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2019-20 Dynasty-Fantasy Playoff Game Review: Chiefs 51, Texans 31

Date:
January 15, 2020 12:08 AM
January 15, 2020 9:01 AM

2019-20 Dynasty-Fantasy Playoff Game Review: Chiefs 51, Texans 31

 

My experience with this game, live…

I settled in to watch the game at kickoff, to just enjoy the game for itself. The prior day, I saw the 49ers do what everyone thought they’d do…and then watched the Titans do what no one thought they’d do. Who knows what will happen in any NFL game anymore? Just sit back and enjoy…and I had a lot of Chiefs players picked in various playoff fantasy contests to pull for.

It was 7-0 Houston right away…not a shock, nor does it mean much, but at least we got a game here.

Next thing I know, the Chiefs are dropping passes like they’re the Baltimore Ravens, the Texans block a punt for a defensive TD, and it’s 14-0 Houston. Wow, we really do have a ball game here.

The next thing I know, Tyreek Hill gaffes a punt return near his goal line and the Texans score quickly…it’s 21-0 Houston nearing the end of the 1st-quarter. I text my Dad, and Texans season ticket holder, to tease him that this win is going to cost him a grand – he’ll have to mandatory buy playoff tickets for next week's game vs. Tennessee. I knew when I sent it…it felt like a jinx, but…

At that point in the game, I’m thinking -- if the Chiefs can score a TD and get themselves up off the mat…it’s a ball game. But KC goes three-and-out again. The Texans drive right down the field and are knocking on the door of a 28-0 lead but settle for a field goal and a 24-0 lead with 10+ minutes left in the 2nd-quarter.

I then decide to go to the grocery store with my wife instead of watching Houston try to run the clock out on this lead. I mean, what could happen in the final 10 minutes of the 2nd-quarter with KC down 24-0? I’ll come back around halftime and watch what I missed via DVR and watch the 2nd-half from there. So, I go throw on some sneakers and as I’m about to leave, I check my phone…and KC just scored from the time I walked away from my TV, got my sneakers, slipped them on and was about to roll out the door. OK, 24-7 Houston…no big deal.

I get to the store, five minutes away, I flip on the radio when we park just to see what the latest on the game is. I swear, I turned it on right as the announcer is screaming about ‘Dirty’ Daniel Sorensen not being fooled by some fake punt…the crowd is loud, and I am thinking – what is happening? We’re sitting in the car, I’m trying to explain to my wife, who knows little of football, what is happening with this failed fake punt. As I do my best…KC scores quickly. Now, it’s 24-14 Texans. OK, honey…let’s get in and out of this grocery store quickly. I got a game to go watch.

I walk from the car to the store, grab a cart, walk in through the entry doors and the next thing I hear is a shopper saying to someone…can you believe the Chiefs just scored again? I’m like WHAT??? I frantically grab for my phone, it’s now just 24-21 Texans. I walked out on a 24-0 game, put on shoes, drove five minutes, then walked from the parking lot to a store…and in that span the Chiefs had scored three TDs.

We start our suddenly speed-shopping trip. I just want this over so I can get back to the game. We get our few items and get to the car, start ‘er up, radio is still on the game and I hear, “Oh, and Fairbairn misses the field goal badly to end the half.” In a split second, I was thinking the Texans must have righted the ship a bit. A split second after that thought, the radio announcer says, “What a historic collapse…the Chiefs lead 28-24 at the half!” WHAT!!! The Chiefs are leading?!?!?! If me going to the store equals 4 TDs for the Chiefs in 10 minutes, then I’m doing that every KC game, for fantasy benefits, every game day for the rest of my life.

As I get home and catch up to real time in the game…the Chiefs are just pouring it on and won with distance. A stunning game to say the least. The experience of it all made me realize something even deeper than I understood before – whether in football analysis or politics or anything in life, we are all collectively the worst overreactors to everything and are so quick to assign blame (good or bad) to explain ‘things’ that it makes us terrible managers of our money, our relationships, our love of a football team, or managing our fantasy teams. I got all that from a KC-HOU playoff game…

When I was listening to the game coverage on the radio, it was not the live game feed but a random radio sports talk show that was keeping people updated and discussing it in real time. By the time I got to the store, with Houston up 24-7…the talking heads were just coming off a segment deeply discussing how Andy Reid might get fired because of this game, and if he wasn’t…he probably should be. That he was a terrible big game head coach and he was ruining the golden opportunity with Mahomes & friends. The failed Houston fake punt happened when I turned to their show randomly…and they paused Reid-fired talk to talk about how dumb the fake punt was, and then went back to how terrible Andy Reid is.  

When I came out of the grocery store and was driving home listening…the Chiefs were leading 28-24 at the half. The same two talking heads were bemoaning the fake punt attempt and talking about how Bill O’Brien had to go if they ended up losing because he was a terrible big game/playoff coach who couldn’t get past the 2nd-round ever, and they gave a long list of reasons why O’Brien was a terrible coach for the past few years. Literally 20 minutes ago they were doing the same with Andy Reid. Suddenly, Reid was a genius for keeping the team together.

