2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 9 Game Analysis: Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31
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 Dolphins eked out a gritty win, but in reality the Cardinals were the better team here…they just let this getaway. A key turnover lost, deep in their own territory, on a muffed punt for Arizona…a couple lucky throws by Tua landed…penalties against the Cardinals at crucial times…Arizona let Miami hang around and they got-got in the end. It’s not like the Cardinals were great, but they showed me more here than Miami did. I still am not sure how Miami won this game…or how they were even close, honestly.
Miami gets to (5-3)…a four game win streak, and five out of their last 6. They are headed to the playoffs maybe…it’s going to be close -- but they will not threaten Buffalo for the AFC East title regardless. We see them finishing 8-9 wins. Week 10 hosting LAC is huge…gotta hold homefield and win but Justin Herbert can work miracles. A win over LAC in Week 10 sends Miami into likely playoff status…a loss could bring it all crashing down considering the schedule ahead and the risk of Tua.
Arizona falls to (5-3). I think Arizona is a stronger playoff candidate than Miami right now. The Cards are getting to 9 wins unless Kyler goes down. 9-10 wins is their current range for our projections. The 49ers and Patriots dying helps Arizona down the stretch…those was once ‘tough’ schedule/matchups but are now easier wins projected.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let’s start with the (new) greatest QB in the history of football, for the mainstream, Tua Tagovailoa (20-28 for 248 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 7-35-0).
I’m already totally sick of him…not him, he’s a good kid, but the media/analyst love is utterly ridiculous. I’d facetiously ask if they (football analysts) really watch these games – but either of the two possible answers are negative for them. It’s either…
1) They don’t watch…and I think that’s the majority -- because they don’t have to. They get paid lots of money for being ‘them’ (analysts)…paid for their former lives, not their current astuteness -- they watch some live games during the week (usually SNF and MNF), they watch a lot of highlights, and always just echo what everyone else seems to think on players.
The problem with our entire American media (lazy, unstudied, untalented, biased) is pervasive and thriving in sports media. No depth of their work. No objectivity. No real effort put in. ‘Cheating’ off popular opinion for their opinions is how they get by…so they can’t ever be wrong alone on a real, radical opinion -- it’s safer (job security) this way.
2) They do watch/study SOME/a few games, but not studying in detail hour after hour, week after week, 24/7/365…what they do watch they have no idea what they are watching because they don’t do it for a living like it’s life and death…despite the huge paycheck.
What they do watch already has Tua-colored glasses, so it doesn’t matter what is happening before their eyes…they already made up their mind. Thus, when Tua completes a basic/simple pass…it’s the greatest feat they’ve seen all day/year. When he had a basic scramble downfield and cut away from a defender for a few extra yards in this game…he’s Barry Sanders all of a sudden to the TV hype analyst.
You cannot get objective opinion on Tua today…like any other type of news. When Tua absolutely sucked out loud in his debut, the focus was ‘Miami shocks the Rams, Tua wins his debut’. The real story was punted/ignored…it didn’t fit their narrative. When Tua has some decent stats in their win here, it’s ‘The Dolphins are for real led by a breakout performance by Tua!’
With this win, it’s all settled -- now THEY can speak of Burrow, Herbert, and Tua on the same level – yet, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not saying Tua is terrible…he’s just not anywhere near as good as advertised and doesn’t belong in the same discussion with Burrow or Herbert.
I watched Tua in this game live and I kept wondering – this was THEIR top guy? A big hitch in his throws. Mediocre, slower feet moving around compared to the top guys. Having to roll out all the time to make simple throws because he’s bad in the pocket (a sure sign of trouble ahead…forced rollout plays on purpose). A bunch of looks one way and then quick turns the other way and throws blind – that crap ain’t gonna work long in the NFL. Teams are going to heavy blitz him coming from his left side roll and are going to ruin him soon…it’s happened to say many weak QBs of the past.
So, Tua flung a bunch of passes blindly to receivers and a few miraculously landed. Two terrible INTs were negated…one by replay (just out of bounds) and another was horrific, thrown blindly right into double coverage but the defender dropped the easy pick right to him. Sometimes it’s just your day…it took that type of day here to get Tua to respectable passer numbers. I bet this is his best game of the season as a passer, statistically…and it was a lot of luck.
Watching early Herbert and Burrow, compared to early Tua – it’s the difference between gold and silver…or gold and copper is maybe the better analogy.
I’d be selling DeVante Parker (6-64-0/7) before Sunday. People love Parker as it is (because you’re supposed to) and now he gets a bump for being ‘with Tua’…and, as of this week, Tua has been declared great, so Parker benefits from the hype. I think it’s going to be WR3-4-land for Preston ahead on Tua struggles. Not Preston’s fault. Jakeem Grant (4-35-0/6) might be in a better place for easy pitch and catch short throws if Preston Williams is out hurt.
