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Dynasty-Fantasy Football Analysis – 2017 Preseason Wk 3: Chiefs v. Seahawks

Date:
September 7, 2017 6:09 PM
August 26, 2017 4:46 PM

Wow, so many things to write about here. This one might be 5,000+ words…I don’t know. We’ll see what happens when I start typing. 5,000+ words on Spencer Ware alone…and then whatever else happened in this game. I’m also going to touch on something related to the Jacksonville Jaguars at the very end…the news of Bortles v. Henne, just to touch on it because it’s just hitting as I type.

First things first – Seattle wins another preseason game in dominant fashion. They’re 3-0 this preseason and have pretty much dominated their opponents. A couple thoughts about this:

(1) The team that dominated last preseason was Kansas City, and then they stumbled out of the gates before righting the ship…and if Tyreek Hill never happened — KC would have been 8-8 last year. ‘Hot’ (or cold) preseasons generally are not true indicators, per se. Not that bad isn’t bad regardless (i.e. the Jets and Browns).

(2) The reason the Seahawks are dominating is that they have 6 RBs and 6 WRs that are ‘ballin’ and most NFL teams go one deep…maybe two at RB and WR. Many of Seattle’s bench/depth and soon-to-be released skill players could start for other teams. In the preseason, the playmakers rule the day.

(3) Seattle probably has more talent collected than any team in the NFL besides New England and Dallas, which is why I continue to rail – Seattle, secretly, has one of the worst coaching staffs in the NFL. The GM is feeding them so much talent they can’t contain it all to a 53-man roster…but the staff is coaching it to a fringe playoff team and long shot Super Bowl threat. They should be utterly dominant…they are not. The Seahawks are lucky Arizona and San Francisco are more screwed up than they are in division…and the Rams are in rehab mode.

I’m going to break down the RB/WR depth chart for Seattle for fantasy in a moment, with an eye on who to watch getting cut and landing in a better home. Again, I’ll say once more…NFL teams rarely pay attention to the preseason and absolute gold bars get cut and never claimed and wind up on practice squads – it’s how you know NFL GMs and personnel departments are awful at what they do, missing gems every 53-man cut down (Tyrell Williams 2015 for example). With that said, probably most Seattle gems will wind up back on their practice squad and hurt their dynasty value…but there’s always hope they get claimed (by MY Bills)!

Seattle looked great and dominated beyond what the final score indicated, and the Chiefs looked terrible. If the preseason is a window, and it isn’t necessarily, then Seattle and KC are headed in opposite directions in 2017.

OK, onto the player notes and the Spencer Ware talk.

 

Fantasy player notes…

— I have to go into some detail here because I’d say 70%+ of the audience at FFM is invested in Spencer Ware (3-15-0) in some way shape or form…and are now depressed.

My first messages to the crestfallen – don’t worry about it. Don’t do the thing where you get mad at yourself for even bothering with Ware and then kicking yourself for not drafting Kareem Hunt as a handcuff (if you didn’t). At this stage of fantasy, your RB stable is filled with legit potential starters you targeted on purpose (Perine, Burkhead, Jamaal, Vereen, etc.). You can’t waste high draft picks, which is what Hunt would have taken, gambling on ‘but what if X gets hurt‘ guys. I hate wasting a roster spot on a hot handcuff because that’s usually a great idea until you fall in love with some else Week 2 and ditch said ‘handcuff’. They are usually the first person killed off on your roster every time in traditional-sized roster leagues.

When I thought Ware was out with an ACL watching him leave the field…I didn’t even have a rise in my pulse. There are guys all our teams cannot live without and it’s why my draft board looks so much different than everyone else. Ware goes down, I got other guys on my roster ready to move up…and I know by Week 3, I’ll have found 1-2-3 more options to monkey with. Ware was a luxury. A great value, and now I have to adjust. If you had lost DJ-Le’Veon-Rodgers-Brady (in 6pts per pass TD leagues)-Gronk you’d probably legit to pout/full scale crying — complete with snot bubbles. Replacement value is so underrated in fantasy…Ware is fairly replaceable. I wish I didn’t have to, but no problem doing so.

Hell, if you buy the ‘until Week 3’ on Ware’s injury, Jacquizz Rodgers ‘completes’ you and you never miss a beat. Can’t say that if Brady-Rodgers-Gronk goes down, most likely?

Be sad, but this is minor in the grand scheme of things. Heck, if Ware went 50 yards rushing 18 receiving on 2 catches and no TDs versus the Patriots opening day you’d have a fit going into Week 2.

