2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 4: Packers 27, Steelers 17
The Steelers jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the opening drive…and then it was all Packers from there. Neither team played a great game, but the Packers were/are just better…and the Steelers are dying right before our eyes every week.
The Packers are either going to win the NFC North going away…or the Vikings could try and give them a tussle. Either way, they are winning 10+ games and going to the playoffs. Likely, Green Bay stays ahead of the Vikes for the division title.
The Steelers are going to finish last in the NFC North, and they will head into the offseason needing to blow up the entire old guard and go on a 2-3-year rebuilding plan. The Steelers are not the worst team in the league, but they would need a monster effort from their defense to even flirt with .500/the playoffs.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The reason the Steelers are dying…is because Ben Roethlisberger (26-40 for 232 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) is dying as a talent. Maybe more to the point…he’s dead.
I hate to join the ‘this QB is dead because they’ve had a bad stretch/lost a few games’ crowd on Ben, and Lord knows I’ve seen some older QBs have a bead stretch/show some age and then I’ve jumped up and said they were dead/dying only for them to rise up to decency (last year, Philip Rivers comes to mind). But if I base my decision on this game tape, the pattern of this season – I can see the end of the Ben road here.
I keep thinking Ben is OK but doesn’t have the O-Line to do what he used to, but it’s more that Ben is either scared of his O-Line and is ditching the ball fast and wild…or he’s just lost his touch and is fast/hurried/frazzled and wild. A number of times in this game, Ben dropped back with time/protection and threw simple passes to open receivers offline…simple throws thrown way off target. His mind can see it…his body is not responding.
It’s not an ‘every throw is off’ issue, but it is happening on a growing number of throws. Ben still hits things on the button but it’s not the norm, defenses are not afraid. All those dump passes to Najee are not by design…it’s out of fear…and/or it’s all Ben has left. Dump passes.
I don’t know how this gets any better or different. Ben has sunk to the bottom 5-7 QBs in the NFL…and bottom 10 for Fantasy overall.
Ben has two throws anymore…
1) Everything to Diontae Johnson (9-92-1/13)…it’s his simple timing BFF throw, and a lot of short stuff.
2) Emergency/panic dump off to Najee Harris (15-62-1, 6-29-0/7).
15 of Ben’s 26 (58%) completions were to Diontae-Najee here. 20 of the 40 targets were to that duo. Ben was 11-of-20 on all other throws…missing guys open often…seeing them but not being able to throw it to them to catch it.
Diontae and Najee are going to flourish in this downfall in PPR.
…and everyone else is in big trouble.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (2-11-0/8) is connecting on 55.6% of his passes from Ben this year.
YTD for Chase Claypool (DNP)…51.7% connection.
Anything in the 50s is a bad sign.
The further downfield the throw…the more a person isn’t Diontae Johnson…the more likely the pass is going incomplete. Diontae is Ben’s Davante Adams.
Ben has just 1 TD in each game this season.
It is looking like it is over.
Diontae is FF-fine with the Ben downfall, but the moment Ben is out of the equation…DJ is screwed for easy targeting. Diontae is going to be a Dynasty sell once past the Ben era. You’ll have to figure out what the proper timing is for your situation. Diontae is a top 5-7 PPR WR with Ben.
Chase Claypool 2021 is a FF-concern now…he is going to be a random deep ball hook up hope, and that’s not great for FF purposes. I thought it might be plausible to yield big plays…but Ben isn’t putting any deep passes on Claypool that CC can make money off of, anymore. You don’t want to let Claypool FF-go for the long term talent, but in redraft…he’s moveable. The Ben collapse is coming on faster than expected and Claypool is caught in the trap. A random WR3 with Ben’s fade.
-- Aaron Rodgers (20-36 for 248 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) is starting to slip a bit too…but he’s still way better than where Ben is at. Rodgers might/will do better when his O-Line is back healthy after Week 6 (hopefully) but he’s still fine/figures it out most every week. He’s not at the top of his game, but he’s still a top 10 QB talent.
Rodgers dealt FF action to Randall Cobb (5-69-2/6) this game. Not sure if it is the start of something (Cobb was so FF-quiet prior) or if this is just a blip. I think blip. Rodgers still has eyes for Davante only…and then is random on everyone else.
-- A.J. Dillion (15-81-0, 1-16-0/1) took a heavier workload here, but no takeover is imminent. It was just the Packers got a hold of this game and the Steelers were no threat to get back in the game, so the Pack had the luxury of trying to run it out with Dillon…and they did.
-- The Steelers DST had their great opening week...and been weak ever since. But I think we should blame injuries and opponent, to some degree. The Steelers lost the best parts of their D for Week 2. Still had T.J. Watt hurt Week 3. Just got most everyone back Week 4…in time for a trip to Green Bay to face Rodgers.
This could still be a top 10 defense and nice in good matchups – vs. DEN and then Geno-led SEA the next two weeks isn’t bad at all.
-- I think Rashaan Gary (6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 3 QB hits) is trying to get paid in free agency…and he is DEFINITELY that kind of player…suddenly good in his contract year.
Gary has at least 2 QB hits every game this season…that’s impressive…but just 1.5 total sacks to show for it. The sacks may come in bunches. CIN-CHI-WSH the next 3 weeks is a nice opportunity for it.
The final summary of this game from Pittsburgh Dad: https://youtu.be/7AZ8eJtxDMk
Snap Counts of Interest:
63 = Davante
57 = Lazard
33 = Cobb
45 = A Jones
29 = Dillon
32 = Freiermuth
28 = Ebron