2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Game Review: Vikings 26, Saints 20 (OT)
I kinda feel for the Saints here. You figure a 13-3 season will get you a playoff 1st-round BYE, but inferior team Green Bay had a gift of a schedule and nudged them out. Forced to play in the 1st-round and on ‘any given Sunday’ against a decent team…this can happen, an upset loss. Plus, Sean Payton lives under a curse…finding new ways to lose playoff games late with great/superior teams. It was going to happen now or later…it just happened ‘now’.
Sean Payton is 37-11 the last three regular seasons…that’s wonderful. He’s also 2-3 in the playoffs the last three years…not so amazing. If you ignore the 2009 Super Bowl season, Payton has five playoff wins in 12 other years of coaching. All of them with Drew Brees.
When do we start blaming/discounting Payton…or Brees for that matter? We won’t, except for complaining Saints’ diehards. No different than perpetually falling short Andy Reid. I don’t expect Payton or Reid to win the Super Bowl every year -- but with great regular season teams, could you get their more than once per 10-15 years of coaching?
Dan Quinn has as many playoff wins (3) as Sean Payton does his last seven seasons as Saints coach. Since Quinn arrived to the NFC South in 2015, he has more playoff wins than Payton (3 to 2) and more Super Bowl appearances (1 to 0). Since 2014, Ron Rivera has 3 playoff wins as well, and a Super Bowl trip. Arguably, Sean Payton has been the 3rd-best clutch head coach in the NFC South since 2014…and they tried/did fire the #1 and #2 (Quinn-Rivera) guys in 2019, while Payton strolls along. Just sayin’.
Mike Zimmer has a playoff track record worse than Quinn-Rivera since taking over in Minnesota 2014. Assuming Zim loses to the 49ers this week, and he will…Zimmer will be 2-0 vs. Sean Payton in the playoffs and 0-3 against everyone else over his six seasons as head coach.
This win by Minnesota somehow ensures Zimmer will be back for 2020 season and more likely O-C Kevin Stefanski is gone for a head coaching job. Why Stefanski is a hot head coaching name, I have no idea…beyond the fact that there is one really good head coaching candidate (Matt Rhule) and then a bunch of question marks and retreads otherwise. A team in need could do worse than Stefanski, a team could hire Eric Bieniemy. I think Stefanski to Cleveland is the odds-on favorite for the Browns/Stefanski in 2020.
As far as the game itself…why bother micro-analyzing it? The Vikings did what they do, the Saints did what they do. Either team could’ve won several times over, but the Vikings ultimately won the OT coin toss and made low-probability big plays in said OT and got the win. Two good teams played and one of them won. End o’ story. You could’ve played it a hundred times and it might be 55-45 Saints with the most wins, but the Vikings prevailed this day. Good luck getting whacked by the 49ers next week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Now begins the improbable winter of Taysom Hill (1-1 for 50 yards passing, 4-50-0 rushing, 2-25-1/2 receiving). Listed as a QB that none of us can confidently play at QB for fantasy, but really plays more TE than anything else, and he scored 17.5 PPR points on 7 touches of the ball in three different roles in this game and is really ‘just a special teamer’ primarily. What do the Saints do now?
Taysom Hill is a ‘Restricted Free Agent’ now…any team can sign him, and the Saints can match it and retain.
Will teams chase after him as a TE/WR? As an RB/WR? As a TE/RB/WR? What is he worth in those positions? 3 years, $25M…for a non-every down guy? He becomes an every down guy now?
What if a team makes Hill an offer to be their Lamar Jackson…3 years, $50M with the insurance policy that if Hill doesn’t produce as a QB, he can be an offensive weapon otherwise…and all-pro special teamer? Do you think the Saints will match/pay Hill big money on top of Drew Brees’s enormous deal. And Mike Thomas’s and soon Alvin Kamara’s?
What if Taysom Hill goes to ___ to be their starting QB as the team transitions to follow the Ravens offensive model, and then they can draft a Jalen Hurts, etc., behind him for insurance and grooming to take over in 2-3 years? Would you not think Taysom to be a top 10 FF QB projection as the new starter for Indy? The Chargers? Miami? Oakland?
