Tue Sep 10 1:25am ET
By GUERRY SMITH
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) carries for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) sacks Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan tries to bat down a pass by Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) as offensive guard Zach Fulton blocks in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans appeared poised several times to open the season with a victory over the favored New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.
J.J. Watt laid the blame on the defense for letting it get away.
Houston led 14-3 at halftime, 21-10 in the third quarter and 28-27 with 37 seconds left, only to let the Saints pull out a dramatic victory on a last-second field goal.
Watson had turned in a memorable performance, and his third touchdown pass gave the Texans a last-minute lead. But Drew Brees completed three straight passes and Wil Lutz drilled a 58-yard kick as time ran out to hand Houston a frustrating 30-28 loss.
''That's on us,'' Watt said of the Texans defense. ''There's a lot of things that are on us. To hold them to three points in the first half and then give up 27 in the second, that's just terrible. And for our offense to give us the lead with 40 seconds left, or whatever it was, and not win the game, we'll take 100 percent of that blame, as we should.''
The Saints scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half, punted only once after the break and added two field goals in the final minute.
Lutz's winning kick spoiled a huge night from Watson, who ran for a 21-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play and completed 20 of 30 passes for 268 yards. His final two passes were perfect strikes to DeAndre Hopkins for 38 yards and former Saints receiver Kenny Stills on a 37-yard post pattern as the Texans went 75 yards in 13 seconds to take one last late lead.
''As long as we can keep it within range, we are in every game, and that's what Deshaun Watson gives us,'' Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. ''He's a great player, he's competitive, he's calm and he's poised. He's got all that.''
Hopkins had eight catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
The Texans also ran for 180 yards, more than the Saints allowed in any game last season. Carlos Hyde, picked up in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of August, had 83 yards on 10 carries.
It wasn't quite enough in New Orleans.
''Every loss is tough,'' Watson said. ''Getting blown out, losing by 14 or losing on a last-second field goal is very tough. That's football. You've got to give that kicker props. He did a great job for them.''
Converting six consecutive third downs, Houston scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives spanning the end of the first half and the start of the third quarter. The streak ended when Saints safety Marcus Williams intercepted Watson's lofted pass down the sideline for William Fuller.
The Texans gave up four sacks on their next two possessions, leading to punts.
''We have to shore some things up,'' O'Brien said. ''They got us on a couple of blitzes. We did block them at times, but we have to block them more consistently and the ball has to come out a little quicker at times.''
Watt did not want to hear anything about the offense's shortcomings. Double-teamed constantly, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year did not have a tackle or an assist for only the second time in his nine-year NFL career.
''It's very frustrating, but that's something you have to deal with when you're in the position I'm in,'' he said. ''You've got to find a way to get there, and tonight I didn't. I take that on me. We'll feel the emotions of this for 24 hours, then we'll move on to Jacksonville, but right now it does hurt.''