Now, let me give you something to worry about with Ware…

If Ware has a PCL sprain – then we should start to worry. PCL sprains are almost worse than an ACL for fantasy. With an ACL and done, we all move on and never give it a second thought. Different injury, but do you even remember how excited you were about Quincy Enunwa? No, because you ate the pain for the moment and moved on weeks ago. With a PCL sprain, Ware’s out until Week 3-4-5, and now you’re stuck burning a roster spot for weeks and bypassing ‘hot things’ developing in Weeks 1-2-3 off waivers, as there ALWAYS are.

The thing with the PCL is typically two problems: (1) The player tries to rush back, play through the pain. (2) The sprain limits mobility and burst. Why was Russell Wilson so slow looking for weeks after his PCL/MCL sprain last year, and then several weeks later started looking better? PCL sprains take a while to fully heal but as soon as athletes can give it a go – they do and set the process back. Ditto Tyler Lockett last year. Ditto Ware mid-season drop off last year…potentially.

You’re likely to see Ware out until Weeks 2-3, rushing back into a split and some ineffectiveness…and maybe it’s 5-6-7-8+ weeks until Ware really gets rolling. Are you prepared to sit on Ware for 4-5-6-7-8 weeks? In a 15-16 man roster redraft, it’s unwise. Deeper leagues, not much else out there and you have a bigger roster to park him.

In a 15-16 man roster, 12-team, and definitely in a 10-team, already redrafted, I’m on the phone in a few days (if we hear ‘PCL’) seeing if the Kareem Hunt owner is interested in a nice deal, not a giveaway deal. If you try to go the other way, trade for Hunt…good luck. The current owner will assign him Christian McCaffrey superpowers and you’ll be bent over. Go find another RB play somewhere else – Bilal Powell, Theo Riddick/PPR…or just stay put with Ware if your RB depth chart is deep.

Look, I can’t predict the injury future more than anyone else can. How fast Ware is back, how effective he is, etc.? Your inclination, human nature is to get defensive – hold him tight to not let him go, because you love him and fear he’ll ‘go off’ once you give up…or you want to go get Hunt at all costs. The harder path is to stare at the data and consider trading Ware, obviously discounted, and getting something decent in return and washing your hands of the turmoil ahead. I’d want to mix Ware into a multi-player deal to the Hunt owner and let him deal with it and try to get things I like in return…that’s IF I hear ‘PCL’, and maybe even if not. I don’t want to wait until Week 3…and then probably not start him because not sure of touches…and maybe he doesn’t really get rolling until Weeks 5-6-7. If I can get decent value now…I’ll sell at a discount and move on. But that’s me…ice water in veins…because I love Ware, but I fear what I think is coming – unrequited return for my holding on investment (redraft not long term).

Hold if you’d like and see if a pay-off hits Weeks 4-5+ on, no shame in that…it’s just a lot of angst of a frozen roster spot that you might get good enough trade value for to the Hunt owner. If not, hold.

 

— If you hold Kareem Hunt (9-39-0, 0-0-0/1), you feel like you’ve won the lottery today. I’d be careful of getting too giddy.

If I’m a Hunt owner – I’m on the phone with the Ware owner trying to do the bend over routine. If a PCL/sprain not ACL, Ware is coming back…no matter how effective. Hunt is going to be behind Ware on in a split soon enough.

Week 1, at New England is trouble. If Week 1 sucks…and Ware is back Week 3-4…then what did you get here with Hunt? A guy for Week 2 and maybe 3? How valuable is that? If it’s not Ware back Weeks 3-4 to fear, I think you also have to fear Charcandrick West (3 carries for -1 yards, 3-9-0/4) in this equation. You think Hunt is full-fledged starting at New England Week 1? The proven ‘OK’ veteran of the offense, West, will sit as the rookie Hunt takes over in this huge Week 1 showdown? I doubt it, highly. It’s likely a Hunt-West split until it becomes a Hunt-Ware split, until it becomes a Ware with some Hunt sprinkled in situation. What’s that worth…not much.

The odds that this turns out: Hunt fully starts Week 1 and is so good every week and so ready that everyone else is benched…is very low.

If I have Hunt, I am selling this as hot as I can – the most valuable Hunt becomes is right now in the hysteria. By Week 3-4, this will be a cluster…if not by Week 1. Only if Ware is DONE should you get excited about Hunt. With Ware coming back and the veteran West sitting there…Jacquizz Rodgers is more valuable for three weeks than Hunt most likely.

The media will do your bidding for you. They hate Spencer Ware, and adore the alternative (they previously loved Charcandrick as the full takeover last year)…now they love alternative of Kareem Hunt. They are already out singing Hunt’s praises…hell, they’ve been calling for him to beat out Ware all preseason. Sell into that if you own Hunt.

