2021 REWIND: 2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 10 Game Analysis: Bucs 46, Panthers 23
As I’m going through research for the 2021 FF Draft Guide, I am re-reading some of my game recaps just to get a feel for how certain things developed...to see what I was thinking/sensing/feeling/tracking in-season, week-to-week in real time/as it happened.
One team’s 2020 seasonal flow of interest to me was just how the Buccaneers unfolded and became the Super Bowl champs. In September, our final preseason projection was for the Bucs to win the NFC South but then fizzle out in the playoffs.
When the Bucs made the playoffs, I thought they might get upset by Washington (and they sweated that down to the end). I did not believe the Bucs were going to run through the playoffs and dominate KC in the Super Bowl...but they did.
To review some of the 2020 season...to have some game recap material to read during the summer, to fill the lack of football void, I am going to republish a couple team’s 2020 season week-by-week, a game report each day just to walk through their season again.
Let’s see how the Bucs went from ‘interesting Brady drama team, but can’t beat the Saints’, to beating the Saints in the playoffs and going on to win the title…
*The FFM 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Guide will be released around June 1st for early sign up, early access to material with constant updates throughout the preseason. Sign up info for 2021 will be announced soon, as we get closer to June 2021.*
I take notes during the live watch. I re-watch the game on tape looking for hidden clues to report on. Here are my notes/takes on what I saw and how it related to FF 2020. I write anywhere from 1,000-3,000+ words on each game, and I must move fast to get to all of them through the week…so, please forgive any typos/grammar.
Quite frankly, I have no idea how this game got so out of hand. Carolina took a quick 7-0 lead, and pretty much dominated/led Tampa Bay all first half. TB scored late right before halftime to tie it 17-17.
The Bucs won the second half 29-6.
This is who the Bucs are, all in one game…
In the first half, you’re like…man this team is poorly coached/executed, Brady is getting old, this defense is good but has gaffes…and then in the second half Brady is air raiding and the defense is flashing ’85 Bears’ again. The Jekyll & Hyde of the Bucs 2020 happened all in one game here. This ended up a laugher, but it really wasn’t for about the first 35 minutes.
The Bucs are now (7-3) and are chasing the Saints in the NFC South, who lost Drew Brees for a while. The Bucs’ window is now to make a move, but bad news – they play the Rams and Chiefs the next two weeks. Two very tough opponents. If TB can split those two games, they should finish (12-4) and possibly win the South. If they slip to (11-5) for the finish…they’ll be a wild card. The Saints own the tiebreaker over them.
The Panthers just played the two best teams in football in back-to-back weeks…they’re unlucky. They’ve lost five in-a-row, but they aren’t playing like the (3-7) team they are. Carolina could win their next three games and get to (6-7) and have some long shot wildcard hopes, but likely they will finish with 6-7 wins tops. With another loss they may just shut down Christian McCaffrey for the season and then end up with 5-6 wins as they prep for 2021.
*2021 NOTE: Tampa Bay did go on to get smacked by the Rams and the Chiefs, and thus were a wild card. How did this team constantly lose to playoff teams all 2020 season...and then go on to win a Super Bowl? Brady had to have sold his soul...it's the only logical explanation.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Two very important FF-things that jumped out at me re-watching this tape…
1) Curtis Samuel (3-4-0, 3-8-0/5) had a bad FF game/output, but I’ve never been as encouraged by his usage more than after watching this game.
Samuel was the first target of the game, and then he was also the second…and the second one being him at tail back on play #3 of the game. Second series, Samuel was the first target again, and he played more lined up at tail back.
I’ve not seen Samuel lined up in the backfield during 2020 as much as I saw it here.
Why did he FF-suck then? Tampa Bay has the #1 run defense in the league, and they came to play this game. Everything was shut down.
The Bucs so dominated time of possession that Carolina only ran 48 offensive plays, where 65+ is the norm. And of the limited plays, the Bucs defense was hot…CAR was 1-of-9 on 3rd-downs. Samuel was the main piece during the 17-17 1st-half slugfest. He was playing but not targeted much in the 2nd-half during the onslaught. The run game got ditched, and eventually the Carolina train went off the tracks.
Samuel, with CMC out, is THEE most important skill position player (non-QB) that Carolina uses. Don’t give up on Samuel. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a career high in carries this week – like 7-8+, like he’s almost the starting RB in a split.
*2021 NOTE: One whole carry the next week for CSam...but he did get 7 carries Week 16 vs. WSH, but Carolina/Rhule/Brady were too stupid to utilize Samuel to his fullest all season...and then they foolishly let him go in 2021free agency, so enjoy Samuel and Teddy gone and Darnold and David Moore in -- one of the worst offseason's of any team, is Carolina.
2) Antonio Brown (7-69-0/8) is Tom Brady’s favorite throw, and it’s not debatable. Brown put up these solid FF numbers playing 49% of the snaps.
It’s not just the math of it all, but you can see it on tape -- Brady is forcing it with Mike Evans (6-77-1/11) and he’s OK with Chris Godwin (6-92-0/6) as a nice 3rd-wheel option. Where Brady’s heart, where his ying & yang connection is – is with AB. Some of the throws/catches here could only be from a trusted relationship.
Whether or not AB gets more playing time, is debatable. I think Bruce Arians doesn’t want to piss off Evans-Godwin, but he’s going to have to eventually. Brady wants to work with Brown.
-- The loser of the AB uprising might be Gronk (2-51-1/3). Brady has so many things to throw to, Gronk can just stay in to block and let Brady work this great WR-trio.
Gronk is becoming Brady’s TD guy…a TD in four of his last 5 games.
-- Mike Davis (7-32-0, 4-12-0/5) might be wearing down, as I hinted the last week or two. Now, CMC is out again, and Davis is carrying the load. Tough run defense to do anything against, and then he came out as the blowout ensued.
Samuel may split the backfield with Davis more and more, or if Davis goes down…it’s Samuel with Rodney Smith (3-13-0, 1-2-0/1). Smith is a solid hand RB, a poor man’s Mark Ingram, who may matter if Davis is wearing down and CMC gets shelved for the rest of 2020.
*2021 NOTE: Smith did take a season high 8 carries the following week...but Smith just isn't that good and he filled in the rest of the year like a ghost, you didn't know he was there.
-- Ronald Jones (23-192-1, 1-6-0/2) had that sweet 98-yard TD in this game, but minus that he had 22 carries for 94 yards and no TDs. Fine but not his typical workload. They tried to just run it out at the end with their big lead.
I’m a RoJo fan, but I fear this output is a blip/head fake of what to expect next week, and the next week, etc.
*2021 NOTE: RoJo did peak this game, it was all downhill from here through the playoffs.
-- This version of the TB-DST is the #1 best DST in fantasy, but schedule matters more for DST play.
You could use TB-DST vs. LAR this week, I think it’s OK. Week 12 v. KC is no-go. Then a Week 13 bye. Weeks 11-13 aren’t very fruitful here.
Weeks 14-16 are better, but no cupcakes per se…MIN, at ATL, at DET are not patsies…but TB’s defense is so dominant they will project well against all of them.
Snap Counts of Interest:
43 = Moore
35 = Robby
34 = Samuel
25 = Mike D
09 = Rodney Smith
72 = Godwin
64 = Evans
39 = AB
09 = Miller
47 = RoJo
29 = Fournette
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