2022 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Week 2 Game Report: Bills 42, Broncos 15 (Subscriber Extra Notes)
Simply stated: The Buffalo Bills are the best-looking team I’ve seen in the 2022 preseason, and it’s not even close for who I could conjure up as ‘second-best’.
Every Bills player looks turbocharged, boosted in their internal ratings for speed and muscle tone. They all look more fit than their opponents. It’s crazy…props to their strength and fitness coach, I guess? Props to head coach Sean McDermott. The Bills look like they’re playing at a different speed than their opponents. They look like that team that over the past few years has clawed its way to the division title, then a playoff winner/advancer, but then heart’s broken in a tough playoff loss -- they’ve been through the war, and now it’s their time…they are earning it through their blood, sweat, and tears and scars.
Yes, all this can be seen in them beating down Denver’s backups in a meaningless preseason game. Isn’t that what you saw?
The Bills 2nd-team defense looks like the second-best defense in the league. The Bills 1st-team offense did what many other 1st-team offenses in the NFL are failing to do -- go out and smash the opposing 2nd-team/vanilla defense in a brief showcase looking like it was child’s play. The Bills ‘B’ team defense thumped Indy’s (mostly) ‘A’ team offense Week 1. This week the 1st and 2nd-team defenses obliterated Denver’s ‘B’ team offense.
I won’t judge Denver from this performance, with their limited lineup, but this Bills team I’m seeing I am willing to judge -- best team in football heading into Week 1. Thursday Night Week 1 opener at L.A. Rams might be the Super Bowl preview…and a Bills statement game.
So many notes from this game…so many ‘this guy looks good/great’ notes from Buffalo, I’m not sure I can keep it all straight…and I run the risk that I’ve been red-blue (Bills colors) pilled to where I see everything Buffalo as ‘wonderful’. I’ll just say…remember last preseason when I was going wild about how Arizona’s defense looked? I got pretty good eyes for this.
Dynasty/Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let’s begin with the Buffalo backfield report… In short, they all look great and it’s the greatest backfield I’ve ever seen (kidding). In more detail…
Devin Singletary (4-39-0, 1-4-0/1) started…was the clear lead…and looked faster than I can recall seeing him. And I’ve been a fan of his…just not his usage for FF. He’s the lead RB for one of the, if not THEE, top offense in the league. That has to be good, right?
James Cook (4-38-0, 1-12-0/1) got a full series as lead back run…and he looked amazing. Night and day difference from preseason Week 1, as can/will happen with rookies. Gone was the tentative runner of Week 1, arrived was a guy being shot out of a cannon every carry.
Watching Singletary-Cook here, I am changing up my 2022 projections on both a bit. You’ll see the impact next draft guide run.
UDFA rookie Raheem Blackshear (5-58-0, 2-21-0/2) came in after Duke Johnson did some decent work and Blackshear ran around the Denver 3rd-team defense like a champ. I think Blackshear is 50-50 about to force himself onto the roster.
I have more I want to say about this Buffalo backfield, and the Denver backfield, and it’s going to get into the weeds for those deep roster players in leagues where any RB with a pulse is rostered…and be a watchlist thing for a week+ from now during the 53-man cut downs -- BUT…here comes nonsubscriber’s favorite words…it’s all going to be posted as a Subscriber Extra Note.
*SUBSCRIBER EXTRA NOTE…(go to Draft Guide, or RC Premium Articles, or Dynasty Offseason to access)
I want to expand some thoughts on some low level RBs in this game, for those in RB-crazed, deeper roster leagues…but it’s also notes for those to come back to/file away for a rainy day if these RBs resurface midseason for whatever reason.
1) Raheem Blackshear really did look good. Two weeks in a row. He can run the ball and has nice hands in the passing game, could be a future slot WR type guy. 5’9”/194…ran a 4.53 40-time with a 6.84 three-cone at his Pro Day…he was the starter ahead of/with Isaih Pacheco at Rutgers for a bit, but then Blackshear transferred to Va Tech.
Blackshear might make this roster, but he also may be an unfortunate cut and they try to stow on the practice squad…but good enough showing this preseason where a team, possibly Denver watching this game, jumps in and grabs him.
He’s one to keep an eye on as a satellite back/slot WR down the road.
2) Duke Johnson looks fine. Not a star, but capable. He’s easier for Buffalo to cut…and then he’ll be a journeyman that can just wait for the RB crisis to hit.
In Buffalo, he’s buried.
Cut free, and awaiting a call from the desperate in-season…some value in deep leagues, maybe?
