This new season-long mini-series is brought to you by the RotoUnderworld Game Analyst Team. The Game Analyst Team consists of over 75 individuals that chart and re-watch every snap from every game in the NFL between game end, and Monday afternoon. The guys you have generally not heard from before stop in to drop some tidbits from their weekly game charting process in hopes to give us a sneak peek into the depth of the games each Sunday. As the Head Game Analyst – I charted for two years and this idea was always in the back of my mind. People always share the broken-down, clean, processed reviews of games in the NFL. That’s not what this is. I asked everyone to gives me some Notes or Takeaways from their game this past week, and below are the raw responses I received.
For the Eagles, it feels like 2020 all over again, the O Line can’t protect Hurts. He sometimes holds the ball too long and takes unnecessary hits as he is rolling to the sideline. When Hurts gets time, he looks like a fairly accurate passer. I will say the first drive of the game with Miles Sanders in there, was how this offense should look, as he ran effectively and kept the defense in check. As soon as he came out it felt like every play for the Eagles was strenuous and just an attempt to stay above water. – Josh Frazin
Holy moly, Brady gets the ball out in 2 seconds on almost every play. Hardly ever takes pressure, just knows the read before the play is even snapped. They’re going to be tough to beat. – Barry Smith
Matt Ryan has a quick trigger finger in this new Arthur Smith offense getting rid of the ball within 2.3 seconds on average in this game. Timing and being in sync is important on those quick snap plays and it seems that Pitts is more in tune than Ridley for the time being.
Ridley did see a team-high 10 targets but only caught 4 of them. There looks to be a disconnect between him and Ryan as even his TD catch was off target and required a great adjustment to bring in. I still see the bounce-back blowup game coming as the target share and air yards have been there just need to manifest it similar to our pal AJB this week.
Pitts is looking like the real deal and making me feel silly for thinking he wouldn’t break out in year 1. Hauling in 7 of 8 targets he was Ryan’s go-to in all quadrants of the field, racking up 147 air yards (WTF!). He averaged over 20 yards/target and was winning with separation as well as hanging in there making 3 tough contested catches. He is the #1 in this offense and expects the breakout to continue.
Cordarelle PatterSZN keeps rolling on and shows no signs of stopping. He dominated the backfield touches going for 14 carries (73.7% of the backfield carries) adding yet another TD. Even in a game where he only hauled in 2 of 5 targets, he gave you a very good fantasy day. With Mike Davis being invisible and coming up lame late in the game, ATL may just make Patterson the workhorse he deserves to be and he will deliver the sharpest of owners a championship with his 19.2 FPTs/game off the waiver wire. – Justin Owens
The Lions’ crazy game-plan forced the Rams to be efficient and they executed well. Passed a lot in their 27:10 of possession, were effective on 3rd down, and made bigger plays on defense to win as the better team should.
Van Jefferson is clearly a major part of the offense, he was on the field for every play that Kupp and Woods were. Probably safe to forget about Sony Michel unless the game script dictates that Henderson can rest.
For fantasy, you start your Kupp/Henderson/Stafford with confidence and Woods/Jefferson has solid floors and opportunities for more. – Travis Jenkins
New York vs Carolina
I worry about D.J. Moore‘s production with that QB play. Both Moore and Anderson getting targets, but Darnold was inaccurate. Anderson has had a case of the dropsies over the past few weeks. He is getting targets though. 11, 7, 11, 9 targets over the last 4 weeks, but hasn’t turned that into much production.
On the Giants side of the ball, there is not a lot there. Darius Slayton will never be a thing. 9 targets – 5 for 63 with all their other WRs injured. I’d be more interested in Pettis in deeper leagues. Getting targets 2 weeks in a row. – Keiran Lanham
Deebo continues his target share dominance (40.7%) and commanded 5 more targets than Hasty (5). No one other player had more than 2.
– What did Brandon Aiyuk do to deserve this treatment? Early in the 4th Garoppolo rolled left from play action and hit Deebo deep on the right sideline for 26 yards with minimal separation from Xavier Rhodes. Aiyuk beat his DB on a deep post to the left yet JG either didn’t pick him up or does not trust him.
– The 49ers offense misses Kittle more than many fantasy teams, although he will retake 2nd in the pecking order when he is eligible to return after Week 8 and will return to a locked-and-loaded TE1.
