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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 13: Steelers 20, Ravens 19

December 7, 2021 8:56 AM
December 7, 2021 8:50 AM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 13: Steelers 20, Ravens 19


Everything you wanted to know about these two teams happened on the first drive for each…

Baltimore moved the ball right down the field on their opening drive, and then they got down into the red zone and Lamar Jackson threw a ridiculous interception…another ridiculous one…8 TDs/10 INTs his last six games, but the media will not say ‘boo’ about it. Lamar is probably the most protected by the media QB in the NFL, for reasons I cannot comprehend. Strike that, LJax is #2. Matt Stafford is #1. Sam Darnold is #3 tied with Jameis Winston.

Pittsburgh’s turn for their first drive. Najee run for 5 yards. Najee run for 4 yards. 3rd & 1, Najee run for -1-yard, punt. The typical Steelers offense: ineffective Najee on the ground, especially on a short yardage conversion need, all happening on your TV screen while the game analysts/announcers coo about how great Najee’s rookie season has been and that he’s going to be an elite RB for a long time in this league…as he slams his way towards another under 3.50 yards per rush game with a lot of carries and less than 70-75 yards rushing each game and likely with no TDs.

Lamar turnovers and Najee ineffectiveness are the hallmark of these two teams' 2021 seasons on offense.


Everything you want to know about football fans and the football media happened on the last play of the game…

The Ravens ran a 2+ minute final drive, down 7, for a TD with seconds remaining. Ravens now down 20-19, and they decide to ‘go for two’…a gutsy call to go for the win/loss.

Whenever a team ‘goes for it’, like this, if they convert…the coach is hailed as a genius, a tough as nails believer in his men and master of analytics.

Whenever a team ‘goes for it’, like this, and they fail to convert…the coach is an idiot, and WE (the critics/fans) would NEVER go for it there for XYZ football reasons. And THIS is the reason why coaches aren’t more daring, and why GMs don’t make trades – football fans are insufferable, constantly pointing out the after-the-fact way it should’ve gone (when the thing failed).

Before we get too uppity…FF players do the same thing. Those that are out of the playoffs right now, and those that ultimately don’t make it, or those that do and lose first-round of the playoffs, will eventually/immediately go into a whole next year game plan on how they are never going to do ____ (thing that didn’t work) again and they are definitely going to do ____ (thing that in retrospect did work that season).

On that vibe, looking back the past six seasons, the NFL MVP from each season…was an FF disappointment or total FF-flop the following year. We see a lot of ‘was amazing for a season’ events that we then chase for the reversal. Michael Thomas after that wow 2019 season…Christian McCaffrey after that wow 2019 season. Alvin Kamara was the top PPR back last year, injured/disappointment this year. Devante Adams scored 18 TDs last season, and no one could stop his TD rampage…he has 5 TDs this season.

It’s not as easy going back through in December and lamenting the players you should’ve taken in August redrafts. It’s always the perfect plan when your mind races to beat yourself up by not only constantly reminding yourself of your FF-mistakes, but then daydreaming up the perfect alternatives that could’ve happened to double-down on the pain…you coulda had the perfect draft, but you didn’t. A perfect draft would be like hitting the lottery – assembling all the top scorers for one particular season and none of them get hurt and/or didn’t have their QB get hurt to affect their outputs, etc., is a pipe dream.

We are going to make bad trades (sometimes we acquire the player about to tear their ACL or chased a hot player who suddenly went cold). We are going to pick ‘A’ redraft pick or waiver option (for logical reasons at the time), when ‘B’ wound up the right option in retrospect. We double remember every bad move, and instantly forget/discount every good move.

I can’t tell you how many people in Nov.-Dec. 2021 have lamented to me about “I should have never picked or traded for _____. I’ll never do that again.” Looking at their lineup, I’ll then point out that grabbing Cordarrelle Patterson was a good move by them, and they’ll retort…”Yeah, but that was total luck. That's one in a million.”

Football fans, Fantasy owners…the real battle is not fully in scouting and studying, it’s a battle for your mind that’s always chasing fairy tales and trying to chase away nightmares, but you vividly remember ALL the bad (and inflate it) and never remember or credit any of the good. You’ve never won a Fantasy week in your life that wasn’t luck, but all your losses are because of XYZ mistake you made (listening to me, listening to ESPN, flipping a coin, going with your gut).

Where was I?

Oh, don’t be afraid to 'go for it' chasing wins in the NFL or FF…because you’re worried that you’ll lose a game/a showdown/a playoff/a season…fearing all the criticism, from your own mind (in Fantasy) from the fans/media (in the NFL). I realize 95-99% of the people who read that last sentence will not be swayed. Fantasy loves misery and lamenting in reflecting on the past...especially whatever just happened last week. I keep giving this message over and over, hoping it eventually sinks in to the few. Not because I’m some genius…I just have 10+ years and million Fantasy conversations and actual game play in this arena to have it beaten into my head.

