Injuries Slow Down Division Leaders
Week 13 was a doozy, highlighted by injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Lamar Jackson. Matt Harmon and James Koh dissect the loss of those quarterbacks from a fantasy standpoint, as well as the real-world view on this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show.
Garoppolo left the contest against Miami early on Sunday after breaking his foot. There’s some speculation about exactly how much time he’ll miss, but rest assured, he will be missing time. Cut to 2022 Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy.
Purdy finished the game going 25-of-37 for 210 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. More importantly, San Francisco finished with a win over the Dolphins. He wasn’t flashy, but he did what needed to be done.
On Monday, we learned that Baker Mayfield had asked to be released from the Panthers and the Panthers granted that wish. The internet went ablaze with “Mayfield to San Fran” takes. On the idea of Mayfield in red and gold Matt simply offered: “Please no.”
Shanahan might be the quarterback guru but James thinks we’re past that for Mayfield. The guys think that he’s a project to rehabilitate, and apparently the 49ers agree as they did not put a claim on him.
The 49ers have a great defense this season, “best in the NFL” according to Matt, and what they need is someone to conduct the offense. Matt and James both agree that this 49ers team has more talent than the team they took to the Super Bowl in 2019, outside of the quarterback position.
San Francisco’s offense is filled with weapons right now. Matt points out that the biggest benefit of Christian McCaffrey is that he can take a check-down pass for 30 yards at any given moment. I’ve personally dubbed the offensive weapons of the 49ers The YAC Monsters. (I’m still working on the trademark.)
So, do the guys think Brock Purdy can get it done? Can he help take this 49ers team to the playoffs? Matt points to Purdy’s ability to get the ball out quickly in Week 13, he had the third-fastest throw time of the week.
Purdy was 17th in EPA per dropback, which lands him in the Mac Jones and Taylor Heinicke tier. In Matt’s opinion, the 49ers could score 23-25 points per game and it would be enough to secure wins due to the strength of their defense.
San Francisco nabbed veteran quarterback Josh Johnson off the Broncos’ practice squad, making this his fourth time with the 49ers. Most recently, he was on the practice squad in 2020. This is a further indication that the team is looking for someone to run their offense. Someone who already knows the playbook.
James voiced his concerns for Brandon Aiyuk with Purdy at quarterback, but Matt does his best to squash them. Matt is a little concerned for Deebo Samuel, though. He’s already lost some touches to McCaffrey this season but furthermore, Matt speaks to the routes Samuel has been successful on: “You’ve got to have stones to make those throws.” (An all-time Reception Perception: The Show quote.)
Baltimore lost their starting quarterback on Sunday verse the Broncos in a terribly boring game where neither offense was capable of moving the ball. Until the last minute when backup quarterback Tyler Huntley and company drove the ball 90 yards for the only touchdown of the game with 30 seconds left.
Jackson’s knee injury is considered week-to-week, but it’s unlikely he plays in the rival game this weekend against the Steelers.
James thinks that Baltimore got exposed in Week 13 for how poorly constructed their offense is. Mark Andrews is their best pass catcher, and Matt points out even he has a tendency to have a bone-headed play or two a game.
The Ravens’ receiver room is lacking, even more so since losing Rashod Bateman three weeks into the season. The running back room is filled with dudes coming off tough injuries from last season. Matt and James wonder if the Ravens made the right decision taking Isaiah Likely in the 2022 draft.
Last week, the guys talked about Greg Roman and his offensive playcalling. There’s more slander this week. The Ravens’ offense leaves little to be desired right now.
Where does all of this leave Lamar Jackson and his contract negotiations with Baltimore? James asked Matt if Jackson’s play this season has strengthened, weakened, or stayed the same for his case to receive a contract extension.
Matt imagines the Ravens are about to have their eyes opened to how much Jackson elevates the stale offense, benefiting him. Matt thinks the most likely outcome for Jackson is a franchise tag.
Every single thing that could have gone wrong for Baltimore this season has, and they will probably still win the AFC North. Head coach John Harbaugh should get his flowers for that, he’s a great coach.
Lamar Jackson started the season on fire, in real life and fantasy but took a significant step back after losing Rashod Bateman, as well as the injuries Andrews dealt with this season. The Ravens’ defense is good, but James points out they’re going to age out soon. “A precarious spot” Baltimore is in, says Matt. The defense has about two good years left, but the offense could be 2-3 years out from being ready.
Okay, enough with the sad injury-related talking points. Matt and James pivot to the Raiders wideout who has been on an absolute tear over the last five weeks. Davante Adams is currently on pace for 112 catches, 1666 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Be sure to listen to hear what his last five weeks paced out would be.
One thing for certain and two things for sure, Adams gets open. Matt points to his reception perception profile to prove this. In each of the last four years, Davante Adams has finished as No. 1 or No. 2 in success rate versus man coverage and success rate verse press coverage.
Somehow, it still feels to James that Adams is being overlooked. He speculated that’s because the Raiders as a whole haven’t been that great this season. Adams struggling to open the season might also get some credit for the lack of acknowledgment he’s receiving.
James mentioned that Adams has gone absolutely nuclear over the last five weeks, averaging 133 yards per game. But those first 6-7 games to open the season left us all wanting more. There were even doubts about if the Raiders did the right thing trading for him, and “what ifs” about reversing said trade.
Adams has put all of those doubts to sleep and he’s got everyone’s attention now. James argues we should have been prepared for a slow start from the Pro Bowl wide receiver. It takes time to adjust to a new playbook, within a new system, in live gameplay.
In case you find yourself in a situation where someone says to you “Well it took Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow getting injured before he broke out,” Matt arms you with the perfect rebuttal: “Point to the Darren Waller game, the Hunter Renfrow game..”
They leave all of us with this final, horrifying thought exercise: “Imagine the Raiders without Davante Adams this season, their WR1 would be Mack Hollins.”