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 – Texans 24, Titans 21
I’m not sure exactly how to interpret what I just saw here.
Two good, not great, evenly matched teams doing battle. Houston felt like the better team…they had two end-zone picks in the game, which is odd, and could’ve really put the Texans in control early…which they ended up being in control early, anyway. But Tennessee seemed to move the ball at will on them. It’s like the Texans cannot cover in the passing game (5th worst in the league)…the Titans would have thrown for 500+ yards if they went all Air Raid, but they did their usual Titans thing…too much reliance on getting Derrick Henry going. This game just seemed evenly matched in the end…if they played it 100 times, it would’ve been a 50-50 split on ultimate winners of the game.
Houston took a 14-0 halftime lead, including blowing the 1st-drive of the game with an end zone pick. Houston went cold in the 2nd-half, to begin with, and then a few minutes into the 4th-quarter it was a 14-14 stalemate. Houston regrouped and got up by 10 soon after and held on to win by 3 points.
Huge win for the Texans. If they beat Tampa Bay this week, they win the AFC South and the Week 17 game with Tennessee is meaningless (for the division). They likely win the AFC South by beating TB or having to beat Tennessee Week 17 at home.
The Titans blew a golden opportunity. They are now tied with the Steelers at 8-6 for the final wild card spot. The Steelers with the Jets this week, while Tennessee is hosting the Saints…edge goes to the Steelers. Week 17 would then be a free-for-all…because Tennessee has @HOU, while Pittsburgh has @BAL – you cannot handicap those Week 17 games well, because it’s unknown whether HOU or BAL would even play starters/need that game.
The Steelers have the edge because of the better AFC record overall. The Titans have a narrow window to make it to the playoffs now. They could be eliminated this week if Houston and Pittsburgh win, and the Titans lose to the Saints.
*2020 Comments: The Titans did lose the following week to New Orleans, and their playoff hopes seemed dashed -- but the Steelers lost to the Jets and lost their playoff hopes, and igniting the Titans...who fortunately played HOU Week 17, in a game the Texans rested everyone, and Tennessee backed into the playoffs...and almost got to the Super Bowl because of it!*
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Wow, what a game by A.J. Brown (8-114-1/13). This was the first time I really felt like he was working as a dominant WR, not just as a big play guy who had a big play to make a great FF week…and then with no big play, a crappy FF week. This game he was consistent and heavily targeted.
To keep things in perspective…Houston didn’t seem able to cover anybody. It was ‘too’ easy with Tannehill-Brown, with no pressure on Tannehill because teams play Tennessee to run and thus there should be great Tannehill-Brown any week when they go to throw it…but this was the first real sign of domination.
Totally different world coming this week…Brown should matchup with Marshon Lattimore, and he’s likely overmatched in that battle at this stage. However, Brown is such a physical beast of a WR…he might give Lattimore some fits after the catch. My sense of this is…it’s not a great setup for AJB this week. Hard to sit him after what we’ve all seen from him recently, but he’s no slam dunk here. *2020 Comments: AJB went 1-34-0/2 against Lattimore.*
However, I’m totally in on Brown’s future. I liked him coming into the NFL Draft, didn’t love him. I thought he could be really good/great for FF in the right landing spot like a Green Bay (with Rodgers), etc. When he landed in Tennessee, knowing that passing game…no, thanks for 2019 and beyond. Suddenly, Ryan Tannehill is better than Aaron Rodgers and Brown is a thing.
What I am falling in love with on Brown is the superpower he possesses. I am always looking among the talented for a certain characteristic (or multiples) that can make them different, uncoverable, better able to produce consistently for fantasy. With Brown, you are getting some Quincy Enunwa – a 220+ WR who looks like a power RB after the catch. Good luck trying to tackle him after the catch. Good luck trying to cover him if he shields the DB behind his thick frame. He’s not a great ‘technician’ WR, like a Diontae Johnson for example among rookies…but Brown is like two Diontae’s in one body in brute strength with 4.4+ speed.
I thought Brown was in the wrong place for fantasy and has been for the most part…but as Tannehill has risen, so has Brown. As long as Brown has a plausible passing game to work in…he’s going to produce. If Tannehill goes back to being Tannehill…Brown goes back to being in trouble/sketchy for FF.
-- A.J. Brown looked so good here, but he wasn’t the best Titans weapon this day. No. The best weapon they had, and maybe best they ‘have’ is Jonnu Smith (1-57-0, 5-60-0/5).
I’ve been talking about this for weeks, and back into last season – Jonnu is a ‘wow’ TE weapon…
Wow…how does a guy that size move like that!
Wow…how stupid are the Titans for not using him as a primary weapon in the offense.
