2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 10 – Steelers 17, Rams 12
There was a moment in this game…
Like, how do I describe it?
That moment where you just ‘know’…maybe the moment you knew you were quitting your job because ‘X’ happened, or you were breaking up with a person in a relationship when ___ occurred…or the reverse – the moment you knew you found the love of your life (like when you first discovered the FFM website). I can remember the moment I decided to quit my job to pursue FFM full-time. I know the millisecond it happened…it was like the earth paused and a force played a heavy ‘press all keys down at the time’ sound on an organ/piano. Almost like the space above me shone brighter alerting me to what was happening.
My moment here…realizing the Los Angeles Rams really do suck.
There are reasons/excuses for the Rams sucking…a brutalized O-Line and several key injuries on defense. There are reasons…but I just wanted to believe Sean McVay was going to work his way through this and overcome.
If McVay does, from here, he deserves Coach of the Year. The Rams lost the rest of their O-Line in this game and couldn’t do much before that either. The loss is obviously a ‘moment’ for me, but the final score wasn’t THEE moment.
The moment was…midway into this game, the Rams pulled Jared Goff, who looked hurt, so they took him to the sidelines on a key 3rd & 2. Blake Bortles took over…and ran a read option play, as the clunky, slow QB should (???)… The shotgun snap was mistimed, Bortles’s fake handoff was off, and then he tried to run for the 1st-down…and was wiped out. The Rams followed that up, 4th & 1, from their own 29, with a fake punt that wasn’t a true fake punt…it was the punter adjusting into a shotgun snap, looking over the defense, thus clueing the defense in to what was happening for 10-15 seconds, and then taking the snap and dropping back to pass. Shocker…the pass was picked.
The ‘moment’? It wasn’t the loss, or the Bortles run, or the dumb fake punt attempt…it was the Bortles play as a fresh reminder – “Oh, yeah…the Rams purposefully sought out Blake Bortles and kept him on the roster and thought he was a good idea! I almost forgot that was a real thing that happened. Check, please!!” When I saw that Bortles play, it all became crystal clear…and then McVay saying it was the play they had planned afterwards? Icing on the crap-cake.
You cannot be an offensive/coaching genius and willingly pursue/secure Blake Bortles as your backup QB for Jared Goff. First, it was Sean Mannion, who is terrible and now Bortles…are you trying to lose? Where is the sense of ‘just in case’? You spend too much money on Todd Gurley, then spend too much money on Malcolm Brown and then burn a higher draft pick to get Darrell Henderson – you’re three deep at running back, the least important position in the starting 22, and you still can’t run the ball…but at QB your big plan for Goff is Bortles as the insurance policy. A la Shark Tank…I’m out.
The Rams were awful in this game, and still coulda/shoulda won. They scored a defensive TD on the opening drive and never scored a TD again in the game. Nice. Still they had a final drive to try to win the game. Sean McVay always says ‘we’ll learn from it’ after every loss – well, welcome to freaking grad school…you’re going to have a lot of losses to learn from ahead. You and you’re too top-heavy payroll, paying Gurley like he was the key to everything…with a known knee problem. Sweet decision making. I project the Rams will be 8-8…because for all the dumb decisions they are putting on display combined with all the injuries…and they’re still better coached than most teams in the league, which is a comedy and a tragedy.
I don’t know how Pittsburgh does it…they look terrible to me most every week and they’ve won four in-a-row. Granted they shoulda lost at least three of those games, but they are finding a way to win. Kudos. If they beat Cleveland Thursday, I’ll believe they are going to get 9-10 wins and get to the playoffs. If they lose to the Browns on TNF, I think they will scuffle to 8-8 and possible see Cleveland bypass them in the standings in short order. Huge game for both teams this TNF.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First thing I wanted to note…Mason Rudolph (22-38 for 242 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) played a helluva a game here. Not in the sense that he became a star QB blossoming before our eyes, but more of a Ryan Fitzpatrick…you don’t want to take him lightly/guts of steel performance a team can rally behind.
I keep toggling back and forth on Rudolph…looks terrible, looks gutsy, he looks lost, no-wait he’s starting to get it. Rudolph is not rolling over and dying. This offense is dreadful. They have no run game. JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the most overrated top WRs in the NFL, yet somehow Rudolph pushes through and has 11 TDs/4 INTs on the season and a 93.0 QB rating. I don’t think he’s a franchise QB, but he’s serviceable, and tough/resilient…and that works in the NFL against as weak/weaker opponents.
-- Jared Goff (21-41 for 243 yards, 0 TDs/2 INTs) will take the arrows, the criticism for this loss and the sluggish offense but it’s somewhat unfair. The O-Line is broken beyond repair. Thus, they cannot run the ball. Cooper Kupp is dropping passes. And the topper was a beautiful pass on the last play of the game, 4th & 10 from midfield, Goff threw a bomb under duress/getting blasted 50-yards downfield right into Josh Reynolds’s hands for the game winning TD, but as the ball came in the DB grabbed Reynolds’s arm, and also pushed/hit him in the chest, all right in front of the referee who was like 2+ yards from the play right in front of his face, and in a game where every other play was pass interference…there was no call here. Like, what are we even doing with PI and challenges and replay? I get that they ‘let them play’ late, but why do I need 700 other penalties from minutes 0-58 in a game, but at the most crucial time…all is fair in love and war?
