Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
Each week throughout the NFL season, our staff at QB List will be watching and reviewing all the games from every week and offering up our takes on the fantasy-relevant things that happened. Here’s what we saw in Week 6.
Eagles vs. Giants
Ohhhh how sweet this one was, folks. After two of the more brutal losses around the league the past two weeks, the Eagles came out on Thursday night fired up and seemingly ready to roll as they did just that against the New York Giants. The offense, led by Carson Wentz, “looked to be” firing on all cylinders in this one as several of the Eagles fantasy studs cashed in. How will this performance affect their subsequent stat lines? Let’s dig in and find out…
Wow Wentz Wow
Even the notion of Carson Wentz’s offseason knee surgery having lingering effects on his mobility and play is laughable now as the MVP candidate is back. Per ESPN, Wentz posted the highest QBR of his career in this one (95.5) and has seen his QBR go up in each of his past three starts. Additionally, all of this improvement is going on while the North Dakota Kid™ shoulders an increasing portion of the offense with Jay Ajayi out for the season and Darren Sproles till MIA. All in all, Wentz is back to being a high-end QB1 for your team that you set and forget.
Catching My Drift
In my game preview last week, I noted the role the Eagles’ WRs played in the team’s two consecutive losses and the need for them to improve; well they certainly did that and more. Zach Ertz got his, albeit with less yardage than usual, and Alshon Jeffery showed Eagles fans (if they needed a reminder at all) why he is the unquestioned #1 guy in this passing offense. With Wentz back to MVP caliber play and passing more with each game, both guys have arrows pointing firmly up. Nelson Agholor, on the other hand, despite churning out 91 yards on the day, did so on only 3 receptions from a mere 5 targets. While this could merely have been a game script issue, or a minor ding to his targets given his shoddy play the previous two weeks, but Agholor will be had to trust as more than the occasional flex play if he doesn’t sustain better target volume in the games to come. As is seemingly always the case, you can safely ignore the fantasy prospects of the rest of the Eagles pass catchers.
Only a Matter of Time
If Eagles fans, the team’s front office, or fantasy players had any doubts about the necessity, and likely eventuality, of an acquisition at the running back position, then check out the performance from this game. Between Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement, and thankfully NOT Josh Adams as the coaching staff seemed to finally realize how damn slow he is, the Eagles’ RBs churned out only 94 yards rushing on 29 attempts, while gaining only 26 yards on 5 targets. That won’t cut it at all when these guys are running behind one of the league’s highest graded run blocking O-lines. Yes, much of this inefficiency came from Smallwood rather than Clement, but the coaching staff clearly feels Clement cannot handle a workload much larger than 15 touches per game, meaning SOMEONE has to soak up the nearly 20 other touches. Given Smallwood’s gross inefficiencies (2.8 ypc in this one to Clement’s 3.9), it seems almost certain another running back will be entering the fold here in Philadelphia. Might I suggest Kenyan Drake (another Dolphins RB 1.5 years from unrestricted free agency on a team going nowhere) or LeVeon Bell (one of the league’s best talents when it comes to running the football and wrecking the Steelers locker room who happens to be on a team with another elite RB).
Long Cox are Back
Pardon my blatantly depraved jokes, but my excitement cannot be contained when it comes to the Eagles’ defensive performance in this one. EVERYTHING looked to have tightened up, from the secondary all the way down to the already dominant D-line. Yes, Eli Manning certainly deserves some of the credit for this defensive renaissance, but equally important was the lock-down coverage of Ronald Darby and the not-terrible safety play of Eagles CB Rasul Douglas. Start these Birds of Prey with confidence next week as they get a sloppy Panthers offense.
Barkley ran rampant on the Eagles
There weren’t too many bright spots for the Giants’ offense in this game, but RB Saquon Barkley looked incredible. He finished with nearly 100+ yards rushing and receiving, and did so both efficiently and with a 50+ yard play in each facet. If you look at the replay of Barkley’s 55-yard reception, all of his skills talking heads have drooled over were apparent: caught a pass in the flat, bounced off a tackle and towards the middle of the field, shed two other defenders with strength and elusiveness, all while maintaining most of his speed and momentum. On his touchdown run, all it took was a simple head fake to cause the slightest bit of hesitation for the defender, and then boom, off to the races for Saquon. He truly is a generational talent, and if you took on the risk of drafting him you’re being handsomely rewarded.
The rest of the Giants’ offense is barely worth talking about
This is the worst I’ve seen QB Eli Manning look in a long time. He averaged only 6.5 yards per attempt, but what was really concerning was the completion percentage that came with that. Manning came into the game with the third-highest completion percentage in the NFL, but only completed 55% of his passes this game. There will definitely be an immense amount of talk headed into next week about Manning looking washed and whether or not WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s comments from his recent interview impacted any of the play calling, especially now that the Giants have fallen to 1-5. There will also be talk about Odell walking into the locker room before halftime and how that’s a reflection of him not being a good teammate and that will hurt his production moving forward. There were moments where Odell played like a great teammate in this game, as he picked up blocking assignments with vigor and tried to energize his teammates on the sideline, but his actions have negative repercussions as perception by the media will have an impact on the team as a whole.
The defense looked like it did against the Rams last year
Did they let up 51 points? No, thank goodness. Did they look like the cared? No. 3rd and 7 for the Eagles mid-way through the first, Wentz threw a fluttering pass that two Giants defenders stared at while WR Nelson Agholor came swooping in for the catch and then a 20-yard run after the catch. QB Carson Wentz threw a bomb to Agholor and CB Eli Apple was jogging a few yards behind him in coverage. Wentz threw a TD to TE Zach Ertz on the same drive, and CB Janoris Jenkins did not even jump to try and deflect it. If the team looks to have given up again next week, then they’ve turned into a team to stream against rather than the solid unit they were projected to be.