I don’t think he touched the ball in the 1st-half. However, he had the best play of the 1st-half…after a Houston pick and return for what seemed like a long TD, but Jonnu chased the defender down before the goal line after a 10+ yard deficit to catch him. It was a stunning feat of long distance speed…from a tight end. But it didn’t warrant the Titans to think to use him in the offense the 1st-half.
Then, in the 2nd-half, he lined up at tailback and took a normal run play pitch and blasted through/past 5-6 defenders and was off to the races for 57 yards. At that point, the Titans woke up and decided it might be wise to get Jonnu the ball more. They did, he started producing, time ran out.
After such a display, maybe the single most impressive game by a TE this season, just visually, you’d think – No way the Titans don’t use him now!
I’ve been saying that for the last 6+ weeks, as well as for the last 20+ Titans games. They never follow through.
I’m a Jonnu sucker, so I’ll play him for a big week against the Saints this week…and then he’ll get 3-30-0/4, and no carries, as sure as I sit here. Jonnu had a great 10-yard run of the ball Week 1. His next carry was 11 weeks later this season. *2020 Comments: 3-63-1/4 for Jonnu the following week...and he ran the ball one more time his final five games after this 57-yard masterpiece.*
-- Derrick Henry (21-86-0) was fine, just didn’t have his TD to go-with, and that cost a few FFM’ers who many of us have been riding this season. Just note…he had three goal line chances that got halted, which led to Tannehill faking it to him/keeping it for an easy TD bootleg run.
-- Ryan Tannehill (22-36 for 279 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT, 3-10-1) had 2 TD passes and under 300 yards and thus would’ve been a yawn, if Henry converted one of those short scores. Instead, RT got the 4th & goal run/TD.
It’s that way every week with Tannehill…everything looks so-so/OK, and then ‘boom’ he has a fantasy moment he maybe shouldn’t have, but seemingly always does. You have to keep riding it. Kyler Murray gets stuffed on goal line chances, and Tannehill cannot-not convert them for himself. My 2019 fantasy season in a nutshell.
-- Carlos Hyde (26-104-1) ran for 100+ yards…which is what can happen when the Texans get a two-score lead – they want to run it out/be safe, but they are rarely in such situations. This week facing TB’s run defense won’t be easy for Hyde.
Note…Hyde surpassed 1,000+ yards for the season here – the first time he’s done it in his career.
I imagine the Chiefs would like a do-over on this trade with Houston right before the season started…
-- Duke Johnson (2-4-0, 2-19-0/3) is James White-South…he’s not as likely to give good output in games where the Texans can sit on an opponent via the power run game. He’s better when they are throwing a lot. Houston had a two-score lead most of the game here.
Note: The 1st-series INT Watson threw in the end zone, was to a wide-open Duke Johnson but the ball was slow in arriving and the DB was able to close on it for the pick.
-- Another Will Fuller (5-61-0/7) ‘meh’ week. Everyone acts like Fuller is some essential piece for the Texans. He’s fine. I get he takes coverage away, but so would any fast WR, in theory. Life is better with Fuller for Houston, but life not as good for your FF teams.
Fuller has played 10 games this season. In one game, he went 14-217-3…and it was amazing. Outside of that, in his other 9 games:
-no TDs in any of the other games.
-Less than 55 yards in a game in five of the 9 games.
-12+ PPR points in a game ONE TIME in those other 9 games.
This week against Tampa Bay seems like a great matchup, though…
-- Deshaun Watson (19-27 for 243 yards, 2 TD/2 INT, 7-32-0) has been pacing as a top three QB for fantasy scoring per game all year. He’s great.
One odd thing I noticed in his numbers…
Weeks 1-5: 11 TDs/1 INT
Weeks 6-15: 15 TDs/10 INTs…over a pick a game of late. Four 2 INT games his last 9 games.
Also, his first six games of the season…5 rushing TDs. His last 8 games, 2 rushing TDs, both in the same game.
Watson hasn’t thrown for 300+ yards in his last 7 games.
Still great, but his numbers have been slowing to the finish…costing his FF owners in the crucial FF time.
-- Is the Texans-DST viable vs. Tampa Bay this week?
Jameis is a turnover machine, but he’s been white hot of late…but it’s been against really bad pass defenses.
The Texans defense has been better the last six games, but still struggling…and they are a bottom 5 pass defense.
Hot Jameis vs. a bad pass defense?
Hot Jameis, due for his inevitable fail vs. a motivated to win the division Houston team?
I’m really not sure which way to lean yet.
*2020 Comments: The answer was 4 picks including a pick-six for the HOU-DST vs. Jameis.*
Snap Counts of Interest:
61 = AJ Brown
54 = Jonnu
51 = Corey Davis
39 = D Henry
52 = Fells
38 = Akins
01 = Jo Thomas
42 = Hyde
21 = Duke
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