2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 14 Game Analysis: Broncos 32, 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.
The game review would simply be: The Broncos returned a punt early in the game, and that seemed to set the tone for Denver to go with this game. Denver led 13-7 at the half. Eventually leading 25-10 after three quarters…and it just felt like Broncos were not about to yield to the Panthers this day. They didn’t. Carolina tried to sneak back into it late, but they couldn’t overcome Denver.
My gut feeling re-watching this game…with neither team having much to play for, Denver came out trying hard and really handling Carolina – despite many injuries that have plagued Denver going into this game. The Broncos are still fighting. They battled Kansas City to the end the week prior. The worst game they’ve played recently is their 31-3 loss vs. New Orleans – the COVID event/the Kendall Hinton starting at QB game.
Denver is now (5-8) and playing tough/never say die football. Unfortunately for them, they draw the Buffalo Bills Week 15…the best team in football. The Broncos will probably win at least one more game if not two to get to 6-7 wins for the season.
Carolina did not bring that never say die attitude to this game. Post bye week, they laid a mild egg here. The Panthers are now losers of seven of their last 8 games. Potentially, they’re going to lose out and finish (4-12).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Bizarre game for Curtis Samuel (7-68-0/9, 2-22-0).
The guy is so clearly the best player the Panthers have in a given week (CMC not playing)…he’s the money receiver on 3rd-downs, he is the best running back on the team (CMC not playing), he’s can go deep to make plays or he can be a grinder over the middle or you can make him a bubble screen homerun threat.
There is no aspect of Curtis Samuel’s game that a very good Robby Anderson or D.J. Moore can best him at. And we’ve seen that on full display this year. It’s not just my two-year+ theory/hope speaking…now, it’s real. So, how does Curtis Samuel barely touch the ball in the 1st-half of this game…especially with D.J. Moore out? I think Samuel just had one carry and no catches/1 target by halftime.
Samuel’s very good numbers this game…all came in the second half.
I don’t know how Carolina can go through a game without realizing/planning this – that’s what scares me about Samuel every FF-week. They have no real plan for him to start, but then they get desperate and want Samuel to bail them out in the passing game. The cherry on top will be the HC and O-C probably saying during this week (like they have already multiple times this year), yeah…we gotta find a way to get Curtis the ball more.
Who’s in charge of that anyway? Like it’s some mystery, some riddle to figure out. How hard is it to call a running play for a particular player…or bubble screen? How many times are you driving in your car and forget that the big pedal is for ‘stopping’ said vehicle? What do these coaches do all week that when they get to Sun day, they forget to give their biggest playmakers the ball? Davante Adams and Derrick Henry have no such issues.
Regardless, Samuel was great here…he’s been really good for FF for many weeks now. But he can also get ignored. We mostly just have to trust he’s going to put up WR1-2 numbers each week in PPR, knowing there’s a risk where they ‘forget’ about him.
-- Christian McCaffery missed this game. He’s going to miss Week 15. Why are we even doing this now? Let the guy have the rest of 2020 off. There is no reason to roll him out there. If they do, it’s probably going to be in a limited capacity anyway.
-- Strange trend…
Teddy Bridgewater’s (30-40 for 283 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 3-31-1) passing numbers are slowly trickling down into what you might expect from Teddy…8 TD passes his last 7 games, about 1.2 passing TDs per game…which is very weak.
However, did you know he’s rushed for 3 TDs in his last 4 games?
Teddy has 4 rushing TDs this season…7th most among NFL QBs. One more than Deshaun Watson.
You know who else is tied with Teddy with 4 rushing TDs so far in 2020? Jared Goff.
Strange QB names putting up rushing TD numbers lately.
-- I may have jumped the gun a little bit completely dismissing Drew Lock’s (21-27 for 280 yards, 4 TDs/0 INT) 4 passing TD event here. Yes, I know Lock had 13 TDs in 9 games this season. I know he is below 58% Comp. Pct. for the season.
I know I’ve made fun of him…a lot…all season.
Let me make a little case for him – to at least take a pause on the abuse we give him.
1) I thought Drew Lock really looked good here – the best I’ve seen him play since that one Houston game in 2019. On tape, with my eyes…I saw a little ‘it’ factor trying to peek its head out this game.
