2022 Week 2: Cowboys 20, Bengals 17 (Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis Game Report)
Another week…another Burrow-gets-sacked-fest…and another Bengals-have-a-shot-to-win in the end but lose on a last second field goal.
Until/if they can get it fixed, this is the Bengals -- good defense, great Burrow, horrific O-Line, hold your breath Burrow doesn’t get killed every play.
Dallas…well, they played one of the best games I’ve seen them play in a while. Not ‘played’, but ‘planned’…the play calling was excellent, the execution was solid, and they gutted this out for a big win with Cooper Rush at QB.
The player notes on this are really interesting, so let’s get to them!
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Here’s the FF-dichotomy, the FF-dilemma you are faced with on Joe Burrow (24-36 for 199 yards, 1, TD/0 INT, 4-26-0)…
A: The Bengals O-Line is as bad an offensive line as I have ever seen. It’s literally like there is no O-Line. Dallas flooded the gates about every snap. Just me watching/hyper focused on the O-Line v. D-Line at the snap -- I would watch in amazement as before the RB got the ball or before Burrow could set his feet in a drop back…there were 1-2-3-4 Dallas defenders already well past the Bengals O-Line.
Not just occasionally, like every time.
Burrow is either sacked, scrambling, or quick throwing away almost every pass. He’s been sacked 13 times already this season and ‘hit’ (statistically) 24 times…but it seems like it’s double that. There are QBs who won’t get (statistically) ‘hit’ 24 times until 6-7-8+ weeks into the season.
At this rate, Burrow is never going to make it through the season. His underperformance (for his capabilities), statistically, is 100% due to the lack of blocking. There is zero issue with him/his play.
You want to run from this version of Burrow for FF 2022…he’s going to be a back end QB1, with some dud games (like this one), and eventually too sore or totally hurt to compete deeper into the season.
B: When Burrow gets time…he’s the best QB in the game. I mean, he is unbelievable as a passer/QB. If you give him any time at all he finds things and delivers. He made some throws in this game that were simply, subtly surreal considering all the chaos at the line of scrimmage.
This Joe Burrow you want to buy low on, as EVERYONE is panicking on him.
There’s no issue with his weapons or his arm or his body…it is strictly the O-Line. If they ever get that fixed, whether a lineup change or scheme change or extra blocker kept in…or whatever -- Burrow will be a top 3-5 QB1, especially in 6pts pass TD leagues.
He’s elite. You rarely get a chance at elite guys willingly/cheaply…but Burrow is there now because EVERYONE sees it, and EVERYONE is scared of what they see.
Your job in Fantasy is to choose/guess path A or B (above). I don’t envy your decision…it’s a gun to the head. You want there to be an easy/obvious choice…there isn't one. The fun of Fantasy is…there’s a million gun-to-head decisions every day/week/season.
Most will take the typical temper tantrum route out…ditch Burrow because he needs to be punished for not doing what you FF-want after two whole weeks into the season -- so, many are trading him away. It may be the right move.
Holding on can be painful…because we have no long-term patience in Fantasy, everything has to be great now or cut now or dealt with now or solved now. Waiting another week is not advice/an option for FF owners…it’s a game of zero patience. I get it, but your over-thinking, over-tinkering always has you chasing the elusive. Believe it or not, sometimes waiting a week is a plan versus five-alarm fire reactions to a bad week…especially with talents like Joe Burrow.
My plan: I’m a buyer on the cheap of Burrow…as a #2 QB to my ace #1 QB if I can pull it off somehow. Burrow is just too good to me to not try and acquire cheap. I’d rather be on the Burrow train than any of the non-Allen-Herbert-Mahomes-Hurts trains in 6pts pass TD. 4pts pass TD, Lamar Jackson is in the discussion (but if/when NE shuts him down…then all the panic will rear up there). But I will not overpay for this because every Burrow owner is squealing…and that’s my favorite moment in Fantasy to go shopping.
