East Coast Offense: Opting Out

East Coast Offense: Opting Out

This article is part of our East Coast Offense series.

Opting Out

I'm a Giants fan, and what I saw yesterday was shocking even by Giants fan standards. It was announced before the game that 2020 No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas, who had been playing well, would suit up but only play in case of emergency due to a foot injury. In the first quarter, 2018 No. 2 overall pick, Saquon Barkley (who had just gotten up to full speed off a season-ending knee injury) stepped on a defender's foot and rolled his ankle, long after the play was over. In the second quarter, 2019 No. 6 overall pick, Daniel Jones, tried to concuss his way into the end zone and wound up wobbling onto the cart like a drunk. 

I'd never seen a team lose three top-six overall picks in the span of a half. But wait, there's more. Starting wideouts Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard were already out with hamstring injuries, and Kenny Golladay, the team's $72-million acquisition, exited with a knee injury. That left rookie Kadarius Toney 13 targets during his breakout game, but Toney was ejected for punching a Cowboys player, and now Toney is iffy for Week 6 with foot and ankle injuries. To review, the Giants lost their starting left tackle, starting tailback, starting quarterback and top four wide receivers. 

Luckily, this was not a season in which the team was expected to contend, but Jones' rookie contract is up after next year, they need to find out whether he's their long-term guy, and I made some side bets on the Giants win totals that are not looking good. But more than that, I am emotionally invested in seeing the team do well and develop its players, and while injuries are a part of the game, this was excessive, almost like what the 49ers went through last year when they lost Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Fred Warner, Raheem Mostert and Dee Ford, among others. 

The only other comp I can think of is the Book of Job, where basically he loses everything for no reason and has to defer to God's unfathomable wisdom in creating the cosmos. But Job didn't know about the quantum nature of reality, or I'm pretty sure he would have opted out too. 

We'll see how long those players are out – I still think the Giants with a healthy Thomas, Jones, Barkley, Golladay and Toney will be an exciting team in the second half, one that could have an outsized impact in the fantasy playoffs. 

Week 6 Sporcle

Apropos of Kadarius Toney's 189-yard receiving game, can you name every rookie since 1980 to eclipse 175 receiving yards in a contest?

Guessing The Lines

 My LineGuessed lineReal lineNetMy O/U Real O/U Net
Buccaneers at Eagles-7.5-7-70.551521
Dolphins at Jaguars-2.5-3-3.5-143463
Chiefs at Team-6.5-6-6.505455.51.5
Rams at Giants-9.5-8-10.5-14747.50.5
Texans at Colts9.59100.542431
Bengals at Lions-3.5-3-30.55148-3
Packers at Bears-5.5-4.5-4.515045-5
Chargers at Ravens2.5330.55350.5-2.5
Vikings at Panthers331-24846-2
Cardinals at Browns42.52.5-1.55150.5-0.5
Raiders at Broncos2.5330.55044.5-5.5
Cowboys at Patriots-3-3.5-4-14549.54.5
Seahawks at Steelers8.585-3.542420
Bills at Titans-3.5-3-5.5-25454.50.5

At first glance, I'm on the Steelers, Vikings and Titans, but of course, I reserve the right to change my mind in Beating The Book.  