To bring it all home…the most complaints, the most proclamations about ‘Next year…’, come from Fantasy owners who have winning records today and are headed to the playoffs. Teams out of it today, they are happily put out of their misery – no more weekly anxiety, now they can get to their favorite mode…hyper/microanalysis of the prior season and 9 months of planning where there are no games and where there is no more losing. Teams still in it – have all week to worry about losing and their season ending now. Praying to win but expecting to lose.

The Fantasy battle is a battle for the mind as much as it is scouting/lineup strategy.

The next few Fantasy weeks – it’s time to win or die trying. It’s not time to try and not-lose. It’s time to go for wins. It’s do-or-die season now.

Baltimore loses a game they could’ve won, but they played equally as bad/sloppy/sluggish as the Steelers and failed the 2-point conversion and lost to fall to (8-4). This Ravens team is so bad for a ‘top’ AFC team. They are a .500 or less team that has gotten VERY lucky this season. Losing Marlon Humphrey is more bad news for their playoff hopes. If Baltimore loses to Cleveland Week 14, it’s possible they lose their next 4 games, or three of 4 (CLE, GB, CIN, LAR) and are scrambling for a wild card in the end…but this AFC North is so bad that 10 wins might win it, and the Ravens are closest to getting to the 10 wins. Beat CLE Week 14, and they’re pretty golden.

The Steelers are now (6-5-1), the worst team with a winning record in the NFL. They have a chance to lose out (MIN-TEN-KC-CLE-BAL). At a minimum, it will be very hard for them to get to 9 wins, which is where the wild card will likely be low-end.



Fantasy Player Notes…


 -- Diontae Johnson (8-105-2/11) was a Fantasy MVP for some of us this week. I thought this was going to be a tough matchup (BAL has a history of shutting off Diontae), but I didn’t fully realize the Ravens get amnesia week-to-week in 2021.

Remember Week 1 when Darren Waller caught a billion passes on the Ravens and Baltimore would never adjust, then did adjust some in the 2nd-half with double teams, then stopped doing it (again) and then Waller went back to burning them for a Raiders win? Well, somehow Diontae was not being covered by Marlon Humphrey here…their best corner. Diontae kept getting nice single coverage from #2/#3 CBs, and despite the fact that DJ is the guy who is the only one to stop/worry about on the Steelers, because that’s where Ben throws it all the time, the Ravens never adjusted, and Humphrey made sure the very dangerous James Washington (0-0-0/1) was locked down. Well, mission accomplished…and a loss.

Diontae is pushing towards the season-long top 3 PPR scoring per game WR in Fantasy.


 -- Chase Claypool (3-52-0/3) is nothing but a WR3-4 flyer. He has 1 receiving TD this season…that’s how poorly run this passing game is.

He has 2 receiving TDs in his last 16 regular season games. Absolutely pathetic. A waste of one of the great WR talents in the game.


 -- Pat Freiermuth (3-26-0/4) got good looks early in the game, and then kinda disappeared during the Diontae show. Nothing seems wrong, just wasn’t his kinda FF game flow.


 -- Lamar Jackson (23-37 for 253 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 8-55-0) has played 11 games this season and in 9 of those games he’s had exactly 1 TD pass…9 TDs/11 INTs.

He has not rushed for a TD since Week 2…10 of 11 games with no rushing TDs.

Lamar is becoming a QB2 right before our eyes…with QB1 blip upside hopes any given week. Remember when he was the future of football and Fantasy after 2019?


 -- The Ravens backfield is all Devonta Freeman (14-52-1, 5-45-0/8) now. How that’s possible, I do not know. Latavius Murray 2-1-0, 2-34-0/2) took all of two carries here.

Ty’Son Williams was inactive, and Nate McCrary (1-0-0) was promoted…and McCrary looks like he’s running into a 100mph wind gust.

It’s stunning to behold how awful this backfield is. For FF purposes, it’s Freeman only these days.


 -- Rashod Bateman (0-0-0/1) is a victim of Lamar Jackson. Nice WR, in the wrong place at the wrong time.


 -- The Ravens-DST was already about useless for FF but losing Marlon Humphrey should mean open season even more on the Ravens defense by opposing offenses. They are not that viable a DST against CLE Week 14…and then GB-CIN-LAR Weeks 15-17, no thanks. 

Rodgers-Burrow-Stafford benefit ahead from this Ravens downturn coming.


 -- The Steelers-DST played one of their best games of the year. Not good enough a unit to make me want to play them vs. Minnesota, at MIN Week 14…but Week 15 v. TEN is a possibility. Week 16 at KC is probably not, but these days with KC…who knows?



Snap Counts of Interest:


57 = Diontae

40 = Ray-Ray

38 = Claypool

22 = Washington


51 = Devonta

14 = Latavius

02 = McCrary


64 = Marquise

44 = Duvernay

34 =Watkins

33 = Bateman


About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>