2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 1: Seahawks 28, Colts 16 (By Ross Jacobs)
This was a dull watch and I don't have any earth-shattering fantasy notes to talk about. You know what you're getting with these two teams. Lots of running plus a few Russell Wilson bombs and lots of running plus a bunch of Carson Wentz checkdowns. Routine stuff.
Indy started with the ball and calmly drove the field to take a quick 3-0 lead. The Seahawks responded with a smooth drive of their own capped off with a nice adjustment by Tyler Lockett for a TD. Indy regained the lead shortly after with another good drive to make it 10-7 Colts, but Seattle scored the next two touchdowns to grab a nice 21-10 lead. It was around this time that the Colts started faltering a little. Their offensive line was under siege and they couldn't keep a drive going. A late DK Metcalf TD would be the final dagger for Indy as they didn't have enough time to recover and fell 28-16 after scoring a garbage time TD.
These are two decent teams. Seattle is a contender as usual although I don't think they are a favorite. They'll probably be a wild card with somewhere around 11 wins or so. Indy looks a step back from last year because their defense isn't quite as good although getting Xavier Rhodes back from injury would help. I wouldn't panic if you're a Colts fan. They should finish around 9 wins or so and be a tough out for better teams. They don't look like a real Superbowl contender though.
It's once again a Chris Carson (16-91-0, 3-26-0/3) offense in Seattle. He's a RB1 until further notice. You wish your favorite RB got this kind of treatment. It doesn't matter that Carson fumbled the ball away here. It doesn't matter that he's just an ok, straight ahead power runner. Nothing matters except the fact that Pete loves him some Carson and nothing is going to get in the way of that. So long as he's healthy Carson should come in somewhere around 1200 yards and 10+ TD's along with 40-50 catches for another 300 yards or so.
Rashaad Penny (2-8-0) was a ghost here and clearly not a part of the game plan, but he exited the game with a calf strain and will be gone several more weeks. I think it's time we bury this hope for good. He was replaced by DeeJay Dallas (1-5-0, 1-5-0/1) who will now serve as the backup to Carson for whatever that is worth.
RC Note: I think Alex Collins is in play more for the #2 RB role, but we’ll see. Collins was inactive for this game, and Dallas wasn’t.
The Seahawks ran it early and often and it seems abundantly clear there won't be any cooking for Russell Wilson (18-23 for 254 yards, 4 TD/0 INT) if Pete Carrol can help it. Russ threw for 4 TD's but that isn't happening every week. I expect a lower volume for Wilson this year compared to the last few (provided Carson stays healthy) and that's going to hold him back just a little from being a top 5 QB. He looks like a back end QB1 to me.
With a fall in Wilson's passing volume there will be a corresponding fall in the production of Tyler Lockett (4-100-2/5) and DK Metcalf (4-60-1/5). Yes, both guys just had good days, but they aren't catching TD's every week to make up for a meager 4 catches. I don't care how efficient Russell is, if they don't get more than 5 targets apiece those numbers are going to come crashing down. The next several weeks look very juicy though. Tennessee, Minnesota, and SF all have bad secondaries. A good play might be to let these guys ride the wave and then flip them for something nicer off of a few big weeks. The rest of year schedule is a weird mix of really great matchups and really hard ones, so be prepared for the inevitable down weeks if you hold.
Rookie Dwayne Eskridge (1-6-0/1, 2-22-0) looked like a Tyler Lockett clone in his short appearance here. He took a big shot late in the game and left with a concussion. He's already been dealing with a ton of injuries and the year has barely started. Starting to worry me that's it's going to be a constant issue with him. He's at least a year away from mattering for fantasy if not more.
Newly acquired TE Gerald Everett (2-20-1/2) had a couple of nifty screen passes set up for him. It felt like he was more involved than his numbers show. The reality is he was splitting time with Will Dissly (3-37-0/3). Neither guy is more than a prayer bye week start hoping for a TD.
RC bashed on Carson Wentz (25-38 for 251 yards, 2 TD/0 INT, 4-23-0) and I get why, but after watching this game closely...Wentz looked pretty good honestly. He was driving the Colts down the field just fine early on, and it wasn't until the dam broke and he had pressure in his face literally every play that the trouble started. Even then he played well considering the circumstances. Getting left tackle Eric Fisher back healthy would be a big help. I've done my fair share of Wentz bashing in the past, including very early last year when I noted that he was playing like garbage before the injury, but the Wentz I saw here was playing quite well. He's got some sneaky upside in better matchups.
