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 where the Browns blew another OT game and lost more ground from winning the AFC North, a division they should've won going away. Through 7 weeks of play, the Browns played in 4 OT games and went 1-2-1 in them.
2018 Week 7 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Browns v. Bucs
The Bucs got out to a 16-2 lead and the Browns looked lost again…struggling on offense, not making the stops needed on defense, not getting any breaks either. Cleveland stiffened up after the half. In the 4th quarter, Baker Mayfield did what he’s going to do a lot of – put the team on his back and scored 14 points (0 for the Bucs), tied the game and sent it to OT. It was a sloppy OT that the Bucs won on a long, improbable FG.
I’m happy for the Browns to lose – one more step closer to firing Hue, who if ANYONE else was coaching the Browns could win this division. Instead, they’re 2-4-1 and about to get pushed away from the playoff picture. We project 5-11-1 for the Browns in the end.
The Bucs find another win to jump to 3-3. My computer models think the Bucs are on the rise as a sneaky playoff contender. They’re too deficient and the schedule ahead is likely to halt them, but if they upset the Bengals this week…watch out. We project 7-9 at the end.
May 2019 Notes: It's crazy how many games the Browns SHOULD'VE won last season. They fell to 2-4-1 here, but they should 6-1/5-2. The Bucs had some hope for the playoffs from here but Winston fell apart, Fitz came back then Winston came back, several DBs went down. The Bucs were a cluster...looking great at times and total collapse other times...losing 4 games by three of fewer points in a 5-11 season gone wrong.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- This game felt like a bad one for Baker Mayfield (23-34 for 215 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 4-43-0) but it was a lot better on the re-watch and was nearly a HUGE fantasy game. He was running for a TD but got the ball popped out at the goal line…a rushing TD turned lost fumble. He later had a TD pass that the DB took the P.I. on the WR rather than give up the score in the end zone. So close to 3 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD in this one.
Every week, however, I write ‘so close to…’ about Mayfield. It’s important to note because he is not way off, he’s close…but may not get there in 2018.
Mayfield is having to do so much. Having to throw under duress and into tight windows because of a poor O-Line, WRs who can’t get open or catch well, and just a bad offensive playbook. He’s squeezing blood out of a turnip right now…you want it to be ‘easier’ for him for fantasy numbers.
Across the aisle, Jameis Winston is usually down on the scoreboard and throwing non-stop as teams sit back and wait for his mistake…it’s easier for him to compile. Teams pressure Mayfield because the OL is so bad and they don’t want him to have time because he’ll slice a defense apart.
Eventually, Mayfield will be a fantasy god…but, right now, he’s having to overcome too many odds to get there just yet. He’s close, though.
May 2019 Notes: And to this day, the NFL analyst class would take Winston over Mayfield this very day for their NFL team, if given the choice TODAY.
-- I watched all Nick Chubb’s (18-80-1, 0-0-0/2) carries in this game. He’s a very plausible NFL RB. He’ll even be ‘good’ with a better O-Line. He’s a talent running between the tackles with a hole (as are 50-100 other NFL RBs)…he’s so smooth running downhill and slyly avoiding tacklers.
His issue is when there is no easy hole, he tends to stop to consider and gets-got for too many losses/short gains.
He’s nothing too special unless the line improves. We know he’s ‘the guy’ so he’ll get years of chances to make his way. He’s an RB1.5 now and for years as ‘the guy’ for the Browns. I just think you move away/sell high in redraft 2018 because Chubb has the same issues as Mayfield…weak O-Line. Plus, Chubb is a bit flimsy in the passing game for PPR.
Chubb is good, but in a weak spot for FF…but he’s a ‘rookie’ from the SEC and is seen as an RB1.5, emotionally.
(contrast example) Marlon Mack is not as talented a runner, but in a much better situation…and is seen as an RB2-2.5…a ‘should I start him?’ guy while no one questions starting Chubb. Wrong thinking…
May 2019 Notes: Chubb and the Browns offense and O-Line were about to take off in 1-2 more weeks from here.
