2021 REWIND: 2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 12 Game Analysis: Chiefs 27, Bucs 24
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 June 1st for early sign up, early access to material with constant updates throughout the preseason. Eaxct 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.
I’m not even sure what I witnessed here…
This game starts out with a Mahomes-to-Tyreek festival that took many FFM teams from likely-to-lose to huge/massive/historic/never-gonna-forget wins – and locked up FF playoff berths for some (no sweating Week 13), playoff byes for some…and some who had to win out…they got catapulted forward to needing to win one more game to pull off the improbable.
It was…I would say awesome, but it was more (to me) stunning. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Tampa Bay single covering Tyreek and then him going totally off on them. When it happened once (for a long TD), I was like ‘YES!’. When it happened again in the following series…I was like ‘THIS IS FF SALVATION!’. When it happened again the next drive, I was like – just how stupid and/or arrogant is Bruce Arians? Does he have some mental issues that need diagnosing? I mean, I appreciated all the FF-gold, but is Bruce OK? Why is he allowing this single coverage on Tyreek over and over? I almost felt sad for Tampa Bay fans…and those FF teams opposing Tyreek this week.
And then it all just stopped.
I don’t think it was because they did that much better covering Tyreek. I think in part it was KC getting lazy when things get too easy. How can KC start out that hot…but only finish with 27 points and almost lose the game?
There were two parts to me being stunned by the 1st-half… (1) The constant Tyreek FF-jackpot payouts. (2) Watching Tom Brady suck, again.
As good as Mahomes-Tyreek was, Brady was the opposite...bad…horrific, actually. Every throw he was making the first 2+ quarters seemed offline, too far, too ‘floating’, and/or dangerously heaved into a crowd. He was terrible…and, yet, they had a chance to win late if the defense could’ve held the Chiefs on the final drive to get the ball back.
I don’t know how this game wasn’t 50+ points to very little points, a huge KC win. I don’t know how this game wound up 27-24, the Bucs backdoor cover +3.5…with a chance to win late. It’s all very odd. I don’t know how it happened to get so close, because Brady never got better and Mahomes was slicing and dicing at will. I just think KC gets lazy and sloppy and flips a switch when it wants, and they win. They don’t destroy the opponent's ‘dead’, they get up fast and coast…or get behind and just race back in the 4th-quarter and win. Their blasé attitude will get them ‘got’ in the playoffs if they are not careful – it almost did all playoff long last season.
Regardless, the Chiefs are now (10-1) and likely headed to (15-1), hoping the Steelers fall two more times so they can get that #1 seed…or if the Steelers lose to Buffalo Week 14 – then the Chiefs would have a tiebreaker over Pittsburgh.
The Buccaneers fall to (7-5). Proclaimed a Super Bowl team after their Week 6 blowout of Green Bay…it’s been falling downhill ever since. They’ve lost three of their last 4 games – and have not looked good doing so. Their defense has fallen apart. The head coach has lost the team to Tom Brady, who is only interested in things that make him look good. It’s imploding, structurally.
The schedule should get Tampa Bay to 10 wins, possibly 11…and a wild card. But if you want to see panic, watch what happens if Minnesota goes out and rocks Tampa in Week 14…and I think that might happen. Tampa Bay will be a wild card for sure, just unknown whether it will be a #5 or #6 seed. If they can get to a #5 seed, their opening game will be with the NFC East division winner…a game that TB will probably be favored in.
*NOTE 2021: You read this and laugh at me mocking the future Super Bowl champs and MVP, but don't forget -- Tampa Bay just had gotten punched in the mouth by the Rams and now KC in successive weeks. They had lost three of their last 4 with this loss, and Brady was 7 TDs/7 INTs in that span...and was really struggling and all of talk radio was discussing how Bruce Arians was bad for Brady, or Arians would be fired at year's end, etc.
The Bucs would win out from here, beating all terrible teams the next 4 weeks -- and then getting Washington round one of the playoffs, and luckily escaping them (Alex Smith out) and then they just kept winning.
The more I look back at this, the more I wonder how in the world Tampa Bay got to, and won, the Super Bowl.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I’m not going to waste any more time talking about how great Mahomes, Tyreek, and Kelce are on the field. There’s no breaking news there.
I am going to note…
Tyreek Hill (13-269-3/15) is #1 among WRs in total PPR points this season…32 ahead of Davante Adams. On a PPG basis, Tyreek is #2 to Davante by 1.7 PPG…but is ahead of Adams in non-PPR PPG so far this season.
