What We Saw: Week 8
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire
Each week, our staff here at QB List will be previewing all the fantasy-relevant things you should be on the lookout for in this week’s games. Today, we preview all the upcoming Week 6 action.
Dolphins vs. Texans
As was pointed out on Twitter, Thursday night saw two 4-3 teams vying to remain relevant in their divisions. The Dolphins were 4-3 despite a negative 26-point differential, which was totally the result of a 31-point loss to the Patriots. Beyond that game, the Dolphins were exactly mediocre. Coming out of Thursday, that point differential now stands at -45, which makes it feel like Miami should be lucky to be .500 after 8 weeks.
How Did the Running Game Look?
Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore ended up with 58 and 53 yards respectively, both on 12 carries. The thing about that is that Gore looked lumbering after the first quarter while Drake actually looked like a player returning the investment on a 2nd to 4th round pick. In Frank Gore’s case, he looked like a competent power back on the Dolphins first drive, exemplified by a 7-yard gain right through the A-gap. However, a nearly identical play call in the 2nd quarter ended up only going for a few yards, as age looked like it caught up to Gore in 15 minutes. With around 6 minutes remaining in the 3rd, Gore had another run through the interior of the line (kudos to the run blocking unit) that could have been a long touchdown just a few years earlier. As it was, Gore added about 10 yards on the carry, but it could have been so much more. Aside from one play where Kenyan Drake lost about 4 yards on a carry in which he was hit almost as soon as he got the ball, Drake consistently churned 5-yard gains out of relatively little holes. In the two-minute drill to end the 2nd, Drake found a gap after hesitating at the line, then rushed through, breaking the tackle of three defenders for a long first down gain. Plays like that and Kenyan’s first catch (a tight crossing route where he juked past a defender that had him dead to rights) demonstrated just how electric he could be. For his first touchdown (after a very questionable call against the Texans), Kenyan Drake had tons of running room to the right side of the line for an easy 12-yard scamper into the end zone. Better yet, WR Danny Amendola’s touchdown pass to Kenyan Drake was sold spectacularly well by Drake prior to the pass. Kenyan hesitated by the line as if to show that he was staying in to block, waited for the defense to clear to the left side of the field (which is where Amendola was) and then sped down the right sideline for a wide-open receiving score. Gore and Drake may have had similar lines by the end of the game, but it was never in question who looked like the better back on Thursday.
Welcome Back DeVante Parker – How about More
Aside from a single catch in the 1st quarter, it looked like WR DeVante Parker might have another quiet game. Starting in the second drive of the 2nd quarter, things began to look a lot different. Playing with confidence that was missing all of 2018 (and most of 2017), Parker was able to lift his quarterback up, instead of letting Brock Osweiler flounder. The first pass in that drive was a short little dump to get the ball into Parker’s hands, and he turned it into an 11-yard gain. A couple of plays after, DeVante made a nice grab on his way down to the ground, securing a pass that was well behind his body. With 10 minutes left in the third, Parker also managed to bail out Osweiler by catching a deep cross behind him for a long gain. DeVante also did a great job making a one-handed catch in the 4th, to help add to his stat total. The play of the game for Parker was on a play that was almost awful for the team and WR Jakeem Grant. At 2:55 of the third, Grant made a nice leaping catch for the ball, but immediately lost it on contact. Lucky for him, Parker was able to catch the ball 12-yards downfield off the defender’s helmet and tacked on 9 more yards for good measure. Speaking on Jakeem Grant, he showed nice sideline awareness midway through the 2nd, catching the ball and getting both feet in to get the first. TE Mike Gesicki shows up in the box score, but was seldom used until the last drives, after the game seemed out of hand. Finally, WR Danny Amendola put up another one of his trademark 5 for 43’s, with the addition of a nice throw across and down the field for Kenyan Drake’s 28-yard receiving touchdown.
Brock Osweiler is Bad. That is All.