– Post-game, Shanahan said “I would guess so” but needs to see who’s healthy in response to whether Jimmy G will start next week. If Lance is healthy he should 100% start and begin gaining NFL experience because the 49ers are not looking like a playoff team this year. – Chris Reelfs
Tampa jumped to an early 21-0 lead as the game was out of hand early. Brady had a season-low yardage as a result, as Tampa set a season record in rushing yards, although Tom still had a great 4 touchdown performance. Brady had multiple passes from short goal-to-go situations, boosting his fantasy numbers as well as Mike Evans. The absence of Antonio Brown was filled largely by Tyler Johnson, although the passing volume went more the way of Chris and Mike. Tom had trouble connecting with Brate throughout the game, and a return of Gronkowski will help an already potent Bucs offense. – Curtis Fang
Go get Kyle Pitts – ‘Nuff Said
Pitts looked amazing against the man coverage the Miami Dolphins threw at him. He had an amazing stat line of 163 yards, Catching 7 of 8 targets. That’s two weeks in a row with a 100+ yard game. Pitts is averaging 15.2 yards per reception. He has more yards in the first 7 games than any Tight End in NFL history. At this rate, he’s on pace for 1,335 yards this season.
When lined up In-Line – snap rate – 27%
When lined up at Slot – snap rate – 43%
When line up at Wide – snap rate – 30%
Over the last 2 weeks, Pitts has the best PFF receiving grade in the NFL amongst all receivers. ALL!
Cordarrelle Patterson had 43 snaps, 14 carries, 5 targets (thanks for the stats @jlarkytweets) he had 60 yards on the ground and was targeted 5 times with 2 receptions. He looked like a stud compared to Mike Davis who had 4 carries for 10 yards for 1 measly fantasy point. (insert sad Hulk music here)
Calvin Ridley continued his pedestrian campaign year with 10 targets catching 4 of those passes for 26 yards with 1 touchdown which saved his day. With 8+ targets a game I’m sure he’ll produce a high-scoring game or two sometime this season. Welcome back Russell Gage. He was targeted 6 times for 4 receptions for 67 yards and a TD.
Matt Ryan made 40 pass attempts with 25 receptions for 336 yards. Fire him up in Superflex, he’s already had a bye-week. – Daniel Gamboa
New Orleans vs Seattle
Punts, Penalties, and Field Goals, total snooze fest. I was spoiled with last week’s Monday night game. Neither QB could get the offense going. Kamara is a stud. Geno stinks. Avoid Seattle until Russ is back. Looked like Penny had two series and that was it. Collins looked decent but with no passing threat, there were no running lanes. New Orleans will get a nice boost with the return of Michael Thomas. – Nick Tabs
Los Angeles Rams
Philly didn’t have much trust in the run game outside of Jalen scrambling. The Eagles being down may have been a factor, but Gainwell seemed more like a James White-type RB who was a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Boston Scott didn’t have much impact at all. – James Brantley
Aaron Rodgers is in complete command of the offense and ultra-efficient. Most accurate QB I’ve watched this season. – Lucas Christlieb
7-0 never felt so good. Every skill player on offense is able to boom in fantasy points in any given week. However, the amount of talent on offense makes it hard to have consistent fantasy performances from the Cardinal’s WR or RBs. Now with the addition of Zach Ertz, even more targets will be taken away from other skill position players. The only reliable player to start every week would be Kyler Murray. However, there is an opportunity to invest in this offense in dynasty leagues. AJ Green signed a 1 year deal this off-season and Christian Kirk is in the last year of his rookie deal. With Kyler being able to sign a potential mega-deal next year, this offense will not be able to bring back all of their offensive assets. It may be a time to buy low on Hopkins or Moore because the law of conservation of targets may come into effect in years to come.
Defensively, the Cardinals continue to improve. Isaiah Simmons is becoming a star defensive player. His size and athletic ability is able to neutralize any offensive weapon the opponent uses. Also Markus Golden has been able to step up in Chandler Jones‘s absence due to Covid-19 and become the sack leader with 6 sacks on the year. It will be interesting to see the OLB production once Jones is back in the lineup. The only weak position on this defense is the Defensive Tackle. However, the investments that the Cardinals made in their ILB have been able to cover up this weakness. This defense looks strong with veterans and a lot of young talent. Hopefully, they can continue to improve throughout the remainder of the season. – Miles Brooke
Atlanta continued utilizing pre-snap shifts and motions to gain creative advantages against the Dolphins.
Matt Ryan has become comfortable in this offense and is leveraging his veteran intangibles to keep drives alive.
Kyle Pitts has become the alpha in this offense, relegating Calvin Ridley to JAG duties as the third option in this offense, fighting for targets with Hayden Hurst and Russell Gage. Pitts proved his undeniable talent with clutch catches on downfield throws from Matt Ryan, whose aDot has increased in recent weeks.