Jonathan Taylor (17-56-0, 6-60-0/7) is also a RB1 or 1.5 at worst. I don't like how often he comes out for Nyheim Hines (9-34-0, 6-48-0/8), but so long as he's getting touches like this I can live with it. Taylor had a solid day that could have been very good except he lost a TD run to a stupid penalty. His ypc was really low and that is 100% because his line was getting destroyed by Seattle. I wouldn't expect a dominant line this year, but they should be better once Fisher is back and Nelson gets closer to 100%. It's not a huge worry but something to watch especially with the news that RT Braden Smith is now dealing with a foot injury. These backup tackles aren't good. You can still start Taylor with confidence just based on volume though.
Hines is a nice cheap play in DFS or as a bye week fill-in/RB starved. He's the Giovani Bernard that RC was hoping for and he's available in a ton of leagues on waivers. Not sexy but functional.
Outside those two guys it gets messy for the Colts pass catchers. To my eyes Michael Pittman (3-29-0/4) has all the talent/ability to be a bona fide #1 receiver, but he's not getting that kind of treatment. It's like he's just another one of the guys and in fact they use him more as a blocker than anything else. If he ever gets peppered with targets it could be special.
The guy I'm most excited for though is the rookie RC and I have been following, Mike Strachan (2-26-0/2). He's still being used as the #4 receiver, but the rare times they put him in the game Wentz was looking for him specifically. I believe they are trying to bring him along slowly but know exactly what they have. He's got the chops to be a star but the time isn't right yet. Trying to predict this thing is going to be tough, but at some point Strachan is going to put up a monster game and there won't be any going back. It may not be in 2021, could be a 2022 thing, but it's going to happen at some point. Imagine the Travis Fulgham episode from last year with Wentz and the Eagles but with a 10x better receiver than Fulgham. If/when that happens we need to be ready.
Zach Pascal (4-43-2/5) got the TD's today so he's magically a priority waiver pickup for many people. Please don't. Pascal isn't a very good receiver and certainly isn't catching 2 TD's every week. He's just holding a spot until Strachan is ready to step up.
Parris Campbell (1-24-0/3) is healthy (for the moment) and looks fast enough but there's no real push to target him. He's just one more guy in a rotation.
Jack Doyle (3-21-0/4) and Mo Alie-Cox (0-0-0/2) are splitting reps at TE. Neither is usable.
Bobby Wagner (13 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 pd) led the way for Seattle of course, but 2nd year LB Jordyn Brooks (11 tackles) acquitted himself well with his performance. He looks like the new, faster, better KJ Wright.
Quandre Diggs (9 tackles) was shockingly one of the best players on the field here. He was flying all over the field hitting everything in sight, constantly around the ball. Very impressed with what I saw from him.
Darrell Taylor (2 tackles, 1 sack) had a couple of splash plays late but he wasn't a real factor here. He was just another cog in the Seattle pass rush. Rasheem Green (4 tackles, 1 sack), Kerry Hyder Jr (3 tackles), and Benson Mayowa (2 tackles, 1 sack) all rotated in along with Taylor and all four guys were causing problems for Indy. Colts RT Braden Smith was getting beaten by everyone that lined up over him and it was announced after the game that he is dealing with an injury and LT Julie'n Davenport also got whipped while filling in for Eric Fisher.
3rd year Colts safety Khari Willis (7 tackles) is projected to do big things for fantasy this year by many and he got a good number of tackles here, but he was getting absolutely mauled in coverage by Tyler Lockett. It was not good. He may be a good fantasy play, but I would not want him on my real team. Targeting him with under the radar WR's could be a sneaky DFS play.
--Snap Counts of Interest
42 = Jonathan Taylor
34 = Nyheim Hines
74 = Michael Pittman
69 = Zach Pascal
46 = Parris Campbell
18 = Mike Strachan
45 = Jack Doyle
39 = Mo Alie-Cox
42 = Chris Carson
7 = Rashaad Penny
50 = DK Metcalf
46 = Tyler Lockett
23 = Freddie Swain
12 = Dwayne Eskridge
39 = Gerald Everett
38 = Will Dissly