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 – Ravens 20, 49ers 17
There’s only so much you can take away from this game…it was played in a constant rain and the field was slick, the ball was wet all game. Neither team could play their ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ game.
My main takeaway, top side, is – I’ve said the Ravens are the best team in the league by a distance for several weeks now, one of the best teams in the last 5-10 years…and with a rain soaked game to slow things down and create fluky things – the Ravens still found a way to be the better team and win this game.
The 49ers scored first…a 33-yard TD pass that was a 4th & 2 ‘hail mary’ to Deebo Samuel, into double coverage, and who interfered to get the ball between the coverage, and made a great catch on a wet ball up for grabs. The Ravens allowed a 7-point lead, and then answered right back and were up 14-7 soon after.
The 49ers didn’t wilt, they scored a TD to tie it before halftime, but the Ravens got downfield and kicked a field goal at the buzzer for a 17-14 halftime lead.
The rain persisted, there would be no more TDs in the 2nd-half. The 49ers made a field goal and had one blocked. The Ravens wouldn’t score again until Justin Tucker’s game-winning FG as time expired, but they were driving for a score prior and Lamar Jackson fumbled to kill the drive…that’s going to happen in a slick game condition.
All things judged – the Ravens were the superior team here again. Lamar Jackson is just better than anyone else at football right now, and then Justin Tucker is the best kicker in the history of the game. They are virtually unstoppable unless it’s pissing down rain all game…and even then…
The Ravens will win out if they want to, but I expect a tougher-than-expected challenge from Buffalo this week and then Week 17 may not matter to them. Baltimore goes 14-2 or 13-3 and is the #1 seed and then mows through the playoffs. The only team that is a real threat to the Ravens is not New England…it’s the Kansas City Chiefs.
*2020 Comments: I guess I forgot about the Titans... See what I did there? Think about...you'll get it if you missed it first go 'round.*
The 49ers fall to 10-2 and with a possible loss at New Orleans this week…the 49ers fate may come down to Week 17 at Seattle – a win and thus a BYE earned, or a loss and thrown down into the wild card. We project them 13-3, the NFC West winners and #2 seed in the NFC…but eventual NFC Super Bowl reps. This was a preview of the Super Bowl game, except the conditions were nothing like they will be in February…where the Ravens will dismantle the 49ers.
*2020 Comments: All the above paragraph was somewhat on target...except a different AFC team did the dismantling.*
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Why Lamar Jackson (14-23 for 105 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 16-101-1) is the future of football and the MVP and going to win a Super Bowl and is unstoppable right now (might be stopped later, but not now) could be seen in the Ravens second touchdown of the game.
3rd & goal from the 2-yard line. In the pouring rain, so a pass or rolling outside RPO less likely. The Ravens lineup in a jumbo package because they are going to run it. Lamar does the option fake to the RB, he pulls it back last second and takes off to the left for an untouched score.
One 49ers’ defensive player was to the left covering a split-out TE, and he was blocked easily by that TE. The ten other 49er defensive players were all sucked into the run up the middle. Lamar Jackson is known to all of us…we all know he’s a threat to keep it and run…we’re 13 weeks into this season – and, yet, there were ten 49er defenders going after the fake hand-off and Lamar quickly saw it and popped out for an easy TD.
Two things I don’t ever see the NFL covering in 2019…
1) Lamar Jackson as a runner, not seriously. They can say they are and fear it all they want…his run fake sucks in the defense every time. Or LJax sees they really are playing him off the edge and he hands it off for a 4+ yard gain. Lamar runs wild every week. He’s only limited by how many times he runs it. Un-stop-able.
2) Christian McCaffrey gets half the targets in a game every week, and yet every week I see him so wide-open on passing downs that there isn’t a defender in the TV screenshot when CMC gets floated passes most of the time.
What are these defenses studying all week? What are they planning for?
Lamar is unstoppable until further notice…which will be like years from now before NFL defenses figure out how to stop it. Injury will get him before NFL coaches do.
Lamar Jackson and Christian McCaffrey…they will be #1-2 in redrafts next year, I bet. Even the ‘YOU CAN’T TAKE A QB EARLY’ crowd will acquiesce. I was arguing it was true this summer…just didn’t call Lamar as the top dog. Right church, wrong pew.
