*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Hard to have too many sweeping/breaking news takeaways here because the Colts had a M*A*S*H unit of a roster going into this. Two key CBs out. Their Defensive Rookie of the Year, Darrius Leonard…out. Their best WR, RB, and TE…out, among others. It’s of no surprise the Pats dropped 38 on this defense and won the game 38-24.
I walked away from the tape study thinking: Kudos to the Colts – they never gave up and they kept fighting with their undermanned staff. I will reiterate, had the Colts been fully healthy – The Computer would have had them as slight favorites and we would have taken the +10.0 and been thrilled. The Colts are a lot better than perceptions, and additionally the Patriots are way overrated at this stage.
However, it’s hard to fully wrap your arms around the Patriots as Julian Edelman just returned and as Josh Gordon develops (or doesn’t) then their whole vibe/situation can/will change. Obviously, Bill Belichick will do what he always does…meander through the first 4-5 games (that’s why healthy Indy could have stolen one here) and then dial it in and hit the accelerator to another AFC East title, #1 seed, and possible Super Bowl trip. I just think this Patriots team is one of the weakest 1-53 that I’ve seen, and the performance numbers are pretty weak in our internal measures…weakest I’ve ever seen for the Patriots. So, not doubt they’ll go on to win the Super Bowl…
The Patriots jumped out 24-3 at halftime, and I just figured the Colts couldn’t use their knife at the gun fight…no shame given their inactives. The next thing you know it’s 24-17 and the Colts were putting pressure on the Pats in the 3rd quarter. If not for a fluke interception on a late drive, the Colts may have really made this a 31-24 ball game with 4-5 minutes left.
I was more impressed with the Colts’ play than I was with the Pats from this game, and that sentiment matters when I continue to try to sell you (and me) on the Colts-DST coming up.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First thing…RB1 James White (2-0-0, 10-77-1/14)…obviously, that situation is not slowing down with Edelman back. If anything, it’s cranking up. James White is saving my butt in many leagues…he’s going to be a top 5 PPR PPG scorer YTD after Week 5 closes.
…and yet we all still look at him on our roster and go, “Should I start him this week?” -- or, worse, you continually feel “My RBs are killing me.”
You keep saying ‘this can’t keep up’, but it does. It’s your perception problem. You have same problem with Chris Thompson.
…and I know what’s going to happen. James White will have a 3 catch, 30 yards, and no TD game…and you’ll proudly, confidently go: “SEE!! I KNEW THIS WASN’T REAL!” Like with Chris Thompson after Week 3.
Yet, you’ll keep starting Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, etc., and when they have their usual weak FF game…you’ll go: “Stupid game flow” – and right back in your lineup next week. James White (and Chris Thompson) do not get that luxury of a bad game because of YOUR perception. A bad game means their luck has run out.
White and Thompson have been better than Kareem Hunt this season and probably the last 16 games each has played. Yet, you pine for Hunt on ‘buy low’ moments…and would start him over White in a second in PPR next week.
RBs are all random events any more, save 5-6 consistent ones. You can barely get back-to-back games of goodness from any fantasy RB. It’s happening to everybody…BUT, somehow, only you’re RBs are killing you (both or just you have a great one and complain about RB2).
We manufacture problems, have solutions to said problem on our roster, and yet desperately seek outside things via trade or waivers to solve said made-up/overblown problem.
-- You probably want Sony Michel (18-98-1, 1-12-0/1) next week and for ROS (PPR) over James White, don’t you? OH, IF I ONLY HAD SONY MICHEL…HE ALMOST RAN FOR 100+ YARDS!! He did and still didn’t outscore James White for PPR…again.
Just my side observation, a running theme to my eye – Sony Michel looks pretty rough/weak to me. I get he’s in a good spot for touches. I’m not anti-touches, but as a scout…I can tell you he’s not working well. He gets a few pops on wide-open holes, that any RB would run through…but WAYYYYYYYY too many times he’s caught short and dropped with ease. He’s not making moves or breaking tackles…he’s just an NFL-level athlete handling the ball a lot and some things happen every once in a while.
Michel may be an RB2 on touches all year, I get it. LeGarrette Blount used to matter. I’m just saying, long-term…not a future star RB that I see. AND don’t be surprised if you see the Pats start adding RBs of waivers or making a trade soon for like Marshawn Lynch or something (maybe Blount again)…some established power runner to help down the stretch and then ‘poof’ goes Michel for 2018. Ride the wave but be careful.
