*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Colts are a lot better than I thought they’d be, than I projected they would be. They played toe-to-toe with a solid Cincinnati team Week 1 (shoulda/coulda won). They just handled the Redskins – at Washington. There’s nothing flashy about this Colts team at all…they are just ‘try hard’ and Andrew Luck is a good game manager…and the defense is really putting in an effort.
The Colts don’t belong in the 4-12 type tier, more then 7-9 type of tier…a scrappy team who can ‘on any given Sunday’ beat/hang with opponents. They are still lacking in a lot of areas, but they aren’t as awful as I suspected they would be. They earned this win.
Now we have re-consider the Redskins… Dominant in Week 1, but against what is now the worst team (or 2nd worst) in the NFL – the Arizona Cardinals. They muddled easily past Arizona and then fell flat against the Colts.
The Redskins aren’t far off of being the same team as Indy…a team in that 7-9/8-8, ‘tough out’ type of squad. Alex Smith isn’t taking a team to the Promised land, especially with a junk running game and one of the most underwhelming WR groups in the NFL. I’m not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg…are the Redskins WRs are bad, or Alex Smith can’t take mediocre WRs to the next level? Kirk Cousins made them look a lot better…
After two weeks of tape/results, I’d say these two teams are going to wind up 6-10/7-9 and definitely not in the playoffs. Neither an awful team, but teams with a lot of holes.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- My main reason to hurry up and re-watch this game was to get a feel for Marlon Mack (10-34-0, 1-2-0/2) in his return. I bet on a lot of workload and possible good things in Week 2. I got a promising start, cold finish, and not much statistically.
I was left wondering – was Mack brought back slow or is this Frank Reich (ex-Eagles OC) with a re-do of what Doug Pederson does with RBs with Philly…a true RBBC?
First, let me reset this – Marlon Mack is a ‘decent’ RB. Not great, not even that good…just ‘capable to be in the NFL’. On most teams, he’s a backup or doesn’t even make the roster. With Indy, he’s the #1 back and the owner and head coach all crowed about it this preseason – Mack with the main workload.
Mack gets hurt in the preseason and held out through Week 1, debuts in Week 2 here.
The first 10 plays where a running back touched the ball for Indy (over the first two series)…the RB who touched the ball (carry or target) in order: Mack, Wilkins, Mack, Mack, Mack, Wilkins, Mack, Mack, Mack, Mack. Eight out of the first 10 RB touches…exactly what I wanted – a ‘C’ grade RB getting ‘A’ touches.
Mack would only touch the ball a few more times in the game as a rotation started happening. I was frustrated with the rotation and stat line. However, there’s a different context to this event. Frank Reich said after the game that Mack was on a ‘pitch count’ because they didn’t want to overload him. He was a little ‘gassed’ and banged up midgame, so a rotation started. That makes me feel better.
Sure, Reich could be yanking our chains, but Indy came flying out of the gates with two nice drives to start the game, one ending in a TD, the other into scoring position and then a Colts fumble ruined it. On those two drives, Mack was very much the lead guy. When Mack went out the offense started to stumble a bit…whether coincidence or not.
I’m still clinging to the belief Mack is 15+ carries and 5+ targets per game ahead.
As far as Mack’s performance in this game…’meh’. He is what he is. ‘Capable’. He had a couple decent moments. Capable + touches = I can use him for fantasy.
-- Chris Thompson (4-1-0, 13-92-0/14)…I’ve been pushing him harder and harder. Mostly because it’s hard to really ‘believe’ here. You worry about the Theo Riddick types…one great PPR game, then a dud and then randomness with more RB3 moments than not and you’re always chasing their good game (and it usually happens on your bench) and never satisfied with the Duke Johnsons in the end.
I think Thompson belongs in a separate class. He’s been a PPR RB1 when taking last season + this season combined.
RB receiving target leaders in 2018…
McCaffrey 24 targets, 20 catches, 147 yards, 0 TDs
Barkley 22 targets, 16 catches, 102 yards, 0 TDs
Thompson 21 targets, 19 catches, 155 yards, 1 TD
M. Gordon 20 targets, 15 catches, 140 yards, 2 TDs
Riddick 19 targets, 14 catches, 62 yards, 0 TDs
Kamara 18 targets, 15 catches, 165 yards, 1 TD
Thompson is #3 in targets, #2 in catches, #2 in rec. yards, #2 in TDs on this list of notables. It’s not new, it’s a carryover from last season. Now, Dump Pass Master J Alex Smith is at the helm…so, Thompson’s target prospects have only improved in 2018.
-- The Redskins signed Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman yesterday, which is the act of a very desperate, frustrated-with-their-WRs team.
The Skins’ have three WR issues…
(1) Their WR talent is good not great
(2) The offense is stoic, overmanaged; too much Jay Gruden loving to coach
(3) Alex Smith is the perfect QB for head coaches who want control, to live vicariously through their dutiful QB. WRs are probably open, but Alex Smith is very reluctant to pull the trigger medium-deep. Last year, as I said a billion times, was a great year for Smith because Tyreek Hill made it so – and that Smith left a ton on the table with Hill for his fear of throwing deep.
Congratulations Redskins fans…you’re doomed.
Say it out loud…your QB-RB-WR biggest touch of the ball grouping might be Alex Smith-Adrian Peterson-Michael Floyd in 2-3 weeks. You can’t win in 2018 with the 2018 versions of those players.
The clock is ticking loudly in Washington on Jay Gruden.
-- Andrew Luck (21-31 for 179 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs) is quietly 3rd in the league in interceptions to start the season (and lucky to not have 3-4+ more). He’s bottom five in yards per completion. His longest completion is 26 yards…the worst/lowest of any starting QB so far this season.
Are the Rotoblurbs writing belligerent headlines about how terrible Luck has been to start 2018? Answer: No. They’re too busy writing Nick Foles hit pieces. Too busy blasting Mitch Trubisky as a 2017 draft problem and letting 2017 draftee Deshaun Watson slide on his last few games (back to 2017) of issues.
They see what they want to see, what they’ve been told to see.
Andrew Luck is not a QB1 right now. Not sure he’ll ever be again.
-- I like Jack Doyle (2-20-0/5) as a ‘buy low’ TE for PPR. He’s Luck’s T.Y. Hilton alternative. Eric Ebron (3-26-1/4) see action too, but Doyle is the trusted dump pass option…TE1 hopes for PPR. I could see Doyle being dropped in some redrafts this week.
Only if you are desperate and looking for TE relief. Luck is playing a short game and that works with Doyle.
-- The Colts defense has been pretty solid. I have to hand it to Frank Reich and his not-his-choice DC Matt Eberflus. The Colts have had so much turnover they should be broken again, but they are playing tough. Cincy had some struggles with them and they just punched Washington in the mouth.
Rookie Darrius Leonard (18 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 PD) has all the IDP juiciness. He gets to the ball well and Indy is on defense a lot – a winning IDP combination.
Clayton Geathers (12 tackles) has jumped right back in being a tackle machine after missing most of 2017 with a neck injury…9.5 tackles per game out of chute.
Margus Hunt (3 tackles, 2 TFLs) has come alive. The former Bengals project is flourishing in Indy – 5.0 TFLs on the season already.