2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 4: Game Analysis: Browns 49, Cowboys 38
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.
Another week, another Cowboys stumbling, bumbling and fumbling away a game…and getting down a major amount (down 41-14 going into the 4th-quarter) then making a ferocious comeback but falling short in the end. I don’t know why this keeps happening to the Cowboys, but it does…and the theories are all over – the defense, the coaching in general, the O-Line injuries, Zeke fumbling…a combination of all of it.
I don’t know how it will change. This is who the Cowboys are. They keep losing O-Linemen. They have no defensive cohesion. They have terrible coaches (Jerry’s fault, per usual). I’d just assume every week is going to be like this most of the rest of the season – and if it is…it’s going to be surreal for fantasy things related. We’ll get into that in a moment.
I didn’t think Cleveland was all that great here…you could say it was more Dallas was bad/stumbling and the Browns had a couple trick plays that clicked and so they beat a really bad Dallas team. If the Browns were something special, Dallas wouldn’t have stormed back into the game at will. After Dallas’s similar Week 2 game with Atlanta, people assigned a ‘not so bad’ label to the Falcons for a moment too.
Dallas is (1-3) and who knows where the season is going. They’re in 1st-place. They play in a division with three teams that are worse than they are. Somebody has to win the NFC East…it should be Dallas, but I have a funny feeling it won’t. They might get-got by the Giants this week and all hell break loose in Dallas.
The Browns are a ‘bad’ (3-1) team. I’m not buying any renaissance or great/new coaching. They luckily beat Cincy, came from behind to beat Washington, and then had this gift they almost threw away. They will likely lose to IND and at PIT the next two weeks and start reeling towards (8-8/7-9) from there.
The hope with Cleveland is – you woke them up. They are now playing with confidence and a bounce in their step, especially OBJ. It’s nothing two bad losses ahead won’t cure…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Alright, we gotta start with the Browns RB situation…
Nick Chubb is done for about 6 weeks or so.
As soon as Chubb went down, D’Ernest Johnson (13-95-0) entered the game and made a real nice run…and then another…and then another…and suddenly it went from cute to – is D’Ernest Johnson the best RB on the Browns roster?
Who is D’Ernest Johnson?
For a scouting visual = If I took D’Ernest and put him in a #41 Saints’ jersey with the name ‘Kamara’ on the back…you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference that I made the human switch. He has a similar playstyle and athleticism/talent.
He played college ball at South Florida, where he was stuck behind Marlon Mack most of his career. He was an all-purpose back his entire career…16 rushing TDs, 12 receiving TDs, 1 punt return TD, threw for 2 TDs on three career passes.
I saw him working in the 2019 preseason and thought he looked/worked like a version of Alvin Kamara and was talented and showing it all preseason…but I knew he was buried in Cleveland, so no big deal for fantasy.
Chubb went down and Johnson came in to take touches and was fantastic here. I think they planned to rotate Johnson and Dontrell Hilliard (5-19-0, 1-2-0/1) some, but Johnson was so good they just stuck with him.
Here’s the thing…Kareem Hunt (11-71-2, 0-0-0/0) took his last carry with three minutes left in the 3rd-quarter. Johnson took it the rest of the way (7 carries from that point/last 18 minutes to the end)…even as things went from blowout to tight, it was Johnson not Hunt. Showing that there is trust in Johnson…or they had to because Hunt is banged up.
When OBJ came in to run that end around miracle late in the 4th-quarter…Hunt was in the backfield that play. Other than that, it was Johnson all 4th-quarter with some Hilliard (2 carries in the last 18 minutes of the game).
What happens Week 5?
I’d guess this will be a 60/40 split with Hunt…maybe 65/35. Johnson is no joke. Johnson could work well enough to be 50/50, to let Hunt heal more from his injury/not get worn-out. I’m excited by this, but nervous that they have at IND, at PIT the next two weeks. Also, nervous because I know how UDFAs get treated 99% of the time…not well, no matter how good they do.
I’m buying it more than I’m selling it. Buying a 60/40 Hunt/DJ split happening until Chubb returns.
-- OK, I was wrong about Dalton Schultz (4-72-1/8). I thought he was a junk/typical, stiff backup TE getting some action just because he was there in the wild comeback passing efforts…and there is a strong dash of that mixed into the stew here for sure. But watching Dak go to him often here, forcing passes to him – it wasn’t a ‘moment’, like what we might have seen with Robert Tonyan on MNF…Schultz looks like a decent connection with Dak (single tear rolls down for what might have been with Blake Jarwin…).
