Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. Typically, he will have written/submitted his work before mine, so this is a look at the same game with different eyes...and you can compare and contrast or find some new takeaways.
2020 Week 2 Analysis: Panthers @ Buccaneers (By Ross Jacobs)
-You have to give the Panthers some credit. They are really fighting hard for Matt Rhule. I noted it last week too. They aren't a very talented team, but they are really giving it their all. Totally outclassed by the Bucs here, but fought back from 21-0 down and had the game within one score with some time left. They are missing too many pieces still, but I'm very impressed with what I've seen from them as a team so far. Panthers fans should be excited about the future of this team.
-I hope you grabbed the Bucs defense like I suggested last week. They are a top flight defense especially for fantasy. They'll give up some yards and scores, but they're going to sack the QB and create turnovers too. I noticed Carlton Davis struggling at times with the Panthers receivers this week. RC proclaimed him a top 5 corner, and I'm mostly on board with that, but I think perhaps he'll do best against WR's that are a little slower, guys he can jam up on the line. Michael Thomas looked completely average against him week 1, and that's because Mike's game is about separating off the line of scrimmage. The Panthers receivers are faster, and when they had time to get downfield they were able to pull away from Davis. I'll be watching this more to see if I'm on track.
-Teddy Bridgewater really impressed me at times this game, and at other times left me wondering what the heck he was doing. It didn't take long to figure out what the issue was. He was under heavy pressure all game, but the times that his offensive line held up and gave him room to throw he delivered the ball on time and accurately enough. But when the Bucs pressure made him move or left him with little room to operate he panicked and missed wide open receivers. The offense should be fine most weeks as they won't face pressure like the Bucs can create, even with McCaffrey out for a while.
-The Panthers defense is not going to be fine however, and is going to keep this team from being closer to average this year. Even with the Bucs miscues they looked very poor. Keep targeting them for fantasy purposes.
-Tom Brady has absolutely declined as a passer the last few years, but I don't think he's aware of it. He's starting to become a bit like Phillip Rivers where he thinks he never makes mistakes and it's always on the WR or RB. I don't think Brady has fallen to Peyton Manning's last year with the Broncos levels yet, but he's not as far off as you might think. At the moment he's still good enough to win a Superbowl behind a power run game and a stout defense though.
-Speaking of that power running game, the Bucs were very impressive this week, and I think Arians has figured out the winning formula. He doesn't need Brady to throw it 50 times a game. He just needs to play like the Colts and ram the ball down the opponent's throat with his stable of three good RB's. Jones and Fournette are the power duo, and McCoy still looks quite spry in the passing game. That's the new pattern now. Jones is the all-around guy, Fournette is the power hammer, and they split the run duties. McCoy is the pass protector and dump off guy for Brady, kind of the James White role. Last week I was more impressed with Fournette in his limited touches, and this week he justified that take. I don't think he's going to get rid of Jones completely though as Jones does look better than I originally thought. This is a 50-50 split for the time being.
-You could do worse than having Jones or Fournette right now, but neither guy looks to run away with this job, and McCoy is still taking most of the passing game work. It's a three-headed monster and nobody is going to fantasy win in this situation.
-Like I said last week Mike Evans is the guy to own going forward. Even when Godwin returns he's still going to be just an inconsistent play. Scotty Miller is not the new Edelman either. This is a run team now and doesn't have the volume to support all the talented receivers.
-Forget what I said about the Panthers receivers last week. Curtis Samuel isn't a big part of this team. It's the Robby Anderson and DJ Moore show now with Anderson as the lead. He's the guy you want to own.
-With McCaffrey sidelined for a while it looks like Mike Davis is the trusted veteran replacement. He was in almost exclusively after Christian went down. Now he's not suddenly going to put up CMC numbers, but Davis is certainly capable of holding his own. He's a sneaky good play the next few weeks.
-I'll say it again, I hope you grabbed the Bucs defense last week. Broncos, Chargers, and Bears the next three weeks. You couldn't ask for much more.