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Thursday Night Observations
I posted this from a bar in London late last night. We were out with friends, but I had to doublecheck that Travis Etienne was playing (he wasn’t on the injury report, but with $250K on the line, you don’t chance a random last-minute scratch.) On balance, these look like good decisions — at least as of Friday morning, but of course I won’t know for sure until the Giants play tomorrow.
The one that could come back to bite me is Etienne (22-83-0, 3-3-29-0) over Dobbins, but also Rhamondre Stevenson is questionable, and I could still use Dobbins if somehow he were scratched (or if Damien Harris plays, and I change my mind.) Etienne finished with 14.2 points, which isn’t bad, but it hurt that he got stopped twice at the goal line, and Trevor Lawrence, who I sat, got the sneak. Had that TD gone to Etienne instead, I’d feel like a genius rather than just reasonably happy so far with my calls.
I feel good about sitting Christian Kirk (1-4-0, 6-3-22) — he was the No. 10 PPR receiver coming into the game, but it was a bad matchup in bad weather against a tough defense, and I have Christian Watson going in Miami which will hopefully be a shootout.
One other thing I’m happy about (besides the Jets being horrible) is that despite the modest stats, Lawrence looked great again, and the Jaguars stayed in the playoff hunt. I’m going to need him in Week 17 against the Texans, again a less-than-ideal game-flow matchup, but certainly better than a weather game in New York.
Lawrence (21.55 fantasy points) made good decisions all game, and I liked the designed runs and 51 yards on the ground. Expect him to be a top-five-ish QB in next year’s drafts.
Etienne is quick and made some nice cuts, but it feels like there’s a piece missing. He’s not finishing runs that well, and JaMycal Hasty (3-1-11-0) is often in on passing downs. Etienne is 5-10, 215 (he’s not some skinny third-down back), so there’s no reason he shouldn’t run with power too.
One other negative was Zay Jones (4-1-14-0) in the Steak League. That hurts, but you can’t get three TDs from your waiver pickup every week.
Evan Engram (8-7-113-0) has been a monster the last few weeks, and given the total lack of prodution at tight end of late, he’s probably powering a lot of playoff runs. I’ve dogged Engram ever since the Giants wasted a first-round pick on him in 2017 because he doesn’t block, is often hurt and dropped passes at the worst possible times for years. But tight ends are late bloomers, the Giants systems of which he was a part were abominable, so maybe the Jaguars have found something. The guy runs a 4.42 40 at 240 pounds.
Zach Wilson makes Sam Darnold look like Joe Montana. Not all of it was his fault — he was under relentless pressure — but even when he had time or bought some by rolling out, he couldn’t make a play. With 10 days until their next game, there’s a good chance the Jets get Mike White back. Even if they didn’t, it’s a bad sign for Wilson that undrafted CFL journeyman Chris Streveler immediately jump-started the offense when he entered the game. Luckily Wilson has some skills on which to fall back should the NFL dream not pan out.
No one on the Jets did anything. Zonovan Knight, Garrett Wilson, nobody. That was another reason to sit Lawrence and Kirk — the Jets don’t push opponents to keep up.
Overall, what a feeling of relief. It would be tough to be in London, trying to enjoy the Christmas festivities, knowing I left 40-point Lawrence and 30-point Kirk games on the bench with 250K on the line! Now, the challenge is to stream games to my phone tomorrow during the big Christmas Eve party tomorrow. (And no matter how much we eat and drink, I have to be lucid at 5:30 local time to double-check all the lineups.)