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Dynasty-Fantasy Football Analysis - 2017 Preseason Wk 3: 49ers v. Vikings

August 31, 2017 8:02 AM
August 30, 2017 6:00 PM

In Week 3, a football game took place between two of the most poorly run football teams in the NFL.

Minnesota is so discombobulated under Mike Zimmer; I can’t even put it into words. The reason for the collapse last season, after a hot start, carries over to this year – one of the most unemotional, conservative, bland, uninspired football teams I’ve ever seen is headed up by Mike Zimmer. He is proven the axiom that just because you’re a good coordinator doesn’t mean you will be a great head coach in NFL team. He is going to be so fired at the end of the season – he is constantly betting on the wrong players in the wrong spots on top of being a guy no one with any real options wants to play for…especially on offense. It’s sad because the Vikings have acquired some decent talent but Zimmer is putting them to waste. Sam Bradford is killing the passing game on top of the offensive game plan itself. Dalvin Cook might be the third best running back they have – but they’re going to go ‘all in’ on the shiny new toy.

It was another game, another emotionless underwhelming performance by the Vikings. They were down to the awful 49ers 14–0 at the half and 17-3 midway in the 3rd.

The 49ers have been one of the worst run football teams for a couple of years now, but are going to maintain that status despite their 2017 management overhaul because they hired empty suit John Lynch to be their general manager. If the NFL groupthink took shape it in human form – it’s John Lynch. All anyone had to do was listen to him analyze football games as a TV in the list. Empty. Words with no meaning. Clichés. Everything he’s done in the NFL as a GM for the 49ers so far has shown me absolutely nothing. (Memo to nonexistent personal assistant – cancel any plans of me working for the 49ers the next 3-5 years…)

Anyone could’ve drafted Solomon Thomas. Anyone in America with a draft guide would’ve made that pick. What will be forgotten is – that it was the 49ers who traded out of the #2 pick that could’ve been Mitchell Trubisky. I hope history doesn’t forget the John Lynch stupidity started with his very first trade – getting away from Mitchell Trubisky. He was later lauded for drafting (falling in the draft) Reuben Foster, a wildly overrated linebacker, and off-field nightmare. It will be deemed to be a mistake when history looks back…but groupthink NFL loves ‘Alabama’.

Moving up into the fourth round via trades so he could take RB Joe Williams is really one of the stupidest things a general manager did in the NFL Draft. He’s a guy that shouldn’t even be on an NFL roster, but the 49ers traded up for him – and now will compound the error by keeping him on the roster to save face.

This new 49ers management group is also responsible for just flat cutting RB Mike Davis, who has looked terrific for Seattle this preseason – and who would be the 49ers nice #2 RB if they still possessed him. They also dumped Bruce Ellington, who’s literally walked into Houston and forced his way into becoming a starter it appears. What was it John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan saw in this talent that made them run the other direction?

The topper in all of this is trading Vance McDonald for moving into the fourth round pick (and gave up a 5th back…so a one round move). I don’t care about who fits with who’s offense – that’s a supremely talented guy and the 49ers basically gave him away. You don’t get better as a team that way.

Further compounding the errors will be, I bet, Lynch releasing several preseason UDFA stars because only ‘draft status’ matters to NFL groupthink. I pray they release Raheem Mostert, Kendrick Bourne, Victor Bolden. I pray they release them and they are snatched up by some other team. The 49ers don’t deserve them. The Manchurian GM doesn’t deserve them.

I can summarize this preseason game in a couple short sweet sentences – guys who either teams coaches or GMs could care less about played great and exchange scores. I’m talking Jerick McKinnon and Mostert…and supposedly on the trade block all summer Carlos Hyde. Remember, Hyde had to go because everything was all good because of Joe Williams? The Manchurian GM – mark it down, trademark pending.

Fantasy player note…

— The big news flying below the radar in this game is the switch of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thelen’s roles on the team. Basically, Thielen is going into the slot to play Diggs’ roll – while Diggs goes to the outside in Thielen’s old role.

