2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 12 Game Analysis: Vikings 28, Panthers 27
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.
What an entertaining game.
It didn’t start out all that entertaining…a 10-7 Vikings lead at the half. Neither team really standing out. However, fireworks went off in the 2nd-half.
In the span of 0:10 game seconds, from 14:01 to 13:51 of the 3rd-quarter, the Panthers got two turnovers back-to-back and converted them both to TDs, both by the same defender (Jeremy Chinn, who may have had his Defensive Rookie of the Year moment here). The Panthers were suddenly in control 21-10.
The Panthers led 24-13, after a Joey Slye FG, with 11+ minutes left in the game. It looked like a Carolina win was coming…and they’d be alive in the playoff hunt.
The Vikings scored with 5+ minutes left to cut it to 24-21. Minnesota then held the Panthers, but on the ensuing punt…Chad Beebe muffed it, turnover, and Carolina with a subsequent field goal to take a 27-21 lead with 1:51 left.
Minnesota then flies down the field and scores a TD (Beebe redemption) to take a 28-27 lead with 0:46 remaining. But then the Panthers fly down the field and lined up for a 54-yard FG attempt to win…the second time in four weeks that the Panthers had a chance to win with a long FG at the buzzer – and Slye shanked it…ball game.
Carolina falls to a heartbreaking (4-8)…so close to a (6-6) or better right now. They’re a low-level playoff caliber team who might finish with 5-6 wins as they use the final weeks to prep for 2021. I want them to lose out so their over/under win total bet for 2021 is as low as possible. I don’t care what the number is, I’m betting Carolina win total ‘over’ and betting them to win the NFC South. Carolina is ‘my’ team starting, officially, in 2021. Matt Rhule is going to be the dominant force head coach of the NFL into the future. Matt Rhule vs. Kyle Shanahan will be the debate in 3-4-5-6-10 years. I go with Rhule.
Round of applause for the Vikings…a terrible (1-5) start, now (5-6) and are the current #7 seed for the playoffs. Winners of four of their last 5 games. They should finish (8-8), with (9-7) possible…and 8 wins is likely good enough to get the #7 seed in the NFC. Week 15 vs. CHI is likely the season for both teams – winner is a wild card, loser is not, possibly.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Panthers seem to be throttling back on the Mike Davis (15-55-0, 3-24-0/6) workload as the season rolls on, which makes sense – he’s an older back who was thrust into a prime role and carried the team early in the season. He’s taken a lot of hits…he always has his entire career and been injury prone because of it. He fights for every yard, and that can be detrimental to his health.
Now that the Panthers are kinda of ‘out of it’ for the playoffs, they are not pushing Davis at all costs…Matt Rhule is smartly (and ‘head coach’ and ‘smart’ can only be used for about 2-4 coaches in the entire league) rotating in younger backs to not only spell Davis – but to see what they got for the future. Why not? It’s smart business management…a thing that 25+ other NFL head coaches never do/have a clue on – business management.
UDFA rookie RB Rodney Smith (7-18-0) has gone from ‘off the streets’ to taking meaningful carries in games (this week and last week). Trenton Cannon (3-17-0) took some carries in this game. Davis had 15 carries; Smith-Cannon took 10 carries in a key game here.
I type all this because:
1) If Christian McCaffrey is not back Week 14, the Panthers may lean even more into a split role backfield because they are playing for the future. No need to grind Mike Davis into the ground. Thus, Davis’s FF upside may be limited ahead.
2) Do you think the Panthers, out of it for the playoffs…playing for 2021+, are going to bring back CMC and shove him 25+ touches instantly in a time where he’s not been 100% most all season?
You should be a little nervous if you’re counting on CMC or Mike D big for the FF playoff stretch. I’m not saying they’re doomed…just there are ‘signs’ creeping in that they may not get the touches you want/need ahead.
-- On the other side of the field, an assistant coach mentioned this week that Dalvin Cook (18-61-0, 4-21-0/4) was getting worn down from his heavy workload in 2020…and Mike Zimmer tried to shut that talk down, but it’s true.
With Cook taking a ton of touches/hits this year, and him being so key to the offense, and with a Week 14 game at Tampa Bay looming, and then a super-critical Week 15 v. CHI – Minnesota needs Dalvin Cook 100% down the stretch.
Do you think the Vikings will overload Cook Week 13 vs. Jacksonville…or will they throttle him back some and get him ready for TB and CHI…and NO the following three weeks?
Logic says they throttle him back where they can. NFL old school, out to lunch head coach logic says Cook gets 30+ touches in a 30+ point win over Jacksonville.
-- The Vikings can beat Jacksonville behind Kirk Cousins (34-45 for 207 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) because he is white hot again…a second season in a row where he started slow and then was fire from about Weeks 2-3 on.
Since Week 3, Cousins has 21 TD passes/7 INTs (9 games). The #11 QB in PPG in fantasy (4pts per pass TD) in that stretch, #9 in 6pts per pass TD…firmly ahead of Big Ben, Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Teddy B, Cam, and Philip Rivers among others.
JAX and TB the next two weeks…should be a continuation.
-- Kyle Rudolph (7-68-0/8) had his best game of 2020 this week…with Irv Smith out again.
4.3 rec., 49.8 yards, 0.0 TDs per game his past 4 games…just one TD all season. He’s a possible TE1 vs. JAX if Irv Smith is out again. The Jags aren’t great against the TE as it is. Rudolph is so overdue for a TD.
-- Chad Beebe (7-63-1/7) played a great Cole Beasley/Adam Humphries type game here. He’s capable of rounding out the three-man WR sets and giving the Vikings some decent juice in the passing game. But you can’t count on him for FF week-to-week. He’s not there yet, and probably will never be in this offense…unless Thielen is out again.
-- D.J. Moore (4-61-0/9) landed awkwardly on a leaping catch attempt and has a leg injury. His status for Week 14 is too soon to tell. Again, the Panthers don’t need to ‘push’ players back into action…so, Moore may get the extra week off – which would be more targets for Curtis Samuel (1-5-0, 5-72-0/5).
-- CAR DT/NT Zach Kerr (8 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1 QB hit), a journeyman DT, has quietly caught fire of late…
5.3 total tackles per game, 0.67 sacks, 1.7 QB hits per game his past 3 games playing about a 40-50% snap share.
-- Can you use the Vikings-DST with confidence Week 13 v. JAX? Probably.
The Vikings defense has slowly started to evolve from terrible to not-so-bad. They gave up 27 points this game…but 14 of them were defensive scores. They’ve held their last 5 opponents to an average of 19.8 offensive PPG. That’s high end these days…and they held Green Bay to 22 points in that span as well. Not just crushing patsies.
With their defense coming around. With Kirk Cousins catching fire. With a top run game – I am taking my Survivor Pool pick to Minnesota over the hapless Jags.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
72 = J Jefferson
58 = Bisi Johnson
35 = Beebe
46 = Cook
12 = Mattison
37 = MK Davis
15 = Rodney Smith
10 = Cannon