2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (9/1/2020)
*Posting for subscribers first, then posting to general population tomorrow.
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/Sept. 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…
-- D’Andre Swift is back practicing after a long absence with a mild leg injury…all green lights to go after him, if you were worried about the beat writer hysteria that Swift might be injured worse than letting on. No reason to worry now.
The Kerryon Johnson temp blip/hype off the Swift ‘fears’…evaporating.
-- Speaking of beat writer ‘fears’…there was speculation that Giants LB Blake Martinez had a concerning injury and might miss games – but he was back to practice 8/31.
Pretty much every mild camp injury has been reacted to with total hysteria. Deebo…Michel…Swift…etc.
-- Speaking of the Giants…here’s how the media works in football (and life):
Daniel Jones is fumbling in practices/scrimmages…a lot, apparently. Which is a concern since he fumbled about every game that he played last season. Fumbles are supposed to be the worst thing that a player can do…I know it is, because beat writers and TV game commentators cannot wait to breathlessly report on fumbles happening any time they see one (that and ‘drops’)…they blast/blurt report fumbles…UNLESS it’s a player they’re protecting – like Daniel Jones.
With Daniel Jones, the writing/talk on his fumbles in training camp is different…it’s more “He just needs to clean that up!” or “Jones pointed out his(scrimmage) fumble when asked about his ___ (great play) he made, so he knows he needs to clean it up.” It’s the same way they all protected Jameis Winston’s picks for years. The media is complicit in covering up things…and over-reporting things to promote whomever and denigrate whomever.
I want to rail against all their chatter as useless, but I also believe the various team’s coaching staff takes their scouting cues from the wind direction of the media, because the fans are influenced too (coaches are like politicians afraid of the mood of the constituents…their constituents are the media mostly…like real politicians).
This has been a preseason like none other I’ve been a part of (no preseason games/hidden practices), the media has heavy influence on the news right now. If everything they push and protect works out in the end going the way they are pushing things on certain players – then I have to admit either they are geniuses or they have all the power, regardless of my scouting. My scouting would need to be of the media more than the players.
I’m so sick of reading Daniel Jones puff pieces this preseason. Second only to Gardner Minshew is considered a good QB now because he has a funny mustache (after they all ignored him coming out of Washington State).
-- I saw a camp note yesterday…Greg Zuerlein is 24-of-24 in game situation FG kicking. I overlooked that Z is reunited with Dallas’s new special team’s coach (ex-Rams) John Fassel too. A top kicker talent with a huge leg on a supposed great offense with a great schedule in 2020…what’s not to love?
-- I’m hearing much Melvin Gordon concern…
1) He has a rib injury that’s either serious or he has milked to miss practices.
2) Phillip Lindsay, as you’d expect, is outplaying him.
Don’t underestimate Lindsay to be ‘the man’ there this year, whatever extent that means. He’s a nice buy/draft low right now.
-- The Bryan Edwards talk has died down…partly because there’s less hype/talk/coverage of the Raiders in general. In its place – Chase Claypool is the rookie WR of the hour, racing up draft boards. Why? In part because everyone is dumbfounded how good he is…like what tape did they watch of him before, I ask the analyst class? Anyone with any tape experience can see Claypool is better than CeeDee Lamb.
BUT…more importantly, for FF hype, there is more coverage of the Steelers in the preseason. More writers, more interest…so, the word leaks more often…thus more Claypool news than Edwards lately.
-- I’m starting to get interested in Todd Gurley in round #3/late 2nd if he falls to me/I’m running out of RB options. What’s to hate? He’s an RB with ‘questions’ ditched by his former team – but clearly the starter, no pressure from the depth chart, will get good touches for a non-1st-round RB.
His story is the same as Le’Veon or David Johnson or Fournette…so why is Gurley above them all in ADPs? How did we go full circle hating, then accepting the situation for Gurley in 2020? I don’t know how, but we did.
I think it’s because ATL is happy to have his name…so they aren’t roasting his every move in the preseason like with some other veteran RBs the beat writers attack for ‘reasons’.
-- The Bucs brought in two more kickers to look at…veteran ones. There is seriously something turning with Matt Gay and Bruce Arians. Be forewarned.
-- I stopped some love for Denver-DST in its tracks when I saw they signed the worst effort defender of the 2019 season, Mark Barron. Everyone in Pittsburgh and around the league knows what a fraud he is…except, apparently, John Elway and Vic Fangio. This scares me about their mindset for anything in Denver…oh, yeah – they are the same minds that paid big bust Melvin Gordon this offseason when they bid against no one.
How did Melvin Gordon get paid and Leonard Fournette has no interest?
I know Denver is shorthanded at linebacker due to injuries, but they’d almost be better playing with 10 defenders than 11 with Barron.
Rookie Justin Strnad was going to start at OLB, I’m told…but he got hurt and caused all this shuffling. Sad. I like Strnad.
