2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 9 – Steelers 26, Colts 24
How the Steelers won this game, I don’t know. It helps that T.Y. Hilton missed the game, and then in the 1st-quarter they lost Jacoby Brissett. It also helped that the Colts missed the game winning field goal wide left by about 25-30 yards…no exaggeration.
To my eye, the Steelers are one of the 5-8 worst football teams I watch every week (but my computer models say they are a top 12…?). A nothing offensive plan, and a guy (#26 Mark Barron) on defense literally not playing in plain sight…and, yet, they win games somehow with 10,000 short dump passes. I guess it works because they’ve won four of their last 5…but I think it’s all a fraud.
The Steelers are 4-4, but I think they are on their way to a 6-7-win season. No way they threaten Baltimore for the NFC North. If the Steelers sweep Cleveland in two games over the next 4 weeks, then the Steelers have long shot playoff hopes. They just cannot win 9 games with this nothing of an offense and so-so defense.
The Colts are the much better team but have dealt with a ton of injuries and a kicker issues they won’t fix. They can beat Miami this week and rest Brissett at the same time. The Colts are a 9-10-win team that will battle Houston the rest of the way for the AFC South title.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Thank you, Mason Rudolph (26-35 for 191 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) for the dump pass festival to Jaylen Samuels (8-10-0, 13-73-0/13)…we got some nice FFM wins in PPR off that 2-TD equivalent event in catch counts alone. Of course, Jaylen lunged for a TD at the goal line in this game and was called down pre-breaking the plain, and the replay showed he was in for a TD, but it was never reversed/challenged. Of course, slow-ass Trey Edmunds (12-73-0) entered the game and had a 45-yard run his first play, I think because the defense didn’t think the Steelers would use him…it was untouched for 45. The rest of the game, Edmunds went 11 carries for 28 yards (2.5 ypc).
After watching this game live, and on the re-watch, I now know Mike Tomlin despises Jaylen Samuels…and there is no real fantasy future here, I’d dare say not much of one even if James Conner retires tomorrow. The clues are all there, like Keyser Soze, if I’d just look…instead of putting my mindset ahead of Tomlin’s/assuming Tomlin is a reasonable seer of talent. He’s not. He may be the single worst seer of talent (Donte Moncrief started last week, FYI…and then was cut this week, and Tomlin still hasn’t figured out #26 Mark Barron is not playing for real on defense).
The Jaylen clues…
1) Last year, Le’Veon held out and Samuels showed a spark in the preseason…but then never played/touched the ball in a game for like 8+ weeks into 2018 season.
2) Samuels could be one of the most interesting RB-QB-WR-TE weapons in the NFL today. So many ways he could be used. Yet, the Steelers have done nothing unique with him.
3) …except they got unique with him when they started out 0-3 this season and broke out cool plays for Samuels as a wildcat QB, etc., on Monday Night Football and the team finally won and looked good on offense.
The next week…Samuels barely played.
4) This season, coming into it, no Le’Veon…a perfect time to deploy a Samuels-Conner combo backfield merging their talents. Tomlin goes all-in on Conner and ignores Samuels.
5) Five months to prepare for the Patriots in 2019…a massive game to start the Steelers season. A great time to breakout the unique plays for Jaylen. Samuels was barely used in a crushing defeat. Last year, Samuels was forced to start against the Patriots when Conner was hurt…and he rushed for 130+ yards and basically won them the game. Since then, Tomlin barely acknowledges Samuels is on the team.
6) 13 catches on 13 targets here. Samuels has caught 52-of-57 passes in his career…91.2% catch rate. Samuels, an all-conference TE/WR hybrid in college, is one of three best receivers out of the backfield in the NFL. When Pittsburgh is in a hurry up, down this season…you rarely see Samuels on the field.
7) As soon as Edmunds broke his big run this game, Tomlin quickly went to a split…giddy with excitement to use Trey…as Edmunds just ran to nowhere the rest of the game.
8) When Samuels fumbled here…out of the game, in went Edmunds. Pete Carroll would have stopped the game and baked a cake after Chris Carson fumbles, to lift his spirits, and send him right back out there. Ditto for Tomlin with James Conner. Jaylen Samuels fumbles? Out of the game in a key time and the offense stalls.
9) James Conner hurt last week, what does Tomlin/the Steelers do…they don’t get excited that they have Samuels in the hole – they go and try and trade for Le’Veon Bell, who embarrassed them last season. How low do you have to stoop to NOT want to use Samuels that you try to go back to your ex-boy/girlfriend who dumped you via text and stole your money out of your checking account?