Inconsistency and fake ‘flashes’ of ‘it’ is something that has haunted Lock since college – 33% of the time he looks confident and lethal. 67% he makes dumb decisions and acts like a child on the sidelines. He’s not ‘mature’. He’s not the professional face of a billion-dollar business. He does possess some higher-end NFL talent/tools, though, physically. Mentally…not so much.
2) Lock had one TD pass and 4 INTs in his first three games of the 2020 season. However, in his last 6 games…12 TDs/9 INTs. He’s got a little 2.0 passing TDs per game trend rolling…and that’s upper end like the big boy QBs.
3) His O-Line is pretty good…he’s only been sacked 4 times in his last 5 games.
4) His numbers are rising without Courtland Sutton or Noah Fant around much/at all on his upswing.
I still see flaws more than not, but I am seeing a little spark. I want to write him off, and I’d bet against him having to declare the future today…but I said that about Josh Allen, who Lock reminds me of a bit. Can Lock get his tools harnessed? Is the NFL becoming so easy to throw on…that Lock (raised a new era passer) is now starting to get it a little bit…and might continue to gain ‘it’?
5) 14 full games played (Week 2 of 2020 he played a quarter, then was hurt)…he has a 8-6 record in those games with 20 TDs/16 INTs.
If I could ignore his worst game of his career (1 TD/4 INTs in a loss to LV this season)…he has an 8-5 record otherwise with 19 TDs/12 INTs in 13 career games…1.4 TD passes per game…not terrible, and rising of late. Ignoring that bad 2020 LV game, he has 11 TDs/5 INTs in his last 5 games. Not bad at all.
At this stage, I’m ‘going to put a pin in it’ on dismissing Lock. I’m going to look deeper, not be so dismissive…and not torch Sutton-Fant, etc., for Dynasty futures because of the ‘Lock (fear) factor’.
If 2020 has taught me anything, watching the difference a year made on Josh Allen…I should take a pause at this moment before just assuming Lock is terrible and everything else related is a nightmare.
We’re going ‘on a break’ with the Lock mocking (for a bit): https://youtu.be/iHlTvnCFmQ4
It’s going to be hard to forget what I (think I) know about Drew Lock.
-- If I’m moving to a more ‘open’/neutral stance on Drew Lock until we get more evidence…then maybe I should reconsider all his current receivers?
K.J. Hamler (2-86-2/3) had a huge game here because Lock saw him deep and planted a couple bombs right on him. Hamler’s style with lock’s arm can work – it did here nicely.
Tim Patrick’s (3-36-1/5) sudden TD spike (3 TDs his last 2 games)…maybe it can hold up? Ehh…not with that schedule ahead – top CBs Tre’Davious White and Casey Hayward the next two weeks.
Jerry Jeudy (2-42-0/2)? Nope, still not a fan. But he’s not terrible. I don’t like his fit with Lock.
Jeudy also needs about 200 yards in his final 3 games to blow my ‘under’ prop bet in his 830+ yardage total for the season. And if Drew Lock is suddenly not terrible…oh, crap.
Come on, hamstring!
-- Noah Fant got sick and left the game. No big deal, the now great Drew Lock almost made his backup TEs both TE1s this week…
Troy Fumagalli (4-53-0/5) had a catch and run 40-yard TD, but he was ruled down short of the goal line…TD reversed.
Nick Vannett (4-20-1/8) looked the most spry of the two slower TEs…and he saw 8 targets. Wow.
Vannett would be the sleeper play if Fant is out. But I think Fant is back this week. He's already back to a full practice on Wednesday.
-- FYI, Denver DE Jeremiah Attaochu (4 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 TFLs) is doing that thing again…that thing where he’s like a ghost in the NFL, missing games with injury, you’re not sure if he really still is in the NFL…then he returns to action and starts sacking things.
2.0 sacks, 3 TFLs, 3 QB hits in his last 2 games. 4 TFLs in his last 3 games.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
49 = Mk Davis
16 = Rodney Smith
02 = Cannon
45 = Vannett
39 = Fumagalli
05 = Fant