Week 6 Observations

Week 6 Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

I was staring down the abyss of 2-7 ATS in the early games when two miracles happened. First, the Titans tied the game when A.J. Brown simultaneously dragged a second foot into the end zone as his knee hit out of bounds (this after the Texans failed on a two-point conversion and the Titans drove down the field), and then the Titans won the coin toss and scored on their first drive in overtime. Second, the Eagles railed from a 24-6 deficit to cover against the Ravens in the closing minutes. While I lost both late games to go 4-7 before winning Sunday night on the 49ers to get to 5-7, the staring-out-a-barbed-wire-prison-cell-window-for-life feeling had been chased away for good. 

  • The 49ers have their offensive skill pieces healthy again, and it seems the hierarchy we expected is in place: George Kittle and Deebo Samuel at the top, with Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne contributing occasionally. Raheem Mostert ran hard, but injured his ankle, so Jerick McKinnon could get another shot. JaMycal Hasty looked more explosive and saw more carries, but McKinnon is probably still the guy if Mostert is out.
  • Cam Akers didn't see a single carry, while Darrell Henderson (14-88-0) saw most of the work and had a TD called back. Malcolm Brown must be the better pass protector because he was in on third downs.
  • The 49ers secondary looked like the worst in the history of the league last week, but stymied Jared Goff completely, despite no sacks.
  • The Jets are off to a tough start, but let's not underestimate Frank Gore's leadership.
  • During the game, the announcers lamented the Jets getting a personal foul penalty, saying, "You can't make that penalty if you're the Jets," and I thought why not? The Jets are one of the few teams that can make mistakes with no consequences whatsoever. There is literally nothing the Jets could do to make things worse this year, so why not experiment? Set the record with a 75-yard FG, send 11 on the blitz, surprise punt on second-down, aim for a defender and recover the deflection, have Joe Flacco play special teams.
  • I actually picked up La'Mical Perine in a couple leagues, but not only did Gore get most of the carries, but Ty Johnson looked better than Perine.
  • Myles Gaskin (18 carries, four catches) is quietly one of the league's true every-down workhorses.
  • Ronald Jones (23-113-2, 2-2-8) is good. He hits the hole quickly, makes sharp cuts and gets yards after contact. He'll never be Alvin Kamara as a receiver, but Jones is not a total zero there, and Tom Brady likes throwing to his backs.
  • Rob Gronkowski (8-5-78-1) looked like the guy I drafted in three leagues before dropping him in two of them. With O.J. Howard out for the year, I expect Gronk to stay involved.
  • Mike Evans (2-1-10) could be hurt by Gronkowski's red-zone involvement, but Chris Godwin (7-5-48) should get his if he shows he's completely over the hamstring injury. But Brady spreads the ball around more than Jameis Winston did.
  • Aaron Rodgers looked like trough Josh Rosen. Not only did Rodgers throw two bad picks – he had only six picks over his last 32 games – but he missed wide open receivers and even took a delay of game penalty. The Bucs are a good defense, but Rodgers played great in New Orleans a few weeks ago, so I have no idea what to make of his collapse. Davante Adams (10-6-61) looked healthy at least.
  • The two late game blowouts resulted in a larger dose of Red Zone host Scott Hanson than I could tolerate. Calm down, dude. Not everything merits gushing enthusiasm. It's like my eight-year old daughter had friends over, and we allowed them to have too much sugar. (Incidentally whenever I complain about Hanson, people in my timeline assure me Andrew Siciliano is far worse.)
  • D'Andre Swift (14-116-2, 4-3-7) finally had the game for which we had hoped when we drafted him, and fortunately for me, I was desperate enough to use him. I doubt Adrian Peterson is going away, but Kerryon Johnson is.
  • The Jaguars upset of the Colts and close loss to the Titans seem like ages ago.
  • The Bears defense is good, but good luck wading through their offensive skill players other than Allen Robinson, and even he's getting dragged down. David Montgomery has the curse of worthless volume.
  • It was insane the Steelers were only three-point home favorites over the Browns, but then again I thought it was insane the Vikings were only 3.5-point home favorites over the Falcons.
  • Chase Claypool getting rushing TDs isn't ideal for James Conner (20-101-1, 1-1-1. ) Juju Smith-Schuster went 4-2-6 without Diontae Johnson active. I realize it was a blowout, but JSS is obviously not a set-it-and-forget-it starter.
  • Baker Mayfield is bad, and he's dragging down Odell Beckham, who finally looks healthy. Granted, the Steelers are a tough defense, but as a Beckham investor, I wouldn't mind if they switched to Case Keenum.
  • Miles Sanders (9-118-0) hurt his knee and is slated to have an MRI. Same with Zach Ertz on his ankle. No one goes through high-profile skill players like the Eagles.
