2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 8 – Steelers 27, Dolphins 14
Miami came out on MNF, on the road, and took a quick 14-0 and had a chance to extend that while Pittsburgh scuffled around all 1st-half. It was about to be a 14-3 Miami halftime lead when Diontae Johnson took that basic dump pass and raced in for a TD…an inexplicable Miami lack of coverage TD, and the lead was sliced to 14-10 Miami.
Miami led 14-0 after the 1st-quarter and basically never scored again is what happened. The Pitt TD right before the half turned the tide and the Steelers just grinded to a 27-14 victory…that was not impressive by any means.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I do not love the way Mason Rudolph (20-36 for 251 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) is playing at all. There’s a difference between a guy who just throws BBs all over the field and then there is a guy who is too many times just floating passes deep hoping something happens. Now, I’m all for floating passes into one-on-one coverage and hoping plays are made or just an incompletion happens in the right spots – but judging the art with my eye for such things…I don’t see Rudolph confidently throwing darts. He’s closing his eyes and praying…too much like Sam Darnold. He’s better than Darnold but not by that much to what I see so far.
Rudolph was not really picking apart the most pick-apart-able pass defense you could ask for.
-- It’s for that reason (above) I’m hesitant to get too overexcited about Diontae Johnson (5-84-1/7) in 2019. I want to love him more and he’s making hay, but as Rudolph goes so will DJ. Against better defenses, I fear some real low DJ games.
The other problem is – Mike Tomlin. How is Diontae not starting/playing nearly every snap? Why was Donte Moncrief in early on and DJ not out there all too often? Why is James Washington even starting anymore? Johnson is the best WR they have, and Tomlin treats him like a #4…and coach has his head jammed up JuJu’s arse as well. I like all of this better for Diontae (and JuJu) with Ben then Rudolph.
Note…Johnson had an 83-yard TD, beat coverage by two yards…but Rudolph overthrew it by two yards. What I do like and have hope for with DJ – defenses key on JuJu and all Mason has left is DJ, who is the best WR talent on the team.
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-- Jaylen Samuels (DNP) is going to be a great start this week IF James Conner (23-145-1, 3-5-0/4) is out. I was quite sure Conner would be out on Monday-Tuesday this week, but as the week has progressed…I’m hearing too much ‘game time decision’ and ‘he’ll give it a go’ – and I know Conner wants nothing to do with Jaylen getting touches because it would show everyone, once again, that the Steelers are running the wrong RB. If Conner can go at all…he’ll go. He always does.
50/50 on Conner playing this week. If he does, Samuels is likely 20-30% snaps/touches…and all the wrong ones I’m sure. If Conner can go, Tomlin will lose with him rather than split he and Samuels…my opinion.
-- Preston Williams (4-42-0/7) is getting good looks still, but this passing game is just too dysfunctional to count on every week. The good news is – Weeks 13-16 are so awesome, on paper…PHI, @NYJ, @NYG, CIN. Williams is dripping with talent but it’s a big hurdle to make it to WR2 on this Miami team…he might garbage his way there as the season wears on.
Devante Parker (6-59-0/8) is getting decent looks as well…and he has a TD in three of his last 4 games.
-- Mark Walton (11-35-0, 3-19-0/6) is the new starting RB for Miami…and if you wanted evidence that Miami has no idea what it is doing with football decision, or that they are tanking…let me present State’s Evidence of Mark Walton starting on purpose in the year of our Lord 2019.
The Dolphins have a terrible O-Line and team, so Walton can only do so much in the starting role. He’ll get touches but what can we really expect? 10 carries for 35 yards and 3 catches for another 15 yards? No TDs…because they bring in Kalen Ballage (3-8-0) at the goal line.
I would be trading this new ‘starter’…split role non-starters like Jamaal Williams or Royce Freeman are better…Darrell Henderson or Devin Singletary might outperform Walton with half the touches/snaps played in games.
-- Vince Biegel (9 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits) has gone from playing 10-20% of the defensive snaps to starting and playing 60%+ of the snaps (84% in this game) the last three weeks. In that span, he’s averaging 6.7 tackles, 0.67 TFLs, and a surprising 1.7 QB hits per game. He is getting into the backfield regularly in games this season.
-- OK, #26 Mark Barron (5 tackles) is back playing a lot of snaps again…and thus I cannot fully trust this DST, because he’s like playing with 10-10.5 players on defense. The guy is a joke, as I’ve chronicled several weeks ago. Back from injury and playing…it means Tomlin has no idea of the issue – Barron is totally mailing it in on the field and avoiding contact and giving little effort on most of his snaps. It’s weird to watch.
Surprise! Miami got up 14-0 right out of the gates…and put a scare into the Steelers defense before they buckled down. Non-Miami teams might throttle this defense.
-- Like I said, I don’t trust the Steelers-DST. I will against cupcakes like Cincy and Miami, who they crushed this season. Against more sound offenses, I’d worry. If Cleveland rises up, the Steelers next best usage is Week 12 at Cincy…but then a nice Weeks 15-16 with Buffalo and NYJ. If Cleveland is a favorable matchup, maybe the Steelers are good Weeks 11-16 and hoping the Week 14 at Arizona will be OK.
I see some potential, but I see some things that scare me relying on them too much for fantasy.
Snap Counts of Interest:
57 = JuJu
36 = J Washington
34 = Diontae
26 = J Holton
15 = Moncrief
53 = Preston Williams
47 = Parker
20 = Hurns
18 = A Wilson
14 = Jakeem
52 = Walton
10 = Ballage
00 = Laird (14 special team snaps)