2021 REWIND: 2020 Dynasty/Fantasy Week 15 Game Analysis: Bucs 31, Falcons 27 (Short Report)
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 is now open for early sign up and Combo deal/savings with in-season coverage. See FFM homepage for more info!!*
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 normally 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.
SHORT REPORT is an attempt at ‘just the facts’ report on this Week 15 game with a Week 16/title week focus for conveying what we need to know.
I have no idea how the Falcons keep losing these types of game. Atlanta led 17-0 at halftime, and I thought Bruce Arians might bench his entire team…it was a total beatdown. The Bucs then score 31 points in the 2nd-half, pull into the lead late and take it home in the end with another ‘they (the Bucs) look terrible’ win.
The Bucs should’ve lost their last two games – they were very lucky/played poorly against MIN and ATL. Had they lost those games -- it would’ve been four losses in-a-row. This Bucs team is not getting better as they go – they are getting worse, and it’s being glossed over by their lucky/sloppy wins the last two weeks. Tampa (9-5) should win out vs. DET and ATL, but I don’t know if they’re capable of winning one or both. One more win would lock down a playoff spot.
Again, the Bucs look terrible…but you know who I would not want to play in the playoffs – the Bucs. This team is scary when they put things together on both sides of the ball at the same time.
Atlanta is now (4-10), losers of four of their last 5 games. They are ensuring Raheem Morris will not be their next head coach. At KC and at TB the last two weeks means the Falcons likely finish (4-12).
*2021 NOTE: How in the world did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl? Why are we even playing an NFL season when middle of the road teams can just get hot and blow through the playoffs? The beauty and madness of football...and Fantasy Football.
The Bucs lost three of 4 in Weeks 9-12. They then were outplayed but luckily beat MIN Week 14 (coming off a bye) and then should've lost this game too and sent the whole organization into a panic. Instead, they have a big 2nd-half in this game and save the season.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW FOR WEEK 16?
-- Look, Matt Ryan (34-49 for 356 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) has been hot garbage for several weeks before this game…and then he comes out and destroys the Bucs pass defense. I’m telling you: (a) this Tampa team really sucks right now, especially on defense. (2) This forebodes well for Matt Stafford Week 16 in the dome vs. Tampa.
*2021 NOTE: The great Matthew Stafford could not do what Matt Ryan just did to TB. Stafford was awful the following week in a 47-7 drubbing of the Lions by TB.
-- Leonard Fournette (14-49-2, 3-16-0/5) looked terrible again for Tampa Bay too. He got very lucky that the Bucs hit longer passes that got guys tackled at the 1-yard line to set up the two short TD opportunities. Without the short TDs, this would have been a mess and you wouldn’t want to start him Week 16.
However, TB always gets down to the 1-yard line somehow in games and Fournette could cash in lucky again…and facing Detroit is a safe matchup for sure.
*2021 NOTE: 9-34-1 vs. sad DET...another 'meh' from Fournette, but he did get the TD.
-- The Falcons have named Ito Smith (6-24-0, 2-9-0) the official lead back, according to Raheem Morris. Two things about this…
1) He looks good. He looks spry and is giving a good effort. I wouldn’t hate on him. He’s not the worst. Not the greatest, but not terrible.
2) Facing the Chiefs this upcoming game – most opposing teams try to run to keep Mahomes off the field. If that happens Week 16 ATL at KC…Ito could/should see 12+ carries and a few targets. He might be a shock RB1 if he can find the end zone once.
*2021 NOTE: Ito went a dull 10-46-0, 1-5-0 vs. KC...as the new starter.
-- Antonio Brown PPR PPG since debuting for TB Week 9 = 6-14-14-3-10-20. It’s not terrible, despite playing about half a game only rotating in and out with the game flow. Not the worst WR3/Flex -- if you had to go there Week 16…vs. DET…indoors.
In that same span (since Week 9), the PPR points for Chris Godwin (4-54-0/4) in games = 7-15-18-18-5-14. Pretty stable/solid. WR1.5-2.0 work mostly.
-- Rob Gronkowski (3-29-0/4) PPR points in games since Week 9, as well = 1-13-5-17-7-6. Trending downward but still some spike TE1 games in there.
-- Russell Gage (5-68-1/10) vs. Chris Godwin vs. Antonio Brown in PPR points in a game since (starting with) Week 11:
14-14-03-10-20 = AB (12.2 PPR PPG)
15-18-18-05-14 = Godwin (14.0 PPR PPG)
13-06-15-19-18 = Gage (14.2 PPR PPG)
*2021 NOTE: We talk about Gage a lot in this year's Draft Guide...
-- Hayden Hurst (4-21-1/5) has been single digit PPR points in a game scoring for several weeks before this game, a TD boosting him here to break the streak. I don’t think he’s a real TE1 option for Week 16 because of this TD event. I just don’t see any urgency to make him part of the offense.
*2021 NOTE: I wonder how Hurst felt seeing Kyle Pitts drafted...
ANY 2021 FUTURE THOUGHTS (Dynasty Offseason or Stash Items):
-- Ke’Shawn Vaughn (2-4-0, 0-0-0/1) entered the game midway into the 1st-half beating and had a shot to maybe steal the touches the rest of the way had he gotten hot. Instead, he dropped an easy throw on his first play. His third touch of his one series, he tripped over his own feet for a 0-yard run. He quickly came out of the game and I’m not sure I saw him in after that.
Vaughn will be the 3rd-down back and handcuff to Ronald Jones in 2021 if Arians is there. If Brady is running the team, it will be James White in Tampa with Jones.
*2021 NOTE: Brady went with Gio Bernard over James White.
Remember when KeShawn Vaughn was the future of the TB backfield...Arians's 'David Johnson' like back? Yeah, right.
-- Carlton Davis (9 tackles, 1 PD) is the Bucs best cover corner, but he’s gone from dominating the 1st-half of the season to getting wrecked by opposing WRs since Week 9…something happened/he got hurt…I’m not sure what happened.
As Davis has fallen the TB pass defense has been blown up.
Davis is actually hurt/now out Week 16…opening the door wider for Marvin Jones.
SNAP COUNTS OF INTEREST:
31 = Ito Smith
16 = Gurley
15 = Br Hill
45 = Fournette
12 = McCoy
10 = K Vaughn
60 = Godwin
55 = Mk Evans
32 = A Brown
13 = Sc Miller
11 = Tyler Johnson
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