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson had himself a fantastic game against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2. Robinson caught all six of his targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He looked unstoppable against the shaky Raiders secondary, but who knows if that will happen again. Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and De'Anthony Thomas will all be in the mix at No. 2 with Tyreek Hill (shoulder) sidelined. Robinson will be a hot pickup in most leagues this week, but he should be viewed as a WR3 for Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce started off a little slow in Week 1, but turned it around quickly in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. Kelce caught seven of his nine targets for 107 yards and one touchdown in the victory over the Raiders. Sammy Watkins was the only player targeted more (13), but wasn't able to do much with his chances. Kelce will be a TE1 against the Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3. The Ravens were torched in the passing game during their Week 2 matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement (shoulder) left the Week 2 game on Sunday night against the Falcons with a shoulder injury and is questionable to return. Clement is Philly's main kick returner, and he was injured early in the third quarter on a kickoff in which he fumbled to give the ball right back to Atlanta. The 24-year-old has yet to be used on offense in 2019 and is buried on the running back depth chart behind rookie Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles. Clement should be on the waiver wire in all leagues. Sanders could return kicks the rest of the night if Clement doesn't return.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis struggled to get going once again in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Davis was able to haul in three of his five targets, but only turned them into 38 yards. It appears that new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is very content with riding the running game and spreading the ball around in the passing game, which is bad news for Davis owners. Davis, who remained relevant a season ago solely due to his elite volume, appears to be an afterthought this season for fantasy. In deep leagues, he may be worth a hold for one more week, but don't hesitate to drop him for a more promising player in shallow leagues.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries has not gotten off to the start many expected with his new team in 2019. Humphries caught both of his targets for negative one yards in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. After the game, quarterback Marcus Mariota mentioned Humphries as someone they needed to get more involved in the offense going forward. Despite these comments, Humphries should be left on waivers in all formats after this week.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins jumped into the No. 1 receiver spot for the team in Week 2, but unfortunately disappointed fantasy owners. Watkins was targeted 13 times, but only caught six passes for 49 yards and was unable to find the end zone. He had a huge three touchdown game in Week 1, but couldn't get anything going against the Oakland Raiders. He should rebound nicely against the Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3 that allowed 349 passing yards in Week 2.
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker caught four of six targets for 32 yards in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Despite a lackluster fantasy performance, Walker once again led the team in targets. While his upside may be limited by the pace of the Titans offense, Walker should continue to be the primary target of quarterback Marcus Mariota going forward, which will be enough to keep him in TE1 territory.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry had another strong game in Week 2, rushing 15 times for 81 yards and a touchdown and adding two catches for 12 yards. Surprisingly, the Titans seemed to use Henry less as the game went on despite his success on the ground. Henry's usage and touchdown upside will continue to keep him in the high-end RB2 range this season. Henry will get a matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a short week this Thursday, and his success against them has been well noted over his career.
Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis does not seem to have much of a role on the team's 2019 offense thus far. Lewis rushed three times for nine yards and caught his lone target in their 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Despite trailing in the fourth quarter, Lewis was still not utilized much by new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. It appears that he is nothing more than the backup to Derrick Henry at this point, making him a drop candidate in all redraft formats.
Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro went 3-for-3 on his field-goal attempts, including hitting a 53-yard strike with a second left in the game to beat the Broncos 16-14. Much has been made in the offseason about the Bears kicking problems, but on this day the kicker saved the game for them. Pineiro also connected from 40 yards in the first quarter and then nailed a 52-yarder in the second quarter. Pineiro has connected on all of his kicks thus far this season and this game-winning kick certainly should be a confidence booster. The Bears radio announcer Jeff Joniak already has nicknamed the young kicker Eddie "Dinero" Pineiro. Eddie "Money" will try and keep it rolling with a favorable matchup against the Redskins at home in Week 3.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) were both injured on Sunday night in Week 2 against the Falcons and are questionable to return. Tight end Dallas Goedert (calf) also left and is questionable to return. It has predictably affected quarterback Carson Wentz's performance, as he's just 4-for-9 for 37 yards and two interceptions with some of his favorite weapons dinged up. Neither Jeffery nor D-Jax were targeted before they left the game. If they can't return, Nelson Agholor, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins will need to step up. Zach Ertz will also be heavily targeted by Wentz.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (knee) was unable to get anything going on the ground against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2. He rushed nine times for eight yards and added three receptions for 48 yards through the air. Both Williams and LeSean McCoy struggled to get anything going in the ground game. Williams left during the fourth quarter due to a knee issue. It's unclear if he's going to miss time or not, so fantasy owners will have to wait and see. Williams will be a RB2 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, assuming he's able to suit up.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 28 attempts for just 154 yards and one touchdown in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Mariota did add five rushes for 32 yards on the ground, but he appeared to be more timid in the passing game than we saw a week ago in Cleveland. The Titans are content to just grind the clock and play defense when the score permits, rendering Mariota nothing more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy. The Titans and Mariota will have to rebound from this poor performance quickly during the short week before they travel to Jacksonville for Thursday Night Football.
