2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 4: Football Team 34, Falcons 30
These two teams…man, are they terrible.
The Falcons should’ve won this game by 2-3 scores, easy. But Taylor Heinicke hit Terry McLaurin with a couple prayers throughout the game, and a backbreaker late, while Arthur Smith is trying to become the worst offensive mind in the NFL. Blame the McLaurin prayer TDs for keeping Washington in it. Blame Smith or the O-C for being up by 2 points with 3+ minutes left and blowing it from there.
The Falcons just allowed a TML prayer, hail mary-ish TD but Washington failed the 2-point conversion to tie the game. So, Atlanta was up by 2 points and was getting the ball with 3+ minutes left…and if they can get a 1st-down or two, they ice the game and the victory...giving them a 2-game win streak and some life to the season. Out the Falcons come on offense, and the first play they run is a handoff to Mike Davis…for -3 yards.
To that point in the game, Cordarrelle Patterson had 3 TDs, but more importantly he was gashing the Football Team on every run (5.7 ypc for the game for CP) while Mike Davis was averaging just above 1 yards per carry in the game. So, needing to push the ball and run the clock, they give it to Davis, of course, and now have 2nd and 13…and you knew they were going to now fail to drive and have to give the ball over to Washington with plenty of time unless they somehow got clever and got a 1st-down conversion…but 2nd & 13 is a bad spot. The Falcons then ran play #2 off-tackle to Davis…for a few meaningless yards (no threat of him breaking a big gain, just a pile moved)…setting up 3rd & 9…which was then a screen pass to Davis for 4 yards and punt.
The three most important plays of the game…and Cordarrelle Patterson, and his 3 TDs, was on the sidelines watching it all…not even in as a smart decoy to have to account for…while Mike Davis lost the game by virtue of his lack of playmaking ability in a key spot.
You cannot make up how stupid NFL coaches and coordinators are.
I marveled at watching an extra point kicked in this game early on. Why? Because as the camera panned to the ball being snapped and then following it up into the air as it was kicked, I got to see all the background of the stadium/seating and it caught my attention that it was pure red…blood red…nothing but empty (red) seats as far as the eye could see with a smattering of human bodies spread out here and there – and it wasn’t due to COVID because they were packed in like sardines for the TB-NE game (and most any college football game), in the rain in New England, at night (as one example). The fans are voting with their feet/wallets on the Falcons.
The Falcons are pathetic, and this new coaching staff has shown me nothing to have any hope in. Dan Quinn should win a special medal of honor that he got this team to the Super Bowl a while back. It’s an organizational problem…one of the worst run organizations in the league, suddenly.
And the thing is…they should’ve crushed Washington here. The better team was Atlanta…or maybe the less-worse team was Atlanta. Washington made all the right moves in the 2021 offseason, coming of an emerging end to 2020 – the players aren’t the problem. The math then has to be: Ron Rivera is not a great coach. Once Sean McDermott left him in Carolina, Rivera has gone 38-42 with two playoff appearances and no wins…and has been trying so hard to convince the world that Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke can be Super Bowl QBs. An indictment of his coaching mind.
11 career head coaching seasons now for Rivera and three winning seasons all total. And this talented Washington team is sinking to the bottom of the NFC East, fast.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let’s all celebrate Cordarrelle Patterson (6-34-0, 5-82-3/6)…the FF savior.
As Fantasy analysts we can all fight over whether a ‘B’ grade player is set up for an ‘A’ season or game…or ‘C’ season or game. We do a lot of talking and noticing and we get some right and get some wrong – but when you get Cordarrelle Patterson right weeks ahead of the crowd, and the majority of you possessed him to start the season or quickly got into him after Week 1 or 2 – this move could change the landscape of a Fantasy season. This is what I live for. This WAS a difference making minor move…that was little regarded in August.
Mark Cuban has a great line/book of the same theme – on some major things in life. His overall take is: You only have to be right once to be a major success. You could have 10 failed businesses but if the 11th is the homerun, then you win at life. You date a number of people (failed attempts) looking to find ‘the one’. Cuban is encouraging people not to let failure change them – look ahead to the next swing to hit the homerun, don’t worry about the strikeout the at bat before.
There are a lot of players we moved off-and-on the bench/rosters this season, but the identification of Patterson…for the cost of acquisition – it will go down in FFM history. Qadree Ollison, Ty Johnson, K.J. Osborn…doesn’t matter. You take those swings trying to find the Patterson nuclear bombs. Leading your league in transactions and trades…should be a staple of your FFM season. We’re taking educated scouting draft throws…looking for that ‘wow’ maneuver. CP is bringing us just that.
We found it. And if you deployed it Week 4…it was a weapon of mass destruction on your opponent. If it was on your bench…celebrate that you have ‘an answer’ in your inventory. There’s no questioning of CP anymore. It’s a delightful place to be.
…which means 5 FF points coming Week 5.
I see many analysts saying it’s not going to hold up because he’s playing a low amount of snaps. I get that logic…it’s made me cautious on starting some him the first few weeks depending on my options. Volume rules in many cases. However, with Patterson there’s two thoughts on his low snap counts…
1) They can grow from here. Potentially, we have upside here. He is the best RB on the team, after all.
2) For the first time this season, Patterson started the game. Not only started but played the first 3 plays before rotating Mike Davis in. Even the empty-headed Falcons can see the deal here…somewhat, not all the way, but baby steps towards it.
We have upside from here, but he is going to have regular old FF weeks where he doesn’t score a TD. Brace yourself for it, but I see the way they use him and I’m not worried about him week-to-week. He has to be in lineups.