If Burrow is my primary QB hope, I just need to have a good #2 behind him to work with if this ship sinks via injury/concussion/whatever.
-- All the Joe Burrow issues…they exist for Joe Mixon (19-57-0, 3-26-0/9), but even worse. Burrow can throw or scramble his way to glory ahead…they can set up extra protection schemes for him. Mixon is stuck trying to escape the constant onslaught, which drives his yards per carry way down and his upside, and makes it tough to try and score even a 1-yard TD because they never get a surge in a known running situation.
Mixon owners…ready for me to scare you?
Here’s Mixon’s last 7 games of yards per carry in each game, starting with Week 13 of 2021…
3.04 (Week 1 this season)
Rushing TDs in those 7 games? Two. Add in 4 playoff games last year, rushing TDs in his last 11 games = 3.
Another case for what an absolute waste 1st-round RBs are every year. Never again, I say!!!
-- The Bengals receivers are gonna go with Burrow ebbs and flows…
Ja’Marr Chase (5-54-0/9) looks great. No worries.
Tee Higgins (6-71-1/10) had a great game despite all the Burrow pressuring.
Hayden Hurst (5-24-0/7) looks, eyeball-wise, fantastic. Really moving around well. Catching the ball well and being aggressive catching and after the catch. One of the more impressive non-top 3/4 TEs in FF from a ‘looks’ department. And he seems to be in good with Burrow. He’s one to hold/have as a reserve or insurance or help to Pitts…or be your otherwise back-end/middle TE1 hope.
-- So much Cincinnati talk, maybe the best part of this game I’m just now going to talk about…
This was the first time that I’ve walked away from a Dallas tape watch and felt like…”Oh, yeah…they (the coaches) get it now…they are starting to push/plan around Tony Pollard.”
Ezekiel Elliott (15-53-0, 1-0-0/2) did his dull thing here, as always these days/years, but was quickly out of the game as Tony Pollard (9-43-1, 4-55-0/7) started getting designed touches…a jet sweep from the WR position, in motion, like the 2nd/3rd play of the game. When they got near the goal line 1st-drive…it was Pollard in the whole time AND getting the goal line touch and score…and Pollard was one who helped get them there.
Zeke came in more for blocking and to take some clock burning touches, but this game was won, a season saved, because someone/s on the Dallas coaching staff finally decided to push Pollard as a weapon. It wasn’t a total give over, but it was the most obvious LEAN POLLARD I’ve seen, ever (with EE healthy).
-- The Dallas WR report…
CeeDee Lamb (7-75-0/11) had a nice night with Cooper Rush, but the best WR on the Dallas Cowboys by a mile is Noah Brown (5-91-1/5). Lamb made a bunch of catches he should make on a lot of targets…it’s good. But Brown put on a show. See for yourself if you didn’t watch this game: https://youtu.be/WSMupCWj4Cs?t=8
I’d like to get more into Brown for FF, but I am thinking Michael Gallup is back this week and that will carve into both Lamb and Brown…but Brown looked so good, and he has time served with Rush from their backup days. There’s some hope Brown can be a WR3/Flex option ahead.
I liked Brown as a sleeper coming into the season, the far superior WR to Jalen Tolbert…but I’ve never seen him play so well as he has his first 2 games of this season. Good for him. He finally got his chance.
-- I like the Dallas-DST a lot vs. NYG this week…Dan Jones and Sills-Richie James at WR is something I want to go after. Only Daboll waking up to Kadarius Toney can stop us here.
Dallas is #6 in yards allowed and #9 in PPG allowed, AND that’s facing Brady-Burrow off the bat!
They get a break with NYG and WSH the next two weeks.
Snap Counts of Interest:
58 = Lamb
52 = N Brown
21 = Houston
06 = Fehoko
05 = Turbin
41 = Zeke
24 = Pollard
53 = Mixon
14 = Perine
01 = Chris Evans