2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 3: Raiders 31, Dolphins 28 (By Ross Jacobs)
The Dolphins jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after Derek Carr threw a pick 6 under pressure and Malcolm Brown got a huge running lane for an easy TD. After that the Raiders settled down and just methodically started picking apart the Dolphins. They would score the next 25 points while the Dolphins struggled to move the ball at all and it looked like the game was over.
Miami managed to get a FG to make it a one score game and only got the tying TD off a somewhat questionable pass interference call that gave them a 1st and goal. The two teams would trade field goals and the Raiders finally locked it up well into OT with another FG.
The final score says this was a close game, but it wasn't, not really. The Raiders were significantly better than the Dolphins here. I'm not sure how good they are...I think they are decent but overrated but it's hard to say at this point. They beat the Ravens after looking like the worse team most of the night. They beat the Steelers who were missing multiple defensive starters. And now they've beaten the Jacoby Brissett led Dolphins who are struggling to move the ball at all.
I have to give the Raiders credit. They are playing hard and with a ton of energy. The defense always looks really fired up. It's working for now. But the schedule isn't easy ahead and I just can't help but be skeptical. They are giving up 24 ppg right now and that's to some less than stellar offenses. There's hope that there might be something more but I don't think so. Their own offense is scoring 30 ppg, but I have a hard time believing that's going to stick. I don't see them dominating anyone. They are scrappy and Carr keeps firing away though so who knows. If I had to take a guess, I'd say they are going to finish somewhere around 10 wins or so. The AFC West looks absolutely loaded at this point.
The poor Dolphins. I don't feel bad for them one bit. Their decisions have led to this point. The personnel management has been pretty bad with this staff for years now and this is the result. It doesn't matter one bit that Tua is out because this offense is crap either way. The offensive line is bad, the backs are unathletic, and their wide receiver group is underwhelming at best. They put up 28 points, but 7 of that was the defensive pick 6 and the rest they really struggled to get against a weak defense. This is simply a bad offense, end of story. The defense is decent, especially against the pass, but they are still missing pass rushers and impact players outside of Xavien Howard. This is not a good team and they are going to be lucky to win 6 or 7 games this year...unless they trade for Deshaun Watson, which could happen any day now and would send the fantasy world into a tailspin. We'll discuss that more later.
--Derek Carr (26-43 for 386 yards, 2 TD/1 INT) continues his hot streak. He leads the league with 1,203 yards through 3 games, 400 ypg on average. It's not coming on a ridiculous amount of volume like Dak Prescott did last year either. No, Carr is playing really efficient, yet aggressive, football and is finding his receivers down the field. Hats off to him. He's going to finish among the league leaders in yards and TD's this year, but obviously won't keep up that 400 yard per game pace. Bet he's above 300 at the end of the year though. He's still somehow being overlooked or mistrusted and you can still find him available on the waiver wire in some leagues. Great #2 to have behind your starter.
--Everybody run out and get Peyton Barber (23-111-1, 3-31-0/5) because he had a 100 yard game and scored a TD! Please don't, I'm kidding. Just take a minute to go watch the tape because all you're going to see is an average RB taking a billion carries late against a defense that was worried about Carr air raiding them more. A full 25% of his yards came on one wide open run on the last drive of the game in OT. Barber wasn't even taking carries until 5 minutes left in the first half after Drake flopped and he wasn't even having success then. It looks good on the stat sheet though so I'm sure Gruden thinks he's a genius and will shove Barber another 20 carries this week against the Chargers. It might work too because LA has been letting teams waste time running on them while they clamp down on the passing game. Either way Josh Jacobs will be back soon and Gruden is reportedly very eager to have him, so this fairy tale is probably only going to last a week or two tops.
