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Monday’s Musing, NFL Week 3: Josh Allen Riseth

Somewhere today, Mel Kiper is smiling. More than Bills fans, more than Sean McDermott, and even more than LaVonne Allen. It was way back at the beginning of 2018 that Kiper, arguably the most recognizable name of the NFL Draft for his decade’s long analysis, shocked the football world when he revealed his number one quarterback was Josh Allen, then of Wyoming.

Josh Allen Riseth

It wasn’t a question of Allen’s size and physical attributes or the potential he flashed, but merely the fact that in a class with multiple highly regarded signal-callers, Allen wasn’t nearly as refined as the rest. Was he a first round pick? Sure. Was he a top-10 pick? You could make a case. But no way, no how, should he have been ahead of names like Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen, and Jackson. And yet, there he sat, atop Kiper’s freshly released 2018 Big Board. And the football world was filled with laughter.

What followed was a hard and fast line drawn in the sand regarding Josh Allen. You were either for or against him. There was no tippy-toeing the line. There was no in between. For. Or, against. That’s it. That’s all you get to choose from. I met this reality after seeing and spending a few days with Josh Allen in Mobile, Alabama, during this year’s Senior Bowl week.

Fantrax Football CommissionerPrior to my trip to the Gulf, I was highly critical of Allen, saying he was overrated and overhyped, and that physical attributes alone are not the recipe for success. His inconsistencies, his level of competition, his ‘gunslinger’ mentality, there were many more checks in the ‘cons’ column at the end of the day. So what he didn’t have a great supporting cast. So what he played in unsavory climate conditions. He had bust written all over him, and everyone knew it. Or so we were being led to believe.

And then I got to Mobile. And then Josh Allen walked into the press conference. Here was a guy… scratch that. Here was a kid, walking into a week of intense scrutiny. Squarely in the cross-hairs of millions of eyes, he could either change some minds or further the doubt seemingly already cast. Not only did he have his own performance to worry about, but he was going head-to-head this same week with Baker Mayfield, who just won the Heisman, and is a complete rock star in every sense of the expression.

But Allen didn’t flinch. Not only didn’t he flinch, he didn’t budge. (I’m not entirely sure if there is a difference between the two, but I figured I’d play it safe and say both). The moral is, Josh Allen impressed. He handled the interviews the way you’d expect the stereotypical QB to handle them. He won his teammates over, which isn’t always an easy thing to do in a three-day window. He stood head and shoulders over his peers, confirming the printed measurements were accurate. And he flashed the arm… and boy can he sling it. It wasn’t that Allen had the type of week that made me see what Kiper did, but he did enough to make me rethink what I had seen from afar, and not up close and personal.

When he was on, it was a thing of beauty. You could envision him winning a league MVP. And when he was off, it was scary. You couldn’t even conceive him holding a clipboard in the CFL. But, of all that, he offered hope. I for sure thought I wasn’t alone in this, and was actually proud to come home and eat crow, as I prepared my notes and report from the week (full video analysis here). I was shocked to learn that in reality, the needle hadn’t flickered an inch. If anything, it appeared that in the majority of minds, Allen actually hurt his prospectus after his Senior Bowl week.

I lost followers for defending what I saw. I questioned myself. It was a moment in this industry where I had to tune out the background noise and listen to my own convictions. I was part relieved, and part happy for Allen when Buffalo invested the seventh overall pick on him. It was a safe place. The third quarterback taken, going to Siberia of the NFL, where there were little to no expectations out of the gate.

We don’t need to fill in all of the blanks here. You should have a general idea of what has transpired since April. And now, single-handedly, Josh Allen has ended thousands of Survivor Pools in leading the Bills to the biggest upset of the 2018 season. There is no debating that. It may only be Week 3, but going to Minnesota and beating the Vikings without your best all-around player will hold up for the length of the season as the biggest surprise. Heck, it may even go down as the biggest upset of the decade.

I’m happy Mel Kiper is smiling. I’m happy for LaVonne, who is Josh’s mom by the way. But I am most pleased that Josh Allen may just get the last laugh after all. The kid can ball. And I tried to warn you.

I’ll leave this week’s additional notes and stats to just my running scrapbook. However, I will elaborate and say if the Brandin Cooks owner in your league doesn’t appreciate his value, see if you can pry him away. He is a WR1 masquerading as a second level producer. It is not his fault! He could be averaging close to 200 yards per contest if it wasn’t for all of the holding and penalties. Sean McVay appreciates this. So does Jared Goff. The Rams brought in Cooks for a reason, he is answering the bell, and the volume and big-play chances will continue to be there. Don’t miss out on them if you have a chance to acquire him.

Also, going back to the NFL Draft. Calvin Ridley was, by and large, considered the BEST WIDE RECEIVER IN THIS CLASS. A precise tactician of the full route tree, his size and production balanced a future stud at the next level. Then, landing spot, and sleeper darlings buried Ridley on ADP charts. Let’s be clear: Ridley is the best WR2 Atlanta has had since Julio Jones. FYI, after a modest start to his career, Julio finished his rookie campaign just shy of 1,000 yards and had 3 separate contests with 2 receiving TDs. What Ridley did in Week 3 was not an apparition. He too can ball.

