2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 12 – Bucs 35, Falcons 22
Well, this happened.
I shoved all my handicapping chips into the center of the table on Atlanta -4.5, and Atlanta -4.0, and Atlanta -3.5. And, I lost my ass.
At first, as I saw this game slide away watching it live, I swore off ever betting football week-to-week again. It’s getting to be a fool’s errand…a time-consuming fool’s errand. I can see football talent on tape. I think I can judge talent as well as anyone on the planet earth. I just cannot predict what team will cover what spread in a particular week for any better than a 50/50 coin flip. My wife knows nothing about football and could pick games with as much accuracy the last few weeks. I’ve had good handicapping seasons and bad ones, but mostly rolled up to 52-53% winning percentage seasons and that’s really nothing worth investing my time in.
However, it’s like Fantasy Football…or anything in life. You can give up the chase when suffering setbacks. You can say ‘it’s un-defeatable’…it’s all luck, whatever ‘it’ is. Or, you can take the blow…get mad…throw a tantrum (all the things I did watching this game)…swear off all of it…but then collect yourself and think – there has to be a way to beat this, to be better at this.
Time to go back to the lab and try new things to see what I might discover. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.
I’m firing my computer model for poor performance, like what Atlanta will do to Dan Quinn in a few weeks. Then I’m going to rehire The Computer to come up with a new set of theories…to go back to the drawing board. It’s a game. A success rate of 55%+ is considered good. 60%+ consistently is Utopia. I don’t think you can week-to-week pick at 60%+ for long, but I’m going to explore fresh options on how that might be done.
Really, my big lesson here is – you cannot go heavy on any one weekly game because there are no sure things in this…too many penalties, uncalled penalties, and all teams have talent, etc. Everything was ‘right’ about Atlanta here – amazing last two weeks, while Tampa Bay was falling down. Atlanta going home for the first time in two weeks after two dominant road wins. The Falcons started this game with a quick drive to the red zone and a 3-0 lead, and then Jameis Winston, on cue, threw a pick on his first throw. I knew I was going to win this bet that very moment.
From that moment on, Tampa Bay outscored Atlanta 35-19 and won 35-22…and it wasn’t that close. Atlanta couldn’t pass on one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Atlanta crushed Drew Brees two weeks ago and couldn’t stop Winston here. For his part, Winston threw into danger all game and balls landed in WRs arms in just the right spot or deflected off an ATL defender to a TB receiver (for a TD, this happened in this game). Every little moment went right for Tampa, and they got confident and the Falcons went back to being their same old selves. Atlanta should have ruled this game with a 3-0 start and a quick turnover…at home…playing so well lately. Instead, they rolled over when things started going against them and they got crushed.
Back to the drawing board to figure out how Atlanta can come from nowhere to beat the Saints at New Orleans and humiliate a top offense and then two weeks later, at home, can’t stop the human turnover machine (Jameis). Like, what goes through team’s psyche…or is it just random luck…or is it we should just take all underdogs every week…or do a ‘Constanza’ everything opposite theory? Football weekly betting is the everlasting gobstopper candy…it’s a treat I can work on it forever and it never gets any bigger or smaller. There are worse ways to spend my extra time. I guess I could be doing more charity work, but figuring out betting angles is more fun for me to tinker with for my downtime.
Atlanta falls to 3-8 with this loss, and who knows how they will finish after what they did this week. Maybe 4-5 wins total?
Tampa Bay…same unfigureoutable team. Now, 4-7…probably gets to 5-6 wins and signs Winston to a huge contract extension.
Handicapping and fantasy losses lead to despair but then beyond that it can create reflection, opportunity, and change…if you chase it. It’s just never fun going through the process…just when you think you’ve got the tiger by the tail -- he claws your eyes out in the form of Jameis Winston.
Fantasy Football Player Notes…
-- I bet big on the Falcons-DST here, but they gave up 29 offensive points and registered ZERO sacks…after killing it sacking the QB 11x the past two weeks and allowing no TDs for two straight games…they couldn’t allow enough TDs here. They did get two Winston picks, but didn’t do anything special with them. A huge disappointment.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons shutout the Saints this week…nor would I be surprised if the Saints scored 50+ points on them.
You try to make heads or tails out of the Falcons defense the last three games. I’m a ‘professional’ at this…and I have no clue, obviously.
-- Qadree Ollison (8-20-1, 1-7-0/1) looked like he was in a split with Brian Hill (9-14-0, 3-13-0/4) but really…Hill played 51 snaps and Ollison 23 here. It’s just Ollison got equal touches. Not sure if by design or the game was getting a bit out of hand.
I’m not sure what Atlanta will do this week for RB distribution, but I’d bet on Hill given the pattern the last two weeks…but they should be pushing Ollison more to see what they have. But when are teams smart like that?
Which one to use in Week 13?
If Devonta Freeman returns, looking more likely, then it’s really ‘neither’.
-- Fresh off his bobbled pass-turned INT-turned benching last week, O.J. Howard started and played 51 snaps (77%).
What does 77% of the offensive snaps in Bruce Arians’ offense that scores 35 points get you as a tight end = 1 catch for 10 yards on 2 targets.
Cameron Brate…the thought to be starter since OJH was benched last week? He played 32% of the snaps and got 1 target and no catches.
The TE-duo played 99% of the snaps and combined for 1 catch on 3 targets.
If anyone peddles an offseason story on how Tampa Bay is committed to getting Howard involved more, I’m going to write them a strongly worded letter.
-- Russell Gage (8-76-0/10) has become ‘a thing’ people seem to be interested in for PPR. I am not, really.
In his 4 games as ‘starter’, Gage has averaged 5.5 rec. (7.0 targets), 44.8 yards, and 0.0 TDs per game…10.0 PPR PPG.
It’s better than nothing, but not by much. Gage is there, available for targets…has double the numbers/activity in big defeats/throwing a lot 2nd-half. If you see ATL getting whacked this week…Gage might land 5+ catches for 50+ yards.
-- Mike Evans (4-50-0/8) had those monster games a few weeks ago, propelling him to the #1 scoring WR in fantasy at the time YTD. However, in his last 3 games, Evans has fallen to 4.0 rec. (6.7 targets), 67.0 yards, and 0.0 TDs per game.
The second you start to hate Evans, he explodes. The moment you think you’re winning, he falls. You just plug him in every week and hope for the monster weeks.
-- The big Scotty Miller follow up from his promising prior week… 1 catch for 8 yards on 1 target here. Winston only has eyes for Godwin-Evans, and then everything else is random/not a priority.
-- Matt Ryan (23-46 for 271 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) faces one of the worst pass defenses in the league…and cannot throw a TD. Hell, he could hardly complete a pass…the Bucs secondary looked like the 2018 Bears against these overrated sad sacks from Atlanta.
Since Week 7, in 4 games, Ryan has 3 TDs/3 INTs total passing and two sub 190-yard passing games…and flirting with falling below 60% Comp. Pct. over that stretch. Ryan crushed some weak pass defenses early and is struggling with any team putting up a fight on defense of late.
Snap Counts of Interest:
74 = Ridley
64 = Gage
49 = Julio
51 = Hill
23 = Ollison
51 = OJ Howard
21 = Brate
33 = Ron Jones
15 = Barber
14 = Ogunbowale