On Monday mornings, we hit three talking points from each Sunday game, from the notes I took during the live watching. I'm viewing however many games at one time, so these are my takes from that environment. I will go back and re-watch each game looking for more clues and expanding on my findings throughout the week in specific game recaps. This is just a quick hit on Sunday's action…(in no particular order)
-- You don’t want any part of this Buffalo passing game. Tyrod Taylor struggled against a bad Jets defense. Nathan Peterman 'in the hole' coming as soon as the Bills season gets out of hand. You can't trust Jordan Matthews, but he's the one to use if needed. Zay Jones is not integrated/connecting with Tyrod…going back to the preseason.
-- Jermaine Kearse may give you something the next two weeks before the schedule turns on him/the Jets. OAK and MIA next two. I would not put a lot of faith or energy in him.
-- Don’t lose sight of Jets LB Josh Martin, 5th-year out of Columbia. Martin had 5 tackles and 3 TFLs in this game. A 4.57 runner at 247 pounds. I need to re-watch this to see how well he played…or if this is a hoax. The snap count totals weren't in yet as of this writing, so I need to see that as well. We'll update on the game recap.
-- Mild fears for David Johnson. Not just the wrist – Arizona is in collapse and teams can easily focus more on DJ and let Carson Palmer try to beat them…but DJ's always fine because of his pass game efforts…6 catches on 9 targets in this one. Not sure DJ can get to 12+ TDs with this group in 2017.
His wrist could be a limiting in the passing game thing for weeks or he could just miss weeks – either way…not good.
Kerwynn Williams has RB1 hopes if DJ is down. He's a nice runner who has shown pop when given a chance, and he can catch the ball solidly out of the backfield.
-- Many of us benched Golden Tate because of Patrick Peterson. Sometimes PP was on Tate and sometimes he wasn't. The times I watched Peterson – he was getting burned. If Peterson is out of shape/low effort/whatever, and DJ is banged up…then the Cardinals are arguably the worst team in football minus those two guys. It's all they got. Fear of Peterson may not be a thing for opposing fantasy 2017 WRs.
-- When the Lions got near the red zone, many times Dwayne Washington was brought in to the game. Ameer Abdullah can't catch well. He isn't a workhorse runner. Now, he isn’t the goal line/red zone preferred either. You have very little/nothing here for fantasy with Abdullah.
-- Samaje Perine had no touches, but the Perine era moved a step closer as Rob Kelley floundered. How anyone can watch Kelley work and think that's acceptable for an NFL starter on purpose is beyond me. We're still looking at Weeks 3-4-5 as the sweet spot for the Perine take over.
-- The Kirk Cousins-Terrelle Pryor connection was spotty again, but you can tell Cousins only has eyes for him in most cases. Pryor also dropped a 40+ yard TD and had some other shaky moments. I'd be a buyer of Pryor on the cheap here if anyone was selling.
-- Carson Wentz has to be the luckiest QB in the league. He popped a long TD to Nelson Agholor…only after he was almost sacked, nearly completely turned around at one point, running for his life…so much so the coverage broke down. Somehow Wentz emerged (not because of any magic on his end) and flipped a pass to Agholor for the easy score. Aside from that, Wentz had a pretty pedestrian performance – and did his typical dink and dunk and shaky downfield action. Wentz's performance is going to be reported as 'gold' by the media this week, but I assure you it was not.
-- Well, I had a hunch Tarik Cohen was being hidden in the preseason as a 'next Tyreek' type weapon. However, even I would have never guessed this great debut. He was used much like Tyreek…more at RB, but was lining up as a WR several times – and Glennon had eyes for him. You want in on this for PPR, if you didn’t take as a late-round flyer prior.
-- New Falcons O-C… Devonta Freeman 14 touches (12 carry, 2 rec.) and Tevin Coleman 12 touches (8 carries, 4 rec.). Freeman got the TD but Coleman got the yards (58–39). The new O-C did not ignore Tevin.
