2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 18: Dolphins 33, Patriots 24
A must-win game for NE to try and win the AFC East, and they flopped. Not a crime…going to Miami late season is always tough for opponents as players ‘partake’ in the Miami life and also may not be totally adapted to the change in climate. Whatever the reason, the Patriots got beat off the jump and could never really catch up.
The big news involving anything from these two teams was the somewhat surprise firing of Brian Flores soon after. Back-to-back winning seasons, and then fired. No matter what you think of Flores (and I’m not a fan)…what is any coach to do to make anyone happy to retain jobs as head coaches? Flores, to me, is a terrible head coach (with his worst characteristic being offensive personnel management) and I wouldn’t want him as my team’s HC, but in the big picture of things…he did ‘win’ here.
That’s how you know someone is an awful human/leader/communicator behind the scenes, as a head coach, because Flores won games and still got fired. He got dumped, by and large, because people don’t like him…and they can probably see he’s a terrible judge of offensive talent as well. Whoever steals this job has a golden opportunity in a place that players want to play/go to live/raise a family and play in a lot of warm weather games with no state tax on their earnings.
Who will the Dolphins choose to be the new head coach? I couldn’t care less. I will start out assuming whomever they choose will also fail within three years, but I’m willing for them to prove me wrong. My money would be on whatever coach they think Deshaun Watson wants to play for.
Flores is an ex-Patriot tie, so he will be the next Houston coach. The ‘shock’ availability of Flores on the market causes the Culley firing. The Houston GM is an ex-Pat. The Houston spiritual leader to the owner and GM is an ex-Pat. Culley was not. An ex-Pat is going to be hired as H-C in Houston…likely Flores. And they can all get swept away together in 2-4 years and go back to working for Belichick.
The Patriots lose but are headed to the playoffs. The Patriots have been in a nose dive since their Week 14 BYE…(1-3) to finish the season with their lone win over Jacksonville. The Patriots are one of the worst teams among the playoff group and will likely get squashed by Buffalo, unless the cold weather helps them sneak by. Even if NE slips past Buffalo, they won’t go any further than that. The playoff team with the worst QB among all the teams cannot make a run for the title.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- It sounds like one of the tipping points of Flores getting fired was his fighting with Tua Tagovailoa (15-22 for 109 yards, 1 TD/0 INT). I’m not sure if I totally buy it…I mean, it was Flores who slit his own throat mid-2020 season by pulling Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tua in the first place.
But just like fans get cranky about their team’s head coach right away, for not winning every game by 20+ points, head coaches get tired of their QB (if they’re not elite, and sometimes when they are)…because when head coaches lose, they tend to blame the QB.
So…did Miami management just side with Tua over Flores? Big mistake if they did. I can believe that Flores was done with Tua (like he was done with Rosen, like he was done with Fitzpatrick…his first starting QBs), but the GM didn’t want to be embarrassed by the pick…so, the GM bought himself another year of shifting blame for Tua’s shortcomings on the outgoing Flores. If a condition of taking the Miami job is ‘Tua is your starter’, then Miami is about to get a very sad coach because the GM is trying to cover his ass. No respectable coach with options will choose Miami if they HAVE to work with Tua.
-- If Tua stays, Jaylen Waddle (5-27-1/7) has a chance to be a WR1 in PPR again in 2022, but the risk will be the new coach breaks up the Tua-Waddle party with ‘a new system’ he brings.
-- They might have fired Flores because of what he did at running back the past two years.
How he could have purposely pushed Myles Gaskin (1-0-0, 3-11-0/3) over Jordan Howard in 2020 is criminal. Howard hated playing there – that was another sign that there were Flores issues. How could Flores pick Gaskin over anybody at RB?
So, Flores sticks by Gaskin from 2020 to this 2021 season, without drafting or signing any decent RB to challenge him in 2021. Then, all of a sudden, Philip Lindsay (11-40-0) became available midseason…and Flores grabs him and starts to push him, but then he and Gaskin get COVID, so Flores has to use Duke Johnson (25-117-1, 1-5-0/1) for an emergency starts…and Duke does well, and then suddenly Duke Johnson is his workhorse back. Almost two years of a useless Gaskin push, and then Gaskin loses his job due to COVID…to the illustrious Duke Johnson.
Whomever the new Miami head coach is – that RB group is gonna get turned upside down via draft or free agency or both in 2022.
Hopefully someone will realize the opportunity there is in making Philip Lindsay a great pass game back who can take 5-10 carries as well but can also be a lead back if the lead back is down for any time.
-- First 12 games for Mac Jones (20-30 for 261 yards, 1 TD/1 INT): 16 TDs/8 INTs…a great start for a rookie.
Jones’s last five games: 6 TDs/5 INTs and a (2-3) record that should’ve been (1-3). I think the Mac Jones/NE offense is getting figured out, as is Mac Jones.
As the season wore on, Jones faded some…while Davis Mills, in a much tougher environment, got better. I still think it is very possible Mills is the better rookie QB than Jones, but there’s still time for both to grow and we’ll see. Right now, I take Mills over Jones…but ‘neither’ would be my preference.
-- Jakobi Meyers (4-70-0/8) is Mac Jones’s BFF WR, right now. The season started with Meyers as his BFF…then there was a small stretch where Kendrick Bourne looked like he had made his move, but now it’s back to Meyers – 6.0 rec. (9.0 targets), 61.5 yards, 0.25 TDs the last 4 weeks of the season…a WR2-2.5 in PPR. That’s about Meyers’ ceiling.
Meyers ends the season #16 in total catches (83) among WRs this season. If you looked at the top 20 names in catches at WR this season, they would all make instant sense to you…with Meyers being the one surprise.
-- Damien Harris (11-37-1, 4-34-0/40 is back healthy and is the clear lead back when he is…he still shares, but the guy Belichick leans on/wants is Harris of the RBBC.
Brandon Bolden (7-46-1, 2-20-1/2) had a nice game as the #2 back this game, but I think he bumped Rhamondre Stevenson (4-34-0, 1-2-0/2) this game, in part, because of the circumstances of this game…NE got down quick and was in a lot of hurry up/pass game mode, and that’s Bolden’s domain.
Snap Counts of Interest:
43 = Duke J
15 = Lindsay
07 = Gaskin
55 = Agholor
52 = Meyers
36 = Bourne
12 = Harry
30 = Harris
28 = Bolden
09 = Stevenson
**College Football Metrics 2022…new season signups have begun**
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.