2021 Dynasty/Fantasy SUBSCRIBER Training Camp News, Notes, Rumors, Commentary 8/2/2021 (Colts QB situation, Falcons sleepers, Zeke worries, and more)
-- Two key FF notes from Falcons camp…
1) Russell Gage is working as a #2 WR…on the outside, not designated as the slot – which may throw his FF projections and undervalued status into somewhat of a downgrade (from my loftier sleeper status).
So, who is the slot designation then/working the slot in camp? My even more favorite WR there – Olamide Zaccheaus. O.Z. would be a WR3 with upside if the full/true slot. I need to see more camp tape and get more intel to be 100% sure of this switch with Gage/O.Z. in roles under the new H-C.
2) The RB getting #2 RB treatment…who is working with the 1s a lot as Mike Davis gets veteran rest treatment – Qadree Ollison…as I’ve been speculating/sharing on I thought that was going to happen, and have been taking positions in him on deeper roster leagues.
It’s a simplistic dot connection, but – new HC Arthur Smith is known for his bully run game with Derrick Henry…and his most ‘like Henry’ back in the A-T-L is 6’0”+/228 Ollison. Just sayin…
…and the ‘buzz’ on Ollison is growing from Falcons camp, for what that is worth. To me, he’s like a bigger James Conner-type runner…but more of a bully…the bully the analysts thought Bennie Snell would be, but Snell isn’t.
-- Do with this what you wish, and I know Jason Katz is loving it (as am I)…but – can we really trust it? Is the question… Who knows with Mike McCarthy/Jerry Jones. But check this statement out from McCarthy on his RB situation:
“Your two-back schemes the last couple years have increased [in the NFL],” McCarthy said Thursday, via the team’s official site. “You’ll see it the next couple practices. We’re going to see it [on defense] more than we have. Dan [Quinn] needs to see the two-back stuff.”
“We’ve got Tony Pollard, and Rico [Dowdle] has looked good,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got some younger guys who can play and produce, so it’s not necessary for Zeke to run the ball 25-30 times a game. When you get to December, January football, you want him to be in top form to be able to run the ball 25-30 times if needed.”
Elliott was so sloppy last year that I’m already suspicious of him, plus I’ve always been suspicious of him (his motives/attitudes/effort/being in shape)…and last year they had to quasi-bench him for sloppy play, as Tony Pollard came in and lit things up. I do worry (for those into Zeke) that the bloom is coming off the Zeke rose, and I think we’re about a year away from it (criticism and a fall from grace) really being ‘a thing’…kinda like how OBJ has stunk for years but people haven’t fully come to terms with it because he had that one catch that one time and a big season – but that was a long time ago. All the while/last few years people still thought he was that guy of many years ago…ditto DeSean Jackson (and I could keep on naming guys living off a reputation undeserved). If Zeke starts getting outplayed by Pollard right away, this could be a combustible situation with him pouting and trying to pit coach and owner against each other, etc.
I’m not taking Elliott in the 1st-round of redrafts…never really have. He’s just not my cup of tea. There’s plenty of fine options in the 1st-round otherwise if I’m wrong. I will be taking shots on Pollard, however, later in drafts if he falls to me – not a priority, but ‘of interest’.
-- Also, a note from Dallas camp…
Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz are running 50-50 as the main TE for Dallas…it’s a real competition right now. I thought Jarwin would win that easily, or just be handed his old starting role back (back from ACL), but he’s not. Whatever FF action there is to be for the Dallas TE in 2021, it’s likely gonna be split between these two guys.
-- Speaking of TE splits, when I watch tape from Vikings camp…Tyler Conklin is running with the 1s as much as Irv Smith. Irv is mostly the starter (and there will be a lot of 2-TE sets), but that’s due to his run blocking skill. But Conklin is playing a lot, especially in passing situations (with or without Irv on the field)…and I’ve been pointing that out/watching all that since late last year -- Zimmer loves Conklin.
You could scoop Conklin in deeper leagues needing TE depth off this or just shy away/trade Irv Smith before it’s made fully aware to the masses.
-- Another note from MIN…with Olabisi Johnson going down to ACL, K.J. Osborn has been running as the #3 WR along with Chad Beebe, situationally rotating – but Kirk Cousins (or the other QBs) rarely looks for Osborn/Beebe when Jefferson-Thielen are out there available.
-- You can’t read a Fantasy outlook on Antonio Gibson without reading about his turf toe issue from last year, and concerns on it for 2022. Ron Rivera has come out today and said it’s a non-issue, so I have to assume it’s a non-issue. Several of the sudden-cottage-industry doctors with YouTube pages discussing injuries think it might be an issue that carries over, but they’re speculating as much as anyone.
Gibson didn’t have surgery in the offseason. He came back from it late last year. He hasn’t complained about it at all in this training camp nor is he being held out or on PUP. I have to assume he’s ‘a full go’ for 2021.
-- The 49ers signed Jordan Matthews after this tryout…so, he’s likely to be buried or kept as WR/TE depth.
Older WRs are ruling in SF…Matthews just signed, and many are speculating that Mohammed Sanu appears to be the #3 WR for the 49ers. Jalen Hurd has been a ghost the last few days of training camp. Hurd seems to be more of a specialized/situation weapon vs. heavy snap count monster option/desire.