This is what happens in our fantasy brains too – we leap to conclusions and run with them…everything is the worst, every player we have is underperforming, if only we had ___, I’m never going to draft a player from ___ team/coach again. You lose in the fantasy playoffs, and you’re ready to fire every fantasy player every theory you ever had in your mind.

When KC was down 24-0, people were texting me that Mahomes just isn’t ‘right’ since his kneecap injury and his 2018 was a fluke and they are going to move on from him in 2020. I never heard back from any of them on their new, big Mahomes Dynasty plans they had hatched after the 1st-quarter. I did then start to hear from Tyreek owners that he isn’t what he used to be, and they should’ve gone in on Travis Kelce over Tyreek for the future.

I’d like to take people to task for overreacting to players/fantasy things after one game…but that wouldn’t be a correct assessment of the situation. We’re now down to making sweeping judgements and creating new fantasy axioms after one quarter of play.

Do you think some of your fantasy-angst and failures could be that you hold too tightly to what worked a game ago/a quarter ago and want to carpet bomb away anything that didn’t work last game/last quarter…and thus you’re always selling low and buying high or not making any moves at all because you’re chasing current ‘feelings’ that can switch in a heartbeat and then you’re instantly on the wrong side of the trade…and then doing it all over again the following week?

Some very reasonable people (otherwise) were wanting off of Mahomes, planning to ‘sell him high in the offseason’ after the 1st-quarter of this playoff game, I’m dead serious. They felt their 2020 was not bright with Mahomes at the top. You could’ve traded them for Mahomes reasonably from these people at the 1st-quarter end commercial break. Mahomes ended the game with 321 passing yards, 5 TDs, and 53 yards rushing in one of the great performances in playoff history. But after one whole (1st)quarter, he was considered ‘overrated’/not what he was.

If you recognize this emotional seesaw in yourself for fantasy (and I think we all have it to various degrees) – note that your fantasy ‘problems’ are very fixable. You probably don’t have a football analysis issue. You don’t have a curse from God on picking the wrong players. You are not ‘bad at trading’. You might just have a patience and lack of sticking to a plan longer than a week or two (or quarter or two) problem…which is fixable. You have a lack of self-grace problem that you aren’t batting 1.000 on every move you make, especially if you’re watching THAT player play in the game at the time, so you find a dark cloud to live under – the dark cloud isn’t following you, you’re following it…in your mind.

The Chiefs did what the Ravens couldn’t do this weekend…both heavily favored teams fell behind on bad events happening early (drops, turnovers, dumb luck). The Ravens couldn’t get it together and never responded. The Chiefs rallied with a belief in Mahomes, and in an epic way the talent eventually won out. Considering KC gifted Houston 14 points off bad turnovers…a 51-31 win is stunning of how utterly dominant/great you have to be as a team to not only win a game after a 24-0 hole but to utterly blow the other team out is otherworldly.

Our collective, national overreactions to this game?

The Chiefs are a -7.5 favorite over Tennessee this week, and I bet all the early money goes on KC…because now we all think KC will win every game by scoring 50+ points when they want to. We will now totally forget that the Titans just annihilated the best team in the NFL in 2019 in the same weekend…that was so 24 hours ago from watching KC, I know. It’s like it never happened really…I mean, did you see how fast KC scored Sunday, it was crazy. They can’t be stopped…

I’ll take the +7.5 with Tennessee, if not just to play against the public overreaction to ‘thing we just saw’/’feelings I’m feeling can’t be wrong’.

The Texans…they’ll probably fire/turnover half their staff as a response to this – because fantasy team management is just like the way NFL teams react to a letdown moment. After the 1st-quarter, everyone’s jobs were safe and maybe some would be up for promotions. Three quarters later, many changes will hit the Texans staff for the terribleness of losing a game they had a 24-0 lead on, and thus wiping out/denigrating the back-to-back division titles they earned…AND every analyst will proclaim Indy as the better NFC South team in 2020 over ‘always failing’ Houston. Patience and pragmatism have no place in football…

 

Fantasy Player Notes…

 

 -- Speaking of Patrick Mahomes (23-31 for 321 yards, 5 TDs/0 INT, 7-53-0)…

Including this game, and ignoring the Denver game he left early with the kneecap injury, he’s played 14 games this season and thrown 30 TD passes…a pace for 34+ TD passes for a 16-game season. He’s averaging 305.4 passing yards per game in that same stretch…a pace for 4,886+ yards for a 16-game season. Not his 2018 numbers, but pretty amazing for a guy who bounced back early from a dislocated kneecap.

Before his kneecap incident, Mahomes averaged 13.3 yards per game rushing. Since returning, including this game, he’s averaging 23.6 rushing yards per game with two 50+ yard events.

Who’s the top QB for fantasy 2020…Lamar or Mahomes? It wasn’t a question a week ago. But, now…

You know how we all love recency bias!

My answer on the Lamar v. St. Patrick debate will be generated, officially, when we get passed free agency, the draft, and the order of the schedule for 2020. My first projections for 2020 on the matter will hit in February (post-Super Bowl) in the Dynasty offseason/Best Ball area and we’ll keep adjusting it up to opening day as news hits/breaks.