The Falcons did a great job keeping additional blockers in to block on crucial downs. If they continue to keep Matty clean in the pocket, the Iceman should be able to deliver against tougher opponents later in the season. – Brian King
Detroit vs Los Angeles Rams
They REALLY want a win. In the first half of this game, Detroit brought some amazing energy and pulled out every trick in the book to gain more possessions against this high-power LA Rams. Even though it was close for most of the game, the Lions couldn’t get enough from Goff and his crew to power through. Both Jamal Williams and D’Andre Swift had some impressive runs, but this is clearly Swift’s backfield. He is a PPR machine, and the lions will probably not see a game script that hurts into his passing work.
Miss me with Khalif Raymond or Amon st Brown. They are bye week desperation plays. I’m genuinely scared for the future outlook of Hockenson. Tank mode is coming soon for the Lions, and with Hockenson already battling an injury, I’d look into adding a backup TE on my bench ASAP. Also, if you can trade him for some good value, do it.
Matt Stafford looks good.. real good. The amount of money throws he completed this game, and throughout the year, has been outrageous. Don’t expect him to slow down either. Prior to this game, I still had Hill and Adams above Kupp in my ROS WR’s. Well, it’s now extremely tough not to put Kupp on the number one spot. However, I do believe Robert Woods will see more opportunities in the coming weeks, and thus more fantasy points. Kupp can’t keep up this pace… or will he?
I’m still not sold on Henderson. I know, I know, every podcast and article has him as a buy-now trade target. But the truth is this is a pass-first offense, Henderson is injury-prone, and he is not the star of the show. You probably can’t buy him for good value right now anyway. If I had him, I’ll hold or sell. Just realize he is closer to CEH than Dalvin Cook.
Higbee.. eh. If you need to it’s fine. – Ahmed Hassan
New York Giants
Not much to learn from this game as it was pretty much the entire Giants second-team offense. Daniel Jones played quite well given the circumstances. The biggest takeaway is that the Carolina Panthers team we saw the first 4 weeks of the season was a fluke. – Nick Gagliano
San Francisco 49ers
Elijah Mitchell looked elusive and explosive early— Colts eventually sold out to stop him and Jimmy G struggled in the rain <— so did his WR’s
JaMycal Hasty was the 3rd down back and 2-minute drill back—— 6 targets could be useful in deeper PPR — End Zone target — fell down on a wheel route.
Sloppy game which the torrential down pour is probably mostly to blame but looking at the box score Jimmy G had 2 INT and Wentz had none (ruled a fumble) however Wentz had 5 danger plays to Jimmy’s 2!
One of Jimmy’s INT’s also bounced of the WR.
Deebo Samuel is a target hog and Brandon Aiyuk is still on a milk carton. Just seems like Deebo is running shorter and over the middle of the field routes and Jimmy G isn’t making the down the field or sideline throws which is bad news for Aiyuk. – Cody Wilhelm
Week 7 was shit if you’re a Seahawks fan — as I am. Geno Smith has been getting progressively worse. Russell’s injury felt manageable when Geno finished 10/17 with 131 yards in the final quarter vs the Rams. The play Geno threw a game-ending pick intended for Lockett could have easily been called a pass interference. However, that feeling has quickly vanished with his 12/22 and 167-yard performance vs the Saints — 84 of those yards coming from a single DK Metcalf breakaway catch and run.
Sure, SEA kept this game well within reach until the clock expired. And sure, 22 pass attempts make a game easier to chart — the fastest game charted to date — but that kind of volume doesn’t propel and create much confidence for SEA pass catchers going forward. It’s gotten so bad one might consider starting the widely available Randall Cobb over Lockett in week 8 considering GB’s weakened WR group and Lockett’s own troubles. DK once again showed us why he doesn’t come out of our lineups, but Russell’s absence has limited this offense in every way imaginable. Mistakes like two missed field goals and a late-action offsides penalty on a 4th & 5 NO field goal attempt have been insurmountable for a Seattle team led by Geno Smith.
Be it Covid 19 or Russell’s injury, Gerald Everett has yet to fire. Nevertheless, he will probably continue to peak our interest so long as he’s wearing that black visor. Our beloved DeeJay Dallas didn’t see a snap in Penny’s return. Penny, well, he ran for an uninspiring 9 yards on 6 attempts. Alex Collins‘ 16 rush attempts will still warrant start consideration for many, but R. Penny saw the field more than Collins in the first half. In total, Penny played 33% of the snaps and Collins 38%. You don’t feel great about anyone in this backfield. Travis Homer sparingly comes in for 3rd down work.
There’s optimism Russell will be back in week 10 — after the Seahawks’ bye. While that’s probably too late for a Seattle playoff push, it might mean everything for fantasy gamers rostering SEA skill position players and their fantasy playoff hopes. I suppose solace can be found in a Week 8 matchup with JAX. Let’s just count the days until DangerRuss returns from injury and Seahawk fans can return to their life of privilege. – Justin Edminster
Jameis Winston – Jameis is inconsistent, which is an objective improvement from the 30/30 Jameis of old that was bordering on negligence. It’s that inconsistency that keeps the box score light for both himself and his surrounding weapons. What he brings to the table is a ton of arm strength, the ability to fit throws into really tight windows both in the pocket and on the run to his right, and the obvious confidence he built in New Orleans from the faith Sean Payton places in him.
