2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 12 Game Analysis: Patriots 20, Cardinals 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.
I watched it live. I watched it again Monday for study purposes…I still have no idea how Arizona lost this game.
I’ll blame it on Kliff Kingsbury.
Arizona had a:
34/26 minute time of possession advantage.
3rd-down conversion advantage (43% to 37%).
Total yards advantage (298 to 179)
1st-down advantage (23 to 16)
The Cardinals had the better quarterback, and their defense was arguably as good as the Patriots.
So, how do you lose this game? It helps if you walk in with a huge QB advantage…and the decide to feature your expensive, overrated, low ypc in most games running back Kenyan Drake instead.
It also doesn’t help when your passing game is all WR based and then an opposing defense takes away your WRs in good coverage, and you have no ‘other gear’ to shift to in the passing game.
Throw in a missed field goal trying to take the lead with 1:52 left…and you lose.
Now, three losses in Arizona’s last 4 games. It really should be 4 losses in a row, if not for the Hail Mary beat on Buffalo. It really should be five losses in a row because they were thoroughly outplayed by Seattle Week 7 when they won that game in OT on Sunday Night Football.
Arizona is now (6-5), lucky to not be (4-7) and their season going down the drain. The shame of it is – this is a decent Arizona team. No longer a defensive liability, and plenty of offensive talent to win games. Their Week 13 game hosting LAR is going to be the season, in a sense, for both teams…the loser is going to be sent reeling with back-to-back losses and falling out of any NFC West title talk. I think it will be Arizona losing to the Rams -- and thus the Minnesota Vikings will start moving ahead of the Cardinals for the 7th wild card spot and Arizona will end the season (if they lose Week 13) at (8-8) and likely miss the last wild card.
New England is now (5-6), they should be (2-9)…they are the worst 5 win team in the NFL this side of the Chicago Bears. You’ll need 9 wins to have a shot at the AFC wild card, but more likely 10 wins. If New England wins 4 or 5 of their next five games…Bill Belichick should be awarded a medal. I think they can get to 8 wins, with pressure towards being a 7-win team in the end. Theirs is almost no way they can get to 9 wins…but never rule out Belichick.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Kyler Murray (23-34 for 170 yards, 0 TDs/1 INT, 5-31-0) Report…
It wasn’t his finest hour, but he didn’t look bad or lost or under any major duress.
1) The Patriots covered the WRs well. And they put decent pressure on him off the edges keeping him in the pocket and up the middle, not getting outside to make plays/extend plays.
2) Kyler/this offense had no answer to the covered WRs or getting Kyler away from being boxed in.
3) Part of the ‘no answer’ was no Kyler running plays on purpose…which is killing Kyler’s FF-vibe. The past two weeks, just 5 rushes and each game. The prior four games he ran the ball 10-14-11-11 times for 60+ yards each game and 5 rushing TDs. Just 23.0 rushing yards per game with no TDs in the last two weeks, and ‘surprise’ both losses.
If Kyler’s not running…we’re screwed for fantasy, because this Air Raid is not impressive at all for the passing game. Kyler’s been under 300 yards passing in 10 of 12 games this season. At/under 270 yards passing in nine of 12 games this season.
The next two weeks Kyler faces two of the most impressive defenses in the NFL – the Rams and the Giants. Kyler might run out of FF-gas before we get to the FF-finish line. All you can do is ride him all the way…he got you here.
…unless you have Justin Herbert or Josh Allen as well.
Kyler did have a TD pass right before the half, but it was ruled an inch short as time expired…it was that kind of FF-day for Kyler.
*Side Note: In my 3 Things/5 Players Report for Week 12, I noted Brett Hundley as the Kyler backup/handcuff. I was educated later by a faithful FFMer that my statement was likely not true – that Chris Streveler is the backup.
Streveler is the listed backup. He has played some in-season in specialty situations a la a Taysom Hill type QB. If it came down to it, I’m not sure if Arizona wouldn’t go with the experienced Hundley if in the playoff hunt – or if they see Streveler has more juice and would try and ride him.
With a little extra research on the subject, I think it is Streveler as the backup who would go in for Kyler – but it’s not a 100% for sure.
This is an FYI for those in deeper leagues where this would matter.
-- The more I watch Damien Harris (14-47-0) the more I think he’s one of the 3-5 best running backs in the NFL that I’m watching work each week the past month+.
That claim is kinda FF-meaningless since Harris does all his work between the 20s and is out of the game for others in the passing game or near the end zone. Why? I have no idea.
