Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Angles 9.23

Angles hits inboxes on Thursday mornings throughout the regular season; you can also find Angles in The Scroll on Thursday afternoons.

OWS Fam!

Welcome to a unique Week 9, with only 10 games on the Main Slate, and with a long list of top QBs missing in action. 

Players on Bye include Jared Goff, Trevor Lawrence, and Brock Purdy, while all of Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert are playing off the Main Slate.

As if that weren’t enough, injuries have wrecked the quarterback position this year, with Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Matthew Stafford, Anthony Richardson, and (presumably) Deshaun Watson missing in action for their teams. Add in the benchings of Jimmy Garoppolo and Desmond Ridder, and this slate could provide us with as many as eight backup quarterbacks, as well as Mac Jones and Daniel Jones, and a long list of non-elite guys in Derek Carr, Sam Howell, Jordan Love, Baker Mayfield, and Bryce Young. Assuming Watson and Stafford both fail to play this week, the remaining quarterbacks are:

C.J. Stroud
Geno Smith
Lamar Jackson
Dak Prescott
Jalen Hurts

Interestingly, the second and third names on that list are playing against one another this week, as are the fourth and fifth names on that list…

…all of which goes a long way toward defining the potential shape of this slate.

The only teams on this slate implied to top 22 points are:

Baltimore (25.0)
Philadelphia (25.0)
New Orleans (24.75)
Indianapolis (23.25)
Cleveland (22.75)

In fact, there are as many teams implied to score under 18 points(!) as there are teams implied to top 22. For fun, the teams on that list are:

New York Giants (17.75)
Los Angeles Rams (17.75)
Minnesota (16.25)
Chicago (16.25)
Arizona (14.75)

This slate features eight of the bottom nine teams in offensive DVOA, and 13 of the bottom 16, with only seven teams from the top half of the league represented. Two of those teams (Minnesota and the Rams) are dealing with injuries to their quarterbacks. The remaining five teams (Houston, Indy, Philly, Seattle, and Baltimore) all have matchups against teams that rank in the top 15 in defensive DVOA, with three squaring off against opponents that rank in the top 8.

All of this should create a setup that generally suppresses offensive production, but perhaps more importantly, all of this could serve to squeeze the slate together, where lesser offenses in better matchups might be able to compete — from a “bang for your buck” standpoint — with better offenses in tougher matchups, creating something of a potentially wide-open slate.

Typically, we have a lengthier slate breakdown than this, but this small, unique slate lends itself to a small, unique bird’s eye view.

What to watch for this week:

> The players who can break away from the pack
> The offenses that can break away from the pack
> The games that can break away from the pack

That does it for this week.

I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards in Week 9!
-JM