2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 5 – Panthers 34, Jaguars 27
This is the ‘one that got away’ for Jacksonville. They should have won this game. They Jags should’ve won at HOU (lost 13-12) Week 2 and should’ve won here to be on a 4-game win streak and be discussed as an AFC threat to the Patriots. Instead, Jalen Ramsey is a huge lost opportunity and they are finding ways to lose some games.
This was a game the Jaguars should’ve been throttled – on the road against an emerging good/quality/playoff team (Carolina). Instead, the Jags battle back from every bad bounce dealt and were driving for a game-tying/winning score, but a strip sack fumble ended the drive in Carolina territory.
Jacksonville is a dangerous team ahead…IF they can somehow get Jalen Ramsey back or they make a killer deal with the Eagles for Dallas Goedert and Al Dillard. They’re more dangerous with Ramsey, but that’s not going to happen most likely.
If Jacksonville can handle the Saints at home this week, and get to 3-3…then they have CIN-NYJ after that to get to 5-3…leading up to a Week 9 showdown in their second home (UK) with Houston – the turning point game for both teams. Jacksonville could be favored their next four games, and if they win all of them -- they would be 6-3 heading to their Week 10 BYE. We see them getting to 5-4 and finishing with 8-10 wins, with 9 wins the most likely. If they Week 9 vs. HOU in Europe…they can win this division.
…all because they have a franchise QB. More on that in a moment.
All my Jacksonville infatuation should not overlook the emerging, very real threat to win the NFC South, Carolina Panthers. This was a huge win…the kind good teams need to steal/wrestle to the ground and take -- and they did. The Panthers are playing so sound right now…a good+ defense and a not-making mistakes offense (…that I see Norv Turner might blow down the stretch with his weak play calling). We are projecting Carolina between 8-10 wins as well…9 wins as the exact projection. BUT if Cam comes back soon, then they are about 8 wins as the finish. They have two games with the Saints coming up, Brees will be back, in Weeks 12 and 17. The Week 17 game might be for the NFC South crown.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- To further my Gardner Minshew (26-44 for 374 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 7-42-0) pleas from last week and this morning’s briefing notes…
Minshew is NOT just a cute story. He is not another ‘backup takes over and does fine’ story like Kyle Allen or Daniel Jones (for one game) or Mason Rudolph. The NFL is having these QB stories pop up more and more so it’s easy for any of them to get drowned out. Minshew is different. He’s not game managing his way through – he is playing some of the best quarterbacking I’ve seen, rookie or pro, in the NFL.
The fact that Minshew is doing this with little preparation or care from the organization in the preseason (per usual for about every NFL team…ignoring the funny backup QB) makes it even more stunning. Norv Turner CRAVED to have Kyle Allen be his QB. He’s been working with Allen back to his Minnesota days. Daniel Jones is WANTED by Pat Shurmur to take over for Eli. Minshew wasn’t even sure he’d make the team halfway through the preseason games in August. Nor were the experts. This was not supposed to happen.
So, Minshew coming in and putting the entire offense on his back and going 2-2 in four starts with a broken-down offense (prior)…and really should be 4-0 in his four starts – it’s stunning. It’s talent. I mean REAL talent.
Minshew may have the greatest pocket awareness of any QB that I’ve ever seen. He’s unflappable, and he moves around away from trouble like he’s got a sixth sense radar working. He’s made a bad O-Line good. He’s made a stacked, unproductive running game good for the first time in two years. He’s helped make D.J. Chark a star. He made James O’Shaughnessy a viable tight end. All that and he’s captivated a locker room with his leadership and captivated a city with his personality…like he did at Washington State.
Minshew is a brilliant reader of defenses and has the arm/ability to make all the throws/plays. He is about a notch below Baker Mayfield, who might be the best reader and reactor to defenses I’ve ever seen. Minshew can run too…not fast, but smart – two games with 40+ yards rushing in his four starts.
Gardner Minshew is the real deal. The Jags need to move Nick Foles, whom you may know I am the scout/analyst most linked to Foles and promoting his talents from his rookie season through all the dark days. The Jags cannot bench Minshew for Foles (unless the Jags lose a bunch of games ahead). It’s over…Minshew has become the franchise (a la Dak v. Romo a few years back). Hold Foles as a backup/mentor the rest of the season and then trade him in the offseason. You can’t go away from Minshew. It would be a tragic mistake.
