Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: 2020 Season AFC Wild Card – Bills 27, Colts 24
*Just like our in-regular-season coverage, we’ll be analyzing all of the playoff games for Dynasty/Fantasy purposes…with an eye on 2021 valuation changes, etc. During this time, I’m watching the tape and writing up an analysis on NFL Draft prospect scouting studies and prepping/studying for the Senior Bowl (still on for now) – so, I’m typing out my thoughts/notes quickly and not hardcore editing. Forgive any typos/grammar, etc.
I could give two different types of analysis, and neither be wrong/both have some legitimacy…
1) The Bills are lucky to have slipped by the Colts. Indy had several opportunities to seize this game, and they played it perfectly, strangle-holding time of possession the first 3 quarters of the game.
2) The Bills were not lucky, they just showed how great they are – because when things weren’t going their way early, as drives were being sustained against them…Buffalo’s defense found ways to halt key 4th & 1s or stopping drives for a field goal attempt instead of a TD. And on offense, when they got down…Josh Allen pulled them right back into it without any real panic at the slow start.
Honestly, both angles/analyses are true – the Colts could’ve/should’ve won to some eyes, but the Bills were not going to let that happen, which makes them the better squad in other eyes.
I felt like the Bills were a little tense/uptight as ‘the favorites’ at first. Playing a little bit ‘not to lose’…but once this Colts gained momentum and it started to feel like maybe the Bills were in trouble – Josh Allen kinda took over and Buffalo never really got away from its norm, and they just punched their way, confidently, back into it and won.
The Colts played about as well as they could, but in the end – the Bills are just better than the Colts. The better team won.
Buffalo goes on to face PIT?
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First note has to be about Josh Allen (26-35 for 324 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 11-54-1)…
I’ll keep saying it, and no one outside of a homer Buffalo Bills fan will (and most of them won’t go as far) – Josh Allen is the current best QB in the NFL. He’s throwing like Mahomes, in style and effectiveness, but the X-factor is that Allen can power run the ball to change the game…Mahomes cannot do that.
How our computer models will value Allen v. Mahomes v. anyone else in Dynasty valuation this offseason is going to be my item of most interest this offseason. Mahomes has been running as the top dog/near top dog in our system evaluations (depending upon scoring parameters) for two years straight…might Allen bump him off?
Our first 2021 Dynasty offseason valuations/rankings will be out after the Super Bowl.
-- I do not like Philip Rivers (27-46 for 309 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) as a football player. Always whining and gyrating around. Always throwing floater passes that look like they have no chance of landing (but they do, a lot/enough). However, I gotta hand it to him – after a rough start to the 2020 season, he was strong to the finish and played about as well as he could in this game…and nearly grabbed the upset.
Football players rarely/never leave on a high note…they have to crash and burn and be ‘forced’ out of the league in some ways. Rivers looks like he can be effective in 2021 for the Colts. I’m sure they’ll have him back if he wants to.
The Colts aren’t going any further than the wild card, or 1-2 rounds of the playoffs at best with him…but that’s better than most teams could do in 2021.
-- Michael Pittman (5-90-0/10) looked like Rivers’ favorite WR this day, and maybe that momentum continues into 2021…but I’m suspect of it. I believe Parris Campbell will be Rivers (if he’s back) #1 target in games in 2021. It’s an easier throw for Rivers.
Rivers and Pittman look too much like Rivers and Tyrell Williams to me, from back in the San Diego Chargers days, but Rivers-Tyrell was always very spotty/streaky/lower targeting but had random big play potential. For fantasy, I want a lot of targets and everything else that goes with it…I want the Rivers-to-Keenan pairing not Rivers-to-Tyrell one.
Week 1, Campbell had 6 catches on 9 targets for 71 yards plus a run for 9 yards. The next week, Parris got hurt and out for the season.
Pittman has star qualities, but I fear he’s going to wind up a deep ball guy more than a Rivers #1 throw…more Mike Williams than Keenan Allen, using more Chargers parallels.
