What We Saw: Week 2 2018
Colts vs. Redskins
INDIANAPOLIS HAS A DEFENSE
Dominant defensive performances come few and far between in Nap town. Traveling to a wet FedEx field this week, there were a lot of question marks regarding how the game would play out. Adrian Peterson was expected to be a strong fantasy option after his Week One success and the Colts’ struggles with Joe Mixon. Instead, second-round pick Darius Leonard set the tempo for this defensive unit with an impressive 18 tackles and a sack.
Beyond the rookie’s leading performance was a team effort which responded following a pair of turnovers. The first instance saw Peterson break out for 21-yards before the offensive net one yard over three plays, forcing a Dustin Hopkins field goal. The second time saw Washington run seven plays for just 20 yards, holding the offense to three points from a drive that start at the Indianapolis 30-yard line. Expectations remain low for a defense that forced only a lone fumble, but this is at least a sign of a bye-week filler should things continue trending upwards.
Andrew Luck looks like the Andrew Luck of old.
The Week One loss where Luck throws for 300 yards and a couple scores is the high side of what can be expected from the quarterback week to week. He’s proven he will hit that mark rather frequently, but he will have his off days. His 21 completions on 31 attempts was fine and his two touchdowns salvaged some value for owners, but he was extremely limited. Despite taking just one sack, Luck averaged just 5.77 yards per attempt, finishing with 179 yards. Jack Doyle was routinely a third-down option last week and that role switched to T.Y. Hilton against Washington. Luck was almost too predictable at times. His first interception came on a tipped ball at the line, but it was a situation where linebacker Mason Foster was just waiting to attack the throw.
The second was a route across the middle where safety D.J. Swearinger easily jumped the route. Luck spread the ball around, finding eight receivers, but he needs to expand his arsenal in key situations if there is going to be consistent success and a minimizing of the negative plays.
The backfield remains a mystery.
Marlon Mack returned to the lineup, but his impact was minimal. He was involved on one third down in the second quarters, a five-yard conversion in Washington’s red zone. Running backs found a very limited role in these situations, but there was hope that Mack’s pass catching ability would make him a more valuable asset in later downs. Finishing with 34 yards (long of 8) on ten carries, rookie Jordan Wilkins is a name that will be heavily targeted on the waiver wire. Wilkins also ran ten times, finishing with 61 yards and ZERO carries for loss. Indianapolis’ crowded backfield of average back likely means this team is moving more towards a no-use committee as opposed to multiple fantasy options. Snap counts and involvement moving forward will be something to watch as Wilkins and Mack took most of the carries, but Nyheim Hines accounted for the lone rushing touchdown.
Is the receiving corps what we expect it to be?
Last week’s story was T.Y. Hilton commanding the team’s most targets, Eric Ebron providing a mismatch in opponent’s territory, then Ryan Grant and Jack Doyle working as security blankets for Andrew Luck. Dial back Luck’s 53 Week One pass attempts to 31 throws this week, and the plot remains the same. Hilton was again targeted 11 times. He was targeted eight times on third downs, something that came back to hurt Luck’s overall value. Both of the day’s interceptions came on third down throws to Hilton. On the other side is a pair of first downs and a score resulting from the playcalling.
Ebron continues to be utilized as a specialist weapon in this offense. He was only targeted four times, two of those coming within the Washington 27. This is the second week in a row Luck has found him on an outside route for a score, something that is expected to continue working. The real story moving forward is how Luck utilizes Grant. Many had Grant slated as a potential FLEX play this week, but his two targets show just how inconsistent the second receiver can be in a Luck offense. Focusing his number one and tight ends first, Grant and Chester Rogers will be too inconsistent.
Truly a Waste
I truly hope you, our valued readers, did not watch this game. Of course a game ending in a 21-9 score would in most cases be an underwhelming game, but this game was exceedingly boring as Redskins offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh sought to stash his multifaceted Qb and revive the Alex Smith of old: The Checkdown God. Smith flaunted a 71+% completion percentage on a bloated 46 attempts, but amassed only 292 yds on the day, good for a measly 8.9 yards per completion. Now, we’re not talking Sam Bradford level checkdowns, as Cavanaugh and Smith seemed to come to their senses in the second half a bit, but with a QB of Alex Smith’s caliber and a talented receiving corps there’s no need for this type of deek-and-dunk offense. Like Smith, the day saw most of the Redskins receiving options post similarly unimpressive stat lines, however Jamison Crowder saw his normal steady target volume shift to the previously invisible Josh Doctson. Despite being entirely wrong about the ‘Skins domination of the Colts defense, this did seem like a game where the team might better utilize Doctson’s skill set over that of Crowder. Keep a sharp eye out for how the two receivers split targets in week 3, as this could be situational, or the beginning of the new norm.
A Different “Running into the Ground”
Considering the opponent, this was a truly pathetic performance and perhaps my biggest L in terms of predictions for the game. Running against a team that allowed Joe Mixon to average almost 6 YPC in week 1, the Redskins managed between their three running backs, get this, 1.4 YPC on one less carry than Mixon had. Yes, Joe Mixon looks to be a very talented runner, but not so much so that he would average over 4 yards per carry more than the duo of Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson. While a week 3 matchup with the Packers run defense doesn’t inspire much confidence, expect a bounce-back performance.
The Defense Did its Job
The Colts offense is no joke, and holding Andrew Luck to 179 yards, 2 TDs, and nabbing 2 INTs constitutes a job well done. Despite the solid overall performance, the ‘Skins did still allow a lackluster stable of Colts RB’s to rack up 100+ yards on the day, and Josh Norman seemed a bit overmatched by T.Y. Hilton (not that that’s anything crazy considering how amazing Hilton is). Overall it seems the Redskins D remains a solid streaming option: nothing more, and certainly nothing less.