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 – Steelers 20, Browns 13
The Browns came out in this game and quickly drove down the field, stalled near the goal line, as they do, and took a 3-0 lead. The Steelers couldn’t move the ball for 1.5 quarters and then the Browns stacked a touchdown onto their lead…a 10-0 Cleveland lead.
The Browns were definitely the more prepared and focused team, and the better team through 1.5 quarters. There was no fear from the events of two weeks ago, no Freddie Kitchens T-Shirt-gate, no Steelers home crowd fazing them – it was the Browns game to lose at that point, and then they did just that.
Miracle catches by James Washington, again (it’s now not ‘lucky’ anymore), and then the Browns started shooting themselves in the foot with drops, and then penalties, and then they couldn’t protect Baker Mayfield…and everything unraveled. How the Steelers won this game, or any of their games this year…quite frankly…I have no idea.
You have to give a ton of credit to Mike Tomlin, I guess. How this group is 7-5 with Devlin Hodges and Bennie Snell as the offensive ‘firepower’, I cannot fathom. The Steelers win games, inexplicably…and the Browns lose them, inexplicably. It could be luck, cosmic, or great coaching – whatever it is…it is…and has been for decades.
Tomlin defeats Freddie Kitchens, a person who was dumb enough to wear that T-Shirt during game week. But if he was trying to create a stir and rally his team and try to make controversy to whip things up…I get that as a last act of a desperate man in some senses – but then afterwards to say ‘My Daughter wanted me to wear it’ is possibly the single stupidest, most embarrassing thing a coach has said this decade. Also, ‘I was going out to the movies…” Really, that’s what you were doing at night on one of the biggest games of the 2019 season?
Since all head coaches are inexplicably bad managers of business and talent, I thought maybe Kitchens could come from another background untainted by the coaching fraternity and do some things differently. I guess he did do things different than other coaches…but not a great job. Better than given credit…he will win 7-8 games with this team somehow, but still this was a mess of ‘what might have been’.
Cleveland is going to pay dearly for this season. They are going to fire a head coach, after one year. Potentially, a GM after two years (and they should). Ditch overpaid WRs and take cap hits. They also have a Myles Garrett issue. They have a ‘no one wants to play here’ problem. And, coming soon, as I theorized after the PIT-CLE Round 1 debacle game a few weeks ago – the next thing is Baker Mayfield will want to be traded. And when the face of the franchise turns his back on this organization…they are going into a deep, deep hole they’ll never recover from for decades. They should petition to move to London or Canada or something…there is literally no hope here once Baker turns, and maybe even if Baker stays.
It’s arguably the worst ownership/managed team in the league and is located in a place people/players with options don’t want to live at or deal with the weather. They have to overpay pay players to come, and then those players arrive with questionable motifs and then get fat, dumb, and happy and kill the team. No coach with any leverage or self-worth will want to coach here. The owner will either have to gamble on young up-and-comers who aren’t hot coaching names, because hot names want nothing to do with this franchise/owner or they get a grizzled veteran coach no one wants but will come steal a paycheck from Cleveland to be relevant again one more time (see: Norv Turner types…possibly Jason Garrett).
The chaos has only just begun. If you thought this season was a letdown and chaotic, wait until you see the new coach and GM process and how they deal with OBJ-Landry getting moved on, and then when Baker wants out.
The Browns had a chance to beat beatable teams and make the playoffs down the stretch here but that ended with the loss. Best case, the Browns beat CIN-ARI the next two weeks, get to 7-7 and have to beat BAL-CIN to get to 9-7. They’d have to win four in-a-row to be back in the playoff hunt, but that’s not happening. 8-8 is possible, but 7-9 is more likely to the finish. Not a terrible season record, but way below expectations and then everyone is going to get fired, etc.
The Steelers are 7-5…how, I don’t know. But they may wind up 10-6 to make it even more shocking. They should be 9-6 headed to Week 17 at Baltimore. If the Ravens need that game, the Steelers will get killed. If RG3 is your Ravens’ starter for that game because they don’t need it, then Pittsburgh may get to 10-6 and a high probability for a wild card. Week 15 hosting Buffalo becomes a big event for them.