On the surface, it makes absolutely no sense. Diggs makes more sense as a quick guy in the middle, while Thielen is nice on the outside using his size and athleticism to chase down the deep balls as needed. The fact that Zimmer switched them tells me we got problems with Stefon Diggs that are real or perceived. Zimmer is one who shelved Cordarrelle Patterson, and I’m sensing Stefon Diggs is about to get that treatment as well. While Thielen gets the opposite — because Thielen is a Jordy Nelsonwannabe while Diggs is a low energy drifter on his natural talent. I could be wrong, but I see this as a massive problem for Diggs which in turn should be great for Thielen.

What’s our knock on Sam Bradford – he throws a bunch of 3-yard passes to pad his completion percentage. He usually throws those to Diggs, when Diggs is healthy. Now those are going to Thielen. This game was a microcosm of the issue/upside. Seriously. What I’m about to write, if a true harbinger, needs to send you into motion making trades away and for these players.

This was the first game of their switch, and Thielen was terrific over the middle making catches on all kinds of throws. Thielen looked energize and like the leader of the group. Diggs, meanwhile, somewhat wore his emotion on his sleeve and dropped two wide-open passes. Diggs does not drop many passes. He dropped three all of last year – he dropped two gifts in this game. I think Zimmer is stripping away the confidence of Diggs, and Diggs is not responding by doubling his effort…but by disassociating himself with the situation – which is what a knock on him and has been. If I’m right about any of this, you need to dump Diggs for something equal but different – but then you also need to get a much cheaper Adam Thielen before this point really hits home in the regular season.

— Latavius Murray (2-6-0, 2-10-0/3) made his pre-season debut, and I guess decided to play the game with 10 pounds of lead in this ass. He looked slow and disengaged. He may have been rusty, but he also may be wearing his disenfranchisement on his sleeve – a massive mistake signing a nice deal with this team…only to become Dalvin Cook’s lackey. Zimmer, in a way that Zimmer does, may have already written off Murray and treating him as such – and Murray is a more sensitive guy and might not be giving his full effort until he feels 100%. Again, I hate to read all this psychology into watching one preseason performance – but that’s what I do…and how many times have I nailed these things on the head? It’s not like I only watch highlights on occasion. I watch volumes of tape and all of these games/seasons multiple times. I have an eye for it.

In this case, Murray may just be rusty – but I’m starting to wonder about most of the Vikings players getting mentally dismissed by Zimmer…him thinking it’s tough love.

— Jerick McKinnon (sweet 107-yard KR TD) should be the running back this whole thing is built on, and he showed why in this game. It’s not going to matter because they’re all in on Dalvin Cook…and they have no O-Line or real plan. McKinnon could never take this over no matter how well he did in brief appearances because Cook would be jammed into the situation regardless. You don’t want anything to do with this backfield for Week 1 – but I know someone who’s going to be a strong contender for our dynasty stash report midseason 2017 — available only with and in-season premium subscription. Sign ups coming soon.

— Bucky Hodges actually played in the first quarter and with some of the first team players (and saw one catch). It doesn’t matter, he’ll never get past Kyle Rudolph or have a role carved out for him as long as Mike Zimmer is there.

 Marquise Goodwin keeps compiling long play after a long play after a long play this preseason. Call me when that starts happening regularly in the regular season when the first team’s players and coverages are colliding with the first teams.

I’m intrigued with what could happen with Goodwin, given his elite speed, but I’m not gonna believe it until I see it with Brian Hoyer.

— I saw some guy named LaQuon Treadwell playing for Minnesota in this game. I’m not sure who that is…I don’t recall seeing him this entire preseason, I don’t think. I’ll have to do more research on that guy. He doesn’t look that great but he was working with the first team so the team must like him. Wouldn’t it be funny if I researched him and found out that he was the entire draft community’s top wide receiver prospect last year? That would be a hoot.

— Let me just say again – if Raheem Mostert (4-26-1, 2-104-1/2) does not make this roster and Joe Williams does the NFL and its ‘opportunities for all are a total farce. Instead of complaining about Colin Kaepernick, the fans should be complaining about why Williams made a roster over Mostert. I’m pretty sure I could not get that over as a thing among the masses. In my mind, it’s definitely happening.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>