The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.
I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with an unsustainable process.
The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).
As always, I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.
STRAIGHT, NO CHASER: WEEK 15'S CLIFF'S NOTES
The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points.
- Mac Jones' footwork, aggression, and physical and mental toughness wowed me. It's as simple as that. He's going to be an anchor in dynasty builds.
- Jonathan Taylor put showcased his all-around game on Saturday night and it's worth highlighting as well as analyzing why there wasn't a consensus love fest for his talents pre-draft.
- One of Jones' interceptions was, arguably, as much of a great play by Darius Leonard as it was a quarterback error. It may not have even been an error.
- Carson Wentz's flaws are a good launching point for a point about the nature of quarterback development and refining our expectations with the process and the end result.
- Travis Kelce's game-winning touchdown on Thursday night was an example of exploiting the worst aspect of your opponent's flaws with one of your greatest strengths. A reason why there is no "next Travis Kelce."
- Nelson Agholor, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones showcased important techniques that will help you improve your evaluation of the wide receiver and running back positions. ..
- Duke Johnson Jr's 100-yard afternoon against the Jets will have many analysts grading on a curve because of the competition, but Johnson performed with an effort that might be the blessing and curse of his career. Don't get carried away with what you saw this week. He's likely a two-week wonder out of four weeks and one of those weeks just happened.
- Tyler Huntley has the traditionalist quarterback fans wishing they didn't sound insane when they say he's looked better than Lamar Jackson. I highlight some of what they see and some of what they're missing.
- Jake Fromm took the field at the end of Sunday's game against the Cowboys and there was a spark with his game, but can he generate a flame? My verdict: the Giants should him 1-2 starts before the season ends.
- Fresh Fish: Players or units that are easy marks for fantasy production.
- Mike Glennon is a reasonable backup but that means he's not going to elevate an offense when they need him.
- Zach Wilson has struggled all year, as should have been expected, but the Jets' offensive line has done him zero favors.
- The linebackers and safeties of the Chargers defenses are why this unit is a boxscore champion.
- Atlanta's offensive line...shocker.
- The Packers' secondary was soft as a marshmallow off the conveyor belt.
For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.
1. Mac Jones Wowed Me...
The Colts-Patriots game has been my favorite of 2021 because it featured a ton of nuggets that I love about football so I'm devoting a lot of space to it this week. One of these nuggets was watching a quarterback battle through adversity and come out the other side.
The Patriots' lost the game, due in part to Mac Jones' mistakes, but they also got a strong point of validation that Jones is on track to become the next franchise quarterback in New England, and fantasy players should look to this game as the reason Jones is a worthy anchor for building dynasty powerhouses.
As many of you know, I had Jones as my No.3 quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class and at one time, wondered if he might not be the best prospect. By the way, if you enjoy scouting guides and analysis of rookies, there's a pre-sale for the 2021 Rookie Scouting Portfolio at an early-bird discount through Christmas Day.
Breaking down his tape for the public, many looked at his style and compared him to Tom Brady. I compared Jones along the Peyton Manning spectrum of pocket quarterbacks because Manning, like Jones, was more creative and aggressive than Brady.
Jones has been good for a rookie and I've delivered progress reports of his development in this column twice this year. This weekend could be the seminal point where we look back and conclude that Jones crossed the divide from promising option to stud in need of a playmaker to elevate this offense.
Jones wowed me this weekend. It's as simple as that. He's technically sharp, his conceptual understanding of the game is rocketing upward, and he has the physical and mental grit of a champion.
There's always a chance that something unfortunate happens in New England to force a regression in developmental progress, but I'm all-in on Jones as an NFL quarterback and a perennial QB1 for the next 8-12 years.
The first thing that grabbed me by the collar and wouldn't let go throughout this game was Jones' footwork and spatial awareness. He had the best pocket management of the prospects in the 2021 class, but what he did against the Colts was low-key next-level skill. There were several plays where Jones climbed the pocket, threw on the move, and had the control of his feet to change pace and deliver an accurate ball after avoiding pressure, but this was by far the best clip and a must-see movement if you want to understand the nuance of his tremendous skill.
There were even plays where Jones took sacks and displayed impressive skills to initially avoid the first point or two of pressure. Jones may be a system quarterback when thinking about his arm strength, but his pocket movement and creativity help him transcend the confines of a well-executed game plan.
