2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 17: Raiders 23, Colts 20
My line of thinking walking away from this game rewatch…
1) Coming into this week/game, I thought the Colts are a really good football team…just having whooped New England and Arizona in recent weeks, winners of six of their last 7 games and eight of their last 10.
2) Going into this week/game, I would say that the Colts are one of the best 10 teams in the NFL…more in the #6-10 range. But still…a very good NFL team.
3) The Raiders, I would classify going in, are a ‘mediocre’ team. You never know what version you’ll get any particular week.
4) The Raiders went to Indianapolis this game and immediately punched the Colts in the mouth…a 10-0 Raiders early 2nd-quarter lead.
5) The Colts came back from the 10-0 deficit to take back the lead 17-13 at the end of three quarters…but it was A LOT of luck doing so. Fluke penalties. Am Indy bomb TD that should’ve been a pick, but guys ran into each other to get it and the ball caromed off their hands and right backwards to a Colts WR standing in the end zone.
6) Despite the bad luck, the Raiders regathered themselves and took back the lead…and eventually the win.
7) The Raiders are a better team than the Colts. They might play a hundred times and it be 55-45 Raiders. It’s not that the Raiders are a thousand times better – but I walk away from this game looking back over their seasons and see the Raiders as the lesser overall talented group, but the grittier junkyard dog group that you’d bet on in a street fight.
8) The Colts are too finesse, too SAWFT to really go far in the playoffs…but they’re good, they can hang…but they are not killers/streetfighters.
I go through all my logic above to say, I’ll take the Raiders (9-7) to upset the Chargers (9-7) Week 18 and thus make it the playoffs. The Chargers are SAWFTer than the Colts are. The Raiders have won four of their last 6 games and really should be five of their last 6 (but are lucky they aren’t 3-3 in that span either).
The Colts (9-7) should…should beat Jacksonville and get to the wild card as well, which would leave them the #7 seed with LV just getting the seeding tiebreaker over them.
Neither Vegas nor Indy are going very far in the playoffs, but if they both lose 1st-round…it will feel like a huge accomplishment for Vegas anyway, and should get the interim head coach hired as the real head coach (he deserves it)…but for the Colts it will feel like a big letdown season.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Nothing FF-earth shattering, or game changing happened/caught my attention here with any of the players involved, except one situation – Zay Jones (8-120-0/10) has become a real thing.
The past 6 weeks = 5.5 rec., 57.2 yards, 0.0 TDs per game
The past 3 weeks = 6.7 rec., 70.0 yards, 0.0 TDs per game
Zay Jones has become a real WR, again, in the NFL…five NFL seasons and three teams later.
In 2017, Zay Jones and Cooper Kupp battled for our top-rated WR prospect from that draft class. You think Kupp had a decorated career at Eastern Washington? Zay Jones was also a college mega star at East Carolina.
Jones was the 4th WR taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, #37 overall by Buffalo. Jones had a 56 catch, 653 yards, 7 TD season his 2nd NFL season, doing so with a hodgepodge of bad QBs led mostly by rookie, wildly erratic Josh Allen. Buffalo threw for all of 14 TD passes in 2017…Zay caught half of them.
Zay then had some mental health issues in 2019, got cut by Buffalo and scooped up by the Raiders where he has been rehabbing his career and now he’s just starting to hit a stride.
…just in time for his 2022 free agency.
Zay is back from the dead and will be rising up the Dynasty Stash board on the next/final publishing.
Zay’s rise has coincided with Bryan Edwards’s (0-0-0/2) demise. Carr prefers Zay over Edwards, by a mile…and Zay is getting on par with Hunter Renfrow (7-76-1/9) as an option week-to-week.
If the Raiders re-sign Zay Jones, then this is something to watch in 2022…Zay as Carr’s quasi-Davante Adams like WR throw. Yeah, I said it. Not saying Zay will be a god in FF 2022, or any year…but am wanting to highlight that his FF/Dynasty valuation is stirring here – he was a highly rated prospect coming into the league, he’s not a nobody.
If Zay takes the money and goes elsewhere, then I’m not as FF-excited – the continuity with Carr (and Rich Bisaccia) is the FF-key here to 2022 value.
-- Zay Jones is filling the void Darren Waller left behind. I didn’t think he would, by so much, so I’d been pushing Foster Moreau (1-9-0/1) as a nice option to get more work/targets in Waller’s stead. My bad…that didn’t happen, at all. Zay was the Waller-gone play…I just didn’t want to believe it.
