2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/18/2020) *For Subscribers
Every few days in August on FFM, per usual, I’m going to share some observations from the latest football news and share any rumors/interesting conversations I’m coming across. I have to work the phonelines heavy this August to get info because open practices, preseason games, freedom of the press is severely limited/eliminated this virus year.
In no particular order, and the items I found most interesting…
-- Two Philly news items to process…
1) Greg Ward v. Jalen Reagor?
Greg Ward is running as a slot starter early on in camp, not Reagor (who is working outside receiver with Jeffrey out). Long-term, that probably changes but for Week 1 of this season…without real preseason games to test Reagor’s mettle…I would think Ward has the upper hand and could start for several weeks, splitting some snaps with Reagor (if Alshon Jeffrey is back), and Reagor not really getting good targets/playing time until the 2nd-half of the season.
I’m dropping Reagor down in Redraft, Best Ball, and Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings. His main appeal was a fast path to starting in the slot Week 1 given a weak WR group in Philly, but if that’s not happening – he’s of little interest. If Ward is in the slot and Reagor goes to the outside – that’s terrible for Reagor for FF purposes in this offense.
The more I talk to sources, the more I’m thinking Greg Ward has a real shot to start over Reagor Week 1 (and 2-3-4+)…or Ward as the slot while Reagor is on the outside.
2) Miles Sanders as ‘the man’?
Likely you saw the comments where Doug Pederson has told Miles Sanders ‘he’s the guy this season’. I’m sure they think that. I know they want that to be true, desperately.
I’d just note…
-Why are they having to say this…why now? It seems like there’s a lot of coddling of Sanders for two years now. Is there an issue with his confidence?
-He was also ‘the guy’ last year, until they then had to announce that Jordan Howard was ‘the guy’ when Sanders failed (and then went out of their way to talk about how much they still loved Sanders because he’s such a fragile egg, apparently).
-If they are SO SURE Sanders is ‘the guy’…why all the negotiations this offseason with Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman?
I have no doubt Sanders is getting a push…but I also still believe the Eagles would add a power RB to the trio. “You’re the guy this season” can mean something different to Pederson than to fantasy owners. Sanders could be ‘the guy’ in a trio/RBBC – and that’s not what FF/Sanders owners would want to hear.
Corey Clement is getting a push to be that 3rd-back, power worker right now – but the moment an interesting option pops up from another team, I believe Philly will take it.
-- The Green Bay RBs…
In the Roto-blurbs this week there was news of how great Matt LaFleur thinks A.J. Dillon looks, at a glance…because he’s a physical freak.
Then there was the roto-note of the Packers saying, ‘We want to sign Aaron Jones long-term’!
Aaron Jones FF-owners fear the arrival of A.J. Dillon is a sign Jones is going to be throttled back/replaced.
A.J. Dillon investors are hoping he slices into a split role/duty immediately. An Aaron Jones long-term deal throws a wrinkle into three-down A.J. Dillon dreams.
What’s the reality here for Dynasty or Redraft? Which horse do you bet on? Play Dillon or as ‘the answer’ or is it a Jones-Dillon split for years to come? You have to pick a lane (or just avoid it all).
I think the answer lies within Jamaal Williams.
Matt LaFleur still lights up at the mention of Williams…Jamaal is a ‘coach’s kind of running back’ – a grinder, good/great blocker, gets tough yards, can catch the ball well…does the dirty work and isn’t flashy. I believe the Packers like Williams more than Jones (and are fine with both), in their heart of hearts…they tried to push Williams ahead of Jones all the time the 1st-half of last season, even when Jones was scoring a bunch of TDs.
NFL teams cannot be planned for the future by paying a huge contract to a marginal/decent RB (like Jones). If Green Bay saw Jones as their future, there’s no way they would burn a 2nd-round pick on an A.J. Dillon. You get Dillon to work 1st-2nd-down primarily and then you want Williams as your 3rd-down back to protect the QB, ideally…in a perfect GB-world. Aaron Jones? Hell, any RB could rush for 1,064 yards for the Packers in 2019 if given the work…it could’ve been Jamaal had Jones gotten hurt and Williams had to take over fully. Jones wasn’t all that impressive, but he’s fine…he just got a nice TD spurt in a few games in 2019 and played well, but not like a franchise back showing.
NFL teams are facing a lower salary cap next year, so there is almost no way (you’d think) that Jones would get a big deal/extension. Next year, it will be Dillon + ____ in the Packers backfield, as Jones heads to free agency.
Today, the Packers need to speak words of Aaron Jones affirmation to the fanbase and to Jones…like ‘we want him here long-term’. They need Jones motivated. I’m sure they do want him back, IF they could get him to work for the league minimum – but Jones isn’t, obviously, going for that. This is Jones’s last hurrah in Green Bay, and they’ll let him walk in free agency in 2021 and love a 3rd-round compensatory pick for him in exchange for the loss.