I heard Steve Smith, Michael Irvin, and Maurice Jones-Drew's post-game analysis of Jones. You could tell Irvin and Jones-Drew's conclusions from the game were still forming as they discussed Jones, but Smith nailed it: Jones has the goods but he needs an outside wide receiver who can deliver playmaking skills in crunch time.
This isn't as cliche as it sounds. The Patriots' receivers made big plays — I'll be showcasing one of Nelson Agholor's late. However, there is a primary option with a complete game on this depth chart who can win match-up plays anywhere on the field. They are strong in the middle of the field as we'll see in a moment. This is why I've repeatedly mentioned the prospect of Chris Godwin coming to Foxboro this winter.
Godwin makes plays like his vertical target below, and against any cornerback. It's a play where Jones reads the secondary pre-snap and gets the ball out fast. It's a straightforward look relative to many that Jones has seen, but it still has a corner blitz as part of the call and Jones' pre-snap and post-snap processing and timing are excellent.
He's also steadily become the aggressive vertical thrower that made him dangerous at Alabama. This is a 3rd and 6 play from the second half.
While these are nice plays, the underlying reason Jones' performance wowed me was how he battled back from a pair of interceptions and a 20-point deficit in the second half to make this a ballgame. While I had no disillusions about Jones as a competitor, a lot of fans thought of Jones as solely a beneficiary of an Alabama powerhouse who rarely encountered true adversity during a ball game who might wilt when things go wrong.
After throwing his first interception in the red zone late in the first half, Jones followed up with a second interception during the Patriots' first possession of the second half. As with many young passers, Jones knew where his options were but didn't take the extra moment to confirm the location of the coverage.
By the late third quarter, the Patriots needed someone to step outside the barriers the Colts defense had created and make a play. Jones was the catalyst, taking calculated but aggressive risks that carried a physical price.
Sometimes you just have to go for it. Down 0-20 in the late third QTR? Yep. pic.twitter.com/6djQg0nMyn— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 19, 2021
And despite taking this punishment, it didn't alter Jones' poise or pocket management one bit. The second throw below is special because of the tight margin for error due to his position in the pocket, the small window to get it out, and the tight window of placement.
If Dan Marino applied his scouting exercise to Mac Jones in the pocket, Jones would be the few to pass.— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 19, 2021
Mac Jones. Baller. This is the gm I will remember that confirms it. pic.twitter.com/66Au5Ee39c
The Colts got the best of the Patriots and it's understandable to conclude that they are the more physical team that might repeatedly expose the limitations of the Patriots this year. Even so, Mac Jones dusted himself off at his lowest point and made plays that brought the Patriots back. He took hits and he still made excellent plays that many veteran quarterbacks would not.
If you can't glean this from the game on Saturday or from what I explained, I can't help you any more than I tried above. If you follow me, then it's a good idea to buy into Jones while he's still not a fantasy QB1 value — or at least not a top-five QB value. Jones is 1-2 options away in the passing game from becoming as promising as Joe Burrow in terms of production. I think he only needs one versatile receiver to tie the rest of the unit together but it would be helpful if he had two.
If you are in a rebuild situation and you have an aging veteran passer like Rodgers, Stafford, or Brady, you should be able to parlay that for Jones and picks or a promising second player. Or, if you have a rookie from this year that someone else covets more and thinks they're selling Jones high and getting another player cheap, let them think that.
2. ...But Jonathan Taylor Carried the Day
With a massive assist from the offensive line, Jonathan Taylor ruled the Patriots. He's a true feature back in a league that often goes piecemeal at the running back position. This includes plays without the ball in his hands. Taylor had impressive blocks in this game, both as a lead blocker and pass protector against a blitzing Dontae Hightower, which is a difficult task.
This was not a great strength of Taylor's at Wisconsin. He dropped his head into contact, telegraphed his position, and when he didn't do these two things he was creative at disguising ways to dodge assignments with displays that looked like effort. I don't say this lightly. There were enough plays where Taylor appeared to drop his head just at the most inopportune moment to not see what he was hitting but if you understand the process of setting up for a block, it's hard to believe Taylor had a lapse in judgment as much as he was avoiding the effort.
To see Taylor make these plays on Saturday reaffirms something that I've learned about scouting backs. If they begin earning passing down opportunities during their first year and don't lose them, the effort is there and they've gained maturity and perspective about helping out that they lacked as college stars. These guys aren't deities but it's easy for the deification that happens to them gives them at least a temporary false sense of perspective.
Taylor was the best pure runner of this 2020 class despite the pass protection issues and a track record of giving the ball away like it was a door prize at a football yardsale. His skill with pressing creases was starter-worthy with specific blocking schemes last year and has improved in 2021.
