2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 12 – Saints 34, Panthers 31
I walk away from this rewatch the same way I walked away from the live watch on Sunday, thinking – Are the Saints really as good as we think they are? Not that they are ‘bad’, but do we really think they are ‘great’? An obvious Super Bowl threat?
Their quality wins were scuffling to a 12-10 win over Dallas. Beating up on Seattle Week 3 (when Seattle, to that point should’ve been 0-2 with losses to Cincy and Pitt). Coming back late to beat Houston opening week. Since they snuck past good teams early (except rocked Seattle), they have beaten a collection of TB, JAX, CHI, ARI, TB, CAR…and lost to ATL a few weeks ago. Should’ve lost this CAR game as well. The Saints are 9-2, but it might be more like a 7-4 ‘good’ team, a tough out – but not a ‘force’ to be reckoned with.
Every time they started to pull away from stumbling Carolina in this game, they let the Panthers catch right back up. Carolina drove down to the goal line heading towards the two-minute warning…and couldn’t score a TD. They then missed a chip shot field goal and opened the door for the Saints to drive for the game winning field goal late.
The last three weeks we all expected the Saints to blowout ATL-TB-CAR, but they didn’t. They played to the opponent’s level a lot of the time. I’m very suspect of this team, as far as being ‘great’. Missing key O-Lineman and Marshon Lattimore does not help, but we hammer the Eagles for such things and give the Saints a ‘pass’ on it because ‘it’s the Saints’. I’m just getting a little skeptical that we might have this team elevate too highly in our minds, especially with their key injuries right now.
The Saints are 9-2, and I think they might go 2-3 in their next five games and end up 11-5. A 3-2 finish to go 12-4 is possible, which 12 wins would be key to get the #2 seed. This Saints need the #2 seed…especially if they go to the #3 seed, and then have to play the wild card round for the right to go to Green Bay in January the next round.
Carolina loses this must-win game and effectively ends the season and the Ron Rivera era (at the end of the season). Changes are coming. The Panthers are 5-6 and project to finish 6-10, and then a clean sweep of the GM and Head Coach likely.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Curtis Samuel (1-9-0/4, 4-40-0) had one big positive and one big negative from this game…
Negative = Kyle Allen simply cannot complete passes to him. Whether it’s bombs thrown to far or too short all season, or this game he sailed simple passes over Samuel’s head when he’s wide open short or medium. I have to get away from thinking ‘the targets are good, but man they just missed…if they start connecting…’ No more daydreams if I don’t have to.
Positive = I’m fixated on the 4 carries. This might not be your standard ‘get the WR some jet sweeps’ fare. Samuel is a former star RB in college. Any idiot should be able to figure out that when you give Samuel the ball, good things tend to happen. I’m just positive Norv Turner is not smart enough to be called an idiot.
What else can you call someone who watches a guy run the ball for 5+ yards every time he carries it and then goes games in-a-row without calling the play? Four running plays for Samuel here, a career high, something that should’ve been a minimum since he was a rookie is now three years later, and NOW they try it four times. The yards on each run here? 10-7-10-13.
I know there is a federal mandate to give Christian McCaffrey every touch, but we can’t give the ball to the other guy who keeps running well and has 4.31 speed and was a running star for Ohio State?
For his career, Curtis Samuel has run the ball 22 times for 234 yards, 3 TDs (a TD every 7.3 carries), and 10.6 yards per carry. He rarely gets less than 5 yards every time they run him. Why would you not run him minimum 5+ times a game? I don’t need to be an Ivy League analytics guy to figure out this punch they throw works…well…a lot.
Not for Norv Turner. I’ve seen this with Cordarrelle Patterson.
Not for anyone in the NFL! I’ve seen this with Cordarrelle Patterson on 4-5 different teams. Hell, Tyreek Hill barely gets a jet sweep anymore, despite the results.
I mention all this to note… 4 carries in a game is weird, odd, unusual, attention-getting. What if they might be onto something? If you can get Curtis Samuel taking 4-5+ carries a game…you’re getting good fantasy points before whatever sad passing numbers Allen deals out.
If I know Norv, you bet the ‘under’ of 3 carries for Samuel this week and then 0-1 in games after that.
-- Curtis Samuel has 5 TDs this season and is killing you. FYI, Alvin Kamara (11-54-0, 9-48-0/9) has just 2 TDs this season.
Kamara is the #6 PPR RB in PPG this season, and #14 in non-PPR. Another must have redraft top five pick who isn’t living up to the cost. He’s getting a TD+ worth of dump passes in games to keep him strong. 18 TDs last season…just 2 so far this season.
Isn’t fantasy great?
-- Will we see more Ian Thomas (1-4-0/2) with the season fading away for Carolina? No, that’s not how it works.
With Ron Rivera coaching his last few games, he will pay tribute to his veterans and let Olsen play as much as he wants and get him more touches to try to pad Hall of Famer consideration stats.
Norv Turner will not reduce CMC’s workload either…he’ll increase them to pad Norv’s resume for his next paycheck heist on whatever team wishes to doom by his presence as O-C.
If I were the owner of the Panthers, I would give them a mandate to cut back their workloads and try some young players…or I’d put the players inactive or I’d fire the coaches in-season if they didn’t comply. I don’t want to hear how McCaffrey is a warrior and just wants to be out there – go sell that to me three+ years ago when he skipped his bowl game to protect his draft stock. If McCaffrey can protect his ass, the I as owner, I’ll protect mine and not have my best player taking 35 touches in games for no reason.
-- As owner, I’d like to see Will Grier play…but, again, that hurts Norv’s brand for the future. So, he’ll stick with Kyle Allen (23-36 for 256 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT). Norv doesn’t care about Carolina’s future, when he’ll be fired in a few a weeks. I can’t blame him, in a sense…but as the owner, I step in from all the self-serving stuff to fill my own self-serving needs.
-- Since Week 5, Jared Cook (6-99-1/8) is the #5 non-PPR and #6 PPR PPG tight end in fantasy. Four TDs in his last 5 games. He had 1 TD here; he should’ve had two. This is working and there is no end/slow down in sight.
-- Panthers kicker Joey Slye (1/3 XP, 2/3 FGs) has had a solid season but after a hot start he’s fading off. He missed two XPs here and missed the chip shot potential game winner. Carolina signed a kicker to their practice squad to get ready for a chance. Moving off Slye right now is the prudent thing.
Matt Gay has become the new Slye (bad team but booming long distance FGs with coach’s confidence).
Josh Lambo is always solid.
Matt Badgley this one week…he’s a good kicker + AT DENVER is a boost in the altitude for distance kicks.
Snap Counts of Interest:
43 = Kamara
25 = Latavius
68 = Olsen
02 = Ian Thomas