This was a battle of field goals for the most part. Cleveland finally scoring a TD late and getting the 13-9 win to jump to 3-0 on the season. The media is going to want to gloss over this game quickly. I won’t watch any highlights of it, I try never to watch the mainstream spin because for sake of my blood pressure, but I would guarantee the mainstream, will cover this for only 10-15 seconds and start by saying ‘Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were sitting‘ to make you go ‘pfft, they didn’t take this showcase game seriously‘. Oh, you should take it seriously.
You know where we’re going to start? With praise…praise for the Cleveland Browns. Praise for something I have not really had a chance to praise, effusively, for 1+ years. I’ve been wanting to but couldn’t.
Fantasy player notes…
— Finally…FINALLY…I get to type this. Get ready. Some of you will react with: ‘Yes‘! Some will go, ‘Wait, what? I traded that guy because of you.” As well you should. You just need to know this for future consideration. COREY COLEMAN (4-66-0/8) HAS ARRIVED. Yes, THAT Corey Coleman…the one my computer scouting models thought was there. I can now say I wrong about being wrong about being right about Coleman. I think we were right all along…the star potential was sitting there…it’s just buried under landfill known as Mt. Hue Jackson (and his quarterbacks).
To me, this was Coleman’s coming out party. The moment I’ve been waiting for – the peek behind the curtain. He was fantastic. I don’t mean ‘had a big play‘ or ‘had a flashy play‘ – I mean Corey Coleman may secretly be a super-athlete that is a real work horse/professional receiver…and this offense isn’t showcasing his athleticism BUT is starting to show his professionalism – he is making lemonade out of awful passes thrown to him. He is running crisp routes to get open quickly for bad QB play. He is making catches in traffic. He was abusing coverage in this game – not with pure speed-agility, but just being better at football than his coverage. Granted, CB Vernon Hargreaves is terrible in the same way Tyrann Mathieu is…guys who are lazy a lot and overplay things looking for big plays…and making some, but also giving up 25-50+ plays waiting for the one moment (they also have in common – the media loves them…because they like big plays once-twice a year and ignore all the stuff they allow 99% of the game). But back to Coleman – he beat all coverage this game. Finally, I saw the ‘it’ factor…partially. This summer I did a ‘Rewind’ report that surprised me on what a quality receiver Coleman really was but lamented he hadn’t shown that athleticism and game breaking ability – I think it’s there it’s just buried in the worst passing game this side of Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
There are two moments I’ve seen Coleman flash ‘it’ in the NFL – Once when Josh McCown started with CC for the first time last year and he hooked up with Coleman for 2 TDs and 100+ yards (and nearly a 3rd TD) in about 25 minutes of play to start a game versus Baltimore. McCown broke his collarbone soon after and Coleman never mattered the rest of the season with the illustrious Cody Kessler. The other ‘it’ moment, here with DeShone Kizer.
Wait, am I praising Kizer?
He’s awful, I mean a full-scale disaster.
But what Kizer did do is throw every other pass for Coleman no matter what the coverage was. He hangs out with Coleman on the sidelines. Kizer is looking for Coleman and throwing him terrible passes, and Coleman was spinning gold on them in this game. As long as Kizer is QB, Coleman matters for fantasy. Once Osweiler gets back in – he prefers Kenny Britt.
What should you do for fantasy?
Coleman matters with Kizer, kinda…because Kizer is terrible this can only go so far. But CC will get heavy targeting, and is great at his job – and that has to mean something.
— Of all the players I’ve seen this preseason, of all the guys who we didn’t know as established stars already, this game contained the player I’ve been THE MOST shocked and captivated by. One of those — I know it when I see it moments. I mentioned this guy last week and hopefully those who you pounced on…
Browns 2nd year ILB Joe Schobert (6 tackles, 1 PD) looks unbelievable. Full credit to him and the possibly clinically insane D-C Gregg Williams. Williams asked Schobert to lose 15+ pounds and move to the middle linebacker spot from his normal outside linebacker position this offseason. Schubert did and it is spectacular. Granted he’s only getting a chance because the supposed starter got hurt a week+ ago, but let’s not nitpick.
Two things I will declare… (1) Schobert is going to be the biggest shock in IDP in 2017. (2) Schobert is going to make the Pro Bowl this year.
That’s how good Schobert looks.