 

 -- Does anyone want to defend that Deshaun Watson (31-52 for 388 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 6-37-1) is the best young QB in the NFL narrative? That narrative was getting pushed halfway through the season. Well, if you judged it by this game – Watson is nowhere near in the class of Mahomes (not many/any could be).

When KC needed Mahomes to be a superhero…he was. When Houston needed Watson to be a superhero, he kinda disappeared into his ‘OK’ self. I know Watson is good, very good…but NFL great – not sure he’s ever going to be at the Mahomes, Rodgers, Lamar level of stardom/output. Still, really good though…a top 10 NFL QB weapon and a top fantasy performer for sure, but he ain’t as good as Mahomes in the NFL – not even close.

 

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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.

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 -- The Chiefs score 51 points and Tyreek Hill catches 3 passes for 41 yards on 4 targets. What gives?

I don’t know. I know teams are doubling him and sometimes tripling him…which is why Travis Kelce (10-134-3/12) went off – but this is a growing trend on ‘meh’ Hill numbers. Hill has been under 75 yards receiving in seven straight games. He has 2 TDs in that span. Very unlike any numbers he’s had before.

Is it the double teams? Is it Tyreek got paid big…and this is what we get?

Through Week 10, Tyreek’s per game pace was going to a career best per game pace. After Mahomes returned from his kneecap and after Hill had a hamstring issue, from Week 13 on Hill has been ‘meh’.

Sometimes things happen. DeAndre Hopkins scored just 5 TDs in his 17 games played since Week 2. Alvin Kamara couldn’t buy a TD for most of the season and then popped back to normal very late.

Tyreek is still a mega talent; I’m just going to assume this is a blip until it’s proven otherwise. We’re all about Kelce because he was big-time here, but Kelce was a disappointment the first 9 weeks of the season – two TDs and just one 100+ yard game in that span. Sometimes things flow or go a certain way and then ‘boom’ the mega talents eventually breakthrough.

 

 -- Thinking about Hill and Hopkins, it made me check again the top PPR WRs for 2019, Weeks 1-16 in PPG terms…

Hopkins ended up #4 (18.0), Tyreek ended up #9 (16.2) among all WRs.

However, recall that Tyreek was credited with a game played Week 1, when he was gone after the 1st-quarter with an injury and same thing Week 11. If you re-do his PPR PPG in the nine full games he played…Hill averaged 19.3 PPR PPG this season and that would’ve been #3 best PPG pace for 2019 season…an eyelash behind #2 Chris Godwin (19.7).

Before you go throw Tyreek in the trash for a few ‘meh’ outputs, the numbers say – it wasn’t as bad as you think. Not even close.

 

 -- Was Will Fuller (5-89-0/8) even in this game? I think analysts are just copycatting a line they heard from someone else and it has become a cliché – people saying how desperately important Will Fuller is to the Houston offense.

I’ve seen Fuller have like 1-2 nice games this year, and then a bunch of drops, out with injury, and just generally not that important to utilize games all of the other games he’s played in this season. His work/stats here mostly came late when it didn’t matter in the all-pass comeback attempt. He’s just not my jam. Never was.

He had one game in his 12 played in 2019 where he scored a TD (3 of them). In his last 16 games played, over two seasons, he has 4 TDs. What a difference maker…

The Texans have to decide if they want to go with a 5th-year option at $10M+ for 2020 on Fuller or not. I would say it would be a huge mistake, but with Bill O’Brien as GM…who knows,

 

 -- I had a feeling about Damien Williams (12-47-2, 2-21-1/6) going into this game, into this playoff…for fantasy purposes. The numbers for Damien this season are surprising when you really drill down on them…he just got hurt a lot so it’s murky. Had he stayed clean all season…he might have been a top 5 fantasy RB in 2019 for output.

Will he be the Chiefs starting guy in 2020? Maybe.

I think David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, and an undetermined-as-of-yet rookie could be in that race.

Imagine this Chiefs offense if they get a stable/healthy star performer back there at RB?  

 

 -- You gotta hand it to the KC defense in this game as well, and to D-C Steve Spagnuolo (a guy all analysts wanted fired the 1st-half of the season, because analysts are so wise about their profession).

KC’s defense ended the year holding their final 6 opponents to 21 or fewer points and half of those games holding the opponent to under 10 points.

In this game, KC gave up the early TD and then Houston blocked a punt for a score, and then Houston got a muffed punt return for a easy set up score – after a relentless bout of bad luck, the Chiefs’ defense held the Texans to 10 points the rest of the way. In a shootout vs. Deshaun Watson, the Chiefs defense stepped up.

Daniel Sorensen (9 tackles) has been one of my favorite defenders for years…always overlooked, even by his own team. He virtually was the one guy responsible for the turnaround for the team in this game…that fake punt stop was the turning point.

Also, free agent signing Frank Clark (4 tackles, 3 sacks) has been a beast when healthy…and he’s barely been healthy all season. When he is – he’s been a menace, and might be the key to a KC Super Bowl.

 

Tomorrow we’ll look at the SEA-GB game. 




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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>