Justin Hollins is moving inside in the crisis, thus the OLB need. That’s ‘stock up’ for Hollins in IDP.
-- Bears rookie WR Darnell Mooney is getting nice reviews from training camp…he’s making a push to start in 3WR sets…but I’m sure the Bears are too smart for that – they’ll try to push 2019 NFL Draft status wunderkind Riley Ridley (many analyst’s ‘best route runner in the draft’ in 2019..as Diontae Johnson was ignored by them).
-- The Vikings pushed to acquire Yannick Ngakoue in part on some fears that Danielle Hunter could miss some time to start 2020 with a nagging injury.
Supposedly, Hunter has missed 10+ practices and hasn’t been seen working with trainers/doing activity. Mike Zimmer said he’s being cautious and that they could bring him back slow to work 3rd-downs, etc. I guess they are a bit afraid. This hurts Hunter’s high IDP value for 2020 start.
-- I just read some training camp notes on Devin Singletary and they were very positive from their recent scrimmage.
Funny…no roto-blurbs about that though.
Also, Zack Moss missed a practice with a neck injury. Didn’t see a roto-note on that either.
There may be roto-notes on them, but I haven’t seen it. I wonder why.
…doesn’t fit the narrative, perhaps?
There is a Zack Moss bullet train right now. I can think Moss is just ‘OK’ all I want, but if the media (and thus fans) are rioting for him as the guy, and I know the coaches are swayed by this…Moss could be in a 50/50 split with Singletary quickly. If James Conner can put Jaylen Samuels in a trunk for storage and forgotten, after Samuels did what he did (Was great) when he got his shot…then the same can happen here in Buffalo, whether my scouting is better or whether I like it or not. I am starting to get Singletary-nervous.
Coaches like big, bulky tough guy runners (unless they are Leonard Fournette). Let me rephrase -- coaches like fresh faced/try hard/lowly paid big bulky RBs they can control because those RBs are desperate to get paid. Zack Moss fits the bill/s…
I’m not taking the Moss threat to Singletary’s 70/30% touch share as a joke anymore…I’m almost at the tipping point of giving into it. The 50/50 touch share battle might be on. Singletary can be an RB2 with that, but my RB1 dreams are being dashed, I can feel it.
-- Cam Newton is for sure starting from everything that I have seen. That’s not breaking news, but Belichick hasn’t announced it…but it is apparent from all observers.
This is not good news for N’Keal Harry, FYI.
-- JuJu Smith-Schuster trade rumors…
The 49ers aren’t as worried today now that Deebo seems better than expected. The Jets have shown interest/been linked (purportedly)…they have issues at WR. They wouldn’t mind acquiring JuJu and making him ‘their guy’…because no one goes to NYJ willingly, they need to overpay (like Landry, and then OBJ to CLE).
-- The Browns are desperately trying to trade David Njoku to the Jaguars among anyone else who would do it. Why they gave him a 5th-year option for $6M is beyond insane.
-- Lighting up Jacksonville camp, aside from D.J. Chark…rookie WR 6’6” rookie Collin Johnson. He’s on track to be a #4 WR and end zone weapon. He looks great in shorts and shoulder pads, but when things get real…watch out…be careful.
-- Reportedly Alvin Kamara has skipped out of practices the last four day, unexcused, seeking a new deal…which he should, it’s all he and Mixon-Cook have to do to try and cash in vs. risk getting hurt.
We’ll see what comes of it and how the NFL is going to treat guys pulling maneuvers like this in-season (missing games on purpose), but Kamara-Mixon(now signed)-Cook all have some minor risk of trying to siting out…or ‘being hurt’/not playing through pain due to the lack of a deal.
The release of Leonard Fournette likely has them all rattled…the fact he was cut and that no one seemed to want him or his payroll…and it’s not that big of a deal around the league.
-- Classic NFL TV people…
I was watching NFL Network and I heard a guy say (about Cam Akers), *paraphrasing* “What a great rookie here. The Rams found a real bruising RB which they needed. They love his toughness running the ball in camp (pause) even though they haven’t had any tackle to the ground type work, still he seems like he’s going to be a tough runner.”
So, Akers is known by one and all as a tough runner because of light-contact training camp work? The biggest head fake for NFL analysts = watching shorts and shoulder pad work. Everyone looks great.
Which goes for the WRs too…Van Jefferson is a really nice, solid WR but I saw him shine at the Senior Bowl practices in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 and then was a ghost in full speed/contact. Not saying Van is doomed, or Akers…but just note all these ‘this guy looks like a beast (in camp)’ notes are written watching a lot of non-contact/touch contact drills in 2020…so, of course, running backs look sweet then…
-- It looks like Troy Apke is going to start at safety, supplanting expensive-ish free agent safety Sean Davis. Why no one thinks to put the tall, speedy former college CB Davis at corner in the pros is absolutely beyond me…and is typical NFL. See: Byron Jones before they finally put him at corner…