2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 11: Patriots 25, Falcons 0 (By Ross Jacobs)
There's not much to say about this one. The Patriots are the better team, not a great team, just a solid one, and they just suffocated the Falcons all game. It was only 13-0 at halftime and as the 4th quarter started, but Matt Ryan threw 2 INT's in the final 5 minutes of the game to give New England a couple more field goals, and then Josh Rosen threw a pick 6 with 2 minutes left to make it 25-0.
The Patriots didn't do a whole lot here offensively. They continue to play like this is 2001, running the ball, completing short, controlled passes, and playing great defense. They are now 7-4 after winning their last 5, although when you look at the opponents it becomes less impressive. They beat 3 terrible teams during this stretch, snuck by the Chargers, and crushed the drowning Browns.
The next 4 weeks will decide their fate as they draw the Titans, Colts, and division rival Bills twice. I bet they go 1-3 during this stretch to reach 8-7, but it's possible they go 2-2 which would be huge especially if one of those wins is over the Bills. They probably need to go 3-1 in this stretch with a win or two over the Bills to win the division.
The Falcons fall to 4-6 and will likely finish with maybe 2 more wins or so. They aren't a good team and are holding on for dear life. They might not win another game if they don't get Cordarrelle Patterson back from injury soon. He is their best player by far and absolutely should be in the MVP conversation.
--Well, Damien Harris (10-56-0, 1-9-0/1) came back from his concussion and split carries with rookie Rhamondre Stevenson (12-69-0, 1-6-0/1). I think this could be the primary gameplan moving forward because Stevenson looks good, real good. Harris is fine as well and was running with his usual hard-nosed style, but Stevenson made a few cuts here that rare few backs his size can make. He had another 30 or so yards called back on a holding penalty after he sidestepped two defenders smoothly and took off down the field. Seems like both guys are now going to be steady RB3's, but if either gets hurt again things could get interesting.
--The passing game continues to be a mess as Mac Jones (22-26 for 207 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) spreads the ball around to the open man. Jakobi Meyers (4-39-0/6) is the ever so slight lead WR, but it's not enough to matter. I don't think you can use him now as Kendrick Bourne (4-42-0/4) has closed the gap on him despite the difference in their snap counts. Jones seems to look for Bourne just a little more often when he's actually on the field.
--I know Hunter Henry (2-25-0/3) has been nice for fantasy the last several weeks, but this is what you get if he doesn't catch a TD. He's still just the Patriots' version of Mo Alie-Cox but Jones looks for him a little more often in the redzone.
--Matt Ryan (19-28 for 153 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) is on his last legs as a QB, only steps behind Big Ben, but most weeks he's going to be better than this. The Patriots pass defense has just gotten really good and they just strangled this offense.
--The receivers on this team are just not good enough to separate from man coverage, and Kyle Pitts (3-29-0/5) is getting doubled every play. It also doesn't help that for whatever reason he was on the bench for the first two plays of the game while the vaunted Lee Smith was in the game. You can't make this crap up.
The Patriots did have the very athletic Kyle Duggar on Pitts most of the game though, and most other teams don't have a guy that can match up that well with Pitts physically. I think Pitts could make a big run to finish the season. The only two games that really scare me for him are the two Buffalo games. In dynasty, continue to buy Pitts. He's going to be a legend.
--The only somewhat usable thing other than Pitts from this passing game is Russell Gage (5-49-0/8). He's an ok option to have as your WR3 or flex the rest of the schedule due to the amount of volume he's going to get. Just make sure to have another option for the Buffalo and Carolina games.
--The most interesting fantasy item from this game was the move away from Mike Davis (3-1-0, 3-20-0/4) towards Qadree Ollison (9-34-0) who was just elevated off the practice squad. Davis started the game, but Ollison came in during the 2nd quarter and provided a little bit of a spark. Atlanta tried to go back to Davis a couple of times, but it just wasn't working and they switched to Ollison for most of the rest of the game.
It's a curious move, but that's the second time now that we've seen Arthur Smith move off of Davis for a superior option. We all have our gripes with him this year, but most coaches wouldn't have ever given Patterson more touches and wouldn't have tried Ollison here as Davis floundered away. I think it's a sign this team will be better in the next year or two.
So what happens if Patterson is still out this week against Jacksonville? Not sure. Probably a split of some kind between Davis and Ollison. 50/50 would be my guess with Davis taking the 3rd down role. I think Patterson is going to be back though. He was close last week and has reportedly been practicing this week. So will Ollison be the backup for Patterson? I doubt it but maybe. The role wouldn't be worth much if so. The only way Ollison works is if Patterson is out so keep an eye on that injury report.
--Kyle Van Noy (8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD) had an absolutely massive week in IDP leagues, and almost nobody got those points because there was no real reason to have Van Noy starting except in very deep leagues. He's not going to repeat this obviously, but it was nice to see for a perpetually underrated player. Funny how he's so good for New England but didn't work out for the Dolphins. It's almost like the coaching may have played a part...
Snap Counts of Interest
44 = Kyle Pitts
22 = Lee Smith
40 = Russell Gage
37 = Tajae Sharpe
25 = Olamide Zaccheaus
26 = Mike Davis
26 = Qadree Ollison
56 = Jakobi Meyers
49 = Nelson Agholor
29 = Kendrick Bourne
33 = Jonnu Smith
32 = Hunter Henry
25 = Damien Harris
22 = Rhamondre Stevenson
17 = Brandon Bolden