2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 15 Game Analysis: Dolphins 22, Patriots 12 (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.
A complete and utter embarrassment for the Patriots. One of the worst efforts by a team in a game all Week 15. When the Rams and Steelers were losing to the Jets and Bengals, there was at least a panic and effort to get back into it by the falling down/losing teams – they just got outplayed. The Patriots didn’t get outplayed, talent-wise, they just moped around the field and watched Miami take the lead in the 2nd-half (after no points scored by MIA 1st-half…because the Dolphins offense sucks) and the Patriots didn’t care or react or make much effort to regain the lead in the 4th-quarter. The moment Stephon Gilmore went down, this entire game turned. Miami was trying to give them this game and the Patriots wouldn’t take it.
New England falls out of the playoffs, and good riddance. This 2020 unit showed what Cam Newton as your lead QB does to a team – fills them with ‘shoulder shrugs’ because they know they aren’t that good, and Cam isn’t leading them back from a deficit. Belichick took this group as far as he could – but Bill is also to blame for assembling this roster.
Miami’s charmed existence continues…they’ve beaten the Jets, Bengals, Patriots their last three wins…three of the worst offenses in football. Miami is (9-5) and needs one more win to have real playoff hope, and the charmed life continues Week 16 facing the Raiders. BUT the Raiders have a shred of playoff hope if they upset Miami and the Ravens lose to NYG (very possible). If Miami gets upset by the Raiders, then the Dolphins are probably not making the playoffs considering a Week 17 game in Buffalo.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW FOR WEEK 16?
-- Another week of 3-yard throws for Tua Tagovailoa (20-26 for 145 yards, 0 TDs/1 INT, 3-9-2)…another week where the defense has no idea how to defend it.
I know Belichick is a genius and all but dropping guys back into a soft middle-deep zone as Tua keeps throwing short passes…it’s like giving Miami free run plays in the form of short dink passes.
Instead of making Tua pocket passer downfield, the Patriots drifted backwards at the snap and defended from 10-20 yards out as Tua threw a bunch of 3-yard passes off a rollout. Tua struggles when he is in the pocket or when the field is shortened/the defense has to play up close…so his pick thrown was in the end zone -- and he rushed for two TDs (luckily) because he can’t play the same 3-yard rollout pass play near the goal line, passing is an issue because all the defenders are up close because there is nowhere else to go. So, in a panic he ran one in and later QB sneaked one.
But since NFL coaches can’t figure these basic things out, working 120 hours a week and sleeping in their offices because they’re studying so much, I’m sure Tua will complete 80%+ of his passes against the Raiders next week as they drift into Cover-Two defending the bomb as Miami eats them alive with short, safe passes.
Miami had a near 38/22 time of possession advantage in this game – an utter embarrassment of lack of effort by the Patriots. Tua’s free short passes all game helped keep the clock moving. Perhaps there is genius in the simplicity.
-- The fact that UDFA rookie Salvon Ahmed (23-122-1, 1-5-0/3), a guy who was cut by SF and put on the practice squad and then picked up by Miami and then being thrust into emergency touches/starting a few weeks ago, could come off being injured and missing a few games and he just walk in to this game and rushes for 100+ yards in a huge game on an offense that plays everything within five yards of the line of scrimmage – it tells you how disinterested the Patriots were in playing this game. They couldn’t stop the Miami run game at all…and it’s not that great a run game.
Myles Gaskin will be back this week. Flores will likely give him the lead role right back. It will probably be a 75/25 Gaskin-Ahmed touches Week 16, but 50/50 could happen if Ahmed gets hot.
-- Lynn Bowden (6-37-0/7) is going to keep having these same games with Parker-Grant out. He fits the Tua short game…a good amount of catches for little yards because Bowden has shown nothing after the catch or on any running plays this season. He’s not a player of the future, but you could get 6-50-0 next week for PPR if Parker-Grant are out again.
-- Durham Smythe (5-40-0/5) won the ‘Gesicki is out and Tua craves throwing to the TE’ sweepstakes. Gesicki might be back this week, so that means Gesicki will go right back into his TE1 role…the downfield prayer throw for Tua, hoping the tall guy catches it over the shorter DBs.
ANY 2021 FUTURE THOUGHTS (Dynasty Offseason or Stash Items):
-- Sony Michel (10-74-0, 1-8-0/1) was one Patriot giving an effort…and he was effective, so it only makes sense for him to have just 10 carries (but Miami so dominated time of possession, and Cam HAD to get his rushing in to show off for a contract in free agency 2021).
Michel is fighting for his football future…and future crowded by the Patriots RBBC ways, and a more talented Damien Harris (DNP) on the roster. Michel and Harris are back next year, which means an RBBC involving those two…but likely not involving free agent James White.
When Patriots RBs can, they bail for money elsewhere…usually to a team run by recent Patriots’ coaches. So, White to Tennessee or NYG or Miami in the offseason is likely.
-- Maybe they will develop more in 2021, but I have not seen anything in Devin Asiasi (0-0-0/1) or Dalton Keene (1-2-0/2) that would have my interest for FF at all.
-- Jakobi Meyers (7-111-0/10) really looks promising as a pass catcher/nice route runner. My PPR-interest is piqued for FF 2021+, but I don’t know who the QB will be or the surrounding WR group to get more excited yet.
N’Keal Harry (1-12-0/2) has nearly fully died here in New England…making me wonder why supposed stud WRs aren’t ever developing with the Patriots? Only lowly drafted/undrafted underneath pass catchers rise up…never any outside, dominant ones.
Is Belichick picking the wrong players…or they can’t really develop them within their offense? I have no interest in Harry for FF until further notice.
-- NE LB Terez Hall (13 tackles) has been playing solid IDP football. 7.6 tackles per game in the games he’s played more than 20% of the snaps in (6 games). He’s become a starter (this game). He’s getting numbers…but Miami also just ran for 250 yards on the Patriots, so my questions on Hall’s talent are valid – a 4.9 runner.
He’s giving 150% effort but may have 50% of the skills needed to be a legit NFL starter. But sometimes effort wins out in the end. I’m not that excited for his IDP future, but it’s working solidly of late for IDP use.
-- Stephon Gilmore out the rest of the season is a boost for Buffalo’s offense Week 16. You’d think it great for Stefon Diggs…but note that Pats CB J.C. Jackson has held opposing WRs to 58.6% Comp. Pct. and QBs have just a 58.0 QB rating throwing at him this season. It’s not a gimme week for Diggs Week 16…as JCJ will probably shadow Diggs...but not 100%/all the time.
SNAP COUNTS OF INTEREST:
44 = Ahmed
18 = Breida
08 = Laird
43 = Shaheen
41 = Smythe
29 = Keene
27 = Asiasi
27 = White
23 = Michel
05 = JJ Taylor