2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 8: Chiefs 20, Giants 17
Well, if you were hoping to tune into MNF to see the Chiefs offense get back on track and delight your senses and/or give you confidence in them going forward – then you were left lacking in this game. Not only lacking, but probably you’re more worried now than you were going into it.
Credit the Giants, my new favorite ‘team of the future’…they have a very good defense and defensive coordinator. But also credit the Chiefs – they came into this game looking the worse they ever have in the Mahomes era, and they brought those past few games’ struggles with them to this game. If Daniel Jones wasn’t such a terrible QB in crunch time, prime time, money time…the Giants might have won this. If the Giants didn’t have half their receivers out with injury, they might have won this. If Mike White was at QB for NYG, they might have won this.
KC jumped on the Giants on the first drive but ended up getting a pick in the end zone to end the drive. KC then picked Daniel Jones right after, which allowed KC a short field to go in and score to take a 7-0 lead -- but then KC struggled from there as the Giants answered every punch with a punch back. It was a quality loss for NYG…but a ‘loss’, nonetheless. With the semi-shocking Dallas win and this tough loss, the division title is off the table for the (2-6) Giants…four games out of first in the NFC East. They are only two games out of the last wild card spot (CAR) and are set to get all their weapons back the next two weeks – so, as desperate as it feels, they are a win away from only being a game out (if CAR loses Week 9). There’s a path to nine wins here, but it all depends on getting Barkley back, and Golladay and Andrew Thomas. A must-win Week 9 hosting Las Vegas…a winnable game.
The Chiefs are now (4-4) and back in the AFC West race. Week 10 at Las Vegas is going to be huge for the AFC West…and I don’t know if KC will be a favorite in that or not, so buckle up. KC could very easily lose it’s next three games and freefall out of the playoffs (GB, at LV, DAL the next three games).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First off, I know everyone wants to know -- Who the H is Derrick Gore (11-48-1, 0-0-0/0)?
When I first saw him get a touch in this game, I thought (like many) it was Frank Gore…it didn’t compute otherwise. I know every player…but Derrick Gore, I did not know or scout or care about and our computer scouting models weren’t interested in him in college either.
Gore started out in the JUCO ranks but then made it to Alabama as a walk on. He was a little used for the Crimson Tide but did get 9 carries in two seasons/9 games at Alabama 2015-2016. He then transferred to Louisiana-Monroe and was the main back in 2017 and 2018, but had low output in a running QB-offense where Gore barely led the team in rushing with 585 yards in 12 games, and just 3.6 ypc in 2017 and then again in 2018 with 662 yards in 12 games, and a better 5.1 ypc and 6 TDs.
He had an unimpressive round of Pro Day numbers as well…
4.63 40-time, 1.64 10-yard
7.14 three-cone, 4.32 shuttle
23 bench reps, 34” vertical, 9’6” broad
Gore went undrafted and worked with the Chargers on their practice squad before winding up on KC’s practice squad. He was elevated to the main roster a few weeks ago and Week 8 MNF was his first time to shine, and he made the most of it – rushing for a TD and looking like a solid NFL RB.
Gore is like a smaller D’Ernest Johnson…grinder, below-average athlete on paper, but plays faster and has a nice stop-start ability to make people miss/change directions. Just a randomly capable RB.
He split time with Darrel Williams (13-49-0, 6-61-0/6) but was the lesser of the two in snaps (by a lot). When Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns, Gore will fall to a #3 back…possibly getting Jerick McKinnon cut to make room, but it may be Gore back to the practice squad.
I know Gore scored a TD on cable television, so the media is going to fall in love like they did with D’Ernest, but his only value right now is if CEH stays out and Williams goes down next week, and Gore has to take over for a week. When everyone is healthy and accounted for, Gore is the #3-4 back here. Nice little grinder, but limited upside and a blocked path to major touches. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is. He’s the new Charcandrick West – if everyone else in the KC backfield gets hurt, then call me.
-- I needed Kadarius Toney (4-26-0/5, 1-1 passing for 19 yds) to have a game last night to steal some extra FF wins. I didn’t get it.
The Giants took the field and…and…no Toney on the opening snap…or the next one…or the next one…not in for the entire (quick) first series. Not in on the 2nd series. At that point, I knew I was toast in Toney-need spots. I didn’t think he should be pushed back so fast given his ankle, his youth, and Dallas winning the night before. OK, it was stupid for me trying to play Toney on MNF just because rumor was -- he was going to play…and now he’s not.
