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2020 REWIND:  2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 13 – Rams 34, Cardinals 7

Date:
August 16, 2020 11:18 PM
August 21, 2020 5:00 PM

INTRO: Well, we got no preseason football to watch/analyze/hyperventilate over this year…so, my normal August ‘to-do list’ is blown to smithereens.

It feels weird to have teams going to training camps and for it to be August/preseason and there not to be my favorite kind of football to watch – the preseason, where we can see a lot of the new/rookie and lesser used players get to work and I get to go on a journey of discovery combing over the tape studying them. Fantasy Football 2020 is going to be a year of great college and pro scouting in years prior…and that should give me/FFM a huge advantage going into the redraft season and the NFL/FF season.

Still, we have no preseason football to watch/get hyped about. So, for a lack of football to watch this August…I had an idea to take snapshots of the 2019 season and publish certain of my recaps/game analyses from last season every day/every week of this preseason – to re-remember things we were thinking in at the various stages of 2019 season.

I randomly chose four weeks from the 2019 season to ‘replay’ (republish) every day/week up to the start of the season.

The schedule is planned to be…

Week of 8/3: Week 3 (every team would have had at least one home game, and no byes…trends developing).

Week of 8/10: Week 8 (midseason, only two teams on a bye)

Week of 8/17: Week 13 (most fantasy regular seasons ending, no bye week for any team)

Week of 8/24: Week 15 (the end of most fantasy seasons with the FF finals for most Week 16…also, NFL teams starting to change players/give younger players a chance if they were out of the playoffs, etc.)

Week of 9/1: The NFL playoffs from start to finish.

We’ll have plenty of other current fantasy/football content all August, but I wanted to have some semblance of ‘real football’ for us to read/re-remember/consider. 2-3 games per day I will publish as they were published for subscribers in 2019…and I’ll add some lite ‘updated’ 2020 commentary/hindsight as I see fit.

Enjoy a look back, a ‘skim’ of the 2019 NFL/FF season in August 2020…


=============================

 2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 13 – Rams 34, Cardinals 7

Make this two weeks in a row that I didn’t watch a full game tape of a game from the week prior…in protest of the watching being meaningless for any fantasy revelations. And for the second week in a row, it involves a Rams game.

Last week, it was because the Ravens just destroyed the Rams and there was nothing to learn as the Rams kept all their starters in and the Ravens played backups, and nothing was to learn from the drubbing. I’ve seen all the Rams starters and all the Ravens backups before for several weeks…as Baltimore keeps blowing out teams and playing backups 2nd-half.

This week, it was the Rams punting the Cardinals all over and there wasn’t anything to watch as the Rams then went to backups later in the game and the Cardinals really didn’t do anything differently or effective.

I’ll tell you the point that I turned this rewatch off, and I watched this game pretty closely live agonizing over ever Kyler play, so I had a good feel for what happened – I turned the rewatch off at the same point I got so disgusted during the live watch (well, I was disgusted the whole live watch as it was).

12:10 left in the 3rd-quarter. Cardinals down 20-0, after the most abysmal 1st-half performance an NFL team may have had this season (at least since the Cardinals Week 1 in the 1st-half v. DET). 3rd & 8 from midfield…and if the Cardinals could come out of halftime and scored…maybe we have a game, a pulse. Instead, Murray throws to no one in particular but it looked be at Christian Kirk (who had no catches at that point), and Kirk slipped to the ground as the ball was thrown for some other pass pattern several yards away. But then the announcers goes, “Oh, he had a guy wide open if he coulda had time.”

If you watched this game, or just follow my writings of Arizona things…you can probably guess who was on the same side of the field as Kirk and who was streaking down the sidelines wide open because coverage assumed Murray would throw to Kirk and not…

Andy Isabella…the 4.31 guy streaking wide open for an easy TD.

It could have been that Murray didn’t have time to see it…he was under duress, as usual in this game, on this throw. It wasn’t that, for me – I know Murray isn’t even looking for Isabella, ever. Why? I have no idea. I just know…this has gone from coincidence and frustration to me speculating there’s more afoot. I’ll get into that in the player section.

Kyler didn’t covert that 3rd-down and the Cards punted, and the Rams scored quickly to make it 27-0…and then Kyler threw a pick six right after that and it was 34-0. It was a joke that could’ve been 70+ to nothing Rams if Sean McVay wanted it to be. I’ve not seen a team look so bad on both sides of the ball in a game this season as Arizona here -- this Week 13 Cardinals team is the worst team in the NFL. Worse than Weeks 1-3 Miami. We’re 13 weeks into this season, coming off a BYE…and this is what Kliff Kingsbury delivers to us. It’s unfathomable after almost beating the 49ers a few weeks ago.

