What We Saw: Week 2 2018

Giants vs. Cowboys

Giants

Saquon Barkley could not get things going on the ground

It’s difficult to make 11 rushes for 28 yards sound worse than it was, but when you consider RB Saquon Barkley had a long run of 10 yards in the game, it’s 10 rushes for 18 yards. Luckily for Barkley owners, he was able to rack up 80 yards receiving on 14 receptions, which outproduced last week’s performance in PPR leagues. When the announcers weren’t talking about Barkley’s thighs, they made a point that his lack of production wasn’t entirely his fault because the offensive line looked porous. There’s definitely validity to that, as only two of Barkley’s fourteen catches were for first downs.

Eli spread the ball around…it just wasn’t all that effective

WR Sterling Shepard and WR Odell Beckham Jr. finished with a combined 14 targets, but only 7 catches and 75 yards to show for it. TE Evan Engram caught all seven of his targets and scored the only Giants touchdown of the day. Four more sacks allowed on QB Eli Manning and 1.2 yards per reception less than when they faced the vaunted Jaguars defense though? Woof. If they were more aggressive on fourth down play calling in the first half, they may have been able to gain some momentum (and admittedly give more to Dallas if they failed to convert), but punting every drive just stagnated any chance they had at getting into a rhythm.

One play is all it takes

Outside of WR Tavon Austin’s 64 yard touchdown reception, Dallas’ passing game was held in check by the G-Men. The same cannot be said about the run, as Dallas averaged 5.5 yards per attempt and rushed for nine of their 16 first downs. They weren’t helped by the lack of offense though, as the Cowboys only passed 25 times in the game and never had to play from behind. If the Giants want to win any of their next three games, they’ll need to be more effective than they were against the run, as they’re facing Houston, New Orleans, and Carolina in each of their next three games, but the offense is definitely more cause for concern than their defense is.

-Alex Drennan

Cowboys

Dallas hosted their division rival New York Giants on Sunday Night Football and pulled out a tough but critical early-season victory. The night began with fireworks from Dallas on offense but the game was won because of a young, aggressive, dominant Dallas defense. His defense is going to carry this team while fantasy owners hope they can find some production from the offensive side of the ball.

Dak Prescott bounces back but still not very high.

Quarterback Dak Prescott bounced back this week with a gritty game, aggressive from the first series, hitting Tavon Austin for a 64-yard bomb for a quick touch down on the third play from scrimmage. Dak also showed what sets him apart at the position by adding 46 yards rushing on 6 carries. This salvaged his day but he still struggled in the passing game. Dak was just 4 for 9 on passes traveling 10 yards or more, including two wildly inaccurate passes down the sideline. While Dak was efficient, I cannot recommend him as a starter in one QB leagues and borderline in two QB leagues.

Ezekiel Elliott wore the Giants down for a solid game.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott had a solid performance tonight, really wearing down the Giants defense, finishing with 17 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also made his PPR owners happy with 5 catches but for only 10 yards. Zeke showed tonight what makes him so valuable to this team, grinding out yards until the defense gave up a big play. Stick with Zeke, his huge games are coming but even his average games are good enough for a starting fantasy back.

Dallas passing game takes a shot then remains quiet.

It was another long night for the Dallas pass catchers. Austin started off the game with a bang but the team couldn’t keep the success going and continued to show they will rely on a short passing attack to move the chains. Seven different receivers caught passes tonight and this team still doesn’t know who their primary pass catchers will be. Deonte Thompson led the receivers in targets but finished with only 4 catches for 33 yards. Outside receivers Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams each caught one ball and were invisible the rest of the night. Hopeful TE Rico Gathers was active tonight but was unable to register a catch on two targets. This passing game should be avoided, there is nothing of value here.

Dallas defense dominates from the start.

The Dallas Cowboys defense showed up to play again tonight, holding the Giants to just 35 yards rushing on 17 carries and 255 of total offense. The defensive line was dominant tonight, putting pressure on Eli Manning all evening and registering six sacks by six different players. New York’s dynamic group of receivers were covered tightly, Odell Beckham held to just 4-51 and Evan Engram 7-67. The Giants biggest weapon in the passing game turned out to be Saquon Barkley who caught 14 passes for 80 yards. This team is becoming a strong second-tier fantasy defense, especially for those league who issue big points for sacks. As for Individual Defensive Players, Jaylon Smith has taken huge strides and looks to be a solid first tier LB. Sacks are sure to come for the young linebacker but he continues to show he is almost fully recovered from a devastating injury and a mainstay on this defense.

-Marc Salazar

Ben Palmer

Lifelong Orioles fan (which can be....painful at times) and a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music and watch way too many movies.

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