I am slashing Samuels dynasty rankings next run, and I don’t want to hear about his bright future until Mike Tomlin and the O-C are gone.
My greatest lesson of 2019 fantasy – whomever the one lead RB is for the head coach in the preseason (among teams not running an RBBC by plan)…believe it. Never waver from the thought. NFL head coaches have zero interest in seeing if other guys might be better. They actively suppress backup RBs to make sure they don’t show up their handpicked teacher’s pet lead dog, tough guy lead RBs (Gurley, Carson, Conner, Henry, and on down the line).
If Conner is out this week, and he should be, as my eagle scouting eye predicted might happen when Conner got hurt – I will use Jaylen with pride/nervousness. When Conner is active, I’m done with Jaylen except as a handcuff gamble.
-- Speaking of suppressed talent…Parris Campbell (3-27-0, 5-53-0/5) had a great game here…let out of the cage more. A great sign for fantasy. Suppressed no longer…and he wasn’t suppressed, more always hurt.
Parris Campbell has an elite size-speed combo, so what does Frank Reich do – he uses it. Three carries in this game…for a WR!! Smart. I fall in love with Reich as a head coach more and more every day. Campbell also saw 5 targets. Good targets…over-the-middle, bubble screens – the way he can work.
Of course, you want to get excited…and then he breaks his hand and will miss several weeks. A healthy Parris Campbell all 2019 season would be a WR2 this week with WR1 upside with TYH out Week 10. Campbell is going to be a play for 2020 for sure.
-- While Campbell and TYH are out, Zach Pascal (5-76-1) is definitely the guy to have. Pascal is a solid talent for sure. I just don’t see a great FF-path when Hilton and Campbell are healthy. No Hilton, no Campbell…I’m in.
Now that Hilton and Campbell are out…I should’ve had Pascal as the #1 waiver wire ‘trust’ for the week. Facing Miami this week…Pascal will be a nice 2-3 week WR rental.
-- I’d get more excited about Pascal if I knew Jacoby Brissett was playing, but I doubt he will. Why rush him back vs. Miami? Brian Hoyer (17-26 for 168 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT) will be fine…I just like Brissett for Pascal better.
-- I think Mason Rudolph (26-33 for 191 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) has some raw talent to work with but there are several issues here, so I am completely uninterested in him for now or later for fantasy/dynasty…
1) He’s not built for the new era of QB…a traditional pocket passer who likes to work deep – but he doesn’t excel at the quick, short, safe passing game and has no mobility.
2) Mike Tomlin and his staff are secretly the worst at all-things player development/talent assessment, etc. Rudolph is getting no training at all here. He’s really not improved his entire time here.
3) The play calling for Rudolph is like he’s a baby. They show no faith in Rudolph at all.
4) Rudolph is a nice kid…really nice. Not gritty/edgy like a Gardner Minshew. Rudolph will accept his fate as late-round pick backup and be happy to be a backup.
Too much QB talent in the world now to worry about guys who will have to scratch and claw and hope an injury happens to propel them to playing time.
-- Because of the baby play calling and the lack of innovation of the Steelers – Diontae Johnson (1-3-0/2) didn’t start or play much Week 8, so Donte Moncrief could start/play heavy at first. Think about that for a moment…of all we’ve seen of these two guys, Moncrief is playing most all the snaps early against Miami. Then Diontae sprinkles in and saves the game.
What’s Diontae’s reward for saving the Steelers again? 1 catch on 3 targets here.
This team is all about Tomlin’s preference for JuJu and Conner. Don’t bother with anything else. 2019 is really not Diontae’s time. He needs to work with Ben…and he really needs to work with Ben with Tomlin and crew gone, but that won’t likely happen. Ben is the key to Diontae’s future…and who knows what Ben will be like in 2020?
-- I watched a chunk of plays focusing on #26 Mark Barron for the Steelers. I love watching him actively seek a blocker to go get tied up by so he’s out of the play. I love watching him run fast for 1-2 steps and then jog to be sure to not get to plays as to avoid any contact. It’s so glaring, I cannot believe these coaches do not see it.
When the Steelers play decent teams…I can’t have any faith in the Steelers-DST. Now, this week Barron may play hard for a series or two because the Rams ditched him and he thinks it’s revenge…but then he’ll float back to his nomal self preservation mode.
Snap Counts of Interest:
40 = Samuels
17 = Edmunds
04 = Brooks-James
67 = Pascal
46 = Rogers
44 = Campbell
21 = Cain