Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: 2020 Season AFC Wild Card – Rams 30, Seahawks 20
*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.
Let’s just speak the words out loud…
The Seattle Seahawks lost a home game (albeit the no fans thing) to Josh Wolford starting at QB against them and then when they knocked Wolford out of the game, the QB everybody (national media) hates/thinks is terrible comes in relief with a freshly repaired broken hand (hurt so bad he couldn’t start) and then the broken-handed, hated QB helps push the lead and eventual victory over Russell Wilson and he-acts-so-young-for-his-age Pete Carroll.
Why are people so enamored with Pete Carroll, I have no idea. But they should start asking some hard questions after the way this team played/finished the season and then how they possibly could lose this playoff game. The Seahawks are (1-3) in the past four years in the postseason. They possess Russell Wilson, and yet are not getting any better since their Super Bowl season.
At times this 2020 season, you could say that Seattle had the worst defense (1st-half of the campaign) and then the worst O-Line (almost all year) in the NFL. A broken O-Line and a soft defense…that’s not a recipe for success, and there is little roster hope going into 2021 that it will get any better. Pete Carroll is in charge of the personnel decisions and head coaching, so he’s going to be on the hook to fix it. I don’t think he can…he hasn’t for years, it has only gotten worse.
I believe Carroll has been propped up by Russell Wilson like Mike McCarthy was given a career by Aaron Rodgers, and Mike Tomlin by Big Ben.
Pete Carroll is an ‘NFL guy’. He’s protected, a made man…everyone ‘loves’ him. He’s going nowhere anytime soon. I wouldn’t be shocked if GM John Schneider saw the current writing on the wall and bailed before the bottom falls out and drags his reputation down with it.
I can’t wait for an entire offseason of ‘Russ cooking’ jokes. Which means another offseason of me saying – you realize the cook-blocker is Pete Carroll, right? If all of Seattle’s problems is their stupid offensive ways, and everyone knows this…then that is Pete Carroll’s plan/desire…so why aren’t the ‘Russ cookers’ going after the source of the issue – Pete Carroll? Instead, they deify him perpetually.
Good riddance from the playoffs, Pete. Now, go get back in the kitchen. Or don’t. I’m not fully sure how these ‘Russ cooking’ jokes work anymore. I just know it’s top-notch football analysis to say it over and over.
Several weeks ago, as everyone pushed Kansas City vs. Green Bay, I thought the Rams and the Bills might be on a collision course for the Super Bowl…the two best teams in football (to my eyes). Then the Rams lost to the Jets and Seattle and looked terrible doing it…and then lost Jared Goff and then backed into the playoffs when Kyler Murray was hurt 1st-series Week 17.
The Rams go on to face Green Bay…the other QB-saves-the-franchise-from-looking-stupid team. I want to take the Rams but putting L.A. in ‘feels like’ the teens for temps on the slippery Lambeau Field…you have to favor Green Bay.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Russell Wilson’s (11-27 for 174 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) swan song from early season MVP to playoff failure…
26 TDs/6 INTs, four 300+ passing yard games = Weeks 1-8 (7 games)
16 TDs/8 INTs, one 300+ yard passing games = Weeks 9-17 + playoff (10 games…just 1.6 passing TDs per game)
From Week 11 on, Wilson’s passing yards in a game…
There should be some SERIOUS changes in Seattle at Offensive Coordinator and O-Line coach, but there won’t be. If there is not…Wilson has to be seen as a fringe top 10-12 fantasy QB for 2021. The new wave of young QBs and Tom Brady are passing Wilson/Carroll by.
Speaking of Brady…that’s likely what is happening to Russ – stuck in an ancient offense with a stuck-in-his-ways coach that tries to micromanage the offense to victory for years, and works a good amount for wins (because Wilson bails it out late a lot), so the head coach sees no reason to change, but then they never get close to the Super Bowl despite making the playoffs over and over…and the QB eventually gets fed up and forces a change of scenery to get ‘control’ of the offense somewhere away from their long time old school coach…and they go and flourish. How did New England’s offense look without Brady in 2020? How did Brady look in Tampa Bay?
-- Part of Russ’s downfall was the figuring out of D.K. Metcalf (5-96-2/11) by the NFL. The NFL has figured out what the SEC did his senior year…don’t play in his face/play way off of him, let him run his route, assume he’s going deep and backpedal deep into coverage off the snap…if that forces him to the inside/short then great because he’s likely to drop that pass, but for sure won’t be an 80-yard TD probability.
DKM had four targets in the 1st-half…
1) Over the middle catch and then dropped it as he got hit.
2) A screen set up that was figured out ahead and wound up a Rams pick-six.
3) A broken play right before half, and Metcalf slid from over-the-middle to releasing deep on a Wilson scramble from trouble and no one accounted for him and an easy TD throw.