Two stud RBs who get treated like nobodies in their coach’s RBBC: Damien Harris and Darrell Henderson.
My 2020 life quote: Running backs are random timeshare and injured garbage, and I’ll never value them highly again in fantasy.
I tried this one COVID year to play RB heavy -- and it’s the worst year to have ever tried it. I will literally scissor kick anyone who tries to deny my long-complained claims that elite QBs and Travis Kelce aren’t as/more important than 99% of the Fantasy RBs each season.
-- Andy Isabella (4-33-0/6) drew the start for COVID Larry Fitz. The first play of the game, he took a little man-in-motion pitch pass and weaved around 4-5-6 guys to turn a 2-yard play into a sweet 19-yard pop to get things started…and then was never really involved in the offense again.
This is what worries me about Kyler…Kirk and Hopkins were taken away, Isabella would have been the matchup to expose, the game began with an example of it – and then they never go to it again, no real purposed plan by Kliff, and no vision by Kyler.
…and Christian Kirk (3-19-0/6) is a giant waste in this offense as well. The wrong style WR for this offense playing on the wing as a deep ball guy. Kirk should be in the Larry Fitz role, and Isabella should be in the Kirk role, the way Arizona plays offense. But what do I know? 170 yards passing and no passing TDs and a loss to New England says I might have reason to be heard.
-- Arizona isn’t moving away from Kenyan Drake (22-78-2, 3-15-0/4) and towards Chase Edmonds (6-29-0, 4-14-0/5) and more Kyler – no, they are leaning even MORE into Drake. Congrats! You hired a college coach offensive whiz with a gimmick offense, and the offense has devolved into Kenyan Drake runs between the guards. Sweet! Season ticket sales will be booming in 2021.
I have thought that there would be no way Arizona will throw 2021 free agent money at Kenyan Drake…now, I’m not so sure they won’t trade Kyler and install Drake at quarterback. Drake is somehow the key to the franchise, apparently.
Who knew the secret sauce of the Air Raid was smaller RBs running up the middle for 3.5 yards per carry? I learn something new every day.
-- Jakobi Meyers’ (5-52-0/6) interesting run as a PPR monster for New England is stalling out. He had that one massive game vs. the Jets (enough said) for 12 catches, 169 yards, and 14 targets – outside of that he just keeps repeating 4-6 catches for 50-60 yards with no TD games. Solid, but not FF-worthy/exciting.
The two starting WRs for this game on the first play = Byrd-Harry…but Meyers did play 94% of the snaps. It’s just odd he’s been so good and not on the field as a starter no matter the alignment.
-- Isaiah Simmons (6 tackles, 1 sack) helped Arizona lose this game with a helmet-to-helmet on Cam running out of bounds, an extra 15 yards that boosted New England into FG range with less than a minute left. Had the penalty not occurred, I’m not sure the Pats could’ve gotten into range in time (and thus the game head to OT)…because Arizona’s defense was really good otherwise (and the Pats stink on offense).
Besides that, Simmons looks FF-terrific of late – 8.0 total tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and 1.0 sacks per game, while only playing about half the defensive snaps per game.
-- Do you know who New England’s top linebackers are?
Ja’Whuan Bentley (13 tackles), who is averaging 8.6 total tackles per game the past 5 games and Terez Hall (7 tackles), who I don’t even remember from college or pro work ever…he’s played 4 games since being signed by the Pats, and is averaging 6.8 total tackles per game with the opportunity – and only playing about 50% of the snaps in games +/-.
-- Arizona’s defense is really playing well, and I need to issue a formal apology to D-C Vance Joseph, who I mocked all preseason. The offense looks erratic…the defense looks rock solid. They really squashed NE’s offense here, and gave Seattle fits two weeks ago. They shut down Buffalo for a large chunk of their battle…and the Bills/Josh Allen had to be great to get to 30 points. I’ve been more impressed with Joseph’s defense than Kingsbury’s offense.
Week 13 vs. LAR might be OK with the Cardinals-DST.
Weeks 14-16 could be sweet…at NYG, PHI, SF.
-- The Patriots-DST has been OK this year (#15 DST in PPG this season to date), but they don’t have as favorable a schedule ahead…
Weeks 13-16: at LAC, at LAR, at MIA, BUF…not good, except Miami if Tua is starting.
Snap Counts of Interest:
34 = Dam Harris
20 = JWhite
41 = Drake
33 = Edmonds
72 = Hopkins
64 = Kirk
41 = Isabella
09 = KeeSean