If Waller is back Week 18…I’m not sure it’s a big switch off from Zay-Renfrow being established recently.
-- Back last offseason, how many people were like…”OOH, Carson Wentz to the Colts with Frank Reich, where he will have his career resurrected like Reich did for Nick Foles and Wentz could be a QB1 threat with this Colts offense!”
First off, not true…it was Foles who made Reich, and got Philly a Super Bowl they didn’t deserve – and then was thrown out with the trash for it after.
Secondly: Carson Wentz (16-27 for 148 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) finished the FF season (Wks 1-17) as the #17 PPG (4pts pass TD) QB in Fantasy. Not a QB1.
Derek Carr (24-31 for 255 yards, 1 TD/2 INTs) winds up #15.
Can’t wait to hear/see all the 2022 offseason analysis of…”Well, imagine Wentz when he’s in Year Two of this Frank Reich offense!”
I won’t be imagining it.
Wentz has never been as good as Nick Foles…and isn’t today either.
-- Seven games in a row, and counting, since Michael Pittman (6-47-0/6) last scored a TD. His numbers have steadily declined as the season has gone on…in part, because the Colts have garbage for all their other pass game weapons and Pittman gets doubled and tripled a lot.
Week 18 vs. JAX could finally be where Pittman breaks the goal line again. He caught a pass here for what looked like a score…but was tackled a few feet short.
-- Divine Diablo (9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) has started the past four games, played heavily in the last 5 games. In that span, he has hit 9 or more tackles in a game three times…7.0 total tackles per game in that span. He’s transitioning from SAF to LB pretty well.
-- Let’s all give a round of applause to Daniel Carlson (3/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs)…the most FFM-owned kicker to end the season. Most of us started with Matt Gay, but then around the Gay bye week we saw switches off to Gano/Carlson then a sharp move to Carlson to the finish.
I don’t talk kicker scouting a ton, because people don’t care that much to hear it, but I pushed Carlson for years/right out of the gates…he was a special case. And I’m so glad he’s having this career year as Mike Zimmer is going to get fired.
It was Zimmer/Minnesota who drafted Carlson, highly, in 2018…the nation’s top kicker. Zimmer then got pissy about some misses in a preseason game and Zim dumped him before the regular season. It was then Ass’t Head Coach/Special Teams guru, now Raiders interim head coach, Rich Bisaccia who quickly scooped Carlson up for LV/away from the rest of the league.
So, on behalf of Daniel Carlson, who is one the best human beings in the NFL…and now one of the best kickers...I give Mike Zimmer a giant middle finger on his way to his non-playoff-going-ass being fired next week.
Carlson is currently tied for the league lead in FGs made in the NFL and ended up tied for #2 in FF PK PPG behind #1 Nick Folk.
FFM leaves no stone unturned. Matt Gay…Evan McPherson…Daniel Carlson…I know kickers pretty well too. Is there anything I’m not great at in football scouting? It’s just that I just can’t pick football game outcomes against the spread any different than flipping coins – but I know player talent when I see it/sense it or the computer identifies them for me.
CFM 2022 early sign-ups are taking place right now. We need your support so I can not get a real job (for more money and less hours) and rather spend 70+ hours a week scouting football players/things every day, all year...including kickers.
Snap Counts of Interest:
55 = Pittman
36 = Hilton
34 = Pascal
33 = Alie-Cox
22 = Doyle
48 = Zay J
46 = Bry Edw
43 = Renfrow
16 = DJax
**College Football Metrics 2022…new season early-signups start January 6th, 2022, NoonET**
The new season of CFM will be starting up in January, as always. A little different schedule this year as the NFL extended their season by a week and the Senior Bowl was bumped back a week as well. We should have a Senior Bowl, NFL Combine…it looks like it will be a normal scouting year!
The NFL Draft, Dynasty Rookie Draft, and regular season ahead rookie analysis all gets started through CFM in January with our usual season starter -- the past two years/2020-2021 Mock Rookie Draft re-do, along with in-depth Senior Bowl analysis, and full QB scouting reports and much more as we build towards the NFL Combine and all the other positional scouting reports. Football study never ends…
Thank you for your support of CFM for the past decade now…wow, time flies.