2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk1 Raiders 14, Rams 3
The Raiders beat the Rams in a preseason game… It’s shocking anytime we see the Rams lose and the Raiders win, but it is ‘the preseason’. And we all know that it is ‘the preseason’, and what that context means…but just extra noting here – the Rams/Sean McVay do not really care about the preseason from the perspective of they want to keep most of their 53-man roster out of these games and they run vanilla plays/defenses with the guys they have playing. It’s hard to get a true read on their offensive weapons, especially, when the blocking and QB play just isn’t there. Some teams play preseason games like life and death…teaching their guys to win or ‘no mercy’. The Rams would likely bow out of the preseason schedule altogether if they could. I’d guess Gruden would play a preseason game every day if he could.
There’s a reason I write that ‘they don’t care’ (Rams) note because it will matter when discussing the first player here…
-- Rams rookie Darrell Henderson (6-13-0, 1 rec. for -5 yds, 1 target) touched the ball seven times in this game/debut…and that prompted Rotoworld to lead with the headline “Darrell Henderson Shaky In Preseason Opener.”
Why they chose those words, I have no idea. They could not have watched or understood what they were watching to write that headline…but that’s how we gain advantages in fantasy. People are busy. They tend to read or remember the headline only…they didn’t watch Henderson, so they’re taking someone else’s word. That’s fine, that’s how business is done – we all take others advice or recommendations on everything (money, repairs, health, etc.). We can’t possibly have the time to be an expert/great at 50 different things. We operate best when we have great resources and tap those resources.
Rotoworld? You don’t know who is writing the headlines or blurbs. We don’t know their capabilities, their history, etc., or even who wrote the specific note to even try to know/understand. But Rotoworld is FREE and convenient and easy to use as a source for the general pop fantasy player…but what if it’s a bad source? I monitor their site looking for ‘what they say’ and then formulating on how to play it/use it against them when they are wrong/misleading, etc. It’s a great site for the latest news, but their ‘analysis’ blurbs – it’s worth what you pay for the ‘analysis’ – but many fantasy GMS use them as analysis and don’t even realize it. The headlines stick in their brain and ‘latest intel’ unwittingly sometimes. It affects FFMers from time-to-time.
I watched all the Henderson touches here. He tallied just 10 yards total on 7 touches. Several negative plays, but you have to keep the context – as soon as he had the ball defenders were already there. His -5 yard pass play…a little flare out of the backfield and by the time he gathered it and looked upfield someone was about to tackle him…it was a slow developing play with a defender snuffing it out. He had little blocking help in his limited sampling.
I watched all his touches, and I could not see fault in anything he did or reason for concern. Not like the concern I’d have over Miles Sanders’s three skittish touches in his preseason debut…but Sanders is their guy, so no such headlines. Not only was their no fault/concern for me watching Henderson here – I thought he looked really good. Exactly like I wanted him to look – I wanted to see that burst at play in reality in the NFL. It was there. I walk away feeling fine by the glimpse of Henderson here. ‘Shaky’ is ridiculous.
But ‘shaky’ helps you if you’re in the Henderson market via trade/acquire or looking to draft. His draft stock is falling for no good reason but that blurb writers weren’t tickled like they were with David Montgomery or Darwin Thompson. They went in pre-tickled and got tickled. They were neutral on Henderson and he didn’t amuse them with seven 50+ yard TD plays in the game, so his performance is labeled ‘shaky’. Value was created here by this ‘fake news’/’fake scouting’.
How many touches Henderson will get/how he’s used in 2019 is a deep debate I’m not sure anyone can feel good about projecting for 2019. But his talent on display in this preseason game…I know it wasn’t ‘shaky’.
-- Two defenders of note for the Rams…
Rookie DB/LB Taylor Rapp (2 tackles, 1 PD) is in that Mark Barron role as a bigger DB by trade but the Rams use as an OLB that roams all over. Barron was a top IDP asset a few years when working that role, and I think Rapp may be a better fit than Barron. I wasn’t sure the Rams were going there with him, or as quickly…but it looks like he may start in that role…spelled on pass rushing downs sometimes but could then fallback to a nickel backer in those circumstances too.
Watching Rapp as an OLB in this game…I saw he fits the role and is a solid/good player.
2nd-year LB Micah Kiser (4 tackles) looks like he is starting as an ILB as well. We scouted him as a solid linebacker last season, but not likely to start for a couple years…but now, here we are. He’s not a superstar, but he will be starting/contributing/being fantasy viable in deeper IDP leagues it appears.
-- I’m going to finish out my Rams’ notes before ending with the Raiders’ guys…
The backup QBs:
Blake Bortles (3-8 for 50 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is still a joke…Sean McVay is a miracle worked but even he cannot make Bortles into the QB EVERY analyst (but me) said was the next great one.
I am a John Wolford (6-8 for 54 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) fan from back in his Wake Forest days…and I wasn’t surprised to see him star in the defunct AFL or whatever that 15-minutes of fame league was this past spring. He’s got a great QB instinct, but his arm is so weak, by NFL standards, so he’ll never get a real chance in the pros most likely.
-- OK, the Raiders… Raider Nation, get ready to hate me.
The Raiders had a lot of young players to look at here. I was excited to study the video of this game to see all of them in real live action. I walked away thinking, for this preview, that the Raiders are in huge trouble and it’s going to be weird when GM Mike Mayock has to go back to TV in a few years as a draft analyst after a spectacular flameout on personnel in Oakland. And I think his main problem will be ‘worked for Gruden’…Gruden success/failure reflects on Mayock.
These young players for the Raiders…not a thing exciting about any of them from this preview. Oh, there are some guys that can play ball. They’re not frauds. It’s just all those draft picks, and the franchise took a bunch of underwhelming talent. You trade Khalil Mack. You trade Amari Cooper after he couldn’t do a thing working for you but was a sudden star in Dallas a moment later. You dump young players like Obi Melifonwu or Chris Warren instead of extracting the talent out of them…you knee-jerk cut talent like it’s a fantasy league and you stick by a bunch of boring grinder players. The Raiders are the embodiment of old school coaching – get a bunch of ‘yes, sir’ guys who shine on the coaches by how early they report to work…but on-the-field they cannot hang with the upper talent in the NFL. No matter how much tape they watch.
I watched UDFA WR Keenan Doss (2-9-1/3) and rookie TE Foster Moreau (1-8-0/1) and rookie WR Hunter Renfrow (0-0-0/1) on offense here…and was not impressed or moved by any of them. Not terrible players, just not ‘wow’ guys for the NFL.
I watched rookie DE Maxx Crosby (2 tackles) and rookie DE Clelin Ferrell (2 tackles, 1 TFL) and rookie SAF Jonathan Abram (2 tackles), and they’re fine but there is no ‘wow’, no nothing to get excited about. Not yet. Not that I saw.
The one mildly positive note I had on any young Raider player was rookie OLB Quinton Bell (2 tackles). The Pro Day wonder out of Prairie View. He was playing some and moving around the field pretty well…it looked like he was getting up to speed some (he’s a WR-to-DE/OLB) convert in 2018 now continuing his learning in the pros. He at least flashed a bit of hope. I wasn’t sure he was ready for the pros yet.
Other than that, I was put to sleep by the Raiders’ youth movement. Maybe they just all had a bad showing all at the same time, but if I were using the word ‘shaky’ to describe a player from this game…it wouldn’t have been on Darrell Henderson, but it could’ve been several key Raiders rookies.
If you think Jon Gruden and that staff are going to ‘coach them up’ into something…you’re kidding yourselves. Hard Knocks 2019 is showing us what we all knew from last year’s debacle.
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