-- Kevin White is hurt and done for the year…shocker. He's done for 2017 and forever, I think, in the NFL. He looked scared again in-game…and then got hurt. He has played fearing to get hurt…and, surprise, gets hurt always. Deonte Thompson is the deep sleeper name to keep an eye on.
-- The Texans might as well stick with DeShaun Watson…they can't un-ring this bell of the Tom Savage benching one-half into a game. Also, the decision will now ensure Bill O'Brien's days are numbered in Houston. That GM should have been booted a while ago. Tom Savage is doomed no matter whether he starts next week or not. Start slashing the value of all the offensive weapons and jack up the value of opposing defenses on the Deshaun Watson era arriving.
I cannot emphasize enough that Watson is not the answer, and he for sure isn't ready now.
-- Allen Robinson done for the year…of course, he was who I was getting in that range in redrafts where I used to get Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith until they were no longer viable options. Now, what at WR for the Jags?
Allen Hurns will take over as the #1 WR. Marqise Lee gets his targets…and Keelan Cole steps up as the 3rd guy. I wouldn’t bet heavy on any of them because Jacksonville is going to run 40+ times a game and play defense…and pass only if they need to…and have an awful QB.
-- Leonard Fournette was terrific in this game, and even more impressive – he caught the ball very well. He showed signs of nice hands in college, but also showed some shaky hands at times as well. Not enough throws to get a great feel watching him on tape in college. He showed he was more than capable in the passing game in this one.
-- Corey Davis absolutely looked like the real deal during my live watch. I can't wait to re-watch and really focus on him, but the 'tall Antonio Brown' comparison looks like the right one. He instantly looked like he belonged.
I have a feeling I am going to say this after the TEN-OAK re-watch – go buy Corey Davis stock everywhere you can get it. Cooper Kupp for Corey Davis…I'll do that trade, I'll take Davis for fantasy ahead. Wait until I re-watch this game to be sure of all this enthusiasm.
-- Eric Decker, on the other hand, did not look very spry. This may be a Corey Davis-Rishard Matthews 1-2 punch ahead…with some Decker sprinkled in along with Taywan Taylor.
-- Amari Cooper had a decent fantasy week, but 5 catches on 13 targets? Something just does not seem to be fully 'clicking' between Cooper and Carr. You want A+, but you keep getting B+.
-- Javorius Allen had a team/game-leading 21 carries, but he took several carries late in the game as the Ravens were running the game out. Terrance West was clearly the lead guy. Allen was getting extra work to prepare to take over for Danny Woodhead who is out for an undetermined amount of time…possibly the season.
Allen is no Woodhead, but he's OK.
-- The Bengals are a bad team, a really bad team…with a bad offensive line. This does not bode well for Andy Dalton being relevant or consistent in fantasy this season. We cannot crown the Ravens defense yet either because we don't know how much of this is the Ravens and how much is the Bengals are awful/have no real plan on offense.
-- One more flop on offense by the Bengals and Joe Mixon will become the main carry guy. Mixon had a team high 8 carries but they were mostly sporadic touches playing behind Hill-Gio. It won't be long before this is Mixon's backfield. Bad O-Line won’t help but Mixon is the kind of runner that can make bad lines look good.
-- I don’t know how much of this was the Browns playing energetic with their revamped defense, and how much of this was the pure sloppiness of Big Ben and the offense. Ben is looking more and more mediocre by the game. In prior days, Ben would have torched this young defense for over-committing to Le'Veon.
The schedule of defenses ahead is not easy for Ben and friends. MIN-CHI-BAL-JAC-KC – this could be a tough stretch for Ben and the run game, more than people realize.
-- I told you Joe Schobert was going to change the landscape for the Browns defense. He led the team with 9 tackles…he led all tacklers in the game. Hope you got in early when we pointed this out three weeks ago… before every IDP analyst claims him as a sleeper this week.
