Every week we will go back and look at the tape from four to six games from the prior week to try and get a full context and report all significant findings. You can use these findings to direct your lineups and teams for the following week and future weeks ahead. Stay tuned for my Podcast discussing all the upcoming weeks games as well as DFS/NFL Picks, which will be released Saturday night/Early Sunday Morning. Please follow me on FantasySavvy on Twitter. Thanks for reading and all the best!
49ers at NY Jets https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220144
Darnold backers/truthers/believers/point of no returners pimped his scrambling cross body TD throw to Braxton Berrios on Twitter and continued the Adam Gase bashing, blaming Darnold’s poor performance on his coach and surroundings. This is why it’s important to watch the games in full and be able to properly assess a QB’s play. Here is what I saw.
The Jets offense is certainly lacking viable options at the moment, and it looks like Gase built that into the gameplan. Frank Gore had 21 carries for 63 yards, despite the Jets basically trailing by 2+ TD’s the entire game. A lot of 1st down runs, 3rd down runs, they kept it simple and conservative. Darnold threw so many short passes (quick outs, flats, curls, etc) that it took him to the 3 minute mark in the 4th quarter to go over 100 yards passing. Some of these short passes were by design and some was just Darnold just settling. You would like to have seen the Jets open it up more, especially since they trailed the entire game. The Jets personnel, Gase’s offensive system and plan calling certainly aren’t doing much to help Darnold. At the same time, in year three, Darnold’s mechanics are still awkward. He throws the ball sort of flat footed, while almost facing the defense straight up. He also is drifting back on his throws, where he should be stepping up to throw in order to throw the ball with more strength and accuracy. The 49ers were in his face a good amount of the day, but he also looked skiddish at times even when the pressure hadn’t arrived. This is why you see a lot of errant throws from him. He will usually have a couple very nice throws per game, like the Berrios throw, but Sam is just not consistent enough to be a force at QB. Will that change with better surroundings and a different coach? Possibly, but I do think his upside is limited, he will remain turnover prone and I don’t ever see him being a big time QB in this league.
I noticed Braxton Berrios was left on most waiver wires this week even though he scored in this game and Darnold looked his way often. The passes he caught were almost all within 5 yards. Lots of quick outs, flats, he even caught a pass while lined up in the backfield. He may be an option for a week or two, but that’s about it, you are not missing much. Chris Herndon was mostly invisible in this game, doing a lot of blocking. He was being touted by many, but I just don’t see it with him, maybe that changes, but he’s on the Jets. Frank Gore did his usual 49 runs up the gut, Rookie LaMichael Perine from Florida had a few carries, but he’s likely not going to do anything especially when Gase’s Boy Kallan Ballage is in town. Avoid all Jets, avoid watching the Jets, we will check back in about 4 or five weeks on their progress, but hopefully we won’t have to.
Before I could even sit down to watch Sunday’s games, Raheem Mostert already ran for a 80 yard TD. He also had a 60 yard TD run called back in the first half. Him leaving in the 2nd qtr with the MCL sprain cost me a few wins, but I have no complaints, Raheem did his thing. Looks like it’s a grade 1 sprain so he may be back next week or the following. Kyle Shanahans love affair with Tevin Coleman continued in this game despite Jerrick McKinnon looking much better on the ground. Coleman had 14 carries for 12 yards, while Mckinnon had 3 carries for 77 and a TD. Kyle certainly has a great running system, but it takes him way too long to figure out who is best runners are. With Coleman and Mostert both out, Mckinnon should see the bulk, then again Jeff Wilson may have 12 carries for 17 yards. In all seriousness, McKinnon should be a good play this week against the Giants. If you got a spot take a flier on UDFA JaMycal Hasty from Baylor. This guy has some juice and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him flash in this game, if he gets a shot.
Jimmy G looked more crisp then his dreadful Week 1 performance, and was having an efficient day, while throwing two TD’s to Jordan Reed before departing with an ankle injury. Nick Mullens took over and didn’t look ready, missing easy throws and throwing a INT. Maybe with a full week to prepare in the Meadowlands Swamps, a little Rutt’s Hut and Santillo’s Pizza (49ers stayed in NJ as they play in Metlife again!) he will be more prepared and sharp. He will be without George Kittle who was ruled out and Jordan Reed will have a significant role once again. Reed looked good, on his first TD he kept his feet in bounds running down the sideline in his Jordan 1 Cleats and diving into the endzone. His 2nd TD he just bodied the defender on a quick slant. With Deebo and Kittle out, Reed is a sound play. Kendrick Bourne’s seems like he’s good for about 4 catches for 40 yards every game, I wouldn’t expect much more, despite an occasional outlier. Rookie Brandon Aiyuk, debuted in this game but didn’t do or show much. I thought it would take Aiyuk a year or two to fully get developed into the league and that may be the case, let’s see how he continues to progress. Dante Pettis is being out snapped by Trent Taylor. I was a Pettis guy, but he’s not getting any shot to contribute.
