Jeffery was quiet in Week 1 but should
be a bigger part of the gameplan against KC in Week 2.
Grab a Helmet
Hopkins @ CIN (Thu): Tom Savage spent most of his abbreviated
Week 1 appearance on his can, but before he grabbed a clipboard
for the remainder of the game, he targeted Hopkins seven times (mostly
to no avail). Savageís replacement, Deshaun Watson, must have been
paying close attention because he proceeded to throw it to Hopkins
nine more times in the second half. All told, Houstonís $81-million-dollar
man commanded 16 targets in Week 1, three more than any other receiver
in the league. He only nabbed seven of them (for 55 yards and a
score), but that utilization rate should continue moving forward
as the Texans donít have much else to throw to at the receiver position.
By all accounts, Watson gets the nod this Thursday and I think he
could surprise, despite the expected rookie mistakes Houston will
have to live with. Start Hopkins with confidence.
Cooks @ NO: I donít necessarily buy into the whole revenge
angle thing, but I do believe there are teams/coaches/players more
capable than others of using it for motivation. New England is one
of those teams. The Pats will have been stewing for 10 days over
that brutal opening night loss to KC by the time they hit the Superdome
and will want to punch the Saints in the nose early and often. What
better way to do it than with the former Saints speedster who felt
disrespected by the organization and then, ultimately, forced a
trade? Revenge cuts both ways, of course, but New Orleans doesnít
have the personnel to exact its own, as evidenced by the way its
secondary was eviscerated by Sam Bradford and the Vikings last Monday
night. Cooks is about all thatís left of New Englandís WR corps
and heís all theyíll need Sunday.
Jeffery @ KC: The Eaglesí prized free agent acquisition
was pretty quiet in the Week 1 win over Washington, eking out three
grabs for 38 yards on seven targets. Meh. Part of that could be
attributable to a lack of familiarity with Carson Wentz. Another
part could be attributable to Josh Norman, one of the gameís elite
cover corners who lineup up opposite Jeffery a fair amount in Week
1. Regardless, Philly needs more bang for their free agent buck
than 38 measly yards and a couple of near misses in the end zone.
I expect them to make a concerted effort to get him more involved
this week, especially now that the Chiefs will be missing the heart
and soul of their secondary, Eric Berry. Donít do something drastic
with this talented Eagle. Itís early yet and I strongly believe
heíll prove his worth sooner rather than later, possibly as soon
as this Sunday.
Grab Some Wood
Watkins v. WAS: Josh Norman is likely to shut down
a lot of WR1s, Iím supposing, and the next victim on his list
is Watkins, the Ramsí newly acquired home run threat. Los Angeles
almost put half a hundred on Indianapolis last Sunday, a miracle
in and of itself, but more surprising still was that Watkins contributed
very little to that explosive total. Surprising, I should say,
if you truly buy the former Buffalo Bill as a premiere wideout.
I never have, frankly, mostly because he canít seem to stay healthy
and has never actually been paired with a big-armed slinger who
can best maximize his long-distance gifts. He still isnít. Jared
Goff had a nice little day, but is still more dink-and-dunker
than vertical flinger. Mark my words: The most productive Rams
receiver this year will end up being slot receiver Cooper Kupp,
not the home run-hitting Watkins.
Matthews @ CAR: The guy who replaced Watkins in Buffalo
was actually made expendable in Philly by the aforementioned Jeffery.
Though itís too early to tell who got the short end of that particular
wide receiver round robin, I strongly suspect itíll be Matthews
when all is said and done. He goes from a pass-happy offense to
possibly the most run-heavy offense in the entire league. Buffaloís
wide receivers were targeted only eight times against the Jets
last Sunday, with Matthews commanding just three. If he hadnít
converted one of those Tyrod Taylor throws into a 47-yard pickup,
it would have a particularly depressing day for his owners. I
doubt the Bills will be able to maintain a 60/40 run/pass ratio
the rest of the way, but when the wide receivers arenít even garnering
a third of available targets, itís time to be officially concerned.
He shouldnít start for you now.
Hilton v. ARI: Hiltonís our first repeat recommendation
this season and I probably don’t need to spend much time
explaining why. Andrew Luck still isn’t playing. Patrick
Peterson is. The end. Hilton’s certainly crafty enough and
speedy enough to give a larger guy like Peterson trouble, but
there’s no telling who his quarterback will be come Sunday
and I’m pretty certain it doesn’t matter. Scott Tolzien
was a dumpster fire out in Los Angeles and Jacoby Brissett hasn’t
even been on the squad for two weeks. What are the chances either
triggerman is going to be able to forge a worthwhile connection
with Hilton, even supposing they’re able to avoid a blitz-happy
Arizona front seven? T.Y. was a do-not-draft special for me when
it became clear Luck’s injury would linger and I’m
glad I didn’t roll the dice on his return being sooner than
expected. Sit your Colts receivers.