2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 9 Game Analysis: Ravens 24, Colts 10
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.
I went into this game thinking the Ravens were gonna take the Colts’ head off, but it didn’t happen that way. Sure, the Ravens won, covered my ‘bet of the year’ proclamation…but it wasn’t what I expected.
I keep thinking the Ravens are dominant still, but in their last 6 games they’ve scuffled through with five of those 6 opponents…only dominating the Bengals. Otherwise the Ravens are either getting beaten by top teams or they’re winning games by a decent margin but the opponents, even weaker ones, kinda hang around in games and have chances to win instead of the Ravens fully putting them away.
The high flying, crush everything in sight Ravens from 2019…that team seems to have disappeared. Lamar Jackson is getting figured out and looks cool but human. They’ve lost their best O-Lineman to injury a few weeks ago. They lost CB Marlon Humphrey this game to COVID. It’s still a good-to-very good team but something just doesn’t seem right here. Not as great as 2019.
The Colts led 7-0 quickly in this game and were holding down the Ravens’ offense…and then a fumble, scoop-and-score Ravens D TD tied it up and flipped the momentum…or at least paused it for Indy gaining confidence. Eventually, the Colts took a 10-7 lead into halftime.
The Ravens defense started to tighten up and Philip Rivers got uncomfortable and none of his WRs could get open easily, and when they did Rivers threw it too far or too short or too much behind them. The Ravens started to get some offensive mojo going as the game wore on and they slowly started to turn the game and once with the lead they got tough on Indy/the Colts couldn’t answer. It was a hard-fought win by the Ravens, but not pretty or super-impressive…but a win is a win.
The Ravens jump to (6-2) and they can still win the AFC North if they keep winning and knock off Pittsburgh Week 12. The schedule is cake after Week 12…five easy wins on the board. The Ravens could win out and go (14-2) and win their division and have a shot at the #1 seed (they already lost to KC this season, so not likely). But if they lose to Pittsburgh, at Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night…the Ravens may go (13-3) and that be a wild card.
The Colts fall to (5-3)…they should not have won this game, they are not a (6-2) type team. (5-3/4-4) is more their mode at this juncture…better than the average team but not a Super Bowl threat team. Their season is going to come down, for the most part, the next three weeks…where they play Tennessee twice in that span. If they can sweep the Titans, then the AFC South is up from grabs. Likely, they split with Tennessee and the Colts have a much tougher schedule ahead to navigate to try and win the AFC South. We see Indy going (9-7) and getting a wild card.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The latest on the Jonathan Taylor (6-27-1, 2-7-0/2) chronicles…
He took the first three plays in-a-row, run-pass-run.
He got the goal line shot for a TD and the first score of the game.
He fumbled the following series, and it was scooped and scored to tie the game.
He kinda disappeared after the fumble.
Jordan Wilkins (11-39-0, 2-0-0/2) went on to out-touch and out-snap him…again.
Taylor does not look hurt at all, he looks fine. He was rolling a bit until the fumble.
He’s never going to escape this RB-trio with Frank Reich in charge, unless he gets so dominant from the first snap that they can’t turn away – but then it would be the same deal next week.
Taylor is an RB2-3, stuck in a trio on purpose by design and it’s not changing…and if it does change it would be for a moment/hot hand stretch but not a full scale lead dog situation (unless others got hurt).
Taylor looks fine. But he has little room to run because teams are not afraid of Philip Rivers, so defenses play up against the run more…especially when Taylor comes in. The Colts are #21 in rushing yards per game and #30 in yards per carry…it’s not just Taylor struggling to run here.
With Taylor…you have a 6-10 carries, 1-2 catches, split role/not in the game in the hurry up RB2.5 who leans RB3 more than RB2 for the foreseeable future in 2020.
Wilkins is not going to be an ‘answer’…just more likely to get the majority touches in games right now, for whatever reason, but he’s nothing more than an RB3 flyer.
-- J.K. Dobbins (12-30-0, 2-3-0/2) is in a different but similar-ish FF situation. He’s also part of an RB-trio, when Mark Ingram returns, and then JKD will be a 6-10 carries, 0-2 catches a game guy…but he’s not the goal line guy in 2020 but he IS the pass catcher back…but sadly the Ravens don’t throw to the RB.
I’m getting a bad feeling that Dobbins is a great RB talent that is stuck in a not-great situation for FF now…but also in 2021. Unless the Ravens go full scale Dobbins for 18+ carries a game…we’re going to be stuck with an RB1 talent who puts up RB2 numbers, especially in PPR.
There are rare few teams where there is ONE RB who is holy, and more and more teams ‘sharing’ and splitting and rotating…and when the new wave of rookie RBs pours into 2021…it’s gonna get worse.
Fantasy is filled with a bunch of RB2 you hope scores a TD to make sense to have had played for the week.
Do you know how many RBs ran for 100+ yards in a game last week in the NFL? One. Dalvin Cook for 200+.
Do you know how many RBs ran for more than 75+ yards in a game last week? Two…Cook and James Robinson.
Here were the top 11 rushers in Week 9:
J Robinson 99
Damien Harris 71
D Henry 68
Alf Morris 67
Kalen Ballage, Wayne Gallman, Alexander Mattison, Devontae Booker, and Alf Morris were among your top rushers of the week…MIDSEASON.
The running back went from meaning everything to meaning nothing in a half of a season for fantasy. Go win with elite QBs and WRs and smart DST streamers. Running backs all suck except for like 2-3 of them that you’re not acquiring.