*If you are in Jersey, Rutt’s Hut and Santillo’s are must visits.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220281
Danny Dimes or as I like to call him Danny Dippin Dots had a rough week 2, failing to throw a TD while losing a fumble and throwing two picks. The first pick wasn’t his fault as Evan Engram slipped on his route. The Bears coverage was tight most of the game and it didn’t help that Jones lost both Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard in this game. Rookie CB for the Bears Jaylen Johnson and Kyle Fuller are a nice combo. Jones had a few nice throws, but just didn’t look in rhythm. He’s had two tough matchups, be patient with him.
Dion Lewis didn’t do much filling in for Barkley, but he did punch one into the endzone. Lewis no longer has the agility and talent he had when playing with the Pats. Devonta Freeman should be the main ball carrier in this offense and he can also work in the pass game. Lewis will still be involved, but Freeman will probably become the guy after a week or two. Wayne Gallman wasn’t even used in this game and it’s doubtful he will have a significant role going forward. I went back and watched a few of Freeman’s games last year with Atlanta, he didn’t break any big runs and caught a bunch of dump offs, in otherwards there was nothing special there. He’s not the back he used to be, but he’s still a capable player and definitely the best back on this team. He made the right move signing with the Giants.
Like Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton also had a quiet game. He was inconsistent last season, so in his 2nd year, I would like to see him become a consistent producer, I think he is capable of doing that. I still believe he is in for a very nice season. Golden Tate returned after being out Week 1 and contributed 47 yards on 4 catches. With Shepard on IR, Tate should be a legit factor. Evan Engram had a rough week 1 and a rough start to week 2 by slipping, causing Jones to throw a pick, but overall had a productive day, leading the Giants in receiving. Engram displayed his speed and athleticism in this game. The Giants need to get him involved, especially now, and this was a promising start. I think Engram is going to start trending up from this point. He may not be a big TD guy, but the catches and yards will be plentiful
The standout of the game was Bears RB David Montgomery. After suffering through a full rookie year of horrible run blocking by his offensive line, Montgomery found some holes and the Bears line looks to have improved a bit. Montgomery broke tackles and ran strong, while looking good in the receiving game and catching a TD, with a nice run after the catch. The Bears would be smart to get him more involved in the passing game and get him in open space. Frankly, I think most teams should be doing this more with their starting running backs. Frankly. I think Montgomery is a good trade target if you need help at RB. His value may not be as low next week.
I have a hard time trusting anybody named Mitch, but Trubs was his usual self, running around, missing throws but also had some impressive throws. Mitch had two TD’s, but could have had three if Anthony Miller didn’t drop a TD. I thought Mitch had a chance to lose his job early to Nick Foles, but not right now, overall Mitch is playing well. Miller had a brutal game, dropping the TD and failing to haul in a pass on three targets. The Giants D is a bit underrated, they had tight coverage on these Bears WR’s, especially James Bradberry who is having a great season through his first two games on his new team after coming over from Carolina. Robinson had a slow day also, Bradberry was a big reason. Better days are ahead, we know his talent. I like what I am seeing out of Tulane Rookie speedster Darrell Mooney. His speed clearly shows on tape and he had a nice TD grab by working back to the ball on a pass from Mitch. He’s likely not going to be a consistent option, but I think he’s worth grabbing in deeper leagues as well as keeper and dynasty if he’s still available.
Atlanta @ Dallas https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220249
Dallas had a brutal start to this game with a Dak fumble, Zeke lost fumble, which was somehow not called, but then Zeke fumbled two plays later. Soon after they missed a pass on a fake punt. They later tried another fake punt run and failed. They came out victorious after recovering a onside kick and hitting the game winning FG. Dak threw for 400 and a TD while rushing for 2. He had a monster day, while hitting all his weapons. Career season likely coming.
CeeDee Lamb looked smooth and was used extensively in this game on crossing routes, curls, a swing route and he even had a carry while coming in motion, working off the swing pass he caught earlier. His best catch of the day was when Dak threw up a ball to him and he displayed his hops and hands and came down with it. There were no deep shots to him, but those should be coming soon. He led the Boyz in receiving with over 100 yards. Amari had an awesome one hander on a 58 yard catch, as the ball was slightly overthrown. The rest of his catches were on short routes. Gallup has been quiet so far but he made a huge catch going up and coming down with a 38 yard grab which put the cowboys in position to score a TD and cut the lead to 2. Jump balls are his strength. There was a lot of talk of Gallup becoming the #1 this year, but that’s probably not going to surface. Amari is still the best WR on the team and CeeDee is going to take from Gallup as well. The Tight End position also looks to be a serious part of this offense as Dalton Shultz had a big day, starting for the injured Blake Jarwin. Shultz had the most targets (10) and scored the Cowboys lone receiving TD. They used him creatively on delayed routes and screens and Dak threw a perfect pass to him in the back of endzone. Shultz extended his hands and made a nice catch. Schultz looked polished, he lost a fumble but other than that, he made contested catches, ran with good speed for a TE, ran his routes appropriately and showed good hands. He has a chance to be consistent option and I feel fairly confident using him week to week at this point. Zeke ran like the Hall of Famer he will most likely be, his best run at the Goal Line when he got low and ran over the defender and made him slide back 2 yards into the endzone. It will be a run that will be seen for years to come because of what happened to the defender. Zeke continues his excellence, running with patience, strength and being a goaline master. The line continues to open holes for him and he always makes the most of it. The Cowboys have a offense filled with playmakers, it should be an excellent offensive display when they take on Seattle this Sunday.
