No big discussion about the rest of 2017 for these two teams. They’re both well out of the playoff picture. Houston lost their franchise QB weeks ago and have been bailing water since. The 49ers found their franchise QB, who was hiding in New England, and have now won two in a row under (still trademarked because I typed ‘trademarked’) Jimmy Franchise.
I don’t think you care about how the 49ers won this game, you just want to get into the Garoppolo report…so let’s not waste any time.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- There were moments in this game where Jimmy Garoppolo (20-33 for 334 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) was breathtaking to watch…from a QB ‘purist’ standpoint.
It was another game where Garoppolo was constantly moving the team into scoring position but still not punching in TDs as often. It was another game where the team was energized by his mere presence, and then for sure energized by his play…and another game they won with JG at the helm. Now, 2-0 with Jimmy G. as the starter.
Let’s talk about why he was fantastic, and why that doesn’t really matter as much as I want it to for the next two fantasy weeks:
Two things to know about Garoppolo from this game, and it’s ‘him’ in reality but was on full display in this game…
1: Garoppolo’s time from wind-up to throw may actually be equivalent to the blink of an eye. I’m not sure anyone flicks the ball faster on a frozen rope than Garoppolo…like faster than Aaron Rodgers type of ‘pow’.
Garoppolo, unlike most all QBs, doesn’t need to step into his throws. His ‘superpower’ is his amazing stunning ability to torque his body when he throws flat-footed and just zip passes with little effort, which cuts down on defenders ability to react to a pending throw. There is no ‘pending’ throw…it’s just in his hands one blink, the next it’s in the receiver’s hands. It’s uncanny…and unrivaled.
2: Garoppolo is tough. ‘Unflappable’ is an understatement when talking about him in the pocket. Basically, the 49ers cannot block anybody. There were a number of occasions in this game where Garoppolo had Jadeveon Clowney bearing down on him and JG just holds the ball to the last second and does that time-space continuum pass-in-a-flash and then tries to roll with the hit he’s about to take. How he completed some of the passes he did under the pressure was unreal…it’s one thing to be able to just get rid of the ball under unblocked pressure coming at him, but to flick a pass 20+ yard downfield in a tight window up the middle and knowing you’re about to get nailed – otherworldly.
You just don’t see this type of throwing ability and pocket patience from a quarterback. You see guys that run figure-eights away from pressure. You see plenty that fold under pressure…but this, what Garoppolo does…surreal.
Now the downside (for FF 2017)…
Garoppolo is under pressure way too much. Guy are coming through nearly clean and forcing Garoppolo’s hand. Early on in this game, JG almost threw 2-3 picks because he was trying to thread needles, under duress, trying to anticipate. Once JFranchise got the rhythm of the pressure down, he started working it for big chunk plays the last 35 minutes of the game.
The heavy pass rush pressure is limiting his pure FF-scoring upside. But as big an issue…he has ‘limited’ WR talent to work with and he has had limited time with them. Garoppolo made some remarkable throws in this game and the receivers couldn’t snatch them under duress…or they turned one way when JG threw the other. That stuff takes time. When he gets that down he’s going to be an MVP level QB. Right now, it’s really good but short of great because of all the headwind factors.
He’ll be solid vs. Tennessee Week 15. No-go Week 16 vs. Jacksonville…he might even sit versus the Jags. If I were the 49ers GM, I’d say, “We’ve seen enough’. We need to see more C.J. Beathard the last 2 weeks.”
Long-term…Garoppolo is going to be ‘special’ considering he has a pro-offense coach, who I’m still not 100% sold on – because good Lord the penalties and sloppiness of this 49ers team is unrivaled. Kyle Shanahan can call all the brilliant plays he wants but he has to have guys to execute them properly. But Shanahan does typically produce offensive numbers…so that’s good/not a hindrance for JG.
-- On to JG’s weapons of choice…
Marquise Goodwin (6-106-0/12) was clearly who Garoppolo was choosing to work. This wasn’t like the Texans – all passes to Hopkins no matter what. This was Garoppolo surveying and working Goodwin because he could. If Goodwin were a better receiver he’d have had 2-3 more catches additional in this game.
Goodwin is good…fast, but not a ‘real’ WR yet. He looks unsure of his routes and unsure on his catches, and unsure how to plant and go after the catch. He looks like 3-4-5-8 years ago Ted Ginn. Speed to burn…but an adventure with the ball headed his way.
So, what happened to Trent Taylor-Edelman (2-11-0/3)? Honestly, I have no idea. Taylor was open plenty of times. Garoppolo sensed or saw something with Goodwin only, apparently. I’m haunted by a play where Garoppolo rolled right and Taylor made a couple of cuts and then went away/to the left and was forgotten. He was 10-15+ yards running away from the nearest human. Garoppolo I was sure was going to see it…he didn’t. An easy 40+ yard TD play missed.
The Taylor-Edelman story still lives on…just took a bad hit here and the sleeper hopes for using him drop to ‘deep sleeper’ hopes.
George Kittle (2-10-0/2)? Garoppolo hasn’t seemed all that interest in his first two weeks. We’ll see if it changes ahead.
-- T.J. Yates (14-26 for 175 yards, 2 TD/0 INT) filled in nicely…considering it was the 49ers, and he worked from behind with SF in a prevent-ish defense mode with a lead.
Yates is probably better than Tom Savage at this stage of their careers. Yates gets rid of the ball faster and a has some mobility, where Savage has none. With this bad Houston O-Line…Yates is the better play for Houston.
-- Stephen Anderson (2-16-0/6) had no followthrough on his career game last week. My great fear on Anderson – he’s been ‘meh’ since college, despite great opportunities to prove himself otherwise.
I thought he might be a plausible fringe TE1 in desperate times…but I’m rescinding that thought.
-- Brian Cushing (5 tackles, 0.5 sacks) was back in this game…and I was counting on that for my 49ers + the points bet. Cushing, to me, is a gift to the opposing teams run game. The 49ers did run for 102 yards.
I was hoping they would sit my favorite IDP stash LB Dylan Cole (1 tackle), and they did for the most part…and then Cole got hit weird and was out of the game, again. On Garoppolo’s INT…it was Cole that changed his coverage and almost grabbed it creating a diversion for another defender to clean up the pick.
There’s just something about Cole. Someday he’ll be ‘a thing’ if he can stay healthy.
Snap Counts of Interest…
48 = Stephen Anderson
13 = MyCole Pruitt
39 = Cushing
07 = Dylan Cole
61 = Celek
20 = Kittle
52 = Goodwin
31 = Taylor
31 = Bourne
29 = Murphy