Travis Kelce (8-82-0/8) is #1 among TEs in total PPR points this season…66 points ahead of Darren Waller. Kelce is also way ahead of the pack in PPG PPR and on.
Patrick Mahomes (37-49 for 462 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) is #2 (to Kyler) in total points among QBs in 4pts per pass TD, but #1 in 6pts per pass TD…ditto in PPG looks. In 1-2 weeks, Mahomes should be alone at #1 for QB scoring per game in all formats.
Never again will I accept the fantasy argument, the ridicule I get from polite FF-society when I say that the top QBs, WRs, TEs are just as valuable, or are even more valuable than the stud RBs. I will not hear of this running back ‘over all things’ stuff again. I’ve been mocked for pushing the top projected QBs and WRs/TEs higher than most for years. I pushed RB valuation more this preseason/season prep – and it was the way wrong move, and we’ve all had to adjust and rebuild our team on the fly – which is something we’re all capable of, as many have done successfully this season. Still, the strategy was horrifically wrong. I led myself and others to RB slaughter unnecessarily the first couple weeks of the season.
I acknowledge RBs have some fluff/inflated value because THEY value them so much, so there is THAT value -- but I’m not building my team via RBs early in redrafts anymore. I’m going after the nuclear bomb players harder than ever before – Mahomes-Hill-Kelce chief among them. We’ve built Dynasty many a teams that way, but this year in redraft (and some in Dynasty) we chased RBs like the blind-leading-the-blind. Never again.
That’s not say RBs are worth nothing, just that the elite ones are worth equal or less than Patrick Mahomes or Davante-Tyreek, and arguably Travis Kelce (in PPR)…just to name a few examples.
-- Prime example of this RB thing… What a waste of energy the chase after Clyde Edwards-Helaire (11-37-0) has been…not worth the redraft 1st-round pick, probably not worth the top Dynasty Rookie Draft pick when we look back at it in a few years – and, at a minimum, you could have traded out of the 1st-round high picks for real stuff and then chased CEH this 2021 offseason where the bloom is way the hell off the rose.
The value of Dynasty Rookie Draft picks is usually trading the top picks for real stuff and load up/make a killing between picks #10-30+. That was our strategy this preseason, and except for sometimes trading for shitty existing RBs over rookie RBs…it was the smart move. Trading for Diontae+ or Kyler+ four our high 1st-round picks…a winner. Those that had multiple picks in the 2nd-round and earlier 3rd-round picks walked out with Burrow or Herbert plus Bryan Edwards and/or Chase Claypool. The Dynasty Rookie Draft sweet spot was picks #15-30.
Every Dynasty Rookie Draft is different depending upon the class and the existing NFL rosters. It takes a lot of time to work through it – and I do just that with College Football Metrics. New season coming up in January.
2020 = Sell top 1st-round picks, get more 2nds and 3rds…because the WR scouting was all wrong by the mainstream. Was I right?
2019 = Sell everything to get to Kyler Murray. Was I right?
Both of those strategies – no one else agreed with at the time. It was my own study and strategy. Your support of CFM (and FFM) keeps those studies going. COVID shutdowns/fears of no season, etc., kicked CFM in the groin in March-April-May. I need your support more than ever to keep fighting. To keep being able to study it in greater detail than anyone on the planet – and to boil it down for you to use as you see fit.
I’m not perfect on all the calls and valuations…I’m just WAY more right than anyone else in the industry. Not trying to be a bragging jerk, but it takes a lot of time and resources to be king of the mountain. Your support…helps the cause in ways I can never fully express my gratitude on.
*2021 NOTE: Still covet your support...COVID or no COVID!!
-- Tom Brady (27-47 for 345 yards, 3 TDs/2 INTs) and Bruce Arians is the big topic of the week…again. I don’t want to get into it too much here because it’s useless for current fantasy football season guidance, but it is fascinating, and we’ll dissect it in the postseason.
My take, in a nutshell…
Bruce Arians coaches because he loves to be needed by the players, especially those that have questionable/rough backgrounds. He likes being a ‘dad’ in charge of people. I think he’d coach for free because bossing around people is the air he breathes. Forced worship by the players is his lifeblood. No one would care about him if he didn’t have the ‘big whistle’ around his neck.
Tom Brady doesn’t need Bruce Arians, and that kills Arians (mentally/anguish). Also, Tom Brady has become a selfish player…and he took advantage of the Bucs – and I commend him for it. He had leverage and star power…he used it. Good capitalism, but bad for winning games/building a franchise. Brady is trying to build his own legacy and showcase himself…he’s not trying to build a winning franchise, per se. He wants to win, but mostly he wants to look good.