 

— The football media had a secret meeting a while back, like they do, and all decided to hate Spencer Ware and Tyreek Hill (1-11-0/4)…and Alex Smith…but Travis Kelce is ‘baby Gronk’ though, he of his 4 TDs last season. Kelce they love…Ware, Hill, Smith…hated. AFC West champs…22-4 in their last 26 regular season games…they hate all their main ‘weapons’, and they must be replaced.

Because they hate Hill but were starting to buckle under the pressure of the obvious – the last few weeks have been mild praise for Hill. He dropped a pass in this game, and did last week…so now the door is open to re-hate him.

And I quote from a Roto-blurb today: “Hill’s preseason had been quiet to this point, and his Friday night play was dreadful. He dropped three passes…”(and it goes on from there).

In the same Roto-blurb about the game concerning Travis Kelce, who butchered at least one easy catch last night…no mention of that drop and Alex Smith was blamed for ball location in the Kelce blurb.

See how ‘fake news’ works? I don’t think they are lying on purposes – it’s actually worse. They really don’t know the truth. They build a narrative in their head, handed out by the ‘group-think’ and everything is reported the way ‘it’s supposed to go’. Tyreek Hill is a lucky flash in the pan – then 100% of them believe it. Spencer Ware sucks – then 100% of them act as if guaranteed, no doubt true. Alex Smith is the worst. Travis Kelce is great. Jameis Winston is great. Mitchell Trubisky is a fraud and ‘it’s only the preseason‘, but DeShaun Watson and DeShone Kizer are ‘shining’ in the preseason. Tom Savage is awful. Christian McCaffreyis the greatest. Nothing will change their 100% signed-onto narratives. The good news for us is they are almost always wrong. I have to keep pointing it out because ‘they say‘ is the most powerful force in the universe. ‘They say‘ such and such looked good in camp is worth 5-10+ spots of ADP shift better on player…or ‘they say‘ such and such looked bad does the reverse.

So, they all don’t like Tyreek…so his night is deemed a mess – and youg et nervous as a Tyreek investor.

Here’s what really happened…

First, Hill has had a quiet preseason because he’s barely played because he’s getting the ‘star’ treatment from the team. You know who else has been quiet…Antonio Brown. He doesn’t play…nor Julio JonesBrandin Cooks has had a cup of coffee in the preseason. It’s because they get a few reps and then go into bubble wrap…just ask Odell Beckham

Second, I don’t think Hill had three drops in this game. He had one or 1.5 of them. And as a reminder, the worst thing ever a WR can do is drop a pass for the football media. Jameis Winston’s constant turnovers are ‘something he needs to clean up‘, but a WR, especially one the media is against – it’s the worst thing ever. ‘Drops’ come with being a top target WR, especially if you’re a WR working over the middle. The media loves jumping on drops for Tyreek or Jordan Matthews, but OBJ dropping TD catches all the time…no worries, he had that cool one-handed catch that one time. Julian Edelman nearly leads the league in drops every year…because he gets a million targets under duress. ‘Drops’ need to be in context – but not for the ‘fake fantasy news’ (FFN).

Hill dropped an early slant pass…a pass thrown a bit off target but should have been caught. He didn’t. Later, wide-open, 5-yards away on an out pattern, Smith threw the ball way too high and Hill leaped as high as he could into the air, twisting around and barely scraped it with his fingers. It was a terrible throw by Smith…that’s a ‘drop’ to the FFN. Hill later was open on a bomb, leaving his CB in the dust, and Smith threw it too short and to behind Hill. Hill had to slow up for the problem pass, jumped up twisting his body the other direction – got his hands on it and didn’t bring it in. Most #1 WRs make that catch, tough as it was. Hill didn’t. You could say ‘drop’, but to note – Hill, on this bomb, burned another CB in the preseason deep…if Smith throws it on the money (and to be fair he got hit as he threw it) it might have been a long TD, per Tyreek norm. The fact that it was ‘dropped’ keeps Hill a 30+ ADP. Smith doesn’t get hit, delivers that ball properly, Hill gets a long TD and we’re probably talking Hill ADP 20+ today with no FNN headline on him. A HUUUGGEEE fantasy favor was done for those of you getting ready to draft the next few days when Smith miss threw and Hill didn’t make that tough catch.

All systems go on Tyreek…further aided by no Ware for a few weeks into the season.

 

— Did I mention ‘they’ hate Alex Smith (7-17 for 44 yards, 0 TD/0 INT)? This was a bad night for him, but some of this was his receivers and some of it was the Seattle pressure. If Kelce doesn’t have a drop, Hill doesn’t drop his slant…and then if Smith delivered that bomb to Hill…then more drives sustained and Smith has at least 100+ more yards and a TD. Instead, this is more FFN fodder to mock him.

