2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 1 – Raiders 24, Broncos 16
I sat down to watch this game live…to get a good look at money jumping into my bank account with all the bets I had on the Broncos. The ESPN Texans-Saints game ran long, and you couldn’t take your eyes off it…and by the time that game ended, they switched over to Oakland and I see the Raiders knocking on the door/punching in an early TD. Wait…what? I thought Denver was going to hold hapless Oakland to -10 yards total offense in this game? How did this happen? Must have been opening drive, Week 1, rabid fans…it’ll be fine. Denver will rise up from here!
I couldn’t enjoy my Very Deep Sleeper reports from years ago, Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams, fulfilling prophecy (Tyrell for a second time). I couldn’t enjoy the fulfillment of my claims on Courtland Sutton a year ago that you thought I must have been a little off on (sorry, right again!). Nope. All I could focus on was how bad the Denver DST was and how all my bets were going up in smoke and how my ‘over’ win total on Denver was a possible flush down the drain.
Shaking all that off, I knew I needed to re-watch this game and see what the H happened to the Denver defense…but based on a focused watch Monday night, I had already given up on them. It was so bad against a favorable opponent (so you think) that I didn’t see ANYTHING positive with the Denver defense to hang my hat on. I rewatched this game almost solely to see if there was any redeeming value in their DST going into Week 2.
Otherwise, re-watching this…it wasn’t as bad as I thought overall. Denver really should have won. They shot themselves in the foot time and time again with penalties. They dropped a short simple TD pass midgame which forced them into a field goal instead. The Raiders had to play the perfect game, at home, to sneak out of there with a win. Denver had no intensity. Oakland was fired up. Denver was the better team overall…you could see it. Oakland just bobbed and weaved and played a smart, great game and beat a better team. Not vastly better, but better.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- OK, the Denver DST…
Here’s the problem(s) beyond watching a ‘nothing’ defensive effort Monday night…
First, defining the ‘nothing’ I saw = It wasn’t ‘a mess’. It wasn’t missed tackles, a lucky couple plays, too many penalties, too many weird turnovers putting them in constant bad field position. It was Denver could not stop Oakland. The barely pressured Derek Carr ever the entire night and they could not stop the run game when they needed too. They were on their heels and their pass rush was slow and ineffective. Maybe Oakland wins the AFC West in 2019 with this great juggernaut…but if you don’t buy that -- then this is a Denver issue.
There was ‘nothing’ positive or under-the-radar to hang my hat on with Denver’s defense. They gave me nothing. Jacksonville (as an example, Week 1) just didn’t play, they quit and they faced Mahomes. I’m not sure if the old Jags defense is lurking to be unleashed -- I at least have that delusion/wondering still alive in the back of my mind. With Denver…I was scared to death of the ‘nothing’ I saw. Not that they’ll be awful…that they’re nothing like the 2018 Bears/nothing like they were in the preseason.
I don’t need ‘good’ or ‘OK’ Denver…I wanted ‘great’. I can find ‘good’ everywhere every week.
The problem beyond this…
A lot of my love for Denver’s D relied upon the addition of free agent CB Bryce Callahan into the mix. The duo of Chris Harris and Callahan would be the base for a front line to get after the passer. Callahan was inactive Week 1 (injury). I thought he’d play. I thought Week 2 for sure, but now Denver is admitting there is a potential worse problem with Callahan. Denver went from all-star Callahan on the other side of Harris…to 2nd-year CB Isaac Yiadom, who was burned the entire night.
The game plan was simple as a re-watched it… Wherever Chris Harris was…Oakland ran the pass play the other way. When Harris was on Tyrell Williams…he wasn’t getting a look. He had that one sweet catch with Harris behind him…but that was Harris smartly leading Tyrell to the middle for the safety to pick that gift off, but the safety never moved and Tyrell leapt for a nice/big play and Harris was pissed. I initially thought Harris must have been a letdown…nope. He was as good as ever. I take that away, sorry Mr. Harris…it was on everybody else.
Oakland lined up Waller as a WR to take on Yiadom a lot…and it was so smart by Gruden. Basically, Gruden lost AB…and replaced him with Waller. The moment Harris stayed on Waller or just didn’t chase Tyrell – the pass was likely going to Tyrell. Oakland beat Denver with brains…and Denver could do nothing about it, and that’s why (with the poor Callahan outlook), I have to make a big boy decision and cut and run from the Denver DST…one I chased for weeks in August. One I thought was so brilliant. After one week…I’m done.
I can and will do that with DSTs, make quick swaps, because if I’m too hair triggered…it’s OK. I’ll find a defense to run with at some point or I’ll just stream them on matchups. I’m totally comfortable doing that. Not comfortable doing it with QBs and TEs, but DSTs is my normal flow anyway. I didn’t want to do this right now, but I feel like it’s the right way to go now. If Denver rises up next week…it’s fine, I’ll have found another love to work with. I really would be shocked if Denver becomes ‘2018 Bears’ next week or in subsequent weeks without Callahan…or even with based on this ‘nothing’ here.
Denver couldn’t stop the run well. They have terrible interior linebackers and the D-Line looked a half-step too slow. Again, I had nothing positive to point to here…except Chris Harris is still great. Also, I’m downing them…they weren’t terrible – they just weren’t exciting, filled with potential, unlucky…they were just average.
