Five Team Observations from Week 6 (Fantasy Football)
Coming off of Week 6, I wanted to offer a couple of team-specific observations that can help our analysis for the rest of the season. These were my initial reactions and what we can take away moving forward.
1. Buccaneers dominate the Packers.
Tampa Bay entered this contest ranked as the second-best defense in the league according to Overall Defensive DVOA and they didn’t disappoint, holding the red-hot Packers to only ten points and 201 total yards with negative sack yardage factored in. Their defense was the story today reminding us that even though stud defensive lineman, Vita Vea, is out for the year, Tampa Bay still boasts one of the best defenses in football.
That’s scary since their offense can compete with anyone. Tom Brady has stabilized this unit and has exciting playmakers to throw to including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Rob Gronkowski. They can also remain balanced and keep defenses guessing thanks to their above-average offensive line and a capable running game led by third-year breakout Ronald Jones. Once healthy, Leonard Fournette can provide a spark as well.
The Buccaneers are now 4-2 and have a +55 point differential on the season. The main takeaway here: top to bottom, Tampa Bay has a roster capable of competing for a Super Bowl championship.
2. Steelers put the Browns in their place.
The up and coming Browns entered this contest at 4-1, having won four in a row. Facing Pittsburgh, Cleveland had a chance to make a statement. Instead, it was the Steelers that did just that. Entering this game, Baker Mayfield only ranked 31st in the league in passing yards per game (195.2) and the Steelers defense ranked seventh in the league in Overall Defensive DVOA. Things played out similarly on Sunday, as Pittsburgh held Mayfield to only 119 passing yards before he was pulled.
The Steelers reminded us they arguably have the league’s best defense and the return of Ben Roethlisberger has provided the spark their offense needed. James Conner ran for over 100 yards, Chase Claypool added 81 total yards and a TD, James Washington reminded us he’s a deep threat going for 68 yards and a TD, and this offense still has JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, and Diontae Johnson once he returns from injury.
The Steelers are 5-0 and have a +62 point differential on the season. The main takeaway here is the same as it is in Tampa Bay: top to bottom, the Steelers have a roster capable of competing for a Super Bowl championship.
3. Patriots showed their mortality.
It’s hard to fully fault the Patriots with their QB returning from being out due to COVID-19 and other team members dealing with the illness as well. Regardless though, it’s tough to escape the fact the Patriots just lost at home to a Broncos’ team that didn’t score a TD and only managed 299 total yards of offense. In fact, Drew Lock only completed ten of 24 passes for 189 yards, no TDs, and two interceptions.
The Patriots just don’t have enough weapons to get it done through the air consistently. They’ll need to remain balanced and Cam helps them do that. He ran for 76 yards and a TD today. However, Newton needs help in the run game and their second-leading rusher, Damien Harris, only had 19 yards. That’s just not going to get it done.
And unlike last year, New England just doesn’t have the same dominating defense. COVID-19 opt-outs have played a role, and they only ranked 23rd in Overall Defensive DVOA entering Week 6. New England is now only 2-3 with a -1 point differential on the season. The main takeaway here: The Patriots are no longer a main title contender. Instead, they’re just an above-average team competing for a playoff spot.
4. Titans weather the storm, advance to 5-0.
How about these Tennessee Titans huh!? Derrick KING Henry rips off 264 total yards and two TDs and Ryan Tannehill throws for 364 yards and four TDs. Tannehill deserves all the praise as he has completely stabilized this Titans offense over the past year and he now has his best weapon, A.J. Brown, back. Brown caught five passes for 56 yards and two TDs in this one.
Tennessee’s defense will need to pick it up if they want to be a legitimate contender though. They entered this game ranked 12th in Overall Defensive DVOA but gave up 412 total yards to Deshaun Watson and company in a game they needed overtime to pull out the W.
Regardless, the Titans are 5-0, in first place in the AFC South, and have a +38 point differential on the season. The main takeaway here: 2019 was not a fluke. Ryan Tannehill has the Titans poised to make another run at the AFC Title Game.
5. Bears lead the NFC North at 5-1
In a tough NFC North Division, I’m sure many, like myself, are surprised to see the Bears leading the way after six weeks. Nobody was taking them seriously with Mitch Trubisky at QB. But Nick Foles has come in and essentially gone 3-1, leading a comeback against the Falcons, losing to the Colts, and then getting wins against the Buccaneers and Panthers. And it’s those most recent two wins that are most noticeable. The Buccaneers are for real, just read the beginning of this article. And the Panthers are a decent team themselves as they sit at 3-3 on the year.
Foles hasn’t been incredible, but he hasn’t needed to be as the Bears entered Week 6 ranked fifth in Overall Defensive DVOA entering Week 6. Foles has stabilized the offense and that pairs well with a strong defensive unit. The Bears now lead the NFC North at 5-1 and have a +12 point differential on the season. The main takeaway here: the Bears are a legit playoff contender.
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