2019-20 Dynasty-Fantasy Playoff Game Review: 49ers 27, Vikings 10
This was never really a game. Sure, the Vikings tied the game 7-7 off a long TD pass in the 1st-quarter and it was only 14-10 SF at the half, but watching it…anyone could see the 49ers were the better team and were going to win that game, and they did.
As I stated in my preview of this one during the week…there was not one position where the Vikings were better than the 49ers, and given the home field and the BYE week prep – Minnesota really didn’t stand a chance. You can’t fault the Vikings; this was farther in the playoffs than anyone outside of Minnesota fans thought they’d get and the 49ers are on a fast track to the Super Bowl.
After their win, the 49ers wouldn't have known whether they would host Seattle or Green Bay. I think they beat either team…but I’m sure they want to face Green Bay (whom they blew out this season) rather than Seattle (who beat them once, and almost again Week 17). They officially get the Packers, and the 49ers feel like the obvious winner -- but Aaron Rodgers is a miracle worker and the Packers defense is really coming on.
(I wrote this next part post-game/early Sunday morning) The Vikings’ season ends and my nickel bet would be that their O-C Kevin Stefanski is going to get the Browns’ job because Josh McDaniels doesn’t really want the Cleveland job (but he missed out on all the other options) and is going to ask for too much to take the gig…and the Browns puppet master is Paul DePodesta, and he’s a Kevin Stefanski guy. It could be that McDaniels takes it to hop off the sinking Patriots ship before it sinks McDaniels’ inflated coaching value…but I have a gut feeling from reading the tea leaves it will be Stefanski, as early as Monday. If it was going to be McDaniels it would’ve happened last week.
(Written Sunday night) Well, Stefanski did get hired. I’m not sure how or why Stefanski is a hot coaching name from the Brad Childress-Leslie Frazier-Mike Zimmer coaching tree, but he is. I see mention of the great job he did with Kirk Cousins – but that’s ridiculous…the media damned Cousins a few weeks into the season, for no good reason, and then when Cousins got normal/rolling and the team started winning they act like it was some great coaching job. It’s an utterly stupid way to judge a man’s coaching talent…but that’s exactly what the coaching sycophants are doing. If Kirk Cousins improvement is the main reason to hire a new head coach...then the Browns should've hired Jay Gruden.
The Browns cannot attract superior candidates, because their owner/organization is such a cesspool…so the Cleveland gamble on Stefanski here makes sense -- and Stefanski would agree to kiss the ring of management to get the job (really, that's his top attribute to get the job). I’ll get into Stefanski (and Judge, and Rhule, etc.) and all the new coaches and coordinators with our annual study pieces on them late January and into February. We need to let these coaches finalize their staffs and then we can get into their impact and issues on wins/losses and on fantasy outputs. All that to come in the weeks ahead.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The biggest credit for the win here was the 49ers’ defense.
Kwon Alexander started (played 50%+ of the snaps) and him being back starts to get the 49ers lineup back to what it was the 1st-half of the season, back when they dominated…like how they dominated this game. The 49ers might ride this defense all the way to the Super Bowl title now, if it is back to/stays at full health.
A 38-22 minute time of possession advantage for SF. The 49ers defense had -- 6 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 turnovers. They held the Vikings to 147 total yards…21 yards rushing, on a team that lives by the run. Dominating performance by arguably the most dominant defense in the NFL, when at full strength.
The 49ers DST will be the expert consensus #1 defense for fantasy 2020 this offseason, I’m sure.
-- This run game result by SF was my greatest FF-fear going into it…and is a cautionary tale for 2020+ with Kyle Shanahan – the really smart offenses tend not to rely upon one workhorse RB. You know when you play the Titans exactly what to plan for in the run game, and they are winning with the run game...but have a freak RB to do such things with. With the 49ers…they will roll with the hot hand and matchups. It’s been impossible all year to bet on any single SF RB week-to-week, and this game was another example…
Tevin Coleman (22-105-2) had virtually disappeared the 2nd-half of the season…and then, here, he’s the offensive MVP. Great for NFL purposes…maddening for fantasy. It’s not going to change – the Patriots, the 49ers, the Eagles…you cannot count on/predict/project their RB outputs and touch counts with any confidence week-to-week.