I like the Green Bay DST as an alternative because (a) they are almost 100% available, and (b) it’s one of the defenses I saw ‘everything’ (not nothing) to love from Week 1. I’m taking a shot the Packers are the Broncos I was looking for. I get a great D-Coordinator. Nice talent all over the depth chart. A real offense to support the defense. A nice home field advantage all season. And I saw ‘it’ Week 1…even if it was a head fake.
You want to go Tennessee DST…I got no issue. You want to play BUF or DAL or CLE or CAR on Week 2 matchups, you’re not crazy.
I’m going into Green Bay looking for a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand. Next week, this time, I might be sneaking/tiptoeing out the door with my pants and shoes in my hands making a quiet run for it.
-- The Very Deep Sleeper boys… YES! I love it when my scouting proves out. And I’m happy for the players themselves – they’ve deserved this.
It’s why I’ll never be in the NFL personnel business as an employee and why I stopped even thinking about it. I had Waller and Tyrell years ago. I laid out detailed cases. I was especially brilliant on Tyrell with my ratings on him coming out of Western Oregon (he went undrafted, and the Chargers cut him as a rookie…but no one else signed him). NFL teams could have taken no-risk/cheap shots at this…and even the ones who had them didn’t really want to push them.
It took Jon Gruden to make use of these guys that could’ve been so much bigger years ago. I think of all the players the Chargers and the Ravens tried to push ahead of these guys and it makes me mad. *Waller had personal issues mixed in, so the Ravens get a pass…they did try a little a few times.
Darren Waller (7-70-0/8) is the Evan Engram replacement I pushed to you. This is not going away; it’s only getting bigger. There are many other Waller’s out there to convert to TE weapon if they just got their head’s out of their asses.
Tyrell Williams (6-105-1/7) can be a star if given the targets…he’s going to get them now. Very tough schedule ahead is my only hesitation on Tyrell. But round one goes to Tyrell. I’m so happy and so excited about what might happen here with Tyrell.
-- I’m down with Josh Jacobs (23-85-2, 1-28-0/1). I just don’t think he’s as valuable as his ‘name value’. I mean, he’s totally fine. Potential top 10 NFL runner of the ball given all the touches. He has that Zeke-like quality…but so did Carlos Hyde a few years ago, and on Monday night against New Orleans. Jacobs is good. He’s more solid ‘B’ than A+. He’s not David Johnson or Saquon or Kamara or Fournette or Henry, etc.
I worried he might be more B-C grade because of his weak measurables, and maybe he is a B-C argument…but he’s tough, athletic enough, and will get the Lamar Miller/Houston all-the-touches treatment whether he should or not. He’s a great human with an incredible backstory. I hope he’s great. I just didn’t think he was worth the Dynasty Rookie Draft price. I still don’t, but he’s good.
Devin Singletary is highly talented and about to get the same treatment/touches from his team/coach, but he doesn’t have the ESPN ‘buzz’ so you think I’m a loon on it…but Singletary is a B-C talent, maybe a ‘B’ (the real forced missed tackler, you missed, PFF), who is going to get the whole offense like Jacobs. Singletary is the Jacobs at half the price.
…but I’m totally bought in on Jacobs being ‘good’, where I was wait-and-see prior (for the price).
-- Finishing out the Raiders notes…
A masterpiece game by Derek Carr (22-26 for 259 yards, 1 TD/0 INT). I so like Carr, the human. I just can’t love him for fantasy yet. This offense is not built for him to go off. And not sure he’s a ‘go off’ type QB.
-- When I said Courtland Sutton (7-120-0/8), in 2018, was the best WR prospect I might have ever scouted…you were intrigued. After 2018 season, you lost faith.
Oh, yea of little faith.
I don’t know Week 1 DSTs, except the Patriots, very well…but I know my player scouting. Better than anyone in the world. The fact that you don’t love the timing on when they hit and don’t have a big enough roster to fit them all…it’s a burden to carry for you ;)
Flacco-to-Sutton = WR1.5 all year. Possible WR1 coming…like in the Mike Thomas/Keenan Allen/DeAndre Hopkins-type way – all throws going to him and the other team knows it and can’t stop him. Denver doesn’t strike me as THAT type of offense, so I have to lean Wr1.5-2.0
-- Don’t give up on Phillip Lindsay (11-43-0, 4-23-0/6) so easily. Be a buyer in PPR on the cheap, like RB3 cheap. I should’ve put him on the ‘buy low’ list. One of the best ‘buy low’ failed RBs from Week 1.
You want a talent, a mini-Kamara, getting 10+ carries and WR-like target counts. People are quitting him already…I’m buying in PPR.
-- Noah Fant (2-29-0/5) had a very encouraging start here. He played 81% of the snaps. The first play of the game was a Fant jet sweep!!!
People…do not lose faith because he didn’t have Darren Waller numbers his first game. He’s a talent, and Denver has seen it and is trying to use it.
And don’t lose faith in Denver, either, Rabbitt. This is a good team that played a bad game…that when they adjust around that 2nd CB situation…they’ll be a 9-7/8-8 fringe playoff contender. It’s a good team. Got beat on the road, totally outsmarted…and still had chances to win all 2nd-half. They played a choppy game on the road versus an energized opponent…and still should’ve won.
Snap Counts of Interest:
58 = Waller (100%)
55 = Tyrell
41 = Ryan Grant
16 = Renfrow
34 = Lindsay
30 = Freeman
23 = Maxx Crosby (and very effective)
4 = Justin Hollins