-- I love Jonathan Taylor (21-78-1, 2-6-0/4), but I live in fear that Frank Reich is going to undermine Taylor with too much RBBC rotation. He did that a little bit early in this game, but for the most part he was leaning on Taylor…as he’s been for weeks.
12.6 carries, 0.44 TDs per game = Weeks 1-9
20.0 carries, 1.3 TDs per game = Weeks 10-17+playoff
Taylor is probably going into redraft 2021 as a top 10-12/1st-round pick/rank for most analysts, I suspect. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is probably not…
-- The Buffalo Bills have two achilles heels at the moment…
1) Their pass rush is very weak and may be the thing that keeps them out of the Super Bowl. They had all of one QB hit against Rivers in this game, no sacks.
The Bills are a pass rush away from being a truly dominant team in the 2021 season…I’m sure that will be their focus in the offseason.
2) They are over-smitten with below-average rookie RB talent Zack Moss (7-21-0, 4-26-0/4). Every time Moss touches the ball it’s like a negative event waiting to happen. He botched/weas squashed on a 3rd & 1 early on in the game (because he is so slow/lacks any burst) and later nearly fumbled away a play that could’ve turned the game…and he got hurt on that near-fumble play and was not really seen again (which actually helped the Bills).
I’m a huge Sean McDermott fan, but his push of Moss over Devin Singletary (3-21-0, 3-23-0/3) for touches in games is a problem. I’d feel better about the Bills’ Super Bowl run if Moss were out the rest of the playoffs.
-- John Brown (0-0-0/4) has played his way out of Buffalo in 2020…constantly hurt and then disappointing off-and-on when in. He’s not doing anything special any rookie couldn’t do…and I mention a ‘rookie’ because of the payroll/cap cost.
Brown’s 2021 contract will cost the Bills $9.8M if they keep him…or they can cut him for ‘just’ a $1.6M hit. He’s either taking a massive pay cut or he’s gone elsewhere in 2021.
Gabriel Davis (4-85-0/4) might take his spot, but I think they look to draft a speedster (to open up the field more, like Brown used to) and split Davis with another WR.
-- It’s the little things with Buffalo, the way they were built…the way they are run (best combination HC and personnel guy in the NFL = Sean McDermott). Another example: Tyler Bass (2/2 FGs, 3/3 XPs).
Bass hit a clutch 54-yard FG in the 4th-quarter that really was the big moment in this game (that will be forgotten as such). Bass was drafted in the 6th-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, when the Bills had successful veteran kicker Steven Hauschka – but he was expensive. Buffalo cut Hauschka and turned things over to the rookie Bass –a gutsy move with a playoff contender team.
Bass responded by being the #3 kicker in all of Fantasy scoring PPG in 2020. He was #1 from Week 7-17 in PPG among PKs.
I remember scouting, in a minor sense, Bass at the 2020 Senior Bowl because he just stood out different from all the kickers I had watched there and what I had seen at the East-West Shrine, etc., and then when watching the drafted kickers on tape after the draft, for the upcoming fantasy season.
Three kickers were drafted in 2020…
#159…Justin Rohrwasser by NE – he never played a game all season.
#188…Tyler Bass by BUF, now one of the better kickers in the league
#248…Sam Sloman, by the Rams, cut and bounced around the league all season.
Again, Sean McDermott is just better at this than Bill Belichick or the other 30 guys now.
Snap Counts of Interest:
57 = John Brown (97% share, leading all Buffalo WRs)
41 = Beasley
32 = G Davis
39 = Singletary
20 = Moss
74 = Pascal
73 = Pittman
57 = TY Hilton
48 = Taylor
32 = Hines
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I know the mainstream football analysis is going to butcher this year’s class even worse than normal – because they are going to blindly favor big school prospects more than ever, because those schools will have the only names they are truly familiar with, and it’s just the ‘name’ they are familiar with not their ‘game’. They’ll ‘hive mind’ run with whatever names the collective seems to be buzzing about – because they don’t put in the work, they just echo things they’ve heard. I’m not saying that to be a jerk – it’s the open window of opportunity (their failure) that I was able to build my career/business upon.
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