2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 4: Game Analysis: Rams 17, Giants 9
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.
And so, now, I set out to report on my own FF-demise…
Re-watching this game, taking the notes, starting to write the report…it’s akin to be a youth in the early 1900s and being told to go out and get a ‘switch’ off a tree to bring to my dad so he can spank my a$$ with it. Picking your own torture device…is triple the torture.
Here, I got to watch Malcolm Brown in all his glory…again.
As Darrell Henderson looked great and led the way on the very first (long) drive/series for an early 7-3 Rams lead – I then watched the all-Malcolm Brown show after that first/opening drive for the Rams…and watched as the Rams offense instantly stalled the rest of the game…not scoring a TD for the next 45 minutes of the game.
At first, I just thought Brown was in for some relief…that’s aggravating, but fine. Then he stayed in…and stayed in, and got touches, and targets… Was Henderson hurt, I wondered? Must not be, because he’d come back in for a few snaps and then disappear for long stretches again. Once I realized what was happening…I couldn’t believe it. As I watched this live, it took a few series of play before reality set in of what was happening. I’d been duped by Sean McVay…again. It was like in this alternative ending to The Usual Suspects movie: https://youtu.be/K7ENqzHwaQ4
If I don't try to make light of the situation, I might be driven into madness.
To make matters worse – I think I really like what the New York Giants are doing. It could just be the paranoid delusions settling in…the PTSD impact from re-watching the Henderson hit to heart/FF teams. Well, we’ll address that next segment.
As for the game, the Rams tried to sleepwalk through this with Malcolm Brown and were not the better team. At least, the Rams were not the more energetic passionate team – that honor goes to the Giants. If the Giants had any semblance of an O-Line/blocking…they would have won this game by 2+ scores…and not in a ‘fluky’ way. I mean – the Giants are getting tough/gritty and the Rams are finesse S-A-W-F-T…and that’s why the Bills blew them out right away last week, and when the Rams snuck back in/ahead due to a lot of luck…the Bills then imposed their will and re-captured the lead/the win.
I’m telling you the Rams are not going anywhere…they may make the playoffs, but they are no threat to anything. They are S-A-W-F-T like their head coach…smart, sound, slick and S-A-W-F-T. Henderson gave them some backbone, but apparently that’s a foreign concept to them and the rejected it. California cool…which will get them nowhere in the playoffs. 2018’s Super Bowl run was a blip…like the Falcons and Eagles before them. No sustainability.
When the Rams play physical, mentally tough teams that are ‘good’ – they are going to get whacked. The next four weeks for the Rams: at Washington, at San Francisco, Chicago and at Miami…that could be a rougher stretch than expected with physical, grinder teams. The Rams have three wins this season…all over NFC East powerhouses. This Rams team is overrated. If The Football Team has Chase Young back this week…consider a light bet on them +9.0.
I really like the moxie this Giants team is playing with, and because of my Darrell Henderson (and Tyler Higbee) pain, I watched this intently live and then in the re-watch, so it kinda started catching my eye even more than my hints about the past few weeks – this isn’t a bad Giants team.
It’s not a good Giants team, but it’s not bad. And I rag on GM Dave Gettleman…but looking at what he did in the off-season with his defense rebuilding through free agency – he gets an ‘A’ for that effort. This defense is totally rebuilt, retooled, repowered and one of the better defenses in the NFL. We’ll get to the details on that in the next section.
The G-Men play their three NFC East foes in a row the next three weeks…if they can go (2-1), and I think they might, they could be (2-5) and tied for first place. Hop on the +9.0 train with NYG over Dallas.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- OK, what do we do with Darrell Henderson (8-22-0, 1-16-0/1) now?
I haven’t a clue.
Sunday afternoon/after the game, after drinking all this specific game result (for FF) in – I honestly questioned whether I wanted to continue on in this business. That’s how devastating it was.
Not that I was pouting that I had lost some FF games with Henderson in the lineup and a Mike Davis or Joe Mixon on the bench…I lose FF games all the time on bad sit-start choices. It comes with the territory. I can handle losing an FF game. No, this is more – I cannot even fathom how Sean McVay did what he did.
Why bother scouting football anymore when the head coach does things counter-intuitive to the talent they are presented with? How can I compete with that?
Anyone with two eyes and some sense of football could see how special Darrell Henderson was working. Hell, even the PFF people graded DH as the #1 RB in the NFL so far for the 2020 season…however it is that they grade things. Henderson’s performance had not been lost on football people or fans. And it’s not like Malcolm Brown was ‘special’ or has ever been ‘special’. Mike Davis can be as good as he wants…but his arse is going back to no touches on the bench when Christian McCaffrey is cleared. No one ever mistook Malcolm Brown for ‘good’. He’s probably never even been the #1 graded RB in the league according to PFF either…so there.
