2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 5 – Ravens 26, Steelers 23
An odd little game here. It looked like the Ravens were about to blow the Steelers out but some Lamar Jackson unlucky throws/tipped passes/snatched out of the receiver's hands turnovers kept setting the Steelers back into the game. It really looked over when Mason Rudolph was knocked into another universe…I thought he had died for a second…by a big hit after a throw. However, the Steelers rallied behind a 3rd-string, UDFA rookie QB and came back to take the lead late, then the Ravens hit a last second FG to tie, and then Baltimore got a lucky turnover in OT which set up a game winning field goal and a fortuitous win. Neither team played very well, but kudos to the Ravens for surviving it.
The Ravens are a real fraud team right now. A 3-2 record but crushing Miami has them with a respect they don’t deserve. They shoulda got beat by Arizona Week 2 and then they are lucky they didn’t lose this game. Lamar Jackson is sagging as a passer and the Ravens defense looks atrocious. They will be lucky to go 8-8. The AFC North is so bad they might win it at 8-8, and if they can get to 9-7 they might just get the division title. We see more 7-8 wins here, but 9 not impossible.
Pittsburgh is a funny team to get a handle on. Very good O-Line, but a crap running game behind dull James Conner. Nice WRs but 2nd and 3rd-string QBs working it. A solid defense but also some holes that get exposed. The Steelers might have had a chance at getting into the division race strong but this loss at home really stings. Assuming they lose on MNF with Devlin Hodges at QB Week 6 and fall to 1-5…we see 6-8 wins with 7 wins the most probable. Too many things going against Pittsburgh right now and poor coaching at the top of the list.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Devlin Hodges (7-9 for 68 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is someone that impressed Mike Tomlin in the preseason. I don’t mean that in the generic way. He’s a big fan. I think he likes him better than Rudolph, honestly. Hodges showed an ability to keep up with the NFL game in the preseason. I thought he looked capable, especially for a small school UDFA rookie.
Hodges was thrown into this game and was fine. Not great. Had some shaky moments, but what would you expect? He’s NFL-worthy. A little over his head but he didn’t seem all that nervous or lost thrown into the opportunity. He has so-so accuracy, so he missed some throws/can’t make the big throws, but he can read the defenses/will hang in the pocket and make solid decisions. He doesn’t kill the Steelers totally (assuming he starts Week 6).
We just don’t know who his favorite target would be. It seemed like JuJu Smith-Schuster (7-75-1/7) but it was hard to tell. Everything was moving a million miles an hour for him a lot of the time and I think he was throwing to whatever he thought would be open. No obvious preferences.
Before he was knocked out of the game, Mason Rudolph (13-20 for 131 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) looked solid/improving. It’s a shame he lost time with this big hit. He’s a fighter. He’ll be back Week 7…unless Hodges rips LAC a new one on MNF Week 6 (doubtful).
-- It’s inexplicable that the Steelers would run a new, unique offense Week 4 and win big and then trot out the old tired on that lost the first three games of the season, but they did…and they lost again.
The mythical split of Conner-Samuels…it will never happen until there are so many losses Tomlin will try anything – so, we do have hope here at some point. Honestly, all Jaylen Samuels (3-2-0, 3-11-0/4) can do to win the job is for Conner to get hurt/lost for the season…or Tomlin to get fired. NFL coaches cannot be this dumb, oh but they are…
Name for me, in the Year of our Lord 2019, the RB situation anywhere in the NFL where the established starter has struggled and the young upstart back has pushed to the top of the line?
Kalen Ballage STILL starts games for Miami!!
Damien Williams just went right back into starting for KC.
Conner, Kerryon, Michel, Carson have struggled mightily at times and not a hint of a swap or a serious look at beyond part of one game another RB took more than normal carries and got people excited and then back to all the main guy the following week.
Peyton Barber splits with Ronald Jones.
Melvin Gordon…right back into the lead role.
Todd Gurley is going to get a reduced workload (said in the preseason)…no he isn’t. He played 90% of the offensive snaps last week and the backups are getting 0-2 touches in games.
David Montgomery…what Chicago wanted all along. They waited one whole week to elevate him and he has SUCKED out loud and he will NEVER lose that spot this season.
The 49ers and Eagles run the smartest backfields in the NFL. They are slave to no RB, but congrats to Doug Pederson – the one guy who saw a problem (Miles Sanders running a football between the tackles) and made a change this week to Jordan Howard, saying so out loud. Points for Coach of the Year for Pederson from me, seriously. One guy out of 32. Kyle Shanahan gets a pass because you never know who he is using when…so Coach of the Year points there.
As soon as Bill Callahan takes over the Washington job, what does he announce? We’re going to run the ball more!!! Nice job keeping your plans to yourself and not letting opponents know! And take three guesses who he will run the ball with all the time?
Backup RBs only matter when the established starter gets hurt. We should not bother with seeking ‘hostile takeover’ situations at RB…they don’t exist. Actually, correct that – I should not bother seeking the hostile takeover RB situations. I always think the coaches CAN’T BE THIS STUPID, but the one who is stupid is I.
NFL coaches have no interest in exploring alternatives – they pick a lane and only leave it if another car runs into them and pushes them into another lane. They do it at virtually every position on the field…except kicker. A kicker misses some FGs one week, then nine guys are brought in for a kicking competition the next day. Josh Allen throws 4 INTs in a game…he just needs to clean that up. Chris Carson fumbles all the time…his arms are too long and he carries a football around with him to the lunch table. The Eagles won’t trade Goedert to Jacksonville, but they will Ertz…but then Goedert barely plays in games every week. It’s maddening.