…and then he’s in for a play on the 3rd-series as a decoy.
…and then he’s out.
…and then he comes back in for a trick play pass?
…and then he’s out.
If he’s so hurt, why is he playing now? Maybe just to be a decoy because he had not run a pass pattern the whole 1st-quarter he was in for a handful of plays.
Then, in the 2nd-quarter…he runs a real pass route. If he is good enough to run routes…why is he in the game only every 3-4 plays? John Ross and Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard were doing nothing but sucking…in this crucial game, if Toney can go…why isn’t he going?
Then, Dante Pettis got hurt and suddenly I see Toney returning punts? WTF? I thought this guy was too hurt to play?
At that point I realized… Toney wasn’t being managed for his ankle. He was just ‘not a starter’ for Joe Judge. I mean, of all the things in the world…season on the line…you’re in a battle with a dangerous KC team at their place on a Monday night, with your offense flailing away -- and you have access to your best player/weapon and you don’t use him for all you got? I’d buy they wanted to be smart with him…until they threw his ass out there to return a punt, for which he got hit at his feet/ankle (coincidentally?) in a way that I thought he was going to be done…but he just got up and went to the sidelines, because he’s not a starter…gotta get that John Ross train moving, I guess.
Then Toney started catching passes and being doubled over by a safety – because Kansas City knows who the Giants’ best player is, but the Giants coaching staff does not.
Toney made a few plays in this game, but you could see he was not 100% but more like a fine 80-90%. He helps the offense…then I see him holding his wrist in pain and is taken back to the locker room in the 4th-quarter. I’m thinking…I’m done for getting Toney FF points.
Then like a Willis Reed rising from the ashes, the next series, I see #89/Toney? Maybe, I got a shot!? Toney never touches the ball in the 4th-quarter, and the Giants lose.
This game will bring Toney’s value down a little more. We keep moving weeks further away from when he had that showcase debut game against Dallas. Toney did nothing to draw attention to himself, but he will show low snaps, low output/targets and people’s lust level will drop a bit more.
I think you wait for WED-THU for him to be limited in practice. Let it come out (maybe) that he’s not a starter that he’s a rookie ‘still getting it’ and maybe even doesn’t play this week due to his wrist and ankle – his value is only going to melt a bit in his FF-owner’s eyes with every passing day he doesn’t do something amazing. You want in on this for Dynasty, but you don’t want to pay a lot because Toney is as likely to be bigger Tyreek Hill 2.0 as he is ‘acting a fool’ his way out of the league in short order.
-- Toney might have to start, if he’s OK, this week because Sterling Shepard (4-25-0/7) got hurt…again. I could see Shep getting traded today, but he probably won’t fetch enough that NYG just wouldn’t let him go into free agency and just get a compensation pick.
Evan Engram (3-15-1/4) should be traded, because there are TE desperate buyers…like Green Bay. Ross Jacobs had the right take on an Engram-to-GB event…there’s no way Aaron Rodgers has any instant connection with Engram, since every pass he throws is to Davante Adams…and then randomly, less effectively to everyone else. Engram would be a bit player in GB, like he is for NYG – you sell Engram hot if and when he’s traded to GB.
We’ll evaluate all these trades in reports this week, but more pressingly go through them on tonight’s Video Q&A.
-- Patrick Mahomes (29-48 for 275 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 3-10-0) looks nothing like the Mahomes of the past. Gone is the assassin that could find anyone anywhere on the field…downfield. He’s now laboring to find receivers open.
Since the Super Bowl, including the Super Bowl, Mahomes has been struggling in games as much as he is blowing through them of late. The Chargers made him look bad Week 4. Buffalo had zero issues with him Week 5. Tennessee crushed him in Week 7. The Giants handled him pretty well here. He got squashed in the Super Bowl.
