2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 1 – Titans 42, Browns 13
What a weird game. With two minutes left in the 3rd-quarter, the Browns had just scored a TD to close the lead to 15-13 Titans. The Browns had taken back the momentum. It wasn’t a pretty game but it looked like the Browns were starting to chop away…and then a little screen pass to Derrick Henry on the first play of the ensuing drive, a defender slips and the next thing you know Henry goes untouched for 75 yards and a score and it all went downhill from there.
The Browns defense alternated between solid+ and couldn’t tackle all game. Cleveland felt like the better team, but Tennessee just stood their ground and let the Browns melt right into their hands. Gone was all the enthusiasm on the Browns sideline and in the stands. It was a dead, defeated team going into the 4th-quarter, where everything fell apart.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Obviously, everyone wants to know about Baker Mayfield (25-38 for 285 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs). What happened?
I just rewatched it all. I didn’t see any major issues. I saw Baker being Baker. They came out throwing from the word ‘go’. Seven of the first 8 plays were pass attempts. Baker was accurate and in command. He was zipping the ball around. A couple times receivers didn’t make the catch, but nothing too crazy. It was all fine as Baker threw his late 3rd-quarter TD pass, which should have been his second of the day. Baker should’ve gone into the 4th-quarter with 200+ yards passing and 2 TDs (but just had one, as one nice early pass for a score the receiver twisted around and fell short of the goal line which led to a TD run)…all what you’d want figuring he’d go over the top of 300 yards and add another TD in the 4th-quarter.
But then the screen pass/long TD and the wind went out of the sails. Baker started pressing as the game quickly got out of hand. The late game pick-fest…Baker trying to convert/get drives going for a hail mary comeback attempt. He wasn’t bad/forgetting how to play QB. If anything, Baker is guilty of not doing what Kyler Murray does…sometimes you just gotta take the easy throw on 3rd & long, and punt. Baker tries to make up 20 points on one drive. There is some nobility in it…he’s not accepting defeat. He plays to the final whistle.
For fantasy, it’s fine by me. It’s what I want. I want Baker pushing and pushing pass attempts, whether win or loss. When things are clicking and against better matchups…Baker is going to stack 300+ yard passing games and 2-3+ TD passes regularly. He should’ve had 300+ and 2 TDs here, but he didn’t.
I’m not thrown off by it at all. Unhappy? Yes. But he’ll likely be our #1-2 overall QB for Week 2 against the Jets this week I’m sure. There is no inherent Baker issue. He looks fine and the volume/coaching is ‘for’ him.
Now, if he has an injured throwing hand…we’ll have to see. That would explain some of his misfires in the 4th-quarter, but I was watching him…he wasn’t shaking his hand or favoring it that I saw.
-- Odell Beckham (7-71-0/11) had a solid FF game. I didn’t see any magical connection between he and Baker, nor did I see OBJ just dominating the defense. He was a good WR who got targets and did little with them but make catches for not many yards after catch.
I would like to add… If I owned OBJ in either dynasty or redraft, upon his next big game – I’d sell him off. I could see him as Antonio Brown 2.0 waiting to happen. I don’t think we’ll go half the season before Odell becomes a problem and he and Baker get into a fight. It may happen if the Browns lose this week to the Jets (which I don’t think will happen).
I was hoping this would work well this year for redraft and it still might be great, BUT… Wearing an expensive watch during the game… It’s Antonio Brown all over again. And I don’t think Beckham really loves playing football as it is. If you were looking for him to put in a solid season and be a good teammate after all that transpired this past year…that watch wearing in Week 1, might have said all you needed to know.
I don’t think OBJ will be in Cleveland this time next year. He is VERY cut-able after this year. He might mail it in this year and get cut and just retire early if he gets heat/cut in 2020. I’m not saying he will, but there are some odds of it happening on the table. Most top 10 WRs in fantasy you have no fears on…OBJ is introducing risk now. He couldn’t play it cool for even one week.
Imagine an AB-OBJ WR duo in New England next year…
-- Speaking of Cleveland WRs…I think this offense could find that extra gear when Taywan Taylor is up to speed. Traded for before the 53-man cut downs, he was inactive this game. He can help open this offense up when he’s ready…but I don’t know when that is.
-- The Tennessee WRs are making me shake my head…
Rookie A.J. Brown (3-100-0/4) had two little plays turn into big plays by some mishap and some missed tackles, but what I want to say is…
a) Don’t go after this on waivers. If you have him -- trade him.
b) I thought Brown looked absolutely non-explosive in this game…for a guy who made two long yardage catch and runs.
c) I detected, my Spidey senses tingled, that Brown was playing very timid/scared re-watching it. I’m going to keep an eye on that, but he’s on a watch list for guys that might not be cut out for this. Maybe I was just miss-seeing it.
When I see ‘things’ like that…it’s been DeVante Parker, Donte Moncrief, and Jeremy Langford…all either in college and/or in their early pro work.
I like nothing about this from AJB.
Then to discuss #1 WR Corey Davis (0-0-0/3)…that stat line tells you all you need to know. A wasted top 10 draft pick by Tennessee. And Browns CB Denzel Ward wasn’t a wasted top pick -- he had no issues with Davis this game.
-- Respect to Delanie Walker (5-55-2/6) but I trade this hot because I don’t believe in this Tennessee passing game at all. If I can use Walker + ____ player to get into Kelce-Kittle…Engram…I do it.
-- Derrick Henry (19-84-1. 1-75-1/2)…I heard mostly all bad expert FF commentary on him the week leading up. He was on a lot of fantasy ‘bust’ lists for some selective stats pulled from his 2018. I was betting on what he was capable of and knowing Tennessee was now fully committed.
That one paid off and saved my butt in spots for Week 1 in some places where Baker fell down.
-- Jayon Brown (2 tackles, 2 PDs) played a good game, but dropped back into coverage a lot which was smart to defend this offense…but it hurt his tackle counts too. We have to watch and see if he is playing a different style for the defense than last year…and that would hurt because I have high projections on the talented Brown. Not to panic…yet.
Snap Counts of Interest:
51 = Chubb
13 = Hilliard
09 = D’Ernest Johnson
45 = Corey Davis
30 = Sharpe
26 = A.J. Brown
37 = Jonnu Smith
34 = My. Pruitt
29 = Delanie Walker (another reason to worry)