-- Why would the Saints sign Devonta Freeman? They have two good RBs as a 1-2 punch and they have solid enough #3-4 RBs (Ty Montgomery and Dwayne Washington).
Why sign Devonta?
Depth? They don’t need it.
Camp body? They don’t need it, and you wouldn’t sign Devonta for that reason.
The Saints have OK cap space but might need money/space for WR help and also trying to acquire Xavien Howard…so why grab Freeman in all this?
Just my theory: The Saints only have two players to dump to create even MORE cap space…one of them is 30+ year old Latavius Murray. The Saints may be getting ready for a big move for a WR and/or CB and are moving pieces around under-the-radar to get ready to make the moves.
-- So, Carson Wentz will be out 5-12 weeks…as the first guess by the team. What will the Colts do in the meantime? It’s tricky.
NFL head coaches either hate their QB for ruining their lives, or so they perceive (see: McVay/Goff) or they are in total love with their QB, especially freshly acquired loves (drafted, or just acquired). You know which bucket the Colts fall in with Wentz.
And because Reich and Wentz are in love with each other (for now), the Colts absolutely WILL NOT bring in serious competition to plug in the 5-12 week gap.
The Colts could worry Wentz is too injury prone and they need to cover their bets, so they go get a Gardner Minshew…but they aren’t going to do that because – what if Minshew outshines what was hoped from Wentz. You know a decent QB would take Indy to the playoffs…so how are you going to bench a hot starter leading his division after 4-5-6-7 weeks for a returning/fragile Wentz?
I suspect the Colts will try and limp along with a veteran/disposable QB and hope that Wentz is back in 5-6 weeks, not out for the season. So, any thoughts of wild/bold maneuvers for Minshew, Garoppolo, etc., are not happening…in my opinion/assessment of what typical NFL teams/head coaches do.
However, Eason-Ehlinger aren’t ready for this either…so, who could the Colts get to fill the bill…and that the Colts/Reich would find acceptable? It’s slim pickings…
It won’t be Minshew, unless Urban Meyer tries to move him away from Carson Wentz 2.0/Trevor Lawrence for nothing/little in return, for the same reasons – don’t risk the fragile ego of the beloved QB (as they then have press conferences about how no one is given anything and every job is earned)…but, like I said before – I think the Colts would fear that Minshew would play too well and cause a QB controversy. You think that’s crazy talk, I assure it is not. Have you seen the backup QBs in the NFL?
The Colts likely won’t go snag/take a flyer on low level guys like Tim Boyle or David Blough (both of the Lions), because if the Colts are taking long shots…they’ll just go with Eason-Ehlinger.
It won’t be Mitch Trubisky…because why would Buffalo expose themselves at their QB depth, and why would they help out an AFC contender? No AFC contender team will help Indy…they want to see them die. Nor will it be Marcus Mariota. And Miami isn’t giving them Brissett back for the same reasons (and that Tua sucks and they need an insurance policy).
If I were the Colts, I’d trade nothing to get Jeff Driskel from the Texans (who has filled OK in on the fly in several places the past few years). But that would require smarts that the Colts do not possess, I suspect.
The godawful QB who has ties back to the old Eagles group that might surface = Nate Sudfeld…and he’s awful, but he’s ‘in’ with that old Philly club of coaches for some reason.
If the Colts knew for sure Wentz was done, it would be a different story -- but Indy is left in limbo now and it’s easier to hope for the best and try and make through Weeks 1-2-3+ and see what develops.
Nick Foles is obvious here, BUT…can you imagine if Foles came in and led Indy to an undefeated record through 3-4-5-6 weeks before Wentz returned? It would be a Wentz nightmare scenario all over again. Foles is fine being ‘used’ as a mercenary and he is friends with Reich and Wentz, so that would work for Foles -- but it sets up the possibility of the fans turning on Wentz AGAIN for the same hero AGAIN. Wentz would be destroyed if Foles came in and shined and stole his life again.
The Colts are in an easy spot to fix this, there are QB options out there…if that was the Colts’ 100% priority, but they are actually in a tough spot because bigger than winning games now is everyone in management covering their asses on not looking bad for acquiring Wentz and thus they want to protect their Wentz investment/psyche because of it…so getting a real QB in is not a priority here…winning is not as important as the CYA for management is. With no great QB plan B pursued, if the Colts fail in 2021…it can all be blamed on Wentz’s unfortunate injury, so an excuse is already built in for losing…and everyone keeps their jobs and looks forward to a better 2022.
It’s sad but true, if I’m right. The Colts have more internal reasons to do nothing/little than they do to make a bold move and fix this problem/cover their 2021. All while hoping injury-prone Wentz makes a miraculous early comeback from his injury. Those season tickets are not refundable…sorry, Colts fans.
If the Colts don’t add a real QB soon… FYI, Seattle-DST at Indy Week 1.
-- Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs have been starting #1-2 WRs for LV all camp…John Brown is rarely with the #1 team by comparison, FYI.
-- Are any of you going to training camps? Like in the past – feel free to send me any things you’re seeing. It is very helpful!!! I’m communicating with people all day on camp things, but I trust our audience more than the many ‘football people’ on what they see…and especially to look at under the radar players and not just always watching the QBs. Send any info to firstname.lastname@example.org