I could feel the following statement in the live watch, and rewatch…I know it is true, I could football-feel it…
KC went right down the field and were about to score on the opening drive, but NYG picked a pass in the end zone to stop the drive. Then Dan Jones gave it right back, which then allowed KC a short field score 7-0…and I think the Giants defense was a little shell shocked at it all -- but because they are a good, tough defensive unit, with a very good D-C…the Giants bowed up and stopped the Chiefs from scoring three of the next 4 drives before halftime – and I could FEEL that the Giants were changing their game plan to not do the typical ‘go for all 4th-downs’ and ‘fake punts’ and whatever else desperate teams do because they believe they need to do everything clever to try and slay the dragon known as ‘the Chiefs’. I think about a quarter into this the Giants realized – Mahomes was human, sloppy, pressure-able and he was pressing to try to complete any pass…and they realized mid-1st-half that they no longer feared the boogeyman…not at all. And NYG played toe-to-toe, normal football flow with KC from there.
That’s where we are at with KC/Mahomes. No one is afraid anymore. This is a bad football team propped by Mahomes making wizard plays, but those plays aren’t there this year like they used to. I don’t know if he’s hurt. I don’t know if it’s the problematic O-Line. I don’t know if he’s got problems at home. I just see Mahomes isn’t the Mahomes of the past.
So, what do we FF-do?
You ride it out. You roll with Mahomes and hope he works out his issues…whether it’s the blocking, the coaching, the opponents, mental issues – you don’t get cute. You don’t get in a huff and trade him because ‘the league has figured him out’. You recognize he’s a super-talent, he didn’t forget how to play football all of a sudden…you go down with his ship – AND you go ‘buy low’ to try and save your (3-5), (2-6) season…go all-in on his rebound or die trying.
I’ll buy all your discounted frustration shares.
Also, credit the Giants defense…this is a really good DST and team of the future…if they can hold it together and get it healthy.
-- KC adjusted their game plan, FINALLY, for their passing game struggles by doing what any idiot would have done 2-3-4-5-6 weeks ago…simple short passes to Tyreek Hill (12-94-1/18) and let him try and make plays. And it was working…until they get cute and start getting away from it, ultimately to come back to it.
Hill’s short game set up the deep game, and he had a couple shots deep…but Mahomes was either flushed from the pocket (happening a lot these days) or on one 50+ yard moneyball where Tyreek was 3+ yards open sprinting deep…Mahomes underthrew it and it was knocked away.
In the end, I think KC’s issues in the passing game are two-fold:
1) Eric Bieniemy is the worst offensive coordinator in football and has been all along…just like Matt Nagy was a terrible head coach but his one good debut season made everyone think otherwise. How an O-C coaches Mahomes downward is a mystery…a fire-able event, but it will never happen that Eric will be fired/held to task.
2) The trade for Orlando Brown to go to Left Tackle, a big, slow run blocker who is getting beat by speed on the blindside too much – that decision is killing the golden goose/Mahomes.
Mahomes' pocket time measured the past 4 years…
2018 = 2.4 seconds in the pocket before pressure
2019 = 2.5
2020 = 2.6
2021 = 1.9
That’s DAMNING…but fixable…hopefully. (thus, all the sudden short throws to Tyreek, and disappearing long balls)
This adjustment for the lack of blocking…good for Tyreek in PPR for catch counts, at least.
-- Because Mahomes has limited time to throw and is pressing…Travis Kelce (4-27-0/7) is stumbling from the elite TE output down to pretty good, no longer ‘wow’.
Kelce has scored 1 TD in his past 6 games.
In half-PPR, Kelce is the #10 scoring PPG TE in Fantasy since Week 4.
He’s not a buy low or sell high, he…like Mahomes, is a ‘hold’. Buy low if you want to try and save a desperate season but people don’t let go of the notion of Kelce. FF-owners are starting to think Mahomes has been figured out, but they still think Kelce (and Waller) are elite.
-- Eric Bieniemy was saying last week how they like how Josh Gordon (0-0-0/1) was progressing and that they have a plan for him. https://youtu.be/NpYEJx7PkWE
-- Nick Bolton (11 tackles, 1 QB hit)…same old same old…70%+ of the snaps (not 100%) and double-digit tackles. 13.0 tackles per game his last two games.
He’s 12th in the NFL in total tackles. #11 in total solo tackles. #4 in total TFLs.
Snap Counts of Interest:
52 = Darrel Williams
16 = Gore
13 = McKinnon
62 = Tyreek
43 = Pringle
40 = Hardman
52 = Slayton
34 = Toney
24 = Collin J.
23 = Shepard
16 = Ross