3) Denver’s Stevie Scott is getting interesting…6’0”/225, a 4.66 runner with 7.15 three-cone. He may be a more lean 220-pounds now and in that proper ‘big guy’ range of 4.6 running, near 7.0 three-cone. Speculation on my part.
I know this -- it’s the second year in a row he’s caught my attention in the preseason. He reminds me a bit of D’Onta Foreman…a big guy who isn’t flashy, but he can come in and brawl for you. Scott rushed for 10 TDs exactly in each of his three seasons at Indiana…30 rushing TDs for his career.
If Scott makes the 53-man roster for Denver…it’s a huge statement.
More likely he is cut and stash-attempted for the Practice Squad. If he goes to the PS, then he will be on a short list of RBs teams can poach to come in and help in an RB crisis. He’s moving into NFL-roster-able/level work from what I see.
-- Bills WR report…
Isaiah McKenzie (1-10-0/1) started and played in the slot with the 1st-team, and he got the first/planned target of the game. McKenzie looks as quick as ever and was playing with reckless abandon (in a good way). You know how I’ve felt about this all year (and last year) if you subscribed to FFM.
Gabriel Davis (2-47-1/3) caught a TD pass in this game. The ADP heat on Davis keeps getting hotter. He’s going to have a solid year, but for the rising price there are a lot of alternatives with more upside to consider. Davis is not going to be a future WR1…he’s a solid/OK WR talent in a great spot who is going to catch TDs in a high-functioning offense. People turn their nose up at Dawson Knox for the same exact statement/reasoning…but Gabe Davis is a magical unicorn because of it.
Minus Davis’s 4 TD event in the playoffs vs. KC last season, in all his other regular and postseason games, he averaged: 2.3 rec., 34.7 yds, and 0.41 TDs per game with two games over 50 yards receiving and five games under 25 yards receiving. He’s a possible WR2 for sure in 2022, but there’s also some risk that Buffalo has more/better WRs in-house now and they will command some of that TD attention too.
Another tight, professional performance from Khalil Shakir (3-59-0/3) this week. This guy is beyond his years -- and if Gabe Davis battles drops or struggles with more coverage attention headed his way…Shakir is ready to go.
-- The Broncos WR report…
Man, Denver has some terrific young WRs that, unfortunately, they’ll have to cut a couple of them. But the ones who make the team will probably play a good bit this season…as the Jeudy and Hamler spots are not 100% secure, I don’t believe. I mean, they are at a huge draft stock/sunk cost advantage…but any slip and Denver has great young options rising. Credit their very smart GM George Paton.
Rookie Montrell Washington (2-25-0/2) has looked nice all summer, but he really looked more confident of himself in this game here. He looks better than K.J. Hamler, to me, right now. He will see the field Week 1 and beyond. He’s a Hamler-alike that’s just better than Hamler.
2nd-year, 7th-round pick WR, Seth Williams (2-8-0/2) has also had a lauded summer…and he is starting to click as well. He’s a big bodied outside WR…a poor man’s version of Rams rookie Lance McCutcheon. Big. Good hands. Has a future.
UDFA rookie Jalen Virgil (2-39-0/2) was what we graded/what I saw pre-Draft…a raw stallion of a WR. 6’0”/207 with a 4.40 40-time, 19 bench reps, 36.5” vertical, 7.15 three-cone. He plays like he doesn’t realize how big and fast he is. He will likely get cut and make it safely to the p-squad.
Kendall Hinton (0-0-0/4) looked good despite a terrible stat line. Three uncatchable targets, and another he caught one-handed, tightly covered near the goal line but was just out of bounds. He and Washington are probably the #4-5 WRs on the depth chart…waiting for Jeudy and/or Hamler to fall. My enthusiasm for Hinton dips a little each week as I see how much talented competition he has on this roster. Still, Hinton is going to be a starter somewhere, someday.
-- The TE report from this game…
O.J. Howard (3-16-1/3) played a solid game here, making his case to stick on the roster. He has a fully guaranteed $2M deal, so I think he’s gonna make it…just barely. I see no juice left in his game. Just a serviceable NFL veteran TE.
Albert O. (4-32-0/5) has the juice. He played like into the 3rd-quarter…it was weird. Was he being punished? Nate Hackett said he just wanted to get him extra work. I think they are counting on him and trying to get him ready to hit the ground running in 2022.
-- One IDP note of interest to me…
2nd-year SAF Caden Sterns (8 tackles) led the team in tackles, but he wasn’t great here…no flash…no spark, more he looked mad that he’s a 2nd-teamer again this year. And we have to watch his attitude on-field because it was an issue/in question at Texas in college. Talented, but moody.
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