Isaiah Crowell Disappoints
If you’re like me, you bought into the Isaiah Crowell hype during the preseason and drafted him as much as you could. All preseason Browns head coach Hue Jackson said they would get Crowell the ball and their additions to the defense pointed to an increase in his production.
Unfortunately, it’s now time to eat crow and hit the panic button (if you didn’t already rage-drop him). If there was a time for Crowell to finally score some serious points, it was against a New York Jets defense that gives up a 3rd-worst 143.0 rushing yards per game. He has yet to score more than nine points in standard scoring (even while getting the volume of a starting running back), while Duke Johnson has found the endzone and scored at least 12 points in standard scoring in each of the last three weeks.
The issue with Crowell is that the Browns are always playing from behind, forcing them to pass the ball. That seemingly will continue, with opponents like the Texans, Steelers, Bengals, Lions and Jaguars coming up. When the Browns pass, their only legitimate targets are tight end David Njoku and running back Duke Johnson. Both players are worth picking up, while Isaiah Crowell should be dropped.
Leonard Fournette Proves His Worth
Let’s keep in mind that a good chunk of Leonard Fournette’s points came in garbage time off a 90-yard touchdown. However, it still takes a lot of talent to score a 90-yard touchdown against the Steelers. Fournette has all the traits of the “perfect” fantasy running back: the volume (20+ carries in three different games along with 13 total receptions), the efficiency (4.3 yards per carry on the season) and the talent.
Fantasy football aside, the Jacksonville Jaguars look borderline elite. Part of why they’ve evolved into this team we see today is that they have finally stacked their defense, whether it be through the draft, free agency, or getting certain studs healthy and back on the field. Because their defense is so stout, the Jaguars rarely find themselves in situations where they need to pass a ton in order to catch up. Instead, they can pound opposing defenses with Fournette and count on their defense to keep them in the game.
Alex Smith and Deshaun Watson Shine
The evolution of these two quarterbacks is very intriguing. Both had average draft positions so irrelevant that they most likely weren’t targeted in many fantasy drafts. In traditional 4-point passing touchdown scoring, Alex Smith and Deshaun Watson are the No. 1 and No. 2 highest-scoring quarterbacks respectively. Both players have hit their strides in offenses with talented receiving weapons, good offensive lines and effective running games. These quarterbacks have also taken advantage of their ability to run when needed. Smith has rushed for 108 yards and one touchdown, while Watson has rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Both of these players must be owned and started weekly.
Alex Smith is efficient and precise in his passing. He is third in the league in passing yards (1,391) behind only Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, and has yet to turn the ball over. Coupled with the talents of Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs offense is poised to be one of the best in the league the rest of season.
Deshaun Watson has shown the ability to make plays with his legs and his cannon of an arm. The Houston wide receivers also provide tremendous upside for Watson, showcased by their ability to snag jump balls and get yards after the catch.
The Giants Receiving Corps Wears Thin
I am baffled by the fact that tight end Evan Engram had only four targets this past Sunday. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, New York Giants wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and Dwayne Harris all left Sunday’s game against the Chargers with injuries, some more serious than others.
Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall will each have season-ending ankle surgeries. Sterling Shepard is questionable with the receiving corps’ third ankle injury. Dwayne Harris escaped the ankle-injury bug, but instead fractured his foot and is also done for the season.
If Sterling Shepard misses time tight end Evan Engram and wide receivers Tavarres King and Roger Lewis to pick up the slack. Sterling Shepard has flashed some talent and will look to get more volume upon his return. I think Shepard could be worth a waiver-wire pickup once his schedule for return becomes more clear, but the three targets mentioned previously should stand to gain more targets in addition to the running backs getting bigger workloads.
Charles Clay Injury Impact
For a while it was looking like Charles Clay was going to be a”Fantasy MVP” candidate. What I mean by that is Clay was one of those players you pick up off waivers for next-to-nothing and he quietly gets his fair share of points when you need them. Going into Sunday, Charles Clay had the fourth-highest points among fantasy tight ends in standard scoring. Now that he’s out a few weeks with a knee injury, fantasy owners will have to look for new options.
Hopefully, if you picked Clay up off waivers, it was insurance for boom-or-bust guys like Rob Gronkowski or Jordan Reed. For those of you who, like me, picked him up as your only hope at tight end, you’re gonna have to find someone for at least a few weeks. Some names could include Jack Doyle, David Njoku, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, or Cameron Brate.
Unfortunately, this leaves almost no options for the Buffalo Bills’ passing game. Charles Clay was relied upon heavily by Tyrod Taylor, connecting with the tight end 20 times for a team-high 258 yards in addition to two touchdowns. The question of who picks up the slack in Buffalo is a mystery. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews is out for a few weeks due to thumb surgery, and no other passing weapons have stood out for the Bills. Running back LeSean McCoy is still a major component in the offense, and could stand to see more work.