2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 3: Game Analysis: Lions 26, Cardinals 23
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.
The Cardinals lost a game they should never have lost…you can’t be taken seriously as a playoff team and go and get outplayed by the Lions, at your home field. I don’t care if there are fans or not. Had the Cardinals won this game – their playoff ticket was really looking ‘punched’. Now, if they get outsmarted by Matt Rhule Week 4…all heck is going to rain down in Arizona, as it should.
The Cardinals offense is not special…not a special design by Kingsbury. It’s a basic run-and-shoot that lives and dies by the QB making plays. Kyler turned the ball over, inexplicably, three times and it cost them what should have been an easy ‘W’.
Arizona is facing at CAR, at NYJ, and at DAL the next three weeks – three games where a well-coached team with their talent should go at least 2-1. If they do, this Arizona team is set up to go win 9 games this season. If they stumble to Carolina, then a 7-8 win season is in view. What happens Week 4 vs. Carolina, a game Arizona should win, is going to be a huge ‘tell’ on where this Arizona team is headed.
Detroit seems like a ‘bad team’, but they blew their big lead/opening week win versus Chicago…or they might be (2-1) right now, with their only blemish a loss at Green Bay (understandable). The schedule ahead is not looking good…it’s probably a 4-5 win team for 2020, at best. Hosting New Orleans this week is their ‘last stand’ of sorts, and they’re catching the Saints after two losses. Are the Saints really going to lose three in a row? If they do…the Saints have ‘ended’ and no one told us. Big statement game for NO as well this week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Kyler Murray (23-35 for 270 yards, 2 TDs/3 INT, 5-29-1) report…
Earlier this week, I gave Kyler the worst diss possible…I said he was not as good as Josh Allen…maybe. In 2020, so far, he’s not.
But I did get a reality check here re-watching this game. Yes, Kyler had three of the worst INTs a QB could have in this game…the kind that gets Mitch Trubisky an end to his career type picks. And, yes, Kyler has 10 TDs/12 INTs in his last 8 games…which he should be taking way more heat for. But watching this game back – if I ignore the three INTs/mistakes, just watching Kyler play the game…he’s so damn good/natural.
I thought the issue was Kyler under pressure/not having enough time. Seems like a good football excuse, right? Seems to fit a narrative with Arizona’s O-Line, no? Check this out...
Kyler passer numbers with under or over 2.5 seconds in the pocket in 2020:
54-of-73 (74.0%), 437 yards, 3 TDs/2 INTs, no sacks = Less than 2.5 seconds
21-of-40 (53.5%), 349 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs, 6 sacks = More than 2.5 seconds
Kyler is better when things are messy and he’s scrambling around making improv plays…or just doing his quick pass bullets. It’s when the quick pass is covered and Kyler hangs in the pocket looking for options…he then ‘forces’ things, or more to the point…nothing is open because these pass patterns aren’t getting things done. Notice the sack counts as well.
Most of Kyler’s problems have been on 3rd & 10+ and him trying to wait/let things open up…he’s 5-of-9 with 0 TDs/3 INTs in these 3rd and long situations. Kyler hasn’t mastered the art of the check down…maybe that will come with time. It’s possible Kyler is never going to be a good pocket passer and this is the only offense he can ever work/thrive in.
Overall, don’t be afraid of Kyler for FF…but do be afraid that Kliff is not helping/not coaching/doesn’t call plays that help Kyler – I think Kyler is on his own to make everything work, and he is not a hard worker/studier, and is just going along on natural talent…and that will work, but getting to an elite NFL level may never be in the cards/Cards for Kyler.
-- One solution to this would be ‘more’ Andy Isabella (4-47-0/4). The guy is a star waiting to happen. Emphasis on ‘waiting’.
No Christian Kirk, and with Isabella showing everyone here that he is the clear best non-Hopkins option they have…and Izzy wasn’t out there every play on the final drives to try and win this game. Iz also played just 26 snaps in the game…20 less than waste of space KeeSean Johnson. That’s a Kliff problem…not a Kyler one.
