2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 3: Game Analysis: Panthers 21, Chargers 16
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.
What a bizarre game this was…
Because this was a game of two low fanbase/low interest teams, we kinda saw the ‘upset’ and some turnovers and a rookie QB for LAC…and it just seemed like ‘one of those games’. In reality, the Chargers had four turnovers (to CAR none) and eight penalties (to CAR’s 3) – and they still should have won the game on the final play.
On the last play of the game, they had a perfectly set up hook-and-ladder play where on the very last play from midfield, Justin Herbert fired the ball into the left-middle to a wide-open Keenan Allen, who caught it and ran to the center and a whole prevent defense followed him but then he pitched it to Austin Ekeler who, by design, was coming full speed the other direction for the pitch. It was a wide-open field to run and score to win but Allen pitched high and Ekeler muffed it, and...ballgame.
The Chargers threw for more yards (319-221), the rushed for more yards (177-81), they held a 31-29 time of possession, got more 1st-downs 26-14, and converted an astounding 60% of their 3rd-downs (while holding CAR to 25%)…and yet it’s an ‘L’ for the Chargers.
The Chargers beat Kansas City Week 2 but lost the game. Ditto here. The Chargers should/could be (3-0)…but also lucky they didn’t lose Week 1 to CIN and are (0-3) today. Under Justin Herbert, they should be (2-0) with a win over the defending champs – this team is SO MUCH better under Herbert.
LAC is playing for their lives, in a sense, the next two weeks…two very tough road games at TB, then at NO. They run a risk of falling to (1-4), but then their schedule turns, and they could wind up (8-8) or even (9-7) with some luck on their side. But with Anthony Lynn at the helm…luck is always against them, he defeats luck. Chris Harris being out is the other killer at this time. We bet they end up under 8 wins, which is a crime…but they chose their coach, not me.
Carolina is now (1-2), a nice win…but a fraud win. The Panthers are a tough out but still sloppy/helter-skelter. They have a ‘prove it’ game against Arizona this week…I think they’ll lose beyond the spread because they should have lost this game and been (0-3) and had everyone down on them with a worse point spread v. ARI.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Justin Herbert (35-49 for 330 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) looks excellent for a rookie thrown into a garbage Anthony Lynn offense. Herbert is saving Lynn from himself. The last two weeks, without Herbert, with Tyrod -- they would have lost by 2-3 scores each game.
Anthony Lynn is smarter than you or me…you see, the two games they just lost (really they won but blew both) is Justin Herbert’s fault and the losses are a cover to get back to glorious Tyrod.
1) Justin Herbert is a really good-looking QB prospect with all the tools and then some. He is not fazed by any of this.
2) Herbert is like a better but less-gritty 2020 Josh Allen --- tall, huge arm, can run very well, can make all the throws.
3) Herbert will not put up huge numbers in this offense, yet. He’s getting good yards but not the TDs. He’s not being cut loose fully. The games have warranted more Herbert passing as the game went on, so he’s getting yards…but he’ll have a 200-250 yards passing game with 1 TD in a win soon. And that will drive his price down some more.
4) When Tyrod replaces Herbert for a game or two coming up…and if Herbert’s last game (before benched) is a low grade FF game – dynasty people, make a move if you need a young QB prospect for the future, while the price is somewhat down (off a weak game, losing games, Tyrod in, etc.).
I don’t know how far off Joe Burrow’s value/upside Herbert is, but it’s not as far as you think.
-- Here’s my ranking of the best-looking, most important Carolina WRs to the team/Teddy…
#3) D.J. Moore (2-65-0/4)…two out of 3 games have been weak for FF so far. He’s not the pitch-and-catch guy or the go-to in this new offense. He’s just out there, and I see him working more as an outside receiver than any slot work. He’s not a bust, he’s just stuck in a weak FF situation for production…my fear all along.
He’s just not that good. He’s good, but not the guy everyone was hailing as ‘great’. He’s definitely NOT the main target for Teddy.
