2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 8: Saints 36, Bucs 27
Just like I predicted before the game – the Saints would be forced to go to Trevor Siemian, and he would outduel Tom Brady, who would get the ball with nearly two-minutes remaining, down by just two, needing a field goal to win…and that he’d throw a bad pick-six to seal a Saints win.
We keep throwing around the Cardinals, Packers, Rams, Cowboys…and Bucs as the dominant NFC teams to debate on who might be the best – well, the Saints should be in that conversation. They’re getting their O-Line back healthy…one of the best in the league at full strength…and they have a good defense. Jameis Winston was holding them back, but no longer.
The Saints played toe-to-toe with a very sloppy Bucs team, a Bucs team that seems to wilt against any aggressive/physical foe. The Saints earned the win. They jump up to (5-2) and are right in the thick of the NFC South race. They are now (3-0) versus TOMpa Bay in the regular season going back to last year…they did lose to TOMpa in the playoffs. How fast we forget that the Saints won the division last year…over Tom.
The Saints are (5-2) and project to 10-12 wins now…we see them at 11 wins and possible NFC South champs.
The Bucs are (6-2) with an easier schedule to the finish. They should get to 12 wins and eek out the division over the Saints, but if TOMpa loses to the Saints again Week 15 hosting NO, then the board flips to the Saints for the NFC South.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Trevor Siemian (16-29 for 159 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) played totally fine football. He was comfortable in the pocket most drop backs. He wasn’t great but was plausible. He had his Siemian moments but mostly he lucked out of bad spots with penalties (to his benefit) or nice plays made by the receivers. He game managed this to victory. He played from ahead and didn’t blow it. He would/will blow it more times than not, over time, but in this one he held it together for the victory.
I think he looked good enough to warrant a start in Week 9…looked good enough to Sean Payton. I would not ASSUME Taysom Hill is getting the start here…not at all. Sean Payton is the better Kyle Shanahan – he thinks he can take any old QB and win. He’s (5-2) this season with Jameis starting…and just beat Tom Brady with Trevor Siemian, so can you blame him for thinking that?
Siemian played a Mike White type of game…screens and bubbles and solid short/medium throws when afforded time. That’s all you need to do in the NFL anymore.
-- Because the NFL, when lacking a downfield throwing ace, is just a screen and quick slant league – it’s a perfect set-up for Deonte Harris (1-22-0, 3-35-0/7). A true weapon with the ball in his hands. Maybe the closest thing to Tyreek Hill, from an agility and acceleration into warp speed guy that I see in the NFL.
He only plays 30-50% of the snaps in games, but when he’s in it’s for generating offense.
Week 4…led the team in targets (8) despite playing just 49% of the snaps.
Week 5…2 snaps played, one 72-yard TD, left hurt (hamstring)
Week 6…out with hamstring.
Week 7…out with hamstring.
Week 8…led the team in targets again, but just 3 catches…bit also a 22-yard jet sweep added in.
The most dangerous receiver the Saints have is Deonte with the ball in his hands. And he’s not just ‘fast guy’ doing fast guy things (screens, jet sweeps)…he is almost impossible to cover. He makes excellent cuts in his routes. He stop-starts on a dime. I think he’s secretly one of the 15-20 most dangerous players in the game. He has that Tyreek ability of just subtly running by people when it looks like there is no space/room to do so.
Injury is his constant issue. Talent is not.
Jameis Winston is a horrible QB-mind, and he was no good for Harris (or Callaway, or the TEs, or anyone but dump passes and occasional lucky bombs). Siemian would be his best QB – quick, traditional passes a la what Mike White did to Cincy last week. Taysom would be OK but Siemian better for him.
I think a star is waiting to be born with Harris, but probably when it happens…the next game he’ll tear is ACL and PCL and Achilles and pecs and break a femur and get COVID from the cart driver on his trip to the locker room.
-- Marquez Callaway (3-30-0/5) is the Saints best ‘traditional’ WR, and thus he has been a nobody with Jameis…and not much with Siemian, because Callaway works middle and deep, and Siemian is trying to dump off passes not read the field and make slick downfield throws.
Taysom Hill was great with/for Michael Thomas…and Callaway should be able to step in and do some of those same things…maybe…IF Taysom is the starting QB, and that’s 50-50 right now (as I type this).
-- People are dumping/selling cheaper Alvin Kamara (19-61-1, 3-15-0/4) on the news of a 1-2 punch…
#1) Mark Ingram (6-27-0, 2-25-0/2) being trade for has people spooked.
#2) Jameis gone is like Joe Montana being lost for the mainstream, so the sheep all think AK is doomed from the passing game with Taysom or Siemian.
GO BUY AK LOW! He is the Saints offense no matter who is at QB. Nothing changes, nothing to fear.
-- Speaking of contenders to the ‘he’s just like Tyreek’ fantasy world…rookie Jaelon Darden (3-11-0/3) gets a little more involved every week, in Antonio Brown’s absence.
Darden and Tom have a relationship, and I think Brady is trying to bring him along. Down the road, into 2022, as Antonio Brown is done…Darden is going to come into FF-play. Right now, he’s just getting his feet under him.
But, back to the Tyreek angle…if I was compiling a list of candidates to try and stretch into ‘next Tyreek’ realm (and no one is, and that’s not just a cute cliché), Darden would be on the short list. Darden and Deonte are two guys that are small and super-quick. Hill is a thicker, more stout version…so, the other guys pale in comparison, but in movement skills, Darden and Deonte are in the discussion at least.
-- Tyler Johnson (5-65-0/6) is a solid fill-in for Antonio Brown, but he’s not a game changer…he’s just competent, capable. He’s always going to be lower in the pecking order here. Now, if Godwin goes down and they push Tyler into that role…then I’m more FF-interested.
-- Gronk (0-0-0/1) rushed back from injury and got hurt again and is out. AB and Gronk are showing their age…Brady is not. Hopefully, for Gronk owners…the bye week allows Gronk to get back to 100% for the FF-stretch run.
Snap Counts of Interest:
59 = Godwin
58 = Evans
39 = Tyler J
09 = Darden
08 = Grayson
37 = Brate
28 = OJ Howard
06 = Gronk
37 = Fournette
13 = Gio
09 = RoJo
59 = Callaway
48 = Tre’Quan
33 = Ty M
24 = Deonte
51 = Kamara
22 = Ingram