2020 Week 1 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis: Ravens 38, Browns 6
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.
This was an abomination of football. Just when you thought the Browns couldn’t get worse…they did. Arguably, the best team in football played one of the three worst here – and the result you would expect to happen…happened.
I didn’t get to watch this live because DirecTV didn’t show it in the ‘8 in a box’ 1pmET view, and then wouldn’t allow me to watch live on computer for blackout rules in Ohio. So, pre-write up, was my one and only watch. On Sunday, I knew from the score what was happening (Browns getting killed), nothing new/fresh it seemed, but then to watch it live -- it was even worse then I imagined. How anyone could be a Browns fan is beyond me.
The Browns face some of the other worst teams in football the next two weeks (CIN-WAS), so they might catch a blip/uptick and head fake ‘change’ for a moment…but this 2020 Browns team is as bad/worse than 2019. Baltimore faces a gauntlet the next two weeks…Houston and KC. I think they might sweep those games.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First things first…Odell Beckham (3-22-0/10) is such a nothing player anymore…he’s barely a WR3 conversation. He’ll have a game here or there with a big play, maybe the next two games with CIN-WAS…but against any decent coverage he’s empty. I don’t think he can beat weak coverage now.
Everything is the same as 2019 with OBJ…
Not getting separation/open.
After every play where he doesn’t catch the pass, he slumps his shoulders and saunters back to the huddle like it was everyone else’s fault.
He is stealing paychecks, and not interested in getting hit or making any on-field impact beyond shooting for a ‘big play’. He’s collecting game checks until he doesn’t. I suspect he’ll be traded or cut by midseason…or just put inactive, sent home to collect checks away from the team and then they will cut him in the offseason. He’s a waste of space, and when the Browns start racking up the losses…they’ll start pruning the roster for 2021, and OBJ is an early clip.
-- I don’t even recognize Baker Mayfield (21-39 for 189 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) anymore. Gone is the wheeler-dealer from Oklahoma years and the record-setting rookie NFL performance of 2018. That Baker has been coached-to-be a stiff, as an old school NFL pocket passing QB with a playbook known for its robotic, predictable receiver routes. No one is hardly open when Baker drops back most critical throwing times. It would help if his #1-2 WR gave a damn or if they had any other legit NFL WRs on the roster.
Watching Baker in this game…same as 2019 – it was a chore for even his completions to happen…needing ‘miracle’ catches to happen in jump ball scenarios. Some of the blame goes to the Ravens defense, but a lot is this is the same tired/dead Browns offense from 2019.
Baker will be on the trade block after this season, I would suspect. Kevin Stefanski will want a fresh start…and that’s what Cleveland lives for, fresh starts and culture changes that never happen but takes 3-5 years to realize it isn’t working…it’s a systemic organizational problem. Baker is smart…he’ll know his career is going down the toilet if he stays with the Browns. Many players force their way off bottom feeding teams lately (Jamal Adams, Jalen Ramsey, etc.)…Baker is going to have to go there. This could be a story/circus with OBJ and Landry and Baker all wanting out soon.
-- The nightmares out of Cleveland don’t stop there. Your worst fantasy nightmare of all…it’s a Chubb/Hunt split backfield now.
And I don’t know that Kareem Hunt (13-72-0, 4-9-0/6) isn’t going to pull into the 55/45 lead role. Chubb started this game, but Hunt played with much more energy (and took more snaps overall). Chubb looked like a defeated guy knowing how much money he potentially lost (not going to be ‘the guy’ to take ‘all the stats’ now) when the team signed Hunt to an extension last week.
I’m not giving up on Chubb in the rare instances I have him, but I’d be rattled where I do. He’s still fine, but like most ‘starting’ NFL RBs…he’s in a split role and has to share and that affects his FF output. Many RBs suffered that fate (finding out they weren’t ‘the guy’ anymore) in Week 1. We’re down to a rare few ‘the guys’ in the NFL at RB…and Chubb is not one of them.
-- Speaking of ‘main carry’ backs who died Week 1…welcome to RBBC hell in Baltimore, and Mark Ingram (10-29-0) is no longer king.
J.K. Dobbins (7-22-2) is so obviously the future, and the future is probably right now. But this right now future will have Ingram-Dobbins-Edwards splitting time for a bit before Dobbins just takes over, but on a 60/40 split takeover. Dobbins deserves to be in the conversation with rookie RBs Edwards-Helaire and Taylor, but JKD is in the worst situation (for FF) among them right now.
If Ingram goes down…it’s game-on with Dobbins. It might be in about 2-3 more weeks regardless of injury. We’ll know what Harbaugh is thinking when they face HOU-KC the next two weeks – does he go with the steady veteran (Ingram) a lot and keep JKD back -- or does he need to turn to his new, high-powered sports car (Dobbins).
Also, note about this backfield…no targets to any of the backs in this game. Dobbins is going to be good, but in PPR he may never hit great with Lamar at QB. A lack of targets…and Lamar taking TDs too.
-- Lamar Jackson (20-25 for 275 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT, 7-45-0) has had no drop off…and is playing with a fire of a guy wanting to get a big $500M contract. He wasn’t playing ‘satisfied’ like I thought Mahomes-Watson did on TNF. Lamar looks/acts hungry (he is). Lamar and Mahomes are top 10 fantasy assets…and were key to my offseason drafts, hopefully many of yours too.
Lamar is getting ready to make a run as the top thing in FF again.
-- Ravens WR notes…
Marquise Brown (5-101-0/6) looks great…no ill effects of the added weight/muscle in the offseason. He has a WR1 shot in non-PPR this year.
Just a quick note on rookie Devin Duvernay (1-12-0/1)…he had a really nice bubble screen early in the game. He returned kicks to the tune of 32.0 per return. He might not be much for 2020 FF, but he has a future…you can see it and I think Harbaugh does too.
-- An inauspicious start to his Browns career for Austin Hooper (2-15-0/2). However, I see some FF-hope here…
He was the clear snap count leader at TE.
David Njoku is hurt/out now, possibly for the season.
Baker has nothing else to trust/throw to except occasional Jarvis Landry (5-61-0/6) moments.
I’m not saying Hooper is a TE1 now…just, don’t write him off just yet.
-- Ravens rookie Patrick Queen (8 tackles, 1 TFL) had a solid IDP start, stat-wise. I was watching him a lot because I think he might be a weak link ILB. He was fairly active. He got credited with 8 tackles, but boy…some of them were ‘iffy’ that they were his.
-- Let me end on this… Why doesn’t an NFL team trade for Justice Hill? The Ravens have no need for him. He can’t cost that much.
Snap Counts of Interest:
23 = Dobbins
21 = Ingram
15 = Edwards
40 = Boykin
39 = Snead
37 = Brown
11 = Duvernay
36 = Hunt
35 = Chubb
55 = OBJ
52 = Landry
40 = Hodge
16 = Higgins