Week 5 Observations

  • Carson Wentz (402 yards, 11.5 YPA, two pass TDs, no picks, one fumble) looked sharp. He wasn't especially nimble in the pocket, but he made all the throws, and his decisions were good. This bodes well for the Colts offense generally and Taylor and Pittman in particular.
  • Jonathan Taylor (15-53-1, 4-3-116-1) looked like he was shot out of a cannon on a few plays, and he outran the entire Ravens defense on the screen he took to the house. The usage, though, was good, not great, as Marlon Mack (5-47-90) ran well and Nyheim Hines (4-18-0, 1-0-0-0) was on the field a fair amount. Still, Taylor is a top-10 overall fantasy player, and if Wentz has turned a corner, the ceiling is 1.1.
  • Michael Pittman (7-6-89-1) looks like the No. 1, but T.Y. Hilton should be back eventually, and Parris Campbell (6-4-56-0) and Zach Pascal (5-3-48-0) were also involved, i.e., the Colts spread it around.
  • Rodrigo Blankenship's injury cost them the game (and me that one matchup), as he missed the game-sealing FG in regulation. It also kept people alive in Survivor, but as we all know, deserve's got nothing to do with it.
  • Lamar Jackson (442 yards, 10.3 YPA, four TDs, no picks, 62 rushing yards) had a monster game, but he lost a fumble at the goal line and nearly lost a second one.
  • Mark Andrews (13-11-147-2, 2 2-pt conversions) had a game for the ages. The risk with Andrews is game flow, but if the Ravens defense is this weak, that won't be a problem for him very often.
  • Marquise Brown (10-9-125-2) didn't catch a pass until the third quarter. But he gets open deep so easily, and Jackson throws a nice deep ball.
  • Justin Tucker had only one short field goal attempt and no PATs because the Ravens went for two every time. The GOAT is handicapped by his team's enlightened approach.
  • Kadarius Toney looks like a monster – he's too quick to guard, he breaks tackles and has great vision after the catch. He should be a star, assuming he's okay and after he serves a possible suspension.
  • Saquon Barkley's ankle swelled significantly on the sidelines and it looks like he's week to week. He was seen after the game in crutches and a walking boot.
  • Even with Michael Gallup out, the Cowboys spread the ball around a lot, and Dak Prescott doesn't run anymore. Ezekiel Elliott is still plenty valuable, but he shares snaps with Tony Pollard.
  • The Bills killed the Chiefs, but the game was barely watchable even on the 40-minute edited version due to all the penalties.
  • People slag Dave Gettlechad for taking Barkley over Sam Darnold (he made the correct choice), but the real crime was the Jets taking Darnold over Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, two of the five most valuable NFL commodities.
  • Stefon Diggs has so far been just one of the guys, though in fairness, Allen attempted only 25 passes Sunday night. Dawson Knox (4-3-117-1) looks like a player. Tight ends often break out in Years 3-5 – they take a little longer to develop than wide receivers.
  • I thought the Josh Gordon signing meant the Chiefs had soured on Mecole Hardman (12-9-76-0), but apparently not. Tyreek Hill left late with a knee injury, capping a brutal injury week that started with Russell Wilson on Thursday night.
  • The Super Bowl hangover (for the loser) is real.
  • Trey Lance led his team to only 10 points, but he passed the eye test for me and will be a monster fantasy player if Kyle Shanahan sticks with him. (Turns out Lance has a sprained MCL and might miss a couple weeks.)
  • Elijah Mitchell (9-43-0, 2-2-19-0) looks like the clear starter again now that he's healthy.
  • DeAndre Hopkins (9-6-87-1) is healthy again.
  • Justin Herbert (398 yards, four TDs, one rush TD, 9.3 YPA, zero picks against one of the better defenses in the league) might finish the year as QB1.
  • Austin Ekeler (17-66-2, 5-53-1) who was gifted a third TD because the Browns threw him into the end zone late, might be the 1.1 player right now. I avoided him in draft season because I thought he wouldn't get the carry volume but that doesn't matter. The quality of his touches are 2020 Alvin Kamara-esque. (And actually Ekeler would have had that TD earlier, but he wisely slid down short to run clock.)
  • Mike Williams (16-8-165-2) was the No. 7 overall pick in 2017, and he looks like it. If Hill is hurt, there's a case he's the WR2 .
  • Nick Chubb (21-161-1, 1-1-9-0) is great, but Kareem Hunt (12-61-2, 6-5-28-0) still has the better role.
  • David Njoku (7-7-149-1) was a first-round pick in 2017 and, like Knox, could be headed for a breakout.
  • So much for the Raiders as a playoff contender.
  • So much for Allen Robinson as a "can't-fail" player so long as he's healthy, something I believed in the preseason.
  • Khalil Herbert (18-75-0) split carries fairly evenly with Damien Williams (16-64-1, 3-2-20-0.)
  • I didn't watch much of Justin Fields, but the stats are ugly.
  • We had the Patriots in the $6M Survivor pool. Good times! Then again, because we had used the Bucs, our other option was the Vikings.
