Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. He will be switching up the format a little starting in Week 4. Instead of a full report on every game he will be focusing on one or two things from each game that might be flying under the radar.
2020 Week 6 Review: Searching for Hidden Gems
Bears @ Panthers:
-There wasn't a whole lot to look for in this game, but I decided to take a look at Trenton Cannon. He only gained 12 yards on 3 whole carries, but he's next in line if Mike Davis goes down since Bonnafon was injured, at least until McCaffrey returns. Cannon looked pretty fast in the short glimpse we got of him, but he's small and probably never going to be a main-carry guy. If he somehow fell into a bunch of carries he'd likely do fine, but he's nothing special to sit on.
Bengals @ Colts:
-Well Marcus Johnson popped up again with 108 yards on 5 catches and 8 targets. I'll give him this, he's fast. Most of his yards came from one play where he beat Vonn Bell 1-on-1. Bet nobody tries to cover him with a safety again. Johnson isn't a star, but he is useful. He's certainly better than Zach Pascal and he might even be better than the shell of TY Hilton although that may say more about the state of Hilton than anything. Johnson is probably the best target Rivers has at the moment with Pittman out, so I can see this working for fantasy for the time being. I'd take Johnson over Travis Fulgham, and Fulgham is working pretty decently as the de facto #1 receiver in Philly.
Lions @ Jaguars:
-Talk about a dearth of interesting options to look at. I had to settle on Jaguars safety Josh Jones, and boy was I disappointed. He's averaging 8 tackles a game because players are constantly getting through the first level of the Jacksonville defense, but I can assure you it's nothing Jones is doing on his own. He's got good athleticism, but he's also incredibly passive and doesn't seem to know where to go. He was constantly out of position in this game, and Swift's big day had a lot to do with that. Jones is fine if you need tackles in IDP leagues because the rest of the defense can't stop anyone, but I wouldn't want Jones on my real NFL team.
Falcons @ Vikings:
-For this game I watched Minnesota DE Ifeadi Odenigbo. Odenigbo finished this game with 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 3 QB hits, and is averaging nearly 2 QB hits a game. With those kinds of numbers he's bound to start getting some sacks, and sure enough he's got 2.5 in his last 2 games. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. This guy isn't a fluke like Troy Reeder was for the Rams a few weeks ago. One of his sacks he muscled his way through a double team, and the other he pushed the guard straight back into Ryan who stepped up into his arms. Now he doesn't look like the fastest, most athletic pass rusher I've ever seen, but he is quite powerful and can be a handful for linemen to block. Odenigbo is likely a big part of the reason the Vikings felt they could move on so quickly from Ngakoue. If he's on waivers in your IDP league I would recommend picking him up. This guy could possibly reach 10 sacks and upwards of 50 tackles on the season.
Washington @ Giants:
-One of RC's longtime favorites Cole Holcomb finally got a little playing time, and he looked pretty decent. I was hoping for more, but it was a solid game for Holcomb. You can tell he's a smooth athlete and his vision was very good. He had good eye discipline to sniff out a couple screens and a reverse. He showed some toughness fighting through blocks. And he was able to snake through traffic to make some good tackles. The only thing more you could ask for was a little more aggressiveness, but I'm sure that will come with growing confidence as he gets more playing time. This is absolutely an upgrade for the Washington second level, and they really should turn to Holcomb full-time. If you've got space in your IDP leagues adding Holcomb is a sneaky high-upside play.
Ravens @ Eagles:
-Another game where there was no obvious under the radar player to look at. Well, for FFM'ers anyways. We are all familiar with Devin Duvernay even if the mainstream media isn't. I already know Duvernay is very good, but without any other options I figured I'd see if there was anything new to glean here. I didn't see anything new, but it's obvious how good Duvernay could be. He's incredibly fast, but also quite tough for his size. Unfortunately for Duvernay he's stuck on the Ravens, and as I warned even last year Lamar Jackson is likely going to hold this passing game back. He's obviously been successful, but I'm afraid this year is proof positive that his long term outlook isn't the highest, at least as far as the passing game goes. He just isn't the same grade of passer as so many other young QB's coming into the league, and that puts a cap on his receivers no matter how good they are. I love Duvernay as much as anyone, but at least for the moment I can't get on board with him too much in dynasty leagues.