The other aspects of his game that fly off the screen are his finishing power, acceleration, and long speed.
One of the most enjoyable games I have seen this year.— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 19, 2021
Jonathan Taylor and OL slays Bear front, decapitating the head, Hightower, with great acceleration on DH’s angle.
Mac Jones battled. Showed so much vs adversity. Wowed by his guts and skill. pic.twitter.com/jGsEMbGG3E
Taylor is the most productive running back in the NFL today. I'm not ready to say he's the best, although I won't have an extended argument with you if you think so because he belongs in the conversation. What fascinates me about Taylor's performance is the reaction to it. Some folks looking at Taylor's draft status in hindsight wondered how anyone wouldn't have Taylor as the top back.
Taylor was one of my two Tier I runners -- I had JK Dobbins No.1 because of Taylor's flaws with ball security and pass protection -- clearly a sign of great appreciation for his talents. While my assessments of Taylor's issues were fair, real scouting is about identifying talent and fit for a specific team, so if you're nitpicking the order of players in the same tier, you don't get it.
The truly fascinating point about this hindsight analysis is the desire to say that feature backs are dead and the satellite scatback rules the NFL landscape. I've been saying for 3-4 years now, the feature back isn't dying but the best ones have always been rare and it's even rarer to pair a prime feature runner with an excellent offensive line.
When it happens, it can make a team a legitimate contender. And I've been making the point for even longer than with the hybridization of defenders who are lighter and smaller at positions where they were big enough to withstand the sustained punishment of a ground game, they are at a disadvantage against the teams that can pound the ball.
The 49ers, Patriots, Falcons, and Rams with Todd Gurley/C.J. Anderson had mismatches against defenses playing base nickel. So did the Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch. Trends rule decision-making for the masses, which leads to conventional thinking that turns into safe thinking and then creates a herd mentality. When competing to win, it's the unconventional approach that's safer because the rest of the league is adapting to stop the herd mentality of pass-heavy offenses. The weaknesses of those strategies is a powerful ground game.
If you're good enough at being different, you become exceptional. The Colts may not be exceptional yet, but they are getting close.
3. Darius Leonard's Special Play
One of the reasons the Colts are close is its defense. They have excellent young linebackers and veterans Xavier Rhodes and Kenny Moore II anchoring a good secondary. Leonard's interception of Jones late in the half was a fantastic play and an example of a moment where, as a scout, I give more credit to the defender than blame to the quarterback.
While Greg Olsen makes smart analysis based on the theory of the LB in the space of the throwing lane, the leverage/position of Leonard before the throw is favorable for Jones - even if he didn't see it when he came off the sluggo. https://t.co/QBmfohdLKb— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 19, 2021
Yes, I'm 70-80 percent in agreement with Olsen that Jones didn't see/acknowledge Leonard in Jones' throwing lane. After all, he was looking to the left sideline and then came back to the middle of the field, releasing the ball fast enough that he was likely anticipating the opening in the zone because Leonard was crowding the line of scrimmage with a blitz look before the snap.
But let's say for a moment, Jones saw Leonard before he made the throw. Leonard's chest was facing the left sideline, which means he had to stop, turn 180 degrees, and extend for the ball outside his frame and over his head. This leverage position was favorable for Jones to target Hunter Henry. Leonard just made a fantastic adjustment.
If he didn't see Leonard and presumed Leonard was out of position to defend the target, the leverage also indicates this was true. So you can point out that the throw could have been higher but Jones made a good read even with Leonard dropping from the line after disguising his intent. He was out of position, in theory, a theory that stands up most of the time against a majority of NFL linebackers.
4. Carson Wentz Is What He Is
Went started hot for fantasy GMs and tanked down the stretch. Still, he's rebounded this year when looking at his management of the game and the Colts are correct to call him a franchise starter, even if he's not truly an elite one. Wentz is a starter with flaws who can make plays for his team in the passing game, but you don't want him carrying your team for extended periods of time because he doesn't transcend the limits of the offense as often as the elite starters — more than Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo, but not as often as Stafford, Rodgers, Jackson, and Herbert.
There are two longstanding flaws with his game that limit him most often: Vertical accuracy and passing footwork. The vertical accuracy may seem wrong to you if you've seen that Wentz's 8 completions of at least 40 yards in 2021 places him sixth among NFL quarterbacks.