I’m not wrong here.
In this game, he may have had a hand on 90% of the first 7-8-10 plays. Either a tackle, near tackle, tipped a pass blitzing the QB. He is everywhere — 100% effort, weight loss into elite movement skills at ILB, can cover, and can rush the passer like he’s shot from TE proverbial cannon. The best lesser known player I’ve seen in action this entire preseason.
I already knew Kyle Sloter was great so I don’t count him.
I thought Schobert was a useful OLB/DE prospect but lacked the high-end athleticism to get excited about. He was good last preseason but not a standout. He’s a monster in the middle now.
— Because Schobert is like finding a Pro Bowl ILB hiding under a couch cushion — the Browns defense gets even better. Maybe The most impressive thing is this game was how good the Browns defensive talent is. The reason this was a game of FGs (six of the 7 scores in this game were FGs) — the Browns offense is weak and turnover-riddled and the Browns defense humiliatedJames Winston.
If the Browns offense wasn’t so bad the Browns defense would be top 5-10 in the league this year (and might be anyway). This unit is a future top DST play waiting to happen.
You may know I don’t like Gregg Williams but I give it up to him — moving Schobert to the middle is genius. But his brilliant moves don’t stop there…
2nd-year DB, IDP Derrick Kindred (4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) is starting now — and Kindred was one of the best under the radar prospects in all the 2016 NFL Draft per our scouting/grading at CFM. Kindred and Schobert got buried last year — now they are starting. Kindred looks really good too but gets lost in the glow of Schobert.
It’s an ace D-Line with Garrett-Ogbah as bookend pass rushers but also under the radar rookie, DT Larry Ogunjobi (1 tackle) is emerging. He was dominant in spots in this game. Like Aaron Donald moments. The best young defensive talent in all of football resides in Cleveland.
Julius Peppers (3 tackles,1 INT) is starting to make plays. Joe Haden (4 tackles) is starting to look reborn. I’m going to talk myself into the Browns as a top 10 DST for 2017 before the end of the day.
Fantasy aside – I’d be very wary of laying 9+ to the Browns opening day, Steelers fans.
— the Browns defense was awesome but it also helps to face Jameis Winston (17-27 for 200, 0 TD/1 INT), who is truly a terrible star QB. He’s not as bad as Deshone Kizer (6-18 for 93 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) but they almost looked like mirror images of each other in this game. One-look while dropping back and firing to that predetermined choice/look almost all the time…and firing wildly half the time.
I happened to see an ESPN headline about this game — basically, according to them, the problem was the lack of Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson playing. OK, nice try. Continue the cover up fake fantasy news (FFN)!!
Winston threw a terrible pick in the end zone. His 2nd or 3rd red zone gaffe of the preseason. Winston leads drives between the 20s sometimes and then turns it over or settled for FGs in the red zone WAY too much – because he’s secretly bad at quarterbacking.
Kizer is even worse. These guys look and play alike – staring down receivers, flinging passes to where someone should be and hoping it works out. It does sometimes, but too many times not. Teams cannot win titles with these QBs. Kizer is going to get Hue Jackson fired, or he should. The alternatives are just about as bad. Cleveland has a good team that could shock if they have even close to a real QB…if Josh McCown was still there and Mike Pettine was still the coach – this team would contend for the wild card.
— O.J. Howard (2-15-0/2) is being used with nowhere near the creativity that Evan Engram is this preseason…granted, they are different style tight ends – Howard is a tight end and Engram is a WR called a tight end, but for fantasy the difference between the two rookies is becoming beyond obvious.
With a real QB, Howard would be a weapon. With Winston, all I see is a boring underutilization coming. Winston cannot work well between the hashes…where Howard is working. Winston throws bombs and screens and everything else is in trouble.
I want to see clever, purposed targets for OJH, and I’ve seen none in the preseason.
— Rookie Chris Godwin (4-56-0/5) got the start with the big names resting, and he looked good. He’s another guy filled with talent going to total waste on the Bucs, I fear. He works the middle well, and all over, but he really brings a nice target in the traffic…where Winston dares not throw and can’t deliver.
— Seth DeValve (4-57-0/4) looks like the best TE for the Browns, but there seems to be a three-man rotation between he, Nojku, and Telfer. Rendering all of them useless for FF now…plus, all the crappy QB play on top.
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