Heck, Matt Breida (8-17-0) started this game.
Next week, I bet Raheem Mostert (12-58-0) has all the FF gold…but it might be Jeff Wilson, who knows?
FYI…zero catches for any 49ers’ RB in this game. Not only are the RBs unpredictable for touches, they’re not huge factors in the passing game either.
Remember all this for 2020 planning regardless of the names the 49ers will have on their RB depth chart.
If the 49ers face the Chiefs in the Super Bowl...it will be the battle of lead RBs in an all-season RBBC -- Raheem Mostert and Damien Williams, and yet Derrick Henry will probably set the record for an RB contract in 2020.
-- The team that leaned on one running back in this game…lost. Dalvin Cook (9-18-0, 6-8-0/8) is solid but not going to carry an offense over a good-great defense through the playoffs. The 49ers defense could not be living in fear of Dalvin Cook…and that matters at this stage. Cook is nothing like Derrick Henry...he's not demonstrably as good as Raheem Mostert or Damien Williams.
Cook is a free agent after 2020…I assume they will give him a big deal early/this offseason and put that unnecessary weight on their back – making the mistake so many teams have been making lately...spending too much on RBs, especially mediocre ones. Cook is no Gurley, Le’Veon, old David Johnson (recent big ticket RB fail contracts). He’s more a Devonta Freeman…another guy who had good-ish seasons from big touch counts and then got paid and then disappeared/started getting hurt. Cook has been an injury issue for years prior.
Paid-in-2020-Cook is a fantasy issue. Not paid, working for that deal Cook in 2020 will be FF-sweet, I’m sure.
-- I could not help thinking…had the Patriots not traded Jimmy G. to the 49ers, it would probably be Kirk Cousins (21-29 for 172 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) on his way to the Final Four and the Super Bowl. Shanahan wanted Cousins so badly, and he might have been better than Jimmy G. working with Shanahan, I think. We’ll never know. Cousins is stuck with Zim for at least another year.
2020 College Football Metrics Season Has Begun
Time to start the studies, scouting, grading, ranking of the 2020 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft class. CFM, as always, will have scouting reports on all the top prospects and small-school sleepers and everything in-between as we grade/rank over 600+ prospects by draft day. We’ll cover the East-West Shrine, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and NFL Draft along the way and build to our weekly Top 200+ Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings (including IDPs).
We’ll also look back at the 2019 NFL Draft and 2019 Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings and re-do the 2019 Rookie Draft to see where we’re at and what items undervalued (now) to target in 2020. So much scouting to do – the Dynasty/Fantasy studies never end and are constantly fluid. It all starts again in early-mid January 2020.
Sign-ups for CFM and/or our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball (DOBB) subscriptions are found from the FFM home page ‘Subscribe now’ tab.
-- Deebo Samuel (3-42-0/6, 1-6-0) looked like Jimmy G.’s top guy again. The analysts hyped Deebo as ‘a man’ that Kyle Shanahan craved for the WR group. All that…a big win…and just 6 targets/3 catches (to lead the way). That’s the issue with getting too far ahead on Deebo for 2020…too many low target/catch events in this offensive flow. It’s just the way they’ve rolled.
Deebo’s catch counts from Week 10 on: 8-8-2-2-5-1-4-5-3…two rec. TDs, two rush TDs in that span.
-- Minnesota LB Eric Wilson’s (10 tackles) last 7 games of total tackles: 9-2-2-9-12-3-10.
I’ve always been a fan, and he started to show some signs of life this season when given the chance. He’s a restricted free agent this offseason…I hope someone has recognized him to try to steal him away, but I doubt it. He’ll probably be back in and out of the lineup with Minnesota again next season
Tomorrow we’ll look at the TEN-BAL shocker.
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