And playing for stuffy Doug Marrone…I thought Minshew we be a fantasy QB2 the rest of the season. But watching how fast he is developing -- I’d say he’s a low-end QB1 for the ROS. He’s taking a stuffy offense and just willing it to succeed…and finally Leonard Fournette can run the ball because defenses have to account for Minshew passing.
You’re excited by this Minshew talk, but you’re probably already loaded with FFM QBs…some combo of Mahomes-Baker-Kyler is the most likely FFM scenario. You might have Goff-Dak-Lamar as a QB2 in some spots.
I’m not sure Minshew can surpass any of them for FF in 2019. He might beat Dak and Baker, and Baker the next few weeks (due to schedule) before Baker hits the gas down the stretch on schedule. If you don’t have a high-end QB2/prospect QB2…Minshew is your guy, especially for the price, in 2019.
In 2020+, I assume the Jags will change coaches and start to build around Minshew. We might be looking at the 4th ‘M’ from my Mahomes-Murray-Mayfield guidance in the preseason and back in 2018 (pre-Murray). And Minshew would be the 4th ranked ‘M’…but he’s developing so fast…I better not limit his upside.
Minshew is for real. Marrone is an ‘M’ that might put a minor lid on it for FF 2019, but eventually Minshew will be the franchise QB the team revolves around and he’ll become a solid top 10 fantasy QB, but more likely a top 5 kinda guy. The price is still down, but not for long in redraft or dynasty.
Note…people, by and large, still think he’s a joke. Because ESPN focuses on his funny mustache, they are diverting you from recognizing THEY ALL missed on his scouting (per usual). My scouting report is on FFM for free view if you want to read where I was at January 2019. Because people think he’s a cute, funny faced backup treading water til Foles and nothing Jacksonville matters anyway (not like the great New York hero Daniel Jones) – you can get Minshew as a throw in from any non-Jags fan in deals.
Minshew or Mayfield, for those holding Mayfield in the hole as a 2nd QB in redraft? Baker is going to get squashed the next few weeks, and then the schedule opens up Week 11…and it’s a really good schedule from there. You don’t have time to wait and you want to swap them – I would say to do so this week for the ROS if not for one thing…what if the Jags bench Minshew for a returning Foles around Week 10-11? They might not. If you don’t care about down the road, swap them out this week. Baker is going to get crushed/be junk for FF Weeks 7-10 (BYE-NE-DEN-BUF).
-- Because Minshew is developing so quickly…D.J. Chark (8-164-2/11) can now be trusted as an every week starter…no longer a ‘should I start Chark or ____’?
If you started DJC last week…you likely won and love me.
You might have left DJC on the bench last week and it cost you. I did…for Dorsett in some cases. And it cost me. And I karate punched anything I could because of it.
However, let’s take a step back for three positives…
1) Chark is now real. No more ‘should I…’ questions…or a reduced amount of them. Sutton and Chark are doing what we’re projecting/thinking. We have a real WR1 threat here with Chark!
2) We got Chark (and Sutton) for almost nothing. Many of you landing these guys last year and this year pre-breakout in dynasty…for small investments and now huge payoffs. How great is that?
How are those Best Ball teams with Chark and Sutton (and Pats DST, and Kyler, etc.) doing? You really need to be in Best Ball and drafting in March-July and taking advantage of how far we are ahead of the curve. Let me make you money, please!!!
3) There is an upside still with Chark because he’s only been playing 70-75% of the snaps (73% in this game). He gets left on the field for another 10+ snaps and sees 1-2 more targets…that much more juice potentially to flow.
Note – Chark caught a pass and extended and just missed a 3rd TD in this game by inches. Also, he had a 13-yard catch called off for P.I. Also, every other catch he makes is brilliant. This is not Chark getting a bunch of targets wide open against prevent defenses – this is Chark playing like a superstar. This is SO good. Sorry, if I ranked him too low and you sat him this past week (I was afraid of Minshew’s injury and the Carolina pass rush/top tier pass defense impact on this game).
