2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 10 – Falcons 26, Saints 9
So…you have everyone’s Super Bowl darlings, the New Orleans Saints, facing a team with no defense/pass rush and a coach we all want fired ASAP. Coming off a BYE, at home, Sean Payton and friends get totally manhandled by a team that had 7 sacks total on the season before this game but sacks Drew Brees 5 times in a blowout victory holding NO to just three field goals of scoring.
I’m going into a looney bin trying to figure out how to bet the NFL week-to-week. The Saints, Colts, Rams all lose coming off a BYE. Vegas cleaned up this past week on the backs of suckers like me. My quest to figure out the patterns of NFL performance will never rest!
Sometimes NFL handicapping…fantasy football…and life are like: https://youtu.be/fsaKwDPBTeM
I was watching this game live, having the Saints as my Survivor Pool pick, and when they got down 3-0 first drive…I was all ‘pffft, who cares’. When they got down 13-3 late 2nd-quarter…I was certain they’d fire right back second-half. When the Saints gave up a TD first play of the 4th-quarter to go down 20-9…I did the time math in my head and was ready for Brees to pull this thing out. When it was 23-9 with 7+ minutes left, I thought Brees could get this to OT. When Atlanta kicked a field goal with 2:32 left to go up 26-9…I was out of math/out of time.
The Falcons didn’t take advantage of some whacky turnovers, etc., to win this game. They came out and punched the Saints right in the mouth. A great win, wonderful execution…and you know they’ll look like $#!& next week as sure as I type this. Atlanta is 2-7 on their way to 3-4-5 wins…or on their way to 9 wins if they play like this the rest of the season.
The Saints go on to face Tampa Bay this week…I should feel sorry for the Bucs having to face this group after this game, but it’s the NFL…who can figure it out? We project the Saints for 10-11 wins and their #1-2 seed hopes just took a real hit here.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What about Brian Hill (20-61-0, 1-10-1/2)…are we to get excited or not?
A few random notes…
1) The Falcons do not possess a good run game team. The 8th worst yards per carry team in the NFL. Devonta Freeman was dying all season behind this O-Line.
2) Hill had 20 carries here but note that the Falcons got a decent lead early and then tried to run the clock out via constant run game – the Falcons never get big leads on teams and are thus able to run the clock. Devonta was out and Hill was alive, and was in the right place at the right time.
3) Hill is a solid talent. Not a future star, but not a chump. Smart runner. Decent breakaway speed when past the first level. Good enough hands. Every time he gets a chance he seems to fare well.
4) Facing Carolina this week…the worst run defense this side of Cincinnati, which is an all-time worst.
5) Devonta is expected to be out for at least two weeks. Might be 3…might be 2…might get shut down for the season because the offense is working better without him (if it does).
6) When has Atlanta just leaned on one RB as a plan? Rookie Qadree Ollison will get his opportunity to see touches. If Ollison gets hot…the Hill story might get sliced in half.
My preview scouting on Hill in 2017:
Wyoming's Brian Hill burst onto the scene in 2015 with 1,631 yards rushing in 12 games and then followed up that breakout season with 1,860 yards rushing in 2016 along with 22 touchdowns. He felt strong enough with his college resume to bolt for the NFL early (junior), which makes sense -- not much more to prove for Hill to make up for all the risk of getting hurt.
Scouts and analysts are left to debate whether Hill is just another one of those Mountain West (MWC) or WAC conference runners who had a couple of huge seasons because they're 'college good' but questionable talents for the NFL…or is he a legit NFL starter hiding behind the small conference bias?
My first thought was the latter (??? – from the end of the sentence it seems like you mean the former, I’m not clear…) – I've seen this a million times recently with these MWC or WAC runners. Kapri Bibbs. Donnel Pumphrey. Seeing how Hill is listed at an NFL size – 6'1/219, I figured I'd take a look to see if there was any 'there' there.
Actually, after watching some tape, I think Hill is a pretty decent RB prospect for the NFL. After my short study for a preview, I'd say he's better than your average WAC conference RB star. I'll be interested to see what the NFL Combine numbers are, but my eyeballs tell me that Hill is around a 4.50 40-time runner. He has a little bit of Tevin Coleman in him…maybe, a lot of Tevin Coleman in him. Coleman had NFL speed coming out of Indiana, but the thing that would always strike me on tape about him was his breakaway speed in the open field. It's weird. Some running backs are fast, shifty from step number one but are caught from behind in the open field. Then there are guys like Coleman who don't grab your attention with the ball near the line of scrimmage, but once they get past the first level they're constantly finding lanes and leaving close-by/close pursuit defenders in the dust. I remember watching Coleman's college tape and wondering how he could keep outrunning defenders in the secondary when he didn't look all that impressive when he first got his hands on the ball. It's like a great horse in horse racing – once they get an opening something kicks in and they just start extending their lead and breaking the will of the defenders chasing them. Hill has a little bit of that in him as well. He doesn't look like a speed burner at first, but then you watch his tape and he's constantly getting away from and pulling away from pursuing tacklers.
What really stood out to me, and it's another characteristic of Tevin Coleman, is that Hill is very hard to bring down. Hill being superior to Coleman in that aspect. He has terrific balance in an instant. What he might lack in elite speed-agility measurables, he makes up for with NFL vision and exquisite balance. You watch a highlight reel or just a chopped up game tape of Hill working in any particular game – and you'll see him hit into contact, whether it be at the line of scrimmage or at the second level, and he'll either break through a solo tackle or if multiple guys have him in their clutches -- Hill never goes down. He often stays on his feet regardless of the count of people hitting him. Many plays involving Hill end with him either dragged out of bounds still on his feet or stuck in a pile and the referee blows the whistle while Hill stands tall among 3-5 D-Linemen trying to bring him down. It's very unusual but noticeable and laudable when trying to scout him for the next level.