You cannot trust Goff for fantasy ahead…his O-Line is dead, and Todd Gurley is nothing anymore. It’s going to be dreadful but there will be a good amount of Matt Ryan-esque numbers in games against middle and lower opponents. The problem is…Goff has one good matchup the next six weeks.
-- Me and Jaylen Samuels (14-29-0, 3-7-0/11) had this meeting post-game: https://youtu.be/k6U-euq9v3E
I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. Go off, run free…go be the James Conner owner’s handcuff…let them add Trey Edmunds and Tony Brooks-James while they’re at it.
I’ve said my peace on this plenty the past two weeks. Call me when Tomlin is no longer the coach or Samuels is on another team. Utterly ridiculous. If you don’t think he’s a good runner of the ball…why are you not using him as a pass game weapon as a TE/RB/FB/WR then? I’m not going to waste my time anymore.
…until the next Conner injury, and he’s sitting there on waivers…and, I mean…come on – I’m desiring Brian Hill for God sakes this week. I have no shame. No absolutes.
-- Speaking of wasting time, Todd Gurley (12-73-0, 0-0-0/4)…ugggghh. He hasn’t had more than 75 total yards in a game since Week 1. He has not rushed for 100 yards this season and has caught 1 pass total the last 3 games.
Now, he’s not seeing touches in key spots for ‘reasons’ and his terrible O-Line has gotten even worse this week due to all the injuries. Here’s me dealing with Gurley for fantasy at the airport: https://youtu.be/wg5lIpQkoOg?t=165
And, Darrell Henderson (4-4-0) is suddenly a waste of time because the magical Malcolm Brown (5-10-0) is back from injury. How to run the ball with no O-Line…hmmm? How about keep your fastest RB on the bench and bring in your slowest RB who hasn’t played in weeks to roll in the 4th-quarter. Sounds great…is that plan on the same page of the playbook marked: ‘Blake Bortles Option Plays for Critical Moments’?
Henderson had one value…’if Gurley gets hurt’. Now, we don’t know if it would be Henderson or Brown in that instance – and we don’t know if it would even matter behind this O-Line.
-- The Steelers WR report…
1) Diontae Johnson (4-64-0/6) is the best WR on this team and it’s not even close. But he’ll always be muted to some degree, as long as Tomlin is there, by the JuJu shadow.
WR3 the rest of the way in this dull passing game.
2) JuJu Smith-Schuster (3-44-0/6) was completely outplayed and was totally afraid of Jalen Ramsey. Between his manhandling him on the field and then the taunting outside the lines…JuJu knows he got served and I think he had his ‘a-ha moment’ that he’s really not that great…not worthy of being a pizza spokesman.
Being in proximity to Antonio Brown does not a star make.
JuJu is #40+ in PPR PPG this season…they drafted as a #5-7 WR overall in redrafts guy.
JuJu isn’t bad, it’s just he was elevated to a status he didn’t deserve.
WR3 the rest of the season.
3) James Washington (6-90-1/7) has been the best PIT WR to own the past two games…5.0 rec (5.5 targets), 79.5 yards, 0.50 TDs per game. The whole ‘Rudolph will wear out his college buddy with targets’ thing that never materialized weeks ago… It has arrived, and it is real.
WR3 from here on in…a shock possibility.
Targets the last 4 games for PIT WRs:
24 = JuJu
23 = Washington
17 = Diontae
-- What happened to Cooper Kupp (0-0-0/4)? The Steelers ran a lot of ‘safety over’ doubles on him and when he did have a chance to make plays, he missed them. Two drops, one easy, one hard and had a 20+ yard play he was P.I.’d on versus letting him make the catch.
I guess there is fear that teams double Kupp more…I mean, they should, it makes sense. And Jared Goff being smart sensed this and went elsewhere.
-- #26 Mark Barron (10 tackles, 1 PD) played an inspired game…motivated by revenge against the Rams. Barron only plays hard when it’s a national TV game or this ‘revenge’ motif. This week, on TNF…probably has 10 more tackles.
-- We’re getting to a problem spot with the Rams-DST. Facing the Bears this week is great. Then they have Lamar-Kyler-Russell-Dak-SF after that. I’d play the Rams-DST this one last week and then done.
They’ve been good lately (facing weaklings) but they’re going to have no support from the offense ahead + the tough schedule.
-- The Steelers-DST is where it is at. I fought it all year and missed it. Among the league leaders in sacks and turnovers since Minkah Fitzpatrick joined the team. Sure, the schedule has really helped…but the schedule is even easier the rest of the way – IF the Browns cannot get it together. If the Brownies roll the Steelers Week 11, then there might be some choppiness ahead with CLE-ARI Weeks 13-14.
Snap Counts of Interest:
41 = Samuels
21 = Edmunds
10 = Brooks-James
54 = Everett
25 = Higbee
57 = Gurley
12 = M. Brown
08 = Henderson