2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 9: Broncos 30, Cowboys 16
I could go either way with analyzing this game. It’s in the eye of the beholder, as most football things are.
I could say that Denver played the best game I’ve seen them play in 2021, and they just went out and stomped Dallas.
I could also say that Dallas had every minor thing that could go wrong ended up going wrong and that boosted Denver early and then Dallas started pressing and Denver was ‘feeling it’ and it just got away from Dallas. Just ‘one of those games’.
Dallas aided the Denver assault with Dak just missing open deep balls on receivers a few times…Dallas got hit with penalties at the wrong time, etc. -- all allowing Denver to take a 16-0 halftime lead. The epitome of this game occurred to start the 2nd-half. Dallas stopped Denver’s 2nd-half opening drive deep in Broncos territory. Denver was punting to set Dallas up with (likely) great field position. Dallas then actually blocked the punt…and then IT happened.
Dallas blocked it but they touched the ball downfield and then Denver ended up recovering it in the end, and it was ruled a change of possession on the Dallas downfield touch, and so the ball went back to Denver for a 1st-down from where they recovered it. I don’t think I’d ever seen a blocked punt turn into a turnover back to the kicking team. That play took the wind out of the Dallas sails, as more bad luck ensued from there and Denver was on fire and Dallas was defeated and then next thing you know it’s 30-0 Denver with 6+ minutes remaining. https://youtu.be/THU4BXYNSMQ
Denver was not 30-0 better than Dallas here…they aren’t 30-0 better than Dallas in general. It was just one of those games. Dallas laid an egg, had bad things go against them, and Denver gained swagger and just put Dallas away.
Denver should be credited with an inspired performance and a very good defensive effort. Their secondary is really getting strong. Denver is not a great team, and they’ll probably lay an egg this week in response, but they are good enough to hang with any team…just not good enough to win the Super Bowl or anything.
The Broncos are now (5-4) and back on track for my preseason playoff prediction for them. I still think they are not-great, but it was always about them being OK with a great schedule. I still believe in my statement after Weeks 4-5…Denver is not even good enough to chop through to the playoffs even with the schedule boost. I think they’ll hit 7-8 wins and just fall short…but 9+ wins and a wild card is not totally out of the question.
Dallas is a different team without their LT Tyron Smith. They’re 7-11 when Smith is out since 2019 and 13-9 with him starting. Dallas is set to be without him again in Week 10. Dallas is now (6-2) and is still on track for a 10-12 win season, with a chance at a #1 seed if they can beat up all the NFC East foes they have coming up and take down Arizona Week 17. However many wins they wind up with, Dallas should win the NFC East easily (unless Dak goes down or Tyron is down and out).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Dak Prescott (19-39 for 232 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) did not look hindered in any way this game from his calf injury. He definitely didn’t have his best game and he missed two deep ball throws by a yard that would’ve changed the game, so who knows. But I didn’t see any cause for Dak concern here. Just good Denver D, a couple bad throws, and a couple bad drops by receivers.
-- Courtland Sutton (1-9-0/2) does concern me…concerns me that he’s a nice #1 NFL WR for his team, but they don’t FF-lean on or force it to him like other great QB-WR combos. This wasn’t Trevon Diggs wiping him out, although Diggs was on him maybe 50%+ of the game and thus Teddy avoided – but I think Teddy is just into working what makes sense and not leaning on/pressing for Sutton…smart for NFL purposes, bad for FF purposes. Sutton had a nice slant route in the end zone for an easy TD, but Diggs assaulted him for a P.I. and lost the TD event.
Sutton is a solid WR2 with random event FF-games…like a Terry McLaurin.
…or like Amari Cooper (2-37-0/5). Amari-Courtland-McLaurin…three talented #1 WRs who are producing WR2-3 numbers with some spike WR1 weeks with way too many WR3-4 weeks mixed in to make a WR2 average output, but it’s usually feast or famine.
Credit to Denver CB Ronald Darby, who was eating up Amari when he was on him. It might be that Amari isn’t 100% healthy…and/or Amari isn’t 100% into football right now. He looks very uninspired/low key in games right now.
-- Like I say every week, Javonte Williams (17-111-0) looks amazing but he’s just the co-lead, the 1b to the Melvin Gordon 1a for Vic Fangio.
I wonder with the weak O-C Pat Shurmur out this week if the new O-C isn’t as much of a dope and leans on Javonte more. Doubtful, but hopeful…I guess…
-- Albert Okwuegbunam (4-25-0/5) should be/could be starting for 10+ other teams in the league right now, but he’s stuck behind Noah Fant (DNP-COVID) here. He’s a bit stunted in his growth, stuck as a backup/secondary TE here. We won’t see what Albert O. is fully capable of for another three years when he’s a free agent in 2024.
Dalton Schultz (4-54-0/5) isn’t anywhere near the talent of Okwuegbunam, but he’s in a better spot for FF. I’m a buyer on the cheap on any Schultz weakness. He’s a top 5-8 PPR TE for 2021. Not the greatest asset in the world, but stable…as stable as about anything else at TE these days.
-- The Broncos-DST is good-not-great, but they are improving as players get healthy and young players are starting to mature. They just played their best game of 2021…after ditching Von Miller. So, before you think the Rams just won the Super Bowl signing Von…
Two young Denver IDPs emerging a bit from the recent game tape:
1) New starting ILB, rookie Baron Browning (6 tackles) looks promising. He’s a big, long, athletic linebacker who has been shaky on actual football IQ/output, but he’s showing promise thrust into the starting lineup due to all the Denver LB injuries this season.
2) Rookie SAF Caden Sterns (3 tackles, 1 PD, 1 INT) is a future Pro Bowler who would be already starting for most teams in the league. He’s so good, so smooth. He had an excellent interception in this game to really put out the Dallas fire in the 2nd-half, and then had a pick-six opportunity late in the game but it was barely tipped by the WR just as he was about to snatch it coming full speed into it.
-- This game was a big hit to any Dallas-DST momentum anyone thought they had from last week shutting down Minnesota. They were completely obliterated on the ground by a bad Denver O-Line with three backups having to play on that O-Line. Now, the Cowboys have lost Randy Gregory for a while on top of missing their best pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence for most of this season.
Dallas is down their two best DEs (not counting Parsons switching there) and down their best O-Linemen (Tyron) for Week 10. If Dallas stumbles and loses to Atlanta this week…there could be trouble ahead for them cruising to the playoffs, and definitely they are not getting a #1 seed.
Speaking of Micah Parsons (10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 TFLs)…he’s starting to put away the DROY award bet this year. Thank you to Master Chris from Bet The Close Podcast for that identification of the weird/favorable odds on him to win it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
51 = Ced Wilson
44 = Lamb
36 = Amari
25 = Noah Brown
33 = Elliott
24 = Pollard
65 = Sutton
48 = Patrick
47 = Jeudy
22 = Hinton
41 = Gordon
37 = Javonte