By: Jared Forest (Twitter: @ThatGuyFromJerz)
Before you start to read the bulk of this article, let me remind you that we absolutely cannot base an entire season or career off of one week. The following is simply a breakdown of the games and some observations I made. Take the following notes with your own interpretation and utilize them how you would like.
NY Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Ugh. This was a struggle but here we go. The bills showed us the reasoning behind the Jonathan Williams cut and that reason is Mike Tolbert. If you insist on owning the handcuff in upstate New York, then Tolbert is the way to go. The big man handled the ball 12 times for 42 yards while vulturing Shady as he left the game with a minor injury. Shady also added 49 yards receiving while leading the team with 5 grabs in a Wide Receiving corps that I personally don’t want anything to do with unless it’s Charles Clay. Clay paid off for anyone who was willing to take a late round flier as he compiled 53 yards and a touchdown. My only worry is if Clay remains a streaming option as Zay Jones and J-Matt become more accustomed to this offense.
The Jets are a dumpster fire. I wish I could end this section right there but I suppose I’ll keep going. It’s just a matter of time until Bryce Petty is under center for this team because 26 completions for 187 yards is abysmal. Bilal Powell only touched the ball 12 times and it should have been closer to that 18-20 range. Matt Forte was able to gain 16 yards on 6 carries while the lone touchdown came from a Josh McCown QB Sneak. Jermaine Kearse had 7 receptions but this remains a team that no fantasy owner should touch unless Powell or Forte get injured so the other can maintain the workload.
Raiders vs. Titans
Beast Mode looks like he never left the field. Lynch ran with tenacity and strength in the 18 attempts that most people predicted. He averaged just over four yards a carry while Richard and Washington added another 8 carriers for 28 yards (mostly Richard though.) Amari Cooper’s touchdown was absolutely phenomenal and if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. However, I think he has a voice in the back of his head saying “Amariiiiiii… If you don’t score here, Seth will vulture you againnnnnn.” Sidenote, Seth Roberts had one red zone catch for 19 yards and a touchdown. It is important to note that the raiders made a solid effort to target him in the red zone which is a great sight for fantasy owners. Derek Carr was fully healed from his broken leg and looked liked the leader that we expect him to be for the future of this organization but in Giorgio Tavecchio we trust.
Speaking of broken legs, can you say Segway? Marcus Mariota also put up solid numbers by putting up 256 in the air which was evenly distributed between his top three targets. Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis combined for 18 catches and 216 yards but failed to find the end zone. The Titans seemed to abandon this “exotic run scheme” while Demarco only carried the ball 12 times for 44 yards and Henry added another six carries for 25 on the ground. I expect Matthews to drop off a little bit while Decker’s numbers increase throughout the year.
Jaguars vs. Texans
I will be the first to say I have never been a Fournette truther. However, it seems like Jacksonville is determined to feed him the ball and while they do that, he is going to produce. Touching the ball 29 times is not something I would have predicted but it this was helped by a positive game script for the Jaguars. I cannot foresee LF touching the ball 25+ times every week without eventually breaking down due to his history but until then, he will remain a low end RB1. At the time of writing this, all I know is that Allen Robinson has a significant knee injury. If A-Rob goes down, this is going to turn into one of the more one dimensional offenses we see in the NFL.
His dynasty value was already dropping and this may send owners over the edge. Well… The Tom Savage experiment didn’t last long. Deshaun Watson made his NFL debut in the 2nd half and looked just slightly better for the Texans offense. I personally blame the offensive line but in the short time that Watson was in, he was average and provided the mobility that they desperately needed to avoid the Jacksonville pass rush. There was some silver-lining in this game and that was in the form of a million targets for Deandre Hopkins. They seem like an offense that is going to run through Hopkins whenever they get the chance, especially with a negative game script and the injury to Will Fuller. Going forward, I am comfortable calling NuK a high end WR2 option with a sky high ceiling.
Eagles v. Redskins
Is Nelson Agholor what we thought Jordan Matthews was going to be? Making an immediate impact on a Carson Wentz scrambling 58 yard touchdown made some people believe again. Besides the impressive numbers of 307 yards, two touchdowns and one INT, I saw a tentative QB for the eagles. Carson looked hesitant to throw to the outside (which is obvious with the four combined receptions for Alshon and Torrey) but more than comfortable to throw over the middle (14 receptions to Ertz and Nelson). Zach Ertz had the game that we all thought he could have now that Matthews is out of town to the tune of 8 catches for 93 yards and could easily finish the season as a high end TE1.
