Welcome to FantasySavvy’s Film Review. This article will be complementary for the time being, so enjoy! Thanks for reading and for your support.
We will be breaking down a player or two, or thrice, from several games from the previous week played. The information presented is based on watching every snap that player participated in for that week. Instead of relying on just statistics or an analysts breakdown of those statistics, or coach or analyst, reporter speak, we get to the root of the matter, the game tape. Mostly, we will try to focus on rookies, emerging players, but also some veterans as well as players of concern. We will also have a “Swift” grading system for each player we review, that will go up and down as the year goes on.
Let’s get to it, as Hall of Famer Ed Reed once said, “The Tape don’t lie”.
Chargers @ Bills
Guy I wanted to see in this game was Josh Allen. I’m a fan of Allen and was one of the very few who wanted him over Darnold, but he didn’t show me much in his first game. There were maybe two or three throws I was impressed with, other than that, he was missing guys or making the wrong reads. He was able to get the ball moving with his feet, which is part of his game. But overall, nothing too bad, but nothing really stood out. His TD pass was very nice to Benjamin, but his two picks were very poor throws. One thing of note, Allen missed Charles Clay wide open at least 2 or 3 times in this game, Clay could eventually start to emerge as Allen’s favorite target soon, he’s probably his best reciever, which is kind of sad. Overall Grade in his first ever NFL game, D+. We will continue to monitor Josh as the year goes on, I expect him to improve each week.
We talked about Ekeler and Mike Williams last week and these two guys kept progressing as we expected. Ekeler’s first five plays all went over 10 yards, two of them on end arounds. His speed and receiving ability are going to keep him on the field, but he is also a very sound runner, who hits holes fast, and can keep his legs moving to gain more yards. I would be confident rolling with him as my flex every week. Williams only had two targets in this one, but one went for a TD. Williams ran a slant route and Rivers squeezed it in between two defenders, but Williams used his body and jumping ability to go and get it. Williams could easily score double-digit TD’s this year. Ekeler is playing at a B+ level right now, he could hit the A’s soon. Williams is at about a B-, but expect that to go up soon. Love this Chargers offense.
Vikings @ Packers
Liking Geronimo Allison’s prospects in this offense, so want to keep a close eye on him. Nothing too great here but not bad, six catches for 64 yards on six targets. Most of his catches were short comebacks, not perfectly run, but Allison comes back to the ball and you don’t need to create that much separation with Rodgers, he finds a way to get it there. Allison did display some nice running after the catch and I would like to see more of that and some deep catches going forward. Tough matchup vs the Vikes, Rodgers hurting, so things should get better and continue to progress for Allison, he’s talented and playing with Rodgers. C+ grade currently.
If you love 3 yard runs into the heart of the pile, Jamaal Williams is your guy. He pretty much defines “Plodder”. I saw him make one juke move in this game. He’s just slow and doesn’t offer much explosion or agility. Aaron Jones returns this week and the Pack also promoted Rookie RB from Notre Dame Josh Adams. Jones is the best runner on the team and I expect him to take the job and possibly start producing right away, but keep an eye on Adams, he is intriguing and a good add in deeper leagues. As for Williams his grade is a D right now and he could be out of a job soon.
2nd week in a row we cover Dalvin Cook. One look at Dalvin Cook’s rush line (10-38) and you figure he must have done nothing. But Cook actually did as good as possibly could have. The Packers were swarming him, but that didn’t stop him from beating 1 or 2 guys on many of those runs, just to be swallowed up by the next guy. He also added three catches for 52 yards, his best one on a slant route while lined out wide. He did have two drops, although one of them he was met right away by a defender and smashed. Cook is currently questionable this week with a hamstring injury, he appeared to hurt it late in the 4th when Cousins threw an INT and Cook was trying to make the tackle. I saw him grab the back of his leg after. He did play in Overtime however, so you wonder if it’s just precaution at this time. From what I’ve seen out of Cook this year, he’s around a B- currently. Note: This is the 2nd week in a row Murray has bested him in the rushing department, stat wise.
Jets and Giants (Darnold and Eli)
Just want to talk specifically about these two NY QB’s, since there has been a ton of discussion on the two this week. One is getting continued praise, being crowned the new Prince of New York, while the other is being labeled a washed up bum, who has next to nothing left. I went back and watched every snap for these two, let’s start with Darnold.
As I mentioned previously, I was one of the few who wanted Allen over Sam. I was just too concerned about Darnold’s knack for turning the ball over and thought at best he was a Matt Stafford. (Allen more like a Big Ben) Which isn’t bad obviously, although Stafford hasn’t accomplished much for the Lions franchise. But like Stafford has improved over the course of his career, I can see Darnold improving, but also like Stafford I can see a lot of inconsistency from Darnold through his career.
Darnold is great at throwing the football on the run, in either direction, which is rare. He can roll out the opposite way and sling the ball down the field, 20-30 yards, accurately on a rope. That is impressive. However, standing in the pocket, he sometimes lacks the fundamental mechanics and it’s why he misses throws often. His short throws he can hit all day, but some of his intermediate and a lot of his deep balls are worrisome. I am not confident in his deep ball accuracy or consistency. Not many QB’s in the NFL are good deep consistently, but for the praise and hype Darnold is getting, you expect him to be Aaron Rodgers, I just don’t think he’s going to live up to expectations.