Matt Ryan’s Offensive line gave him ample time and he also did a good job in the pocket. Calvin Ridley ran a beautiful Post Out for a TD and ran another out for a TD, by stemming the defender inside and breaking out running wide open. Ridley creates serious separation. His route running is pure art. He has 4 TD’s already and is likely going to be a problem every single week. If you have him on your team(s) enjoy. Julio, as we all saw dropped a wide open TD pass that was thrown by Russell Gage. He made one nice catch on a speed out, but other than that he did next to nothing in this game. It’s possible Julio ( 31 years old) is starting his descent. He will still be a force in this offense, but his numbers may take a hit from what we are used to. Then again he did have 12-157 in Week 1. It appears he will be out for Week 3,. Russel Gage ran a nice slant route for a TD to continue his hot start. They also used him on a delayed route which I thought was interesting and creative. He was wide open and uncovered on that play. Gage worked out with Ridley and Julio over the summer and from the way he ran that route in the endzone, it looks like the two star WR’s are rubbing off on him.
Hayden Hurst caught a TD on a play where he went uncovered, running a delayed route across the field. He had 8 targets and is going to be a big part of this offense, his biggest strength is his speed.
Last but not least, Todd Gurley. Either Gurley is hurting, not giving 100% or is saving himself for later in the year. It could be all three of those things. All his runs were uninspiring, instead of low energy Jeb, it’s low energy Todd. He went down like a fort built with pencils and took forever to get up from the ground. Ito Smith looked better running then him. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game. He is still the guy however and will get close 15-20 touches a game, while remaining the goaline back. Maybe he gets to double digit TD’s, but he is going to be frustrating to own, if you can move him do it!
Vikings @ Colts https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401220192
This was a disastrous game for the Vikings with Cousins looking lost all day missing reads and throwing two terrible interceptions. Cousins has games likes this every once in a while, but this offense is definitely missing Stefon Diggs. Irv Smith wasn’t creating much separation and Thielen was well covered most of the day as well. He had to make a few contested catches. Justin Jefferson didn’t do much and needs to be more involved. However, I wasn’t high on Jefferson coming out of the draft. Osi Johnson was missed wide open on a crossing route by Cousins. The passing offense just looked brutal.
The Vikings run game was Ok as they didn’t open up a ton of holes for Dalvin, but he took advantage of them when they did. His TD run was basically him creating and getting into the endzone, excellent run. No worries on him. Alexander Mattison mixed in a bit but was a non factor. He remains a solid handcuff. Mike Boone could also get work if there was an injury to Cook, and Boone is a good runner.
Phil Rivers improved on his Week 1 crapshow, but he still had a few bone headed throws. I liked what I saw from Michael Pittman Jr, used his body to shield off defenders and showed strong hands and intelligence. T.Y Hilton dropped a TD on a beautiful deep ball by Rivers. Everything else he caught was underneath, and with Rivers decline it’s not likely your going to see many deep hookups between these two. Mo-Allie Cox stepped in for the injured Jack Doyle and after a early drop (which led to an interception) he looked great. He ran two deep outs which Rivers hit him on and he also Mossed two defenders displaying his Basketball skills, coming down with the jump ball catch. He is a weapon for them and despite Doyle returning, I think he can still be a factor. Maybe that changes when Trey Burton comes back? But for now I think he’s worth adding, he led the Colts in receiving with 111 yards on six catches.
The Colts committed to Johnnie Taylor giving him giving him 26 carries. It seems like he’s still figuring it out, but he did his job, not trying to do to much, hitting holes and moving forward. There weren’t any wow runs, but like I stated last week, playing with this line, the big runs should be coming soon. He is just built to play RB in the NFL. Surprisingly Rivers only threw to his RB’s three times in this game, two to Taylor and one to Nyheim Hines who was mostly relegated to the bench after a strong Week 1 performance. Hines didn’t even get a carry, those went to Jordan Wilkins who had nine of them for 40 yards. Wilkins ran well and could be the main ball carrier if Taylor went down.