2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 8 Game Analysis: Bengals 31, Titans 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 must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
This was not a fluke…the Bengals, yes…the Bengals, outplayed the Tennessee Titans. Honestly, this is 90% Joe Burrow…his talent, plus the team has an almost college atmosphere they’re playing with because of faith in Burrow. The Bengals aren’t very good, but they’re becoming ‘on any given Sunday…’ threats against decent or lesser teams. They can’t beat the big boys, but they can hang with everyone else…and beat them.
…which means the Titans are just a decent team. This should’ve been a game the Titans bagged easily, if they were a powerhouse, which they are not. 218 yards rushing by the Titans…and they lose by 10 points? How bad is this Titans defense? The Bengals converted 10-of-15 on 3rd-downs, that’s ridiculous…minus Joe Mixon and missing key O-Linemen on top of everything else.
Tennessee is now (5-2), losers of two in-a-row and lucky they aren’t losers of seven of their 8 games this year. They could be headed for a real tailspin here, but they do have two games with AFC South foe Indianapolis in their next 4 games – that will likely determine who is the AFC South favorite ahead. We see Tennessee winning 9 games due to a soft schedule but ending up at 8 wins is on the table…as is 10 wins. Another (9-7) could be on the way for this team.
Cincy is now (2-5-1) and had a chance to be (4-3) at this stage. They are a .500 type team with Burrow. The schedule isn’t too bad ahead, except two games with the Steelers plus one with the Ravens. They might steal one of those Steelers games. Still, we see 4-5 wins at the most for this squad at this stage.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- This was a subtle masterpiece by Joe Burrow (26-37 for 249 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) considering he was missing two key OLs and Joe Mixon. Like Justin Herbert, no amount of O-Line degradation seems to phase them. It’s surreal from Burrow and Herbert as rookies.
Giving Burrow even more weaponry is the emergence of Auden Tate (7-65-0/7). He put on an absolute show in this game. I don’t know if there will be follow through on this, because the Bengals would never bench A.J. Green (2-19-0/5), when really they should just cut him and let him sign with a contender -- but they won’t so Tate can only be a 50% snaps guy (played 46% here). In his limited time in this game, Tate was unreal making a few circus catches. He’s like Tee Higgins (6-78-0/9)…only taller/bigger -- not speedsters, but have great catch radius and good-to-great hands.
Remember, last year when Tate emerged as a WR2.5 for a stretch for Cincy with Finley/Dalton?
The trio of Higgins-Boyd-Tate can put on a show.
-- Not helping Burrow…Drew Sample (0-0-0/1). Sample is playing a heavy majority of the snaps, but he’s a tugboat TE that can’t get open on his own. He can make some plays if lost/forgotten in coverage but there is no emergence story here at all.
-- Jonnu Smith (2-29-0/2) is the exponentially better TE than Sample, but the Titans are back to forgetting about him. After a top five TE1 start to the season, Smith has plummeted. In his last three games, he’s averaged 1.3 rec. (2.7 targets), 17.0 yards, and 0.0 TDs per game.
You want to have faith or think ‘maybe he’s hurt’ but we’ve seen this for two years now…the Titans just don’t make Jonnu a priority weapon. A guy with his talent…7 games played this season, and he’s been at/under 40 yards in a game in five of the 7 games. Unconscionable.
Remember all the cool, successful running plays with Jonnu last year? Same coaches this year…no rushing attempts yet.
He’s a TE1 threat each week…but a random one.
-- The Bengals spent millions on Joe Mixon, and yet the duo of Gio Bernard (15-62-1, 3-16-1/4) and Samaje Perine (10-32-1, 1-2-0/1) did just fine in taking down the Titans. Why NFL teams continue to plow money into RBs is beyond me.
Congrats to Perine for getting another chance, small as it was and likely never to occur again. He looked fine. Played solidly. Could be a power part of an RB-duo, but never will be.
-- But the off-the-beaten-path RB that I’m REALLY excited about here (because my life is pretty sad, apparently) is the rebirth of D’Onta Foreman (5-37-0).
A bunch of Foreman notes…
1) Was a 3rd-round draft pick of the Texans in 2017, and everyone was high on this 6’2”/233 powerhouse RB out of U. of Texas.
2) Mike Vrabel was in Houston when D’Onta was there.
3) In 2017, Foreman flashed as a rookie but ended up on I.R with a season-ending injury. In 2018, still had issues and may have been out of shape. In 2019, the Texans ultimately, abruptly dumped him after a promising career start/projection. The Colts picked him up off waivers 2019 and dumped him before the season and Foreman went unclaimed. In 2020, the Titans added Foreman to the practice squad, and they just elevated him for this game – but on top of his COVID practice squad rules activation last week they are now putting him in ‘protective status’ on the practice squad so he isn’t stolen/claimed away. Why?
4) Foreman looks the best, physically, I’ve seen him in the NFL. If you looked quick, you’d think it was Derrick Henry in the backfield (they are similar height and in range on weight). Foreman looked good and played really well here in his few relief carries in-game, not in any garbage moments.
I don’t want to get too fanboy, but I think Foreman is the most likely Derrick Henry handcuff now…not McNichols or Evans. It would probably be a McNichols-Foreman split, if it were to happen next week…but Foreman would be the horse you’d want.
Foreman is only 24.5 years old…he’s still got life. I’m adding him to the next round of the Dynasty Stash reports!!
-- Corey Davis (8-128-1/10) had a big game, as I (and many) suspected…because facing Cincy is a gift to #2-3 WRs, and #1’s typically. But #2-3’s can thrive because Cincy has such garbage CBs after Will Jackson.
I note this because you should try to sell Davis hot ASAP, if you can find a believer in his old draft stock/status (and thus they see this as ‘coming into his own’). This was a Cincy blip. Now, he has CHI-IND-BAL-IND the next 4 weeks…not as fruitful for a very average/generically good WR in a mediocre passer output offense.
-- I keep point out, the past few weeks, that the Titans-DST as having some potential ahead because of the schedule…Foles-Rivers-Lamar-Rivers-Baker-Luton the next 6 weeks is a festival of high turnover QBs to face, BUT…BUT…the Titans may be so horrific on defense it doesn’t matter.
The Titans-DST is only for the desperate/faint of heart.
Snap Counts of Interest:
33 = Henry
22 = McNichols
06 = Foreman
47 = Gio
24 = Perine
62 = AJ Green
57 = Tee H
55 = Boyd
33 = Tate