Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: 2020 Season NFC Divisional Playoff – Packers 32, Rams 18
*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.
This game was a rarity…it went EXACTLY how everyone thought it would. The cold Lambeau field would bother and help bottle up the Rams offense and the Packers would play in it like it was a home dome. The Rams ran the ball a bunch but never really heated up in their offense and lost the time of possession battle 36/24. And Aaron Rodgers looked like he was in his prime and the Packers pulled ahead in the 2nd-quarter and never relinquished the lead. There was never a fear the Rams would get back into this/win it…and they didn’t.
The Rams will now go into an offseason being knocked by the media and will be a team at a crossroads – a very veteran, expensive unit where hard decisions are coming down…and the Rams could win the NFC West next year or finish last. The Rams organization sits at a crossroad, losing momentum (and assistant coaches), and stuck in a very tough NFC West.
The Packers continue to cruise in the league’s easiest division and best winter home field advantage. With the 2020 49ers wiped out by mass injury, this season has set up and has played perfectly for Green Bay.
You have to hand it to Matt LaFleur. After a bit of a rocky relationship start with Aaron Rodgers, LaFleur is settling in and just whooped his mentor Sean McVay. One more game to go to get Aaron Rodgers back to the Super Bowl. The Florida-based Bucs, fresh off playing in a dome, are going to Green Bay for another ‘feels like’ 25 +/- degrees. ADVANTAGE Packers over Brees or Brady in that.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Now, we have the pure joy of entering an offseason listening to/reading about how bad Jared Goff (21-27 for 174 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) is and how the Rams should move on from him.
1) Jared Goff does not suck, no matter how passionately people say it – the cool thing among analysts is to talk about how Goff is secretly really bad/useless, all a concoction of the great Sean McVay.
Hopefully, you won’t remember all these analysts who have disliked Goff since his rookie year…they were all passionately for Carson Wentz as so much better than Goff coming into the NFL together, and every season since…except they conveniently stopped talking about it about the middle of the 2020 season.
2) The Rams can’t trade Goff if they wanted to. For two reasons…(a) he is owed way too much money to move. (b) because of the analyst mood against him – no team is chasing after Goff.
The Rams lost at Lambeau to Aaron Rodgers…oh, my God…the sky is falling. Dump Goff and write off the $65M and start John Wolford in 2021!! Yeah, that makes sense. Goff has won the most games as a QB the past three years, if I saw the stat right…but, please – let’s bench/cut him for John Wolford.
Get ready for half-baked Rams trades for Deshaun Watson the next few weeks/months…
How does (almost) everyone feel like Watson has had a better NFL career than Goff? Because NFL analysis is 97% emotion and groupthink.
Regardless of the debate on good/bad Goff really is, it’s all about what Sean McVay thinks…and I believe McVay is tipping his hand – he’s ready to move on from Goff. Someone has to take the blame for the Rams fall from grace since their Super Bowl appearance…and it sure isn’t going to be McVay.
When the Atlanta Falcons faded after their Super Bowl season…Dan Quinn went onto the hot seat three years later, and he and the GM were dumped. Doug Pederson and the Eagles slow faded from their Super Bowl win – Pederson is now gone. The Rams fading away since their Super Bowl appearance – not Sean McVay’s fault at all, nor the GMs…despite the ridiculous deal (and then buyout) they gave to Todd Gurley, and the fact they are in the bottom five for worst CAP situations going into 2021.
I think Sean McVay senses the slide plus knows they are handcuffed on the CAP with tough decisions to make (as many do). McVay is getting out in front of the 2021 problem by setting up for it to be a Goff issue, which is smart because the media (and thus the fans) hate Goff. It will be a great distraction from all the other Rams’ management issues.
Remember this truth (that makes no logical sense):
1) When the Rams/Goff succeeds…it is the power of Sean McVay creating it with some special genius and play calling.
2) When the Rams/Goff fail…it has nothing to do with McVay’s coaching and play calling.
