Welcome to the third edition of The Fantasy Factor. The Fantasy Factor was unveiled in week 1 and continues to recap all the intricate details of the week’s Thursday night game. Historically, the Thursday night game has not been very fan friendly towards the fantasy world, but it still offers us a decent gauge of what to look for in future weeks. However, after witnessing many individual offensive explosions in the first two games, we were actually ready for a letdown. In this segment, I hope to enlighten you on some interesting facts, as well as some hard thought out analogies to give you a smile going into the weekend. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Coming into Thursday night’s game all eyes weren’t on the new look 2-0 Texans, but instead on the rookie debut of NE Quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Last week against the Dolphins, Jimmy G was moving the ball with ease until a shoulder injury forced him to the locker room and left the NE faithful with the thought of a rookie running the show until Tom Terrific was able to play. That thought was turned into a reality and Brissett played the game that was mapped out for him all week. Only 19 pass attempts and a 27 yd rushing TD was all that was in the cards to keep the rookie safe.
The Texans on the other hand were a 2-0 team still looking for an identity. Brock Osweiler was brought in to Houston to be the franchise QB they needed to excel them into the next step. He was an unproven commodity and commanded a steep price in order to get him out of Denver. The thought was with a stout front line that includes Wilfork and Watt, the Texans just needed a game manager to succeed. It is only a few weeks into the season, but Brock has at the very least given them a solid presence behind center.
The following highlights are what I think were the most important fantasy factors to take away from last night’s game:
I. New England Players Will NOT be Fantasy Relevant under Jacoby Brissett.
The Pats are 3-0 and just wiped the field with the Texans, who couldn’t of beat a high school JV team last night. However, it was the way in which they won that should concern Gronk and Edelman owners. The game-plan was a simplistic outline of short throws and 39 rushing attempts all to keep rookie in complete control of his offense. Jacoby Brissett threw for just 103 yards in a very simplified offense. As of now, NE will be a sad place for fantasy players with only the occasional big play from time to time…..The following is the breakdown….
II. Bill Belichick had DeAndre Hopkins in his Pocket.
As Brock Osweiler frequently dumped the ball to tight end Ryan Griffin, who led the team with 10 targets, it was clear that New England was not going to let Hopkins beat them. They bottled him up most of the night and left the underneath routes open on a consistent basis. Even the few catches that Deandre did make were in traffic and required some magic. Here is how Hopkins has fared over the years against Mr. Belichick…..
2013 – 2/77……….2015 – 3/52……….2016…….4/56 = 9/185
It will be interesting to see if owners panic enough to sit their stud receiver in any future match-ups…Stay tuned!
III. Lamar Miller is the Bell Cow Back in Houston.
When Lamar Miller was signed in the off-season, the comparisons to Arian Foster type stats were running rampant. Knowing his athletic ability and knack fro being a very capable pass catching threat, I was one of those people hyping him up in the draft. You will read on many sites about Miller not yet averaging better than 3.8 yards per carry in a game and how is numbers are way down. However, in fantasyland we hold a very different perspective. Usage is always a top priority and based on the first 3 games of the season (28 touches per game), Miller has left his owners with no reason to panic.
IV. There are Plenty of Targets to go Around in Houston
Coming into this year, many owners were worried there may be a cut in production for DeAndre Hopkins with the growth of Jalen Strong and the drafting of Will Fuller. As we go into the first part of the season it looks as though there is no reason to worry.
DeAndre Hopkins – 27 Targets and 16 receptions
Will Fuller – 25 Targets and 12 receptions
LeGarrette Blount Will Quietly be a Solid RB2 in 2016.
With the suspension of Tom Terrific, the Pats needed to find themselves a rock they could lean on in 4 games. They needed someone to take the load off of Jimmy G and now Jacoby Brissett. LeGarrette Blount has always been known for being a workhorse in the back field, but Bill Belichick hasn’t leaned on a RB since the Corey Dillon days. This year looks to be different.
So far he is averaging 25 carries a game, a 4.0 average per carry and just under 300 yards. Obviously anything can change when Tom Terrific returns, but a high powered running attack is something he probably would welcome with open arms.
This was the first dud of the Thursday night telecasts, but it still gave us an opportunity to see how the Pats would run their system. We learned they will be conservative and also that Brock maybe arrested at the end of the season for stealing so much money. Either way your opinion sways on the games, it will keep us watching and allow me the opportunity to give you the weekly Fantasy Factor!
As always, you can stop by my Facebook page (Fantasy Sports Addiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WENG RADIO every Monday at 4:00 P.M. ET for a weekend sports wrap. But most importantly, you can catch me here at Pi!
For fantasy purposes, all my articles are predicated upon a PPR-based system.