2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 11 Game Analysis: Cowboys 31, Vikings 28
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.
The Vikings didn’t play too poorly here in defeat, but Dallas played well and got more breaks and won. Not that Dallas only won because of the breaks…more, I’m saying that both these teams played decent football. Minnesota didn’t ‘lose it’ to ‘sad’ Dallas…the Cowboys played toe-to-toe, in a must-win game for both teams. The Vikings had been rolling and Dallas was losing, so it was expected the Vikes would roll here…but Dallas earned this win. Not technically great play by the two teams, but good enough for an average NFL team to win on a Sunday.
Dallas has been building towards this…they actually hung in their game Week 8 vs. PHI with Ben DiNucci as an emergency starter. They couldn’t win with DiNucci, but they hung around until late and finally folded. Turning to Garrett Gilbert the following week – they should’ve beaten the Steelers. They had that game won but flipped over in the 4th-quarter to the better team. A bye week after the Gilbert event, Andy Dalton gets healthy…and they show up here with a nice win AT Minnesota to get to (3-7) and a Thanksgiving Day win away from taking over 1st-place, pending the Sunday Eagles-Giants result. We project Dallas getting to 7 wins and winning the NFC East now, but 6 wins and a tiebreaker hope is firmly in play as well.
Minnesota falls to (4-6), a huge blow/loss…they could’ve been (5-5) and a game out of the wild card with a win here, but they failed to book their 4th win in-a-row. Their wild card season is on the line with Carolina this week (12). A win over the Panthers and they have a chance to get to 9 wins and a possible wild card. More likely they will finish (8-8) or worse and not make it.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Watching this game made me consider the high profile rookie WRs in this game…
Justin Jefferson (3-86-1/5) has been the better WR, statistically, than CeeDee Lamb (4-34-1/6, 2-12-0) but the world would say Lamb is better per their vast scouting. Which is it?
Who is the better NFL WR…or FF WR…is there a difference?
I’m not against either, but I’ve been much more impressed with Jefferson’s work than Lamb’s. Not that Lamb has been bad, but Jefferson has worked short, medium, and deep and been producing high output in not a high-flying passing game (but good enough). Lamb has been more of a ‘get open in the zone and throw it to him and gets tackled soon after’ type competent WR.
Jefferson shows me more on the field and works all the levels for FF goodness. I don’t see the breakaway star talent in Lamb like I see in Jefferson.
BUT…Lamb is good. Just more ‘B’ grade than the ‘A++++’ the media portrays. I will say a few things for Lamb after watching this game/comparison:
1) Lamb is super confident in himself, and that matters on a certain level. He doesn’t blend into the background. He makes his presence known. He demands attention. He overrates himself, but he does not lack the ego to play WR in the NFL.
2) Lamb had as good a catch as you’ll find this season on his end zone fade, falling down, twisting the opposite direction of where he was running, and catching a pass before crashing to the earth. The kind of plays stars make. Lamb can catch well+, with his very good+ hands…he has some DeAndre Hopkins in him.
3) Lamb is building a decent trust with Andy Dalton…Michael Gallup has been left for dead. It’s Cooper-Lamb for Dalton.
4) Lamb is starting to become the jet sweep guy. Usually getting one carry per game, he got two carries here…and another for a two-point conversion. Something to note for his FF projections.
-- Ezekiel Elliott (22-103-0, 2-11-1/2) looked refreshed off the bye…best game for him since Dak left. Movement was much better here than the sluggish Zeke we saw most of this season.
Tony Pollard (5-60-1) is looking great with relief touches and had a sweet 42-yard TD run here. Just note – Pollard is going to see different defensive attention when he’s in the game. Pollard is not taking over for Zeke or even moving into a split.
-- Andy Dalton (22-32 for 203 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT) looked very Andy-Dalton-capable here. He looked very capable. Not much difference between him and Kirk Cousins (22-30 for 314 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) to the eye.
I’m not saying Andy Dalton is great, but he’s not terrible…and he’s in a good spot in Dallas with these WRs, especially when he plays indoors.
-- Irv Smith (2-23-0/2) returned from injury, and I thought he looked very good. He had back-to-back catches on a drive midway in the 1st-quarter, and I thought he was going to have a game for himself to get back on the PPR map at TE…but he never saw another target. Why? I have no idea…but that’s why you can’t get too excited about him for FF, sadly. This happens to him every week…a flurry of 2-3 catches and then nothing for quarters at a time.
-- Everyone thinks the Dallas defense is terrible, but they are not terrible. They aren’t good, but they’re not godawful. I note that to say…
Week 12 v. Washington might not be too bad.
Week 14 at Cincy, might be a good spot for the opening week of the FF playoffs for some in need of a Week 14 fill-in. Weeks 15-16 with SF-PHI might not be horrible either.
Snap Counts of Interest:
45 = Rudolph
33 = Irv Smith
11 = Conklin
46 = Zeke
21 = Pollard