In Week 2, Darnold made some good throws, (one of his best dropped by TE Chris Herndon) but also threw 2 picks that were very costly. The 2nd pick, yes the effort by Pryor was poor, but Darnold missed Robbie Anderson running a cross to the corner of the left side of endzone. Once Anderson cleared the underneath coverage he was wide open, Darnold just needed to be a little more patient. That can easily come in time and I think Darnold can and should improve. He also missed Anderson open a few more times in this game. Darnold will continue to display his athleticism and throwing ability from outside the pocket and hit his short and intermediate throws fairly consistently, but at the same time will frustrate with turnovers and lack of big play ability down the field. He displays poor mechanics from the pocket at times which cause his balls to go high and overthrow his WR’s. These things can improve and I hope as a Jets fan, that they do. However, I don’t have the enormous expectations most Jets fans have, Mike Francesa thinks he’s going to be an incredible QB and I don’t see that. Everybody is saying the Giants should have taken Darnold and made a huge mistake, again, I don’t see that. I see his ceiling as Matt Stafford and I don’t think Stafford is incredible or a generational talent that couldn’t be passed on in the draft. Stafford is a good QB with a knack for making comebacks, but also a QB who is inconsistent. I see Darnold in that same mold, but he still has a long way to go to even Match Stafford’s play. Darnold is surrounded by a solid offense and can grow a lot this season, so let’s see how he does, starting again tonight in Cleveland. Current Grade, C-
Side note: Terrelle Pryor seems like a good target for Darnold, big body, was running deep square in routes that Darnold was hitting him on. We saw him do this in Cleveland, it dissapeared in Washington. I like the propsects of Pryor especially since Darnold is very capable at hitting those throws 10-15 yards down the field. The notion that Pryor may overtake Robby Anderson this year, does have some credence. Will see.
Eli can still get the ball to his WR’s, he can still throw the ball with zip and accuracy. I watched the film and I didn’t think Eli played poorly at all. Even the stats didn’t reflect that, finishing 33 of 44 for 279 yards and a TD. No picks, although he did have a fumble. The Cowboys defense did a great job of creating pressure and was solid in coverage for most of the game. The Giants offensive line was lost, missing tons of blocks and assignments, not necessarily being overpowered, although that happened a couple of times. The main issue was mental and fundamental, and that can get fixed. Eli was getting rocked and hurried and then we saw him look like a lost deer in the woods. Haaaa. But things should get better, they just played Jacksonville, the best D in the league and now an emerging Cowboys defense. Eli did have a bad throw at Barkley’s feet and did miss a few open guys, but it was nothing overly concerning. It was Sunday Night, Giants, Cowboys and so there was a lot of reaction. The Giants have now not scored more than 30 points since Week 17 of the 2016 season. That is going to change though, there are just too many explosive weapons on this offense. Shepard, Beckham, Barkley and even Engram are all capable of breaking big plays, Eli just needs to get the ball to them and he is still very capable of doing that. I just think Eli is getting too much heat and people need to be patient with him and this Giants offense. Things will turn around, I still feel Eli will have a pretty productive season, I don’t see the fall of a cliff that everybody else is talking about, not yet. The Biggest issue with Eli is he can’t move well and can’t do much outside the pocket. However the Giants do need to get more creative and call a lot more playaction since they have such a threat in Saquon. I expect the offensive line to player better, Eli to have time and execute in this offense filled with explosive weapons. Current Grade C.
Raiders @ Broncos
We reviewed both of these teams last week, Carr, Cooper, Freeman and Lindsay. We will do the same again. Let’s start with Denver.
Lindsay outperformed Freeman again this week stat wise, although Freeman got in the endzone. Lindsay averaged 7.6 ypc on 14 carries for 107 yards (53 came on one run) and Freeman averaged 3.5 ypc on 8 carries for 28 yards. But again, even though the stats reflect Freeman running poorly, I thought he looked fine and given a little more burn, I expect him to have some productive games. However, Lindsay is going to stay relevant and this is going to be a full on timeshare, unless there is an injury. Lindsay once again displayed his quickness and ability to hit holes. I am surprised they didn’t use him more in the pass game, just 1 catch for five yards. Both him and Freeman need more touches in the passing game, especially with Keenum struggling so much. I didn’t watch the tape on Keenum, but I think we know he’s a fairly average QB and that is showing its face again this year. I still feel Freeman is likely the better runner, but Lindsay is outperforming him currently. We may see this timeshare swing back and forth all year, Lindsay is proving to be the more worthy flex play of the two currently, but that could change. I would hold Freeman in all 12 team leagues and be patient. I did just drop him in a 14-team league for Corey Clement, because Clement is a good player himself, Philly’s offense is much better with Wentz and the other members in the backfield are all banged up currently. Lindsay gets a B grade, while Freeman gets a C grade, he really hasn’t done anything bad nor anything great yet.
We talked last week about how Amari Cooper isn’t really the issue, it’s David Carr. Well after a terrible week 1 with Carr throwing the ball inaccurately all over the place, Gruden made it nice and simple for Carr in week 2. From watching this game, it appeared Gruden is trying to turn Derek Carr into the 2nd coming of Brad Johnson. A lot of short quick throws and this is where Amari Cooper did the vast majority of his work. A ton of outs, flat routes, quick slants and Cooper finished with 10 catches for 116 yards. Carr rarely went down field and while he didn’t put up big numbers he was highly efficient completing 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and one TD. The Broncos were also giving the Raiders WR’s a lot of room, so maybe Carr and Gruden were just taking what the defense was giving them, it was strange to see how much separation they were giving Cooper on some plays. Either way it almost worked, the Raiders almost pulled out a great win in a tough place to play, especially early in the year. This should help Carr’s confidence, but at some point he’s going to have to be a little more aggressive again, so will see how they play it in Week three in Miami. Good news for Cooper owners for now, let’s see when Defenses play them tighter and take away the short stuff. The Broncos were content in allowing the Raiders to have the underneath passing game. Carr gets a C grade, while Cooper is at a C+.
Part 2 tomorrow, after the game tomorrow, Stay tuned! Follow me on twitter @FantasySavvy.