I dismissed Schultz after Jarwin went down, but he kept producing…well, watching him here – it’s working. Mix a ‘C’ grade TE with a team throwing two games worth of passes in a single game, and good things can happen for the TE for fantasy.
I wouldn’t bet my life on it, but I’m OK trying to ride the momentum here…more than I would Tonyan, Sample, Ebron, J Graham, etc.
Here’s the thing for those of us that missed him… Dallas faces the Giants this week. NYG has been really good against the TE. They can cover TEs well. It might be a down game/dose of reality for Schultz. You might assess after Week 5 and chase (if you wanted, not a must) at much lower prices going into Week 6.
NYG covering the TE is ranked…
#10 best in TE yards allowed.
#9T best in receptions to TE allowed.
#1 tied with 7 other teams allowing no TDs to opposing TEs this season.
-- Speaking of TEs…CLE rookie Harrison Bryant (4-37-0/4) isn’t playing terrible football. In fact, I’d say I might rather have Bryant than Austin Hooper (5-34-1/7) in the days ahead.
I’m pretty sure I’m not excited by Hooper, but he’s the expensive starter…so Bryant would be speculative.
Hooper is playing 80%+ of the snaps and is a traditional TE, slower and stiffer…but good/established.
Bryant has more juice, more bounce in his step…and he’s playing 60%+ of the snaps as a TE/FB who provides some spark in the passing game. He had a TD in Week 3…had a nice game here. He’s ascending but has Hooper in his way/putting a ceiling over him.
If Hooper goes down for any reason…
-- Because Dallas is playing/providing two games worth of stats in a single game each week…Dalton Schultz works and the Cowboys are rolling five working WRs.
Amari Cooper is obviously the #1 for Dak.
CeeDee Lamb (5-79-2/7) is the #2 look, just ahead of Schultz.
Cedrick Wilson (3-34-0/6) looked great Week 3 and was solid here…6 targets.
Noah Brown (4-43-0/4) also looks really good. I’ve always liked Brown. He might even be a listed TE in some leagues, maybe? He used to be one. Two weeks in a row of solid tape for Brown.
Michael Gallup (2-29-0/5) is suddenly the deep ball decoy guy. Dak just threw for 500+ yards in a game and Gallup was 7th best in receiving yards for Dallas this game…just edged out Blake Bell for that honor. Four games in 2020 for Gallup, on an offense stacking numbers, and he had a big 2nd-half Week 3 for fantasy…and been FF-useless otherwise the other 3.5 games.
-- If I told you two years ago, that in Week 4 of the 2020 season…the Browns would beat the Cowboys 49-39, you would have though Baker Mayfield (19-30 for 165 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) must have had 300+ yards passing and 3-4 TD passes easy…maybe 400+ yards and 5+ TDs?
How about 165 yards passing and 2 TDs…among these 49 points scored?
I’m all the way the hell done with Baker in this offense.
Because Baker beat Dallas with 49 points, and is now (3-1), I’m seeing articles all over about the maturing of Baker, the improvement of Baker – go sell that off in Dynasty.
-- Odell Beckham (5-81-2/8, 2-73-1) woke up with a big game…lucky/unlucky if you had him/faced him.
The thing is…OBJ’s long TD catch was a Jarvis Landry WR pass that was so perfectly thrown they couldn’t duplicate it if they ran it 1,000 more times. Minus that catch, OBJ with Baker…in a 49 point explosion…4 catches for 44 yards and a short TD.
You gotta sell this for all it is worth.
-- So, Dallas is getting destroyed by the run game…the Browns only ran for 307 yards and 3 TDs with 7.3 yards per carry here. Dallas is also bottom 10 in defending the tight end.
At what point will I get credit for being the only football person who told ‘them’ that Linebacker Jaylon Smith (7 tackles) is not great…not even good…but that he sucks and he’s killing them? And has been for years, but Jerry knows more than me and gave him a six year/$68M with $35M guaranteed deal a few years ago.
Don’t blame Zeke, McCarthy, Nolan, the footballs, the schedule…the blame goes where it always does: Jerrah Jones.
Snap Counts of Interest:
67 = Gallup
63 = Amari
62 = CeeDee
22 = N Brown
18 = C Wilson
63 = Hooper
53 = H Bryant
16 = St Carlson
58 = OBJ
57 = Landry
33 = Peoples-Jones
26 = Hunt
17 = D Johnson
15 = Hilliard
14 = Chubb