2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 11 Game Analysis: Browns 22, Eagles 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 must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
If you ever wanted to watch a game where two equally matched (roughly) teams with must-win type motivations played a game – and you wanted to see what one team playing confident, smart, tough football could do to an equal talent team who played skittish, unenthused, bad football…watch this game. The Eagles scored a TD with 0:30 left to make this look closer than it was.
I was very impressed with the Browns here. I’ve been a Browns 2020 skeptic, but this game really caught my eye…granted, the Eagles are falling off a cliff…it may not be as reasonable of a litmus test as I think it is. The Browns played smart/tough football, in the rain. Baker Mayfield is a smart quarterback…he is (potentially) going to lead this team to the playoffs, for everyone who called him a bust – he might actually get the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs in our lifetimes/right now. He’s not carrying them with big passer tallies, he’s actually doing something people didn’t think he could or would – he’s managing the game (no picks in his last three games…but not TD passes either).
Nick Chubb is not carrying this team, Baker is…Chubb is getting one big run per game, and a lot of 0-2 yard runs otherwise, but due credit for a big run per game (a 54-yarder here). Chubb has also been out half the season. The defense was without Myles Garrett but played a great game with 11 QB hits and 5 sacks. This was an ‘all facets playing solid’ type victory.
Most credit due to Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. To come into the Cleveland organization and inherit this motley crew with a culture of losing…and now have them winning via sound football. You have to tip your hat to the coach. I’d also point out, the team is (3-1) since OBJ was lost for the season.
As impressively solid as the Browns were, the Eagles were the opposite – maybe one of the worst games of quarterback play, from a supposed ‘top guy’, we’ve seen in 2020. More on that in a moment. Wentz is killing the heart of this team…they are starting to look defeated behind Wentz, where the Browns have a quiet confidence/belief behind Baker.
If Kevin Stefanski gets credit for the Browns success/vibe, then Doug Pederson deserves the same for the Eagles fall from grace. Wentz is not a leader, and he’s losing confidence himself as we go – some of that, Pederson is to blame for mismanaging his psyche. I think we’re to the point that if the Eagles don’t win the NFC East…Pederson, and Wentz, might be out. Pederson fired; Wentz benched in 2021 by the new coach (the Eagles will have a hard time trading him with his contract…for which the GM should also be fired).
The Eagles fall to (3-6-1) with this loss, and as of this writing it puts them technically behind (now) a (4-7) Washington team. Philly is playing for its life vs. Seattle and I just don’t see any fire with the Eagles to think they’ll win that game. If they lose this week…they likely lose to at GB and NO after that to fall to (3-9-1). They’d have to win out to get to 6 wins…at ARI, at DAL, WASH. The Eagles have the upper hand to win the division due to the tie on their books, because 6 wins should win this division – but I really don’t know that the Eagles will get to 6 wins.
Cleveland rises to (7-3), they are ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the division/playoff ranks, unbelievably. They play at JAX this week, which should mean they will be (8-3) after Week 12. It’s probably going to take 10 wins for an AFC wild card…if CLE beats at JAX, and then at NYG, at NYJ in a few weeks…there’s 10 wins, and they can lose all the rest of their games to go. Week 13 at TEN is a huge game for them and the playoffs. If the Browns win that game, they’d hold a tiebreaker over Indy AND Tennessee, and that may be the difference of in/out among them in the wild card. We project the Browns finish with 9 wins and are scrapping for that final wild card.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What I think I saw with Carson Wentz (21-35 for 235 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs, 3-10-0) here…
Very nervous, very indecisive. He’s playing like a scared rookie. He’s playing like a guy under constant criticism and it’s getting to him. There’s guys open all over and Wentz is jumpy feet-ing around and tell-tale tapping the ball several times before throwing, or just pulling it down and running (when there are people open right in front of him). He threw a few passes that were unfathomable that a guy with his experience would throw. If he were a lesser named QB, he would’ve been benched by other coaches in-game…it was that bad.
Look at Travis Fulgham’s line here and remember just a few weeks ago these two were like the new great duo in the NFL…1 catch for 8 yards on 7 targets.
Alshon Jeffrey…Wentz tried to force it to him twice, once for the worst throw/INT of 2020 – in the game, 2 targets, no catches.