Brady doesn’t look good (on the field) – so, the media is picking sides because they live to assign blame…and they blame Arians for all this. It can’t be Brady, so ipso-facto it’s Arians’ fault. Bruce is not used to the media turning on him. He won’t go down meekly.
Brady looks as bad/worse than Jameis Winston in this offense, to me. Let that resonate. Winston was way more unable to read defenses and was constantly throwing into trouble, but also Winston had more arm/guts (or lack of thought) to also make things happen (in garbage time).
All I see Brady doing is throwing wild passes off the mark and lobbing bombs hoping for an answer. He keeps throwing a lot (the #1 pass attempt QB in the league) so some passes are landing, he’s not incompetent – he’s just not elite anymore.
Brady isn’t bad…he’s just not great anymore. But everyone wants him to be, so someone (not him) has to be blamed for his demise. Sorry, Bruce…you’re an easy target.
This erratic Tampa Bay play and Brady throwing will continue.
*2021 NOTE: Brady isn't near as good in 2020 or 2021 as we think, but the guy finds a way to win games. He had to sell his soul. he had to. It's the only thing that makes 2020 season end make sense.
-- I can’t tell you what receiver Brady has a connection with.
Gronk (6-106-0/7) had a big game here, but he’s been more ghost than not this season.
Antonio Brown (2-11-0/3) looked like his BFF Week 11, then was ignored Week 12.
Brady-Evans look terrible together, but somehow Evans always comes up with a TD to save himself for FF.
Chris Godwin (8-97-0/9) has been the most stable WR, so you’d have to say he’s the #1 now…by default. But Godwin is on a pace for like a 1,100+ yards, 6 TD season based on his per game work – that’s not elite, it’s just pretty good/like 30-50 other WRs.
Brady has had moments with Scottie Miller, AB, Gronk, Jaydon Mickens…and then not the following week. I have no idea who will lead the way for the ROS among this receiver group.
-- The best player on the offense is Ronald Jones (9-66-0, 1-37-1/2), and I think Arians wants to go there heavy but the team gets down so fast in games they don’t have time to run…and I don’t think Brady wants to hand it off, because that takes stats from him – so Arians has to worry about pissing off Brady. It’s a catch-22.
We’ll see Week 14. Arians wants more RoJo. Brady wants more Brady. We’ll see who wins.
My guess is…Brady.
I’d buy Ronald Jones wherever I could because he is working like one of the best backs in the NFL, but it’s hidden by erratic touches in early blowouts in 2020. The schedule should allow for more balance the next few games to close out…and then into 2021, Jones has established himself as a workhorse.
*2021 NOTE: RoJo would get hurt soon afetr this. The schedule would turn phenomenal from here for pass defenses to face, and Brady went off on it.
-- You can quit the two ancient RBs from this game…
Le’Veon Bell (5-22-0, 2-10-0/2) looks incredibly mediocre every week for KC. There hasn’t been ONE moment to get excited about. Darrell Williams is better.
Worse than Bell is Leonard Fournette (3-10-0, 3-10-0/3)…who is getting slower and more ineffective by the week. He needs to be in a ground and pound offense, and I’m not even sure he’s good at that anymore. In two years, I don’t think we’ll see Bell or Fournette in the NFL. They made their money, now they can leave with a big bank account and good health.
*2021 NOTE: I'd still worry about Fournette. I think he'll be done when Brady is 'done' (retires or not winning anymore). Fournette didn't get much money in free agency. He's not a passionate football player. He'll checkout before taking $1M deals to keep being a backup in the years to come. He doesn't have long, I think.
-- The Bucs-DST is taking a lot of criticism…but is giving up 27 points to the Chiefs all that terrible? It looked worse on tape, but they held KC to just 10 points from the 2nd-quarter on. Getting beat by KC-LAR-NO is not the worst thing ever.
Facing MIN-ATL-DET after the bye…they may get ‘right’ against them. Not a must ride DST, but they are a good FF one in good/great matchups. They have shown dominance at times this season.
-- The Chiefs defense tends to play to the level of its opponents. They can really shut down teams, but they also give up a lot because they know their offense can overcome.
I am still all-in with them against DEN-MIA the next two weeks. Week 15 at NO…you can depart from them.
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Snap Counts of Interest:
54 = Godwin
53 = Evans
43 = AB
10 = S Miller
33 = Fournette
21 = RoJo
47 = CEH
24 = Le’Veon
08 = Darrell Williams
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