-- At least Tua has a stellar running game to help him! https://youtu.be/C6YfJZ9hxLQ
Miami run game ranks…
Rushing yards = #29 per game (97.1 yards)
Yards per carry = #32 (3.6 ypc)
Myles Gaskin shouldn’t be a starting RB. Matt Breida has looked terrible. Jordan Howard (10-19-1) has been a failure. Now, Salvon Ahmed (7-38-0) is the new savior…he looks that way because everything else has been so awful.
Ahmed is a smaller, thinner framed, shifty runner. Not awesome, but capable. He’s the lead guy going into Week 10, by default after watching Week 9.
…except, I think DeAndre Washington might be the new starter…as soon as Week 10. Washington fits what Brian Flores wants…physically tough, experienced, hard-nosed grinder. Can run between the tackles and works nice in the passing game.
I’d never want to bet heavy on what Brian Flores may or may not do…but I’d take a dice roll on Washington, stuck on the end of a deeper/RB-needy roster to see what happens this week. Won’t cost you anything really.
-- Chase Edmonds (25-70-0, 3-18-0/3) is better than every single Miami RB on their roster…combined.
Chase got his big moment here and it was ‘meh’ for FF, but he looked as good as ever on tape -- but Miami really played great run defense here and kept Edmonds surrounded most of the game. He never had a big pop play.
No lost faith in Edmonds. I think he starts without Drake Week 10, and maybe again Week 11. And whenever Drake returns, Edmonds is a solid hands RB2-3 week-to-week in PPR…and semi-threat to overthrow Drake at some point but not likely. A 50-50 split is Edmonds best case for 2020.
-- The Kyler Murray (21-26 for 283 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 11-106-1) report, and it is good…
This was the best game I’ve seen Kyler Murray play in his NFL career. This was the game that has convinced me he has really ‘arrived’ at the elite/upper end FF QB level.
I knew he could run for FF gold, but now he’s starting to become a passing assassin…not an up-and-down, or flashes moments passer – he’s ‘arrived’. He’s starting to find other receivers besides DeAndre Hopkins.
He’s throwing downfield on the money…71.0% completion percentage total in 2020 MINUS that weird Dallas performance where he was 9-for-24 passing.
2.3 passing TDs per game his last six games.
Two 350+ yard passing games in his last 4 games.
He’s been sacked 0 or 1 time in six straight games…amazing. His running prowess has halted defensive pressure worried about his running, which then gives him time to be an assassin at QB.
I’ve been wondering if he was really going to be an A+ producer…or whether B+ was the peak, but I see the A+ guy starting to emerge finally. He’s not ‘a runner’…he’s truly ‘a passer’, on the level of Patrick Mahomes in gifts/arm talent, and I’ve said that since my initial Kyler scouting report – but it hasn’t fully materialized in the NFL, until now (the past few games it’s been building with one blip vs. DAL). Consistency is here. He’s only getting better week-to-week.
The #1 QB in all of fantasy football, in PPG, 4 or 6pts per pass TD…it’s Kyler Murray.
-- Christian Kirk (5-123-1/8) is benefitting from the Kyler rise as a passer.
Comparing Kirk to Hopkins the past 4 games…
4.3 rec. (6.5 targets), 81.0 yards, 1.3 TDs per game = Kirk
5.3 rec (7.5 targets), 83.5 yards, 0.5 TDs per game = Hopkins
A pretty good schedule ahead. I’ve skeptical of Kirk as low targets/TD surge to give a head-fake…but it’s getting too consistent now. Kirk is going for a ride with Kyler and benefitting from the attention to Hopkins.
-- Newly acquired LB Markus Golden (5 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 PD) had a nice debut, applying good pressure trying to be the Chandler Jones-a-like. Impressed with his return to Arizona (formerly drafted by the Cardinals). He has a shot to be a sack a game guy here.
-- Miami-DST gave up 34 points here, so people want to quit them. Hey, they actually kept their team in this – taking on the onslaught of Kyler, but Kyler is too much for anyone to handle right now between his running and then pocket assassin ways.
I don’t want to use any good defense/DST if they have a matchup with an elite QB…so, I don’t want to use Miami this week vs. Justin Herbert. It’s Weeks 11-13 that I want.
Week 11 = at DEN
Week 12 = at NYJ
Week 13 = v. CIN
Week 14 = find another (MIA v KC)
Week 15 = v. NE (I’ll take this one too)
Week 16 – at LV is so-so
Can you find a defense for Weeks 10, 14, 16 to go with them?
Tennessee-DST has IND, at JAX, at GB those weeks…good for Weeks 10 and 14.
Packers-DST has JAX, at DET, TEN those weeks…not bad.
Chargers-DST has at MIA, ATL, DEN those weeks…that’s rteally not bad at all if they get Bosa and Harris back.
Raiders-DST has DEN, IND, MIA those weeks…all home games, a sneaky pairing facing Lock, Rivers, Tua.
All of those teams will be in the playoff hunt, except LAC…which you want a motivated DST down the stretch.
Snap Counts of Interest:
66 = Edmonds
05 = DJ Foster
55 = Parker
29 = Grant
17 = Hollins
17 = Pr Williams
01 = Kirk Merritt
28 = Ahmed
23 = M Perry
21 = Jo Howard
12 = Laird