2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 3: Game Analysis: Patriots 36, Raiders 20
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 tight ball game at halftime…13-10 Patriots, and it was a mild slugfest. Then, I don’t know what happened…the Raiders started making some gaffes and the Patriots muddled around but capitalized. The stats were pretty even, the play seemed pretty even, but three Raiders’ fumbles gave the Pats a time of possession edge and a comfortable win.
Belichick took out Darren Waller and stuffed Josh Jacobs, and the Raiders don’t have much of an answer when that happens.
Las Vegas was coming off an emotional MNF win, and on a short week going to NE they lost. Not a crime. The problem for LV is this schedule stretch ahead continues to be rough. They get Buffalo Week 4 and then they go at KC Week 5. The Raiders are about to be (2-3) and swirling a bit when they host TB Week 7. The schedule loosens after that. We see in the 8-10 win range, with 9 the most likely.
The Patriots are in a rough schedule stretch as well…at KC, DEN (easy), bye, SF, at BUF. That Week 8 with Buffalo is going to be a war. Week 10 hosting BAL will be no treat either. The Pats season/AFC East title streak is kinda on the line Week 8 vs. Buffalo. The Patriots could be hard-pressed to get to 9 wins, much less 10 wins. They will likely be (3-3) facing (5-2) Buffalo Week 8…and the Bills could deal a death blow to NE there.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- What to make of the Patriots sudden RB surge/mess? Should you want any of them?
Rex Burkhead (6-49-2, 7-49-1/10) is now a god. He’s nearly doubled Joe Mixon’s fantasy PPG through three weeks…let that sink in. Most of it coming from this game, obviously. Can you trust Burkhead now?
No, not really. It’s Rex Burkhead. This is what he does. He may score another TD this week…he’s solid, but there is a sea of Patriots RBs to begin with and the tide is coming in with James White and Damien Harris about to return. If you need a flyer for Week 4, digging deep…Rex is a name.
James White back instantly undermines Burkhead more than Sony Michel (9-117-0)…the 3rd-down role and all. It’s what would scare me on Rex.
I’d be selling Michel, partly on White back…partly on Rex so solid, and partly on Damien Harris getting active. Damien Harris could be the Patriots’ Darrell Henderson…and you know what I’m saying, so drink that in for a moment.
Don’t drink for too long because Henderson had easier RBs to put in his rear view, as he has already. For Harris to become DHendo 2.0, he would have to dispatch Rex and Michel to the bench and 70/30 split with James White to even have a chance. Not going to happen.
Belichick cannot be counted on for fantasy RBs for long…he changes up like a great MLB pitcher. He has change ups he’ll throw on 3-0 counts. He might throw an Eephus pitch too. Damien Harris’s odds of getting a chance to take over the whole backfield and go on to FF goodness is very slim…BUT he can throw a wrench into everyone else’s touches.
Who will be the best Patriots’ FF RB for Week 4? Hellifiknow.
Don’t even start with J.J. Taylor (11-43-0) – I do know that answer is ‘No’.
-- In the battle of Julian Edelman (2-23-0/6) style WRs…Edelman lost decisively to Hunter Renfrow (6-84-1/9).
I still like Edelman for PPR ahead, but I also know the second you lean on Cam for passing game output he’ll break your heart. See: Weeks 1 and 3 of this season. Week 2 looked so amazing, I wanted in…but then you see Week 3…and I’m like, ‘No, thanks.’
Renfrow is playing his Edelman-styled arse off. He is so quality at that role. My hat’s off to him. Didn’t think he could stand out in the NFL, but unlike a lot of ‘gets targets because it’s there/open or in need’ WRs like Greg Ward or Russell Gage or Isaiah Ford – Renfrow is actually good+ at his craft. When the four-letter word WRs of the PPR-moment fade away (Ward-Gage-Ford) in weeks/seasons ahead – Renfrow will still be a quality/entrenched/respected NFL WR a la Cole Beasley.
Now, the Raiders don’t want to pass…and don’t want to pass to WRs by choice – but suddenly they have to. Teams are stacking the run and playing Waller as a WR. Renfrow has a window…the guy Carr is most comfortable throwing to at the moment (outside of Waller).
-- It would the Raiders’ passing game if Bryan Edwards (2-48-0/3) and Henry Ruggs were not hurt/out. Speaking of Edwards. His play he got hurt on here…another flash of the looming greatness he might have. I’m very impressed with the total five catches Edwards has this year. The problem is he has just five catches this year.
Las Vegas will likely get more balanced as the season wears on and when they get a new QB in 2021, but for now Edwards is in a storage box in mothballs.
-- N’Keal Harry (2-34-0/4) fell off like the whole Pats passing game did. I still maintain…something is wrong with Harry; something doesn’t look right/feel right. He’s there, he’ll get targets and maybe he’ll get better but any one of Bryan Edwards’s catches this year showed more talent than anything Harry has done this year.
I thought Damiere Byrd (3-27-0/3) would have a big play in this game because of the Raiders’ cheating up secondary, but the winner of the ying-yang of that was…Cam is a weak passing QB, so he didn’t take advantage.
-- The Patriots-DST is somewhat overrated. Since they stopped playing a gift schedule halfway through last season, they’ve not been a strong top 12 FF-DST. They got a fumble in the end zone TD here to help pump their FF scoring but otherwise this defense is good-not-great…they ebb and flow with the schedule, like every DST in the NFL now.
You want a ‘good’ defense with a favorable schedule. The days of the ‘great’/holy DST are over in 2020. With legalized holding and ‘letting them play’, scoring is through the roof. DST scoring is down. You can really get over (like last week) if you have the right DST playing the right team. The right DST is a massive, secret advantage in a time when many good defenses/DSTs are giving up 25-30+ points every week and scoring lowly for FF.
The Pats have at KC, DEN, bye, SF, at BUF, at NYJ, BAL the next six games…useful two of 6 weeks. After that: at HOU, ARI, at LAC, at LAR…that’s not great either. The Pats-DST is a hard hold waiting for Week 5 and Week 9 (which will be awesome for them). I’d hold for Week 5 (use something else Week 4) and then ditch out for better if you find it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
32 = Burkhead
26 = Michel
15 = JJ Taylor
50 = Agholor
39 = Renfrow
27 = Zay Jones
24 = Edwards