2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 1 Game Analysis: Rams 20, Cowboys 17
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.
Well, this went about as I expected…the Rams might be a bit less talented than the Cowboys, overall, but I thought Sean McVay with weeks to plan would outfox empty suit head coach Mike McCarthy, and it was so.
The Rams neutralized the Dallas pass rush with a quick passing game and safe, stable, stoic middle rushing game…and they played good enough defense to stay with/ahead of Dallas and ultimately secure the victory. Either team could’ve won, but the Rams just played smarter/sounder and a bit more energetic.
Dallas’s schedule ahead should be easy enough to get them on track, but if they get caught napping against ATL Week 2…all hell will break loose in Dallas, already. Week 3 is at Seattle. It’s a kinda must-win game for Dallas Week 2.
The Rams are just a very fundamentally sound team. Not great. Not bad. Going to try to stay close and be smarter than their opponents to the finish line. This is not a great Rams team, but their defense is much better than expected and they have enough offense to play with most any team. The schedule ahead is also the Rams’ friend…they could be 5-3/6-2 entering their Week 9 bye.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I watched all the Cam Akers (14-39-0, 1-4-0/1) carries closely…I still don’t see ‘it’. No magical unicorn rookie ways here. Just a guy running straight between the tackles…not all that quickly, not enough mass to move a pile, not agile enough to kick it to the outside. He’s another David Montgomery-esque story to me…
I’m willing to give him more time, it’s still early…but I never see ‘it’ with him.
Malcolm Brown (18079-2, 3-31-0/4) was clearly the best/preferred back here, and he should be for most of the season. I cannot see where Akers just outshines him and takes it away. They’ll always split in some way.
Darrell Henderson (3-6-0) has a hope to be in the split, but he needs to go make a play first (in his limited opps). Sending Akers and Henderson straight up the middle was probably the specific game plan here, but it doesn’t help show them off/show their skills. Sean McVay seems so averse to Henderson it’s hard to hold on to him for FF…but he’s the talent of this group, so there’s that reason to hope against hope.
-- What happened to Tyler Higbee (3-40-0/4)?
Just wasn’t a big part of the game plan as a receiver. The Rams went quick passing and heavy running…Higbee blocked a lot. Higbee played more snaps than any offensive skill player besides Jared Goff. Don’t fret.
Higbee also had a great schemed play where he had at least a 20-yard catch or possibly turned into a 40+ yard catch and run, but a well timed linebacker blitz forced Goff to throw early and off target and it hit a streaking Higbee down at the ankles for an incompletion. Had it been in stride, you would have had a solid 4-60-0 or 4-80-0 type line here. He’s fine.
-- I focused on rookie CeeDee Lamb (5-59-0/6) in his debut. He looked fine. Again, nothing special. I’m not saying he’s ‘bad’…I just think he’s more ‘OK/good’ then ‘great/generational”, like he’s pushed at us by football people. He’s a better version of Jerry Jeudy and over time maybe develops into a DeAndre Hopkins type receiver…maybe. He didn’t look like a big difference maker in this debut, but he was fine.
Lamb was working his rookie debut and generating all this chatter, as lesser-lauded rookie WR Van Jefferson (1-31-0/3) looked just as good/better on the other side but you’re not allowed to think/speak of such things. Van is going to be starting soon, but the third wheel in this ever-declining Rams’ passing game isn’t that exciting for FF. Someday he’ll replace Robert Woods as that go-to strong WR2 for PPR fantasy.
-- Dallas lost Blake Jarwin (1-12-0/1) for the season with injury this game, and Dalton Schultz (1-10-0/4) is not a replacement for FF. The loss of Jarwin helps CeeDee Lamb see more work, actually. Schultz will go most games with 1-2 targets.
-- I initially thought Aldon Smith (11 tackles, 1.0 sacks) was looking spry and ready to go get 10+ sacks this season in his comeback to the NFL…but on the rewatch, I saw a slower DE who looked his age. Still viable but not dominant. I’m taking his IDP projections down some after I spiked them too enthusiastically Monday.
-- Micah Kiser (7 tackles, 2 PDs) is the new middle linebacker for LAR, and he really played a good game…a classic run stopper who showed some coverage skills.
-- The Rams-DST looked really nice overall. More talented than expected with Kiser stepping up and Troy Hill being a better cover corner than given credit. The surprise to me was some of the Rams’ new defensive starters.
Taylor Rapp is now a bench/bit player now in this new scheme/regime at D-C…after a great IDP run late last year. 6th-round rookie Jordan Fuller (8 tackles) started at safety and 3rd-year UDFA corner (poached from the Ravens’ practice squad) Darious Williams (4 tackles) played most of the game snaps as well, outta nowhere.
A lot of new starters in a Week 1 game, and the Rams defense pretty well help the Dallas offense under wraps.
The Rams-DST has a great schedule ahead too…
Week 2 = at PHI with their a corrupted O-Line
Week 3 = at Josh Allen, not a big fear.
Week 4 = vs. NYG
Week 5 = at Haskins (YES!!!)
Week 6 = at SF…suddenly not so hot on offense.
Week 7 = vs. Foles
Week 8 = at Tua
Snpa Counts of Interest:
65 = Higbee
62 = Kupp
61 = Woods
37 = JReyn
33 = Van Jefferson
44 = M. Brown
24 = Akers
05 = D Henderson
69 = Gallup
68 = Amari
59 = CeeDee
15 = Taylor Rapp
54 = Aldon Smith