2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 2 Game Analysis: Browns 35, Bengals 30
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 have to move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
This was a game of Cleveland constantly going up two scores, the Bengals then responding cutting it to a one score game, then the Browns back up two scores, the Bengals answering to cut it one, and the Browns would answer to go up by two scores…until finally the clock expired and the Browns won (and Bengals covered me +6.0, thank you Lord).
18 legit drives in the game between the two teams, and 11 of them resulted in some kind of score. Another drive was halted on a 4th & 2 to-go goal line shot. You can complement the offenses…or mock the defenses.
…I think it was the defenses.
The Browns climb to (1-1) but I wouldn’t trust them as far as you could throw them. They should beat Washington in Week 3, but that’s not assured...and a Week 3 win would set off a Browns revival/tizzy and then they’ll get stomped out from there. It’s a 5-6-7 win team depending upon their secondary getting back healthy.
The Bengals have stayed close for two games in a row now, and it’s all because of Burrow…because other than that this team does not look good. The fact that the Bengals looked good/strong against LAC opening day would make me scared to death for the Chargers season ahead (unless they permanently switch to Justin Herbert). Cincy will be lucky to win 3-4 games this year. There are too many head winds and rebuilding/retooling/dumping of the roster as we go this season for Burrow to try and flirt with any type of shock .500/8-win season.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- My biggest takeaway from this game… Folks, A.J. Green (3-29-0/13) is ‘shot’; he’s done. He’s no longer a legit #1 NFL WR. I don’t even know how good of an NFL starting WR he is anymore.
Now, perhaps he’s secretly injured…so, give that allowance – but what I am seeing on tape is frightening. He’s gotten so slow/stiff. His routes are so not-sharp. Denzel Ward (3 tackles, 3 PDs) ate him alive. It was child’s play. AJG ‘earned’ that terrible stat line.
I went back and watched his Week 1 targets just to see why I didn’t notice it last week, and I saw the same slow/troublesome WR in Week 1. Now that I saw/caught it on Week 2 TNF…I could see it in Week 1 as well.
In two games in 2020, Green has been targeted 22 times…caught 8 of them (37%) – that’s atrocious considering he’s playing with a very good Joe Burrow in an offense that is passing a lot against softer coverage. AJG has faced tough corners out of the gates, but it’s not that…it's that he is visibly ‘shot’ is the only word I can use to describe it (or he’s secretly hurt).
If AJG is ‘done’, functionally ‘done’…the ‘winner’ is going to be Tyler Boyd (7-72-1/8). Like he was here. You want in on Boyd for PPR with Joe B., but the price jumped after his TNF game…but it’s probably not going to go near high enough as it should and the TNF effort will be lost through all the Sunday and Monday events. People don’t really believe in or hold Boyd in high regard – he’s going to be an excellent ‘buy low’ this week…even if the price is higher than it was last week.
Boyd should be priced/acquired as a WR2-2.5…because if we were redrafting again today, he would go in about the same area of the draft…around the 30th WR off the board. People still think A.J. Green is the #1 here, and that holds Boyd’s value down still.
-- Speaking of ‘shot’ WRs…Odell Beckham (4-74-1/6) had a moment on national TV…which creates a great chance to ‘sell it’. He does get Washington in Week 3, so he might have one more TD in him before the fade to WR3-ville for the season.
Even with this great/juicy matchup, OBJ got all of 6 targets and 4 catches. To be fair, he had another 40+ yard TD stolen by a P.I. where he got held on a sure bomb TD pass, that he couldn’t get to because his jersey was grabbed as the pass was coming in for a landing. OBJ has become DeSean Jackson…seeks the safety of bombs to stay away from any interior contact. Has a moment every so often…but the ‘legend’ is greater than the reality.
-- It’s sad to say that Joe Burrow (37-61 for 316 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) is already better than Baker Mayfield (16-23 for 219 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT)…it’s the cool thing to say now in order to put down Baker, but it’s reality – but also Burrow is perhaps the single greatest QB prospect to come out of college football ever.