How does a team even properly evaluate Hill…what valuation, as a TE? A special teamer? A wildcat QB?
The most interesting player in all of 2020 free agency is…Taysom Hill, and it started 5 seconds after the game was over.
-- Taysom Hill won’t be starting at QB for Minnesota in 2020, as Kirk Cousins (19-31 for 242 yards and 1 TD/0 INT) continues to stick it up the rear end of every national analyst who claimed he was a bust and wanted Sean Mannion to take over. Where are all those people now?
I know where they are – they’re waiting ‘til next week when the Vikes get rocked by the 49ers to start re-claiming he can’t win the big one. That he’s a nice QB but not elite. We have like two elite QBs in the NFL and 30 random OK-to-good events week-to-week…what else does anyone want from the Cousins? He somehow got Washington to the playoffs once and now he just beat the Saints in his first playoff game with Minnesota. He could win a Super Bowl with a good+ team.
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.
-- Zimmer, Cousins, Thielen-Diggs will all be back doing the same thing again next year…solid offense but nothing special through the air. Moments made mostly on strength of opponent and game flow. You can set you watch by the Vikings workload and statistical projections next season…very predictable.
Kyle Rudolph (4-31-1/7) will be the TE of note, and Irv Smith will have 1-2-3 decent FF games as a co-starter. Same as 2019.
Dalvin Cook (28-94-2, 3-36-0/5) will be the offensive focus and he’s solid but not special, but good enough…and, again, strength of opponent and touch count are the key. He’s going to matter as long he can stay healthy, something he hasn’t been great at doing. Once he gets that big deal from the Vikings…he’ll probably be Devonta Freeman 2.0 – all the touches before the big deal with big TD seasons, nothing special but fine, but then paid and then starts disappearing.
Alexander Mattison (5-20-0, 1-10-0/2) is 100% the handcuff to own with Cook. Mike Boone is not in this conversation…I’m just glad Boone put up 160 yards in Week 17, so you did not think I was crazy on evaluating his talent. But talent doesn’t matter as much as the coaching staff, O-Line, and strength of schedule when it comes to running backs. I’m a new R.C. for 2020…I’m going to embrace the limited talent RBs if they are in the right spot in 2020. No more fantastical tales about how much better Mike Boone is than Cook-Mattison, he just needs the chance. Nope. I LUUUVVVV Cook and Aaron Jones and Miles Sanders and Kerryon Johnson and Melvin Gordon. Big Fan!! I know Boone is never getting those chances on purpose so I’m not wasting time talking about it until mass injuries hit and make him relevant, THEN I’ll try and pounce. I’m not going to try to assume talent will rise to the top among RBs anymore.
You’d think over time coaches in pro football would get better, more savvy, and not tied to one thing, especially one mediocre RB to overwork and run their useful life out too fast. Nope. Same coaches with the same playbooks and philosophies with the same coordinators just shuffling around to different teams every few years.
-- The Saints 2020...? Same as 2019 you’d have to suspect. All Michael Thomas (7-70-0/8) and Alvin Kamara (7-21-1, 8-34-0/9) and a sprinkling of everyone else. 50 offensive plays in this game, and 24 of them attempted to Thomas-Kamara – and they should because no one stops Thomas, but they have bottled up Kamara some in 2019…still it’s their best weapons getting the ball, and that’s all you can ask for fantasy.
I don’t see a real decline Drew Brees (26-33 for 208 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) at all. I see it clearly in Tom Brady and have been seeing that decline for the past three seasons…but I don’t see any real, radical drop off in Brees’ efforts.
2020 will be a fantasy repeat of 2019 for the Saints if everyone is healthy, and maybe a little more Kamara TD opportunity if Taysom is gone.
Minnesota and New Orleans…same coaches, same QBs, same mindsets as they’ve had for years – no reason to project anything different no matter who/what they draft on offense.
Tomorrow we look at SEA-PHI and then THU-FRI we look at playoff weekend previews.
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