What We Saw: Week 2 2018
Cardinals vs. Rams
For a quarterback that finished the game with 90 yards, Sam Bradford managed to “pad” his stats during garbage time. Bradford tallied 26 yards on the team’s final drive, an eight play effort that did not result in a single play longer than 9 yards, and that was a running play. Targets were distributed evenly, successfully preventing any Cardinals player from being fantasy relevant this week.
Larry Fitzgerald led the team with 28 yards on his three receptions. There was a hope that Ricky Seals-Jones would have a coming out party…that did not happen. If it seems like this review is pointing out the obvious, it’s because there’s only so much that can be said about an offense that was outgained 432 yards to 137. This season could not have started any worse and the most exciting thing to watch will likely be the rumors as to how the locker room feels about Bradford versus first-round pick Josh Rosen.
Will David Johnson continue to disappoint?
Through two games, highly touted running back David Johnson has tallied just 22 carries and 85 yards. More interesting is that Johnson was targeted just two times in this week’s game against the Rams. His first look did not come until the second half, a whopping three-yard gain that was nullified by a holding call. Following that, Johnson’s first target came with three minutes remaining in the game.
The new coaching regime sees an offense headed by Mike McCoy, who has spent the past decade bouncing back and forth between the Denver Broncos and (then) San Diego Chargers. It would be assumed that having a weapon like Johnson would make it fairly easy to game plan, but opposing defenses are forcing Arizona to find other contributors first. This has been a struggle thus far. DJ remains a must-play option each week, but owners may need to start separating their emotional connection to the top five pick.
The defense offered some (very little) value.
For starters, any defense giving up 432 yards struggled. A defense that allowed 354 yards through the air had problems.
Rather than pointing out a large number of flaws, this will be an optimistic take focusing on a couple of positives.
- Todd Gurley was held to 42 yards on 19 carries (2.2 YPC – ignore the three touchdowns).
- Benson Mayowa tallied four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
- Patrick Peterson intercepted a pass to Brandin Cooks that otherwise would have been a touchdown.
Taking on the Bears next week, the Cardinals are really only an option in 20-plus team leagues.
There’s not much else to say with this team. They are the best team in the NFC, with exceptional playmakers at every position, it seems. They don’t just beat you, they humiliate you. The media talks about the Cowboys having the best offensive line, but how about Los Angeles? Sure that defensive unit helps put the team in great field position, but RB Todd Gurley II doesn’t do it all himself. QB Jared Goff doesn’t get all those yards game in and game out without being given plenty of time. And with how clean and dominant the first two wins have been, it’d seem pretty obvious. But, I digress. Goff finished the game 24 of 32 with 354 yards and one touchdown. I had predicted three from Goff, and he was pretty close to doing so, but some plays came up just short. Todd Gurley turned those opportunities into three of his own touchdowns, in what was a pretty good fantasy day. The weird thing was he only racked up 46 yards on the ground. Arizona actually did a pretty good job clogging up lanes and suffocating the running game of Los Angeles as a whole.
With Jared Goff leading the way so nicely, it can only mean great things for fantasy owners of Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. I’ve mentioned it every time I write about the Rams – this offense is coached so well and has a great plan every game, no matter who you own, there will be plenty of opportunities. It’s similar to the Vikings’ situation with WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, except LA has Woods, too – three elite route runners who can run those patterns out of any spot on the field. Against the Cardinals, Cooks had seven catches for 159 yards! Both Woods and Kupp finished with six grabs with 81 and 63 yards receiving, respectively. Robert Woods isn’t a must-start, just yet, but he’s worth owning.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Rams’ defense. What a showing, as they allowed just ONE play that took place on their side of the 50 yard line. Facing a joke of a quarterback in Sam Bradford always helps, but impressive all the same. They only had one sack and one interception, but it’s the work they did to prevent RB David Johnson from reaching 50 yards rushing and holding Sam Bradford to under 100 yards passing that really stands out.