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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Even though these two teams are on a BYE this week, I wanted to re-watch this with some priority to observe Courtland Sutton and see why he was such a yawn in his big debut with Demaryius Thomas on the team. That will be the first note in the player section, but first an overview of the game itself…
Denver is not very good because Case Keenum isn’t very good, but Houston isn’t that good either…so, of course, this was a back and forth game with low scoring and Denver having a shot to win it at the buzzer with a field goal – and they missed it.
Houston is winners of six in a row -- and have to be the worst team to ever win 6 in a row in our lifetimes. They’re lucky they did not go 2-4 during the stretch. This is a 3-6 team masquerading as a 6-3 team. We still see 8-9 wins to the finish but there is a path to 10 wins now that they’ve hit this lucky 6-game streak. If they weren’t lucky enough, the Texans go to Washington Week 11 (after their Week 10 BYE) and face a good Redskins team that has been brought low by devastating O-Line injury this past week.
Denver is ‘opposite-world’ Houston…Denver is probably the better all-around team, but poorly coached, and unlucky in schedule and losing games (like this) they could’ve won. The Broncos are 3-6 and on the verge of playoff extinction going at LAC and then hosting PIT their next two games. The countdown to a new head coach is about three weeks away.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I didn’t like what I saw on this Courtland Sutton (3-57-0/5) debut with no-DT. If you wondered why I wasn’t as super-hyped (more cautious) as you’d thought I’d be for Sutton off the DT trade news…this game is a shining example.
It’s a good thing for Sutton to have no more Demaryius in his life but he still has Case Keenum and Vance Joseph.
Keenum isn’t looking at Sutton as ‘his guy’, per se. He does near the end zone, and that’s good, but Sutton is only a 5-7 target a game look for Keenum right now. Sutton is open most plays if they focused on him, but they don’t. Keenum too many times makes his mind up before the play…and it’s not to force it to Sutton.
Then there is the Vance Joseph issue… Sutton is being sent deep almost every pass play. I feel like I’m watching Brandin Cooks in New Orleans…or New England…or Los Angeles. Sutton races deep, takes a defender with him and it clears out space for whatever inferior thing Denver wants to do. I believe Sutton should be used the way Houston does with DeAndre Hopkins (every throw, every time)…as a lead punch weapon. Denver sees Sutton as a great decoy to get Jeff Heuerman the ball a lot. It’s not changing with Vance Joseph…and probably not until 2019, and we still may have the Keenum issue in 2019.
Sutton is a superstar in waiting…me might be waiting until 2020. John Elway butchers QB decisions worse than Jon Gruden, so we might have to wait even longer.
Sutton is a WR2 with too many WR3 events and WR1 moments when he connects for a TD. He had a sweet TD catch in this game but got the ball knocked loose as he crash landed into the end zone. Good luck trying to figure out which weeks he gets a TD for your fantasy lineup.
-- Speaking of Jeff Heuerman (10-83-1/11)…you can’t win football games going to Jeff Heuerman 11 times in a game, and Courtland Sutton 5 times. Hell, Heuerman caught 10 of the 11 targets…and Denver scored all of 16 points.
On one play in this game, in the red zone, Keenum had 1-on-1 coverage on Sutton to the left and instead predetermined to throw to Heuerman despite him being surrounded by three bodies. It was a bang-bang throw-catch that was an ill-advised, impossible throw that landed. That’s you Keenum problem.
Do we have a Heuerman opportunity? Kinda…in a TE2 sort of way.
Heuerman is the answer to the question – what if Kyle Rudolph was slower and less exciting for fantasy?
Heuerman had a game with zero targets in Week 7…ignore that game and his targets in a game since Week 4: 7-4-6-5-11 (6.6 per game). Not bad. He has low yardage with it (because he’s a non-athlete), but a TD in each of his last two games. It’s something…but I’d be very wary.
-- Speaking of stiff TEs… Jordan Thomas (1-7-1/1) has 3 TDs in his last two games.
No, there’s nothing here.
-- Lamar Miller (12-21-0) did his Lamar Miller thing…just when you think he’s hot, he sucks and Alfred Blue (15-39-0) out carries him. Miller stinks but always gets preferential treatment. Blue is never given a real chance. D’Onta Foreman will never matter in 2018.
-- Demaryius Thomas (3-61-0/3) Texans’ debut was as much a yawn as his Denver work. He’s a WR2.5 in Houston with too many WR3 weeks, like in Denver the past 2 seasons.
-- The signs of Phillip Lindsay (17-60-0, 2-24-0/3) wearing down + teams starting to play for him differently is happening. A little less electricity of late, a lot of tackled quickly for short gains. He has no business as a main carry guy. He should be Denver’s Alvin Kamara but Vance Joseph…well, you know.
Lindsay is a fantastic receiver out of the backfield…which means he’s gotten 3 or less targets in all but one game this season. Vance Joseph, ladies and gentleman.
-- Denver rookie WR DaeSean Hamilton (DNP) will be starting Week 11, assuming he’s healthy. He’s fantastic…but comes with all the Keenum-Joseph issues and has worked little with the 1st-team, so he’s a 2019-2020 story…hopefully.
-- You could do worse than the Texans-DST ahead… Broken O-Line Washington, Mariota, Browns, Colts, Jets the next five weeks. It’s serviceable Weeks 11-12, maybe. This is becoming one of my least favorite DSTs to the finish.
Denver-DST? Much better, and a nicer FF playoff schedule…but they will probably be 3-9/4-10 by the time they get to SF-CLE-OAK stretch Weeks 14-16. Too risky that they are quitting – when they did last year they got throttled.
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
It’s hard to look too far ahead on Denver because I suspect a head coaching change either after Week 12 or Week 14. The schedule is favorable for offense…but it’s still ‘Case Keenum’…and ‘Vance Joseph’.
Houston is more interesting because they will be in the thick of the playoff hunt and their schedule is good not great…a lean to ‘OK’ over ‘good’. No killer defenses to face but mostly tougher ones/no cupcakes.
It’s Houston…play DeAndre Hopkins. Maybe Keke Coutee gets the targets again when he returns. Lamar Miller sucks but always gets the lead role. Deshaun Watson is more in trouble than thriving with this schedule ahead. Not a massive problem but not ‘favorable’ matchups.
Snap Counts of Interest:
38 = Lindsay
26 = Booker
40 = Miller
22 = Blue
52 = Todd Davis
48 = Josey Jewell (doesn’t look good still)