2018 Week 1 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Jags v. Giants
Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from the first NFL preseason game – the HOF game (DEN v. ATL). Weeks away from real training camp. Leading up to that time, I wanted to go back through Week 1 of 2018…just for fun and any learning/takeaways that could be had…and something to get the juices flowing to get ready for the 2019 football season.
I’m going to republish a Week 1 game every day the next 2+ weeks, publishing them as-is in the order I did them – starting with the TNF kickoff of Bears v. Packers. No extra/new commentary. Just the content/recap of things that were accessible only for In-Season subscribers Week 1 (and every week) last season.
Access to all our game recaps (and everything else we do) in-season are available via our In-Season subscription. You can sign up for that now and be ready for September 2019 new material and have access to all the private content from 2018 – BUT also note there are Combo packages/deals to get your Draft Guide and In-Season (and Dynasty Stash) all in one checkout right now as well.
Otherwise, let’s walk down memory lane to see what was important or telling or an entertaining reminder in Week 1 of 2018…
On the road, losing their entire offense (Fournette) early, the Jaguars still put the Giants to sleep here quite easily. It wasn’t as close as the 20-15 score would indicate.
The Giants have an Eli Manning problem…and the only person who realized it, fully, got fired for noticing it and trying to solve it (Ben McAdoo). If Eli has any pass rush pressure at all you might as well forget it. There was no way he was going to beat Jacksonville. They face high pass rush pressure Dallas Week 2.
Eli wobbled between ‘scared’ and getting baited by the Jalen Ramsey v. OBJ hysteria and thus tried to toss passes (mostly short, cheap dump passes) to Beckham all game. It looked good for OBJ’s fantasy line but it didn’t help the offense/Giants to win this game.
The Giants have a lot of problems going forward, and Eli is chief among them. You can’t win in 2018 with Eli unless he has no pass rush pressure, which is good news for the Eagles and Redskins to try to win the NFC East. The loser of Dallas-NYG Week 2 is pretty much cooked for 2018. I like Dallas in that game because of the pressure they can/will bring.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- OK, Saquon Barkley (18-106-1, 2-22-0/6)…
I’m only going to mention this about a hundred more times this year – ‘not a generational talent’. He isn’t. He’s very good. If he has a hole…he’s gone. If he doesn’t, get the tap shoes on and prepare for negative runs. It was problem at Penn State…and it’s a problem in the pros. You could see it in the preseason and in game one.
It doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a fantasy RB1. Hell, if Melvin Gordon can be an RB1…then Barkley sure a ‘S’ can. They’ll be shoved every touch humanly possible.
Why am I picking this fight? It’s an important lesson. Remember when David Johnson hit the NFL? No talk of a generational talent. No one gave him the time of day – he was scouted as ‘a compliment to and not as good as Andre Ellington’. Even when DJ started exploding in the preseason and early regular season his rookie year…crickets. When he became the best RB in the NFL in 2016, people predicted he would be a disappointment in 2017. Why? He wasn’t supposed to be this good. Based on what? Nothing.
The NFL analysts put less time into football study than you or I do. Their big preparation is “I talked to XYZ coach, and he told me…bleh.” They make up their scouting mind based on emotions and secondhand smoke on the players coming out of college…they talked (listened to) Mike Mayock or Mel Kiper, and they heard X about the player – so, now ‘X’ it is. And Mayock and Kiper, et al, are randomly right and have bias towards big conferences. Analysts and writers listen to them and run with it (for lack of anything else better to go on). NFL coaches run with it, as do GMs. The massive game of universal ‘telephone’ gets passed on to all football people (who all agree they have no reason or study why to dispute) and then it trickles down to the masses, who eat up whatever football people saying things on football TV pass along.
How is it in the United States of America that every man, woman, and child believe Saquon Barkley is a ‘generational talent’? Why can’t one national football person dissent or hesitate on this? Because they have no real idea and it’s safer to go with the flow – all be right or wrong together and you keep cashing checks. Make bombastic predictions or raise a hand -- and you’ll be remembered as the guy who loved the Saints-DST Week 1 and they’ll ignore your genius Tyreek Hill/Patrick Mahomes plan.
That’s how the system works. That’s how Saquon is a ‘generational talent’. To put whip cream on all this, the TV game announcers dutifully act like they’re having an orgasm when Barkley touches the ball and then the highlight teleprompter readers have an orgasm over Barkley’s generational long TD run in this game – and the psychological warfare is seared into your soul.
