Derek Carr versus Denver
It’s not the numbers that we’re worried about with Carr after the first week of the year. There’s no shame in hanging a goose egg in the touchdown department against the Rams. In fact, 300 plus yards is good day at the office all things considered. No, the negative is the fact that he was totally incapable of getting his primary receivers involved. New comer Jordy Nelson had a hard time breaking 20 yards receiving and Amari Cooper‘s weird mental struggles continued as he had one lone catch for 9 measly yards. Our advice against Denver is to ground Carr and wait it out. Watch and learn. Denver is almost as high octane on defense as the Rams. So don’t chase stats here and don’t let the overall passing numbers knock you into your seat. We’re all waiting to see if Carr can get on the same page as Jordy Nelson while also helping get Cooper’s mind right. It’s weird, isn’t it? Wide receiver has turned into a head game all of a sudden as they are now just as much victims of mental road blocks as Major League Baseball closers used to be. Seeing talents like Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor, and Nelson Agholor simply lose focus and forget how to play football is fascinating. As we digress, Jared Cook isn’t talented enough to shoulder the load so Carr is going to need to get his sea legs under him and get more used to his outside weapons.
Matt Ryan versus Carolina
Excuse us as we find a hankie. We appear to have egg on our face. Right after we broke down just how consistent of an option Ryan was in 2017, having limited games without a score, Ryan goes scoreless in the opener. That’s not just a little egg, that’s like wearing a western omelet version of a charcoal mask. Sorry, our bad. Outside of Julio Jones, Matt Ryan has zero rhythm with any of his receivers. The game got out of control in a big way and Ryan couldn’t make the adjustments. Neither Mohamed Sanu or Calvin Ridley got into the game script and Ryan owners paid the price. In summation, Ryan nose dived last year following an MVP season in 2016 and opened the season running smack dab into a cement wall. The needle is pointing down and the free-fall could continue as early as this week. Carolina is a familiar foe for Ryan but they just kept Dak Prescott in full check last week. Let’s see how Matt Ryan rebounds, or if he rebounds, as he’s going to need to find passing alternatives in order to rebuild his fantasy mojo.
Deshaun Watson versus Tennessee
It’s important to take note of the fact that the Patriots didn’t suddenly revamp their entire defense in one offseason in which they lost more talent than they gained. The numbers will tell you that New England played as a superior defense but we’re here to tell you that wasn’t the case. Deshaun Watson looked bad with a capital B. He was indecisive, erratic, and his throwing motion looked bothered and strained. Maybe he’s adjusting a bit but the mechanics looked bad, simply put. We could chalk it up to rust, dust, or whatever excuse we can dig up but we can’t afford to see it two weeks in a row. He needs a bounce back in the very worst way. Tennessee has their fair share of play-makers themselves so Watson isn’t out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. Pay attention to his body language, his ability and willingness to run, and finding chemistry outside of DeAndre Hopkins. We worry that if Watson can’t find his pose quickly that drafters may be in for a Mike Vick 2.0 scenario where the shine rubs off of an athletic quarterback a little bit too quickly.
Chris Hogan versus Jacksonville
One word, and it’s not recognized fully as actually being a real word: WOWZERS. Heading into a tough game without Julian Edelman and lacking talent all over the field, commonsense told us that Hogan was going to be in for a full plate. Instead, Brady went all-in on Rob Gronkowski and the running backs. More importantly, another wide receiver stepped up and outproduced Hogan. Phillip Dorsett had 7 catches with a red zone score compared to Hogan’s 11 yards without any love in scoring territory. If it happens once, it’s an issue. If it happens twice, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Rubbing salt in the wound is the fact that Jalen Ramsey is likely going to be working against Hogan, which in the event you’re new to the sport, doesn’t bode well, regardless of what All-World wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was able to put up in his debut. Defensive talent aside, you can’t sit back and watch an early pick in a great situation soil the bed and not take notice. Hogan needs a big outing in an even bigger way. We’re looking for 6 catches for 80 yards at the very least or he’s going to go from a temporary WR1/2 to a questionable WR3 to maybe expendable when JE11 returns.
Short and Sweet: LeSean McCoy versus LA Chargers
With how terrible the Buffalo offense looks at the start, who is going to help McCoy get rolling? There’s no threat at wide receiver and first round pick Josh Allen is being shelved to protect him from himself. David Johnson is in a bad situation in Arizona given how terrible his team is, but at least he’s 26. McCoy is in an even worse situation at 30 years old with a lot of wear and tear. Things look to get worse before they get better. Another day with 8 touches for 21 total yards won’t cut the mustard.