2020 Week 1 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis: Raiders 34, Panthers 30
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 have to move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
The Panthers were winning this game with 8+ minutes to go, 28-27 (having just scored a 75-yard TD). The Raiders held the lead most of the game and seemed to be the better team, but with 8+ minutes left it seemed like a ‘stunner’ was in the works. The Raiders came right back with a ‘winning team’ type (Gruden)grinder drive to take back the lead 34-30 and held off some half-__ed attempts by Carolina to try and win the game late.
My quick overview here was – the Raiders were the better team, but they let Carolina hang around (a lucky-ish, long TD doing the trick) late but the better team regrouped and exercised their will and won it.
The Panthers are not hapless, they are better than people expected.
This was a nice, gritty win by the Raiders…and this team is a better cornerback play away (even if they acquire it in-season) from being a 10+ win team.
The Raiders have a huge test hosting the Saints this week. Carolina hits the road for the next two weeks and could be 0-3 after it, but they might win one of the roadies (TB or LAC, I’ll let you guess which one) and then this team starts to stabilize/gel as we go. The Panthers were out of sync compared to the Raiders, which is understandable comparing all the changes in the offseason, but almost won this game despite it. Matt Rhule is a very good football coach.
I know, I know…
All you want to know is – What happened to Bryan Edwards!!?!?! Actually, you want a pound of flesh.
Fantasy Football Player Notes…
-- So, what happened to Bryan Edwards (1-9-0/1)? Where was this mythical legend of renown? One target?
First, let me say – I am worried. I am worried he is in a spot where he’ll be the ‘main WR’, and that won’t matter beyond being a WR2.5-3 week-to-week.
The Raiders ran 61 offensive plays (carries and pass attempts) in this game. An analysis of their distribution of things:
31 plays (51.7%) for Josh Jacobs
39 plays (63.9%) for Raiders RBs in total
48 plays (78.7%) for Raiders RBs + TEs
11 plays (18.0%) for the Raiders WRs (9 of the 11 passes)
02 plays unaccounted for/throwaways
11 plays for/at WRs for LV, and by contrast -- Carolina had 64 plays and 28 of them (43.8%) involved WRs.
Of the 11 plays for WRs for the Raiders, Ruggs had 7 plays (63.6%)…2 carries and 5 targets.
The bad news for Edwards – the Raiders are a heavy RB-TE based offense.
The hopeful news – the over-exaggerated levels of RB-TE here may just be this one game, the targeted plan or game flow that was allowed.
The good news – Edwards started, played the most snaps of any WR on the team.
Edwards might be the team’s #1 WR, or not…but if they have no real plans to use their WRs as real weapons, besides trying to get Ruggs to run real fast – Edwards is going to be dead for fantasy in 2020. We may all clearly see Edwards is their most talented guy, but it won’t matter because the purposed volume for a Derek Carr/Jon Gruden led offense is not pitch-and-catch with WRs.
We’ll see what happens when the Raiders are dragged into a game where they can’t just run/sit on the other team…and that might be Week 2 vs. NO, but there is a reason to be concerned that Edwards will be the teams best WR…and that fact will not matter much for FF week-to-week, and it be more matchup/game flow based.
Watching Edwards play/running routes, his one catch – he looked fine. Also, watching him…Carr was not even bothering to look at him, in general.
Let’s see what happens Week 2/in a game where there might be more opened up/chasing from behind offense by the Raiders before we nail a coffin shut here. Teams are going to overplay the run on Las Vegas and force them to throw ahead…which might lead to the Edwards perk up. But the fast start I was hoping for – not here, not sure it will arrive in time to matter for FF 2020 before we all start to give up.
-- Speaking of disappointing WRs… Curtis Samuel (5-38-0/8, 1-5-0) was used no more-or-less differently here than he was under Norv Turner. He’s just a talented WR surrounded by other talented WRs working in a sketchy passing game.
He got one carry, but there were no unique things/alignments/usage that I saw.
Any dream/hope that he might see some radical usage…looks like those dreams are dead.
-- Samuel’s targeting was nice (8 targets, 2nd-best on team) but the extra problem this game was – Teddy Bridgewater (22-34 for 270 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 4-26-0) isn’t a great/high-end passer machine. He’s a quick passing, game manager.
Teddy is perfectly fine for the NFL, but him springing multiple WRs to something great for fantasy…I didn’t see any chance of it in their debut together. Now, I will give the allowance that these guys are all new working together and in another 2-3-4 weeks, something might emerge – but Teddy was off-target a lot here, even on some completions.
No one WR stood out as ‘his fave’. It did appear that he isn’t, by nature, going to gun it to Christian McCaffrey (23-96-2, 3-38-0/4) every other throw (like Carolina did the past two seasons), but it’s too early to fully judge. Last season, eventually Teddy went heavy Alvin Kamara in his six start stretch last year for NO.
The biggest takeaway from observing the first tape of this passing game – I don’t know who Teddy favors, and Teddy didn’t excite me…and he got lucky Robby Anderson turned a 20-yard pass into a 75-yard TD.
I am ready to reassess ahead because it just looked like this whole passing game was not 100% in sync this game, and that’s understandable Week 1 under a new system/coach/QB/WR trio.
-- Ian Thomas (2-16-0/2) was certainly not a breakout performer with Teddy either. He’s running 5th in the battle for Teddy’s attention, so this is likely a disappointing fantasy play/hold for now. Again, it’s early.
-- As I mentioned prior, Josh Jacobs (25-93-3, 4-46-0/4) is the offense…as Derrick Henry is to Tennessee, so is Jacobs to Las Vegas – and Jacobs can catch passes. He’s on the short list for top FF RB for 2020.
Devontae Booker (4-29-0, 3-23-0/3) spelled Jacobs, and looked quite solid doing so – if Jacobs crumbles under the heavy workload down the road…you want Booker as the cuff.
-- Raiders SAF Johnathan Abram (13 tackles, 1 TFL) lived up to his 1st-round pick hype…an intimidator who was playing 150 miles an hour all game. He’s got a shot to lead all DBs in tackles this year.
-- One of my favorite DLs for IDP, Maxx Crosby (2 tackles), had a weak start for fantasy here…but he did play 76% of the snaps (leading all DLs) and looked fine, and was held (and not called) on two potential sacks. No reason to worry here (except holding is somehow legal now…I missed that rule change this offseason).
-- You got the top name kickers we all know, but among the lesser-lauded kickers the two from this game are two of my favorite young kickers…
Joey Slye (3/3 FGs, 1/2 XPs) was a top kicker in the 1st-half of last season, dropping several 50+ yard bombs early in the 2019 season and then minor struggles 2nd-half.
Daniel Carlson (2/2 FGs, 4/4 XPs) was one of the best college kickers I’ve seen but struggled big time under Mike Zimmer (MIN drafted Carlson 5th-round 2018) bullying and is now getting settled in with Las Vegas the past 2+ seasons. Nice 2020 season debut here, including a 54-yarder. He now kicks indoors at home, instead of from shortstop or second base as he would have done in the past in Oakland…that’s also a plus.
Snap Counts of Interest:
58 = DJ Moore
55 = Robby A
50 = Samuel
44 = Ian Thomas
65 = CMC
03 = Mike Davis
63 = Chinn, CAR rookie (100% of the Def snaps)
43 = Derrick Brown, CAR rookie DL
16 = Gross-Matos, CAR rookie DL
56 = Waller
49 = Jacobs
47 = Bry Edwards
42 = Ruggs
30 = Renfrow
28 = Witten
12 = Moreau