2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 10 – Bucs 30, Cardinals 27
If I’m the owner of the Arizona Cardinals, I just have to look at myself in the mirror and think…I have, arguably, the worst head coach in the NFL…BUT he brings with him the best young arm-talent QB in the history of the league and an exciting offensive fireworks display…and no defense – and I can sell a lot of tickets and jerseys with this. I’m just never going to win any Super Bowls with this guy (Kingsbury) but at least we’ll have a relevant, exciting team to watch! But titles? What titles? Titles? You’re talking titles with this guy? No way. Hey, it’s better than Wilks-Rosen for the next five+ years.
I’ll probably be snarky to Kingsbury for years, but don’t mistake that for an utter love of all of this for fantasy. We just need Kingsbury sending out Kyler-Kirk-Isabella for years with no defensive support and just playing indoor arena football for fantasy numbers.
Freddie Kitchens is getting roasted as a rookie head coach, and is probably one-and-done, and yet football people giving a ‘pass’ to Kingsbury is comical. We choose what things we want to get outraged by and then grab facts to support it. No one cares about Arizona football, big picture, in the public…just like Jacksonville football (for example)…so, no one cares about Kingsbury’s befuddling ways. Just stay out of Kyler & Friend’s way for years for fantasy…and then I don’t care. I want you to stay as the empty suit head of all this. We’re watching Texas Tech Kingsbury play out right in front of our eyes in the desert at the pro level.
How they lost this game is a comedy of errors. Two of the worst head coaches in football faced each other in a game Week 10…and they each begged the other to take the game and win it, and one of them had to and did. Arizona should’ve won this game by 20+ points. It was another game where Arizona lived in the red zone and then would blow it via turnovers, passes to little used tight ends into the sun for dropped TDs, no adjustments on defense watching the screen pass festival of Tampa Bay…and it goes without saying that the 2019 Cardinals will always have 1-2 HUGE 3rd-down defensive stops negated by a silly penalty and another 1-2 offensive 1st-down conversions taken away by dumb penalties due to off-beat clapping on the snap counts or someone lined up wrong. It is so frustrating to watch this team every week – so good/talented but so poor in execution. If you think Freddie Kitchen’s teams make a thousand mental mistakes…you should watch some Arizona football. The 3-6 1 team that should be 5-4. The 3-6-1 team that will finish 6-9-1…please God let them get to 6 wins for my over/under bets.
Tampa Bay wins another inexplicable game…credit to them, I guess. They are 3-6 and on their way to 5-6 wins this season. Post-game/Monday, Bruce Arians commended Jameis Winston (30-48 for 358 yards, 1 TD/2 INTs) for his great performances of late/last two games and thus setting up the Winston contract extension – the Buccaneers are burning their own selves to the ground with Bruce Arians. It’s shocking how poorly NFL teams are run. It defies logic, but how many really smart bosses/businesses have you worked for in your lifetime? We think the NFL has to be better because we love it, but they’re no different than any other big business – just 15-25M people watch them work every week, so we get to see it and critique it every week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Kyler Murray (27-44 for 324 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT, 3-38-0) stock report…
Again, I say…I’ve never seen a young QB this good. There is no one aside from maybe Patrick Mahomes that has a gift of arm talent/vision as Kyler, and I am starting to think Kyler is better. I mean…the moment Kyler sees anyone open he’s like throwing a homing device to them…on the money, in stride. The most accurate arm I have ever witnessed in my life. The only thing holding him back from blowing up for the NFL/FF is that most times with this unimaginative/supposedly creative offense…receivers aren’t open with the same routes run I see by 20+ teams in the league. I know it’s shocking that Pharoh Cooper, KeeSean Johnson, Maxx Williams can’t get open on their own regularly/ever…but it’s true. Once Kyler has Kirk-Isabella-Fitz (hopefully)-Hakeem Butler running the routes…maybe it will be the most unstoppable offense in the history of the NFL.
As for now, Andy Isabella (3-78-0/3) is still a Ferrari in the garage too much. This offense starts to hum when he’s in, which of course means he’s out (63%) more than he’s in (37%) on the snaps this week. Isabella again caught a medium pass and then YAC’d it for a major gain…a little 10-yard toss, left wide-open over the middle, because even TB knows they don’t throw to Isabella…Izzy caught the pass, stopped on a dime, making defenders or slide away with momentum/unable to cut like Andy, and then Isabella just darted away for 40+ yards of extra terra firma…like on his 88-yard TD the prior week. It was a stunningly simple play but brilliant in the fact of (a) get the ball to Isabella, and (b) let him do the rest. It really cannot be that complicated to see and plan this, but it’s like pulling teeth with Kingsbury.
Isabella, of course, came out of the game after his big catch-and-run. Maybe he needed a breather? Not in the rest of the series, including on a key 3rd & short play.
Amount of jet sweeps Isabella ran in this game, the ones that have been so effective…? Zero.
Again, what do coaches think when they see all this during prep week/practices and then don’t play/get these guys the ball in games? The whole Arizona offense changes with Isabella…and the lack of him his accredited to looks-cool-but-empty-inside Kingsbury. I wish Kingsbury would just take a nap during the game and let Larry Fitzgerald coach the team in-game.
The lack of Isabella…another key reason the Cardinals lost. Self-inflicted wounds and the trigger pulled (or not) by Kingsbury.
Kyler was stunning here; he keeps getting better. You want to use him against SF for fantasy next game? What do you want me to say? Can I ask Kingsbury if he plans to use Isabella for 70%+ of the snaps first and then get back to you? Let’s see what Russell does to the 49ers tonight and reassess, but Kyler v. SF, at SF, cannot be seen as a great matchup Week 11…but is Kyler getting to be matchup-proof because of what he can do?
