Thursday Night Football delivered this week! And by delivered, I mean delivered another sloppy performance that ended with one team clearly better than the other. The final score (34-28) was respectable, but the Eagles absolutely dominated the Vikings all game long. Let’s take a look at a few fantasy-relevant questions we might be asking ourselves after this week’s Thursday Night Football tilt.
Did We Figure Out the Eagles’ Running Back Rotation?
In week one, Kenneth Gainwell led the Eagles’ running back rotation, notching about 62% of snaps, with D’Andre Swift getting about 29%, Boston Scott getting about 12% of snaps, and Rashaad Penny a healthy scratch. This week, things went a bit differently, with Kenneth Gainwell on the shelf and Boston Scott leaving partway through the game with an injury. On TNF, D’Andre Swift finished with 75% of snaps, Boston Scott with 7.7% of snaps, and Rashaad Penny in for 12% of snaps. While certain portions of the running back rotation remain a question mark, we at least know for sure that through two games, Penny sits at the bottom of the totem pole. He barely played and he failed to impress (4 touches for 14 yards). Boston Scott sits right ahead of him, and then it comes down to D’Andre Swift versus Kenneth Gainwell.
Gainwell got the first crack at the RB1 role last week, but he was just okay with it, posting 18 touches for 74 yards (a near Full Mixon). Swift, on the other hand, dominated the (porous) Vikings run defense, gashing them for 31 touches for 181 total yards. Through two games, it seems abundantly clear to me that D’Andre Swift earned the RB1 role, and Kenneth Gainwell the RB2 role. Penny and Scott are therefore relegated to situational rotational playing time, and healthy scratches.
Is Dallas Goedert Slipping Into the Blob?
Dallas Goedert finished week two with 8.2 fantasy points. If you’re a Football Absurdity Podcast listener, you know that we are on the hunt for 4 catch, 40-yard tight ends who have a chance to score. 4/40 is 8 fantasy points, but somehow, Goedert’s 8 fantasy points are infinitely worse: he had 6 catches on 7 targets, for 22 yards. This comes one week after he gets one target, for zero catches, and zero yards (duh).
I am now officially worried about Dallas Goedert. After all, this was the big squeaky wheel game for him: 6 catches for 22 yards. I won’t even look up the average air yards per target because at most we are looking at like 5 yards per target. That’s absurdly terrible, and not conducive to production at all. After all, we are looking for ten yards per reception, so 5 yards per target won’t cut it. The offense is now built around the receivers, the beefed-up running backs, and Jalen Hurts doing the Tush Push. Goedert is not quite relegated to The Blob yet, but he is displaying some strong Blob-like tendencies, and I am worried about him backsliding into Blob territory. For now, you have to keep starting him but monitor his games closely.
How Long Until Alexander Mattison Loses His Job?
Alexander Mattison had 89% of the running back carries, and 75% of the running back targets in this one, which means his 11 touches are a big disappointment, and his 37 yards mark an even bigger disappointment. That having been said, I don’t think that this performance was enough for the 0-2 Vikings to start looking around for another running back… but this week combined with last week certainly is enough. He finished with 44 yards on 14 touches last week, putting him at 25 touches for 81 yards on the season, or 3.24 yards per touch (that’s very bad).
But, the only problem: is there a back on the roster that can supplant him? C.J. Ham is a fullback, Kene Nwangwu is on IR, and Ty Chandler is a return specialist at heart. Enter DeWayne McBride, my 2023 draft crush (you betcha that I figured out a way to jam a McBride hype piece in here) who the Vikings currently have stashed on their practice squad. Given that he’s easily a better running back than Alexander Mattison, the Vikings would be smart to move on to him, and soon.
Is Justin Jefferson Really That Good?
Is Jordan Addison Really That Good?
Jordan Addison finished this game with 3 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown, after notching 61 yards and a score in week one. This made him the eighth wide receiver to get over 60 yards and a touchdown in each of his first two games, and the fourth since 2000 (joining Deion Branch, Calvin Johnson, and Terry McLaurin). He’s incredibly good, and he’s quickly taking snaps and targets from K.J. Osborn, who just isn’t very good. There’s not much to say here: yes, he is that good, and you should be looking to “buy high” on him this week after his big performance.
[Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dallas_Goedert_TD_catch.jpg, cropped under CC BY SA 2.0]