I'm specifically talking about passes covering at least 25 yards from the pitch point and not the net distance of the play. The stat above is the net distance of the play, which can be a screen to Jonathan Taylor, a jet sweep to Nyheim Hines or Ashton Dulin, and RPO to Zach Pascal, or a crossing route to Michael Pittman Jr where they earn a majority of the yardage after the catch.
Yes, context with stats is vital.
A slightly more telling stat is receptions of 20-plus yards which likely has more targets than 40-plus completions where the air yards cover most of the net gain. In this category, Wentz has the seventh-lowest rate of completions. The film confirms the story: Wentz's accuracy beyond 25 yards has always been spotty — even when he gets his feet set in a good position, which is a big indicator that he just can't figure out how to improve this area of his game.
Even if the two stats listed above are air yards completions, completion percentage is not an indicator of pinpoint accuracy, which is the main issue with Wentz in the vertical game. After all, Baker Mayfield had an incredible completion percentage at Oklahoma but his pinpoint passing and appropriate timing for when to deliver a target to avoid a contested situation wasn't baked into the stat. When you make a distinction with these demands, a lot of stat kings fall short.
Jake Locker is a good example of a player with competent footwork and release mechanics but had significant placement issues. If mechanics are good enough the accuracy isn't there, it's a timing, placement, and/or confidence issue that's hard to fix. This is why the Eagles curtailed its snaps from center with Wentz after the first year and a month of his career and went with the one-, two-, and three-step drops from Pistol.
These issues aren't going away and this gets to a larger point about quarterback development. The first 18-24 games that scouts consider as the true "acclimation period" for a quarterback is to determine if the quarterback will figure out the speed of the game, the complexity of defenses, and the dense offensive playbooks and show the skills he had on film during his college career.
It's after this initial acclimation period where the best quarterbacks improve when the rest of the passers plateau. A quarterback plateaus for several reasons — often a combination of reasons:
- Injuries that limit the daily time needed to practice technical and physical skills such as dropbacks, pocket movement, and throwing the ball.
- Limitations with processing speed to recognize and act on information at an above-average or elite level.
- Deterioration of a supporting cast that limits opportunities for the quarterback to get the in-game reps in realistic conditions to support growth.
- Coaching changes that lead to new offensive systems and another round of acclimation to the playbook takes away bandwidth and time to develop elsewhere.
- Coaching changes that lead to new systems where the fit does not match the strengths of the quarterback.
Wentz is in a good system for his game because he has good play-action ball skills, a quick release, and he'll make quick and accurate decisions within 25 yards of the line of scrimmage. He gives YAC players the shot to do their best work. And, because he can scramble and throw on the move, getting the ball behind the defense on unscripted plays, he's also enough of a vertical threat to be competent.
At the end of the day, we can look back at Wentz during the early phase of his career and conclude that he wasn't great but rather, the figurehead of something unfamiliar to defenses and executing well. It doesn't make him bad despite living in a sporting society that sees players as great or horrible with little in between.
5. Exploiting Your Best (Travis Kelce) Against Their Worst (Chargers' Linebackers and Safeties)
As stated in recent iterations of this column's Fresh Fish Section, the Chargers' defenders in the middle of the field have been prone to taking bad angles against runners and runners after the catch. Match that flaw with one of the 2-3 best tight ends after the catch in the NFL in Travis Kelce and you get a game-winning play.
Even if the Chargers have a flawed unit in this respect, Kelce deserves at least equal credit. Not many tight ends make this play and those that might, won't do it after a full workload at the end of the game. Proclamations of Kelce's impending demise midseason were greatly exaggerated.
6. A Trio of Technical Showcases: Nelson Agholor, Davante Adams, And Aaron Jones
What makes a player productive at his position in addition to his supporting cast? This is the fundamental question we're all trying to answer with every personnel decision in fantasy football. And the answers to these questions would probably require writing a book to cover much of it.
Still, there are fun bite-sized examples worth exploring in every game. Three of my favorites from this week came from Agholor, Adams, and Jones.
In recent weeks, I've broached the topic of attacking targets at their earliest point of arrival and with the correct position of the hands for the height of the target. I've highlighted the shortcomings of D.K. Metcalf and even showcased the exceptional results of Terry McLaurin despite his bad process.
What I've often mentioned is what will happen in scenarios against contact if they did the right thing while showing you examples of the wrong thing. This week, one of the receivers I'd least expect to deliver such an example did so.