  • Carson Wentz (213 pass yards, two pass TDs, 5-49-1 on the ground) hasn't been smooth this year, but he keeps at it. The play call on the would-be-game-tying two-point conversion where Wentz and the back nearly collided before being tackled in the backfield wasn't optimal.
  • Travis Fulgham (10-6-75-1) would have had a monster day had he held onto the Hail Mary at the end of the first half. I don't see the decayed remains of DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery sidelining Fulgham any time soon, though Jalen Reagor will eventually be back too.
  • Lamar Jackson (9-108-1) had a big day on the ground and did enough (183 yards, one pass TD) through the air. Mark Ingram ankle injury could free up a nice tandem of Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, but Jackson's presence makes it more of a three-way committee nonetheless.
  • The Giants won the game, but chance for the cover was killed when Ron Rivera went for the two-point conversion on the would-be game-tying TD. Rivera also went for it on 4th-and-4 after a running-into-the-kicker penalty late in the first half even though the punter pinned the Giants near their own goal line. It paid off too as the Football Team scored a TD to bring it to 13-10. Say what you want about the guy, but Rivera is no coward, and both football decisions were sound.
  • J.D. McKissic (8-41-0, 6-6-43) looked shiftier and tougher to corral than Antonio Gibson (9-30-0, 5-4-25.)
  • Daniel Jones ran well (7-for-74), but attempted only 19 passes. The Giants offense is still one of the league's worst – one of their TDs was a fumble return.
  • The Giants started third-rounder Matt Peart (26 snaps) at left tackle over fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas (22 snaps). It was hard to tell if it made a difference, but obviously Thomas hasn't been what the team had hoped.
  • Devonta Freeman (18-61-0, 35 of 48 snaps) is the only game in town now among the running backs. He still looks spry under the circumstances.
  • I made the Patriots my Survivor pick as I knew the Broncos would have a tough time getting into the end zone against that defense.
  • Cam Newton salvaged his fantasy day with 76 rushing yards, a rushing TD and a catch for 16 yards. But he didn't look sharp, and eight of his 17 completions were to James White.
  • With Courtland Sutton out, Tim Patrick, and not Jerry Jeudy, is the Broncos' No. 1 WR.
  • I'm convinced the dead-cat bounce after a coach gets fired is a thing. It even got Julio Jones (10-8-137-2) into the end zone twice.
  • Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson had big fantasy days, but it was all compiled in garbage time.
  • Whenever a Mike Davis subs in for Christian McCaffrey and does well, the "running backs don't matter" zealots have their Twitter dunk-fest. But in Dalvin Cook's absence Alexander Mattison goes 10-26-0, 2-1-4 against a weak Falcons defense, and crickets.
  • A.J. Green (11-8-96) came back from the dead even with Tee Higgins (8-6-125) leading the way.
  • I'm not sure how the Bengals let the Philip Rivers-led Colts back from a 24-7 deficit. Rivers had one big play to Marcus Johnson (55 yards), but his next longest was 22 yards, and he was largely throwing to Johnson, Zach Pascal, Trey Burton and Nyheim Hines.
  • Jonathan Taylor (12-60-0) didn't see much work on the ground but contributed as a receiver (4-4-55.) The jury's out on whether he's more Adrian Peterson or Leonard Fournette.
  • Ryan Tannehill (four TDs, 364 yards) and Derrick Henry (22-212-2, 5-2-52) were monstrous. I avoided Henry this year because I thought he was an injury risk and lacked pass-catching upside, but through six weeks that was obviously a mistake.
  • Deshaun Watson's reaction to the overtime coin flip showed he justifiably does not have faith in his defense. Watson himself (335 yards, four TDs, no picks, 26 rushing yards) had a huge game, spreading the ball between Will Fuller (11-5-123-1), Darren Fells (7-6-85-1) and Brandin Cooks (9-9-68-1.)
  • David Johnson (19-57-1, 2-1-12) scored but you want a lot more in a game where his team scored 36 points. It's a little David Montgomery-esque. 
  • Via Titans Reddit (h/t @robpizzola) Mike Vrabel might have done something incredibly smart that ultimately made the difference in the game:

I've talked about this a lot on the SXM show and here, that 2nd-and-1 is much better than 1st-and-10, but so many coaches squander it by running up the middle to get the first down. It appears Vrabel took it a step further and gave up a first down on purpose to conserve clock. If the other team is running out the clock, a running play on 2nd-and-1 takes 40 seconds (or a timeout), and they still get to run three more plays on the new set of downs. Even worse, you could stuff them on 2nd-and-1, and they could pick it up on third down, giving them five more plays. By taking a penalty and gifting them the first down, you save the time and leave them with only three clock-churning plays. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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