2022 REWIND: 2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 9: Chargers 27, Eagles 24
I’ve started re-reading back through my 2021 game reports looking for good and bad scouting instincts on things I might have lost track of, whether for Fantasy or just the team in general. I especially wanted to focus on the L.A. Chargers’ 2021 season…because my first computer simulation of the season showed them as the 2022 Super Bowl champs. From not making the playoffs in 2021 to the Super Bowl in 2022.
The Chargers didn’t change their coaching staff this offseason and they didn’t overhaul much of their offensive core, but they have dramatically boosted their defense this offseason. So, in theory, this team should be gelling and taking a step forward from a 9-win team last season to what I think will be a division winner and serious Super Bowl contender this season. At a minimum, it’s a playoff team (if Herbert stays healthy).
For some summer reading material, I’ll be looking back at my Chargers’ game reports from last season week-by-week and writing some instant reaction notes (forgive any typos) to what I’m re-reading and then publishing that full 2021 game recap for LAC from each week of 2021 season WITH the 2022 reaction notes.
We’ll start with Week 1 and go through each game week, one game post per day for the next 16-17 days.
Hard fought game and victory for the Chargers…on the road, west-to-east coast trip, missing two starting CBs…and they held off Philly and won at the buzzer on a field goal. Both teams played well, but when it was crunch time – Justin Herbert led a drive down to the red zone and ran the clock out for a game winning FG.
The Chargers are now (5-3), in a 1st-place tie in the AFC West…but a loss from last place. The LAC schedule eases up now, so the division is theirs for the taking if they can get healthy on defense. The Chargers should be headed to 11-12 wins and that should put them as likely division winners.
The Eagles fall to (3-6), but they too have a schedule ease ahead…but the Eagles are not as good a team to capitalize on it like the Chargers. Philly projects to 7-8 wins, but 9 wins is on the board…with 7 most likely the outcome.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = Wrong by like 2 wins for either team...LAC didn't get to 11 wins, they hit 9...and did not win the AFC West. Philly didn;t land at 7 wins...they also hit 9 wins, and made the playoffs. If you would've told me, after watching this game/week last year at this time that LAC would NOT make the playoffs but the Eagles would -- I wouldn't have accepted it. You gotta love the NFL.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I thought Jordan Howard (17-71-1) started this game, but he didn’t Boston Scott (10-40-0) did…but it was Howard who came in soon after and was rotating with Scott, and JoHo was the FAR superior back and he just kinda was the hot hand and Philly (smartly) went with it. Howard looked fantastic, as usual…so, you know, as soon as Miles Sanders returns (likely Week 11)…Howard goes back to the practice squad where no other team will notice he’s there and try and claim him.
Boston Scott will start Week 10, but who know who leads Philly in touches from there between he and Howard. I’d guess Howard, but that’s just a guess.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = Scott and Howard would go on to form one of the best backfields of 2021, but as soon as Philly could -- they went back to Sanders/Gainwell because 'the way things are supposed to be'. What is Philly planning for 2022? Sanders and Gainwell, of course.
-- What’s wrong with Mike Williams (2-58-0/5)?
I didn’t see anything problematic with the way he was moving around. He had three TD shots in this game but none of them worked out…a fade that didn’t work from short distance, a tunnel screen at the goal line that Herbert threw 150mph through his hands, and another goal line shot where Williams either turned the wrong way or Herbert had the wrong interpretation and it was throw 180 degrees opposite of where Williams broke his route to.
It definitely wasn’t a great game for MW, but had he cashed in on TD then it would have been a decent FF output. He doesn’t look hurt. It just felt like Darius Slay was doing a good job on him WITH Keenan Allen (12-104-0/13) going off on the other CBs, so there was no need to push it to anyone else. Herbert’s first throw to Allen was 10-feet over his head…and then they connected on their next 12 passes with no incompletions.
I’m not down on Mike Williams but I’m certainly not thrilled with his recent fall down in numbers. I see no reason why he can’t pump back up but all of us will be worried until we see him breakthrough again. Half+ of his recent decline came with him really hurt. But the last two games he looks mostly healthy/good.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = We've beaten this death in this series, but it is one of the biggest issues to try and re-remember, and/or solve from LAC 2021...is Big Mike a superstar, WR1 who fell off due to injury...or was the first 3-4-5 games of 2021 season a blip and Big Mike is a WR2 who always gets hurt?
-- You know who impresses me? Donald Parham (3-39-1/3). He’s slimming down and moving quicker and is really catching the ball well…catching it smoothly and at all angles. He’s likely going to be in this split role with Jared Cook (4-48-0/4) and Stephen Anderson (4-39-1/4) all 2021, but Parham is becoming the best looking of the group, to me.
A couple random Parham notes…
3 TD catches in his last 5 games…the 8th most among TEs. More TD catches this season than Waller-Gesicki-Hockenson-Goedert-Higbee-Engram…and Jared Cook.
17 games played in the NFL with at least one target…6 TD catches…6 TDs in his 20 career catches.
50.0% catch rate in 2020…when he was just a fade/alley-oop guy in the end zone. In 2021, as he becomes more of a real TE, he’s caught 83.3% of his targets this season to date.
