2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 11 – Falcons 29, Panthers 3
When the Falcons came out of nowhere and beat down the Saints, in New Orleans, in Week 10, off a BYE for both teams, we all chalked it up to ‘What a crazy week, huh?’ or ‘Freaking, what happened to the Saints?’
When the Falcons went to Carolina Week 11, in a do-or-die spot for the Panthers, the Falcons punished them even worse than they did to the Saints. Afterwards, the narrative was…’Should everyone in Carolina be fired?’
The Falcons have had two dominant, not lucky, not crazy plays or bad penalties, not bad weather, not back-n-forth type gut-it-out wins – no, they have delivered two pure ass kickings to teams with a winning record…and all we want to talk about is -- What’s wrong with the other team to allow this terrible ATL team to beat them? Our minds will not allow the Falcons to be good in these victories…it has to be something the team that was supposed to win did wrong.
I thought Week 10 over the Saints was kinda ‘things happen’. But, now, after watching this Falcons-Panthers game…I know differently. It’s that the Falcons are playing top 5 or so football in the NFL right now. If we started the season from Week 10 on, the 2-0 Falcons would be a top 5 rated power team…an always solid offense, NOW with a defense that hasn’t allowed a TD all (new/fake) season! The Falcons have won their last two games 55-12, allowing 4 FGs in the process for the opponent scoring.
The Falcons are dominating teams right now…and doing so with ‘nothing to play for’ and going on the road and crushing teams with everything to play for.
I have made my largest bet of 2019 weekly games this week on Atlanta -4.5 over Tampa Bay. The Falcons are smoking hot, and not lucky. The Buccaneers are terrible in all facets and Jameis Winston is always a good bet-against. I bet this line gets to 5+ as the smarter money comes in/you all start betting this (if you do). Do what you wish on it, and don’t cry to me if you lose…I’m just noting, I’m betting this HEAVY.
The Falcons are now 3-7 and with the way they are playing, with a three-game homestand – I think the Falcons could win three in-a-row and get to 6-7, be the talk of the league and save Dan Quinn’s job. This team could finish with 6-7 wins…and all because of ‘defense’, shockingly.
The Panthers never stood a chance here. It was 20-0 at the half, it should’ve been 30+ to nothing. Penalties turning TDs into FGs all game for ATL held down their scoring. Carolina lost 29-3…but this was 40+ to 3 in reality. Carolina is getting tarnished for losing to ‘sad’ Atlanta, but that’s the way wrong narrative that won’t be figured out until this game is long forgotten. Carolina is now 5-5 and likely headed to 6-8 wins and a complete sweep of head coach and GM at the end of the season. Ron Rivera shouldn’t be ditched, but he brought in Norv Turner and this is what you get.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Falcons’ offense is fine/normal…it’s the defense that is killing it.
The Falcons made some defensive coaches swaps/switches around a few weeks ago and they’ve been hot fire the last two weeks off the BYE. In their first 8 games of the season, they were last in the NFL with 7 sacks…less than a sack a game. The past two weeks, they have 11 sacks and 21 QB hits. It’s a totally different defense.
A defense that squashed Drew Brees off a BYE and then dismantled Kyle Allen.
The juicy secret, I think…and why I LOVE them again this week…and why I’ve adjusted all our ROS/ahead performances correlated with it (opposing WRs)…is because the Falcons are using a three-CB grouping that is arguably the most talented in the NFL.
Desmond Trufant (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) is their best CB, and he just came back from injury this game. He didn’t even play in the Saints beatdown.
Isaiah Oliver (3 tackles, 2 PDs) is a talented, 2nd-round pick CB.
And the real key…rookie 4th-round pick Kendall Sheffield (4 tackles), who we (at CFM) had rated as the #1-2 corner in this draft, is now starting in full. It’s a dynamic trio of talent.
Combine great cover guys with a suddenly found pass rush…and solid linebackers – and you have one of the best defenses in the NFL completely out of nowhere.
The Falcons-DST against the Bucs/Winston? Believe that.
This may end up being a shock defense to use Weeks 14-15-16 with CAR-SF-JAX, if they beat TB this week and keep the momentum and then go rematch on the Saints Week 13.
-- This game was perfect for Brian Hill (15-30-0, 1-8-0/3)…the Panthers cannot stop the run. But, Hill did little with the opportunity. It’s been the story of the Falcons run game all year. Hill did rush for a TD, but it was called back.
The next two weeks are not great for Hill (TB and NO) and by the time CAR comes up Week 14…Devonta Freeman could/should be back.
Also, Qadree Ollison (4-11-1, 0-0-0/1) is just as solid as Hill and built more for goal line work…and he stole a TD here. A Hill-Ollison 50/50 split ahead wouldn’t shock me until Freeman returns.
-- Russell Gage (2-32-0/4) is a human that exists on an NFL field for Atlanta, so there is always some hope for a few targets, but people act like gage is some ‘on the come’ star waiting to be born. He’s just a guy like Bisi Johnson, Tajae Sharpe, Chester Rogers, etc. Solid receivers who might get random spillover targeting in a game. Nothing special to see here.
-- Reggie Bonnafon (2-8-0/3) lined up at a quasi-WR on one play, ran like a wheel route/straight shot deep and beat his coverage by 2-3 yards and Kyle Allen put the ball right on him for a possible 20+ yard play or even 40+ yard TD, but Bonnafon looked up and saw the safety coming over and botched the catch.
Three Bonnafon notes…
1) Norv Turner is proven too stupid to see a talent like Bonnafon and use him uniquely. This one time he did here…it was smart, open…and Norv will not use the play ever again this season, I bet.
2) Mike Davis is CMC insurance if the Panthers are in the playoff hunt.
3) Reggie Bonnafon is going to be the guy taking more touches when the Panthers lose again and fade away and throttle back on McCaffrey touches later in the season. It would be time to see what the young guy can do.
-- Curtis Samuel (4-25-0/7) is Kyle Allen’s go-to for points/big plays, but they can never connect, and the other team knows this too and are pushing extra coverage over time-to-time. Samuel is a random WR2-3 schedule permitting, which we thought the Falcons matchup was divine a few weeks ago going to Week 11…but now, the world has shifted, and the Falcons are great on pass defense.
-- Just an IDP aside…
Falcons 2nd-year SAF/LB out of Yale, Foye Oluokun (7 tackles) played 30 snaps (40%) and had 7 tackles. Last game prior, 29 snaps and 8 tackles. That’s a pretty hot ratio of tackles to snaps. Keep an eye on if Oluokun get pushed into the starting lineup at all.
Snap Counts of Interest:
70 = McCaffrey
07 = Bonnafon
39 = Br Hill
14 = Barner
12 = Ollison
43 = Stocker
34 = Jaeden Graham
53 = Julio
52 = Ridley
31 = Gage
12 = Hardy
10 = Blake
07 = Zaccheaus (the talent of the non-Julio/Ridley to watch)