2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 6: Game Analysis: Falcons 40, Vikings 23
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.
I mean… The Falcons just went all (6-2) in the 2nd-half of 2019 Atlanta Falcons and opened up a can of whoop ass on the Vikings. This was a beatdown and a display of good, sometimes great, energized football. NFL teams firing their head coach early season 2020…now undefeated (2-0) in their next game (HOU and ATL).
It makes you think back to all that ‘the Falcons should’ve beaten Dallas and Chicago’ thoughts from Weeks 2-3…and this makes you wonder if the Falcons really are a solid (8-8) team that just needed a jolt. That jolt hit in this game – they destroyed Minnesota. It was 23-0 at one point, and 33-7 with 4 minutes left before Minnesota threw some garbage TDs at them.
The Falcons have three winnable games ahead (DET, at CAR, DEN)…if they can run the table, they would be (4-5) with 4 games left in division vs. TB and NO coming up. I’m not saying they will pull off a ‘run’ – I’m just saying there is suddenly a ray of hope. Enough of a ray that they can hold off on trading Julio Jones, etc., for a moment to see if they can sweep their next three and change the trajectory of the season.
Minnesota has no such luck. They needed a win here to prove they were still in it. Instead, they got humiliated and then traded Yannick Ngakoue and declared Danielle Hunter out for the year, effectively ‘folding’ on the season.
I wonder what Mike Zimmer will do now for the rest of the season now that they’ve ‘folded’? Will he run the ball less? Will he split more carries/take a burden off of Dalvin Cook with a 2021 mindset? The Vikings are about to become what we think of the Falcons – all passing in garbage time and a sieve defense to keep the garbage time going. It works for FF…for their WRs, QB and TE.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Because of the flow of where the Vikings are going, where they have been – deficits and a lot of passing needs, some of it garbage time – Justin Jefferson (9-166-2/11) is in a perfect spot to be a shock PPR WR1 this season, as a rookie. He’s been there for weeks – he’s the #1 WR in FF in PPR PPG since Week 3. Nothing is likely to stop him except maybe Week 10 at CHI and Week 14 at Tampa Bay, with their coverage guys/pass defenses.
He’s already a star. I’m shocked these guys, these rookie WR prospects are walking into the league and dominating within weeks. Not because of talent, but because there’s usually a harness put on them by the coach and/or QB. Not in anymore. Plus, the new breed WRs are just better than the old ones.
FYI…Jefferson is the #1 PPR WR in PPG since Week 3. You know who he is just ahead of? Travis Fulgham and Chase Claypool. You thought COVID made 2020 weird…
-- One of the potential FF-beneficiaries of the Minnesota ‘situation’ is Irv Smith (4-55-0/5)…another 4 catch game after barely being targeted Weeks 1-4.
Three things here:
1) 4.0 rec. (5.0 targets), 59.5 yards, 0.0 TDs per game the past two games. That’s a top 18 TE production based on current PPR PPG for fantasy at TE…not far from #12/TE1
2) I didn’t see any real plan or desire to make Smith go, as a weapon, etc., in this game. He’s just a good guy to have on the field who gets throws his way. He’s faster than average at TE, has good hands…he works fine…like most every TE out there.
3) The Vikings are dumping 2020, so Kyle Rudolph is going to get traded…and that opens up more space for Smith to work. I suspect Smith to be a back-end TE1 in PPR when Rudolph is totally out of the way.
4) Kyle Rudolph could be semi-FF interesting depending upon where he lands. Look for the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and Kansas City to all be interested in aiding their playoff run.
-- Alexander Mattison (10-26-0, 1-4-0/2) got wrecked in his big starting debut. You know why? In part because the Falcons have a top 5 run defense (least yards per game allowed), #11 in lowest yards per carry allowed, top 10 in least rushing TDs per game allowed.
-- What’s happened to Kirk Cousins (24-36 for 343 yards, 3 TDs/3 INTs) this year? He looks the same to me…solid, but occasionally makes head scratching throws.
Perhaps the answer lies here…
2018 = he was hit 39 times in 16 games (2.4 per game)
2019 = he was hit 30 times in 15 games (2.0 per game)
2020 = he has been hit 18 times in 6 games (3.0 per game)
He’s throwing in muddier pockets than usual, and Atlanta dared Alexander Mattison to beat them/dropped linebackers into coverage a lot this game…which seemed to confuse Cousins for some reason.
-- Matt Ryan (30-40 for 371 yards, 4 TDs/0 INTs) had no such issues this game. The three prior games, Ryan tallied 1 TD/2 INTs total…then pops off for 4 TDs here.
Is Ryan fixed…or is it the Vikings’ pass defense? I think it might be more the Vikings defense…and thus Minnesota decided to fold on the season.
Depending upon the pass defense metric, the Vikings are either #2 or #3 worst in the league in it. My internal numbers have Minnesota as the 2nd-best pass defense your FF assets want to face. Seattle the worst/best to face. I’m betting Minny will sink to #1 best to face soon.
-- Hayden Hurst (4-57-1/4) is starting to break through some for the Falcons. 3 TDs in his last 5 games. The results are high and low week-to-week but it’s starting to average up well. He’s one of the stronger TE1 hopeful’s week-to-week now.
-- Because the Vikings are ‘folding’ they are going to get thrown on a lot with their all young cornerback group…which means they’re all going to put up IDP numbers potentially.
Rookie CB Cameron Dantzler (11 tackles, 2 TFLs) looks terrible at CB so far…one of the worst in the league, but he’s had at least 4 tackles every game he’s played, averaging over 6+ total tackles a game which is strong for a CB.
Rookie CB Jeff Gladney (8 tackles) have averaged 5.4 tackles per game since becoming a starter.
Snap Counts of Interest:
44 = Irv Smith
38 = Rudolph
27 = Mattison
16 = Abdullah
05 = Boone
46 = Gurley
21 = Br Hill
11 = Ito