2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 3: Game Analysis: Packers 37, Saints 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 game is remembered as a Packers definitive win, but it was back-and-forth until the final few minutes. Every time the Packers took a lead, the Saints scored right back to tie…until GB put it away in the 4th-quarter. All the important stats/indicators were close except the Saints had a key turnover and had 8 penalties to GB’s 2 calls.
I’m not suggesting the Packers didn’t win, or weren’t the better team…they were. I’m just noting these two teams are both good and played a game where Green Bay edged it out because Aaron Rodgers is better than Drew Brees and Allen Lazard was the best WR on the field for either team…and the Saints didn’t realize it for a half, but by then a lot of damage was done.
Speaking of Allen Lazard…the very last piece of this report will be on Lazard, the injury, and the search for healthy WRs for Week 4. I will go through every NFL team at the end, commenting on the WR hopes and dreams. I’ll clear a few simple player notes ahead of that and then dig into that pressing issue.
The Packers are (3-0) and host ATL on MNF…so, (4-0) here we come. Then they get a schedule break (again) -- with a huge NFC game ahead Week 6 at TB…the Packers have a bye wedged in-between to rest/prepare. We’ll see how great Green Bay really is Week 6 at TB and Week 9 at SF. If they win both or split those two games, they’re likely headed to a #1 seed…which at Green Bay in the winter will be a huge edge for them.
The Saints have fallen to (1-2). Their schedule lets up a bit for the next five weeks before they draw at TB rematch Week 9 and Week 10 v. SF. If Tampa Bay loses at TB in Week 9…the possibility they lose the NFC South to the Bucs is very real.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I’m getting a lot of Robert Tonyan (5-50-1/5) questions this week, which is good/what I live for. I’ve been a fan, hoping he’d get more play. This was a sweet stat line, but I didn’t see anything indicating anything special or a shift in the offense on the re-watch.
The Packers ran a little TE quick block and then drag along the LOS in front of the QB for a simple dump pass and turn up field. The Saints rarely covered it, so it was there all game – thus the Packers, out of nowhere, had 9 catches/104 yards/and 2 TDs on 10 targets to three TEs combined this game. It was there…it was a wrinkle…the Saints were poorly schemed all game…and we had a moment.
I don’t see a big shift to Rodgers firing missiles to Tonyan as a weapon ahead. He’s as random as any other starting TE in a good offense who is not in the top 3 of the QBs target list.
-- Marquez Valdes-Scantling (1-5-0/4) could matter this week/for a while…with the Lazard injury, you figure the non-Adams WR option should get some work, but when has that been true the past couple of years with Rodgers?
With Adams back, it’s all Davante and Aaron Jones and everyone else randomly. MVS could have a 15+ point FF game as well as an under 5 pointer…if Adams is back.
Against Atlanta, you have to like the 15+ side.
-- Both of the Saints starting CBs are battling injury right now.
If the Saints lose Marshon Lattimore but not Janoris Jenkins this Week 4, then Kenny Golladay gets a bump, as does Marvin Jones.
If the Saints lose Janoris Jenkins but not Lattimore, Golladay is a start but sketchy. Marvin Jones gets a bump.
If the Saints lose both Lattimore and Jenkins this week…it’s looking good for KG and Marvin, and not looking good for the Saints-DST or the Saints -4.0.
-- GB ILB Ty Summers (9 tackles) played his first real ‘starting’ role in the NFL this game and responded nicely. He’s a throwback middle linebacker that will get a bunch of tackles – a high quality tackler who likes to play the run. He stood out to me last preseason…he might be getting his chance now.
I’d need to see him start/play the most ILB snaps again to be really sure he’s happening/starting/IDP-worthy option ahead.
-- OK, Allen Lazard (6-146-1/8)…
No sense getting into an analysis of his play – he broke out with another ‘star’ moment and then got taken away from us, like every WR in FFM-land it seems. Parris…Courtland…Chark…Diontae…now Lazard. Sure, raggedy-ass Marvin Jones and T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green are fit as a fiddle/not hurt, but the great young emerging stars we found as part of our heavy RB plan…those WRs hit mostly and then got hurt/taken away from us.
We’ve gone from ‘my RBs are killing me’ to ‘my WRs are killing me’. Only…this time you’re right. Remember back when you were always chasing RBs off the waiver wire…praying for anyone getting touches? Now it’s happening with WRs, but in this case…we got options…plenty…we hope. That’s the reason we wanted to go jumbo-RB out of the redraft, because of the WR depth of the pool.
Well, here we are.
Don’t tell me (this week)…”I have the worst luck, of course all my WRs are hurt. God hates me!”
May I remind you who the top WRs taken in the draft were this year? In order, through 3 weeks…
Michael Thomas (out 2 games)
Davante Adams (out 1.5 games)
Tyreek Hill (doing fine)
Julio Jones (dud Week 2 with injury, out Week 3)
DeAndre Hopkins (may be out Week 4)
Chris Godwin (out for weeks)
Kenny Golladay (missed first 2 games)
Mike Evans (master of the 1-yard TD)
Adam Thielen (doing good)
DJ Moore (WR1 bust)
OBJ (WR1 bust)
Allen Robinson (could’ve gotten cheap in some places after Week 2)
What’s that…two WRs who have been good/great for three weeks so far in 2020? Everybody has issues right now.
Wishing you would have drafted other WRs earlier is not the salvation you think it is. Everyone is dealing with injuries – this is where we can shine, out-scouting, out-timing, out-grinding our opponents. You may face the healthy team this week and get beat…but at least you have an excuse. Likely, you’ll face a team with random events happening to them too. Let’s get it on!!!!
