This game was tied 10-10 at the half and then Tennessee just kinda grinded…nay…sauntered their way to a 2nd-half victory 24-13. Houston was not very good…and blowing chances all over the place. Tennessee just kinda muddling through and in the end, they woke up with a victory.
The game was a lot closer than the score because sitting 17-13 Titans, with time winding down, Houston stacked the box to stop the obvious run up the middle to run the clock/exhaust timeouts, and Derrick Henry took a carry up that middle, ran into the line, pulled backwards and redirected outside and the next thing you know -- he split the defenders and was off for a long run TD to ice the game. Prior to that the Texans were playing even/better than Houston…but both were shaky.
Tennessee ‘lucked’ their way to another win. They’re now 8-4. They’re on a roll of beating more of the bottom feeder teams…and not looking all that good doing so (IND-CLE-BAL-CIN-IND-HOU last 6 wins). I have a feeling the Titans are going to stumble to the finish and might stumble their way out of the playoffs if they’re not careful. They could go 3-1 the next 4 weeks and end up 11-5, a possible division title. I could also see 1-3 and them falling a game short of thw wild card at 9-7. The schedule ahead Is tricky. If they beat ARI this week…all is well for the playoffs probably. If they lose this week…the bottom might drop out.
The bottom is waiting to drop with this team…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- My main focus of this game…watching Stephen Anderson (5-79-1/12) and his 12 targets.
Note – Anderson had a shocking season-high 12 targets in this game but had two others negated on penalties. He actually had 14 looks his way in this game.
Anderson is out of the ‘Jordan Reed’ school of TE prospects…6’2”/230, 4.64 40-time, 6.95 three-cone, 38” vertical. Has the athleticism of a legit NFL ‘Jordan Reed’ TE, on paper.
Had the athleticism and was an NFL Combine invite…but went undrafted.
He played with Jared Goff for three seasons, and was an OK/solid performer…nothing amazing. He kinda stood out a little among college players but melted into the background against better competition/athletes.
He got a UDFA look from Houston, made the roster and worked his way into playing time as a rookie…a ‘Jordan Reed’ option for a team with bad QBs. Nothing exciting has really happened until this past week.
When I watch Anderson, I can tell he’s a little more athletic than most TEs…but there’s no ‘wow’ there. By contrast…I see Trey Burton – and I’m like ‘wow’ instantly. Something different. An explosion, a confident offensive weapon. Erik Swoope, Rico Gather, Ross Travis…I see a little pizzazz with those lesser-known TE prospects. Anderson is just kinda there…useful, solid but lacking a ‘wow’ factor at this stage for me.
I watched all of Anderson’s targets in this game. Not bad. Ran the same two routes like 90% of the time. It was open, so Tom Savage worked it.
I’m not overly excited with Anderson, but if you consider Bruce Ellington is gone for the year, as is C.J. Fiedorowicz…someone has to get targets, especially if Will Fuller is out again. Week 14 might be nice. Once Will Fuller is back it may take Anderson down another notch. I may change my opinion as he gets more work/tape, but right now I’m kinda ‘meh’…this can work because of the circumstances but I’m not thrilled about it…but it works a little for now.
-- The player the Texans really seemed to be trying to work in the passing game – Andre Ellington (5-56-0/6). Several interesting routes run by him and throws to him.
I could see him having a few games like this when Houston is forced to throw a bunch (49 passes for Savage in this game), but I could also see a lot of 2-3 catch, 20-30 games for Ellington here as well.
-- With all the WRs dying off, Braxton Miller (4-71-0/4) has yet another chance to take a step forward. He had a nice, long catch & run play in this game…but he was left wide-open; nothing special. I never see Miller making anything happen…he’s just ‘there’ playing football, not all that well. He’s never looked comfortable as a WR to me, ever.
-- Corey Davis (2-12-0/4) is a talented WR, but maybe people got way ahead of themselves here…as it is, most 1st-round draft pick WRs seem to stink and ones taken later or going as UDFAs are often much better right away and in the long run over the past 2-3-4 drafts. Something is way wrong with NFL WR scouting (they buy big school hype is a lot of the problem) because when you go back and look at the recent 1st-round WR names they barely matter in the NFL. Davis is falling into that zone as well.
We have a few games now with Davis healthy and Rishard Matthews out with injury, clearing the way for Davis to emerge…and Davis’s output gets worse every week. He’s not ready to be this team’s go-to WR. Plus, this passing game has become Jeff Fisher-esque.
-- I’ll say it again, just because…these Tennessee RBs are doing nothing.
DeMarco Murray looked a little flashier than he had all season for a half, then back to slug-life as the game wore on.
Derrick Henry…you don’t even realize he’s on this team for 3.5 quarters, and then a desperate defense all-out blitzes the run to try to stop the Titans running out the clock…and Henry bounces around and finds a long TD run to save his stats, but really he’s no part of the plan here.
-- I don’t know what to say about Marcus Mariota (15-23 for 150 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 2-23-1) but this is not the Mariota for 2015 or 2016. We won’t see that Mariota again until Mike Mularkey and staff are gone…and that won’t be until after 2018 considering the Titans have been winning (inexplicably).
I’ve given up the ghost on Mariota in redraft. I’ll sit on him in deeper roster dynasty because he’s like pizza…even when it’s bad, it’s edible. Mariota somehow finds a way to score fantasy points. He was underwhelming and passive in this game and scored a nice 18+ FF-points (20+ in 6pts per pass TD leagues).
Snap Counts of Interest…
68 = Anderson
17 = Fiedorowicz (hurt)
65 = L Miller
47 = A Ellington
09 = Blue
32 = Murray
32 = Henry
54 = Cunningham
00 = Dylan Cole