Had Brown come in and was a successful ‘hot hand’ and the offense took off…then I’d have little ground to stand on. I can assure you it wasn’t that Brown was doing anything great…the offense instantly died upon Brown’s takeover. 45 minutes of play between TDs (from the time Henderson was usurped)…and the last TD was a lucky blown coverage, easy TD…because the vaunted Rams’ offense scuffled outside of that.
What Sean McVay is thinking…I have no idea.
This is the same Sean McVay who iced Henderson all last year in favor of failing Todd Gurley. This is the same Sean McVay who drafted Cam Akers…already possessing Darrell Henderson. McVay knows very well who Darrell Henderson is and what he’s capable of…and he’s been trying to hide it from everyone for two years now. Only injury to the two ‘starters’ FORCED McVay to have to use Henderson Week 2 in the 2nd-half, and a star was born.
…a star was born for all of us…but not Sean McVay. His shame, his secret was exposed – and that’s not going to be allowed to stand. You cannot find out he’s NOT a genius.
When Henderson was named starter Week 3, I thought…OK, McVay isn’t that dumb. He gets it. How could he not? And in Week 3, Henderson became a full-fledged star. So, of course it was game-on for Week 4…right?
Looking back at it for research, I stumbled over something I didn’t see last week on the interweb – when asked early in the week if Henderson was starting Week 4 (vs. NYG), McVay said, “Yeah, I think so.” Here’s the full quote/section from ESPN…
Rams coach Sean McVay said Monday, “I think so,” when asked if RB Darrell Henderson will start Sunday vs. the Giants based on his performance the last two games. “He’s doing things that, not surprised, but very pleased. He’s a guy that I’ve always had a tremendous amount of confidence in,” McVay said, adding, “The more that he plays and the more he’s available, the better he’s going to get.”
Not exactly a gushing endorsement. And if we would have thought that McVay was just downplaying Henderson, we wouldn’t have believed McVay’s shoulder shrug/nonsense statement about Henderson. Week 4’s touches told us what McVay thinks. Look at McVay’s last line: “The more that he plays and the more he’s available, the better he’s going to get.”
You sir, Sean McVay, are filled with Bull $%#&.
Now what do we do?
I think we have to take McVay at his word/actions – everything he’s been about has been pro-Akers, pro-Brown, and anti-Henderson. *See also: Mike Tomlin when Jaylen Samuels was forced in as a rookie and wrecked things…and was immediately forced back down in his hole as soon as James Conner was limping back.
I wanted to believe McVay couldn’t be this dumb, when it came to what he was forced to see with Henderson -- but apparently, he’s just a nerdy version of Anthony Lynn. They are going to do things the way they want to even if it results in losses, because no one is smarter than them…not even reality or real outcomes. McVay has his little playbook of clever misdirection plays he draws up in his spare time for fun and he’s going to out-playbook opponents with his special plays because he’s a delicate genius.
I wish I didn’t defend NOT FF-trading Henderson hot last week…several of you asked/had the vibe, but I was going to be a hero with my guy I stuck by so I couldn’t part ways with my beloved. I fell for the oldest trick in the book – falling in love beyond reason with the new, hot thing toy…and now we’re all stuck with a guy we thought was an RB1 about 100 hours ago…and now we can’t really start him Week 5, but can’t cut him either…and can’t trade for anywhere near the value of last week either.
Freaking Sean McVay. https://youtu.be/FBgFHVELjGk
The Jaylen Samuels 2018 story is a cautionary tale here…and should be the subject of a 30-for-30 documentary. A tale of how blind NFL head coaches are to things that are so close to their face they can’t see it. Darrell Henderson Week 4 of 2020 could also be the 30-for-30 tipping point. when Anthony Lynn goes to Tyrod Taylor it should be a 10-part series.
What do you do with DHendo now for FF? You just have to hold and see what Week 5 brings…maybe Brown and Akers will get hit by a meteorite this week and Henderson will battle Eric Dickerson for touches ahead.
-- Speaking of the delicate genius…
…and why he has effectively ended my 2020 Fantasy season.
He just took away Darrell Henderson...took an RB1 right out of my hands. But I don’t want to overlook him also taking a TE1 out of my hands either. Tyler Higbee (3-21-0/4) is playing a ton of snaps…that’s not the problem. The problem is the delicate genius isn’t designing plays for him like the end of last year. Higbee has a measly 3-5-2-3 for catches in games this season…less than 55 yards in each game.
Dalton Schultz gets better treatment in the offense than Higbee. And we left off last year with Higbee setting NFL records for TE performance…but, we can’t have successful things continuing to happen outside the holy playbook/scheme…so, Higbee became amazing and the Rams offense never better late last year…and then 2020 comes and we go away from it for more Josh Reynolds (3-25-0/4), I guess?
