2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 17: Eagles 20, Washington 16 (By Ross Jacobs)
Up until now, the Eagles have been whipping lesser teams, but in the first half of this game Washington was doing the whipping. They were taking it to Philly, scoring on their first three possessions.The score was 16-7 Washington at the half, and it looked like the Eagles were going down.
The second half was a whole different story though as Philly grinded their way back into the game. They started to get more pressure on Heinicke, and the offense started pounding away on the ground. The Eagles would score 13 unanswered points to take the win, although Washington had one last shot with 2 minutes left but Heinicke was intercepted in the endzone to end it.
Washington played much better than they did two weeks ago, but it still wasn't enough. This Eagles team is just a really tough out right now. They are probably no real threat to win the Superbowl, but I wouldn't want my team playing them either.
--Funny how we don't hear any more criticism of Jalen Hurts now that he's in the playoffs. RC and I have said it all year: he's as good or better than Lamar Jackson and the numbers back it up. We don't need the numbers to see what's been right in front of our faces this entire time.
But don't let that distract you from the fact that the second Hurts has a bump in the road or loses in the first round of the playoffs or has a multi-turnover game, the media is going to be calling for his head all over again. It won't even take that. Once the off-season begins and Deshaun Watson is available to trade for, they'll try to replace Hurts with him.
You see it happen over and over again. The media chooses who they like before the draft, and nothing will ever change their minds. They got Goff replaced. They are about to get Mayfield replaced. They'll get Hurts replaced someday. It might take a few years, but it will happen.
For 2022 though, Hurts is the guy. There's no doubt about that. He's bought himself another year at least. And he's still a QB1 all day long, especially in 4-pt passing TD leagues.
--I can't say the same for Taylor Heinicke. He hasn't been awful this year, but it's clear he's just backup material. If Ryan Fitzpatrick comes back healthy he'll start over Heinicke at least, and there's a good chance we'll see a rookie QB brought in to compete as well.
--I can already tell you one of my favorite value picks in 2022 drafts is going to be Devonta Smith. He's 100% going to be undervalued because his rookie year wasn't as statistically productive as Ja'Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle and he's playing with a lower volume passer in Hurts.
I don't care about those things at all. Devonta is the best talent of the three, and having a low volume can be an impediment, but it's not a guarantee. Look at Deebo and Garoppolo this year. If you dominate targets and are efficient with them, you can still put up huge numbers even in weaker passing games.
Devonta is too good, and just like Chase with Burrow, he's got his college teammate throwing him the ball. You think that connection isn't going to grow? Hurts has been looking for Smith more and more the past few games. By next year Smith is going to be “the guy.” I'm buying every share of Devonta I can find.
--Jaret Patterson got his crack at the starting job and proved himself capable. He's not a star or a future starting RB, but he belongs on the field in part of a rotation. He's a small guy and not very fast, but he runs smart and tough. He'll likely be the Antonio Gibson backup again next year and when Gibson inevitably gets hurt again Patterson will take over and produce nicely.
--Rookie TE John Bates has been trending up in snap counts over Ricky Seals-Jones the past few weeks, and when RSJ got hurt after colliding with a cameraman on the sidelines, it just opened things up even more for Bates.
Like Patterson, I think he's capable, a role player. I don't see any star potential here, but he can be a rotational pass catcher. Also like Patterson I think he probably starts next season as a backup to Logan Thomas.
--Have we seen the last of Miles Sanders after his latest injury? No, probably not. But I do think we've seen the last of his days as a “feature” RB. He's just not reliable and the offense works as good or better with Boston Scott as the lead.
Sanders likely comes back for his last year in Philly, but I bet it's as the “lead” of a rotation. My guess is he gets reduced to 8-9 carries a game and maybe a catch or two as the Eagles just go full RBBC. He'll get hurt again mid-season, but then come back the last 4-5 games and suddenly go on a tear after every other RB gets hurt, and some sucker like Jacksonville will pay him $10 million to be their starter in 2023. That's how these things always go...
--Dallas Goedert is finally going to be in the conversation as a top 5 TE next year now that Ertz is out of his way. He and Hurts have shown a really good and growing connection, and of course Goedert has always been one of the most physically gifted TE's in the league. I think next year we'll be debating Kelce, Kittle, and Andrews as the top 3 and Waller, Goedert, and Schultz in the next group.
--Don't look now but Cam Sims was back on the field and looking pretty darn good again just like he did late last year. Could he finally take a step forward and become a full starter next year? Maybe. I'd bet against it though but not because he can't play.
McLaurin is the star here. The team paid good money to Curtis Samuel so he'll get a chance to get healthy. They also drafted Dyami Brown and will force him out there no matter how awful he is. Where does Sims fit into that puzzle?
At best he's likely a bit-player IF he comes back. My guess is he gets a small one year contract to go somewhere else and try to carve out a larger role.
--Josh Sweat (5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pd) has been on a statistical tear lately. He has a combined 4 sacks in his last 4 games, albeit against the Jets, Giants, and twice against Washington. 7 of his 7.5 sacks on the year have come against those three teams plus Detroit and Carolina...not exactly a bastion of great offensive lines.
I don't see anything worth talking about with him. He's a pure speed rusher only. Sometimes he gets a good jump and blows past weaker blockers, but most of the time he gets engulfed and is completely useless. Reminds me of a Bruce Irvin type rusher.
--1st round Washington LB Jamin Davis has been a massive disappointment this year. He's battled injuries and ineffectiveness and has only 68 tackles on the year. I don't remember ever seeing him stand out this year, but he's clearly got the physical skills to become a good player.
Maybe he just needs another year or two of seasoning. If he can get healthy I could see him growing into a very good player eventually. He's not a player I would casually write off as a bust so quickly. I have a feeling we haven't heard the last of Davis...
Snap Counts of Interest
60 = McLaurin
47 = Sims
33 = Humphries
22 = Carter
39 = Patterson
16 = Smallwood
58 = Devonta
31 = Reagor
31 = Watkins
32 = Scott
21 = Howard