YTD, Kyler is #8 in FF PPG among all QBs (4pts per pass TD).
-- Back to Andy Isabella (3-78-0/3)…
He did play the 4th-most snaps among all Arizona WRs in this game, but just 37% of them. Up from 21% Week 9 and 2% Week 8.
Isabella, in limited time/catches, has averaged 83.0 receiving yards per game the past two games. Want me to blow your mind? Isabella is the #20 fantasy WR in PPG, non-PPR, over the past two weeks. Ahead of Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, OBJ, Edelman, Keenan…among others. Obviously, a tiny sample, but just having fun…
This offense will go to the next level when Isabella becomes a full starter. I bet Larry Fitzgerald will be the one to suggest and offer to move positions if needed to make it happen.
-- OK, enough sugar plum fairy talk…we got David Johnson (5-2-0, 1-8-0/1) issues to deal with.
The Cardinals started in a two-back set alignment, which was unique and smart and did little. DJ and Kenyan Drake (10-35-0, 6-6-0/7). Four plays in a row to start the game with that alignment. 5th play…just DJ. Johnson was kinda treated with the proper respect, returning from injury…only when they gave him the ball he still looks like he’s running in molasses.
When I watched this live (and all games this year)…it looks like DJ is running so slowly. Then I re-watch it and it isn’t as bad as I remembered. Still, DJ is wildly ineffective as a runner this year in this offense…whether it’s him or the offense. You’re getting almost nothing with him as a runner, and hopes and dreams lie in him, as a receiver – of which he saw 1 target here, caught it but fumbled (the game away near the red zone).
Arizona/Kingsbury doesn’t need David Johnson to do what they do. He makes them better but he’s not necessary. All the other big name RBs have coaches absolutely depending upon their touches (Cook, Kamara, CMC, Zeke, etc.). Nothing really changes if David Johnson is not on the field or active for the game. DJ is a great receiver but against bad pass defenses, Kyler just attacked deep. Didn’t need the DJ dump offs/mismatches.
Johnson is going to be pass target dependent valuable to make FF numbers, and that didn’t happen here. He looks slow off the snap, but then fine 3-4 steps in but he rarely gets 3-4 steps before he’s tackled. I don’t know if he’s still kinda hurt, doesn’t care as much, or just has a perfect body so it doesn’t look like he’s really moving fast but is (that is a thing). Whatever it is, something looks off.
Kalen Ballage sucks about as much as any RB in the NFL. Everyone on the planet sees it, except his head coach and O-C. Miami sticks by Ballage Week 10 not matter how bad it gets…Arizona gets back star RB David Johnson this week, and Kenyan Drake plays 45 snaps and DJ 30 snaps.
Kingsbury’s offense doesn’t need a power RB to grind clock. They just need a decent RB who can make plays in the passing game. DJ or otherwise. Johnson is in serious FF trouble here now and later. ‘Trouble’ as in…you don’t know if he’ll get 5-10 touches or 15-20 touches in a game next week or the week after.
In 2020, the Cardinals would be very smart to trade him. They don’t need him for this offense. In 2019, Week 11…I assume a split role with Drake and pray for targets. It has come down to that. DJ owner’s one hope…Johnson was rusty coming off his injury and gets back at it this week. Another split role/low touch result Week 11…and we’re in huge trouble with him for FF – an RB1 guy who just went ‘poof’, up in smoke to RB2-3.
-- Arizona attacked Arizona with screen passes…while the Arizona defense tried to not let the Bucs’ star WRs beat them (congrats on that plan). Thus, Ronald Jones (11-29-1, 8-77-0/8) put up a great PPR day.
My one note would be…this is how Arizona plays defense – protect deep and get gashed by everything else (but they didn’t get beat deep!!!). I don’t know that this game plan will be utilized by TB next week against New Orleans…and, thus, RoJo may go back to his lower PPR ways.
Peyton Barber (11-43-1, 1-4-0/1) took as many carries and was more effective running the ball, but that’s not likely to hold up either. This is a Jones-led backfield still.
-- You got scared off by Christian Kirk’s (6-138-3/10) weak Week 9 result vs. SF, didn’t you? Worried to start him Week 10…maybe you benched him? You’re not a bad person. Kirk had not scored a TD all season, and then this. I knew it would be a top 10 fantasy week for him, but I didn’t expect all this.
Now, you’re going to rush back in…just in time for the 49ers game next week? Hard to bench him at this stage.
Kirk is now the #17 WR in PPR PPG on the season (and he missed all that easy schedule for Arizona weeks ago!!)…and is a high-probability PPR WR1 in 2020. We can agree this is ‘Kyler’s guy’ and that it’s a good thing and you’re thankful that I forced you to get him in the preseason and/or in-season and/or hold during the injury? I hope you did…
-- Is O.J. Howard (4-47-1/7) back? I don’t think so. Right before the half OJH had half+ of all his work and was lost in coverage and scored an open TD…other than that he was not a part of this game plan. Like usual.
-- Another week…another Patrick Peterson (3 tackles) looks mortal, fading event. Age (and wealth) is a bitch for cornerbacks. Looks like it has nabbed Peterson.
Snap Counts of Interest:
84 = O.J. Howard
15 = Brate
40 = Ron Jones
22 = Ogunbowale
22 = Barber
67 = Kirk
55 = Fitz
37 = KeeSean Johnson
26 = Isabella
20 = Ph Cooper
06 = Sherfield
45 = Drake
30 = D Johnson