Dolphins @ Raiders
Both of these teams last saw the playoffs in 2016, and it’s looking more and more likely that the Dolphins will hold off and will themselves into a playoff position. They faced off against the Raiders on Saturday, attempting to eke into the playoffs themselves behind the shoulder of perenially disappointing Derek Carr, who’s starting to show some vigor after having a half a decade of inconsistency or ineptitude. Back to back losses from both the Dolphins and Ravens would put the Raiders into one of the last two playoff spots.
That aside, what do our fantasy teams garner from this one? Will Josh Jacobs have one more big game in him? Can Darren Waller continue this enigmatic tour of becoming a sure fired stud from almost a never been?
It was a stunning end to this game as we watched the Dolphins steal it with a second to go, winning it 26-25! Let’s dive into the stats!
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 27, 2020
Tua Tagovailoa: 17/22, 94 yards, 1 TD | 3 carries, 11 yards
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 9/13, 182 yards, 1 TD
Tua Tagovailoa spent the first half looking like a quarterback trying to find a way to operate his new pair of legs. It was a bit awkward to watch. There were some trick plays, as Lynn Bowden ended up taking a play at quarterback, and he looked more dynamic than the offense did with Tua under center. It’s very clear this team is driven through their dynamic passing game, and without Devante Parker and Preston Williams for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be tough sledding until the rushers behind Tua are actually healthy enough to keep defenses on notice.
Tua took the Dolphins down the field for an early second-half drive for a starting half six points, but then got smothered like a good hashbrown in the next drive on the field.
The offense simply wasn’t moving well enough with Tua at the helm, so Head Coach Brian Flores brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick to finish off the game, and boy was that the right call. Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins down the field to take the lead, then with ~25 seconds on the clock he threw a pass as his head was nearly ripped off, completing it down the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal. It was a phenomenal play, and it gives Miami a stranglehold on the final playoff spot in the AFC.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
Salvon Ahmed: 6 carries, 2 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard
Myles Gaskin: 14 carries, 87 yards | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 82 yards, 2 TD’s
Lynn Bowden Jr: 1 carry, 8 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards
Clayton Fejedelem: 1 carry, 22 yards
Salvon Ahmed made himself a name to be remembered halfway through this season, and when he started to hit his stride, unfortunately, his shoulder did not. Ahmed spent a few weeks on the injured list, and unfortunately so did Myles Gaskin. Gaskin is possibly the biggest prize from Miami’s offense out of last year’s lost season, as he’s able to both catch the ball and make defenses miss in the open field.
Both were back for this contest, and Ahmed is clearly not back entirely. He was used almost as often as Gaskin through the first half but was actually in the negative for yardage when the opening half concluded. Gaskin fared a bit better, however, and he finally got going in the second half. Explosive and shifty, Gaskin has those juke moves that would make Kendrick Nunn across town jealous. To start the second half, Gaskin was given a handoff and turned a potentially two-yard rush into almost eight with ease. These aren’t irregular plays for him and are always fun to watch. The opening drive for the Dolphins ended with Gaskin getting a pitch off a pass from Tua in the midst of a QB rush, where he shifted off roughly ten yards after contact and broke clear to the end zone off two missed tackles. Sexy playmaking right there. Then, he capped off his evening with a sixty yard shifty to help the Dolphins take the lead late in the game with a break around the end to take a 23-22 lead.
That Gaskin goodness below!
Myles Gaskin is BACK 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Wz8R9KGfa2
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 27, 2020
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Gesicki: 7 targets,4 receptions, 54 yards
Jakeem Grant: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 43 yards, 1 fumble
Durham Smythe: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards
Adam Shaheen: 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards
Isaiah Ford: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 37 yards
Mack Hollins: 4 targets, 2 reception, 42 yards
Mike Gesicki is back! Gesicki saw his stock rising astronomically just two weeks back when he maintained an amazing over the middle reception, and so to see this tight end back on the field is very exciting. He has the big body maneuvering and ball control that can only be described as Gronkowski light. He’s back, and while this game may just settle in less for your fantasy usage than it is to get him ready for a playoff run, Gesicki will continue to be a potential top ten fantasy tight end at all times, as he’s easily the best offensive weapon for this squad when Parker isn’t on the field. Pairing up the consistent bulldozing speed of Gesicki across the middle with the turn and the elusive Myles Gaskin could be a nice future pairing for Tua. Gesicki ended up getting a little exciting touch-up play when Ryan Fitzpatrick was called into the game to energize the slow speed of the Dolphins. Gesecki responded with two receptions for roughly 50 yards on that same drive.