I’m not going to rail about it fully. I want to lace into Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray both, but I’m going to save it for a week. I’m not going to overreact. Several teams have looked like crap coming off a BYE all NFL season…it’s been something handicappers have been trying to exploit for weeks. It was just a few weeks ago the Cardinals looked like they were getting together versus the 49ers twice in a 3-week span…and then this. Maybe it’s just a one-off. If they look terrible again next week, if they don’t rally to some degree – then we’ve got some real issues here to discuss but I don’t want to cause a hysteria yet – but if this is heading south – then the central figure of this is Kliff Kingsbury and the reason the team is so bad is because he might be the single worst coach in the NFL. But, let’s see if he rallies the troops next week and shows he can rally a team off this type of performance.

The Cardinals have now lost five games in a row and may not win a game the rest of the season. My ‘over’ bet on them for 6 wins…all but dead now. This team has so many holes and issues I don’t even know where to begin. But let’s save that deeper diatribe for next week. They bounce back and win next week, and then it’s all hearts and flowers again.

The Rams rallied off their humiliation last week and jump up to 7-5. They need to win out to make the playoffs, and they won’t. Beating Arizona is no prize/sign of a turn. The Rams are one of the worst ‘good teams’ in the league at this point, but Arizona helped masked their continued fall. We project the Rams will finish 8-8, far from the playoffs.

 

Fantasy Player Notes…

 

 -- OK, the Kyler Murray (19-34 for 163 yards, 0 TD/1 INT, 4-28-1) report…

Had Kyler not rushed for a TD late in this game, he was headed for a 5-6-7 point fantasy game disaster. It was bad here…really bad. Worse than the numbers…the bad numbers. Murray threw 4-5 passes right to defenders. He had a couple of them picked for sure, but the turnovers were called back for penalties having nothing to do with the interceptions.

It was almost like Murray didn’t care in this game. Or it’s like the Rams knew what the play call was in advance – it was on that level of bad.

The good news is – I’ve never seen Kyler like this ever. I’ve seen him have to run for his life or have no one open. But I’ve never seen him play/throw like he didn’t care or couldn’t see what was in front of him. I’m not sure what the issue was or if the hamstring was any issue (didn’t look like it). This is not the true Kyler here, so there is some hope this was a weird/odd event that is not a harbinger.

The bad news is – Something bad went wrong here. Kyler quitting/pouting, because he seems like a total jerk? Possibly. The Rams scouted the simplistic offense so well? Maybe. There were none of these issues against the vaunted 49ers. He was on fire versus Tampa Bay a few weeks ago.

I’m going to chalk it up to a bad day at the office, but now I’m worried if we have another bad day at the office coming next week. I really don’t know, but I assume this was just a ‘one-off’. Kyler has been too good for the past 11 NFL games/college season/high school career to suddenly be a piece of garbage going forward.

 

 -- Hey, Kliff… This offense looks great with Kenyan Drake (13-31-0, 2-20-0/5)…it really looks so much better without David Johnson (4-15-0, 2-9-0/2). It’s only four losses in a row since acquiring Drake, and his performances getting worse every week since the smashing debut…so, awesome coaching!

Since Drake has become ‘the starter’/his last three games, he’s averaged…

13.0 carries for 33.3 yards rushing per game, for 2.6 yards per carry and no TDs

4.7 catches for a stellar 13.0 receiving yards…an electric 2.8 yards per catch and no TDs.

Good thing we benched David Johnson, to soar to new heights with this offense!

Speaking of DJ…Kingsbury actually let him touch the ball this week! Yippee!! There was a point in this game where DJ was lined up five-wide, and ran a WR route to the sidelines and it was simple, and beautiful because Johnson is fast enough to cut on a route and leave a linebacker or DB behind and then displayed golden hands to suck the ball in like it was nothing on a very bang-bang throw…like what a pro WR does. DJ made it look easy. But he can’t get on the field in this electric offense that could barely complete a pass this game.

Great job, Kliff!!

So, Andy Isabella is your fastest/best deep ball threat and you never got him the ball this game.

David Johnson is a mismatch nightmare RB in the passing game, and he’s benched.

What’s next? I know…Larry Fitzgerald is moving to H-Back this week so you can bring back Michael Crabtree to start at WR in his place?

Please, don’t get me started. I’m waiting for another week of results so as not to let my FF frustrations cloud my judgement.

 

 -- So, Andy Isabella (0-0-0/1) got 1 target (a pass almost picked/thrown right at a defender) and no carries in this game. Pharoh Cooper (4-26-0/6) did see 6 targets, however.

I think we have Kingsbury issues, but in this case…I’m starting to think this is a Kyler issue with Izzy. I’m sure Kingsbury would like Kyler to throw passes to that wide-open receiver, but Kyler barely tries with Isabella. I think there is something up between them…and knowing Kyler is an impersonal jerk and Isabella is the hardest-working guy on the team, I can guess who to blame.