--I have to apologize for my repeated promotion of Bryan Edwards (3-89-0/5). I don't understand why, but he's been the 4th option in this passing game and I see absolutely no attempt to get him more integrated or push him as a main target guy. It doesn't make sense because he's on the field way more than any other WR. It's like the team wants to push him, they know how talented he is, but just forget about him during the course of the game. He only had 1 target halfway through this game (partly because Xavien Howard was on him much of the time) and only got a flurry of work late and in OT when the Raiders really needed a play down the field. Even as the 4th option he's still been over 80 yards in two games this year (albeit on 400 yards per game from Carr) on a mere 3-4 catches a game. It doesn't matter that he's their best receiver if Carr and Gruden don't attempt to actually get him the ball. Of course now that I'm getting out on him he'll probably blow up...
--As mentioned above Hunter Renfrow (5-77-1/6) has been used more than anybody but Waller despite receiving far fewer snaps than the other guys. When he's on the field Carr is looking at him 2nd if Waller isn't open and it's working. I imagine this starts to tail off as the season goes along, but I can't be sure. He works as a WR3 right now.
--Henry Ruggs (4-78-0/7) is starting to tick up a bit and it's not just the yards or targets. Carr was actually looking for him on purpose at times, unlike Edwards who is just a completely random option. 9 catches on 14 targets the last two games and averaging around 22 yards per catch. He might be trying to take over as the #2 option soon for what that's worth. I'm still not a fan. He reminds me too much of young Will Fuller at this point which means he's going to be inconsistent.
--I thought Kenyan Drake (8-24-0, 3-33-0/6) would get a bigger push with Jacobs out, but he wasn't having much success running so the team pivoted to Barber (who still wasn't having success until very late). He definitely blew his chance of grabbing a bigger piece of this backfield. He's still somewhat useful in ppr but just barely, a RB3/flex hope that he gets a TD.
--There's not much to say about the Dolphins. I really hope nobody drafted anyone from this team because they are really not good.
Jacoby Brissett (32-49 for 215 yards, 7-37-1) isn't really much different from Tua. He's got a stronger arm and can make throws Tua can't, but he is just so tame and risk averse that he never attempts anything more aggressive.
Myles Gaskin (13-65-0, 3-9-0/6) is still a volume reliant random ppr option that you hope gets a TD. His role might be even worse going forward as he actually started to cede some work to Malcolm Brown (7-31-1, 0-0-0/2) as we speculated during the pre-season.
None of the WR's are usable no matter if Brissett or Tua is starting so I'm not even going to cover it. Jaylen Waddle (12-58/13) has been reduced to catching 5 yard passes because teams just back up and don't let him go deep (and he doesn't have a QB that can throw deep anyways). Why bother drafting the super fast guy that's supposed to open up your offense and make it more dynamic if you aren't/can't use him that way? Stupid.
Mike Gesicki (10-86-0/12) did bounce back as I thought he might because he's a safe throw for Brissett. He's going to be a TE1 this year but probably somewhere in the 8-10 range.
--The one thing that could save this offense and team, at least in the short term, is if they trade for Deshaun Watson soon. Yes, it could still happen, and it's becoming more likely as Miami struggles offensively. They might soon grow desperate enough to make a move and there has been rumblings that Houston is starting to soften their stance on compensation. If/when this happens it's going to have a huge impact on fantasy.
Who would benefit most from Watson's presence on this team? Probably Will Fuller since he and Watson already have an established connection from Houston. Jaylen Waddle could get a boost too as then he would have a QB that could actually connect with him deep or in space. It's hard to speculate on this or try to stash Watson for redraft in case it happens because you only have so many spots, but if you're hurting at QB it might be worth it. Otherwise I probably wouldn't bother as there are still a lot of hurdles to getting the deal done, if it happens at all.
--You know who's on fire for tackles? Denzel Perryman (14 tackles) is 3rd in the league behind Bobby Wagner and Eric Kendricks with 36 total. 10, 12, and 14 so far this year. This week he might be a little down with the pass heavy Chargers, but the next four weeks look sweet with the Bears, Broncos, Eagles, and Giants.
Snap Counts of Interest
73 = Jaylen Waddle
64 = DeVante Parker
51 = Will Fuller
43 = Myles Gaskin
34 = Malcolm Brown
63 = Bryan Edwards
48 = Henry Ruggs
43 = Hunter Renfrow
47 = Peyton Barber
36 = Kenyan Drake