Tre McKitty landed in the wrong spot for FF…
*2022 JUNE NOTE = ...and, of course, the Chargers pulled back the reigns on Parham the rest of the season and tried to feature Cook-Anderson more...if you wanted one of the 3-4 reasons why LAC fell short in 2021 season...it was their illogical tie to Jared Cook, a la the Eagles insufferable attachment to Miles Sanders. Cook was rarely open and dropped several key passes in 2021 season.
-- Chargers TE Steven Anderson (4-39-1/4) popped up with a blip game here. LAC used him wisely leaking out off of blocks, in motion in the backfield like a H-back/FB in the flat, etc. I don’t think anything is developing here, just Philly is bad against the TE with their random linebackers and LAC targeted Keenan Allen 13 times, the TE group 11 times, and Mike Williams just 5 times.
Which brings it home more that Mike Williams is not worthy of the Kupp-Davante-Tyreek-Pittman class right now…LAC/Herbert is spreading it around game plan to game plan, and not desperately leaning on Mike for everything.
The funny thing is – opposing teams don’t think so, they are throwing their best coverage at Big Mike…and then Herbert is just rocking them everywhere else, smartly.
-- Speaking of Justin Herbert (32-38 for 356 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT)…I guess his hand injury was OK? He completed 84.2% of his passes here and just had his way with the Eagles secondary. Philly’s pass defense has racked great numbers against the weak and been obliterated by the strong QBs. This game was another example.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = We nailed this PHI DST trend multiple times last season.
-- I thought this was a solid game of Jalen Hurts (11-17 for 162 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 10-62-0) playing Jalen Hurts ball…he’s the better all-around Lamar Jackson but doesn’t get the credit for it for two reasons:
(1) He doesn’t have the flashy highlight moves running the ball as Lamar but is as/more effective with his strong style vs. Lamar’s flashy style.
(2) Lamar was a Heisman winner, 1st-round pick…he was supposed to be good. Hurts was drafted higher than the media proclaimed, so that’s a problem…then Hurts came in and was better than their Tua…that’s another media problem. So, all the mainstream media has done is attack Hurts and wonder aloud if they should bench him and mock 2022 NFL Draft QBs to Philly.
In 2021 season, through 9 weeks:
2,809 total yards, 15 total TDs, 10 total turnovers = Lamar Jackson (8 games)
2,475 total yards, 16 total TDs, 5 total turnovers = Jalen Hurts (9 games)
Yet, the media pushes us the narrative of Lamar as a top MVP candidate…and Hurts a top candidate to be benched.
Hurts is playing for his job/life every week. If he loses two games in a row ahead, I’m not sure he starts the next game after that. For his sake, I hope he keeps winning.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = Did I lie? Hurts has surpassed Lamar in everyone's mind...I mean, everyone in Fantasy's mind. The media still worships Lamar like the false god he is...but regular, normal, logical people have moved on...they people who still think Miles Sanders is a great NFL RB talent still think Lamar Jackson is the best mobile QB. He isn't.
We're all wrapped up in Lamar 'getting paid'. Why happens if Jalen Hurts has a bumped up season in 2022, and Philly wins the NFC East? Shouldn't Jalen make more than Lamar? Didn't think of that...did you Philly fans? I know...you're too busy scouting the 2023 QB draft class for possible Hurts' replacements to think about it.
-- PHI DT Javon Hargrave (3 tackles) seasonal splits…
Weeks 1-5 = 5.4 total tackles, 1.2 sacks, 1.8 TFLs per game
Weeks 6-10 = 4.0 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0.0 TFLs per game
He’s getting doubled…and he’s just running out of IDP juice, apparently.
*2022 JUNE NOTE = Was awesome those first 5 weeks and then really disappeared the rest of the season...very odd. Has Jordan Davis to run with now.
-- Solid game from the LAC defense…despite missing two starting corners (M. Davis, A. Samuel) and still missing Kenneth Murray to help with their run game woes.
The LAC-DST has mediocre numbers/NFL rankings in part because they haven’t had a schedule break all season except Week 1 vs. WSH (held them to 16 pts and 259 total yards).
They have some breaks ahead if they get their CBs back healthy (which they should):
Week 11 hosting PIT is great. *2022 JUNE NOTE = gave up 37 points and was not 'great'.
Week 12 at Denver should be really good. *2022 JUNE NOTE = gave up 28 pts in a loss...and was not 'really good'.
PIT and DEN want to run the ball but have some of the worst run blocking O-Lines in the league.
Week 14 hosting NYG could be good depending on the NYG health of their weapons. *2022 JUNE NOTE = held them to 21 pts...gave up junk late ruining a great game unfolding (for FF).
Week 16 at HOU should be sweet at just the right FF time. *2022 JUNE NOTE = gave up 41 pts and embarrassed themselves and basically lost their playoff trip here...and was not 'sweet'.
Hosting DEN Week 17. *2022 JUNE NOTE = squashed DEN, holding to 13 pts.
The schedule is tipping in their favor. We’ll see if they can take advantage. I still say it’s a viable defense for your Arizona pairings on matchups, but I’m not pounding my fist on the desk for it. *2022 JUNE NOTE = Thank the Lord that I was not pounding my fist on it...and Arizona collapsed right in here too. We went elsewhere in reality this time last season.
Snap Counts of Interest:
55 = Quez
44 = DeVonta
29 = Reagor
25 = B Scott
23 = Jo Howard
11 = Gainwell
53 = Goedert
14 = Tyree Jackson
31 = Stv Anderson
29 = J Cook
28 = Parham
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