It’s not helping that he’s dropping an easy pass per game.
#2) Curtis Samuel (4-45-0/4, 4-7-0)…this may have been Samuel’s best game as a Panther, and he didn’t do a ton for FF in it.
The team got the ball to him on purpose -- handoffs as a tail back and short passes. They aren’t designing plays for DJM, but they are to get Samuel touches specifically.
What was so great for Samuel here was how tough he played. He’s just a little water bug/wiry looking RB/WR, but he made some moves after the catch and he was so tough to bring down, fighting for extra yards. I think this might mark the game where Samuel became more endeared to the staff then ‘out to lunch’/possibly pouting (it seems to me) D.J. Moore.
#1) Robby Anderson (5-55-0/5)…clearly the guy Teddy has the best chemistry with and RA was working the slot a lot here. It was a tough matchup with the LAC coverage, but Teddy was in sync with him on every throw. Anderson is running purposed get-open routes that Teddy is staring at as a 1st-option. Sometimes they let Robby go another way to take the tough coverage with him to open space for other things.
It’s a smart offense they’re running in Carolina…just Teddy is not the real answer. Still very erratic with his easy throws. When Carolina lands their future QB…this offense will be light’s out in 2021 or 2022.
*Not on the list = Ian Thomas (1-9-0/2). I’m not sure Teddy realizes Ian is on the team.
-- Mike Davis (13-46-0, 8-45-1/9) had a nice game. I knew it was coming because no one had more news/human interest stories and support/love talk from the coaches this season than Davis going into this week. Davis deserves all that he’s getting right now. And it means we ride it hard for fantasy until it’s over/CMC returns.
I just want to note, Reggie Bonnafon (2-16-0) came in for a few plays, got two handoffs back-to-back, and then disappeared. He played 2 snaps.
Let me just say this – in those two carries, I can see ‘it’. A potential star is looming there. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, I don’t if he’ll ever get the chance. But he looks majestic running the ball. It’s Matt Forte all over again. I want to see more to be sure.
I need to see more of his work in real NFL games, but what I’ve seen over the past 3+ years – this guy has something special potentially.
I think that because Carolina suddenly was playing from ahead (a gift from LAC), that they stayed with the experienced guys to get the win. So, Bonnafon dipped in early and then stayed out. If Carolina is getting whacked in games ahead, I bet Bonnafon gets more work…and then they may never be able to put him on the practice squad again.
The fact any team could claim him, as Carolina puts him up and down off the Practice Squad (using the COVID rules) is why I know scouting is weak in the NFL. How are the Jets not claiming him? He could be the Giants starting RB right now. At least take a free look!
ARRRAWRGRGAAGGRG, I don’t want to think about it.
-- Keenan Allen (13-132-1/19) + Hebert = WR1
Keenan Allen + Tyrod = WR3
End o’ story.
-- LAC LB Kyzir White (11 tackles, 1.5 TFLs) has been starting the past two weeks, after not starting/playing much Week 1…I didn’t realize he was back starting last week.
White is averaging 6.5 total tackles, 0.75 TFLs per game the past two weeks. He can be a 6+ tackle a game guy easy.
Not good news for Kenneth Murray’s (5 tackles, 1 TFL) IDP upside tallies.
-- The Chargers-DST is a good/great unit/FF play, BUT there are two pressures to worry about:
1) If they go back to Tyrod, that’s a slight ‘hurt’ for time of possession/ball control.
2) They just lost Chris Harris for several weeks…that’s a killer. Takes them from great-to-good.
You don’t want to use them vs. TB or NO the next two weeks, but then NYJ-MIA-JAX-LV-bye-DEN is a sweet spot and Harris will return in there.
LAC is a DST to vulture and sit on waiting to activate/deploy Week 6.
Arizona would get through Weeks 4-5, then LAC would carry you through the rest of the way potentially (outside of a Wk10 bye).
Snap Counts of Interest:
56 = Ekeler
23 = Kelley
45 = DJ Moore
40 = Robby A
33 = C Samuel