One game of results is a blip. Two games is getting uncomfortable. Three games is pretty damning, but maybe there’s a turn to come (see: Joe Mixon Wk4)…but we’re four games in and this is who Higbee is going to be, we guess…2-4 catches, 30-50 yards per game and you HOPE he’s going to be an 8+ TD for the season guy to make FF points. That’s how Mark Andrews does it.
3.0 rec., 41.5 yards, 1.00 TDs per game = Andrews 2020 YTD
3.3 rec., 38.8 yards, 0.75 TDs per game = Higbee 2020 YTD
We have a basic fantasy TE1 with Higbee…nothing special, apparently. You have to stick with waiting for the explosion of TDs/output games and live with the TE2 weeks. If you try to guess the big weeks, you’ll drive yourself mad. If you got a better option…go for it, but there’s Kittle-Kelce-Waller…and then everybody else randomly blows. Higbee and Andrews might be #4-5 in the TE rankings as we go, but it’s going to be painful to live with every other 1-2 weeks of weak results.
-- I really think Wayne Gallman (6-45-0) might take over this backfield for a stretch…or at least work into a split with ancient Devonta Freeman (11-33-0, 4-35-0/4).
Gallman was the better back here. He provided somewhat of a spark where none of the other backs are capable of providing. It’s not a great spark, but it’s at least a spark.
Not sure if it will matter if he gets to it but watch for Gallman to work into a split and go for the takeover within the next few weeks. A split is more likely.
-- Speaking of disappointing TEs…Evan Engram (6-35-0/10).
I am coming to the realization that Higbee isn’t going to be what I thought/hoped for 2020. However, I’m not through with Engram. 10 targets here…led all receivers on either side in this game. They used him with a purpose…it was nice to see. If you give Engram 8+ targets a game, he’ll catch 5+ passes…and he’s capable of making magic happen off one of them. He could be the Giants’ Darren Waller mismatch/go-to.
Engram or Higbee ROS? What a choice.
Engram for me…in desperation. In PPR. Higbee non-PPR.
They’ll probably both just be #6-10 PPG TE scorers…and non-threatening/way behind the top/big three TEs.
-- Daniel Jones (23-36 for 190 yards, 0 TD/1 INT, 6-45-0) didn’t play totally awful this game. Among all the bad QBs…Jones is one of the better ones.
They sped up his game and simplified things with quick hitters here, and that works for Jones…takes the lack of protection away from bothering Jones – because pressure is BAD for Jones. He’s patting the ball before he throws a hundred times in nervousness when the pocket is collapsing. Jones sees ghosts like Sam Darnold does…even if they aren’t really there.
The Giants had the ball in the red zone late to tie/win the game, but ‘Pattie’/heavy patter of the ball before a pass Daniel Jones chucked it too late and the Rams DB broke on his pass easy and picked it off at the goal line…ball game.
-- If Daniel Jones could be made a little less awful, and if the Giants find a decent running back…they could take that with their emerging defense and make some noise in the godawful NFC East.
Let’s talk about this defensive makeover…
Signed Blake Martinez (13 tackles, 1 TFL) from Green Bay in the offseason, and I think he’s one of the best ILBs in the NFL…like top 2-3-4-5 among them.
Signed James Bradberry (4 tackles) from Carolina…and he’s been terrific as a shutdown corner. He had been a nice zone corner and unsure man-to-man guy, but he’s put those concerns to rest and then some.
Signed Kyler Fackrell (4 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFLs) from Green Bay, one of the smartest defensive signings, under the radar, in the NFL.
These are three great additions. They added Logan Ryan late to aid the cause as well.
After Week 4 ends the Giants defense is going to be top half of the league in points allowed, top 10 in lowest total yards allowed, and top 5 in lowest yards per offensive play allowed.
The current leaders in ‘yards per offensive per play’ among defenses…
2) San Francisco
5) NY Giants
…names you might expect…PLUS the Giants, in other words.
Also, this NYG-D is #4 in yards per carry allowed.
This is a top 10 NFL defense right now…getting no support from their offense.
Guess what? After Week 5 vs. Dallas…they face WAS-PHI-TB-WAS-PHI…WAS and PHI offenses (bad offenses) 4x in a five-game stretch.
Looking for a sleeper defense in deeper leagues? Here’s my first real deep find of 2020.
-- The more lauded defense, but not as gritty as the G-Men, the Rams-DST still have a decent outlook ahead for the four more weeks due to the schedule.
At WAS, at SF, CHI, at MIA. They might be tough games to win but they are good matchups for their DST…maybe/maybe not vs. SF.
Snap Counts of Interest:
35 = M Brown
22 = Henderson
30 = J Reynolds
03 = Jefferson
37 = Devonta
21 = Dion Lewis
10 = Gallman