This will be quick. To demonstrate the point about Brock Osweiler being a bad quarterback, look at the two-minute drill to end the 1st half. On three consecutive plays, Osweiler should have had a turnover against him, but for the grace of some deity or another. On the first of those three plays, Osweiler threw it ostensibly towards DeVante Parker, but it certainly looked like it was to the three defenders swarming around him. The very next play was originally ruled a fumble and a defensive touchdown, but Osweiler’s arm moved ever so subtly forward to allow the call to be changed to an incomplete pass. Now on 3rd down, Osweiler threw the ball generally towards Jakeem Grant, but the corner and the safety in the same vicinity probably thought it was to them. Osweiler was lucky not to turn the ball over then, but his one actual interception was on a throw in the 2nd that didn’t even have the intended receiver on the screen (while rewatching the broadcast copy of the game).
The Miami Dolphins are a flawed team that was without a lot of weapons on Thursday (QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Kenny Stills, and WR Albert Wilson). Tannehill is nothing special, but he is more careful than Osweiler, a fact that could have kept this game more competitive.
It seems that Bill O’Brien’s squad may have found something within themselves, after all. Sure, the Dolphins aren’t a great measuring stick, but a win’s a win and now that’s five in a row. It did come at a cost, as they lost WR Will Fuller V for the season with that dreaded ACL injury. Hopefully they can get WR Keke Coutee back for good. Otherwise, they might have to ask more out of WRs Vyncint Smith, whom I thought would contribute more against Miami, and Sammie Coates, who can certainly stretch the field. Pittsburgh produces extremely good receivers and Coates just needs his time. The last resort would be to look outside the organization, contriving a trade of some sort. WRs Golden Tate and DeSean Jackson would be perfect in this system, in my humble opinion. Right now, all that matters for Houston is that they are in first place with a trip to Denver up next.
Watson comes up big
QB Deshaun Watson had an interesting stat line: 16-20, 239 yards, but five scores – pretty awesome for fantasy owners, as well as Texans’ fans. The poor quarterback play of QB Brock Osweiler made for quick work from Watson and Co., as they took possession in enemy territory on multiple occasions. They also were able to hit on many big chunk plays to both WR DeAndre Hopkins, who continues to make unbelievable catches every week, and the now-injured Fuller V. The possession time for both teams was fairly even, but that’s because Houston scored pretty quickly, hence those five touchdowns. The offensive line did their part, keeping Watson fairly clean and zero sacks. Whereas the Texans lacked balance for the first quarter of the season, they seem to now have rounded into form and are attacking on the ground, as well. This also contributed to a less aggressive rush from Miami.
Lamar Miller is back?
Being back may be a strong phrase for this particular back, but he seems to be bouncing back from an injury very nicely and with a more decisive style. There’s no doubt the line has played better, but the fact that Miller defied my doubts and has now stacked 100-yard games is a welcome surprise. He carried the ball his usual sub-20 totes, but churned out 133 yards and a score. He is certainly entering fantasy relevance, again, and should be almost an automatic starting option.
What now for receiver?
If you are a (former) Will Fuller V owner, I know your pain. He had a monster game and really didn’t need to be playing, technically by the time he did get hurt. Hindsight is 20/20, I know. Anyway, both you and the Texans are in slight panic mode to find a replacement. Should you/they stick with what they have? They did have a nice coming out party for TE Jordan Thomas, who scored twice in this one, so maybe the solution is to integrate more tight end action. Otherwise, like I mentioned above, there are the remaining wideouts, Smith and Coates – none of which we should have any stock in right now, given how little data they’ve produced for us. Hopefully, you have injury insurance for your fantasy team, but if things are scarce, don’t forget to check out our very own Brennen Gorman or Aaron Rader who highlight players to target for byes or streaming, in general. Right off the bat, I’d suggest Seahawks WR David Moore or the LA Rams’ WR Josh Reynolds who is filling for Cooper Kupp.
Houston’s defense continues dominant stretch
Houston picked up two more sacks and an interception against Miami. There should have been an obvious fumble returned for six, but the men in zebra stripes thought it’d be cooler to go against common sense, as they often do in this league. Anyway, continue to roll with this squad, seeing as defense seems to be at a premium right now, even for the better teams.