2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 2 Game Analysis: Cowboys 40, Falcons 39
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.
There were so many bizarre moments in this game to discuss – the early fumbles, the onside kick, the play calling, decision-making. I could write a book, but no doubt that’s all been covered by now…and a lot of it not-fantasy relevant, but it was certainly a very entertaining game to watch.
I walk away thinking, quite simply – the Cowboys gave the Falcons three early fumbles and a 20-0 head start, and Atlanta couldn’t put them away. I’ll discuss why in a moment. It’s a lucky win by Dallas, but an earned win…but I’m not so sure it portends Dallas’s greatness…or the Falcons suckiness. Sometimes football games are just strange/delightful one-offs.
Atlanta can right the ship and eliminate this taste out of their mouths with a win over Chicago Week 3, and I think it’s a possible best bet – depending upon the ATL injury report. There could be too many issues that end up taking this from ‘bet’ to just ‘pick’ (and Julio Jones is only one piece of this). The Falcons are showing me signs of a decent team, but with some warts (we’ll get to). Don’t think they are patsies. If they get Julio healthy and beat Chicago this week, with their schedule, they could be a 4-5/5-4 team by their Week 10 bye. All their NO and TB games are lumped into Weeks 11-17.
Dallas is set for a run to the top of the NFC East, but that’s because they have no competition. If they beat Seattle this week, then they are going to walk with the division soon. If they lose to Seattle, they’ll have some work to do ahead to stay above .500 and flimsily take the division. Dallas is better than what I’m stating, but their injuries have dragged them down to more ‘question mark’ than ‘for sure’ thing. Damn lucky they are not (0-2) heading to (0-3) right now.
Had Dallas lost here, it’s entirely possible the NFC East would have been, after Week 3, Washington (1-2) and NYG-PHI-DAL (0-3).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Here’s the Falcons’ biggest problem… Todd Gurley (21-61-0). When Atlanta got way up and tried to run the ball/run clock…Gurley didn’t do them any favors.
When Gurley got the ball on 1st-down after halftime, his rush totals on those plays were…
1, -2, 5, 4, 6, and -2 yards…2.0 yards per carry.
But Dallas was probably playing them to run, though?
Non-Gurley (Smith/Hill) runs on 1st-down in the 2nd-half: 6 and 9 yards.
The ineffectiveness is one thing, but the play style is glaring…disinterest, non-urgent running. He’s not inspiring anyone with his effort/play. But ‘he’s Todd Gurley’, so everyone is suckered into his aura from 3-4 years ago.
On my new ‘bloated’ theory (bloated = beyond well-paid players not trying as hard anymore)…Gurley is extra bloated. Playing easy for an easy paycheck…it’s on the table as a concern, at least.
Ito Smith (5-20-0) and Brian Hill (3-14-0, 2-11-0/2) come in with much more urgency. Gurley averaged 3.8 yards per carry last year and is at 3.3 ypc today for 2020. His yards after contact is down to 1.5. Broken tackles through two games in 2020 = 0.
I think it’s possible that there is a Gurley issue ahead for FF owners.
-- Dallas has a major issue too…Jaylon Smith (14 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) in pass coverage on TEs (or RBs). He’s such a stiff east-west runner that he gets torched by any type of athletic anything his way. Thus, Hayden Hurst (5-72-1/8) with a big game here.
Athletic/decent TEs against Dallas are a big green light for FF.
Missing Leighton Vander Esch, they’ve turned to Joe Thomas (12 tackles, 1 TFL) to fill-in at ILB and he played decently. He’s limited but plays his heart out.
-- Russell Gage (6-46-1/9) is going to keep working in this way all season, as long as Julio and Ridley are out there taking a lot of attention in coverage.
Gage isn’t great but he’s in a good spot – he’s established with Matt Ryan and he works hard. The Falcons could do better at the slot, but it’s too late now for 2020…he’s the guy. He’ll be a WR3 +/- all season in PPR.
Gage had a beautiful 30+ yard TD toss right into Julio’s hands – but he dropped it.
-- What’s up with Michael Gallup (2-58-0/5)? I don’t know. It’s easy to say he’s ‘forgotten’ because of CeeDee Lamb, but it may just be a blip to start the year – but I’d be a bit worried. I’d rather Gallup be in the slot but he’s working as an outside WR a lot now. He got great coverage on him vs. the Rams Week 1 and I thought Isaiah Oliver (5 tackles, 2 PDs) did a wonderful job on him here.
CeeDee Lamb (6-106-0/9) is working the slot and getting better opportunities, and he looks fine but I’ve not been blown away by anything he’s done.
Gallup should have his time soon. He’s a decent ‘buy low’ (real low, and now with too much urgency) because he’s about to be dropped in some 12-team leagues with a bad/weak performance Week 3. His price is very low right now. I’m not 100% sure he’s springing back to WR1.5, but I think it’s possible…and for the price (today) it’s a consideration. Dallas has a favorable passing schedule most of this season…that’s what he has in his favor.
-- The Falcons defense is showing me little sparks. I’m not using them with any confidence or investing in them for the future – just I’m watching and seeing a defense that’s not a total pushover.
Dak threw for a lot of prevent-ish defense yards but could only throw for 1 TD. Zeke only ran for 4.0 yards per carry. The fumbles from Dallas were not all from a slippery ball. Last week, Russell got them Week 1 but it was on screen passes…and Wilson also just torched Bill Belichick.
I think Atlanta is better than any of us think.
Something to watch for this week for betting or DST hail mary usage v. CHI…
If CB Kendall Sheffield is active, that’s a small plus for the secondary.
If Takk McKinley doesn’t play…I’m staying away from them as a sleeper DST and as a real bet.
If Dante Fowler is out WITH McKinley out AND no Sheffield…then the Bears/Trubisky might be the play.
Snap Counts of Interest:
75 = Cooper
75 = Gallup
68 = Lamb
08 = Noah Brown (looked good)
57 = Schultz
33 = Blake Bell
48 = Gurley
15 = Hill
11 = Ito