  • Amazing that in a game where the Pats were down 22-9 midway through the third quarter, missing three offensive line starters, lost a fumble at the goal line for a touchback and in which Davis Mills went for 312 yards, three TDs 10.8 YPA and no picks, they still won. After this and the Justin Tucker field goal two weeks ago, it's obvious our Circa Survivor entry is a team of destiny.
  • The Texans gifted the Pats life on two plays: first, a fake, fake punt, from which maybe they hoped the Patriots would jump offsides, that resulted in the punter being too close to his blockers and punting the ball into the back of one's helmet, and second, a 56-yard field-goal try on 4th-and-4, giving the Patriots much-needed field possession after the miss.
  • Nick Folk was a hero too – the man was 4-of-4 on field goals including two 52-yarders.
  • Bill Belichick put on a clock management clinic at the end of the game, running it down to 15 seconds before getting the game-winning field goal. It might seem obvious from the outside, but teams routinely botch it.
  • Derrick Henry (29-133-3) had a big game, but no targets. A.J. Brown (6-3-38-0) doesn't seem 100 percent.
  • I didn't watch much JAC-TEN, but I'd have expected more targets for Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones. Starting to think Gigachad Urban Meyer might not win Coach of the Year.
  • Sam Darnold (4.8 YPA, one TD, three picks) is showing Adam Gase was not the only problem.
  • Despite the win, Jalen Hurts missed a wide open Quez Watkins for what should have been a huge play and did not look sharp during the portions I watched.
  • Marquez Callaway (8-4-85-2) finally lived up to the preseason hype, but keep in mind one TD catch was on a Hail Mary.
  • Alvin Kamara (16-71-1, 8-5-51-1) had the game we more or less expect from him. The top three backs are him, Henry and Ekeler in some order.
  • The Football Team is bad defensively.
  • Tom Brady (411 yards, five TDs) is coming for all of Peyton Manning's single-season records.
  • No one even attempts to run against the Bucs.
  • I didn't watch much of Steelers-Broncos, though I had the Steelers -1 in the SuperContest.
  • The Lions will go 0-17, but it'll be a strong 0-17.
  • T.J. Hockenson (3-2-22) has disappeared after a fast start.
  • The Vikings offense isn't right, even though Alexander Mattison (25-113-0, 7-7-40-1) is doing a fair Dalvin Cook impression.
  • Davante Adams (16-11-206-1) has a decent case to be the 1.1 in 3-WR PPR leagues.
  • Joe Burrow (throat contusion) looked off late in the game – maybe the injury had something to do with it.
  • When both teams miss game-winning field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime, the NFL should invoke a mercy-rule induced tie. (Full disclosure: I had the Bengals plus three in the SuperContest.)
  • Kyle Pitts (10-9-119-1) is slowly but surely climbing the TE ranks and justifying his preseason ADP.
  • I regret taking the Jets plus 3.5.
  • Winning ugly in Survivor builds the requisite character to take down your pool. People who coast in blowout wins lose the appetite for necessary risk. Adversity is your friend.
  • Matthew Stafford missed some open receivers early, but got into a nice rhythm and carved the Seahawks up in the second half.
  • Robert Woods (14-12-150-0) finally got involved and made plays all day. Hopefully, you didn't leave him on your bench. Cooper Kupp (10-7-92-0) always gets his, and he made a great catch on a tipped ball near the sidelines.
  • Darrell Henderson (17-81-1, 1-1-17-0) was smooth and explosive, but Sony Michel (11-37-1, 1-1-8-0) got his share of work and looked like the better short-yardage option.
  • Russell Wilson (finger) tried to gut it out, but he couldn't throw and was replaced by the more-competent-than-you'd-think Geno Smith. (Wilson is now out for at least a month.)
  • From that brief showing, I'd put Smith in the top half of backups. Recall Smith (a second-round) pick was set to start for the Jets in 2015, but got punched in the face by linebacker IK Enemkpali during the preseason, fractured his jaw and never got the job back from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith was also the guy who started in place of an abysmal Eli Manning, breaking Manning's streak of consecutive starts and angering a lot of ill-informed Giants fans. So no one deserves a break more than Smith.
  • DK Metcalf (5-5-98-2) had a big game due to the TDs, but Tyler Locket (10-5-57-0) is still Wilson's favorite target. (We'll see how much time, if any, Wilson misses.
  • Alex Collins (15-47-0, 3-2-25-0) did a fair Chris Carson impression, but didn't have much room to run.
  • What a sick play by punter Michael Dickson, picking up a blocked punt and re-punting it deep into Rams territory. Almost as good as Hunter Renfrow's hit on the fake punt Monday night.

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Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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