-caliber prospect, we’ve seen rookie QBs take a while to adjust to the NFL. (See: Trevor Lawrence). Ultimately, they landed on Moore being a good, not great, No. 1 wide receiver.
Breece Hall Breakout
Jets’ rookie RB Breece Hall carried the rock 18 times on Sunday for 97 yards and hauled in 2 receptions for 100 yards. Zach drops the not-so-gentle reminder that he also had two goal-line touchdowns vultured by Michael Carter. Even so, an almost 200-yard game is nothing to hang your head about.
Hall played 69% (nice) of snaps in Week 5 as his snap share continues to increase game-to-game since Week 2. Plus, the Jets are targeting him downfield which is beautiful to witness.
How far downfield are they targeting him? Right now Hall is averaging 5.3 air yards per target. Matt queues in on just how impressive that is: Only 10 RBs average over 1.0 air yards per target. When you bump that up to 2.0 air yards per target, only four RBs meet the criteria.
Zach’s got Hall in his top-5 dynasty RBs and James makes the argument that he would be the bonafide 1.01 if we re-did rookie drafts today. They weren’t all pro-RB first though – Matt thinks there’s one, maybe two, WRs that have a case to be today’s rookie draft first pick.
The Jets’ offense has been fun to watch so far this season, a wild statement in and of itself. Hall’s air yards per target aren’t likely to remain at 5+ yards, but if they keep scheming him into the passing game his outlook can only go up from here.
He’s a 10 But He Plays on the Texans
Yes, I pulled the subtitle of this topic straight from James’s mouth. In Week 5 Dameon Pierce had 26 carries for 99 yards and 1 TD. He also saw another 5 targets through the air, pulling down 3 receptions for 14 yards. The best part of his performance this weekend though was that he ran angry.
Now dynasty players have to figure out if Pierce is the real deal or if he’s at risk for following in Michael Carter’s footsteps. While he’s currently 5th in yards after contact and has taken the running role from veteran Rex Burkhead, he lacks draft capital and he plays for the Texans.
He ends up on the Carter plan if the Texans decide to spend up for a running back next year and the 2023 RB class runs deep. Pierce came in and impressed right away, but Carter flashed for the Jets last season, too. And they repaid him by taking the first RB in the 2022 draft.
Zach thinks this is the worst time to buy in dynasty, but he also gives some specific trade targets. (Something we should see more often by the way.)
James chronicled his concerns with Pierce in a new segment we’re calling “James Koh’s Red Flags”: his lack of draft capital, the Texans bringing in a new or more RB talent, and a concern about his durability. While Pierce does run angry and it’s fun to watch, it’s like he’s seeking contact to break.
What’s Happening with Ja’Marr Chase?
Chase saw the most targets he’s seen since Week 1 last week getting targeted 12 times for 7 receptions and 50 yards. That’s versus the Baltimore secondary, you know the one that DeVante Parker tore up? No matter how you dice it, that’s not the Ja’Marr Chase we expected in 2022. So what the hell is going on?
The guys think the injuries plaguing Tee Higgins have something to do with it. When Higgins is out there and fully healthy, defenses are tasked with stopping two elite (in my opinion, elite) wideouts. It is a much easier challenge to slow one down.
It is especially easy to slow that elite wideout down when your coach isn’t scheming them open. The play calling in Cincinnati has been head-scratching at best and downright abysmal at worst. Check out Matt’s In-Season Charting Tracker for an in-depth look at the routes Chase is running. Zac Taylor, you have to get your best playmaker the football.
Zach denounces Zac. Matt kind of stands up for Zac. But everyone agrees you have to get him the ball.
Regardless of the play calling and slow start to the season though, Matt has still got Chase with Justin Jefferson in a league of their own in his dynasty rankings. Sometimes you have to wade through the muck, but there’s no real cause for concern when it comes to Ja’Marr Chase.
That wraps up this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show and I am once again walking away smarter. You could be too.