-- Corey Coleman is really playing some impressive football. The star potential is trying to shine through, only it’s buried in terrible Cleveland QB play. Some day ahead, Coleman will get the recognition he deserves…when a new coaching staff and management team sweeps in. Or when he hits free agency.
-- Jacoby Brissett will likely start for the next several weeks for the Colts…maybe, even the rest of the season. He is a poor man's Tyrod Taylor – about 150–200 yards passing and 30–60 yards rushing per game. A possible value in 4pts per pass TD leagues for those in need.
-- Marlon Mack was getting a push in this game. He saw some action early, and more work after things were out of hand. He is going to keep getting a push for an offense with no life. Robert Turbin is dead. Frank Gore will split with Marlon Mack ahead.
-- The Colts are awful on offense and defense. The Rams were mocking the Colts with their play. And yet…Todd Gurley has another terrible rushing day (a 2.1 ypc event). I'm done with Gurley as a runner. His PPR ways are the only thing that can save him for fantasy. His fantasy tally was nice – I sell him right now for something big…to see if I can get away with it. Leonard Fournette or part of a package to get David Johnson (for dynasty, for the long haul) with people fearing his wrist?
-- Christian McCaffrey got 18 touches in this game and was 'OK' performance-wise. He was shown to be human. He was shown to be Danny Woodhead-like. Leonard Fournette was a man and Tarik Cohen was the real deal as an RB/WR…better than McCaffrey, just not with the entire media up his ass. I like McCaffrey fine, but his publicity is way out of control. He's not as good as or wildly better than Tarik Cohen.
-- Cam Newton was erratic, a la 2016. The excuse of 'rusty' is being made, which I'm sure…but this is the Cam we saw last year as well. It could be -- this is just him. This is Cam…55% passer and exciting on the run. If so, Kelvin Benjamin is dead money.
-- George Kittle saw more work than I would have expected because I don’t normally see Kyle Shanahan using his TEs as weapons, but Kittle got good treatment here. Those dying at TE in regular fantasy might take a look here at a very poor man's Evan Engram.
-- I would assume Jimmy Graham is no better than a fringe TE1, but more a TE1.5/2 now. His targets tailed off big time the second half of last year. And he played in this 2017 opening game as if he were half asleep. There are MAJOR problems with this team, this offense, this locker room. Graham looks like he has quit, waiting for free agency. Seattle has never done right by him and for the same reason Marshawn Lynch retired and then wouldn’t go back to Seattle…Jimmy Graham is looking like the same in his actions on the field. He's done with Seattle, he just has to play out the string.
Don’t be shocked if Graham is traded in a few weeks.
-- Eddie Lacy is done in the NFL. He's done. He's terrible. He's so slow/overweight that he can’t get going fast enough after taking the handoff, and the defense is using the extra time to break penetration and hit him in the backfield. Another overrated, failed 'Alabama' star pushed down our throats.
People paid 6th-7th round redraft prices for this guy. Unbelievable.
-- IDP Mike Daniels was possessed in this game…or Seattle's O-Line is terrible…or both. Daniels was credited with 4 QB hits and 1.5 sacks.
-- I thought Paul Perkins wouldn’t last long as the starting RB for NYG…he made it through the first-half of game one/2017 and that was it. Orleans Darkwa started the 2nd-half. Shane Vereen caught a lot of passes in the 2nd-half. Paul Perkins is essentially done in the NFL…he should have never 'started' to begin with.
-- Dez Bryant is a joke…2 catches on 9 targets. Janoris Jenkins owns him, partly because JJ is good and much because Dez Bryant is no longer a top guy…hasn't been for two years. He got his money and has kicked back to deep threat/jump ball guy…away from the trouble that can occur up the middle. He's too easy to cover now.
-- Evan Engram didn't have the 'pop' game some were speculating with OBJ out. There is a window of reduced trade value again on Engram. I suggest you take advantage. Tight ends are dying all over…we got to find the 'next big thing'.