*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Computer is saying the Giants are a lot better than I am realizing/giving credit. Not that they are great, but better than the almost no credit I am giving them. Tougher schedule so far. Defensive injuries they’re working through. A much better, more efficient offense than I realize.
With that in mind, I re-watched this game and I gotta say…I can see what The Computer is driving at. Pat Shurmur is running the offense with savvy simplicity – get the ball to the playmakers and you don’t have to overthink it, just get them the ball. He has a so-so O-Line that has faced great pass rushes and they’ve struggled but not collapsed. When the schedule lets up, and they face easier defenses…we might be shocked. Guess what? Saints this week at home is one of those defenses. The Computer likes the Giants Week 4 for the outright win.
Houston…wow. If you can’t beat the Giants at home, to fall to 0-3, after a year with Deshaun Watson and the return of J.J. Watt, then what are we doing? The bell may have just tolled for the Bill O’Brien era. They can get back into things with a win in Week 4…jump to 1-3 and they may only be 1-2 games out of first with 12 games to go. They’re not dead yet, but they have little room to spare.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The big fantasy news…Evan Engram (1-19-0/1) hurt and now some of us are scrambling for a TE this week. I suspect Engram to be out 3-4 weeks more than just 1-2 weeks. His injury is not an easy one to just ‘get over’ and be ‘100%’ in a snap.
The Video Q&A chat last night had this question a lot (what do I do for a TE off waivers), and the rankings I gave for replacements (in general)…but there’s no super-obvious option of this typically available group. All of them have a case to be #1 on the list:
Njoku (the stable starter now with a good/great QB)
Goedert (2 of 3 games good, with Wentz back really good…Ertz looms)
McDonald (he doesn’t break that tackle on MNF for a long TD, you don’t even ask about him today. I love him but he’s always an injury risk)
Eifert (solid, maybe deserves better but he is splitting snaps with C.J. Uzomah).
One deep-sleeper option…the Giants backup Rhett Ellison (3-39-1/3). I wasn’t really thinking about him and then I was re-watching this game and heard them talking about Ellison being with Shurmur in Minnesota, and how he brought him over with him (a good sign)..and that Shurmur called Ellison ‘Engram’s stunt double’. I think Shurmur likes Ellison a bunch…and he’s going to be ‘the guy’ for a few weeks for whatever that’s worth.
A 4.88 40-time runner at his NFL Combine but had a hip injury at the same time. Ran 4.69 at his Pro Day later with a 7.16 three-cone. Not a terrible athlete. Showed nicely in his time here. He’s at least functional, an option.
-- I was watching Saquon Barkley (17-82-1, 5-35-0/5) and I had two thoughts…
1) He’s so wonderful when he has room to run straight. Give him a hole and watch out. He’s really a very dangerous weapon at RB.
2) No hole…he goes down too easily.
If you focus on #2, you downplay the gift #1 is. He’s better for fantasy than NFL, I think…but has NFL value because he’s a nothing…nothing…nothing…and then POP a 20-50+ yard TD kinda weapon. That’s very valuable and Shurmur is smart enough to get him the ball a lot in all kinds of ways not just slamming him up the middle.
Pat Shurmur may be the Mike Tomlin 2.0 – get your weapons the ball, and live or die with that. Don’t get playbook cute like Andy Reid has been known for and his disciple Matt Nagy is keeping alive with Chicago – just play the odds with your stars. I’m really getting revved up by watching Shurmur’s offense after I watched offensive nightmares with the Titans-Jags and Bears-Cardinals prior to this.
-- Eli Manning (25-29 for 297 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) got smoked by the Jags in Week 1…no harm there, right? The past two weeks – 58-of-73 (79.4%) completions and 3 TDs/0 INT. Eli is not dead, as I thought – Shurmur is building a simple offense around him to keep Eli alive. Eli is going to cut you to death with a thousand tiny paper cut passes to Saquon and OBJ. It’s super smart.
Did I just become a Giants fan?
-- Deshaun Watson (24-40 for 385 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT, 5-36-0) still looks very solid, capable to me…just when he has a critical spot/the field gets shorter, he struggles -- because he’s a limited passer. He’s Cam Newton lite. View him through the eyes of ‘Tom Brady’, and you hate Watson (as I have). View him through the eyes of ‘Cam Newton’, and you got a weaponized QB that confuses defenses often.
The thing I’ve undervalued/misunderstood about Cam or Watson…their mobility is such a weapon that they don’t have to be ‘Tom Brady’. Brady can’t run for a 3rd & 6 conversion under all kinds of duress like Cam can. Brady has cooler, meticulous passes, but Cam keeps defenses at bay for fear of his running and make plays from the pocket or on the run. Cam is the gold standard for the mobile QB…Watson is just ‘OK’ by comparison to Cam. Watson doesn’t have the arm or size that Cam does, but Watson is very capable.
-- Bruce Ellington got put on I.R. Watch for rookie Keke Coutee to see more work as a bubble screen, deep ball guy but not fantasy viable. Cool name and he’s fast but he’s an iffy WR talent.
Vyncint Smith (1-28-0/2) is the WR seeing more and more time. He’s a big, physical, raw weapon who keeps popping up every week with a big target and/or catch.
-- Two Giants IDP notes…
The Giants have played solidly on defense this season, so far, and done so without Olivier Vernon. He should be back this week or next. Two years ago, the NYG-DST was hot fire. It collapsed in turmoil in 2017. It’s showing signs of solidness this season, and Vernon may ratchet it up a notch.
DL Kerry Wynn (6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) was terrific in this game. I’ve looked right past him this season, not anymore. 4.3 tackles per game for Wynn this season. He might get help for numbers when Vernon is back.
-- Texans IDP notes…
J.J. Watt (8 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 5 TFLs, 5 QB hits) looks like ‘he’s back’.
My favorite IDP sleeper Dylan Cole, just got put on I.R. I thought he was close to getting into a regular role, but now he’s setback again. New staff next season, maybe, and that may not be good for him as a UDFA everyone overlooks.
Snap Counts of Interest:
68 = Fuller
68 = Watson
41 = Vyncint Smith
03 = Ellington
52 = Miller
19 = Blue
44 = Wynn
24 = Mario Edwards