*2020 Comments: The Steelers would win the following week to get to (8-5) and everyone ready to anoint Mike Tomlin Coach of the Year...and then they lost three in a row to finish the season and blew up their playoff chances.*
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Baker Mayfield (18-32 for 196 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) had a chance to carry his team in a big spot and couldn’t do it. Started out nice and then everything kinda fizzled. He hadn’t been getting sacked/hit as much the past few games but then the 2nd-half of this game he could hardly set his feet before he had guys all over him.
Watching this game back, I didn’t see anything different from the last few weeks except the pressure mounted via the pass rush. Baker had been sacked 4 times his last 3 games…and then took on 5 sacks here.
This offense never looks totally comfortable as it is and then they just failed to the finish. But recall that Baker was hot before this against some good defenses. I don’t think he’s dead…and facing CIN-ARI the next two weeks is sweet. I just don’t know if the Browns just rollover and die from here, now that the season is over…or if they play carefree and look great without the pressure.
You’d like to hold Baker this week to see, and if they look good – then Week 15 at Arizona, Baker could be a top 3 fantasy QB.
-- Devlin Hodges (14-21 for 212 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) completed two miracle passes to James Washington (4-111-1/4) in this game…one for a TD. I don’t know how you can bank on this every week.
Hodges v. ARI this week…it’s a great matchup but do you think Mike Tomlin lets Hodges go wild, or does he just try to run his safe offense and get out Arizona with a much-needed win? I don’t think Hodges/the 2019 Steelers offense has an extra gear to take advantage of the Cardinals pass defense…not in a way that your eyes pop out after. You want everything vs. Arizona’s defense, but I don’t know if that everything included Hodges. Maybe…maybe not. *2020 Comments: Hodges would throw for 152 yards in a shaky win over Arizona.*
Or…Washington for that matter. I’m more comfortable gambling with Washington v. ARI because every week he’s making these types of catches. He’ll get his shots again, but his targets the last three games are 5-7-4…his catches are 3-3-4. He’s making his money off one big play for a TD each week, but as risky as that is…it’s working. How can it not again vs. Arizona?
Whether JuJu is back factors into how hot you want to ride Washington.
-- Odell Beckham (3-29-0/6) was nonexistent again. Baker is not even looking at him most of the time, but can you blame him – OBJ is always doubled or has the top CB on him, and when he does try to force it, OBJ drops it too many times. I think Baker is over OBJ because he isn’t even trying to force him passes anymore.
Jarvis Landry (6-76-0/11) is the clear WR to own for FF of the two.
Why this matters? Facing CIN and ARI the next two weeks…could be some nice numbers for Landry AND OBJ, maybe…and Baker.
-- Kareem Hunt (7-46-0, 5-19-1/5) played more snaps than Nick Chubb in this game. Hunt has been playing with more fire and looks like the best receiver Baker has outside of Landry. I think you can keep riding Hunt strong in PPR.
-- Jaylen Samuels (7-32-0, 2-22-0/2) played more snaps and had more big moment plays this game than Bennie Snell (16-63-1, 1-4-0/1), but Snell got the most touches. If James Conner is out again this week – this is the likely distribution…Snell 65%/Samuels 35%.
-- Because every TE seems to blow up against Arizona, how could you not love Vance McDonald (3-21-0/3) for numbers this week?
It’s not a full Tyler Higbee situation…the Rams are a much better pass machine than this Steelers/Duckster one is. Hard to gamble too hard on Hodges getting everyone over this one great matchup.
*2020 Comments: VMD went for 1-3-0/1 target...great job taking advantage!!*
-- The Steelers-DST came up strong again. Started out on their heels but rallied and dominated the 2nd-half. Facing @ARI-BUF-@NYJ the next three weeks looks strong, but Arizona and Buffalo have not been easy pickings most weeks, so it’s tentative but the Steelers-DST has worked most weeks and Arizona and Buffalo definitely have their offensive flaws.
Snap Counts of Interest:
34 = Jaylen
23 = Snell
09 = Kerrith
03 = Trey Edmunds
45 = Hunt
41 = Chubb
43 = Dem Harris
18 = Dan Carlson
14 = Seals-Jones
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