You can choose to focus on the snap count here…or the output. I’m choosing the output.
Arthur Smith gets no credit for CP…this was the Bears 2020 assistant coach getting elevated to O-C in Atlanta and having worked with Patterson he wanted to bring him over and utilize him. Credit to O-C Dave Ragone.
Also, Matt Nagy had Patterson for two years…and wasted him. How long will this Nagy cancer continue to ruin players before the Bears do something?
-- Mike Davis (13-14-0, 2-12-1/2) is trying hard but looks nothing like Patterson…Davis is becoming a wasted touch suddenly. Davis is averaging 3.1 yards per carry this season.
Wayne Gallman (6-29-0) debuted/entered the game and looked more spry.
Mike Davis is a sell high, if you see an opportunity because he’s not lighting it up and all the other RBs on the team are outperforming, visually. He’s going to be the 10+ carry, 1-3 catch a game guy…so he’s stable…but not exciting.
-- Antonio Gibson (14-63-1, 2-12-0/2) was back to his starting role this week (after McKissic started and played the whole first series last week).
I think this game, this stat line is what we can expect from Gibson this year most weeks. A so-so/weaker O-Line and defenses keying on AG and letting Heinicke try and beat them. Bad news for AG’s FF value/upside. Stable RB2 with RB1 weeks.
He’s neither a buy low or sell high, he’s hold…a stable RB in a world of unstable RBs.
Washington losing Brandon Scherff kills things a little more the next 3+ weeks.
-- Is Kyle Pitts (4-50-0/9) getting any better? Yes and No.
Yes, he saw more targets here. Yes, he was involved early…but then it petered out.
No, there is no real plan for him. No, he is not getting separation the way you want.
If they lined up Pitts as a WR a lot and let him go one-on-one more with DBs, it would open up other things. If they got Pitts those TE bubble screens that I saw like 5-10 times all last season but is now seemingly happening 5-10 times a game between any two teams in 2021, then Pitts might do more NFL/FF damage. But Arthur Smith is proving to be a dolt and his O-C is getting championed for Cordarrelle (but only plays him 30% of the game)…so, Pitts is getting ZERO creative plays behind the line of scrimmage…which let’s defenses just play him as a 1980’s TE without fearing he’s going to do something unusual/fresh/creative.
You have to have a Pitts alternative until we see a real turn with Pitts. I think that turn could come, but only from TE2 to low-end TE1. I doubt this offense, or these coaches are going to push Pitts to be a high-end monster this year.
-- Taylor Heinicke (23-33 for 290 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs, 5-43-0) is probably going to keep this job over returning Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he shouldn’t. Heinicke is trying hard, racking numbers in garbage-timeish situations…so he looks better on paper then the on-field reality. Everyone of his TD passes in this game was a Jameis Winston like miracle.
In today’s NFL, if you just throw the ball at a good WR…something positive will eventually happen…worse case the pass goes incomplete, with a high chance of a defensive P.I. Good defenses have squashed Heinicke. Bad defenses have let him roll up desperation numbers. He’s playing like a younger Ryan Fitz – just heave it up and something good might happen, or worse case something neutral.
The style makes Heinicke an unpredictable, decent FF emergency option…but he isn’t taking Washington to the playoffs…or your FF team.
-- Curtis Samuel (4-19-0/4) debuted and looked fine, but he played managed snaps and Heinicke isn’t as into throwing tight window passes, and Samuel is becoming a possession WR and not being unleashed as a weapon…is my concern. Might not be a big winner for FF here until garbage-time hits, like the rest of the squad.
-- Terry McLaurin (6-123-2/13) got two TDs…one was heave and pray, and the DB was tracking it but mistimed the knock away and it landed in McLaurin’s hands seemingly right through the DBs arm…great concentration moment, but not really QB-WR magic happening…more a prayer answered. Later in the game, Heinicke heaved one to the end zone desperately to a double covered McLaurin who adjusted to the under throw, pass interfered/grabbed a DB and moved him out of his way so he could get in front of him to catch the wounded duck…and he did. Again, no real magical pitch and catch happening…but you’ll take blind heaves to a #1 deep ball WR.
I think McLaurin will be hard pressed for TDs because of Heinicke but…maybe he’ll score them because of the team being so bad, down a lot, and Heinicke is heaving him shots. I’m not selling him off desperately, but I will trade him hot if I can make a killer deal…people love him.
-- Logan Thomas will be week-to-week with a hamstring injury, so I’d expect you’ll be without him the next two weeks. Ricky Seals-Jones (2-19-0/4) played the heavy majority of snaps in his place. Thomas was working like a back-end TE1 already, so I’d say RSJ will be a lesser-than and be a random hope TE2. He’s something to consider for the desperate, but rookie John Bates (0-0-0/0) may get some run as Washington lost key OL Brandon Scherff to injury for a few weeks, and Bates is a great blocker to add to the first team to help cover for Scherff.
-- OK, now the Washington-DST is fully dead. They didn’t give the Falcons and dying Matt Ryan any real resistance. This was the game for them to step up and make Weeks 1-3 more about the tough opponents Weeks 1 and 3. Nope…they sucked here vs. ATL. No light at the end of any tunnel here.
Snap Counts of Interest:
55 = Pitts
49 = Hurts
17 = Lee Smith
51 = Mike Davis
23 = CPatt
10 = Gallman
62 = Seals-Jones
16 = Bates
65 = McLaurin
45 = Humphries
28 = Dyami
25 = C Samuel
37 = Gibson
27 = McKissic