I’m not sorry that I got him to you for virtually nothing…you bunch of ingrates!
I’m so pissed about not playing him for Dorsett in many places this week I literally pulled a muscle trying to scissor kick an object in my office Sunday.
-- Reggie Bonnafon (5-80-1), yeah…I know him. You would have had him more on the radar, perhaps, as an FFM Draft Guide package subscriber or Dynasty Offseason subscriber.
From my Sept 3rd piece to subscribers:
The Fantasy/Dynasty Deep Sleeper/Key RB ‘Handcuff’ No One Realizes…
Did you know 2nd-year, UDFA RB Reggie Bonnafon (Louisville) was listed as the backup to Christian McCaffrey to start 2019 season (some might show rookie Jordan Scarlett #2, but I believe it’s Bonnafon)?
Apparently, I didn’t know this. I knew he existed and liked his preseason work a lot, but I thought there was no way he’d make this team. Credit to Ron Rivera.
Cameron Artis-Payne was released, finally, this weekend.
The Panthers did not reach for an RB during 53-man cut down weekend.
The Panthers rostered three RBs…McCaffrey, Bonnafon, and Scarlett.
We know McCaffery is ‘the man’. Jordan Scarlett is a try-hard, tough, slow RB prospect. Bonnafon is the interesting one…
Bonnafon is a former dual-threat QB for Louisville. After playing quite a bit his freshman year (with mixed results), he was beat out for the job as a sophomore (2015) by Lamar Jackson.
In his junior season (2016), he converted to wide receiver (because he has really good hands to go with his athleticism) – he caught just 13 passes that season, but five of them for touchdowns…among the team leaders that season in TDs in limited snaps.
In his senior season (2017), he converted to RB and had a nice season working with the mere scraps of rushing attempts leftover from Lamar Jackson’s final year. He was almost second (finished 3rd) on the team in rushing (459 yards) and had 7 rushing TDs (2nd on the team).
Bonnafon went undrafted, but you have to like the Pro Day numbers – 6’1”/212 (a frame that can add 5+ pounds of muscle), 4.52 40-time, 6.97 three-cone, 20 bench reps, 38” vertical. Terrific numbers all the way around.
He spent 2018 on and off the practice squad for Carolina and then re-signed for 2019.
He caught my attention in the 2019 preseason. I’m studying the Panthers-Bears Week 1 preseason game, and am thinking “Who is this Matt Forte-looking dude for Carolina?” I had never really paid attention to him before. I noted how good he looked in my game analysis/notes but assumed he would be a non-factor for 2019 behind the drafted Jordan Scarlett and the eternal flame for Cameron Artis-Payne. I assumed he had no shot of making the team.
Week 2 of the preseason, same thing… He caught the ball better than any Panthers RB in the preseason (ignoring McCaffrey). He ran the ball better, smoother, and more effectively than any Panthers RB in the preseason (and part of the reason is the Panthers have assembled awful RBs behind McCaffrey). Still, I thought this is the type of guy ALWAYS overlooked.
Bonnafon made the team.
He’s also listed as a #2 RB on some depth charts I’ve seen posted. I can believe that because Bonnafon is better in every aspect of the game than scrappy Jordan Scarlett.
Are you heavily invested in Christian McCaffrey for fantasy/dynasty? Today, for me, Reggie Bonnafon is the handcuff…with an upside.
Bonnafon seriously looks like, and works like, Matt Forte – big, upright runner with speed and good+ hands. He is the CMC handcuff, but unless CMC goes down…he’ll touch the ball 1-3x a game. He will never matter to the Panthers unless CMC cannot play.
-- Oh, and I started Curtis Samuel (3-19-0/6, 2-25-0) over D.J. Chark as well in too many places last week.
Before you hate on Samuel…you can’t have a great week every week. Chark was tempered in results Week 4 and then exploded Week 5. Mike Evans put up a zero in a full game Week 5 after scoring a million in a game two weeks ago.
I like that Samuel is getting good looks from Allen, and in this game they finally got him running the ball again. The problem is that his offense is so McCaffrey-centric, that they get a lead and do like Minnesota – run-run-run-screen and forget the WRs.