The moment Jones shows an issue – this is going to be a Dillon-Williams backfield or RBBC or trio split with Jones losing out on short TDs and not the 3rd-down back of choice. Jones is done in Green Bay; he just doesn’t know it yet.
I’m playing this as a Dillon first future with Williams (or other) in support. I’m avoiding Aaron Jones for 2020 so as not get caught in the crossfire of the Dillon-Williams-Jones RBBC.
I don’t think Jones will find many takers in free agency…not with him as a vision of a lead back, more of a split role back for a backfield.
-- I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for those CFM subscribers in Dynasty leagues who haven’t had their Dynasty Rookie Draft yet.
I’m sorry, you can’t get Bryan Edwards at around pick #18-20 anymore.
I’m sorry, I’m so good at what I do.
In a sea of everyone liking every player and claiming every player is a sleeper and having some acronym datapoint to back it up…at some point, you have to declare who/what/when/how on players. It was one thing to ‘like’ Bryan Edwards, for analysts 1-3 months ago, but it’s another when I tell you to sell off your 1st-round Dynasty Rookie Draft picks and concentrate on getting Edwards in the 2nd-round as the best bargain of the 2020 Dynasty Rookie Draft 3+ months ago.
I can ‘like’ all the players I want, but my job is to make calls -- to lay out the course of action, to set the price, to set the enthusiasm for the audience and my clients. We can’t have 27 different young WRs on our roster. Fantasy is about specific evaluations, valuations, and action…not about ‘liking’ every single player’s potential.
It’s the great Fantasy analyst parlor trick, a Carney act – we ‘like’ everyone and then when they hit/breakout we say, “SEE! I always liked him!”
That’s where I try to be the best fantasy/football analyst out there – I put my Bryan Edwards money where my mouth was/is. No one else would have dared push Edwards over Jeudy-Ruggs-Lamb 1-2-3+ months ago for Dynasty Rookie Drafts. People scolded me for it. Not today…suddenly, everyone loves and has loved and has a metric to prove it on Edwards.
There are better, prettier websites, there are websites with staffs of 3-5-10 people/writers with all kinds of acronyms and ‘likes’ on players. I'm just me...great at what I do and I try to boil it all down into understanding the player, understanding their situation, and communicating levels of enthusiasm/setting values we can act upon – I watch tape, crunch numbers, talk to more people on players than anyone in this industry. I have the skill + the experience, and it’s on display for the past decade. I take all that and communicate back to the audience for as specific of actions as I can express/assist with.
I was right about Bryan Edwards since May 2020…all alone in my opinion. Now, here they all come liking him and showing graphs and acronym stats to show how good he is…all because some random training camp news went well. Where were they four months ago? Liking Edwards the most was the right call it appears, among the rookie WRs for DRDs…and there was only one guy saying it. If you’ve already done your DRD and got him at #14-22 overall…you’re welcome.
What’s funny is…all this sudden Edwards love…all based on a few roto-blurb football notes on how much ‘they (the Raiders) love’ Edwards. No one has seen him work for real, but now everyone in Fantasy analyst land loves him off a headline/blurb. It’s sickening when you think about it. At least it is to me, being in this industry…but it’s the norm for every year I’ve been in it.
The kinda good news is…the Bryan Edwards market hasn’t moved in DRD too much yet. People will adhere to the current national rankings because analysts are too afraid to be the first to move on him, but when the people do and the first national analyst proclaims love and moves him into their 1st-round…then all the Fantasy lemmings/copycats will follow and drive him from a #15-20 DRD rank/pick to a #10-14 soon…probably in a week or so. There is hope that this camp hype excitement of the week dies down and some other rookie is the talk of the week.
Week of 8/17 = Edwards likely goes #14-18 in the DRD.
Week of 8/24 = Edwards likely goes #10-16 (people will be too afraid to jump him over the brainwashing prospects of Justin Jefferson or Jerry Jeudy.
Edwards will NOT go ahead of the big five RBs nor go ahead of Jeudy-Lamb-Ruggs-Jefferson (unless there is another FFM’er in your draft). So, that’s #10 at best in a DRD…maybe #9 over Ruggs in September but Brandon Aiyuk may jump into the #9-10 spot if Jalen Hurd is done for 2020.
Week of 9/1 on = Edwards likely goes #9-14 in the DRD…mostly #10-12.
If you want in on Edwards, and you have your DRD in September…you’ll need to get to #9-10, I think. If you draft Aug. 24-30, you might sneak in at #11-13.
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