The biggest problem the Rams have – a terrible GM who should have been shot for sticking with Jeff Fisher so long, and who got a reprieve with McVay injecting life into the team his first two seasons…but now the Rams are crumbling under the weight of their CAP decisions. No playoffs 2019 for the Rams…after a 2018 Super Bowl appearance. Almost botched their 2020 playoff make in the end. 2021 is shaping up to be another missed playoff year.
The Rams have had management problems for most of the last decade, swept under the rug by a sweet 2017-2018 run…but the media is ignoring mostly failure and mismanagement more than not for 10+ years and has already decided it is all Jared Goff’s fault.
Who will be the first to debate the question, and when will it happen -- Is Sean McVay a great coordinator type but not a great head coach/CEO? No crime in being a great coordinator. I’m not saying McVay is an awful head coach, but if the Rams go (5-11) next year…I think the questioning begins to leak out on McVay and GM Les Snead.
I think McVay has a Les Snead problem more than anything…
-- My best, and only, bet of this game was Cam Akers’ (18-90-1, 1-6-0/1) prop bet of 16.5 carries ‘over’. I was cruising into that win, but it ended up looking close as the Rams went all pass late. The rookie RB having the most sway over his head coach is Cam Akers, and there’s no one even close.
You could make the argument Akers is the top 2020 rookie RB to have for FF going into 2021.
I’m not going invest in on it, and I’ll explain why in our current 2018-19-20 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft going on in our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball and CFM subscriber areas before the end of the month. But I don’t blame anyone who wants in on it – he owns Sean McVay in a way rare few RBs do – which is another McVay ‘problem’ of decision making.
-- Interesting RB touch distribution for Green Bay…
A.J. Dillon (6-27-0) took the second carry of the game…after breaking out Week 16 (vs. TEN in the snow) and then getting stiffed on touches in Week 17. AJD was then in and out in various spots and later fumbled (and disappeared after that).
Interesting that Dillon got touches so early in this game, but on any goal line opps…no Dillon (who is built for the goal line). The Week 16 to Week 17 to 1st playoff game touches and the random Dillon confidence and then lack thereof – I don’t know what Matt LaFleur’s real thought on Dillon is – but it’s looking better lately than the nothing early on the 2020 season.
Aaron Jones (14-99-1, 1-14-0/2) was the star once again, but shared a good amount of time/touches with Jamaal Williams (12-65-0), and Dillon. Jones is a free agent to-be and I’m not sure if Green Bay is letting him walk or not, and if they do – will they commit to Dillon, and if so…how much touch commitment?
All things to explore this offseason.
-- No Cooper Kupp gave rise to Van Jefferson (6-46-1/7) having his ‘breakout’ performance of the 2020 season.
Van Jefferson is the Rams’ hoped-for Robert Woods replacement in 2022…
Jefferson will begin replacing free agent Josh Reynolds in the 2021 season.
-- Two of the top tackles-per-snap guys of the 2020 season faced off here…and both led their teams in tackles.
Troy Reeder (13 tackles, 1 PD) has basically had double-digit tackles in games every time he starts. If he starts for the Rams at ILB in 2021…he would be the odds-on favorite to lead the league in tackles. I’m just not sure where the Rams are with Micah Kizer v. Reeder…given there is a new D-C headed their way.
Krys Barnes (10 tackles, 1 PD) has been among the leaders in tackles per snap all season. He usually starts but doesn’t play but half or so of the snaps.
Mike Pettine has certainly secured his 2021 return as D-C, and he seems to be a Barnes guy…the UDFA out of UCLA has come out of nowhere. I didn’t see this possible in pre-Draft scouting of Barnes.
-- Speaking of the Green Bay defense…
They flashed some graphics on the TV screen in-game that the Packers defense is like top 10-15 in every key category this season. So why has everyone been wanting D-C Mike Pettine fired? He’s a very good defensive coordinator and person.
The last 10 games, the Packers have allowed in games (in regulation): 17-20-31-25-16-24-16-14-16-18 points (19.7 PPG allowed).
Snaps of Interest:
62 = Davante
54 = Lazard
36 = MVS
32 = St. Brown
47 = A Jones
28 = J. Williams
09 = AJ Dillon
33 = Higbee
27 = Everett
51 = Akers
02 = M Brown
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