Some analysts and scouts are dinging Hill because he only caught eight passes last season. I'm going to say that's more because of the offense Wyoming chose to run. When Hill did get a little swing pass or bubble screen, he looked like he could catch the ball fine. There weren't enough throws to make a sweeping scouting statement for or against -- but from what I see his hands are not an obvious issue right off the bat. When I dive deeper maybe I'll see something, but on my preview everything looked OK.
Brian Hill is an intriguing, mid-major RB prospect. I can't label him a future star, but he kind of strikes me as an NFL running back who comes into the NFL with a little fanfare and then you turn around and the next thing you know he's rushed for back to back 1,000+ yard seasons and leaves everyone asking -- how did that happen? It probably happened because whatever starting running back the team pushed got hurt and then they were forced to go with Hill. That's probably Hill's initial lot in life in the NFL – brought in as a worker, and then one thing leads to another and he's either splitting time as a starter or forced to carry the main workload -- and grabs everybody's attention with his 'shocking' talent.
Tevin Coleman had more draft momentum at this same stage. If Hill runs in the 4.4s at the NFL Combine then he might start to mirror Coleman's draft path – a middle round draft pick that winds up mattering in the NFL. The further Hill gets away from running 4.50 40-time, the further he's going to fall in the draft.
I'm not ready to put a gold stamp on Brian Hill, but after this preview, I'm more intrigued that I was before. I'm very interested to see what he does at the NFL Combine.
My Qadree Ollison scouting from the 2019 East-West Shrine Preview…
(West) RB Qadree Ollison, Pitt (6’0”/225) *Preview Scouting Grade D+
He’d be OK in a spread offense as a straight-ahead runner with size, but never will be a star or three-down feature in the NFL. He looks to be lacking in burst and agility but runs OK straight with a head of steam. Kinda like a smaller Gus Edwards. He might make the NFL as a special team’s player.
This preseason, I thought Ollison looked terrible his first game…just too slow for the NFL. But then he started to show decent vision and ran with more confidence as the preseason went on. I thought Hill might get bumped for the drafted Ollison for the 53-man roster to start the season. Ollison will take some touches now.
-- Russell Gage (4-23-0/5) doesn’t do anything for me, yet. He’s every average #4 WR in the NFL…but now forced into the starting lineup. The Falcons have added a number of WRs to the main roster the last two weeks, I’m wondering if they will start playing them soon and cutting into Gage?
Gage played 62% of the snaps here, giving up some snaps to Christian Blake (15) and Olamide Zaccheaus (6)…and Zaccheaus is the talent here that should get a look because the Falcons are going nowhere, nor is Gage. We all may be talking about Zaccheaus before long. He is not a wee little man (at least one person got/laughed at that).
-- Austin Hooper (4-17-1/5) is set to miss a few weeks as well as Devonta. Luke Stocker (0-0-0/0) is set to start now…and Stocker is of low interest for FF. He is a blocker and not as much a receiving threat. I mean, I’m sure he’ll see 2-3-4 targets..but I don’t expect much at all for FF. However, it could be a Rhett Ellison type situation…
2018 UDFA TE from Yale, Jaeden Graham (0-0-0/0) is also an option for ATL. He had the 3rd-most catches of any TE this preseason (12) and 2nd-most yards among preseason TEs (127). Good blocker. Tough. Semi-athletic…more so than Stocker. But he’s the backup to the backup.
For a visual on Jaeden: https://youtu.be/ltRGHLqOcA4
Pro Day 2018: 6’3.5”/239, 4.74 40-time, 1.59 10-yard (nice), 7.42 three-cone, 10’2” broad, 33” vertical
I’m not saying he’s a star or anything, just a touch more nifty a receiver than Stocker…but Stocker has experience.
-- Jared Cook (6-74-0/10), you can count on if needed. I like what I see on the connection with he and Brees…and I like the chatter that was happening from Cook about the time he spent with Brees when they were both rehabbing from injury. A TE1 ROS.
-- You’re all in a panic about David Johnson’s touches, but guess what…Alvin Kamara (4-24-0, 8-50-0/10) owners are nearing a full scale panic too.
Four carries this game for AK. Do you know how many TDs Kamara has this season? Take a guess. Write it down. I’ll answer it in a minute.
Kamara has not rushed for over 70 yards in a game since Week 1. He last scored a TD Week 3. He’s the #14 PPR RB this season in PPG for fantasy…a tick ahead of Saquon and Lindsay-Mack-Gurley-Howard-DJ-Le’Veon are about to pass him if AK has another dud…or if you pull out the 1 snap game DJ had but leave his zero from last week in.
You’re basically hoping for Kamara what you hope for David Johnson…pass targets please save me!
Kamara has 2 TDs this season. Both in Week 3…no TDs in seven of his 8 games played this season.
-- C.J. Johnson Gardner (1 PD) went from promising top 10 IDP DB a few weeks ago, to playing half the snaps here and registering no tackles. Yikes. Not sure what the issue is, but this is not good.
-- You like the Saints-DST? Not great here. At TB this week should be a bounce back. Week 12 v. CAR is OK. Week 13 at ATL is probably not great. Weeks 14-16 with SF-IND-@TEN is OK but not awesome. After this week, you may need to find something else to run with.
Snap Counts of Interest:
54 = Kamara
17 = Latavius
48 = Ginn
11 = Krishawn Hogan (really? Interesting…)
02 = Deonte Harris
58 = Hooper
31 = Stocker
08 = Jaeden Graham