2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 13 Game Analysis: Football Team 23, Steelers 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.
Ding-dong, the undefeated witch is dead! Finally.
Finally, this fraud undefeated team goes down. The Steelers are very good, but they are not the best team in the league/best in the NFL historically. I don’t know that they’re a top 3 team in the NFL right now.
When the Steelers got up 14-0 a few minutes before the half, everything looked ‘at hand’…but the Steelers achilles heel rose up and bit them – they can’t run the ball (because all their RBs suck, except the one they use the least…Jaylen Samuels, and their most-targeted receivers can’t catch passes consistently). The Steelers can blame themselves for this loss…they built this offense that is going to be hard-pressed to win a playoff game.
Washington saw Pittsburgh was taking Terry McLaurin away and used their other weapons heavily, finally. Meanwhile, the Steelers kept trying to do the same thing over and over, and it finally ran out of steam – if you’re going to try and run behind Bennie Snell, and you see Diontae and Ebron dropping every other pass and still keep throwing it to them…don’t be surprised when you lose. The Steelers lost…deservedly so.
Pittsburgh just invited a lot of playoff position ‘trouble’ with this loss. They fall to (11-1), and when they lose at Buffalo next week two problems will arise, and this bad loss brought it on: (1) The Chiefs are going have the inside track at the #1 seed if PIT loses to BUF Week 14, because KC already beat BUF. (2) The Browns are lurking all of a sudden. I mean, there’s no way the Browns can close the gap for real…but they could be a step closer to making the AFC North title chase interesting if they keep winning and the Steelers fall to the Bills (and I think they will). If the Browns get close, and then Ben gets COVID…I’m just saying, this loss invited trouble a step close to the Steelers and all hell could break loose with a loss at Buffalo next week.
Washington pulls a stunner to get to (5-7)…getting back to a tie with the (5-7) Giants for the NFC East, both with not-easy schedules ahead – but both just beat top teams this week, so who knows?
This is REALLY bad news for the Eagles…you assumed Washington and NYG would lose Week 13 and thus the Eagles would really be in the NFC East race still, and maybe even a favorite given their schedule after Week 14 ends – but now there’s trouble for Philly to stay alive.
The Eagles need both Washington and New York to totally stumble down the stretch…a tall order to ask, but not incomprehensible. It’s even worse news for Dallas. A three-win Cowboys team could’ve had a lot to play for Tuesday night…getting to win #4 would’ve put them a game out of 1st-place, IF NYG and WSH had lost this week. Now, Dallas is 2 wins behind the leaders going into Tuesday Night Football…and will pretty much have their coffin nailed shut if they lose to as-desperate Ravens.
We see Washington finishing with 6 wins, and the Giants with 7 wins to take the division now…but it is a very fluid situation.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Since most reading this have one of the Steelers WRs (some both) starting every week, we begin, as always, with the Steelers WR report…
a) The Diontae Johnson (8-71-1/12) ‘drops’ problem is not getting better, it is getting worse. Two ugly displays the last two weeks.
Keep in mind, to take some solace:
1) Ben never stops going to Diontae…where many WRs get frozen out for this issue.
2) Tomlin never disciplines him…all the WRs rotate in and out except JuJu and Diontae, for the most part. So, Tomlin is not losing faith. Mike Zimmer would have put Diontae on the practice squad by now.
3) Ben is all about his short throws, so he has to work Diontae more than the others…because they run the most Diontae interior/short pass routes.
4) Eric Ebron (7-68-0/11) has become a thing because of Ben’s short throwing, and Ebron’s drops are worse…so it helps distract some from Diontae’s issues.
I don’t mean to joke about it, because it looks like a problem now. One week is not a trend, but this is now -- signs of it early this season and then a bad Week 12 followed by a more egregious Week 13. He’s moving himself into a position of getting disciplined/benched with more trouble Week 14…and we don’t need that for FF right now.
It’s a worry for you/me, but it doesn’t seem to worry Ben or Tomlin…so, we roll on.
Reminder…this hasn’t been an issue in the past, and Davante Adams had this problem his second season…and people wanted him cut. The next season, he became ‘Davante’. Diontae is Ben’s Davante, in the dink & dunk game Ben runs now.
b) Chase Claypool’s (2-38-0/4) lack of snaps is now concerning. He wasn’t around much the 2nd-half of last game, and that didn’t necessarily mean something was wrong – but he didn’t start this game and he wasn’t in 44% of the time, splitting with Washington/Ray-Ray. I don’t know why ‘leading the team in receiving for the season’ warrants less snaps as the other receivers drop every other pass…but, I didn’t just lose to Washington because of my player personnel ineptitude – Mike Tomlin did.
