2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 11: Washington 27, Panthers 21
*With the Thanksgiving week schedule complexities of the triple-header, etc., the game reports this week will be less pontificating and more ‘just the facts’ on players/situations we need to consider for Week 12 and beyond. I’ll be back to being a blowhard next week, I promise.
This was a pretty boring affair, from a Fantasy study standpoint. As expected, Carolina comes at you with Christian McCaffrey as Cam struggles to play QB from the pocket…while the Football team comes at you with Antonio Gibson (somewhat) and heaves prayers to Terry McLaurin. I could not tell the difference between these two teams – both are very mediocre, play hard, and offer nothing fresh 11 weeks into the season.
This game was tied 21-21 with 7+ minutes left. Taylor Heinicke hit an improbable 4th & 3 pass for a 1st-down conversion, where he shoulda been sacked, but he tossed a desperation fling as he was going down and they got the conversion…Carolina would have likely gone on to win the game had the improbable not just happened. Cam had a shot after that to tie, and then another to lead a drive to win the game – he failed on both accounts…Washington wins.
The Football Team is suddenly (4-6) and has playoff life. I don’t think they can hit 9 wins, so it’s a false life…but they have a small chance, a motivation to keep playing hard this week.
Carolina loses a big opportunity to get to above .500 and solidly in the playoff picture. Instead, they fall to (5-6) and let Washington have a tiebreaker on them if it comes down to it later. Carolina has lost to wild card teams MIN, PHI, and now WSH. It’s not looking good for the Panthers for the playoffs. We project them with 8 wins max, likely 7-8 wins.
I just have to say – a huge game at Carolina, and the Panthers lay an egg. Cam generates spotty offense. The defense was pushed around by Taylor Heinicke and friends…after the Panthers went out and bought an all-star CB group and has been drafting D-Linemen over everything, and in the biggest game of Matt Rhule’s NFL career…they aren’t any better than the Football Team? I love Matt Rhule, but questions need to be asked…especially if they flop to the finish.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Cam Newton (21-27 for 189 yards, 2 TDs/0 INTs, 10-46-1) put up nice FF numbers in his 2021 starting debut. Same old Cam…would look good one drive then struggles the next, and when the money was on the line…he fell short. 2-of-9 on 3rd-downs, 1-of-3 on 4th-downs were the Panthers.
Part of the issue Cam, and part of it is…suddenly, the Football Team found its defense – just 10 weeks into the season. Better late than never. They just needed to get Young-Sweat out of the lineup so they could really flourish. Mike Lombardi has my favorite football line of all-time because it is so true, something he said back when he was a personnel guy with the Raiders when he couldn’t understand why the coaches were playing certain players and freezing out others…he said to his close confidants, “We’re an injury away from being a really good team.”
Washington was the worst defense in the NFL…and then they lost both their high-price, high 1st-round draft pick edge rushers, and NOW they’re a good defense – 17-19-21 points allowed their last three games. They face struggling Seattle this week…their run may keep up.
-- The Carolina defense is going the other direction. The Panthers have good-looking, young defensive personnel and they’ve stolen two great CBs (C.J. Henderson and Stephon Gilmore) in trades, and yet they get worse as the season wears on. The whoop on awful offenses. They struggle/are mediocre against mediocre offenses, and they get bombed by good+ offenses (DAL and MIN throttled them).
Taylor Heinicke completed 73% of his passes and had 3 TD passes and no picks here. How is this possible? You can’t have great confidence in the Panthers-DST this week vs. Tua…what a weird statement to write. However, every defense has a letdown in 2021, at least one, so Carolina may storm the castle this week vs. Miami.
-- Antonio Gibson (19-95-0) had another big touch count day, now back-to-back weeks with bigger workloads – but there’s more to this story.
Gibson is working as the main workhorse now, with Jaret Patterson (7-23-0) popping in at odd times in relief to take a series even. But early in this game, Gibson fumbled – his 5th fumble of 2021 (10 games, 154 carries), his 3rd lost fumble of the season. He was benched for the rest of the 1st-half.
An NFL coach’s handpicked, full confidence RB…those guys usually are not benched for a fumble. Maybe for a series, but not for 1.5 quarters. I think Rivera likes Gibson and wants him to succeed, and he knows he’s his best back…but his patience is also wearing a bit thin. Jaret Patterson keeps creeping in more and more. When Washington led late, and needed to run the clock…Patterson was in. Gibson went in late and with Carolina with no timeouts left, 2:00 remaining (right after the 2-minute warning), on a 3rd-down run…Gibson went out of bounds to stop the clock. So, when Washington took the field goal from there, to go up 6 points, Carolina still had 1:50 left to go win the game. Had Gibson gone out of bounds, Carolina might have had a minute left…instead, they had almost two minutes (with no timeouts)…a huge difference. But then Cam didn’t capitalize anyway.
Gibson continues to unnerve Ron Rivera…and I say all this to note, Gibson is another fumble away from another benching for quarters or longer(?)…the miscues are letting Patterson continue to gain ground in the backfield. It’s a very fluid situation with Gibson right now.
-- DeAndre Carter (2-22-1/3) scored a TD for the third straight game. Those opportunities could be going to Curtis Samuel and then some, if he can ever get healthy. Samuel might be returning this week. We’ll see if he can log a FULL practice at all Friday or Saturday.
-- Ricky Seals-Jones (DNP) remains out, and Logan Thomas (IR) is eligible for return in the next 3 weeks, and maybe it’s this week…but I don’t think he will be back for Week 12. If that’s correct, John Bates (3-23-0/3) is something-not-nothing for Week 12 v. SEA.
Bates has played heavier in RSJ’s absence, and he’s averaged 3.0 rec., 24.0 yards, and 0.0 TDs per game in his two games of heavier play. Week 11…he played 99% of the snaps. He’s a good blocker so he’ll be on the field a lot, and maybe he snags a lucky TD ahead.
…and Seattle just got lit up by Zach Ertz last week.
-- Jeremy Chinn (13 tackles, 1 TFL) seasonal splits…
4.2 total tackles, 0.00 TFLs, 0.20 PDs per game = Chinn Weeks 1-5.
8.3 total tackles, 0.83 TFLs, 0.33 PDs per game = Chinn Weeks 6-11
Snap Counts of Interest:
33 = Gibson
31 = McKissic
13 = Patterson
32 = I Thomas
24 = Tremble