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/Sept. 2020…
2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 15 – Bills 17, Steelers 10
Another gritty win for my new favorite team – the Buffalo Bills.
Down 10-7 at the half, and outplaying the Steelers, but losing drives to turnovers, the Bills rallied to tie the game with 12+ minutes left and then grinded out another drive for a key TD to take a 17-10 lead. They held off the Steelers on two drive attempts at the end, the final drive ending on a Bills’ interception of Hodges in the end zone to seal it.
For my money, the best coached + best run team in the NFL…I believe it is the Buffalo Bills. This team is perfectly constructed to play in Buffalo and Sean McDermott is making all the right moves with personnel. Look at all that McDermott is doing…
-- I didn’t agree with Josh Allen as a franchise QB…but he’s a perfect fit for the Buffalo climate/weather (strong arm and willing to run), and he’s playing well enough to win and is cutting down on turnovers.
-- When everyone else chased bigger name, higher graded RBs…McDermott pulled Devin Singletary 3rd-round in 2019, earlier than scouts liked/thought, and he’s going to be the best RB from this draft. *2020 Comments: No disrespect, but I think he's a more gifted runner than Josh Jacobs still to this day.*
-- John Brown and Cole Beasley as free agent WRs…are you nuts? Again, McDermott is playing to his surroundings – he needs grinders who are willing to work in Buffalo. I wouldn’t have signed those WRs, but I get why McDermott is doing things like this now.
-- Arguably the best defense in the NFL…notice how fast Carolina’s defense/team dropped off once McDermott left after their Super Bowl run?
-- Immediately trading Ronald Darby, Sammy Watkins, Reggie Ragland, Marcel Dareus, Kelvin Benjamin in 2017 upon his arrival as head coach …how utterly brilliant looking back at it.
-- In 2018…traded Tyrod Taylor, Cordy Glenn, A.J. McCarron
-- In 2019, dumped Zay Jones on Oakland.
When McDermott gives players the Fredo Corleone kiss/trades them away…he’s always right. The players are always disappointing on their new teams. McDermott has been stockpiling picks off all these deals for three years.
-- McDermott has drafted well every year he has been there…focusing on CB, OL, DL, and QB, which is what the draft is for and how teams should be built.
They are the team of the future. McDermott is the man that is going to unseat Belichick as top AFC East dog the next few years…and, yet, we all see Buffalo as some scrappy/lucky team that has stumbled into a good record probably from an easy schedule. That’s not true. They are winning because they are the toughest, most disciplined, built from the interior line out, defense and tackling first team in the league. They aren’t all the way there yet, but in another season or two this team is going to be low key dominant, not flashy dominant. Josh Allen may not be able to get them that extra step, but we’ll see if coaching and a balanced team defeats elite QBs in the years to come.
The Bills are now 10-4 and I think they are going to whack the Patriots Week 16 to send that final message that they’ve arrived. New England still has the path to the AFC East, but the future belongs to a McDermott-Belichick war for the next few years (if Belichick stays around). Buffalo should finish with 11-12 wins this season, the #1 wild card seed and headed to Houston (most likely). If they win that game…Baltimore is not lucky to have to face the Bills a 2nd-time. *2020 Comments: A narrow loss in Week 16 to NE did in their AFC East hopes...and then Week 17 meant nothing. A 10-6 finish and wild card game that they had, but let Houston off the hook in the 2nd-half.*
The Steelers are the watered-down version of the Bills, and thus couldn’t beat them here. The Steelers are playing great defense but just cannot overcome the QB play to get over on a team like the Bills. The Steelers are 8-6, likely to finish 9-10 wins and are the final wild card…and will get throttled by KC or NE, whomever they face 1st-round of the playoffs.
*2020 Comments: Or the Steelers would lose out and flop to the finish line with another non-playoff season.*
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Diontae Johnson (5-62-0/7) is starting to emerge as a trusted pitch-and-catch throw more for Devlin Hodges, as much as anyone can be a pitch-and-catch option for Hodges.
The problem with banking on Diontae working for FF right now as a real WR -- is Hodges is so limited. The problem with counting on James Washington (5-83-0/11) is it takes a miracle deep ball play to make JW worth it…and that’s hard to count on.
If the Steelers can get a lead, they will play a heavy run game with a very short passing game and lean on their defense to win. They aren’t airing it out – and versus the Jets this week, I could see the Steelers getting up and just salting it away with another low passing game from Hodges.
-- I thought Devlin Hodges (23-38 for 202 yards, 1 TD/4 INT) was going to get replaced by Mason Rudolph this week, for a second…when Mike Tomlin didn’t immediately endorse Hodges. We might see a mid game change here if Hodges flops Week 16 and has the Jets in the game, a critical game for the Steelers. *2020 Comments: On cue, Hodges flopped and was replaced by Rudolph in the second-half.*
-- Cole Beasley (1-6-0/6) tried to blow this game for Buffalo. A couple of drops and one deflected off his hands and turned into a pick to kill a drive. In a huge game against a team where slot WRs have ruled…Beasley sucked. Hard to trust him Week 16, but he probably bounces back with a nice game…as these things tend to go. *2020 Comments: 7-128-0/12 for Beasley the next game vs. NE Week 16.*
-- James Conner (8-42-0, 4-9-1/5) looked fine to me. Looked refreshed. He played 58% of the snaps but didn’t take a heavy workload. I’m sure they’ll push him harder this week vs. the suddenly-terrible-against-the-run-Jets.
-- Devin Singletary (21-87-0, 2-2-0/3) played another solid game. One thing I don’t fully get, but they have to kinda do it…when Sean McDermott turns to Frank Gore (10-15-0) for relief/key spots, the whole offense dies upon his arrival into the game.
Gore is fading away to the finish of this season…23 carries for 32 yards (1.5 yards per carry) the last three weeks combined.
-- The Bills-DST had a nice game here…4 picks, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery. It was the difference in this game.
The Bills defense has held opponents to 20 points or fewer in six of their last 7 games.
Against the Patriots this week? I think they’re a legit play. The Patriots offense is dying and the last time they met, the Bills held them to 16 points in Week 4. *2020 Comments: The Bills DST was nothing special, allowing 24 pts with one turnover.*
-- The Steelers-DST has now moved into #2 in YTD fantasy scoring this season, well behind #1 NE-DST. It’s been quite a season for the Steelers…#2 in interceptions and tied for 1st in most sacks this season. All-in against the Jets this week. *2020 Comments: Held the Jets to 16pts and got two turnovers + 4 sacks.*
Snap Counts of Interest:
34 = Conner
17 = Jaylen
06 = Kerrith
02 = Snell
46 = Singletary
19 = Gore
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