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You know what the big news, the only is from this game…don’t be cute with me!!
On the first three plays of the game, the Raiders ran with a two TE offense. On the fourth play, they inserted a third WR in place of one of the TEs — and went with that mysterious 3rd WR for a couple of series riding along with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree…as what we now have to assume our the Oakland starting trio. That not-so mysterious wide receiver – free-agent acquisition Cordarrelle Patterson. We’ll start there.
Fantasy player notes…
— It was of great personal joy to me to see Patterson running with the starters on purpose. Based on the first two weeks of the preseason, it looked like Patterson was going to be working with the second team/nonexistent. However, he ‘started’ in this game and saw a bunch of targets including a touchdown. You got the full gamut of Patterson here – a TD catch, great route running, excellent catches on a misthrown pass, a handoff. THIS IS WHAT WE WANT!! And WHEN do we want it…NOW…well, I wanted it like three years ago, to be honest. I’m ready to allow my heart to love again in Oakland.
The difference in Oakland’s offense running Patterson as a starter versus Seth Roberts is a sweet bump to the team and Derek Carr’s fantasy numbers. I can’t get too excited yet because I want to see this action unfold in the regular season, but this dress rehearsal has me all kinds of excited for Patterson again. WR3 projection in Week 1 is not out of the equation.
I just jinxed him into seeing 11 snaps and 1 touch in Week 1.
This is me when I have big plans for Cordarrelle Patterson, so don’t listen to me…don’t let me sway you…
— Let’s update the running back horse race in Dallas…
My general statement would be — we’ve now moved to where it’s totally ridiculous to try to handicap this race. Ezekiel Elliottcould miss the first six games of the season…or he could start for a week and then take a 6-game powder. He could start for half the season and then be lost for the second half. He could sue and take this all the way to 2018.
I have no idea how to value this. There is no precedent for a running back being suspended six games, but we don’t know if it’s the first six games, the middle six games, the last six games, or the first six games of 2018. At the same time, Dallas has multiple running backs that could be utilized for whenever Elliott is out. For those who are trying to guess which non-EE guy to ride with — you’re stuck rostering whomever for an unknown-when stretch of opportunity…or maybe not a real opportunity. Are you going to hold Darren McFadden indefinitely if Elliott starts the season? It’s even worse for those taking an Alfred Morris or Rod Smith lottery ticket out. All the backups could share carries and render each other useless. It’s such an absolute mess, as your advisor I would advise you to not touch any of them unless it was the easiest/no pain decision you ever made to see what happens in week one. There are a million options of players out there, why try to guess what’s going to happen here? So what if you get Elliott in the second round and he ends up playing this whole season? Leonard Fournette in the second round or Jordan Howard in the 2nd/3rd gives you hope of similar numbers approximately…without the risk of them disappearing for a chunk of the season.
As far as the horse race on the backups is going…
It still looks like DMC is in the lead, but Alfred Morris is flying up the outside with another shocking preseason performance. I have no idea what’s going on with this guy. He looks amazing in the Hall of Fame game and then looks like the worst guy of the group the next two preseason games, and then looks like the Cowboys’ best running back, better than Elliott, in this game. I’ve never seen Alfred Morris so quick and elusive. I don’t even know what Alfred Morris we’re going to see next week – but if the one from this game exists, he’s going to take touches from Darren McFadden if it comes down to it.
Rod Smith didn’t do anything to hurt himself here besides ‘not being Alford Morris‘ in Week 3 of the preseason. Smith is going to take touches in Elliott’s absence to some degree. I wouldn’t want any of these backup guys unless it was the most free/cheap/easy roster decision you make.
— Our own Jason Katz touched on it in his analysis of this game but I want to pile on – Dak Prescott (11-14 for 113 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) looked phenomenal in this game…and has looked great all preseason.
I will just say this again – there will come a day when Dallas builds this offense around Prescott. They will dump diva Dez Bryantand get a #1 who tries and they’ll get a better #2 wide receiver as well. Rico Gathers will take over at tight end in the mix with Noah Brown as a Jordan Reed-type WR/TE and Dallas will be a high-grade passing team down the road.
— Very limited touches for Marshawn Lynch (2-6-0) in this game/this preseason. From what I saw, Lynch looks fine but it’s hard to tell because he’s barely played this preseason.
If Lynch doesn’t pan out, the Raiders have the worst running back situation in the entire NFL…which could be a little boon to Cordarrelle Patterson see more handoffs.
— Rookie IDP Obi Melifonwu (3 tackles) is not starting according to this dress rehearsal. And in about the first 20–25 plays of this game, Obi came in for only two plays, and I was rewatching him with the first group and keeping track – the two plays he was in on…he made two tackles.
Obi’s not going to start, but it probably won’t be long before he does because this Oakland defense has issues.
— Speaking of IDP’s…Dallas 2nd-year IDP Jaylen Smith (3 tackles, 1 TFL) got some extended time for Dallas in this game. I know I’m the party pooper on this redemption story, but I absolutely do not understand the excitement over this guy. I see a lot of frenetic energy. I see his arms flapping around moving as fast as I can towards the action – but he’s never really there to start trouble, always running up in a fury a second too late to getting the tackle or pushing somebody at abounds. With more time I might change my tune but for now, I don’t see it.