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Week 1 Disaster Recovery: Mike Evans


mike evans fantasy football dynasty analysis

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds.

This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about benching, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be focusing on one dud a week, and touching on a few others briefly. There will be two major qualifiers for these players: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player must be considered a must-start in most formats.

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An UnEvantful Sunday

Mike Evans' Week 1 stat-line: two receptions for 28 yards on five targets.

Here’s what Mike Evans has going for him: he’s a damn good receiver and one of the NFL’s most dangerous red zone threats.

Here’s what he has against him: he plays with two other incredibly talented pass catchers and a quarterback who can’t get any of them the ball.

Jameis Winston isn’t good. This was his chance to prove us all wrong. The Bucs hired a head coach that we know is a good coach. We have proof of it. Going against an improved, but not scary, San Francisco secondary, Winston had to show us something to make us buy into him and this passing offense.

At almost every turn, save for a few touchdown passes to Cameron Brate that didn’t count, he failed to do so. Winston completed 20 of his 36 passes for 194 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. His touchdown pass to Chris Godwin was decent. His other touchdown was a picture perfect pass right into the hands of his receiver: Richard Sherman, a cornerback on the other team. Winston completed two passes to Evans, both solid passes, albeit easy ones. The three incompletions that went Evans' way were forced balls that weren't very close to being completed.

In Winston's defense, he didn't get much help. He was running for his life on most of his snaps. The San Francisco pass rush brought it, and the secondary was solid as well. Chris Godwin was the only Tampa Bay pass catcher who had a decent game, grabbing three of his six targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. OJ Howard, the other big option in the passing game, caught four of his five targets for just 32 yards. Five other players received targets for Tampa Bay on the afternoon, including all three running backs. Winston spread it around on his 36 targets.

That doesn't bode well for Evans. If Jameis Winston is throwing the ball 36 times in this offense, you can't expect all of those throws to be good ones. Keep in mind that game-flow benefited Evans and the passing attack in this matchup. Tampa Bay lost the lead at the start of the third quarter and never got it back. Evans isn't the only talented pass-catcher in the offense that needs work. Godwin is an incredible young talent and trumped Evans in every statistical category on Sunday.

Is there a chance that Godwin emerges as Tampa Bay's go-to option in the passing game? Absolutely. If he does, it's unlikely that Evans will return the value owners expected when he was drafted at his late-second ADP. Evans still seems like the number one option in Tampa Bay. A bounce back game will seal that. But unless the entire Tampa Bay offense can have a bounce back game against Carolina, there is a ton to be worried about here. At least one of Godwin, Evans, and Howard is likely to be a major draft bust if Tampa Bay can't produce a top-15 passing offense. This whole unit desperately needs to turn it around on Thursday Night Football.

Panic Level: Medium. 

Again, it's Week 1, so don't panic too much here. Let's look at some other duds from around the league

 

Patience, patience: Davante Adams and Aaron Jones

In his head coaching debut, Matt LaFleur stepped in and helped Davante Adams record his lowest yardage total since October 2017. Well done, coach!

In all seriousness, it’s too early to tell how the season will shake out for Adams and Jones. The Bears have the best defense in the NFL. We’ll give everybody a hall pass for this one. Let’s see how it shakes out next week. If it goes poorly once again, they’ll probably be the lead of this article.

 

Sweating it out: Sony Michel

Sony Michel was a little touchdown dependent last year, but he’s never played like he did in Week 1. 15 carries for 14 yards? It’s a rare thing when a running back can get double digit carries and average less than a yard per rush. You can be a bit concerned that Rex Burkhead played more than expected, but the biggest concern here should be Michel’s atrocious yards per rush.

Owners might be quick to cite Michel receiving the lowest snap share out of the trio at 33%, but that isn't a major concern. Michel never even received 50% of the snaps in a regular season game last year. It's a slight concern that the Patriots aren't putting a bigger load on Michel's plate in his sophomore season, but not the end of the world. He has proven he can produce at a high level without a major share of the snaps.

It’s obviously too early to give up on Michel. But as someone heavily invested in him this season, I’ll be sweating harder than Jordan Peele in that one gif while watching the Patriots next week. Finding the end zone would be ideal, but Michel needs to at least look like a professional running back. Still, if there’s a fire sale on Michel in your league, I’d buy.

 

Abandon Ship

Nobody! It's been one week. If you drafted somebody in the first five rounds and they're healthy, there's no reason to try and dump them because of one bad game. Look into what the problem is and see if it can be solved in the following week. If it can't, then it's time to panic. But don't go trading away Mike Evans for A.J. Brown because of one game.

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