2018 Week 1 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Jets v. Lions
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…
This game… So many emotions watching it and re-watching it. Let me hit the easy victory lap and then I’m going after my main target…you know who.
First, I’m not sure what that was with the Detroit Lions. However, did I not make fun of them all preseason for how dead they were? I said Tampa Bay and Detroit looked terrible, body language-wise/team unity-wise…and one of those instincts was right Week 1. Holy hell was that bad.
The Jets put little pressure on Matt Stafford and he continually threw passes right into defender’s arms. It was frightening. The Lions have no running game. The also have no defensive front-seven. Their linebackers are abysmal. Jarrad Davis as a 1st-round pick shoved into the starting lineup and kept in there – don’t tell me about how Jatavis Brown and Paul Worrilow didn’t sustain because they are not good NFL linebackers (per whatever grading system the NFL decided to marry and never question). These are people (the NFL/the Lions) that play Jarrad Davis on purpose…and go get Devon Kennard on purpose to fortify things. The Lions deserve all these problems – they are home grown, organic problems they made for themselves. They’ve butchered the run game decisions for years. Eric Ebron is still costing them. It’s a full-scale mess.
How about those Belichick assistants? He really has them ready to go. The best thing that ever happened to the Colts was Josh McDaniels bowing out last second.
Worse than the Lions play on this night is the Sam Darnold media coverage. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous things over the years but this 2018 Darnold hysteria is literally the most over-the-top self-con job I’ve ever seen the football world pull on itself.
We’ll get into Darnold’s ‘awesome’ night in a second, but I watched two games Monday night. In one, everything Sam Darnold did was announced with shockwaves. After his opening pick six, he then completed a simple pass and it was met with a conquering hero’s welcome – what moxie after giving up a pick six to complete a (two-yard dump) pass! He’s amazing!! Just a few hours later, I watched Jared Goff play the quarterback position like a virtuoso…and not much of a peep about it (but HILARIOUS ‘Chucky’ references for Jon Gruden every 5 minutes, though).
I thought the MNF announcerette, who I think does a good job hyping the product/is talented at her craft, was going to burst into tears she was so overjoyed with every Darnold completion. Her broadcast partner, Mr. Milquetoast, steadily made excuses and/or sung (whispered) the praises of Darnold in his dull/monotone/empty ways right alongside her. The entire game was called through the eyes of the brilliance of Sam Darnold…all the while Quincy Enunwa is putting on a show and the Jets defense is crushing it – somehow it only happened because of Sam Darnold. That’s the world we live in. That’s why I LOVE the Dolphins this week over the Jets.
I was literally ill from listening to the coverage of this game. It made me pine for the next game, so that I could hear Jason Witten say lots of words that were meaningless and unoffending for four hours speaking directly to Chatbot5000. Also, Booger McFarland thinks Aaron Darnold is really good…somehow that hot take gets him a seat in a special scissor lift to watch Monday night games. If he were watching Darnold play, he probably would have leapt off the lift to his 50-yard line death because life couldn’t get any better than Darnold-mania.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What was I supposed to love about Sam Darnold’s (16-21 for 198 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) performance here? A bunch of quick hitters, or scramble mode throws, or planned dump passes – things you do when you’re trying to hide your QB. Things Blaine Gabbert will do Sunday. The game got out of hand and Darnold just rode the safe-pass wave.
His long TD pass to Robby Anderson (1-41-1/1) should have been picked off. I don’t know how that got through for a TD. The fact that Robby had 1 target in this game is all you need to know – Darnold is scared to throw downfield. He did once and got lucky.
Watching this game back, it was the same Darnold I’ve seen for 2-3 years – jumpy feet, like a cat on a hot tin roof. Totally uncomfortable. Totally frantic. Micromanaged safe passes and he’s fine, good when he scrambles (like a lot of bad QBs…Bortles, Winston, Locker, etc.). Just don’t make him be a real QB. He didn’t have to be in this game. When he does…it will all be exposed. I’m not wrong on this. I know without a doubt I’m right. I’ll just sit back on the opposite side of this trade, all alone, per usual…and then it will all fall my way (and I’ll never get the credit from the scouting community I deserve).
-- Darnold’s favorite receiver was without a doubt Quincy Enunwa (6-63-1/10) -- and for Quincy’s part, he put on a show. He worked like a Pro Bowl receiver. Great routes. Sure hands. Tough like a tight end. He was brilliant. Darnold gets all the credit and Enunwa overlooked.
Enunwa just moved into the WR1.5 conversation for 2018. I needed to see how it would work. It looked as good as I could have expected.
-- Because the Lions are a mess and are going to get berated in the press this week, ‘changes’ will be coming…you’d think. If not this week, then the next.
Kerryon Johnson (5-17-0) is going to be the starting RB for the rest of the season by mid-game or beginning Week 3. If you want a guy getting touches…pickup Kerryon now in redraft and wait a week. Once ‘it’ happens it will be too late.
I’m not a Kerryon fan, but I do like ‘touches’ for fantasy. Change is coming and Kerryon will be the easiest change they’ll make.
-- What Matt Stafford (27-46 for 286 yards, 1 TD/4 INTs) was doing in this game is inexplicable. The Jets put little pressure on and Stafford was throwing passes to the Jets like he thought they were his receivers. Shocking.
The Jets seemed to indicate, after the game, that they figured out the play calls – and that would make everything makes sense of what happened. It makes perfect sense. If so, Stafford will go back to normal and the Jets-DST is not to be fully trusted yet.
-- Stafford’s new favorite #2 WR might have changed to Kenny Golladay (7-114-0/12). It should. He’s as close to Calvin Johnson as Stafford will see again. Stafford using any WR consistently besides Golden Tate is always tricky to predict. However, ‘bad Stafford’ will go to Golladay for his ability to win 1-on-1s.
I’m a Golladay fan but leery of anything ‘Lions’.
-- Neal Sterling (3-27-0/3) was the tight end of note for the Jets. Looks like he’s the main guy for receiving, but I don’t think that means a lot with Darnold at the helm.
-- Isaiah Crowell (10-102-2) had a great stat line but it’s hard to say what’s happening here…the Lions were cratering, so I wouldn’t say Crowell is a star ahead because of it. Bilal Powell started. The Lions defense was so terrible that anyone could’ve run through them. I wouldn’t count on 100+ yards and multiple scores each week from Crowell.
Snap Counts of Note:
65 = Golladay
62 = Marvin Jones
57 = Tate
20 = Toilolo
19 = Valles
14 = Willson
14 = Roberts
41 = Riddick
16 = Kerryon
13 = LeGarrette
40 = Neal Sterling
40 = Enunwa
40 = Robby A
24 = Pryor
32 = Nathan Shepherd
01 = Tracy Walker
19 = Ezekiel Ansah
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