2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 1 Game Analysis: Patriots 21, Dolphins 11
I take notes during the live watch. I re-watch the game on tape looking for hidden clues to report on. Here are my notes/takes on what I saw and how it related to FF 2020. I write anywhere from 1,000-3,000+ words on each game, and I have to move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
Miami scored their first TD of the game/season in the 4th-quarter and suddenly this game was only 14-11 Patriots lead with 10+ minutes left. It was a game, but then the Patriots drove down and scored right after and kinda sucked the life out of Miami and put them to sleep.
The Dolphins played about as hacked up and perplexing as they did the second half of 2019, when they would win games they shouldn’t and lose games you thought they’d win. They’re a mediocre-to-bad, erratic team. The Patriots aren’t great, but played mistake free, have the better defense and coaching and just wrestled this game to the ground and subdued it.
I’m not thinking the Patriots are any better than a 9-7 type team this year, but probably 10-6 because of Belichick, after watching them here. It was more my Miami hopes for an upside were dashed here. Using Myles Gaskin heavy...as Jordan Howard and Matt Breida sit on the bench is the sure sign that Brian Flores has lost his mind, especially when it comes to RBs. This is the guy who swore Kalen Ballage was a lead RB and better than Kenyan Drake.
Drake is now the 2nd/3rd-highest paid RB in the NFL and Ballage was a free agent until 24 hours ago (as of this writing). I sell all my Flores stock, even after the haircut it took from this game…I just want to dump it all, take my losses, and move on.
Yet…I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami beat Buffalo this week…at Miami, 90 degrees, humid.
The Patriots go to Seattle Week 2 and we’ll get another clue on how good Belichick is if he can pull a win there. If NE loses, they could be staring at a 5-5 record or worse after Week 11. Their schedule is choppy/unkind ahead. If the Pats beat Seattle and then Las Vegas the next two weeks and starts out (3-0), Belichick should get a special wing of the Hall of Fame to himself.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What’s up with the Miami backfield situation?
I don’t know, but I do know that I do not want any part of it.
Are you kidding me…? First series of the game -- Jordan Howard (8-7-1) started, and then on 3rd-down I see a Gaskins-Laird backfield-duo, and then into series two and three it’s the Myles Gaskin (9-40-0, 4-26-0/4) show. Pure insanity.
You cannot possess Jordan Howard AND Matt Breida, and then purposefully go with Myles Gaskin. You absolutely have to have a screw loose as an NFL head coach. I’m not joking. I’m not trying to be funny. I’m not mad for FF reasons for Jordan Howard. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I thought I’d see it all…all the stupidity for a lifetime – but this one may take the cake.
If they had some Howard-Breida issue…they should’ve drafted or signed something better along the way. Myles Gaskin is not a real plan. It kills this offense and depresses the passing game…no defense cares if they run Myles Gaskin at them. Myles Gaskins would be a backup in the XFL…yet, he’s the Dolphins new ace. It’s truly unbelievable.
I imagine Howard-Breida will have their day, but I won’t be around to see it – I’m bailing out of everything Miami that I can. Flores gave us a serious clue to his mindset, and I want ‘out’.
-- Ryan Fitzpatrick (20-31 for 191 yards, 0 TDs/3 INTs) had no answer for the Patriots’ defense. Fitz did his typical flailing away with a steady diet of chuck-it-and-hope throws…but the Pats coverage was too good this day, and the Dolphins receivers are not ready to handle these situations.
Tua Tagovailoa is going to be starting sooner-rather-than-later if Miami doesn’t beat Buffalo Week 2.
-- I did notice that a few series in, Fitzpatrick started gunning it to Preston Williams (2-41-0/7) looking for anything he could come up with…just Stephon Gillmore wouldn’t let him breathe.
The good news for PW:
There were four instances where Williams lost stats…when he did beat Gillmore two times, Gillmore P.I.’d him. Two catches for 30-40 yards lost to penalty-gain. Twice Williams slipped trying to cut into a route – one Fitz threw it, but PW was down on the ground and it was an easy pick. The second was late in the game, and Williams was wide open on a short crosser that would have been a simple catch and run 10-15+ yard gain but he slipped on the cut and Fitz had to pull the pass down and scramble.
Williams had 7 official targets, to lead the team, but it was really 9 with the P.I.s. He had two catches for 40 yards but could’ve been 5-6 catches for 75-100 yards with better luck. Williams got a good treatment from Fitz.
The bad news for PW:
If Belichick knows Preston deserves Stephon Gillmore coverage, then the schedule ahead is going to be brutal.
Week 2 = Tre’Davious White
Week 3 = C.J. Henderson
Week 4 = Seattle/Quinton Dunbar
Week 5 = Richard Sherman may be back, but that may not matter. This is a good matchup regardless.
Week 6 = Callahan/Bouye…DEN
Week 7 = Hayward/Harris…LAC
Week 8 = Jalen Ramsey
And then one of these weeks Tua will arrive, and who knows how that will go…I’m worried it won’t go great.
We just need QBs blindly flinging to Williams and hope the volume of targets makes up for all the other hurdles the next few weeks.
-- Cam Newton (15-19 for 155 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 15-75-2) is going to run his way to a new contract in the NFL…he’s not going to pass his way to it.
The Bills’ lead back is Josh Allen.
The Patriots’ lead back is Cam Newton…which hurts everything else on NE involved for fantasy, and really hurts Edelman-Harry.
-- I’ve been ‘out’ on N’Keal Harry (5-39-0/6) for weeks, since it’s been evident Cam would start…just a bad pairing. Harry had OK numbers here, but it’s likely a harbinger of what his season will look like game-by-game.
The more I watch Harry, the more worried I think I see too much DeVante Parker…i.e. a talented, but S-A-W-F-T wide receiver. Better in practice and shorts/pads than in real action.
I’m all the way out on Harry for redraft right now.
-- When did rookie UDFA RB J.J. Taylor (4-28-0, 1-4-0/1) slip in this game and take 4 carries and see a target? The guy wasn’t even on the team a week ago.
Taylor is a Sproles/Ekeler ‘fun sized’ back (5’5”) who tries hard but doesn’t have the juice Sproles or Ekeler came in with, but he does give it all he’s got and looked like he belonged in his few carries. Nothing for FF short or long term, but he might hang around the league a while as a try hard journeyman.
-- 2nd-year DE Chase Winovich (6 tackles, 1 TFL) led the D-Line in snaps (68%) and had a nice game. He’s going to be the Pats next great pass rusher who can also play the run/pass. A future Pro Bowler ahead. Going to be really good for IDP as well.
-- We know the Patriots-DST is good, but was it more the Miami offense that made them shine this game? I’m thinking Belichick has a young defense emerging in his shaped image…and they may lead his team back to an AFC East title.
But what about the new-look Miami-DST? Cam had a nice day but everything else got bottled up OK…was it because Cam isn’t a great passer or Miami has a shutdown pass defense? This was not a real test, nor will next week v. BUF be. We won’t know how good or bad the new Miami pass D is until Weeks 3-4 with JAX and SEA.
The Miami-DST schedule looks promising after Week 4…if they’re any good. We have to wait and see.
Snap Counts of Interest:
(not a typo on this first set)
56 = Dam Byrd
51 = Harry
37 = Edelman
63 = Izzo
10 = Asiasi
19 = Burkhead
19 = White
19 = Michel
09 = J.J. Taylor
39 = Gaskin
14 = Breida
09 = Howard
04 = Laird