-- Raheem Mostert (19-146-1, 2-8-0/2) ran big on the Ravens, which creates two things to think about…
1) The 49ers backfield has been incredibly random…much like the Patriots, and that’s by design so opponents cannot fixate on a predictable thing. So, good luck figuring out what to use week-to-week from the SF backfield for FF.
If Matt Breida is back this week, it’s his backfield in a split with Mostert-Coleman.
If Breida is out, it’s likely Mostert in the lead with Tevin support – but then it should not shock anyone if Coleman has the bigger role because whatever you think is going to happen with the SF backfield, the opposite tends to happen.
*2020 Comments: Mostert went 10-69-1...10 carries in a game where 94 points were scored (SF v NO), but he was the lead RB for the week.*
2) The Ravens allowed 174 yards rushing total here. Rushing yards in game allowed by BAL the last 4 games: 157-122-22-174. Three blowout games and this rain/close game. The Ravens give up the ground if you want it…so, Devin Singletary might have a better-than-we-think game this week against them. The weak spot for Baltimore…their interior linebackers.
-- Deebo Samuel (2-41-1/4) had that great early TD catch but then much else, but neither did any other receiver in this game because of the weather – which semi-masks how much Deebo is transforming into one of the best rookie WRs and, more importantly, he’s becoming Jimmy G.’s top target/top look. They are the future together.
Samuel has been hurt, involved in blowouts, etc., so it’s somewhat keeping him under wraps – which is a good time to buy in, right now. I’d rather have Deebo than Marquise Brown (1-1-0/2) for the future for fantasy. Deebo is like a running back playing WR. Brown is a DeSean Jackson who I fear has injury issues like DJax all his career.
*2020 Comments: I'd walk that back today...Deebo with roster pressure now on a weak passing game, Brown bulking up -- it's Marquise today.*
-- Anyone remember the great kicker debates of the preseason…where I once again promoted the value of taking Justin Tucker (2/2 FG, 2/2 XPs) higher than any of the experts?
One of my main points was how Tucker is always in the top 5 among kicker scoring while everything else in the top 5 among kicker scoring is randomly all over…even Zuerlein, who has been the top scorer the past two seasons ‘per game’ (and missed games with injury). I thought Tucker is the guy you can count on more than any other. Well, he’s sitting #3 YTD in PPG among kickers…about one FG away from #1.
The point is not, I can get other kickers to beat Tucker…you could (Lutz and Butker lead him by a hair right now)…you had like a 2-in-10 type shot to get the right ones over him today. But don’t tell me about streaming kickers because everyone always acts like they pick the perfect kicker every week – bullshit they do. They get random ups and downs, and a week too lates in kicker stream-land. You might get a week right, but you will get it wrong just as often.
Tucker gives me +1-2-3 points edge per week, on average, over the competition…it’s a nice little edge. I never have to worry about his matchup. I never have to worry that ‘he fell apart’ this season.
Kickers matter. The edge matters. Everyone has to take one…why not get a great one? I know…you were going to take Lamar Jackson or something with that 11th-round pick. Everyone always points to the single best late-round player or the two best streaming kickers as their proof for why it’s dumb to place value in a kicker – but they never really make those picks, they just say they coulda made those picks. I’m saying – why not take the near-guaranteed edge player a touch early and gamble with all your other late picks?
I don’t fault people for going rando at kicker as a plan…just don’t think it’s dumb to take Tucker ahead of all. It works more times than not. So far, it’s some kind of edge over 9 other kickers in a 12-team league. And that’s assuming you got Zane Gonzalez since Week 1, which most didn’t.
-- Ravens or 49ers DST the rest of the season?
The 49ers are great and have the better FF DST…but they face Brees-Ryan-Goff ahead. Not crushing, but not favorable.
The Ravens are not as good as the 49ers on defense for FF but are pretty darn good…and they face Josh Allen-Darnold-Mayfield. I’ll take my chances this way.
Snap Counts of Interest:
60 = Boyle
28 = Andrews
23 = Hurst
42 = Mostert
10 = Coleman
05 = Wilson
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