2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 12 – Steelers 16, Bengals 10
Two teams who are so bad they’re looking at changing their starting QBs for their next game…well, they played a game in Week 12 and one of them luckily beat the other – that’s the quick version recap. And I do mean lucky…very lucky. The Bengals were, at a minimum, the equal team here (in ineptitude) and worse case they were better than the Steelers much of this day.
It was 13-10 Steelers, 9+ minutes left, and Ryan Finley hit Tyler Boyd for a sweet pass into the red zone that Boyd started running towards the TD and had the ball knocked out near the sidelines around the 5-yard line. Had the ball just skidded out of bounds the Bengals would have had 1st-down and goal. Had the Bengals then scored a TD to go up 17-13 – there was no way that Steelers offense was going to score a TD in the next drive. It would have been the game winner for Cincy most likely.
Instead, the knocked-loose ball starts heading out of bounds quickly but then dies/turns toward the field/stays in bounds for a Steeler to pick it up and return it for good yardage and totally changed the game. The Steelers should’ve lost this game. The Browns pounced on their hapless opponent Week 12, the first game following the PIT-CLE melee…crushing Miami. Meanwhile, the Steelers luckily limped past their hapless opponent here. A tell for Week 13?
The Steelers have won five of their last 6 games, and really should’ve only won one of them…a come from behind win over the mighty Miami Dolphins. The Steelers are 6-5 and play for their playoff lives versus Cleveland Week 13. The Browns are the superior team, but the Steelers will have quite a wave of emotion…but they have no offense. I think the Browns go to Pittsburgh and win and effectively end the Steelers season.
If the Steelers lose to CLE Week 13, we see them finishing 7-9. If they beat the Browns Week 13, we see them with 8 wins going into Week 17 at Baltimore…and then it depends if the Ravens need that Week 17 game or not. Likely, the Steelers aren’t making the playoffs with a win or loss to the Cleveland Week 13. The schedule is not favorable (three road games in final 4 contests)…plus, the Steelers aren’t very good.
Cincy wants to win at least one game this year, but will they? Week 16 at Miami is about their only hope. I have a feeling the Bengals win a game. They aren’t good, but they have played pretty hard and been close in their last two games.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Had the Steelers changed their QB in this game by putting Devlin Hodges (5-11 for 118 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) into a Mason Rudolph (8-16 for 85 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) jersey and secretly sending him out there…I wouldn’t have known the difference. I probably would have thought Rudolph’s arm was tired because his ball speed and deep shot action would have declined, but it would have been stealth Hodges.
Hodges v. Rudolph as your starting QB is about as interesting a debate as left Twix versus right Twix. The QB was not the issue as to why this offense is so horrible.
Hodges threw a 30+ yard ball that James Washington (3-98-1/7) caught and then did the rest breaking a few tackles, and included a defender falling down, etc. Had that play been called back, Hodges would have been a disaster worse than Rudolph and Washington would have been dropped in almost every FF league. Instead, Hodges will get the job off that one play and Washington is everyone’s FF-sleeper in the mainstream football media.
Not for me.
James Washington is just a gamble that something like a lucky deep ball TD could happen again. Maybe. I have that same hope with Ted Ginn or Andy Isabella.
Diontae Johnson (3-29-0/6) is more dead because running precise routes for a surgical thrower…not happening on this team in 2019. And when JuJu returns, it will be even worse for either Diontae or Washington to get good target numbers.
-- Bennie Snell (23-98-0, 1-5-0/1) is not very good. I know this for a couple of reasons…
1) I scouted him out of Kentucky…big, slow, not great vision/elusiveness. He can power his way to some yards occasionally.
2) He got 23 carries against Cincinnati which should have meant an automatic 150+ yards rushing. Instead, Snell scuffled all game for three quarters and then started turning his 0-2-yard runs into 3-6 more often late and got up to 98 yards rushing by game’s end – it wasn’t pretty or encouraging. It was as unimpressive a 98-yard game as you could have considering how truly terrible the Bengals run defense is in 2019.
James Conner will be out for at least another week, so Snell will be ‘the guy’ in that case – and lucky for him he’s facing a bottom 10 run defense this week (CLE), and next (ARI) if Conner isn’t back yet.
Kerrith Whyte (6-43-0) looked markedly better, more explosive in his PITT debut, but he’s just a satellite back not a main carry threat.
Oh, and some guy named Jaylen Samuels (2-6-0, 3-26-0/3) might see a few screen passes, maybe.
I hope the Browns beat the Steelers by 30 this week for the decisions they’ve made at RB and WR this season, among many other things. The Steelers do not deserve the luck they are riding…luck that will be attributed to Mike Tomlin as a great head coach – he is killing them, in my book. If there is football justice in the world, the Browns will beat the Steelers this week.
-- Ryan Finley (12-26 for 192 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) lost his job for almost beating Oakland and Pittsburgh the last two weeks. OK, makes sense(?). He wasn’t great here, but as I noted last week vs. CIN…his O-Line is so bad he’s constantly has his life at stake every drop back.
Finley is not a top draft pick. Not a runner. And is a Cincinnati Bengal…so, he’ll never get a chance in the NFL stuck here for the next 2-3-4 years as a backup.
Will Andy Dalton matter for FF now returning to the starting lineup? Not really. Same bad O-Line. Same issues with which he left the starting job on. Maybe he beats Ryan Fitzpatrick Week 16. It does help Tyler Boyd (5-101-0/9), who put on a show here. He has a better connection with Dalton.
-- Can you trust the Steelers-DST ahead? Maybe. The data says you can, but I am starting to wonder how good this defense really is.
The last 5 games…
Beat Fitzpatrick, held to 14 points.
Allowed 24 points to emergency starting Brian Hoyer but picked him off 3x.
Beat failing Rams/Goff, holding them to 12 points.
Baker Mayfield was sharp early and kinda sat on a lead 2nd-half, allowing 21 points in a loss.
Held Finley to 10 points here, but it should’ve been 17-20 allowed.
They have been the beneficiary of some schedule grace (Fitzpatrick, Hoyer, Finley) and some nice turnovers-to-TDs, which is great but kinda fluky/random events without a true dominating defense. They face Baker-Kyler-Josh Allen-Darnold the next 4 weeks…all four look a lot better now than 4-5 weeks ago. It may not be the easy schedule everyone thinks.
Snap Counts of Interest:
58 = Boyd
50 = Tate
46 = Erickson
12 = S Morgan
01 = Willis
36 = Snell
22 = Samuels
12 = Edmunds
07 = Whyte