Lastly, the QB taken after Josh Allen was also in the running for best in class. Even better, Josh Rosen walked into arguably the best landing spot of all the QBs taken this year. A veteran Hall of Fame receiver, an All-Pro Running Back, a solid Defense, and only the traffic cone like presence of Sam Bradford in his way. If you think Allen is worth owning, if you think Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield show some promise, don’t fool yourself into thinking Rosen too isn’t right there. This class was razor thin to separate, and times should be changing for David Johnson owners.

Fortunately for you, some of DJ’s owners are beyond frustrated, and only saw the tail end of the Cardinals game as it went national, just in time for Rosen to throw a pick to end the game. Take advantage of this. Rosen is better than that. And seriously, what in the world was Steve Wilks thinking, feeding the rookie to the lions like that. God help us all to never have to be in that situation. Good times are coming. (Hopefully for this weekly column, as well). Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you next week.

NFL Week 3 Scrapbook

  • Need more than 2 players, but the Saints 1-2 punch of Thomas and Kamara is gorgeous
  • Jordy and Carr show up. Can we get back to 2016?!
  • Lamar Miller will continue to get more touches than anyone wants him to
  • Josh Allen superman TD should be an instant classic meme/gif
  • Wentz shows his value immediately. First drive: efficient, productive
  • Dallas Goedert is going to flirt with double-digit TDs with Wentz under center
  • Alex Collins: pay dirt. Don’t let two slow weeks fool you
  • Kroft the goal line targeted TE. Where is Eifert?
  • Gio Bernard looking like the muscle hamster
  • If Anthony Sherman is also going to be a weapon for the Chiefs…
  • Greatest Show since Turf
  • Second time the largest point spread of the week is a flat out upset?
  • Jordy on a career-high pace
  • Gruden has to get back in the win column
  • Manny Sanders might have been the most valuable fantasy pick in 2018 (WR32 ADP)
  • Josh Allen is balling. Mel Kiper is smiling.
  • How many “told you so” tweets will we see this week regarding Allen
    • I’m good for at least 3
  • This Mariota situation is troubling
  • I can’t make heads or tails of the Falcons
  • Mahomes is going to be the QB on a lot of Championship teams
  • Calvin Ridley scores. Again.
    • But shhh, don’t tell anyone he runs great routes and is the best WR2 in Atlanta since Julio
  • Justin Tucker goat
  • Healthy Andrew Luck makes life better
  • Kareem Hunt, your Week 3 DFS difference maker
  • Where was this Redskins team last week?!
  • Remember that Josh Allen Superman comment? Replace it with the leapfrog
  • Who woulda thought the Bills would look like the best 0-2 team
  • Aaron Rodgers is such a gamer
  • Mahomes has a loose 50 on his arm
  • Mahomes to Conley is one of the best TDs I’ve ever seen
  • Drew Brees surpasses Brett Favre for most all-time completions
  • Tevin Coleman: 6 carries, 9 yards, yikes!
  • This Texans team is brutal
    • Deshaun was the most over-drafted player of 2018
  • NFL Red Zone’s reenactment of the Dolphins/Raiders brawl was entirely too dramatic
  • Another Bengals Tight End not named Eifert having an impact
  • This would be a bigger comeback for Cousins than when he led Washington to a 24 point comeback and earned a legendary gif
  • Chiefs TD celebration was awesome
  • Ridley scored again!
  • This Mahomes character has got to be stopped. He’s making it look too easy! What will future generations think?!
  • Geronimoooooooo
  • Ewwww… Breida did not look good going down
    • Alfred Morris is running unopposed
  • Mo Wilk is down
  • Lindsay never should’ve been ejected
  • Patrick Mahomes: 13 TDs / 0 INTs
    • Deshaun Watson + Jimmy Garrapolo: 7 TDs / 5 INTs
  • Vikings 2nd half line -13
  • I’ll eat my words. Josh Adams is going to be the new Eagles Blount
  • Use Check
  • AJ Green owners in a panic
  • Game script really didn’t go Latavius’ way
  • Wentz looked like an MVP on first drive, and has disappeared since
  • Travis Rasmussen unlocked the Vikings cheat code: Dan Bailey
  • Hat trick for Ridley
    • What a route!
  • Gotta love the Cam Newton rushing TDs
  • 30 seconds, 3 TDs from guys I needed. What a montage!
  • Vikings are ruining the rankings for everyone
  • Tyler Boyd backing up waiver claims
  • Make an entrance Cam Meredith!
  • Clay Matthews getting singled out by refs
  • I’m blown away by McCaffery
  • Last second Lamar Miller TD
  • I fear I will never spell Garoppolo correctly
  • Corey Davis, Corey Davis, where are you? Where are you?
  • Drew Brees looking like Jim Brown out here
  • Brissett hail mary
  • CJ Beathard relevant?
  • Alvin Kamara has more targets today (20), than he did in Weeks 1 & 2 combined (18). Current pace is 203 targets and 160 receptions. Not to be outdone, Michael Thomas is on pace for 203 receptions on 213 targets (95% catch rate). WHOA!
  • Sad that the Legion of Boom is down to one remaining member
  • Brandin Cooks is a consistently drawing volume that doesn’t get logged in the box score
  • It’s Rosen time
    • But why in that situation?!

The Fantasy Black Book ShowReady to amp up your Fantasy Football prep even more? Check out The Fantasy Black Book Show, where Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, and The Welsh bring the goods every week.

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