2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 8 Game Analysis: Bucs 25, Giants 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 must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
The Giants are the best team in the NFC East.
Well, they might have been if they literally had any other QB than Daniel Jones – they did it to themselves. They’re the team playing the best of all the weak NFC East teams, but Daniel Jones has cost them in so many ways. The Giants have lost their last two games by a total of three points. Their last three losses by a total of 6 points. They’ve played tough and been a nuisance to opponents in most every game…they just can’t count on Daniel Jones coming through or not turning it over in a key spot game-to-game, so they’re (1-7) instead of (3-4)/(4-3) right now.
In this game, the Giants played toe-to-toe with (arguably) the best team in the NFC. They lost by two points late, just two points…when they have a 14+ point differential at the QB spot. The team with the toughest defense in this game looked like NYG in many spots, not the vaunted Bucs defense.
The tougher run game…looked like the Giants running a 3rd-string RB (Gallman) + Alfred Morris (who I honestly didn’t know was still in the NFL until about 830pmET or so Monday Night). The Giants RB-duo were crashing into the line of scrimmage just as well as the Bucs RB-duo here.
The Giants beat the Bucs on Monday Night Football…they just didn’t win the final score battle. Credit to Joe Judge, because you could say the same thing most every week about the Giants. It’s not his fault he’s stuck with Daniel Jones and has no other options to turn to any better.
The Bucs could be guilty of taking the Giants lightly here, but you wouldn’t think it true of a national TV game with the roll the Bucs have been on. I thought they’d try to make a show of it, but they scuffled the whole night…a lot of it due to the Giants hard-nosed defense. The Bucs average margin of victory has been meaty…but they were lucky to survive this close call. If the Bucs beat the Saints Week 9…the NFC South really swings in their favor. We project the Bucs going (12-4) and right there trying to get that #1 seed.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I guess we’re all going to have to switch to a mindset of Ronald Jones (7-23-0, 4-23-0/4) being the starter in name only, but Leonard Fournette (15-52-0, 3-19-0/6) being the real starter…coming off the bench.
If Arians was firmly behind RoJo, he would have never benched him for as long as he did after his fumble in this game. Jones got the fumble-punishment that I don’t believe Fournette would have…so, we are seeing into Arians’ soul – and his soul is with Fournette right now. It could change on a dime, as we’ve seen.
My guess is in games they get up big and can just muscle through to the end…Jones will carry the ball a lot. When the Bucs are throwing early, in deficit, in the hurry up, whenever it matters…Fournette will be more of the lead. And it will be random patterns with both getting work and a hot hand will seize any particular day/game.
Three thoughts about the Bucs backfield going forward:
1) It’s going to be maddening to project for FF week-to-week.
2) We’ve taken a solid RB1 output of a true lead back for Tampa Bay, and split it in two to create two RB2s, RB2.5s.
3) Fournette looks like the lesser back/talent to me still to this day. Fournette is running up the middle into nothing, not making any real exciting plays…but he is a reliable catcher of the ball, so he’ll have PPR RB2 appeal week-to-week. RoJo is not going away, in part, because Fournette doesn’t look that great running the ball so far for TB.
Fournette had that wide open 46-yard TD run back in Week 2, late in a game vs. worn down Carolina. On all his other TB carries in 2020: 49 carries for 179 yards for a lowly 3.65 yards per carry.
-- Wayne Gallman (12-44-1, 1-18-0/1) looked better running the ball than Leonard Fournette. File that in the ‘statements I can’t believe I made in 2020…but, welcome to 2020!’ file.
Consider how well Gallman played/looked, and that it was against the top run defense in the NFL. A feather in his cap. Facing Washington next week is a good opportunity for him to have a nice FF game and seize the #1 spot, potentially.
I seriously forgot Alfred Morris (8-28-0) was still in the NFL until this game viewing. Devonta Freeman, Alfred Morris…I guess LeGarrette Blount will be running the ball for NYG next week?
-- So, let’s review the ‘Who does Tom Brady like to throw to’ chronicles…updated for going into Week 9.
Here’s how you know Mike Evans (5-55-1/7) is mostly meaningless to Brady…a big game, tight game and they still don’t look in sync and Brady is still not going heavy to him. However, Brady did find time to make sure Jaydon Mickens (5-36-0/8) led the Bucs in targets this game. Not Evans…not Scotty Miller…not Tyler Johnson…not Gronk…it was J-A-Y-D-O-N M-I-C-K-E-N-S.
What does this mean going forward for FF?
It means Antonio Brown will clearly be the #1 target for Brady right out of the gates Week 9. These two are literally living together. You can’t tell me it’s not going to be AB after we just saw Mickens as their top target in this game. I’m OK starting AB, as a WR2 with upside, Week 9. I think that Saints game is so big the Bucs will come with everything they got.
-- Sterling Shepard (8-74-0/10) continues to prove that despite Dan Dimes’s issues…he’s a WR1.5-2.0 with Dimes, he’s Dan’s #1 target. Undisputed fact now…it has been since last season. Limited upside but not a bad floor due to Dan Jones’s ‘issues’.
-- Evan Engram (5-61-0/10) looked better than last week here…and now, back-to-back games with 9 and 10 targets in a game. Whine if you must, but he’s a TE1 in this TE1 depressed era. A back-end TE1 with upside.
-- The Giants-DST has held four of their last 5 opponents to 25 or fewer points. Brady struggled against them, so did Goff and Wentz in that span. It’s a good defense.
Weeks 9-10 at WAS, PHI are both DST1 projections. Then a BYE, then another DST1 projection at CIN. Then you can’t use the rest of the way except Week 15 v. CLE.
It’s a low-end DST1 hopeful because of their offense not being able to fully support the defense.
-- Four games in-a-row that the Bucs-DST has held opponents to 23 points or less….and six out of their last 7 games. The two best defenses in the NFL that I watch, my eyes say…it’s Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
The Bucs-DST is good enough that you could start the rest of the way, except the blip in Weeks 12-13 with KC and their BYE.
It’s not a great schedule from here, but it’s good enough combined with the TB-DST talent.
-- Two IDPs to point out…two safeties from this game:
Antoine Winfield (7 tackles) may already be the best young safety in the NFL – and definitely the best rookie safety. He’s going to be a star/fixture player for a long time.
You know which safety is playing great too? Playing some intimidating/hard-hitting football…Julius Peppers (10 tackles, 2 PDs). He looks like a guy playing for the big contract in 2021. He’s improving his IDP numbers weekly and working towards some consistency in his numbers finally.
Snap Counts of Interest:
51 = Fournette
17 = RoJo
63 = Evans
53 = Miller
44 = Mickens
35 = Ty Johnson
32 = Gallman
21 = D Lewis
21 = Alf Morris