4) A simple 9-yard pass in a prevent type mode before the half.
He didn’t catch a pass in the 3rd-quarter as the game slipped away.
He caught a junk/garbage time short TD with 2:28 left in the game.
Since Week 10 (9 games), Metcalf has one 100+ yard game and 4 TDs (two in this game). He’s been held under 50 yards in four of these last 9 games.
Five official drops in his last 7 games, but I’d say it’s more like 7-8 drops.
In the past three games, 14 catches on 28 targets…50.0% connection rate on his targets.
The Metcalf who I (and many) feared has started to become a reality the 2nd-half of 2020 season. He’s going to have to develop an interior game or he’s going to slide off into ‘deep threat decoy’ guy. His ‘best in class’ 1st-half was just a flash in the pan because he got figured out.
-- Regardless of what I think, and I can tell you right now I’m not buying in to him in 2021 (much like David Montgomery…I’ll sit on the sidelines), Cam Akers (28-131-1, 2-45-0/2) is absolutely ‘the guy’ for Sean McVay into the future.
So much so ‘the guy’, I probably have to rethink my position…like I did on David Montgomery. I still despise Montgomery as an NFL RB, but after the hype cleared and the prices fell to start 2020 season, I was grabbing him some in redrafts because the price was too beneficial/cheap -- for a guy the coaches are enslaved to/worship and who FF owners/NFL fans are told to love. Akers is the new David Montgomery, only more talented and with a better team/coaches.
It doesn’t matter what I think of Montgomery, or James Conner/Bennie Snell, or Chris Carson, etc. When a head coach loves a running back (Michael Bolton should’ve just come to mind) – absolutely NOTHING will get in the way of it or make them reconsider or change their ways – only the RB getting hurt for the season so they have absolutely no access to them.
Cam Akers became ‘the guy’ Week 13 of 2020 season…21 carries against Arizona. Over his final 5 games, Akers carried the ball as much/more than Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor did in similar spans. Akers carries in each game from Week 13 on: 21-29-15-21-28 (22.8 per game).
Scouting talent at RB does not matter as much as scouting the eternal bond between a head coach and his favorite running back (for FF purposes). Cam Akers has entered that realm. The fact he averaged 4.1 yards per carry becoming ‘the guy’ doesn’t matter. The fact that most of his carries are 0-3 yard events doesn’t matter. All that matters is the ‘bond’ between RB and HC, and Akers has that on a top 5 level…and it won’t break this offseason.
-- No one finds this fascinating but me, but indulge me for a moment…
The Rams ditched Greg Zuerlein going into this season and had an open kicking competition including their drafted (one of 3 kickers drafted in 2020) PK’s, Sam Sloman.
In season 2020, the Rams went from Sloman…to Kai Forbath…to Matt Gay (3/3 FGs, 3/3 XPs).
Here’s the thing…Matt Gay was one of the highest drafted kickers of the past decade at pick #145 in 2019 by Tampa Bay. Gay kicked all 2019 and had a pretty solid season. However, he got released before the 2020 season in favor of Ryan Succop, in a somewhat shocking/strange move. Gay then sat idle for several weeks on waivers, while all kinds of teams had kicking issues and brought in all kinds of kickers not named Matt Gay.
In desperation, the Rams added Gay midseason and then elevated him Week 11. All he’s done since then is go 17-of-19 on his FG attempts for L.A., including 12 of his last 12. He’s also hit 100% of his XPs. He’s a great prospect, has a booming leg – how in the world did this guy go from highly drafted to no one interested?
…to picked up due to an emergency…to then a top NFL kicker down the stretch?
The NFL personnel people are just smarter than you and I, is all.
Jacksonville literally went through 118 kickers by Week 8…no one there thought to try Matt Gay out as an option. Hmmm. (1-15) season and GM/President and Head Coach fired. Shocker.
-- SEA rookie OLB Jordyn Brooks (8 tackles) moved into a starting role Week 13 and he played/produced better and better as the season wore on.
His final 6 games, since Week 13, Brooks averaged 6.3 total tackles per game, and that was only him playing just 30-75% of the snaps most of those games. And even one game with no tackles in that span.
Brooks is a talent and will likely be the full snap count starter in 2021…and should be a top 25-30 IDP LB producer if so…with upside.
48 = C Carson
17 = Hyde
35 = Hollister
34 = Dissly
08 = Olsen
53 = Akers
20 = M Brown
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It’s going to be a scouting NFL Draft season like no other – some top prospects opting out of their final college season, a unique schedule for CFB teams to have played, a different type of bowl season…a whole new backdrop to scout against. An experienced, talented scouting eye is going to rule. I have 10+ years of successful CFM scouting and analytics to lean on – I’m ready for the challenge.
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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