2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 1 Game Analysis: Titans 16, Broncos 14
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.
This should’ve been a bigger win for the Titans. Not that the Broncos didn’t play the game/plan it as well as they could – but Stephen Gostkowski was going all Adam Vinateri/2019 and shanking field goal attempts all over. Gostkowski was 1/4 in FG attempts, and 1/2 in XP attempts…a nightmare game. When he lined up for the game winner/loser late, my heart literally stopped for him. The human in me wanted him to make that kick for his own sanity and for football justice for the Titans…and he (shockingly) split the uprights.
I saw this story last year, and it cost the Colts a playoff trip (I think) – they stick by the veteran, HOF kicker ‘because’ and it destroys them. Gostkowski almost cost them a win here. He’s going to if they keep sticking with him.
Aside from that, it was a well-played, tough/physical game with the Broncos having a rash of injuries in September to their best players coming in undermanned, and lost A.J. Bouye in-game here as well. The Broncos did all they could, but their season is about over before it starts due to the injuries (and Drew Lock). The Titans did what they had to do and pulled out a slugfest win.
Denver is staring down an 0-3 start with at PIT, TB ahead.
The Titans get a fortunate win and play Jacksonville for sole possession of 1st-place in the AFC South Week 2. The Titans need that Week 2 win…at MIN-PIT-BUF-HOU Weeks 3-6 is not going to be an easy stretch.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Is Corey Davis (7-101-0/8) back…or arrived finally? Maybe, but probably not. The Broncos went heavy after Derrick Henry and focused on A.J. Brown (5-39-0/8), and really took AJB out of the game 1st-half, as happens to AJB when he faces tough coverage. All of it allowed Davis, who was barely being covered, to go off for 5 catches for 76 yards in the 1st-half.
The Broncos adjusted and Davis went 2 catches for 25 yards in the more pass heavy 2nd-half. When Bouye went down and urgency struck…Ryan Tannehill (29-43 for 249 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) went to Brown-Humphries-Jonnu in that order, and Davis drifted into the backdrop.
‘Drifting into the backdrop’ is Corey Davis’s entire career. He’s not the plan on purpose. He’s a random WR3 event on a team not dedicated to the passing game and one that sees him as the 3rd-4th-best option when it’s crunch time. Don’t be dazzled because he was a really high draft pick WR…so was Mike Williams and John Ross that same year. In the 3rd-round of that 2017 Draft, Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin, and Kenny Golladay were taken.
You know one of my sure scouting signs of a shaky NFL WR prospect? If they were taken in the 1st-round of the NFL Draft…that’s a damning sign.
I’d be a ‘sell high’ on Davis off this event if you can get anyone to bite.
If Brown misses this week…worse news for Davis as he’ll draw C.J. Henderson, who will shut him down. Davis might have another plausible FF game if Brown plays.
-- Jonnu Smith (4-36-1/7) got a little better run than usual…but it’s still very odd. Jonnu made a nice play early and then just disappeared. Like, why doesn’t Tennessee want more Jonnu? It works great, a lot. When the Titans were scuffling back-and-forth late with Denver, Jonnu saw a little more action and had a decent game…but 36 yards in a game is silly. He should have more, be used more. He’s still more gimmicky than not.
Still, he’s good enough to be a TE1 as a lowly targeted gimmick.
-- Noah Fant (5-81-0/6) benefitted from Courtland Sutton being out, and the fact that Fant is really good. Drew Lock is going to be a problem for Fant finding FF consistency. Fant is stuck as a wobbly/fringe TE1…but he’s so talented, like Jonnu (but differently talented) that Fant can make it work with limited looks.
-- The Jerry Jeudy (4-56-0/8) experience debuted to a yawn here.
The TV analysts can keep replaying and gushing over his bouncy feet, and he does have quick feet…but he has little heart of body/frame for the NFL – so, what they don’t re-play over and over is Jeudy’s drops (he had two). When Jeudy is going over the middle for a pass…odds are he’ll gator arm it.
They also ran a bubble screen/short pass thing for him, and he gets tackled like he’s a 5th-grader facing college kids in sandlot football. A stiff breeze knocks Jeudy over because he’s like a stick figure body with a S-A-W-F-T play style.
He could improve with maturity and weight room time, but I think there will be regret over what a wasted 1st-round pick this was…even if he is ‘good’. He’s just ‘good’ at best. DeSean Hamilton (1-18-0/3) has similar bouncy feet…that story/ship sailed fast, didn’t it?
-- Melvin Gordon (15-78-1, 3-8-0/3), to my great angst, becomes an RB1 candidate with Phillip Lindsay (7-24-0, 1-11-0/1) out with turf toe.
Turf toe tends to linger and hamper/hinder. I don’t have a lot of time to wait on Lindsay in a split with Gordon. I wanted to believe, and Lindsay was showing a sign that he was pushed ahead of Gordon to begin this game…but he just lost all that goodwill.
The way Lindsay has been treated by Denver (after two 1,000+ yard seasons they pay up for Gordon), I’ll bet Lindsay does not rush back and takes several weeks until he’s 100%. There’s not career/income benefit to Lindsay returning until he’s 100%. If you see better options, and if Lindsay is ruled out this week, it’s OK to move on in non-deep roster leagues.
I’d sell Melvin Gordon hot too, perhaps. He faces four of the best run defenses in the NFL the next four weeks…PIT-TB-@NYJ-@NE. Sell Gordon high, sell Lindsay to the Gordon owner. Bail out of the Denver run game if you can. We might pile back in after Week 8 bye.
-- Denver IDP Josey Jewell (8 tackles) played better than I’d seen him the past few years. He might be getting his career back on track/starting to fulfill some promise.
-- Watch out for Jeremiah Attaochu (4 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 QB hits) having a 10+ sack season across from Bradley Chubb. Attaochu is a great pass rusher, and he really had two sacks here…he had Tannehill clutched and going to the ground and Tanny just flung it away before hitting the ground. No Von Miller…Attaochu is the beneficiary.
Snap Counts of Note:
50 = Patrick
47 = D Hamilton
44 = Jeudy
60 = Attaochu
59 = Chubb
66 = A.J. Brown
66 = C Davis
59 = Jonnu
44 = Humphries