Carolina has some mild shootout potential in games ahead…and teams should copy what Tampa Bay did to them and just stack CMC and make Kyle Allen beat them. When that happens, you’ll get some shock Samuel games. I’m not over the moon with him, but I’m not giving up because of this one game. Samuel had a TD shot in this game but was doubled on the single worst play call of Week 5 -- Samuel slanting into the middle in the red zone, when he could have been sent to the sidelines where Carolina had the wide side open and Samuel in 1-on-1 coverage, but instead they slant him to the middle right into the safety. Yeah, I was really mad about Samuel over Chark, as many were.
Samuel is a solid WR2-2.5, and useful in BYE weeks ahead.
-- Just a reminder before you start condemning talented players having a bad week or two of fantasy results…
Two weeks ago, you damned Leonard Fournette (23-108-1, 4-29-0/7) to hell -- as a no burst, bust RB you were never going to draft again, and cursed me for making him a key 2nd-round redraft pick.
Today, he’s 3rd in the league in rushing and averaging a mere 5.4 yards per carry.
Sorry, I suggested it…I guess?
-- Joey Slye (0/2 FGs, 4/5 XPs) missed two FG attempts, but one was blocked (a 50+ yarder). Not his best game, but Carolina has full faith and is letting him swing it from 50+ on the reg. Don’t dismiss him. He has a chance to be an FF top 3 kicker the entire year. If people drop him after Europe game this week…he’s one to consider nabbing and upgrading your kicker situation (if needed).
-- Josh Lambo (2/2 FG, 3/3 XP) is the #7 kicker in FF PPG right now. The offense is upgraded with Minshew and he hasn’t missed a FG under 40 yards since 2016…in five NFL seasons, Lambo is 64/65 from 1-39 yards on FG attempts.
He’s available on waivers more than not in 10-12 team leagues because no one respects Jacksonville players.
-- The Carolina defense is sending mixed signals on possibly being good+.
They are 3rd best in the NFL in passing yards allowed (thus part of my lower DJC rankings last week). Only NE and BUF are better. Carolina is #2 in the NFL in sacks, only NE better. There is a lot to love here.
I don’t love their schedule, but I could get behind it as a bridge to Cleveland in a few weeks.
Week 6 = Jameis, yes please.
Week 7 BYE = this is the issue, CLE on a BYE too.
Week 8 = at SF, I could do that…but I don’t love it.
Week 9 = vs. Mariota, yep!!!
Weeks 10-12 = I don’t like…Rodgers-Ryan-Brees.
For those in need (without CHI or NE): You could use them Weeks 6, 8, 9 and then you want the Browns from Week 9 on. Week 7 would be the issue. There are better DST situations, maybe, that can get you to Week 9 for CLE (if you are interested in that plan).
Also, just an aside to tuck away in the back of you mind/for a later date…or for deep roster leagues in DST despair…
You know who has a really good defense and a great schedule starting Week 9? The NY Jets-DST. No, really…it’s been a good defense. They’ve given up a lot of points to pick sixes/defensive scores…not the defense giving up a ton of points.
The Jets D is #7 toughest in ‘QB rate’ allowed to opposing QBs…ranked up there with the top defenses. Just 5 passing TDs allowed and 4 picks this season. They are also #7 best in yards allowed rushing. They’ve been really good, but they’ve had a BYE, and then the Pats scuffled against them…but then broke them down late. They picked off Josh Allen a ton Week 1. Stifled Baker on MNF Week 2. Fought Brady and Wentz their last two games and gave them occasional fits but the offense couldn’t help. The schedule starting Week 9 is a dream…
Week 9 = at MIA
Week 10 = NYG
Week 11 = at WAS
Week 12 = OAK
Week 13 = at CIN
Week 14 = MIA
Two Miami’s, NYG, CIN, WAS in a six-game streak – that’s golden.
Just a thought to ponder – the NYJ defense grabbed before Week 7 ends, when people realize they have Miami Week 9, and start grabbing them Week 8. We’ll keep watching it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
64 = Olsen
12 = I Thomas
68 = Chark
65 = Conley
58 = Westbrook
19 = Mq Lee
43 = Swaim
38 = O’Shaughnessy
22 = DeValve