Jakeem Grant was starting to showcase a touch in this game, but ended up leaving the game with an injury. A bummer, as Grant can really be showcased as your best deep threat when he’s out there. Mack Hollins, to not be outdone, guffawed a goal-line reception that hit him right in the breadbasket and bounced out.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr: 21/34, 336 yards, 1 TD, 2 sacks | 2 carries, -2 yards
Derek Carr has often gotten a bad rap. From me. I’m sorry. He’s spent a large portion of his career reveling in professional obscurity and continuing on without much competition for his job. He’s steady. He’s reliable. He himself doesn’t lose you many games, but that type of play just isn’t exciting to watch with the current crop of quarterbacks. It’s usually the defense who loses games for the Raiders, and we saw that on Saturday night.
Carr has either seen this commentary or is having a renaissance in a new style of offense in a new city. A lot of his ascension seems to come in line with the immense uprising of Darren Waller and the game-changing speed of Nelson Agoholor. His lone touchdown on the night to Agholor was mostly Agholor’s doing, but Carr did scramble out of the pocket to give himself time to throw the ball. He didn’t really make any egregious mistakes, but fantasy managers are sure wishing they had another TD from him. He nearly got the Raiders a win, and now they’re a longshot to make the playoffs.
Josh Jacobs: 13 carries, 69 yards | 2 targets, 0 receptions
Jalen Richard: 2 carries, 19 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
Devontae Booker: 6 carries, 11 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards
Josh Jacobs has only been back for two weeks, but the sad truth is he’s having a pretty average season so far. Consistent with the touchdowns, but not yet eclipsing 1,000 yards, and has only had two one hundred yard rushing games so far. Jacobs had eaten up 43 yards on 5 carries through the first half, but he cost the Raiders with a poor run into the offensive line on their first drive of the second half, ending the drive. Not great, Bob!
Jacobs will continue to be your top ten area ball carriers, due in large part to his ability to find paydirt, but don’t be surprised if next year, his draft value falls down a touch. Touchdowns are far less predictive than carries which leads to overall yardage. Jacobs definitely has the talent to remain a top ten running back, but I’m not willing to pay up in the first round for someone who likely is going to be reliant on touchdowns to retain value.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Darren Waller: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 112 yards
Nelson Agoholor: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 155 yards, 1 TD
Jason Witten: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards
Hunter Renfrow: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 34 yards
Henry Ruggs: 1 carry, 7 yards | 2 targets, 0 receptions
Bryan Edwards: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards
What an absolutely odd year of football, but I’m living for it. After seeing Darren Waller shock and amaze people over the last year, many were wondering if he could do it all over again. Turns out he can. Carr can put the ball up in the air for Agoholor on a deep route, or attempt one of many screenplays to either Henry Ruggs or Jalen Richard, but not much can even be done to gameplan Waller. On the second drive of the second half, Waller was able to snag a one-handed grab with a defender hanging all over him. Just video game-like stuff here. On the next drive, in a ball play battle with Eric Rowe, Waller took down a juggling ball from the air that had no business being completed. Agoholor has continued to be the wide receiver number one of choice if you’re not referencing tight ends. Despite facing the best corner in the league in Xavien Howard, Agoholor broke off six receptions for 155 yards, finding separation and helping Carr leverage some pretty suffocating pass rushes. With Carr rolling out and looking for something, anything, Agholor finds daylight on defense with an incredible yards-after-catch TRIUMPH, speeding down the field for a late six-pointer in the game.
Darren Waller is DIFFERENT 😤pic.twitter.com/YUIBNJnwRq
— PFF (@PFF) December 27, 2020
-Matthew Bevins (Reddit:TheLongSpring/Twitter:MattQbList)