-- I am the world’s least Eric Ebron (9-105-2/15) fan but I won’t argue his touch counts with Jack Doyle out. I kept dismissing him with Doyle out, but this is getting crazy. 10+ targets in each of his last three games.
5.2 rec. (9.0 targets), 51.0 yards, 1.0 TDs per game = Eric Ebron/2018
4.6 rec. (6.2 targets), 61.6 yards, 0.2 TDs per game = Gronk/2018
Let that sink in.
I think Ebron’s numbers retreat when Jack Doyle returns…but what if Doyle can’t get back this season?
In their last 16 games, Gronk (6-75-0/7) has 7 TDs…Ebron 8 TDs.
I’m a never-Ebron guy, so that’s my own fault…but I bet he fades quickly. However, I’m a pro-Gronk guy – and his number trends scare me to death. He’s not a ‘buy low’ like he used to be. The numbers just don’t back it up. I’d rather have Gronk, but the price I’d pay is lowering to do so.
-- Like I said last week…Chester Rogers (8-66-0/11) has the better relationship with Andrew Luck than Ryan Grant6-58-0/9), and that proved out here.
The last two weeks, Rogers has exactly 8 catches on 11 targets in each game. I don’t believe that it holds up; a lot of this is on Luck throwing 50+ times a game…but if they keep throwing that heavy, Rogers is the best non-Hilton WR to have for Indy.
I’m just very skeptical this maintains, but Rogers over Grant for me if I think it’s Luck for 50+ throws every week.
-- Julian Edelman (7-57-0/9) walked back in and didn’t miss a beat, as expected. He’ll be 6-7+ catches every week. He’s a written in stone WR2 with WR1 aspirations in PPR.
-- Josh Gordon (2-50-1/4) salvaged a disaster with a late, long TD catch. It was an under thrown deep ball that Gordon adjusted through double coverage on and scored.
Gordon has been with the Pats for three weeks and played less than 20 snaps each game and the enthusiasm is fading. I don’t start him Week 6…but if I could acquire him cheaply and stick him on the bench to wait and see if this blossoms, I’d consider it.
I still think a little magic might be about to happen. Gordon played 26% of the snaps and saw 4 targets…kinda like last week. In a full game, he’d see 8-10+ targets at that pace. Question is…will he ever play as a full starter? I’m not sure…it could be weeks away.
Chris Hogan (3-34-0/4) is suffering in the meantime. He’s going from sneaky WR2 candidate for TD hopes…to getting dropped in some redraft leagues. I don’t want him. At best, a split with Gordon. At worst, he’s going to be the one playing 25% of the snaps and watching Gordon soon…maybe.
-- I thought we’d see a little more Robert Turbin (0-0-0/1) given his return from suspension and the Colts’ desperation, but we got near nothing. Nyheim Hines (15-45-0, 7-45-0/9) keeps getting work and keeps doing little besides ‘existing’. Marlon Mack (DNP) can seize this backfield if he could ever get onto the field.
I don’t know how great Mack will be…I just feel like he’s going to get a lot of touches by default when he’s ready. The reason people love Sony Michel is why to love Marlon Mack but they’re not considered in the same stratosphere for FF.
-- OK, the Colts-DST…
You may have noticed that for the ROS, on our projections…they’re the #3 highest projected DST. Why? It’s a combo of emerging young, try-hard defense with a KILLER schedule.
Allow me to list the QBs they face ahead starting with Week 6 to Week 16: Darnold, Allen, Carr, BYE, Bortles, Mariota, Tannehill, Bortles, Watson, Dak, Eli. Are you scared of any of these QBs? Dak and Watson are good, but they’re also getting sacked at high rates…and Indy has been the #2 defense in sacks to-date.
This is my latest salvation defense for 2018. As long as Darrius Leonard, CB Kenny Moore are back next week…it’s game on vs. Darnold.
I think everyone/the masses are going to be on to this next waivers period…partly because they’ll see Darnold/Allen on the schedule the next two weeks. Partly because we’ve been talking about it for 2-3 weeks now. Maybe the name and the recent 38 points allowed keeps them flying below the radar one more week? We’ll see.
Snap Counts of Interest:
63 = Hogan
48 = Edelman
42 = Dorsett
18 = Gordon
08 = Patterson
42 = White
27 = Michel
68 = Grant
64 = Pascal
64 = Rogers
35 = Marcus Johnson
56 = Hines
18 = Wilkins
09 = Turbin