I say otherwise about Barkley, and you think I’m not nuts. The one guys who studies it more than all of them…opinion discounted. https://youtu.be/FYgprocMOcg
The real reason to play with this ‘generational’ notion…how do we all properly evaluate Barkley? Remember, THEY are all told he’s a generational talent. They see a 15 out of 10. I see an 8-9 out of 10 for fantasy. I like 8s and 9s. I like them better if people will trade me several 8s and 9s to get my ‘generational talent’ 8-9. You can’t trade Leonard Fournette for anywhere near what he’s worth. David Johnson is now worth less than Saquon Barkley today, to the masses. Jordan Howard? Ha! He isn’t even in the RB1 discussion despite the fact he’s a better pure interior-runner running back than all of them.
Barkley is an RB1 for fantasy, but he’s going to be exposed for being ‘very good’ not ‘generational’ and his value will come down some. Today’s bet play on Barkley – trade him for a triple-play of talent while the hysteria is high…like a David Johnson + a Jordan Howard/Davante Adams underappreciated stud + a nice prospect/young player that THEY dismiss like Evan Engram. Kick back some nonsense RB3/WR3 of the moment player as to not reveal you’re doing a 3-for-1.
You say, “I tried and the person won’t do it!” First, don’t go blaring your plans around like a bull in a china shop…ease your way into discussions. Secondly, everyone balks at everything. They think they’re being clever. A guy’s trying to acquire James Conner from me, desperately, but then tries to be slick and go (last second) “I’m not paying ___ price because THEY say Le’Veon will be back in a week or two.” Good, you and them and Le’Veon can go have a party while I start Conner again this week and you start Austin Ekeler.
Go for a ‘generational trade’ or walkaway and keep Barkley. He won’t hurt you. I’m just saying if you can get 2-3x the value, do it. The moment is hot right now.
-- T.J. Yeldon (14-51-0, 3-18-1/7) continues to be the boring handcuff for Leonard Fournette. No sign of the Jags using Corey Grant (1-3-0) at all…despite claiming it was important to get him the ball more this summer (the sure kiss of death).
-- This was why I discussed hesitation with Keelan Cole (3-54-0/4) in his new #1 role on the Sunday Q&A…4 whole targets after seeing the very first target of the game.
Cole made a helluva catch on that first throw and looked so much like Antonio Brown all game it was frightening/exciting, but we still have the issue that Blake Bortles plays quarterback in fear/with his head up his arse.
Cole will be the guy to have but more in a WR2.5 way this year than anything else, I fear. Bortles just does not throw for enough TDs for Cole to fully breakout for FF. Bortles is costing Cole millions of dollars. I’m looking forward to cheap free agent deal Keelan Cole for the newest member of the Patriots in a few years.
-- We don’t have an Evan Engram (2-18-0/5) problem…but we might have an Eli Manning problem. Actually, Eli was smartly looking for Engram downfield – he had the mismatches, he just couldn’t connect, and it wasn’t all Eli’s fault.
Engram caught a 34-yard pass in this game that called back. He was open for a 35-yard grab that he got called for the cheapest P.I. in Week 1. Later, he was held on a 30+ yard pass that he broke wide open on and may have been a 50+ yard score had he not been grabbed mid-route (P.I. was called). He also dropped a pass that had 10-15+ yards written all over it.
This 18-yard effort you’re crying/worried about had 100+ yards in sight. It just didn’t happen. Trey Burton worry about. Jimmy Graham worry about. Don’t worry about Engram.
-- Odell Beckham (11-111-0/15) getting a ton of little targets shows me he’s the Julio Jones of the Giants with pat Shurmur. With all the talented options they have, Eli is too scared to work much of anything else – so, when in trouble, he looks for OBJ…open or not. Same thing Matt Ryan does. OBJ is a top WR1 again in 2018 because he has sway over limited Eli.
Sterling Shepard (5-48-0/7) is the odd man out and Engram has a huge upside capped because of it.
I don’t know what’s going to happen when the Giants start 1-8/0-9…and, yes, that’s likely happening – because of the schedule.
-- Giants free agent grab DE/OLB Kareem Martin (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks) played 97% of the snaps on defense and wasn’t bad here. We’ll see if anything changes when Oliver Vernon returns.
Snap Counts of Interest:
The third most snaps on NYG, after Eli and OBJ…Evan Engram working 90% of the snaps.
47 = K Cole
43 = Moncrief
31 = Westbrook
13 = Chark
41 = C Barwin
33 = B.J. Goodson
30 = Ray-Ray Armstrong
24 = Lorenzo Carter
17 = Ronnie Harrison
13 = Taven Bryan
11 = Leon Jacobs
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