I'm going back through some team notes from games last season, and in the following/current year I like to pick a few teams and post all their game recaps in order and make a few, quick new year/season observations -- and it gives us some spring/summer reading material when football news is slow.
The first team I selected to post from 2018 season -- the Kansas City Chiefs (see all on FFM). The second team we're going to walk through -- the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are wildly interesting...now. It's interesting to go back and walk through the season, because it was so sad to start...because they almost beat PIT-NO right out of the gates, but Hue Hue'd it all up and his rightful punishment was soon to come. Then, just when it looked like they would fall with lovable sociopath Gregg Williams at the interim helm...the Browns became a real team, and almost got themselves into the playoffs -- they would have won 10 games and made the playoffs had the Browns canned Hue after the 2017 season and started Baker from day-one, as I probably pointed out over/under a hundred times in the game recaps all last season. So, let's re-look at the Cleveland Browns' wild 2018 campaign.
Now, enjoy the game the Browns controlled the Saints and let it get away...and ponder that the Browns really should've beaten the Steelers and Saints right out of the gates last season...
2018 Week 2 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Browns v. Saints
Another week, another game the Browns should have won. In Week 1, they got lucky with the Steelers late game debacle in a rain storm to let them back into the game and an eventual tie. This Week 2 game versus the Saints – it was the Browns who had control and provided the debacle for a Saints comeback win.
This game was 6-3 Browns at the half.
The Browns pushed ahead 12-3 on a TD but a missed extra point, in the 3rd-quarter.
The Browns held the Saints to three points until 8 minutes left in the game, when the Saints scored a TD to make it 12-10. A turnover led to another Saints scoring drive…a shocking 18-12 lead for the Saints with a few minutes left.
The Browns scored quickly on a long TD, but then missed the extra point again…18-18 tie.
The Saints drove down and kicked a field goal with 0:26 seconds left to go back up 21-18. The Browns got in range for a 52-yard FG with no time left and lined up for the inevitable missed FG and sad loss. The Browns kicker missed two FGs and 2 XPs in the game and was cut after the game.
Another week in the ‘Cleveland Browns find ways to lose’ chronicles.
The whole Browns sideshow distracts away from the potential that the Browns could be 2-0 right now, or at least 1-0-1, and that the Saints really should 0-2-0 with losses to both Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Drink that last part in.
May 2019 Notes: Anyone remember the Saints getting popped by the Bucs opening day last season, and then should've lost to the Browns...and then everyone freaking out that the Saints were a team in trouble? They recovered nicely after that...
Fantasy Player Analysis…
-- The reason the Browns should’ve won this game, and potentially could be 2-0-0 right now is because of their defense. Holding the Saints to 3 points through 51 minutes of play here. Keeping Big Ben and Drew Brees to 21 or fewer points. The Browns defense is 5th in the league in sacks and interceptions out of the gates. They are a league leading +6 in turnover differential leading the league in fumble recoveries…and only the Browns can find a way to lose games with that golden advantage.
The defense does look very good this year despite all the other noise. Rookie Denzel Ward (6 tackles) has played well, but two other guys have caught my attention on top of their 1st-round pick rookie…
SAF Jabrill Peppers (5 tackles, 1 TFL) looks revitalized. Finally saw him playing with confidence and making sure/nice tackles.
DT Larry Ogunjobi (4 tackles, 2.0 sacks), whom I have loved, is starting to become a force in the middle. He has 3.0 sacks in the season, among the early season league leaders.
The Browns-DST faces Sam Darnold, Derek Carr, and Joe Flacco the next three weeks. That should be three startable DST events, if the Browns don’t ‘Browns it all up’.
May 2019 Notes: They would allow 17...45...and 9 points the next three games, winning 2 of 3, should've won 3 of 3 (an OT loss at OAK that they got screwed by the refs in). When you look back, the Browns should've been 4-1-0 to start last season, even with Tyrod starting the first 2.5 games. The Browns lost four games by 3 or fewer points last season, two of them in OT. It's really not crazy for people to think the Browns will win the AFC North this year...they should've won it last year. They were the best team last year even with a terrible head coach.
-- Mark Ingram has to be enjoying the Saints run game collapse without him.
Alvin Kamara (13-46-0, 6-53-0/6) put up another dud on the ground. His last seven games (includes two playoff games) have been semi-ugly, as a runner…
75 carries for 261 yards (3.48 yards per carry) with no games over 50 yards rushing and one game over 4.0+ yards per carry.
Kamara is scoring TDs, however – 7 total TDs (4 rush, 3 rec.) in those last 7 games. He’s a very useful, unique weapon…more as a receiver and not as a runner. He works with limited carries not as a main carry work horse.
Teams are focusing on Kamara more and more, and his general yardage numbers per touch are ticking down with that…but the catches and TDs are keeping him up as a top 5 fantasy RB.
May 2019 Notes: Ingram returned from suspension and wasn't anything special. So 'meh' that he's a Raven now.
-- Ted Ginn (4-55-0/7) has to be depressed in about every other game with the Saints. It seems like at least once per game, Ginn is sprinting open by 2-5 yards on a deep route and Drew Brees over or under throws him.
Ginn had two 50+ yard plays go up in smoke because Brees could not hit him in this game, but it’s why I like Ginn for fantasy, especially in bonus for TD length leagues – sometimes they do connect, and this long ball option is there/taken a shot on at least 1-2x a game, so there’s always the hope for a Ginn big play to be made.
-- The Browns TD late to tie this game was a sensational catch on a full sprint of a ball thrown 50+ yards and Antonio Callaway (3-84-1/4) racing to catch up to it and catching it in the back of the end zone going full speed and snatching it for the score. They could try that same play a hundred times and not connect on it but Tyrod threw it early and deep and it was placed perfect for Callaway to kick into gear and catch it before it fell to earth.
It gave Callaway a great stat line, but it was a minor miracle in an otherwise dull game for Callaway. I don’t see any breakout on him. He’s going to be better with Baker Mayfield, if and when that happens this year.
May 2019 Notes: Oh, it's about to happen...next week!! Wait until you re-remember/read my take on the Browns/Baker debut win over the Jets.
Snap Counts of Interest:
58 = Mk Thomas
32 = A Carr
30 = Ginn
22 = Tre’Quan Smith
50 = Sheldon Rankins
40 = Vonn Bell
23 = Marcus Davenport
59 = Landry
50 = Callaway
46 = Higgins
36 = Hyde
23 = Duke Johnson
41 = Kindred
36 = Peppers
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