Nelson Agholor, semi-ironically, illustrating how to attack the ball at the earliest window in a tough scenario that so many pros don’t do and drop it. Not Agholor…great catch. pic.twitter.com/fNdXTvAaMl— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 19, 2021
This is a great illustration of what I've been talking about. Agholor does everything right: Extends into a tight window Darius Leonard is about to hit his chest. He reaches the ball before the hit and the extension gives him space to avoid the brunt of the trailing corner's attack of Agholor's arm. And, it affords him another chance to secure the ball after the Leonard hit.
The NFL is a game of inches and these extra inches make all of the difference.
This release from Adams is a fantastic display of lower and upper body work, variation of pace, and timing.
The Secret Recipe of #Packers Davante Adams’ Release Game: Patient but Sudden and Pace Variations with the extremities…— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 20, 2021
-Pace variation between first (the stick) and second step.
-Pace variation between lower and upper body. pic.twitter.com/HBdgT7jY0r
When examining specific techniques of an individual, don't look at what the opponent did right or wrong as a primary driver of the worth of the individual's execution. The root factor with evaluation is identifying what the player did to put himself in the position to make a positive play. When you study how Adams performs these techniques and compare them to other receivers, you begin to see how he and other elite options stand out compared to players with less refined skills.
This run from Jones demonstrates a range of footwork adjustments from several drills integrated into one play.
Why RBs do footwork drills: Developing the range of tools the vary step length, height, direction, and rate in planned and unplanned scenarios.— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 20, 2021
Aaron Jones demonstrates#Packers pic.twitter.com/XrItqqLj6B
While I know trainers like the Footwork King who integrates different moves into drills that simulate the process of diagnosing the situation during the exchange, the approach to the line, the run through the crease, and post-crease running in the open field, the footwork all begins with shorter drills focused on one type of movement. Good runners work their way up to using multiple moves within the same drill. The goal isn't to have a plan mapped out for every possible run. Rather, the practice of several different footwork methods helps runners develop the facility to formulate their own adjustments to each new situation.
Even so, only the best runners have the processing speed, coordination, and spatial awareness to find solutions to the most advanced problems. Working on the fundamentals relentlessly will get a player's motor movements sharped to a variety of possible problems but there still has to be a mental aptitude for the most advanced situations. Jones showed a knack for this even at UTEP.
7. Last Chance? Regardless, Duke Johnson Jr Ran Hard Today
When watching Duke Johnson Jr earn the start against the Jets and gain 100 yards rushing and 2 scores on a bulk of touches between the tackles, it would be easy to conclude that Johnson ran with the ferocity of effort one would expect from a player who knows Miami might be his last chance to prove he belongs in the NFL. After all, the Browns became disillusioned with Johnson and traded him and the Texans didn't get a lot out of Johnson for the past two years, cutting him this year.
As I watched Johnson, my first thought was that he was running with a mentality that he needed to keep the lights on at home.
After the game, I arrived at a difficult conclusion. I've seen enough of Johnson at the University of Miami and Cleveland to remember that he has always run hard. It was one of the things that endeared any draftnik to Johnson. Running hard was never Johnson's problem.
Staying healthy has been another issue. Johnson developed a reputation in school and in Cleveland for getting dinged during a game and missing a significant portion of it but not appearing on the following week's injury report, only for it to happen repeatedly each year. This may not be a fair assessment but it's the perception.
Johnson is a 210-pound runner lacking top speed. His acceleration is starter-quality but he can't sustain that pace once he gets 25-30 yards downfield. At 210 pounds, Johnson's at a weight that's just big enough at a normal male height range (that he is) to do good work between the tackles but not enough to sustain a high workload without breakaway capabilities.
One of my followers on Twitter broached that if Johnson were a step faster he would have been an All-Pro. I'll amend this good point to say that if he were just a little bigger he'd be able to sustain a workload. Or, if he was a little bigger and a little faster, he'd be a top back. With the Saints, Titans, and Patriots ahead, I wouldn't count on Johnson building on his production this month. If he doesn't lose the confidence of the staff against the Saints, the Titans game could be worthwhile.
I like Johnson and I like what I saw. But part of what I saw was a lot of big creases. While he can create with less than the ideal execution, I'd be skeptical about him doing so for two of the next three weeks.
8. Tyler Huntley And the Difference for the Ravens Between Him And Lamar Jackson
Huntley has been impressive for a backup and I agree with a response to one of these Tweets I'm sharing below that says Huntley has made himself a lot more money with his performances over the past two weeks. This doesn't mean he's a future starter as much as it's an indication that he's a productive backup.
