2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 12 Game Analysis: 49ers 23, Rams 20
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.
Well, that didn’t go the way I expected.
I thought the Rams had finally found themselves vs. Tampa Bay, and were going to show a wounded 49ers team who was the NFC West boss.
There’s a simple rule I should follow here… Kyle Shanahan > Sean McVay.
This game was a battle of two top defenses…only one offensive TD was scored by each team. They also each scored a defensive TD. There were 3 INTs and no passing TDs between the two teams and 4 lost fumbles. It wasn’t a sloppy game – it was a battle between two really good defensive performances. The Rams, I expected. The 49ers D shocked me.
San Fran led this game 17-3 late 3rd-quarter. The Rams chipped it to 17-6 with a field goal, and on the ensuing drive for SF…a Raheem Mostert fumble, scoop-and-score TD for LAR…and suddenly it was 17-13 SF. The Rams then halted the 49ers on their next drive, got the ball back, had a 61-yard Cam Akers run setting up a short TD moments later – within 5 minutes the Rams went from down 17-3 to leading 20-17. I thought it was over for the 49ers at that point.
I was wrong.
The 49ers rallied for two field goals on their final two drives, shutting down the Rams in the process, and hitting the game winner with 0:00 remaining. The 49ers’ season was saved from the brink. The Rams now have more questions than answers suddenly.
The 49ers got two ‘wins’…the game win to go to (5-6) and then the Cardinals botched their game to fall to (6-5) as the #6 wild card leader…so the 49ers are in playoff range – as they pull into a tie for the #7 seed with MIN and CHI, and now just a game behind #6 Arizona. The 49ers are right back in it…and if they stay healthy, make the playoffs, and get Jimmy G. and Kittle back for the playoffs – the 49ers could make a Super Bowl run again. It sounds crazy to even type that.
Because (8-8) might be the #7 seed in the NFC…the 49ers can get there, but they probably need to get to 9 wins to be sure of a spot. They are more projecting (8-8). If the 49ers get in #7 seed, they could face any number of rivals 1st-round of the playoffs: NO, GB, SEA. Teams they are familiar with and have beaten in times of need recently.
I was ready to see the Rams make a run at the NFC West title after handling Seattle and Tampa Bay the last two games prior, but this loss was a killer. Likely ends the long shot NFC West hope (Seattle has such an easy schedule ahead). They are now looking at trying to get good wild card position – being the #1 wild card draws the NFC East winner, so it’s like a BYE week for the #1 wild card. We see the Rams getting 10 wins, being the #1 wild card…and thus they will advance in the playoffs to face the #1 seed, whomever that might be. If they lose to Arizona next week, then there’s even more chaos to this Rams season. Huge game for both teams LAR at ARI Week 13.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First things first… This was one of the best individual performances I’ve seen from a WR this season, or any season. The show Deebo Samuel (11-133-0/13) put on was unreal. This was a huge performance against the #1 pass defense in the NFL in certain metrics.
So, how did Deebo have such a good game facing this defense, matched up with Jalen Ramsey, and working with Nick Mullens?
1) Deebo’s whole game, just about, is now behind the line of scrimmage…screens, pitch pass with him coming across in motion, etc. Jalen Ramsey type cover corners cannot deploy their talents against him.
2) Deebo is becoming A.J. Brown, only better…the guy who is untackleable after the catch. Only Deebo is a very good receiver, and AJB is technically flawed as a WR -- but a monster physically.
3) Kyle Shanahan has made Deebo the center of his offense. Deebo might as well be a running back now. Only instead of handoffs, it’s screens, pitch passes, and jet sweeps…and some straight up handoffs from time to time.
You saw Tyreek Hill Sunday?
You saw D.K. Metcalf Monday?
You see Rodgers-to-Davante every week?
No wide receiver in the NFL has a better plan to get him the ball now than Deebo Samuel by Kyle Shanahan. Deebo is essentially matchup proof now. He’s about to become a mega-star for (PPR) fantasy…I believe.
-- The real star of this game was the 49ers defense. That Rams offense that squashed the Bucs on Monday Night Football…the 49ers squashed them back. How did this happen?
The ‘how’ is what makes them a hot pick up for a DST for Weeks 14-15 (WSH, at DAL).
1) Richard Sherman (7 tackles, 1 INT) returned…and that changes a lot from his play to the morale boost of their leader back on the field.
2) Jason Verrett (5 tackles) looks reborn. The CB combo of Sherman-Verrett is low key one of the best CB-duos in the game now. I can’t even believe I typed that. Good for them. I thought injury ruined Verrett’s career, but he’s clawed his way back.
3) DT Kerry Hyder (4 tackles, 20 sacks, 4 QB hits) has 7.5 sacks this season…a journeyman DT. He finally got a shot. We were pointing him out earlier this season, and he’s never let up.
4) They dumped Kwon Alexander…and there must have been a good reason why they gave him away to NO.
I won’t play them v. BUF Week 13, but I would go for it Weeks 14-15. Since they’ve had a down season, they can be on many a waiver wire. Wild card FF teams starting the playoffs Week 14…take note if you need it.
-- Cam Akers (9-84-1) had a 61-yard run helping the comeback efforts…so, now everyone is excited. But note…
1) 8 carries for 23 yards aside from that 2.9 yards per carry otherwise.
2) played the least amount of snaps among all the Rams-trio RBs in this game, which has been the norm.
-- Raheem Mostert (16-43-1, 2-0-0/2) looked good in this return game for him…it’s just the Rams defense is arguably the best in the game right now.
Jeff Wilson (12-43-0) came off IR and got 12 carries…which made me think: (a) Shanahan is always going to split carries with two RBs, regardless of who they are, and (b) Jerick McKinnon (3-21-0, 2-11-0/3) is going to be the #4 RB when Tevin Coleman returns.
-- Jared Goff (19-31 for 198 yards, 0 TDs/2 INTs) went from god to goat in the span of a week. Crushing TB last game, getting crushed by SF here.
This is two games in recent weeks where Goff got smoked…vs. SF here, and that Miami game a few weeks ago. It may be that the secondaries of these two teams, their defenses overall…any strong/bad matchup for Goff is major trouble, but he’s fine otherwise – which means the Bucs secretly suck on defense, and we’re all seeing that the last few weeks (when they were terrific the first 6-7 weeks of the season).
Which means…Week 13 is neutral for Goff vs. ARI, but Week 14 v. NE could be the next problem game.
-- All this talk of the 49ers defense, but the Rams defense is better…I think they’re the best in football right now.
They crushed TB last week. Held down Russ two weeks prior. Held SF to 3.5 yards per carry, 0 TD passes, and got three turnovers this game…plus a defensive TD.
The loss is blamed on Goff’s/the offense’s turnovers, not this defense.
Troy Reeder (15 tackles, 1 TFL) started for the injured Micah Kizer...and looks better than Kizer. Reeder has started two games for Kizer this year...and has 11 and 15 tackles in those games with 3 TFLs and 3.0 sacks combined. He gets two more starts ahead, at least, with Kizer on IR.
-- I’ve been promoting Matt Gay (2/2 FG, 2/2 XP) as a sneaky PK play based on his top results last season, his booming leg, and the fact that he’s kicking indoors until Week 16. He’s averaging 10.0 PPG (FPros system) in his first two appearances with the Rams.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
25 = Brown
20 = D Henderson
17 = Akers
63 = Deebo
63 = James
41 = Bourne
44 = Dwelley
31 = Jo Reed
29 = Mostert
25 = J Wilson
18 = McKinnon