 

— Hey, Jimmy Graham (2-34-0/4) saw some targets and red zone work (unsuccessfully). Everything looks the same – Graham looks great and his targets are sporadic and too low. I don’t think it changes in 2017, sadly. I hope it does…but until the O-C is gone this looks like the same exact underwhelming offense as always.

One of the reasons Graham didn’t do more in this game – he was covered by Daniel Sorenson (5 tackles, 2 PD) who handled Graham like he was nothing. Sorenson is a long-time FFM fave finally starting and is terrific. I’d say he dominated Graham, actually.

It also looks to me like Jimmy Graham is just going through the motions. I think he’s planning his 2018 free agency. Can you imagine him in Green Bay next year? I think he’s going to Miami, but who know…I just know it won’t be Seattle.

 

— One of the reasons Alex Smith struggled was that Frank Clark (1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit) was making life difficult. I’m shocked Clark had just 1 tackle in this game, I could have sworn he had 3-4-5 in a limited time.

 

— Russell Wilson (13-19 for 200 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 3 carries for 4 yards) is taking off out of the pocket a lot this preseason. He’s definitely healed and has a bounce in his step. The weak O-Line doesn’t help either…which means Jimmy Graham may stay in to block more. It’s good for FF because Wilson may be back to 20-30+ yards per game running.

 

— Kevin Pierre-Louis (3 tackles, 1 sack) got 2nd-team/2nd-half work against his old teammates as an ILB. He’s not starting, and he doesn’t look so good that you can count on an ascension. It’s probably time to fold on KPL until injuries force him more time…if it ever happens.

 

— Seattle is loaded with neat, young RB and WR talent…so who could they cut and be relevant in new landing spots?

At running back, they’ll keep Lacy-Rawls-Prosise-Carson. They can’t keep any more than that, you’d think. RB J.D. McKissic is making this team because McKissic is fantastic and was awesome at RB in the 2nd-half of this game. McKissic is a talent, as I said last preseason…when the brilliant Kyle Shanahan then dropped McKissic and put him on the practice squad because no one claimed him because the NFL knows what it is doing (Shanahan is the dropper of McKissic, Mike Davis and Bruce Ellington…but trade upper for Joe Williams). McKissic is making this team.

I’ll bet McKissic makes the roster, for sure, and Prosise is put on PUP potentially…just to keep more talent. Watch for that.

So, Alex Collins and Mike Davis are getting released soon – both should be claimed by other teams, but probably won’t. Watch for where Davis lands if he does.

Seattle has 7 running backs that could make NFL rosters, and every one of them would be the #2 or better RB on the Chargers, Rams, Bills, Raiders, 49ers to name a few.

At WR, they likely keep six (maybe seven) – and it’s Baldwin-Lockett-Richardson-Kearse for sure, then it gets tricky. I would say Tanner McEvoy and Kasen Williams should be 5-6, but they drafted Amara Darboh 3rd-round…and will likely make the monstrous mistake of keeping him over Kasen. David Moore is likely going to be the guy who easily sails through waivers unnoticed and goes to the P-Squad. Watch Belichick pick off Moore with the Edelman injury. That’s so ‘Bill’. Actually, I’ll say Moore is claimed by Dallas.

At least, one of David MooreTanner McEvoy, and Kasen Williams will be available to teams…where they land could be wonderful for dynasty/fantasy. Especially if McEvoy breaks free and lands right.

 

— One quick note on Doug Marrone naming Bortles his starter over Henne. I cannot believe this…at all. I’m stunned. What preseason are they watching? I’m not saying Henne is awesome, but just not being Bortles was good enough. I could see the physical, emotional change in the team when Henne took over – you probably did too, if you watched their games. The players have given up mentally on Bortles…and he sucks, so for good reason.

Unless this is a ploy to trade Bortles, which now doesn’t make sense…then this is a TERRIBLE management decision. It’s not based on the on-field play or locker room – this is management seeing a situation, making a call…and making the wrong one – which basically happens all the time when they judge talent…or chose ‘draft status’ as a reason. In this case, I thought it was too obvious that they’d make a change. I am taking away my Jags endorsement…if they are this dumb, then they’ll be dumb on something else after Bortles is benched in-season.

Fantasy ‘Stock up’ for Allen Robinson for the first half of Week 1, until Bortles is benched mid game.

‘Stock down’ my over/under win total bet for the season with the ‘over’ for the Jags.

No Henne, and what if Leonard Fournette is still out for Week 1 – take the Texans -4.5 all day long there. The Jags are basically conceding Week 1. And they are not good enough to concede a winnable game. #Terrible. #Typical.

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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

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