I think there’s some scuttlebutt of rookie WRs hitting ‘a wall’, and thus Chase being throttled back a touch…and he’s gotten banged up some but not out-of-the-game injuries -- but Justin Jefferson doesn’t seem to be hitting any ‘wall’. There used to be a ‘watch out for WRs in Year Three’ mindset too…now it’s down to Week Three of their rookie season. So, Claypool being throttled back doesn’t make sense to me…and he’s still working the punt coverage, so that shows you how much Mike Tomlin values him as his best WR…he doesn’t.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s going on except this is classic NFL – your best weapon, keep him on the sidelines. Your best runner of the ball near the goal line…don’t give it to him around there anymore because you worry the other team knows it’s coming so let Benny Snell not get in 3-4-5 times in a row instead to avoid the issue???.
We have to scale Claypool back to a WR2-3 projection at a bad time to do until we figure out what in the H is going on.
c) James Washington (2-80-1/4) is playing well, and that’s another reason CC is rotating out some, potentially…but, seriously, we can’t take rock hands Diontae out or dull production JuJu out instead? We take the best player you have on offense out to get JWash more work? OK, but don’t blame COVID rescheduling for your problems – I know the real reason why. Mike Tomlin is a bad manager of offensive personnel, but Big Ben makes him look smart (like McCarthy-Rodgers, Carroll-Wilson).
Final note on the Steelers’ WRs is sobering…they are facing what might be the best pass defense in the NFL right now with Buffalo, in the cold, Week 14. Not good at the wrong time.
-- You cannot be an NFL team in 2020 and run Bennie Snell (8-5-0) and Anthony McFarland (4-15-0) as your lead backs in an era of great RBs all over the place. James Conner (DNP) is a weak hand as well. Pittsburgh did this to themselves.
Jaylen Samuels (1-1-0, 3-11-0/4) is the best back they have and so, of course, they rarely use him. They started using him a bit more here, out of desperation…and he had one spark play. I wish they’d put him in a duo with Conner, but I know that will never happen…or Samuels wouldn’t have been put in the doghouse after he dared rush for 100+ yards in his first start, in a shock win over New England – we can’t have any of that kind of production…we need Bennie Snail going 8 carries for 5 yards against a middle tier run defense.
Bennie Snail…I think that works. I can’t be the first person to have thought of that. Actually, I think I thought of that before anyone else. I call ‘trademark’. Talk to my lawyers from here on in.
Mike Tomlin will try to make Snail his feature back to start next season, I can feel it.
If you ask a question on Video Q&A and you put ‘Snail’ as one of your options…I’ll know exactly who you mean.
-- We won’t know how bad Antonio Gibson’s (2-14-0) turf toe is for a few days but that’s usually a couple weeks or more issue…if rushed back, the RB is slowed by trying to run through it. He’s likely to at least miss a week (probably more).
Peyton Barber (14-23-1) will get touches, but he’s barely better than Bennie Snail and behind a worse O-Line.
You know where the money is going to be…J.D. McKissic (5-8-0, 10-70-0/10) in PPR. No Gibson…McKissic is back to an RB1 in PPR.
-- On my Monday ‘Three Things/Five Players’ report, I pointed out two guys from this game for waivers this week…hoping they’d lay low in this game.
They did the opposite.
McKissic put up PPR RB1 numbers and then Logan Thomas (9-98-1/9) had his full breakout party. I wish I got onto him earlier, I just didn’t want to believe in the Washington passing game outside of any players that didn’t start with ‘Mc’ in their last name.
Thomas would be my #1 waiver grab of the week, if I were doing the Monday report with this game in the books…Thomas and Keke Coutee are the top names this week. Thomas maybe the #1 because of the position he plays.
-- I was miffed and glad to see that you got to see the Cam Sims (5-92-0/9) I was howling about for a few weeks, 4-5 weeks ago (and then had to give up). If you saw the game, you had to be thinking what I was – why didn’t they get the ball to this guy more the past few weeks…or at all (he had a game with no targets in the past few weeks as a heavy snap playing starter)?
I’m glad for this event -- because…now, I don’t feel as crazy for trying to get everyone interested in this guy. You see what I was seeing ahead of the crowd.
Still, I’m not sure how we can FF-trust him next week…but I am drawn back into considering it depending upon my roster size.
-- Two Steelers IDP situations to point out…
1) ILB Robert Spillane got hurt and left the game, and their traded-for ILB Avery Williamson (9 tackles, 1 TFL) took over and put up numbers. Depending upon the Spillane injury, Williamson could matter for IDP possibly.
2) Rookie DE Alex Highsmith (5 tackles) got his first start with Bud Dupree now gone…and he was not bad. I’m a fan. I think he’s going to be a sneaky good/solid player for PIT with upside…not sure if now is his time to shine, but he’s got the opportunity to.
-- The Washington-DST made people believers again, but two problems ahead…
1) The schedule ahead isn’t easy…at SF, SEA the next two weeks.
2) Those teams won’t feature a weak ass run game and WRs dropping every other pass.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
61 = JuJu
57 = Diontae
38 = Washington
31 = Claypool
33 = Snail
27 = Samuels (this is encouraging)
11 = McFarland
68 = McLaurin
62 = Cam Sims
29 = I Wright
22 = Stv Sims
53 = McKissic
24 = Barber
04 = Gibson