The only thing that looked somewhat comfortable was Went to Dallas Goedert (5-77-1/6)…and that was a late, short TD pass away from being ‘meh’ for Goedert.
There is a Carson Wentz problem here, but we’ve seen decent Wentz before…he can snap out of this potentially…but time is ticking, and it’s taking down all the surrounding weapons with it for FF.
-- Speaking of Dallas Goedert (5-77-1/6)…he looked really nice here. The movement skills are back. He’s looking like the ‘next Gronk’ again.
The problem for getting too excited about it for FF is…
1) Wentz is really scuffling right now.
2) Zach Ertz might be back Week 12, if not…then definitely Week 13…and that creates options and confusion for Goedert getting top targeting.
-- Nick Chubb (20-114-0) is doing a Damien Harris thing…looks great, rushing for 100+ all the time, but with no targets, if he doesn’t get a TD – then who cares for FF? Chubb got 11.4 points here. Kareem Hunt (13-11-1, 1-10-0/1) had terrible output but scored 8.1 points, 9.1 PPR because he was in for the TD.
Couple of notes on Chubb…
1) Chubb looks great running the ball, but defenses really push up on him. And why not? He played 30 snaps and ran the ball 20 times. Pretty good guess what CLE is doing when Chubb is in.
2) Which makes me think…
Chubb looks really quick, evasive and strong running the ball…and so does Damien Harris/NE. Harris is a star running below the radar…but with Belichick rotation worries. This Chubb note is really about how impressed I am with Harris (and Chubb looks terrific too).
3) Hunt played 36 snaps to Chubb’s 30, second game in a row Hunt played more snaps.
4) Chubb has not caught a pass since Week 3.
5) Chubb has not had more than 1 target in a game all year.
6) Chubb had a 54-yard run in this game, and that 59-yard one at the end of Week 11 where he went out of bounds on purpose vs. scoring a TD late. Takeaway those two runs and Chubb has rushed 37 times for 127 yards total, just 3.43 yards per carry on all his other work. Not great.
Chubb is great and an RB1 threat every week, but there is some risk in his numbers with his non-targeting. He truly has been an RB2 more than RB1 since Kareem Hunt started playing together with him last season.
Kareem Hunt is an RB1 threat with RB2 numbers working with Chubb as well. He’s not a backup/low snap count rotational – it’s a 50-50 split with these guys, in a sense…with Hunt in on the passing activity almost always.
-- Baker Mayfield (12-22 for 204 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) played the prettiest terrible FF game you’ll ever witness. In the rain, Baker looked so not-bothered by the cold/wet and is seeing the field so well and is moving in the pocket nicely – he’s playing with a controlled confidence versus a childish confidence. He’s really matured in a year.
Baker may be a very good NFL QB who is a perpetual QB2 in this offense, climate, etc. He doesn’t need to be unleashed to run his Oklahoma offense.
…but the good news is he could if needed by the Browns, which makes them a bit dangerous in the playoffs.
-- I still think Rashard Higgins (3-65-0/4) is Baker’s #1 look now, his favorite guy to throw to…not Jarvis Landry (2-23-0/2) – and it’s all being hidden because the Browns keep having bad weather games with low passing needs/output.
Since OBJ went down, from Week 7 on…
3.3 rec. (4.3 targets), 59.3 yards, 0.0 TDs per game = Higgins
3.3 rec. (5.8 targets), 38.0 yards, 0.0 TDs per game = Landry
Do you know how many TD catches Jarvis Landry has this season?
He has 1 TD catch with Baker in his last 15 games (back to 2019).
Higgins has 2 TDs this season.
-- Two IDP notes…
1) PHI rookie LB Davion Taylor (3 tackles) drew his first start but played just 21% of the snaps. The Eagles seem to be bringing him up to speed slowly and it’s getting to the point he might start soon. I’m on the fence on whether he’s IDP worthy or not. Really good player but might be better for the NFL than FF.
2) CLE DE Olivier Vernon (5 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3.5 TFLs, 4 QB hits) has woken up…
0.0 sacks, 2 QB hits through Week 7 (5 games played).
5.0 sacks, 6 QB hits, 5.0 TFLs the past three games.
Snap Counts of Interest:
36 = Hunt
30 = Chubb
48 = Hodge
40 = Higgins
38 = Landry
65 = Fulgham
63 = Reagor
46 = Ward
05 = Jeffrey