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I don’t even know who won this game and I don’t care…could there be anymore FFM game than this one? Huge fantasy changing events in this one (I don’t know about ‘huge’, forgive me…I’m excitable after watching this one). But who will I honor with the first discussion point in this recap? Rex Burkhead? Tom Savage? Brandin Cooks? D.J. Foster? More Deshaun bashing? D’Onta Foreman?
— How good was Bruce Ellington (4-93-/5) in this one? This is the Bruce Ellington of what I’ve spoken the past two years. Injuries have been a killer. Not in this game. Leaping catches, catch and run magic…breaking tackles even!! He was terrific.
All I could think of watching this was…how stupid are the New York Jets? Wait, don’t answer that. They just had Ellington in camp and let him go a few days after picking him up! Are you nuts? You had to keep Charone Peake? Myles White and Frankie Hammond just too good to live without. You deserve everything you get NYJ management.
Worse than the Jets are the 49ers. Look, I don’t mean to say Bruce Ellington is Antonio Brown…but the guy has NFL starter skills and speed/agility. The 49ers have no room for him for a longer look? Two of the best performances of the last 48+ hours of preseason have come from 49ers cast offs by GM John Lynch (who will be a disaster) – Mike Davis/SEA and Bruce Ellington/SF. A Carlos Hyde trade may actually be in the offing. Joe Williams was possibly the worst pick in the NFL Draft…and the 49ers TRADED UP to get him…and sent a shiver up Peter King’s leg.
I digress… This should be about Bruce Ellington, who just landed in a place where he may start Week 1. Yes, I said it. Who is a locked in starter aside from DeAndre Hopkins on a terrible WR depth chart group? Ellington added an electricity on this night not seen from a Texans WR in a while. Tom Savage looked like he’d been working with Ellington for years. Good for you Bruce – you deserved this chance. Braxton Miller may really regret getting hurt for the umpteenth time in the last year.
— Speaking of Tom Savage (8-9 for 98 yards, 1 TD/0 INT)…he looked in command and totally comfortable running this offense. Quick decisions, accurate throws, rapid release…Bruce Ellington gave him a weapon to work with. There is no doubt Savage is the best QB the Texans have…to me. Not to the mainstream football media or the Texans’ GM.
Deshaun Waston (3-10 for 102 yards, 4-10-0/1) did his usual…nothing (60+ of those yards coming from a dump off, catch and run by D’Onta Foreman). Several incompletions, and taking off running when the first read looked blurry. He’s running more than he should – and it’s because he can’t see the field very well because he’s not a natural QB. This Watson thing is over before it started, a la Blake Bortles…how long will I have to wait to be proven correct and for no one among the mainstream analysts to acknowledge it as another massive mistake by them? The usual…years.
— You thought I was going to lead with Rex Burkhead (7-20-0, 3-50-1/3)? I don’t get a chance to talk about Bruce Ellington as much and he was the most electric producer on the field this game — and I already knew this was coming with Rex. Now the world has been introduced, a little. They’re (the football media) going to ‘run with it’. Rex = Blount-like role stories will abound. How great a receiver Rex is will pop-up. Too bad they didn’t pay attention when I wrote about it in detail in May 2016. Too bad Cincinnati saw none of this and underutilized him/never used him until they were forced.
Rex is the best RB the Pats have. What that means for fantasy – who knows? with Belichick. I just know if there is one guy that can become a star in the Pats offense among the RBs – it’s Burkhead. I thought that over a year ago when he was on the Bengals doing nothing.
— D’Onta Foreman (7-17-1, 2-66-0/2) looked even better this week. Ran with more aggression. He is so smooth a runner for his size. What to really take note of – Foreman is a terrific catcher of the ball. Most people dinged him for that because he didn’t catch many passes at Texas…he didn’t get the chance. I wasn’t sure what level his hands were besides being OK with what I saw from pre-draft workout tape. Foreman’s 63-yard catch and run in this game was a slant pass route he ran…inbetween two defenders, and snatched the pass and shed the would-be tacklers who had a grip on him, and he was off to the races.
Lamar Miller just went on notice, fully.
— Was I lying last week when I said Texans’ UDFA rookie IDP LB Dylan Cole (10 tackles, 1 PD) was better than high-pick rookie Zach Cunningham (7 tackles)? If you watched these two agian this week – it’s not even close.
I thought Cole had promise, but I didn’t know he’d be this good this fast. He was damn near dominant in this game.
— Texans UDFA rookie WR Riley McCarron (3-6-0/3) is really making a push to make the team. He hasn’t had his ‘moment’ yet, but he’s returning kicks and punts and part of the passing game…very promising signs for an underrated talent.
— Another nice game for the Edelman replacement of the future – Austin Carr (3-31-0/5). Carr is Garappolo’s ‘Welker’ of the future.
— D.J. Foster (6-23-0, 4-52-1/3) had a pretty nice game, but he’s just not as talented as the starting 3-4 RBs on this team. He’s gone via the number’s game ahead.
— Brandin Cooks (1-7-0/1) just had the one target and catch in a light amount of work. Worth noting – it was a timing throw. Normally, Cooks was used as a ‘go deep’ threat to take coverage attention away. I don’t remember Cooks running many timing passes to the sidelines in New Orleans 2016. The Patriots are going to use Cooks in so many more ways than Sean Payton did.