2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 12 Game Analysis: Saints 31, Broncos 3
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.
We all remember this as the waste of time game where all the Denver QBs were out and UDFA/practice squad WR Kendall Hinton was elevated to emergency QB for the game…and he was destroyed (as many expected) as the Saints laughed their way to a 31-3 win.
What gets lost in this is… This game was just 7-0 Saints with 2+ minutes before the half…and Denver had the ball. The Saints weren’t doing much special either in this game – it was ‘a game’. Then, working in the wildcat with 2+ minutes before half, Phillip Lindsay fumbled to set up an easy Saints TD. A Hinton INT set up a field goal at the halftime buzzer and suddenly it was 17-0 Saints. It wasn’t as bad as the score indicated for the Broncos.
It was 17-3 Saints with a few minutes left in the 3rd-quarter…but the Broncos couldn’t muster anything on offense and the Saints just let Denver flop repeatedly and they took advantage enough times to get a big spread win. The Saints were not great here either, but the Broncos were so bad I’m sure the Saints weren’t running 100% effort/playbook. They knew it was in the bag after the first series or two.
The Saints are now (9-2) and in control of the #1 seed in the NFC but they have at least one more loss if not two left on the schedule…worst case they will go (12-4) – and Green Bay holds a tiebreaker (win) over them this season if it comes down to it. 13 wins should get the Saints the #1 seed. 12 wins puts it up in the air for sure, of which they’d be an underdog for it. ‘At’ Green Bay or ‘At’ New Orleans late in the playoffs…big difference for all teams involved.
Denver had nothing to lose, no one expected them to win given the circumstances…but they decided to coach/plan the worst game of football in 2020 (more on that in a moment) just to make sure -- and they lost big and fell to (4-7) on their way to 5 wins, maybe.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I don’t want to waste time on the following, but I have to for my own catharsis…
So, when I found out Kendall Hinton (1-9 for 13 yards, 0 TD/2 INT, 2-7-0) was going to play QB for Denver, in this emergency…I was kind of excited.
I had scouted Hinton pre-2020 NFL Draft as a WR, but I watched some of his QB work at Wake Forest as well. It wasn’t bad. He was a shaky passer, who had up and down moments…but one who was a very good, tough, purposeful runner of the ball at QB. I graded him pretty highly as a WR prospect – very good feet, good hands, gets open and makes plays with the gift of being a very tough, elusive runner with the ball after the catch. Hinton has NFL skills.
Knowing this, I figured Denver would install him at QB and start him out with designed running plays and screen/short throws to get him into the action/get hit and get past the nerves…I figured they would play to his strengths and try to hide the weaknesses of his situation.
Instead of that, Hinton would come into the game and drop back in the pocket and try to make downfield throws – those were play calls by the O-C, and no RBs were really available to toss the ball to for a check down on these pocket passes. Pass after pass was him 5+ step dropping and heaving prayers to nowhere. It wasn’t until the 3rd-quarter that they called the first screen pass…and whaddya know? It was completed for 13 yards. No more designed screens from there. Hinton ran out of the pocket once for a nice 5+ yard gain; outrunning a D-Lineman who had an angle (it appeared). No designed runs for Hinton that I saw.
If I were the GM or owner of the Broncos, or the head coach…I would have fired the O-C (Pat Shurmur) Sunday night after the game. You cannot be that stupid…and make probably 500K+ a year as a coordinator. How do you not know what your players are good or bad at? How do you not know the situation and cater to it? Instead they just ran their regular pass game with him.
But that’s the NFL for you. An absolute absence of business sense or logic or improvisation ability. The play book is the bible, and everyone needs to adjust to it. Morons. This game demanded a unique, radical offensive plan…and the Broncos did nothing of the sort.
So, Hinton looks like a fool and the team loses by 28…and Hinton’s probably ruined by reputation (from this) and his own memories of this opportunity. Shurmur takes no blame and continues to draw paychecks. What a shame. What gross negligence.
-- Is Alvin Kamara (11-54-0, 1-0-0/2) in big FF-trouble working with Taysom Hill?
It sure looks like it after two games, but note this game was so ‘not indicative’ of anything due to the DEN QB situation…we have to be careful seeing this as the 2nd card dealt in the Blackjack game for AK working with Taysom.
Kamara v. Latavius in two games with Taysom:
24 carries, 99 yards, 1 rec. (3 targets), -2 rec. yards, 1 total TD = Kamara
31 carries, 173 yards, 3 rec. (3 targets), 38 rec. yards, 2 total TDs = Murray
Latavius Murray (19-124-2, 1-12-0/1) works better in this run game as the keep/fake up the middle RB for Taysom to read the situation and decide what to do on the read option. Kamara is not as golden an option as a between the tackles runner.
Add to that – running QBs don’t throw to RBs that much, and thus you got a big problem for Kamara putting up his usual big numbers.
The Falcons have a tough run defense. If the Saints go 50-50 or heavier Latavius again, I think we have to judge it as Latavius > Kamara IF Taysom is at QB.
Here’s a charted/noticed ‘thing’ that can’t make AK owners feel well… (this first play of the first 8 series)
Series #1 in this game, 1st play = Latavius handoff
Series #2, 1st play = Latavius handoff
Series #3, 1st play = Latavius target/catch
Series #4, 1st play = Latavius (in, but ball went elsewhere)
Series #5, 1st play = Kamara (in, but ball went elsewhere)
Series #6, 1st play = Latavius (in, but ball went elsewhere)
Series #7, 1st play = Kamara (in, but ball went elsewhere)
Series #8, 1st play = Latavius handoff
-- Taysom Hill (9-16 for 78 yards, 0 TD/1 INT, 11-44-2) struggled a bit here. He said (post game) he changed strategy to be more protective, knowing that Denver had the QB issues. I don’t know. I would have liked to have seen how this would have played out normally. Denver has a good defense and Taysom finally put a game on tape for defenses to study the prior week.
Again, for the 1st-half…when it was a game…Hill struggled.
Was it the game flow or did Hill come back to earth a bit/get figured a bit? We really can’t know because this game was so unusual.
As long as Taysom is running…he’s good for fantasy, but his passing here was shaky. Still, it’s just two games on this journey for him as well. He’ll get more comfortable as he goes.
-- That’s (above) why you can’t freak out about the Michael Thomas (4-50-0/6) stat line – there was only 9 passes completed by the Saints…almost half to Thomas. In a normal game, he’ll be fine.
Jared Cook (0-0-0/2) on the other hand…he’s dead without Drew Brees.
-- Since their Bye week (6), from Week 7 on to today – the Saints-DST is the #2 scoring DST in fantasy PPG in that span. Facing the non-planned Kendall Hinton really helped give them another push.
The Saints have allowed 3-13-9-3 points to opponents (7.0 NFL points per game) the past four games. This defense is on fire out of nowhere. With ATL and PHI the next two weeks…the party continues, most likely. Week 15 vs. KC, not so much.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
35 = Gordon
14 = Lindsay
13 = Freeman
39 = Trautman
39 = J Hill
19 = J Cook
31 = Kamara
30 = L Murray