What We Saw: Week 2 2018
Texans vs. Titans
All I can do is shake my head. The Titans were down their starting quarterback. They were down TWO starting offensive linemen! Last week the Titans were gashed by Miami’s QB Ryan Tannehill! This seems like a recipe for success if you’re a Houston player or fan, right? Right. QB Deshaun Watson finished the day 22/32 and 310 yards with two scores and one pick – all in all, a pretty good day. Somehow, it wasn’t enough as Blaine Gabbert and the special teams led the way in this one. Having a competent kicker always helps, too, seeing as this was the difference. Houston’s placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a kick, which gets brushed under the rug due to the last play of the game. Speaking of which, what a mistake.
Yes, Watson put up stats, but the situational awareness was at an all-time low in the last 16 seconds of this contest. With no timeouts and facing a three-man rush, he wastes 12 seconds avoiding the rush and waiting for someone to get open. He finally hits DeAndre Hopkins well within the range for their kicker – thing is, there was only two seconds left and…no way to stop the clock. 20-17, Titans win. That’s simply inexcusable. I’d like to say they’re lucky to be in a division that is up for grabs, but I’d be lying. The AFC South is the Jaguar’s to lose, but we’ll get to them later.
As for fantasy value, Watson, as I cited above, played much better than in week one. Should you start him going forward, is the question. Based on the weapons, it’s a yes. Based on the offensive line play, I’d hope you have better options. WR Will Fuller V was healthy for this one and showed it, catching eight balls for 113 yards and a touchdown.
He’s a crucial part to WR DeAndre Hopkins’ success, drawing more attention and helping to open up seams or space in the middle with his speed. Exhibit A: DeAndre Hopkins’ line for the day: six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Clearly, the chemistry is getting there and it’s not like the running game is their downfall, either. RB Lamar Miller averaged just about five yards on 14 carries. I blame the offensive line and the offensive gameplan.
They gave up four sacks today and seem to get run over at a worrisome rate. Watson often holds the ball far too long. Is he not reading coverages well or are the route trees his receivers running too easy to guard? Either way, they should be able to be competitive against the Giants next Sunday.
In a marked improvement from last week, when the Titans were beaten down by the lowly Dolphins, they recovered to beat the Texans in week 2 with Blaine Gabbert starting behind center. It certainly wasn’t all good. Marcus Mariota sat out after being hurt last week, and his presence was clearly missed. Blaine Gabbert finished with a stat line of 13/20, 117 yards, and a touchdown. The passing game was basically non-existent, save for a fake punt which ended up as a 66-yard touchdown throw. If the Titans move forward with Gabbert, I want to avoid the receivers as much as possible. I still trust Corey Davis in PPR, and Taywan Taylor had a good day thanks to a touchdown grab, but there otherwise just isn’t much here to work with. Still, I’m glad to see the Titans avoid the dreaded 0-2 start which so often marks the end of a team and their playoff chances. Let’s hope Mariota is back next week for a tough matchup against the 2-0 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Moving on to the running backs, the picture did not become much clearer. Derrick Henry had 18 carries for 56 yards while Dion Lewis had 14 carries for 42 yards. The Titans generally struggled to run the ball and this shows in their team yards per carry of about 3. I am still hesitant to trust Henry because his upside relies on carrying the load, and year after year we see that isn’t happening. Every time a back leaves (DeMarco Murray), someone else arrives (Dion Lewis) to take their place. I will continue to avoid Henry unless something happens to Lewis, or the work share changes dramatically. For Lewis, there is still that passing game upside. However, I don’t think it exists to the same degree while Mariota is out. Lewis had 1 target on the day which resulted in 1 catch for 1 yard. Sure, the Texans are a great defense. However, Jacksonville is waiting next week and they managed to shut down the ever-dangerous Patriots. I’m guessing this is a backfield we will want to stay away from entirely next week. On a last note, I was pleased to see the Titans defense looking strong. They had 4 sacks, 1 interception, and they generally looked impressive throughout the game…save for some late Houston points. I would be happy to start them moving forward.