With 3:08 left in the game, we see a perfect example of a tight window throw with big arm strength. Jameis rolls to his right by design and has the patience to allow Marquez Callaway to break free on a crossing pattern from the left side of the formation. He hits Callaway with a perfect, laser beam throw, just over the outstretched arm of Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks, and Callaway finishes his leaping catch with a little toe drag swag on his way out of bounds. Jameis is constantly trying to make the big, splashy play.
Tampa Jameis would just throw caution to the wind over and over again. New Orleans Jameis knows when to throw it away, but also is improved at going through his progressions and taking what the defense gives him more often than not. His deep ball accuracy showed up time and time again on film. On two straight plays starting with 6:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Jameis unleashed two bombs in a row that were both dropped, first by Kevin White and the second by Kenny Stills. Don’t let the ESPN commentary fool you on the Stills play. Jamal Adams did not make a play on that ball. Stills needs to make that catch. The inconsistency shows up in his pocket presence where we see the lack of ability to avoid the rush too often.
Jameis also misses reads and sometimes, absolutely wide open throws because he succumbs to the pressure and does not keep his eyes downfield. Or even on his first read. The best example of old Jameis comes at the end of the game with 2:16 remaining. Facing 3rd and goal from the 8-yard line, the Saints clear out all skill players to the right side of the formation, leaving in-line tight end Juwan Johnson next to the left tackle. Sean Payton calls a tight end screen. It opens up perfectly, as Johnson has a wall of blockers in front of him.
Knowing he is taking a hit, Jameis gets happy feet and fails to do whatever possible to get the ball to Johnson, who would have walked into the end zone. If he can complete this pass, Jameis has himself a QB1 week, checking in at #11 in quarterback scoring just in front of Ryan Tannehill. If Jameis can clean up some of this stuff, he will become more than just a bye week replacement or low-end QB2 in super-flex leagues. Especially because he is athletic enough to put up 40 rushing yards on 8 official attempts.
Alvin Kamara – Kamara is outstanding. Nobody needs to hear that, it’s common knowledge. That said, this offense misses Michael Thomas. There is nobody else on the field that requires any defense’s attention. Thus, Seattle was free to focus on Kamara as much as they wanted. Payton counters this by adding an extra lineman to the formation on 11 different snaps. It wasn’t all that effective as Kamara was bottled up on the ground game for most of the evening, averaging a paltry 2.6 yards per carry on 20 totes.
The great equalizer with Kamara is his receiving ability. He was all over the field, all night long, accumulating 10 receptions for 128 yards on 11 targets, good for a 31% target share, and was second on the team in routes run with 29. This is a running back. That’s crazy. Out of the 66 plays that the Saints ran that did not end in a sack, Kamara had 31 opportunities, just shy of half of the entire offense (47%). The dude is a monster. Even if/when Michael Thomas returns, Kamara will still be Kamara, and in fact, he will probably see more room to run the football. It’s very difficult to rank Kamara outside of the top 3 running backs in any yearly league from this point forward.
Marquez Callaway – Callaway was the best receiver on the field for the Saints in this one. He led all Saints with an 88% snap share and 36 routes run, and Saints wide receivers and tight ends with 7 targets, good for a 20% share. Nobody else had more than 3. Callaway has far more ability than anyone else the Saints are running out there. What will be interesting is what happens to his role in this offense once Michael Thomas returns. I am not sure there will be enough volume to go around for Callaway to warrant ownership in anything but the deepest of leagues. But for now, he will have his moments and warrants WR3 consideration depending on the matchup.
Adam Trautman – This is a tight end timeshare in an offense that revolves around Alvin Kamara. If Trautman’s number was called on that tight end screen at the end of the game as opposed to Johnson’s, I would feel more comfortable recommending him as a bye week replacement.
My only question coming into this game was would Jameis Winston be able to support both Kamara and Michael Thomas upon the latter’s return. The answer is yes. An emphatic, pound the table yes. If reports out of New Orleans start coming out that Thomas is nearing a return for the stretch run, go get him. – Teddy Roth
I’m stoked to see Kenny Gainwell get more touches. I think Philly is better than they have looked in the offense. So many of Hurts’ deep balls have been just too long, I think he starts to connect on a few more of those and we start seeing more production through the air. Losing Ertz & Sanders = more targets for smith, Goedert, Gainwell, Watkins & Reagor.
My bold prediction: Hurts is the QB1 in weeks 15-17. – Jack Sterling