Whatever the issue…this is a problem for Isabella value ahead, no?

But it means keep an eye on Hakeem Butler 2020…because he and Kyler are BFF’s.

…and this stuff with Isabella has me worried, it’s a ‘thing’ (potentially) because there is no/zero/nada way that Kingsbury would ever address it or correct it with Kyler. Kingsbury only exists from here on in because of Kyler…Kyler is his meal ticket. And Kyler strikes me as entitled, so I’m not sure he’ll correct his own self. He’s young. He’s a rookie. We’ll see. But the typical Coach-QB relationship where the Coach is the dad…Kyler has no father figure here with Kingsbury. Just a cool stepdad who drives a sports car for ‘reasons’ and who buys him stuff to earn his love and doesn’t discipline to stay in a friendly way with the kid/Kyler.

Please don’t get me started on the mounting Kingsbury issues. I want to see how this team reacts next week with nothing to play for coming off this nightmare. There was hope just a few weeks ago. Don’t overact R.C., don’t overreact…that’s what THEY do…not you (picture me curled in a ball with a straitjacket on saying this out loud, repeatedly, rocking back and forth in my padded room/office).

*2020 Comments: And Arizona lost again the following week with another weak Kyler event and another 'who cares' Drake event. Arizona would win two in-a-row Weeks 15-16, beating a Cleveland team with as many issues Arizona and then beating Seattle, with the Seahawks mailing it in for their big Week 17 game vs. SF the following week...and Drake having two good games to make Arizona force him $8M to play football in 2020. How can anyone have confidence in the way this Arizona team is run?*

 

 -- Robert Woods (13-172-0/19) y’all! The literal star of our Sunday morning video chat. Woods was the guy who was in the most sit-start questions and the guy who Jason Katz and I pushed over all the choices in most every case…and ta-da. He made up for the Kyler deficiencies for many.

This is not a Bob Woods is good thing again event that happened…

This was a stark reminder – play everything against the Arizona defense because it is the single worst functioning and worst coached unit in football. Attack it.

I say that, and then they face ‘Suck’ Hodges (trademarked by me just now) next week…what happens when the most limited passer/passing game in the league meets the worst pass defense? We’ll see… *2020 Comments...Hodges won but was abysmal, again.*

Then the Cards face the Browns Week 15, a team which will have given up…EXCEPT…Baker Mayfield has a major axe to grind with Kingsbury and would be in a perfect spot to try to stick it up his arse with as many TDs as outgoing Freddie Kitchens will allow. Mayfield might have 10 TD passes in a game Week 15 at Arizona…if his WRs aren’t sleeping in, as they do.

So, the lesson from this game is…

Tyler Higbee (7-107-1/8) is not a real thing emerging because he thumped Arizona. And Jared Goff (32-43 for 424 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) is not fixed/back. It’s just ‘Arizona’.

…and it means Brandin Cooks (2-24-0/2) is a nobody.

Think about this for Cooks – your offense is pounding Arizona like they aren’t even there…like it’s an 11-on-7 passing game. Everyone is racking numbers. It’s a party that even Tyler Higbee got an invite to! It was fun…and Goff thought to get Cooks all of two targets at that party…BUT did see clear to have 19 targets for Woods.

I think you know where you stand, if you’re Brandin Cooks. You should have known this as a Cooks fantasy owner too. Now, you definitely know.

*2020 Comments: No, Higbee was on his way to becoming a real thing...the last five games of the season.*

 

 -- Is the Rams-DST good or not? Was awesome here. Squashed Chicago a few weeks ago but were ripped by Lamar between that. Are they great but only against bad QBs? I’m not sure.

They’ve been great since the Ramsey trade against Ryan-Dalton-Trubisky-Rudolph-Murray. Crushed by Lamar. Before Ramsey, they were crushed by Winston-Wilson. If it’s a defense that just thrives on bad offenses…they face SEA-DAL-SF ahead. Not ‘bad’ offenses. Better ones with good O-Line protection. I don’t see how you trust the Rams-DST, but they may be better than any rando streamer left…hard to say.

The defenses with all the great matchups ahead…it’s weird…it’s like they purposefully scheduled all the bad teams in a round robin tourney. I think NYG-MIA-CIN-WAS are all playing each other multiple times the next few weeks…it’s weird. I think it’s just they all play Miami which makes either side kinda useless for DST usage those weeks.

 

 

Snap Counts of Interest:

 

61 = Kirk

59 = Fitz

38 = Cooper

24 = Byrd

20 = Isabella

01 = Sherfield

 

51 = Drake

15 = DJ

00 = Edmonds

 

54 = Gurley (great job managing snap counts…in a blowout!!)

18 = Malcolm Brown

07 = Henderson (no need to play him when you’re up 34-0 halfway through the 3rd-quarter)



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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 >>