Winning Fantasy Football is a three-part formula…
33.33% = Smart scouting before and in-season
33.33% = Smart management…you can know all the smart players but not panic buying high or selling low at the first hint of an issue that you blow up into a mountain that was a molehill, including wild pinata swings at your starting lineup setting based on what happened last week – that can erase all the good scouting in one fell swoop.
33.33% = Luck. Did you face the Davante Adams team Week 1 and got destroyed, or faced them Week 3 and crushed them? Luck tends to even out. A bad schedule Week 1 or 2 gets made up for as we go. But panicking because of a bad schedule Week 1-2 or a bad lineup setting, etc. – that’s not luck, that’s mismanagement.
Yes, it’s a WR crisis right now…and ‘no’ it’s not fun/it’s frustrating. But every season brings this…either at RB or QB or whatever. Most every team gets hit with it at some point. How anyone responds to it – that’s the game here. It’s easy to set-and-forget. The actual chess ‘game’ part of this, the real fun is…sifting through little known WRs and trying to find a savior, just for a week. Or landing that DST ahead on smart schedule outlooks. This is the fun part…the management of it. The mental challenge. It’s also fun having a dominating team that’s healthy and destroying everyone but in lieu of that…the next round of fun is trying to spin the Rubik’s Cube to solve it better than your opponents spinning that same Cube.
There are WR options this week, we just need to find them…the ones who will work this week (and may never again or not for weeks). Let’s go to work.
I’m going to go through every team and give a pitch for certain lesser-name WRs, and you can look over them all and decide which gamble you like. They are all gambles. I’m going to pitch you 15-25+ of them…don’t ask me over and over which one to play over another…because look at the projections – they’re all grouped together. They all have a case; they all have fears. Picks 2-3 options you like and ask your dog or flip a coin to pick one…
ARI = If DeAndre Hopkins is out, I go from ‘hope’ on Andy Isabella to ‘like’. And if Hopkins and Kirk are out, I go from ‘like’ to LOVE on Izzy. If Hopkins out and Kirk in…then he’s a legit play with Izzy as well…and it will be confusing which might be better.
ATL = Olamide Zaccheaus is a long shot ONLY if Julio is out.
BAL = I would try to avoid low volume passing games with the lesser-targeted WRs to try and find WR relief this week.
CAR = Curtis Samuel isn’t the worst idea in the world. Read my CAR-LAC report. He’s going to have the ball in his hands 8+ times this week. That ain’t nuthin’
CHI = Too difficult to guess Mooney v Miller.
CIN = Tee Higgins is a name, but he might draw C.J. Henderson and it be a problem. A.J. Green is ‘shot’ but plays.
CLE = nothing
DAL = I wouldn’t try to guess Cedrick Wilson for a repeat, but you could have worse ideas looking at the bottom of the barrel.
DEN = I shoulda stuck with my Tim Patrick instincts, he’s poor man’s Courtland Sutton now for DEN…but Rypien is a turnover waiting to happen, I worried he wouldn’t get the ball to his team more than the other team. He tried hard to give it away 5+ times last night.
GB = Marquez Valdes-Scantling has as much hope as anyone this week facing ATL.
HOU = Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb are in good matchups this week.
IND = I guess Zach Pascal could be OK. Not buying Daurice Fountain. I’m not a big Philip Rivers fan right now. I’m not sure how much I love TYH this week either.
JAX = Keelan Cole is in a good spot. He has been good for two of his 3 weeks this year. Don’t turn your nose at him because he didn’t dance for you Week 3 TNF.
KC = Mecole Hardman could always score a TD…but if you’re gambling on ‘fast guy makes play amidst his low snap/target counts’ then go with a real talent in Andy Isabella.
LAC = ‘No’ to Guyton/Hill.
LAR = ‘No’ to Reynolds/Jefferson
MIA = The reason Isaiah Ford is projecting well is a great matchup with a rookie slot corner and a Seattle team hemorrhaging passing totals. Preston Williams is a hope too, but he gets Quinton Dunbar…and that’s not great.
MIN = No to Beebe, yes to Justin Jefferson…but that’s not breaking news.
NE = Byrd/Harry are flyers that the Pats get in a shootout with KC.
NO = Tre’Quan Smith if Thomas were out…is something, but not exciting. Ditto Emm Sanders.
LAR = Daniel Jones casts a shadow over passing upside numbers for the WRs, but Golden Tate is something to use but not exciting at all.
NYJ = Remember when I said Jeff Smith? No…because I forgot he was on the Jets; much less thought he’d ever play in a real NFL game?
LV = I’m down with Hunter Renfrow this week. Down the bottom of the barrel: Agholor is not crazy; he seems to be in sync with Carr and Ag will start but also faces Tre’Davious White likely…nor is Zay Jones crazy for a revenge TD.
PHI = Hightower is playing, so that’s something. Ward will get a lot of looks but has tough coverage this week with CB K’Waun Williams.
PIT-TEN = Thanks stupid COVID…I have to bench Diontae, Claypool, Davis, and Trump for this week.
SF = Aiyuk is my only interest, but it all gets sketchy if Deebo plays.
SEA = no one besides the obvious main WRs here.
TB = Scotty Miller is questionable and gets Desmond King if he goes, not easy…but I like what I see with Brady-Scotty. Rookie Tyler Johnson would be a surprise starter for TB possibly if Miller out…and he could come out of nowhere, but too much of a long shot to have confidence in.
WAS = You want something tied to Haskins? Sims isn’t starting. Rookie Isaiah Wright might have a moment but don’t bet on it.
Good luck in your searches. The ‘truth’ is out there…
Now is a good time to try to take advantage of the WR panicked in trade if you’re in a position to do so.