2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 8 Game Analysis: Colts 41, Lions 21
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 game wasn’t pretty, but the Colts got hold of the lead and just never let it go. 20-7 Indy at the half, 35-14 Indy early in the 4th-quarter. The Lions cut it to two scores/35-21 with 12+ minutes left, but the Colts scored again and then held down Detroit from there -- ending 41-21 Colts.
Detroit just always looks erratic to me. Nothing seems smooth, but they aren’t bad…just not good. They can move the ball at times at their own will, but then quickly they look like they can’t even complete a pass a series later. You never know what you’re going to get with them. Indy didn’t look amazing, but was better than Detroit throughout, better on defense and smarter on offense.
The Colts are hitting a tough schedule stretch…BAL, at TEN on TNF, GB, TEN the next 4 weeks. If they come out that stretch with two wins then they should finish with 9-10 wins and compete with the Titans for the AFC South title. If they only win one of those next 4 games…they look more like an 8-9 win team.
If you think I’m being too down or weird on Indy, consider this…the Colts have played only ONE team with a winning record, and that was Cleveland…and they got whacked by them. We don’t know how good the Colts are. Now they face a real test Week 9…and I think they are going to get utterly destroyed by the Ravens this week. I’ll wait to see the COVID effect on the Ravens, but the Ravens -2.5 over Indy this week may be the best bet of the 2020 season.
The Lions fall to (3-4), because they are not a ‘winning’ team and we project them to finish with 5-6 wins in the end. They’re a fraud.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- How come Jonathan Taylor (11-22-0, 2-9-0/2) is not as good as I said he was going to be? I’m not sure. Everything aesthetically looks fine. He’s moving well. My notes most every game on him are – it looks like the defense knows every time he’s running the ball.
Here’s the FF-problem that I see…
I’m going to list, in order, the running back who was in the game on every play of the first two series…and tell me you spot the Jon Taylor issue?
The first 12 plays, i.e. the game plan…Taylor in 7 times, Hines in 3.5 times, Wilkins in 2.5 times.
You see the issue, the pattern? Taylor is barely ever in for two plays in a row. Jordan Wilkins (20-89-1, 1-24-0/1) was in on the second play of the game. Frank Reich is committed to an RBBC. Taylor is the lead of this, but it’s a flimsy lead that can get taken away…like it did in this game. Wilkins was running better (and defenses don’t stack when they see him in) and thus he started getting more touches. Sometimes the game situation calls for more Nyheim Hines (5-8-0, 3-54-2/5) in the passing game. It’s smart for the NFL, maddening for FF.
The window of opportunity for a huge FF breakout is closing because Frank Reich has his hand on the window frame and is pushing down – he’s not committed to a full dose of Taylor in all phases yet. As long as that is true, and it may be true for now (2020) and forever (2021+) because of the coach’s desire/plan, and then Taylor can only produce so much.
The Taylor as an RB1 hope in 2020 once Marlon Mack went down theory…it has become sketchy RB2, getting a Darrell Henderson-like treatment.
-- Just a note on the RBs on the other side of this, with Detroit…
Jamal Agnew led the Lions in rushing with his one carry for 11 yards, D’Andre Swift ran the ball 6 times for a yard. Part of that is the Lions aren’t great running the ball. The other part is – the Colts are the #2 run defense in the league vying for #1 with Tampa Bay.
J.K. Dobbins (and Gus) get another tough task.
The potential, however, is the Colts defense could be a bit of a fraud because they’ve faced some really bad run games and O-Lines a lot this year.
-- Speaking of the Colts-DST…
I know they are scoring well/ranked highly YTD in results so far, but as I pointed out last week – most of that is coming from their two D-TD crush game vs. the Jets. And they’ve played a soft/fortunate schedule overall. Now they play real QBs/offenses the next 8 weeks. I think this DST is going to take a hit and not rise up or hold their lofty status.
-- Speaking of the Colts-DST part II…
Xavier Rhodes (3 tackles) is starting to get ‘shut downy’ again. He handled Kenny Golladay (0-0-0/4) before KG’s injury.
For the season, Rhodes has allowed 46.2% completions on passes his way and QBs have a QB rating of just 65.9% against him in 2020. A nice improvement from 2019 in Minnesota, when it looked like he was dead.
-- Speaking of Golladay…he’ll be out for a few weeks, maybe longer. The WR who stepped up in this game, in his place was Marvin Hall (4-113-0/7), his big numbers coming in large part of a 73-yard, underthrown bomb Hall adjusted to before the CB could.
Hall has been making plays in limited playing time for two years now. He’s 5’9”/192 and ran a 4.40 40-time, a 6.86 three-cone, with a 40” vertical at his Pro Day out of the University of Washington. He was an underwhelming performer in college but has grinded his way to the NFL.
Someday they’ll let him throw a pass maybe…in college he was 3-of-3 passing for 91 yards and 2 TDs in college. His passer rating was 574.8. I think that warrants one trick play in the playbook.
I think we can trust that NFL O-C’s know all the capabilities of all their players and would never not look/explore things they have been good at in the past…they wouldn’t just stick to their stupid playbook and be blind to their player’s extra capabilities, right?
-- Colts’ WR news…
Michael Pittman (1-6-0/1) returned and played 58% of the snaps and was totally irrelevant. Philip Rivers is awful…I don’t care that he threw 3 TDs in this game. He looks/is passing terrible…it’s a blight on the Lions for allowing it. Pittman can’t matter with Rivers at QB.
Marcus Johnson (2-39-0/4) still looks like, to me, Rivers’ main guy right now…main WR. Rivers throws to RBs and TEs more, but when it goes downfield it’s Marcus Johnson likely on the other end right now. T.Y. Hilton died and went to WR heaven…and it’s Rivers’ that helped kill him off, plus TYH just looks like he’s lost some of his fastball too.
Snap Counts of Interest:
60 = M Hall
42 = Hall
41 = Amendola
18 = Golladay
38 = Swift
12 = AP
11 = Kerryon
58 = Pascal
48 = Marcus J
45 = Pittman
09 = Dulin
45 = Doyle
39 = Burton
32 = Alie-Cox