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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Eagles had the perfect start to this game…
Carson Wentz’s 2018 debut. The Philly D held the Colts D on the first drive, Wentz then drove down the field for a quick, tidy 7-0 lead. All was well!
The Colts then won the rest of the game 16-13.
The Colts lost the final score 20-16, but arguably ‘won’ or at least played toe-to-toe. The Colts drove down to the red zone in the final few minutes, with a chance to win the game, but that pesky Philly D shutdown another 4th & goal effort.
To be fair, this game was played in a steady rain…it wasn’t these teams at their best, but it seemed to me a reflection of where these two teams are at – the Eagles are not as good as their 2017 run, but good enough. The Colts are nowhere near as bad as I thought. They have a lot of injury issues and holes, but they are playing above them. These two teams feel closer in stature than they were further apart last season or what I might have thought coming into the season.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I want to start by pointing out the one thing that just jumped off the screen at me re-watching this game:
We all get interested in Corey Clement (16-56-0, 2-19-0/4) when Jay Ajayi gets dinged, or we’re even looking to him as a ‘take over’ opportunity, taking over the job from the limited, overrated Ajayi. We overlook one thing – Clement really isn’t that good of an NFL RB. He’s useful, hard-working but not an ace runner or amazing receiver. He’s competent…would be my best description.
Now, compare that to this statement – Wendell Smallwood (10-56-1, 3-35-0/5) is better in every way as a running back than Clement. It was clear watching them in this game. Smallwood has a better burst, understanding approaching a hole, and is a tougher runner. Why Smallwood has been benched while Clement has emerged, I have no idea. It’s probably something to do with blocking or whatever else reason teams give to sit better weapons. We see it all the time.
Smallwood was the one running the ball in the critical goal line push (TD) late in the game to give the team the lead. Smallwood had more targets in the passing game.
No Ajayi or Sproles this week, if that happens, I’ll take Smallwood over Clement.
-- Josh Adams (6-30-0) did fine in his opportunity. He didn’t blow everyone away, but he showed he belonged. He looked a little hesitant, as a rookie UDFA just brought up might but overall, he had some moves and ran fine.
-2 on his first carry, then reeled off a 16 yarder, a 10-yard pop, and then a 6-yard run. He came into the game in the 2nd quarter and was given a nice opportunity to get his feet wet. Someday, but not today. Week 4…no Ajayi, no Sproles, Smallwood is the sleeper play.
-- Watching this game in a bubble, not considering the history of things we know…you would think Dallas Goedert (7-73-1/7) was the starting TE for Philly and Zach Ertz (5-73-0/10) was a complimentary TE.
Ertz played 81 snaps, and Goedert 55…but Goedert had more of a presence, a purpose in times of trouble. I don’t think Ertz is going anywhere but Goedert is showing he can co-exist and be fantasy-viable.
Goedert is the future Gronk (without Brady), but we may not see it full until 2020.
TE Joshua Perkins (1-10-0/5) is oddly interesting too. He looks like a poor man’s Alshon Jeffrey working for the Eagles. There’s no room for him to be a break out guy here, but he’s had 5.0 targets per game the past two weeks. He’s an ultra-deep-sleeper with Jeffrey out.
-- Carson Wentz (25-37 for 255 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) looked totally fine. He dodged, dipped, ducked, dived, and dodged around like he always does…how showed no ill-effects in his mobility. He’ll be fine and start for the next decade for Philly as long as he’s healthy.
-- The QB who doesn’t look good, still, is Andrew Luck (25-40 for 1645 yards, 1 TD/0 INT). His throws are getting softer and more tentative each week…like his arm still has issues. I think it’s reasonable to doubt his arm strength, as the media has this week.
Back-to-back games under 180 yards passing each game for Luck, and his protection has been solid…just 1.7 sacks per game this season. Luck has been sacked 5 times in 2018, Wentz was sacked 5 times in this game. Luck has time. Luck is dinking and dumping more than not and floating many passes the deeper he needs to throw them.
-- Yep, 5 sacks by the Colts defense…their DST is suddenly a deep-sleeper on matchups. #3 in the league in sacks. Have only allowed 3 passing TDs. Cincy got a defensive score and an easy score off a turnover Week 1 against them…otherwise 19 points allowed. Held Washington to 3 FGs only Week 2. Held the Eagles to 20 in the rain with 5 sacks.
Weeks 6-7-8…Darnold, Allen, Carr.
Leading the charge for the Colts-DST…
Rookie IDP LB Darrius Leonard (13 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 5 TFLs, 1 PD) is racking numbers like crazy. I don’t see him looking super-special, but he is everywhere.
Margus Hunt (4 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 3 TFLs) is on his way to breaking the NFL record for TFLs at this rate. He’s like a brick wall collapsing in on the backfield and just grabbing things and flinging them to earth.
-- Jordan Matthews (2-21-0/2) looked solid in his return. He’s very close friends with Wentz, so this may start to hit WR3/flex options during BYE weeks in PPR soon.
-- The Colts RBs are terrible. Nyheim Hines (5-18-0, 5-25-0/5) is the slowest fast guy in the NFL. Just a reminder, Marlon Mack healthy = a lot of touches for him, I expect.
Also, Robert Turbin returns Week 5, but I am not really moved by that. Maybe he steals some goal line work, but I want Mack for 15 carries for 50-60 yards, 4+ catches for 20-40+ yards a game.
-- Jack Doyle is hurt and may be out for several weeks.
Eric Ebron (5-33-0/11) is also hurt and he’s nothing special. He’s questionable this week.
Erik Swoope (1-7-0/1) becomes an interesting Week 4 rental for those in deep need IF Ebron is out. A former college hoops player turned NFL TE project and he has flashed at times. Week 4 could be his big moment.
Snap Counts of Interest:
80 = Agholor
45 = Aiken
33 = JMatt
81 = Ertz
55 = Goedert
31 = Perkins
45 = Clement
29 = Smallwood
08 = Adams
52 = Ebron
08 = Swoope
42 = Hines
17 = Wilkins
69 = Margus Hunt
40 = Kemoko Turay
22 = Grover Stewart
13 = Zaire Franklin
02 = Bruce Hector