Browns @ Steelers:
-Who in the world is Robert Spillane and where did he come from? I had to go research the guy because I've never heard of him before, but wow what a great first impression. I've looked at multiple young linebackers this year that either got drafted low or went undrafted, and I have to say Spillane is one of the very few that has looked impressive. This guy was playing like his life was on the line, zooming around and absolutely thumping ball-carriers. Many people were saying the Steelers were in trouble at inside linebacker after losing Bush for the year, but if Spillane can keep playing like he did in his debut I'm not sure it's that big of a drop-off. I am totally impressed with what I saw here.
Texans @ Titans:
-Anthony Firkser is the obvious choice to look at from this game. Boy, Jonnu wishes he would get targeted like this. Firkser is fine and will work in a pinch, but he really did nothing crazy here. He was just a guy that was left open because there are other bigger threats to worry about. It honestly has more to do with how bad the Houston linebackers are than how good Firkser is. If you're absolutely dying for TE's then Firkser is a fine add as long as Jonnu is out. Otherwise he's just ok.
Broncos @ Patriots:
-This game had my favorite player of the week. FFM darling Albert Okwuegbunam, or Albert O as RC likes to call him, looked absolutely fantastic with his first real targets. Drew Lock was going to Albert early and often, and these were not dink and dunk passes. Oh no. Lock was shooting for him deep and in the endzone time after time. This is the kind of targeting you give to a star player. Denver knows what they have here. Unfortunately for Albert the Broncos also have Noah Fant, a guy RC and I think is a top 3 talent at TE. If Fant is back in the lineup this week it probably kills off any Albert O uprising for the moment, but it's also possible that Denver could start giving both guys time in a 2-TE offense like what the Patriots ran years ago with Gronkowski and Hernandez. With Sutton done for the year their WR's kind of suck. Patrick is ok, but he's not a true #1 and Jeudy is a JAG (just another guy). It would make sense, but who knows if the coaches would ever think to try something like that. Probably not. Still, I'd be watching for any opportunity because he could pop up at any time. Albert is as good as we thought. Maybe better.
Jets @ Dolphins:
-This was another very interesting watch because I got to take another look at Ty Johnson. Remember him? At one time last year everyone was selling their souls to grab him off waivers when it looked like he might start for the Lions. Seems like a million years ago now and everyone has forgotten now that he's not a rookie. Well I haven't forgotten, and if he's not starting for the Jets in a few weeks then Adam Gase needs to be forcibly removed from ever coaching in the NFL again because you would have to be legally blind to not see that Johnson is easily the best, most dynamic option the Jets have at RB. It's a crime that old-ass Frank Gore is your starting RB in 2020, but it can be rectified by replacing him with Johnson. Of course the Jets won't do that simply out of respect for the future Hall-of Famer, but they should. Johnson was electric ripping off a long run on his 2nd carry, and how did the Jets reward him? By immediately putting godawful La'Mical Perine back in the game, probably because they didn't want Johnson showing up their prized rookie. This is something to watch, but I wouldn't hold your breath. Gase isn't the worst head coach in the league for nothing. Be ready to pounce if the opportunity shows itself though.
Packers @ Buccaneers:
-Rookie RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn finally got a few touches late in this game. He is a million miles away from any kind of significant touches, but he looked ok fine here. He followed his blocks, ran with some speed and a little toughness. It was only a few carries but I didn't see any wow moments. He would do fine like most guys if given a heavy workload, but I wouldn't go chasing him in dynasty.
Rams @ 49'ers:
-Another rookie JaMycal Hasty saw some action for the 49'ers late in the game after Mostery got hurt and didn't look half bad. McKinnon looks to be the obvious lead back for the moment, but I could see Hasty getting some decent touches too. He looked pretty quick, and I have no doubts he would produce in this system if given the chance. Just about any RB can pile up numbers under Shanahan. Definitely something to watch, but Hasty is likely to be in some kind of split no matter how long he's with San Fran.
Chiefs @ Bills:
-Again there were no real low profile players to check out here, but I figured I'd watch Demarcus Robinson and see how he was being used in the absence of Sammy Watkins. Robinson seems to have filled that role as the short and intermediate chain-mover. He's going to pop with a big game here soon though, so if you've got him I would watch for a good matchup. Actually this week against the Broncos is a great time as they have a good run defense to slow Edwards-Helaire and will be focused on trying to stop Tyreek.
Cardinals @ Cowboys:
-I had never heard of Rico Dowdle so when I saw he took 3 carries for the Cowboys I had to take a look. There's nothing to see with Dowdle. He tries hard, but he really has no business being on a 53 man roster. There are so many other interesting backs the Cowboys could roster. He's no threat to Pollard as the #2 back behind Zeke.