Two moves in the NFL that would change teams/fortunes…(1) J.K. Dobbins as full starting RB for BAL, and (2) Arizona starts and plays Isabella 90%+ of the snaps WITH Christian Kirk. If Arizona goes Hopkins-Fitz-Isabella-Kirk…it would be the ‘Greatest Show on Turf 2.0’.
There’s still time to get FF-in on Isabella. Not this week…the price/interest is hot. But after a 2-25-0/3 this week or next…and he gets dropped/no one cares…then we’ll see if the time may be right.
-- You know who started at RB this game for Arizona? Chase Edmonds (3-13-0, 2-21-0/2).
I sense the Kliff ‘heel turn’ on Kenyan Drake (18-73-0, 1-6-0/1) starting to formulate. The next hostile takeover at RB coming might be Edmonds moving to a 50/50 split with Drake in the next few weeks.
Drake came in third play and took the bulk of the work…but what was Edmonds starting? When Kliff did that to DJ last year, it was big news/worrisome news (and it was right to worry). Not a peep here, because Drake ended up the bulk worker on paper.
Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something…
-- You can ditch Marvin Jones (3-51-0/3) if you’d like. I wish you would, because then it would mean he’ll score 3 TDs the following week…and he can finally get going. Lift the jinx already!!
Marvin looks fine, but he’s not explosive, he’s just professional/competent…in what I hoped would be a shootout offense and Marvin would get his, but he’s not…not really, not anything you can’t get from any other WR2.5-3 flyer.
Allen Lazard is the Marvin Jones production I was looking for (in 2020), only Lazard is way more talented – lower catch counts than you want to see type of guys but 10+ TDs coming for one of them in 2020.
-- I’m not a big T.J. Hockenson (4-53-0/7) guy, but he’s working better than Marvin right now.
4.3 rec., 57.0 yards, 0.3 TDs per game…the #9 PPR TE in fantasy.
He’s a fringe TE1 with the Lions offense right now…an offense that is going more towards the run, where they’ve wanted to be all along. TJH will work well in that for FF…Marvin takes a hit, unless the Lions get dragged into shootouts…and they will be a lot ahead, I think.
-- The Lions have decided to make Adrian Peterson (22-75-0, 1-10-0/1) their offensive focus, because of course they did. Couple things to consider off their proclamation…
1) Where are all the people who assured me that I was an idiot on my negative Kerryon Johnson (3-16-0) scouting back when he came into the NFL?
2) D’Andre Swift (0-0-0, 1-19-0/2) is now a bit player/Theo Riddick…only good when 2-minute offense is needed. Just a PPR RB3 right now…at best.
3) The Lions REALLY want to be a power run team, bad news for FF on Stafford & Friends…but wanting to be a power run team but always being down 15+ in the 2nd-half and having to throw a lot might be the outcome whether they like it or not. Just know…they have no interest in letting Matt ‘cook’ as a first plan.
-- I thought Tracy Walker (12 tackles) was going to be a part time player ahead, after he was in Week 2…but he went 100% of the snaps here and was his great IDP self again. I have no idea what Patricia is doing with him.
Jeff Okudah (6 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 PD, 1 INT) has played two games and has nice IDP numbers for a cornerback. 6.5 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.5 PDs/INTs per game so far.
-- The best thing going for the Arizona Cardinals, OUT OF NOWHERE, is their defense. They are #7 best in passing yards and total points allowed YTD. #5 in most sacks.
They are the #13 DST for FF scoring so far…better NFL-wise than for FF. Last in the league with 0 INTS and #30 in the league with two turnovers.
Facing at CAR without Budda Baker is not a slam dunk situation…in fact, it may be a DST issue for them this week.
Snap Counts of Interest:
61 = Hopkins
56 = Fitz
46 = KeeSean
26 = Isabella
44 = Drake
21 = Edmonds
39 = D Daniels
31 = D Arnold
61 = Marvin
49 = Golladay
30 = Amendola
14 = Agnew
40 = AP
20 = Kerryon
06 = Swift