I think this point is lost on some Ravens fans, especially those who may have never been keen on Jackson's style of play. Huntley is quick, mobile, and a developing passer from the pocket with more velocity than Jackson. As I mentioned last week, he's a better perimeter thrower. He's also facing a defense in the Packers that is not familiar with the Ravens' system, which is different than most NFL offenses, and their advanced scouting has been preparing for Jackson.
It's fair to say that the Packers didn't deviate much from what they expected from Jackson because of Huntley's limited tape and the fact that the Ravens didn't make significant changes to the offense with Jackson out. This and the Packers' injuries to its secondary resulted in soft coverage, especially on the perimeter and Huntley exploited it.
Packers giving cushion outside and that’s well within Huntley’s wheelhouse pic.twitter.com/Ik2wuPo5cj— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 20, 2021
Packers defense playing softer than a marshmallow pic.twitter.com/roKO2KoJ58— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 20, 2021
Not that Huntley only benefitted from the Packers' game plan and its weaknesses. Huntley made confident throws in the middle of the field as well.
These were plays that you expect a starter to make. And as nice as this second touchdown was, Huntley's experience and awareness with managing the red zone still need work.
Another example pic.twitter.com/NjT3iFEz7R— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) December 20, 2021
Overall, Huntley looks competent, and competent is good for an NFL backup quarterback in a league where quarterback development is more oxymoronic than central intelligence, civil war, and dull knives. I especially liked that he has narrowed his throwing stance, which often looked as wide as Nolan Ryan throwing heaters when Huntley was at Utah. This is still wide for a quarterback stance, but it's better.
The floating of the idea of Huntley as competition for Jackson is premature if I'm being extraordinarily generous and ridiculous if I'm being sensible. Still, it doesn't mean that Huntley is lacking as a contributor. He has earned himself a legitimate NFL career and if he continues working at his craft, maybe he matures into a starting role somewhere.
He'll give you starter points against most offenses if called into action in Baltimore.
9. Jake Fromm's NFL Debut
Another compelling reserve is Fromm, who led Georgia to the brink of a national championship and played well enough to force Jacob Eason and Justin Fields to transfer. Fromm lacks the big arm of early-round quarterbacks and he wound up on the Bills' practice squad when Mitchell Trubisky signed to play Josh Allen's understudy. The Giants signed Fromm two weeks ago and after Mike Glennon threw three interceptions, Joe Judge put Fromm into the game late in the fourth quarter.
According to Judge, Fromm knew about 60 percent of the game plan and that was a limited list of plays that the coaches and Fromm felt mutually comfortable using if Fromm entered the game. It was a limited showing for Fromm, but a few things stood out. First, Fromm seemed as vocal and in control of his team as I remember him at Georgia. He was always good and managing a huddle and the line of scrimmage.
Second, Fromm displayed pinpoint accuracy in three phases of the field: the quick game with underneath throws, intermediate perimeter plays requiring anticipation, and a vertical back-shoulder throw against tight coverage.
He's still a limited arm talent in terms of velocity, but he looked comfortable on this drive — more comfortable than Glennon although the context of their time on the field was different. Still, I think Fromm did enough to earn more playing time as the season comes to a close. This is an extended tryout opportunity that Davis Mills got while Tyrod Taylor was out — a chance to determine if the player warrants more serious consideration.
If Fromm plays and plays well during the next few weeks, he could challenge for the No.2 role in 2022. And if Daniel Jones washes out, Fromm could get an extended tryout in 2022 as Mills has earned down the stretch of this year..
10. FRESH FISH: WEEK 15
Fantasy football is a cruel place. We're always searching for the weakest link. While we don't want anyone facing the wrath of Hadley, we'd love nothing more than our players to face an opponent whose game has come unglued on the field.
In the spirit of "The Shawshank Redemption," I provide my weekly shortlist of players and/or units that could have you chanting "fresh fish" when your roster draws the match-up.
Special of the Week: The Jets' offensive line has done Zach Wilson no favors and they were a big reason the offense couldn't generate 60 yards in the second half of the Dolphins' game.
- Mike Glennon's three interceptions inspired the Giants to roll with a practice squad quarterback with two weeks of playbook knowledge.
- The middle of the Chargers' back seven let a game slip through their fingers, literally.
- Atlanta's offensive line slogan is the bizarro Maxwell House: bad to the last drop.
- Packers' and Ravens' secondaries were soft and undisciplined.
Thanks again for all of your feedback on this column. Good luck next week and may your bold call come true.