Rob Kelley is still bad at football. 10 rushes for 30 yards will do absolutely nothing to help your team and it is just a matter of time before either Chris Thompson becomes more than just a 3rd down back or Samaje see’s the starting role. Also, I need someone to explain to me why Josh Doctson had zero targets. This might be the best athlete on the team and he didn’t the chance to touch the ball once. Terrelle Pryor on the other hand had plenty of opportunities but it was the drops in the red zone that were the plays that stick out in my mind. This offense still has an absolute ton of potential with a possibility to have a QB1, WR1 and TE1. Don’t give up on them.
Cardinals vs. Lions
Carson Palmer is getting painful to watch. The combination of his age and this terrible WR corps is the reason why David Johnson struggled today. Defenses just are not scared of the passing game like they were two years ago. At the time of writing this, DJ’s injury was a sprained wrist but the length of missed time was still an unknown. If Mr. 1000/1000 is out for an extended period of time, the only person I would touch on this time is Fitz. It’s possible that some areas in the middle of the field get opened up for him with the lack of a running game. No, Kerwynn Williams is not a thing.
Kenny Golladay. Can I end the article there? Because I really want to. Alright, I’ll keep going. Three quarters through this game I made a note that said “Lions – Solid WR Corps, no #1” Then Kenny G went bananas. He is so much more than a red zone threat for this team and the fact that he can be the outside threat Stafford has been missing since Mega left means the world for this offense. With Tate in the slot, Marvin on the other side and some of the better pass catching backs in the league, I firmly believe that Stafford is in line for a top 10 QB finish.
Steelers vs. Browns
I have to get this off my chest, but ‘ef Ryan Shazier and is his constant helmet leading late hits. OK, that felt better. If you have Jesse James and you haven’t sold him by now, you are doing fantasy football wrong. Six receptions plus the two touchdowns is nice but Vance McDonald is going to be the Tight End to own on this team as soon as he gets acclimated to the playbook. While I suggest selling Jesse James, please do not abandon ship on Le’Veon. His numbers were awful, I won’t deny that however we have to remember this was the first time he saw game speed since last year. He is going to be fine and he is going to finish as a high end RB1. Remember when people thought Martavis Bryant was going to eat into Antonio Brown’s target share? People… You need to stop it. No one is eating into this man’s share and if Ben can keep numbers up like this and get rid of those awful Home/Road splits then we are about to see some berserk numbers.
20/30 for 222 yards is good. But what impressed me the most with Kizer is simply how he looked. He was poised and looked very impressive against a solid enough defense. Granted he made a god awful through that led to the INT to Mini-Watt but if you took Kizer as the QB3 or higher in rookie drafts this year, I would be feeling very happy with the performance. The only thing that needs to change for Kizer to improve is this running game. Why didn’t Duke Johnson get any carries? I have been kept awake all night trying to understand this. Crowell was everyone’s off-season RB to watch out for behind this improved offensive line but they can’t afford to let Kizer throw the ball more than 30 times a game.
Falcons vs. Bears
Relax on the Austin Hooper love. He was the beneficiary of a blown coverage that led to the slowest touchdown I have ever seen. In my eyes, he remains a TE2 which doesn’t say much considering what a dumpster fire tight ends seem to be lately. Julio didn’t have the stat line we all wanted but he still led the WR’s in separation and Atlanta targeted him quite a bit in the red zone which is a welcome surprise. I can’t crown Matt Ryan a repeat MVP yet, let’s wait until he plays a real defense.
What are fantasy owners more excited about, Kenny Golladay or Tarik Cohen? If Jordan Howard owners didn’t see this game for whatever reason, don’t bother going back to watch. You will only see the future. Howard had decent numbers netting 52 yards on just 13 carries but it’s the 66 yards on the ground and 47 yards in the air on just 13 touches that have fantasy owners chanting praises for Tarik. I could foresee a 60/40 split of this backfield in the future with Tarik clearly taking 3rd downs due to Howard’s inability to catch the ball. I would be remissed if I didn’t mention Kevin White’s injury…There, I mentioned it.
Ravens vs. Bengals
Poor, poor Danny Woodhead. This was supposed to be his backfield, he was supposed to be that PPR RB1 that we remembered. As if this backfield wasn’t a mess enough, now we have to decide if we want a piece of Terrance West or Buck Allen. While Buck Allen out carried West (and looked especially good between the tackles) this was a positive game script game from the beginning and I would not take any stock in either of these guys. I Still believe that WR’s are the skill position to own here and it shows with Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace both average more than three yards of separation per route.
This Bengals offensive line is awful. I still like Andy Dalton to put up some numbers but good lord, he needs time to breathe in the pocket. Jeremy Hill looked slow, Joe Mixon looked shell shocked but Gio Bernard looked healthy and ready to go. 40 yards on seven carries plus a 39 yard reception makes me a believer. I am interested to see what happens when this team is leading if we will continue to see them load up Hill or perhaps some split backfields with these three.