Also, Baker is stuck in an ill-fitting offense with terrible/not-trying WRs. Baker setting the rookie passing TD record in 2018, despite not starting the season, despite working with Hue Jackson, despite a coaching change midseason, despite how bad the Browns were then…it’s all been forgotten and Baker is being written off. You saw some flashbacks to good-Baker in this game, but it was also against a bad Bengals defense.
Baker only threw for 219 yards here. This is now considered a ‘good’ game for Baker now…219 yards and 2 TDs…and that was against a bad defense. Get used to these weak stat lines from Baker because the Browns are going to copycat Mike Zimmer’s heavy run game/style under Kevin Stefanski, and with good reason – Chubb/Hunt is all they got. They can win as an RB heavy and hopeful/mildly talented defense unit. This current Cleveland team trying to pass their way to victory is a waste because of OBJ/Landry (and no ‘real’ third option). They will stick with the run/RBs centric offense.
Baker, for FF, in Cleveland, is functionally FF-dead…a worse Kirk Cousins (for FF). Only a change of teams could save him, and even then…it would be a whole new offense/receivers, etc. I thought the Browns would unleash Baker in 2019 to throw at will…that plan got dashed in one season, and now he’s an FF-chump in 2020. Not his fault, but it’s a reality we have to deal with on him.
-- Joe Burrow looked fine once again…he’s a QB1 in 4 or 6pts ROS. I hoped he would be a QB1 in the preseason. I thought it more possible after watching Week 1 tape. It’s official now. End of story. QB1…back-end.
-- Another Joe Mixon (16-46-0, 4-40-0/4) FF dud…it means he due for a pop ahead. He’s getting good touches and got the best targeting here in a while it seems. I’m not in hot pursuit, but he is becoming a buy low – a legit top RB (for touches, etc.) people are starting bail on.
Gio Bernard (1-3-0, 5-22-0/7) gets too many 3rd-down/2-minute offense snaps, but Mixon is still fine regardless. Mixon is ‘the man’ here.
-- More than a few of you took the Nick Chubb (22-124-2, 1-9-0/1) and Kareem Hunt (10-86-1, 2-16-1/2) combo on purpose for 2020…hoping that Hunt would stand on his own for PPR, and/or get traded, and/or was a smart handcuff.
It looks like the Chubb-Hunt dual-threat plan in Cleveland is what is going to happen, because the Browns have little else going for them. They’re both going to co-exist.
Just note, this great moment was against the Bengals…let’s not think they’re dual RB1s. More likely they are dual RB1.5-2.0s. The Bengals defense is soft, their linebackers are shaky, and they were missing two DTs for this game.
-- I wondered if Austin Hooper (2-22-0/4) might start to see a few more targets as the WRs let Baker down again. The answer to that here was ‘NO’. He’s still just a bit player at this point. I haven't written him off yet, but I am not really interested in him either.
-- Cincy IDP notes…
CB Will Jackson (5 tackles, 1 PD) got burned by OBJ for a long TD, and then almost again soon after. Jackson looks stiff and not the elite cover guy he was coming out of the University of Houston.
Germaine Pratt (2 tackles) followed up a sweet debut Week 1 with a dud 2 tackle effort here. For as much as teams will run at Cincy, Pratt has to do better than this for IDP.
-- Browns’ IDP notes…
DB Tavierre Thomas (9 tackles) has had a nice start to 2020, but not he may dry up and disappear once the injured Browns’ starters return soon.
LB B.J. Goodson (7 tackles, 1 PD) is averaging 8.0 total tackles per game this year, but note…as soon as Mack Wilson can return, then Goodson probably dries up and disappears too.
Snap Counts of Interest:
36 = Chubb
20 = Hunt
78 = Boyd
60 = Higgins
57 = AJG
32 = Mk Thomas
28 = Ross
46 = Mixon
42 = Gio