2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 15 Game Analysis: Colts 27, Texans 20 (Short Report)
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 normally 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.
SHORT REPORT is an attempt at ‘just the facts’ report on this Week 15 game with a Week 16/title week focus for conveying what we need to know.
After the 1st-quarter it was 14-0 Indy, and an easy/expected victory seemed at hand…and then the Texans just waltzed back into the game with Indy adrift (as they seem to do every week) and the game was tied 20-20 with 7+ minutes left.
The Colts got their S together and scored a TD with 1:52 remaining. The Texans got the ball back and drove right down the field. 4th & 5 for Houston, in the Indy red zone…a completed pass to Keke Coutee for a 1st-down with less than 0:30 remaining, and as he made his way to the end zone he was hit from behind, the ball flew into the end zone, a mad dash for the loose ball, Jordan Akins had it his way but as he pounced on it – it squirted out to an incoming Indy defender and touchback…ball game. The second time in three weeks that the Texans were looking to tie the game late from 2-yards away only to fumble the ball over to Indy. Two losses to Indy that might have been wins but Houston blew it.
The Colts are now (10-4)…a very lucky 10-win team. They have at PIT and JAX the final two games. If they end up tied (record-wise) with Tennessee, the Titans (I believe) win the tiebreaker (if TEN doesn’t lose to HOU Week 17) and the AFC South. If Indy wins out, they have a good shot to win the division. Going to crumbling Pittsburgh and winning Week 16 is the do-or-die game (considering JAX Week 17).
Houston inexplicably falls to (4-10). A coach fired 4 games in. Injuries all over. PED suspension with Will Fuller. What a disaster this season ahs been. Don’t worry, it’s nothing Marvin Lewis can’t fix.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW FOR WEEK 16?
-- Was this a turning point for David Johnson (8-27-0, 11-106-0/11) in the passing game…15 weeks into the season…can we get excited now?
The first couple passes in this game was Deshaun scrambling and finding a scramble drill DJ broken loose 10+ yards downfield for some nice catch and run action – nothing on purpose. But then, as the game evolved, for the first time all year, Watson was setting up the defense…sending WRs deep, Watson looking deep, and then looking to a drifting open DJ for some wide-open outlet valve pass plays.
They could’ve been doing this all season. It took 15 weeks for Deshaun to realize it. I don’t want to hear this guy is an elite QB. No one could be that dumb, other than his coaches, to possess David Johnson on purpose – and not realize he’s an ace in the passing game…the ultimate mismatch…the easiest throw Watson could make all season…over and over – like what Drew Brees does with Alvin Kamara.
So, will this keep up Week 16?
I think so. I hope so. It looked like Watson finally gets it. I’ve been watching DJ closely, for obvious reasons, all season…and have been beyond frustrated with how they’ve not thrown to him at all…even with him wide open right in front of Watson. This looked like a turn. Will it be an 11-catch game again? Probably not, but the Texans will either run all over Cincy or if they get down and start throwing heavy…DJ will be involved like a swollen J.D. McKissic.
There’s DJ hope once again.
-- Jonathan Taylor (16-83-1, 4-12-0/5) is starting to ‘get it’ too. For the last few weeks, he has looked better and better…not just more touches but gaining in confidence…making moves instead of preoccupied with where he’s supposed to be or keeping two-hands-on-the-ball and curling up into contact. Now, he’s starting to feel it…now, we’re starting to see him making moves on defenders. This is the game I saw the ‘old’/the college-great Taylor flashing at the pro level.
Best running back in the 2020 class. Best pure runner of the ball…him and Dobbins.
This was also a game where I saw Indy really designing the offensive plan on Taylor’s back. Much less rotating in and out. He played 70% of the snaps here.
-- Philip Rivers (22-28 for 228 yards, 2 TDs/0 INTs) versus tough defenses (considering not missing any top corners for the game, and their ranking, etc.) this season…
55.2%, 190 yards, 1 TD/0 INT = Week 4 at CHI (loss)
63.7%, 243 yards, 0 TD/2 INTs = Week 5 at CLE (loss)
58.1%, 227 yards, 0 TDs/1 INT = Week 9 v. BAL (loss)
Less than 60% Comp. Pct, less than 250 yards every game, 1 TD/3 INTs, (0-3) record
The rankings (by yds per gm allowed) of all the other pass defenses he faced this year, in the order he played them…
#9 (GB) *Maybe should be included in the ‘tough’ list but I don’t see the GB pass defense as ‘tough’, but they’re OK. CHI, CLE, BAL were much better back the weeks Indy faced them – they were as healthy as they’ve been all season and really took it to Rivers.
He faces the toughest defense by far he’s faced in 2020 this week – the #2 ranked Steelers. How do you think this will go for Rivers…and the WRs…? Probably, not well.
-- Brandin Cooks (6-59-0/7) since the Texans Week 9 bye…
4.8 rec., 69.3 yards, 0.17 TDs per game…7.9 non-PPR/12.7 PPR PPG
No TDs his last 5 games…1 TD his last 7 games.
WR2 in PPR… not so good non-PPR. Cooks had a hot streak Week 5-9 and has been WR2-2.5 since.
ANY 2021 FUTURE THOUGHTS (Dynasty Offseason or Stash Items):
-- Kahale Warring (2-32-0/2) had a couple nice targets/solid catches but he’s still playing very limited snaps. He likely won’t get a ‘start’ until Week 17…if then.
He’s more of a 2021 hopeful, but we have to see who the head coach is. However, Jordan Akins is a free agent. Darren Fells is aging out. Warring is the prime player remaining for the new regime…and he has draft stock – a former early 3rd-round pick.
-- All that stuff above about Philip Rivers’s problem with tough pass defense…especially playing tougher defenses outdoors – Rivers has been in a dome the past five weeks/all December. This week outdoors, moderate temps (nice for DEC), against a top pass defense.
I like the Steelers-DST just fine here because Rivers isn’t as good in the cold, and against tougher defenses. His arm is just not there anymore, and he has no mobility.
Rivers got beat down by the AFC North this year. BAL and CLE rocked him, and they were getting killed by Cincy Week 6, but had a furious comeback and luckily won.
SNAP COUNTS OF INTEREST:
38 = Taylor
16 = Hines
55 = David Johnson
10 = B Howell
04 = Sc Phillips
41 = Doyle
25 = Alie-Cox
19 = Burton