-- If you remove Lamar Jackson’s (19-28 for 161 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs, 14-70-0) Miami Week 1 video game event, he has started 12 games in the NFL (incl. a playoff game). His numbers per game in those 12 contests…
187.9 yards passing, 1.1 pass TD/0.75 INTs, 76.0 yards rushing, 0.42 TDs, 1.2 fumbles per game
In games in 2019, non-Miami…
236.8 yards passing, 1.5 pass TD/1.2 INTs, 75.5 yards rushing, 0.25 rush TDs, 0.50 fumbles per game.
His normal game is 175-225 passing yards, 1 TD/1 INT and 75 yards rushing…tracking more as a #6-10 fantasy QB vs. a top 3 (4pts per pass TD). He’s sitting at #1 QB YTD in fantasy on the back of the Miami experience Week 1…but #5-6 pace since then…and fading.
And LJax has worse overall rankings in 6pts per pass TD with bonus leagues, stripping the Miami game. LJax is good value in 4pts per pass TD leagues with no bonuses, but when more QB scoring options are introduced…his value declines quickly (from the lofty levels of today).
Lamar Jackson is not a great passer. He’s adequate enough in spots. If he is a kinda fake top fantasy QB (because of the Miami game) and Dak is set to fall…it leaves Patrick Mahomes with like Russell Wilson as the main contender for best fantasy QB, and Wilson’s coaches actively want Wilson to be a secondary option to the run game. Deshaun Watson has a great game followed by a low scoring game or two.
This Lamar Jackson game reminded me that Mahomes has almost not one to fear for fantasy ahead…that’s why I want him everywhere I can get him. The one true threat is Mr. Can’t Complete A Pass In The Red Zone, Kyler Murray. If he ever does start completing them…watch out.
-- Marquise Brown (3-22-1/5) played only (approx..) half the game because of a minor knee tweak. Assuming he’s fine, he’s about to go full circle from ‘sell high’ to now ‘buy low’. Anyone drops him in a 10-team league, you should have an interest. Available as a thrown-in level part of a multiplayer deal…get him.
He’s not perfect but he is THE CLEAR #1 for Lamar Jackson. He made a great leaping catch in traffic for a TD. He just missed one other TD and had a red zone throw near the end zone. He might have had a much bigger day had he played it fully and had an ounce of luck for a 2-TD day.
Don’t give up on him and do try to sneak him onto your team if you get a chance, cheap…if you need WR depth. He’s no Chark-Sutton-(healthy)Dorsett but he’s in the discussion.
Brown is not just the #1 look, which is great…but he’s really impressing with his WR skills. I was a skeptic on his WR skills and speed pre-NFL Draft, but I’m not a skeptic on his skills seeing his NFL work. He’s very much a DeSean Jackson, only not as tough a runner, but a better pure WR…but is as likely to be constantly nicked up like DJax.
-- Once the cupcake matchups were over, Mark Andrews (5-45-0/7) has come back to earth with a bunch of TE1.5-2.0 work the last three weeks.
He’s playing well, and Lamar is targeting him very well (7.8 targets per game) – he is a TE1, but more in the #7-12 range not a top 3 TE highflyer like he started out as.
If you’re TE desperate, his current owner may be over the Weeks 1-2 explosion and more focused on the last three weeks of ‘eh’.
-- This is the Diontae Johnson (5-27-0/8) I’m afraid of for fantasy – all the talent but this offense/pass game is so underwhelming by plan and so wanting to get Conner going and has 2nd-3rd-string QBs. These 5 catch for 30-40-50 yard games with no TDs is going to break your heart for fantasy. The back-to-back TD weeks were more an aberration...as I’ve been saying on the Video Q&As, and you know I love him. I fear we’re one week from you treating him like you will Curtis Samuel this week.
Nothing is worse than an exciting WR prospect…when they don’t have a TD during the week, and the real worst…no TDs for like 2-3 weeks. We want to damn them to hell. I worry that’s coming for Diontae. Hopefully, not.
See how fast people turned on Marquise Brown and Mecole Hardman when the TD per week stopped. Sometimes, within the low output was just-missed moments, tough matchups, game flow, etc. Diontae has a lot working against him week-to-week. Still worth having but be cautious. Don’t set expectations too high. He’s another week away from you wondering if you should drop him in some 12-team redrafts. Consistency for him on this team is still a shaky outlook. He might…but there are hurdles to jump.
-- Well, the threat of me thinking I might not keep Justin Tucker (4/4 FG, 2/2 XP) through his BYE week motivated him/got John Harbaugh back to taking the sure three this week.
Tucker flew back up into the top 5 YTD among fantasy kickers, which is the normal land he resides in.
I could never quit Justin Tucker…unless I see more of those going for it on 4th-downs instead of taking FGs the next two weeks. But even then…it’s Justin Freaking Tucker. You doubted that last FG, game winner was going good (man, it swerved offline at first but he played the fade on it!).
How Tucker is not a top 10 MVP vote getter every season is beyond me.
Seriously, we’ll have to see come Week 8 whether our rosters can handle it or if other options present themselves.
-- #26 Mark Barron (4 tackles)…I think the Steelers may have gotten my memo.
Out of nowhere, Barron played just 40% of the snaps versus his usual 95%+ every game prior. I didn’t see an injury, just saw him in and out. There may be hope for the Steelers coaches yet…it only took them three weeks to find out they had a massive issue on the field.
I wonder how they finally figured it out…? Maybe it was just a different scheme for the Ravens game? We’ll find out this week. If he’s gone, I’ll start to take the Steelers-DST more seriously in non-Bengals games.
Snap Counts of Interest:
48 = Conner
15 = Samuels
52 = Boyle
43 = Andrews
33 = Hurst
53 = Ingram
21 = Edwards
05 = J Hill