2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 7: Game Analysis: Browns 37, Bengals 34
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 must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
Several weeks ago, the Browns got a two-score lead on the Bengals in a TNF game, but the scrappy Bengals would cut it to a one score lead soon after, and then the Brownies would push back up by two scores, and back and forth it went between a 1-2 score lead for Cleveland with the Bengals scoring late to cut the game/the win to one score for the Browns. The Browns were the better team and won the game. Soon after that they beat the GREAT Dallas Cowboys and that then convinced football society that the Browns were for real.
Several weeks later, this game, the Browns needed a last second miracle throw and catch to defeat the Bengals missing a few players to injury, including their top corner, in Week 7. The Browns are not ‘getting better’.
The Browns aren’t even that good -- they just got a bunch of love for beating what was then thought to be a GREAT Dallas Cowboys team. The Browns are (5-2) and are a bigger fraud than the (5-2) Chicago Bears. We see Cleveland winding up at 7-8 wins, but 9 wins is possible…they’re absolutely, unquestionably a better team without Odell Beckham Jr. -- losing OBJ right here, may have saved their season from collapse. It might save, or slow, Baker Mayfield’s career decline perception among the masses. Addition by subtraction.
The Bengals are horrible…except they have Joe Burrow, who is great…a modern-day/better Joe Montana. Burrow breathes life into this team and franchise. The Bengals will be lucky to win 3 games this season. They need to lose out, fire Zac Taylor, hire Carolina O-C Joe Brady (Burrow’s QB coach at LSU) and try to make themselves a real franchise again.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, OBJ is gone…good. Now what? Where does Baker Mayfield go for targeting among non-RBs?
I think my pecking order projection is…
1) Jarvis Landry (5-48-0/6) -- #1 in the short term. The longest on-field relationship is with Landry. I don’t believe Landry goes to some new level, just that he’ll be stable/solid/WR2-like.
2) Austin Hooper (DNP) – When he returns. Their connection was growing before the freak medical issue/surgery and he’ll be back Week 9-10 most likely.
*Harrison Bryant (4-56-2/5) – Until Hooper returns, it’s Bryant #2…as we saw this game. Not like a new Travis Kelce or anything, just a reliable guy who Baker can count on…and their connection was showing back in Weeks 1-2. But when Hooper is back, Hooper will lead and a lot of ’12 personnel’ will allow Bryant to play 30-40% of the snaps and be a mediocre TE2 and #4-5 on this listing.
3) Rashard Higgins (6-110-0/6) – is the Travis Fulgham for Baker Mayfield. Not flashy. Not overly athletic, but super-reliable and makes plays. Baker and Higgins have been close friends for years, but we never ever see it on the field for any sustained time. In the 2nd-half of this game…we saw some ‘it’ between them. Potential that Higgins becomes the #1, but I’d bet Landry-Hooper ahead of him until I see a real sustained change.
4) Donovan People-Jones (3-56-1/3) – a solid pro, but not ready for a primetime role. He’ll get some targets, but I don’t think sustainable FF action is headed his way yet. He’s not a superstar in waiting but more of a real solid guy to have in the group – reliable, good blocker, etc. He tries, where OBJ is out there for himself/not to get hit.
-- The Bengals current pecking order for Joe Burrow…
1-2) Wherever the mismatch is with Tyler Boyd (11-101-1/13) or Tee Higgins (5-71-1/5). Burrow likes, connects well with both as it is presented to him.
3) A.J. Green (7-82-0/13) has suddenly woken up. 7.5 catches for 89.0 yards, and 0.0 TDs per game the past two weeks. Burrow will use you if you respond, and AJG is not looking as horrible as he did Weeks 1-5, but is still not the AJG of old…and Burrow’s third look.
4) Everything else randomly.
-- Gio Bernard (13-37-0, 5-59-1/5) was headed for an FF dud, but got a TD catch to payoff for FF OK. This a bad O-Line to run behind, so it will be a grind for Gio to make FF-hay out of it Week 9. Joe Mixon is most likely out again, so another week of Gio before a bye gives Mixon an extra two weeks of rest.
-- Don’t look now but Baker Mayfield (22-28 for 297 yards, 5 TDs/1 INT) is starting to turn his career around. If you ignore the Steelers game abomination from the Browns, Baker is (5-1) otherwise this season with 14 TDs/5 INTs. 2 or more TDs passing in every game since Week 2, except the Steelers game (1).
The schedule ahead is not bad either…LV-BYE-HOU-PHI-JAC-TEN the next five weeks is favorable.
-- Don’t look now, but Joe Burrow (35-47 for 406 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT, 6-34-1) is already better than Baker Mayfield…is already a strong QB1 in fantasy.
If the matchup is favorable at all, Burrow is going to shine for FF. He’s struggled against top defenses…LAC-PIT-IND so far. He hasn’t struggled talent-wise, he just has no time to throw/gets hit all the time.
Burrow is sitting #14 in PPG in 4pts pass TD leagues, and #13 in 6pts pass TD leagues. He’s thrown for 300+ yards in a game in four of his last 5 games. He’s also the most sacked QB in the NFL.
-- Drew Sample (5-52-0/6) got back in the offensive flow…after disappearing for weeks. I didn’t see any great/special/encouraging – just he was there, and Burrow made use, as he does.
Snap Counts of Interest:
57 = Gio
19 = Perine
47 = Hunt
02 = D’Ernest
44 = Higgins
40 = Landry
36 = DPJ