2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 18: Steelers 16, Ravens 13 (By Ross Jacobs)
You've got to be kidding me with the Steelers. This team is so bad and yet now they've lucked their way into the playoffs thanks to the Colts. Unbelievable.
This was a sloppy game played in the rain between two not good teams and it showed. The Ravens actually led a good chunk of the game but got down later on and managed to send it to overtime where they just couldn't come up with a score.
Baltimore sustained too many injuries this year and their early season good fortune faded in the second half. Hard to remember they were the #1 seed at 8-3 at one point. They finished with 6 straight losses to end up with a losing record and we called it ahead of time.
Pittsburgh makes the playoffs for whatever that's worth, but they have absolutely no chance of winning the Super Bowl. This is quite possibly the worst team to make the playoffs that I've ever seen. They are downright painful to watch. Maybe they can cover the huge spread against the Chiefs, but a win seems highly unlikely.
Pittsburgh Dad Analysis: https://youtu.be/J1A3sApu9g0
"You knew what you're getting into when I came down the aisle in a Greg Lloyd jersey..."
--I've been talking up Tyler Huntley since this preseason and he laid a real egg here. What happened? The rain mostly. It was very sloppy conditions and instead of taking shorter, easy throws, the Ravens were trying to attack middle/deep. It didn't work out too well as a couple of Huntley passes sailed on him a little bit for easy INT's. He really didn't play all the bad on the whole.
Huntley will be an exclusive right free agent in 2022 which means the Ravens can offer him a league minimum contract and he can't negotiate with other teams. They could also trade him if they get a large enough offer, but I highly doubt that happens. Huntley played well but I just cannot see another team trading away draft picks to bring him in as a potential starter. Not yet.
Most likely Huntley plays one more year in Baltimore as the backup and will sign with someone else to compete for a starting spot after that. He's a decent player, but I do think he needs to play in a system like Baltimore runs. If you try to jam him into anything else it's probably not going to go that well.
--What is the Baltimore backfield going to look like next year? You have to imagine we see the return of JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but since both guys will be trying to come back from ACL injuries, I bet we see Baltimore bring in another capable back just in case. We know it's not going to be Ty'Son Williams....
--One thing I'll be watching very closely next preseason, is how targets are split between Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman. Bateman is for sure the better talent but Brown is still bff's with Lamar and Lamar isn't that great a passer anyways. If Bateman does pass Brown though, he could be in line for those force-fed targets Lamar was giving to Brown early on. Don't forget that Brown was tracking as a top 8 receiver the first half of the year. Bateman is a better player, so I'd love to see what he could do with 10 targets a game.
--Latavius Murray (16-150-1) had himself a huge game. Trust me when I say it wasn't Murray's doing. He's fine but he just runs straight ahead for what's blocked these days. You want to know what sprung him open so often? Ben Cleveland was mauling people.
Cam Heyward supposedly had such a great year and he was getting blown off the ball by Cleveland all game. I only saw Heyward beat Cleveland once on a run play. But the biggest gains were when Cleveland pulled to the right and just blasted whoever happened to be in his way. The run game is in good hands with this animal blocking for the next 10 years.
--RayRay McCloud continued his string of heavy targeting. Don't be fooled though. He's not very good and only catches screens and short drags. Also with Roethlisberger gone next year the targeting likely won't be so heavy and he'll fall farther behind Diontae and Claypool. Nothing to see here.
--One impressive rookie that I didn't initially like after the draft was Pat Freiermuth, but once RC and I got a look at him early on it was clear he could play. He's a Dalton Schultz level talent, pretty good, nice solid TE, but nowhere near, say, Kyle Pitts.
Now it's possible Freiermuth could work better for fantasy than Pitts considering the sorry state of the Falcons and their head coach. He nearly did this year (10.4 vs 9.5 ppg) but that was with Freiermuth scoring 7 TD's vs Pitts's 1. Do we really think Pitts is going to go another year only scoring 1 TD? I don't. I'll take Pitts heads up every time until proven otherwise.
--Early in the year I liked the development I saw from Patrick Queen. He was flying around, attacking the line of scrimmage, making a lot of good plays. But I hadn't watched him in several weeks before this game, and let me tell you, what I saw here was not good.
Queen was constantly out of position, roaming around without purpose, missing tackles, getting blocked out of plays. It was downright ugly, the kind of thing you saw from him a lot in college. He's got all the physical talent to make it, but there's been a definite downward trend in his play recently.
I couldn't tell you why yet. Maybe the injuries around him have put more pressure on him, he's not as protected as he was early in the season. That would be my best guess. Regardless, I won't be surprised if Baltimore drafts an inside linebacker in 2022 to develop. If they do it's a very good sign they'll be moving on from Queen sooner rather than later.
--Got another good look at Chris Westry too after not seeing him in a while. He's got impressive height at 6'4” and moves pretty well for a guy that tall, but he's too easy to shake on short routes. His game is more straight line. Let him run deep and he can play bigger receivers well, but he was on Diontae a lot here and was getting torn up. That's not a crime. Diontae is really good. Just saying he should have been playing more on Claypool.
Snap Counts of Interest
69 = Claypool
65 = Diontae
50 = McCloud
62 = Bateman
58 = Brown
21 = Watkins