Jonathan Taylor is killing you? What running back do you think is going to save you? Are you going to start Kalen Ballage this week? He was the 5th best rusher last week, so maybe…
-- The Colts WRs were covered tight by the Ravens, but they did get open some…better than the Steelers WRs did last week vs. Baltimore. But Rivers was missing them a lot on his throws.
To comment on the Colts WRs…
1) Michael Pittman (4-56-0/7) seemed like Rivers’ top target, and Pittman looked solid, but he was #1 here this game because…
2) Marcus Johnson (2-14-0/7) drew the top coverage (Jimmy Smith) – meaning the Ravens know who the true #1 for Rivers is, and they cut it off.
3) DeMichael Harris (2-28-0, 4-27-0/4) is the name of the week to know…
A high school track star/football player who went the JUCO route and wound up transferring to Southern Miss. In the 2019 season, he was an RB/WR hybrid rushing for 541 yards, 5.0 ypc, and 5 TDs in 12 games…and catching 34 passes for 346 yards and 3 more TDs, plus returned a kick for a TD as well.
He has been on the practice squad and was elevated for this game, and he was the biggest part of the offense for the Colts this game – it’s either a sad commentary on the state of the Colts’ offense or a gold star for Harris.
It/Harris was working too…the jet sweep is an auto 5+ yard play…if I were an NFL head coach I’d just run 70 jet sweeps a game, because no one ever stops it…except the offensive coordinator stopping calling the play. Harris averaged 14.0 yards per carry on two carries and saw two passes for 10 yards a pop average…a bubble screen and him lined up as an RB and taking a swing pass. Basically, in this game, Harris got elevated off the practice squad and got better looks/planning in his debut game than 90%+ of the WRs in the NFL did in Week 9.
I’m sure Frank Reich is in love with himself with this weapon, so I expect Harris to get 4-8 more touches this week…he’s on the FF radar now. He looked fast, smooth, and NFL-ready. Not sure how good a receiver he is but he can catch short passes and runs the ball with confidence.
-- Will Lamar Jackson (19-23 for 170 yards, 0 TDs/0 INT, 13-58-1) bounce back/rise up for FF from here? Probably not. The whole Ravens thing from 2019 seems to have fizzled out…the magic, the excitement…pretty much washed away.
LJax is less than 200 yards passing, maybe a pass TD, 50-60 yards rushing, and hopefully a rush TD per week.
If he rushed for 50 and a TD and threw for 200 and a TD = that’s 23 FF points (4pts per pass TD)…guys like Kyler, Mahomes, Herbert, Allen, Wilson are putting that up and then some every week it seems. Lamar is not as special as he was last year, but the higher end passes got more special in 2020, and more QBs became special (Herbert, Allen…Burrow about there). Time has passed Lamar by…he’s been figured out to some degree and he was always a ‘good’ overall QB talent not an elite talent, but he looked elite last season…but whatever that was last year, it isn’t anywhere close in 2020.
Leagues where I went with Lamar to start the year, I switched to Herbert early and saved the season…or stuck with Lamar and those teams are dying or hanging on with QB2 Lamar…or are out of the playoffs already.
If you don’t think fantasy QB matters…you haven’t played it in 2020. It always mattered, was always undervalued. I think 2021 the fantasy intelligentsia might actually start siding with me on that point. I bought into the heavy RB thing this year…and it has burned me in almost every situation – I’ve had to dig out, trade, waiver, maneuver into a better team away from the ever-hurt, ever-changing RBs.
-- With the fall of the Ravens’ offense, Mark Andrews (3-22-0/5) is not a strong TE1 anymore.
Six of his last 7 games he’s had 3 or fewer catches in a game.
He has not cracked 60+ yards in a game this season.
He’s been under 35 yards receiving in five of his 8 games this season.
He’s the #9 TE in FF in PPR PPG this season.
Since Week 2, he’s the 18 TE in FF in PPR PPG this season.
The whole Ravens thing is atrophying. If I presented the same data on Marquise Brown, you’d shudder as well. Marquise Brown complaining about targets midweek and not getting force-fed this game…a bad sign ahead for Brown.
Everything Ravens, like everything Colts, for FF, is pretty much dead for having a ‘1’ after it…no RB1, QB1, TE1, WR1...DST1 and PK1 is all that’s left.
-- BAL rookie LB Malik Harrison (11 tackles, 1 TFL) started and played the most snaps of his young career here (49%)…he made 11 tackles (6 solo/5 assist). He looked OK. I didn’t see anything ‘wow’…but it might not be long before he is more of a starter than not for Baltimore.
Fellow rookie LB Patrick Queen (4 tackles) is starting to fulfill my scouting fears on him…8.4 tackles per game his first five games out of the NFL chute…3.3 tackles per game his last 3 weeks. I don’t think he’s a great IDP ILB tackle accumulator.
Flimsy high-status rookie IDPs tend to play lights out their first few games, to impress the coaches, etc., but then after they do that, they tend to fall back into what they are.
-- Weeks 1-5 this season, the Colts-DST was #2 in FF PPG.
Weeks 6-9…#11 in FF.
The Colts have a good defense, but it was inflated for FF by an easy schedule…and most of their points boosted off two D TDs against the Jets early in the season.
I’ve been warning the schedule is coming for them…it started here. Nothing but legit QBs to face the rest of the season, on paper.
Snap Counts of Interest:
60 = Marcus Johnson
59 = Pittman
41 = Pascal
16 = DeM Harris
23 = Wilkins
23 = Hines
21 = J Taylor
36 = Dobbins
24 = Edwards
03 = Justice Hill