The Chicago Bears Defense put forth an excellent effort but barely survived as the offense rallied with :31 left to beat the Broncos 16-14. The defense held the Broncos offense in check most of the game but things got interesting the second half. The Bears offense struggled to sustain drives and the high altitude began to effect the vaunted defense as the Broncos rallied from a 13-3 deficit to take the lead on a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play. The team picked up only two sacks in the game, one by Khalil Mack. But the unit recorded their first takeaway of the season when cornerback Kyle Fuller picked off Joe Flacco in the red zone to stifle a possible scoring drive. The Bears defense is legit and will have a juicy matchup against a rebuilding Redskins offense in Week 3.
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton caught only two passes for five yards in the Bears gritty, come-from-behind win over the Broncos 16-14. Burton has missed most of training camp plus the first game of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery and a groin injury. Burton did not fill up the box score, but his presence in the running game was felt. The threat of Burton on the field also opened up some easier throws for quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Health will be key moving forward but Burton should be able to produce more than five yards in upcoming games.
The Washington Redskins Defense didn't have an answer for the Cowboys on Sunday. They did pick off Dak Prescott once, but they only got to him for one sack and allowed him to complete 86.7% of his passes. Prescott launched three touchdowns, and Ezekiel Elliott rumbled for 111 yards on 23 rushing attempts with a touchdown of his own. The end result was a 31-point showing from Dallas that proved to be too much for Washington's offense to keep up with. Up next for this unit is a Bears team that actually appears to be a favorable matchup. Mitch Trubisky has not looked good in Chicago's first two games, and if Washington is able to neutralize the Bears' rushing attack, there is the potential for some success in Week 3.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller once again was not heavily featured in the Bears offensive game plan as the team came from behind to beat the Broncos 16-14. Miller made only one catch, a quick pass, that went for only two yards as his snaps were limited for the second straight game. Miller has been struggling with an ankle injury suffered in training camp and clearly is not up to speed in coach Matt Nagy's eyes. Miller caught seven touchdowns in his rookie season and was widely expected to take a step forward this season. But that progress has completely stalled and fantasy owners may need to move on from Miller until his snap-count rises.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (hand) will be examined by a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Sunday night after leaving the Week 2 game early in the first quarter against the Rams. Brees' right thumb collided with defensive tackle Aaron Donald's hand, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback couldn't even grip a football on the sideline, which is an obvious concern. It's unclear if Brees will travel with the team to practice all week at the University of Washington before their Week 3 game against the Seahawks in Seattle. He finished 3-for-5 for 38 yards and an interception and ruined a lot of fantasy owners' weeks with his injury. If he can't play next week, backup Teddy Bridgewater would get the start but would only be worth starting in two-QB leagues. Brees' injury is a huge concern for the fantasy value of all of New Orleans' skill players on offense. Stay tuned for updates on his injury when they come.
Chicago Bears tight end Ben Braunecker caught two passes for 24 yards in the team's 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2. With the Bears scaling down their offensive game plan and starter Trey Burton playing limited snaps, Braunecker came through with some key catches. When 100%, Burton is the unquestioned starter. But that may take a few more games and the Bears offense moves smoothly when it targets the tight end position. Braunecker is not expected to dominate the targets but could be in line for more modest production in the weeks ahead.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught just one of his seven targets for a 49-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Though Diggs saw plenty of targets, Kirk Cousins was abysmal all afternoon and the pair were unable to get anything else going on the road against the Packers Defense. Diggs caught another touchdown in the game, but it was called back upon a booth review discovering a phantom offensive pass interference on Dalvin Cook. Though it's encouraging to see Diggs get some usage and have some success in this contest, he should be viewed as a low-end WR2 until the Vikes' passing attack shows some signs of life. The Oakland Raiders are an enticing matchup in Week 3 but volume remains a concern for Diggs.