-- Peyton Barber’s (11-30-0, 0-0-0/2) numbers have been mostly terrible this year, but I think he’s trying to crack through to RB3-land or better. He had a nice TD run here but it got called back. Had a TD the prior week. He looks really good after his weight loss. He could be something.
If he’s healthy and there are ‘no RBs’ anywhere to be found – try to take a deep sleeper sit and see on Barber.
May 2019 Notes: ...and apparently the main starter for 2019 as well, surprisingly.
-- O.J. Howard (5-67-0/9) is starting to breakout. He’s becoming what I wanted Evan Engram to be in 2018. I love both Engram and Howard as top NFL/FF TEs but thought Engram was closer to popping because of ‘situation’. Well, it’s reversed – I want Howard over Engram now.
Next week, maybe I change back. But Howard is showing way more signs of usage in a better passing game.
Howard was sniffing 1-2-3 TDs in this game. One landed right short of the goal line. Two others, bad throws by Winston.
Howard hasn’t been blowing the numbers out of late, but he’s been very good/solid. It’s maybe the last week you can get him cheaper. He’s seen as ‘a starter’ for fantasy for sure, and that has value, so he’s harder to trade for right now -- but I think he could be upside to the #3 TE scorer in fantasy ahead…a superstar talent.
Can’t get Ertz-Kelce…OJH available much more reasonable if your trade partner has another TE to use. Tampa past their BYE too.
I need Cam Brate out of the way to fully trust OJH’s uprising…
May 2019 Notes: ...and then OJH got hurt and crushed many of our spirits.
-- I showed, last week, how Jameis Winston (32-52 for 365 yards, 0 TD/2 INTs) struggles when a defense brings pressure. 3 or more sacks, and he’s usually in for a very weak for performance. Sacked 4 times here -- and 0 TDs/2 INTs…and near-miss another 2-3 picks.
Weaker pass rush teams to face for him the next several weeks, and then he’ll be crushed by at BAL, at DAL Weeks 15-16.
May 2019 Notes: So bad that he would get benched in two weeks for poor play...but then return because 'he's supposed to be great'. This is THEIR (the establishment's )'guy'...they need to wear this noose around their neck always...to remind us how not-good they are at scouting anything.
-- I sensed Baker Mayfield gave up on his non-Jarvis Landry WRs in this game…like going into it. He only targeted Callaway-Ratley a total of 5 times. He was forcing it to Landry-Njoku (21 targets) out of necessity/desire.
Breshad Perriman (1-6-0/1) was sighted…he may make Ratley or Callaway go away. Man, if Perriman could find himself…he’s a talent.
This could be Landry-Higgins-Perriman soon, and that’s a step up for the miracle-worker Mayfield.
May 2019 Notes: ...and Perriman did start to come on, and got a nice contract to return but was released from it when CLE landed OBJ a few months ago. Perriman is now a Buc.
-- Kwon Alexander done with an ACL. Adarius Taylor (6 tackles, 1 TFL) is set for a bigger role now.
-- Carl Nassib (2 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 PD) produces every time he’s given a chance. It’s sickening how the NFL has turned a blind eye to him. If a guy was ever meant to be a New England Patriot Pro Bowl’er – it’s Nassib.
May 2019 Notes: He would force his way to starter and have a terrific 2018. Good for him, bad for bad NFL scouting...especially for the Browns who cut him in the preseason.
-- Damarious Randall (12 tackles) averaged 4.3 tackles per game Weeks 1-3 but has jumped to 8.0 tackles per game over the past 4 games. His IDP numbers are sick in 2018.
May 2019 Notes: Fighting for top 'DB' in IDP for a bit, and then he got hurt and derailed that train.
Snap Counts of Interest:
63 = Howard
39 = Brate
35 = Barber
30 = Jacquizz
29 = Ron Jones
67 = Landry
50 = Callaway
41 = Ratley
11 = Perriman
45 = Chubb
35 = Duke J
74 = Genard Avery
63 = Nassib
34 = Kindred
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