2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 49ers 24, Denver 15
Of all the games, teams I’ve watched so far this preseason I think I’ve been most impressed with the Denver Broncos.
I mean ‘impressed’ in a surprised, pleased manner. The single best team I’ve seen is the New England Patriots…because their backups would win the NFC North and we all know what their starters are like. 2019 NFL watching is a ‘who can beat the Patriots?’ endeavor for the next six months. One of the teams I wasn’t sure about, especially considering the coaching changes, etc., for 2019 was Denver.
Everything I see with Denver so far is well done…a well-coached team. If I had control of the 2019 Broncos in January, I would look at what I had and thought: I have the foundation for the best defense in football. I have a solid O-Line. I have young weapons all over. I need a real tight end and I need a quarterback that won’t screw this up. I need a real head coach.
Vic Fangio takes a good defense and makes them great and you can see it already in the preseason. Chicago Bears fans…I’d be really worried that the reason for your high-end 2018 season left the building in 2019. You are going to battle with skinny Andy Reid…and that always starts great and ends in frustration…good teams, but not great teams. Passive-not-aggressive teams when it really matters. I digress…
Joe Flacco fills the bill at quarterback. Noah Fant gives them the best tight end from the draft (the Lions screwed the Lions by listening to the media on T.J. Hockenson).
Once Denver had Flacco and Fant, and Fangio, I was thinking – If I had control of the Broncos, I’d make the backfield a Freeman-Lindsay split a la the Saints backfield 2017-2018. I’d make Courtland Sutton my true #1 WR. I’d start Fant right away and utilize him as a weapon right away…no ‘bringing along slowly’ needed. Let’s attack on offense, smartly…and rely on our great defense. This preseason, I see Fant starting every game with designed plays his way. I see the Freeman-Lindsay split. I see Sutton emerging as a top NFL WR we predicted he would be a year ago.
The only thing the Broncos have done wrong this year is draft Drew Lock, and the fact that Vic Fangio disses Lock in the media like Jalen Ramsey or Baker Mayfield might…makes me love Fangio even more. Everything just looks right with Denver.
In our computer simulated season (Faux 2.0), Denver was 9-7 and just missed the playoffs and lost the division by a game to KC. I’m interested to see what Faux 3.0 is going to predict. I have a feeling Denver is playoff bound…
I see Denver sitting at 7.0 wins for their over/under win total for 2019…with a low -105 or even money like rate. I think this team is headed towards a winning record behind possibly the Chicago 2018 defense for 2019 and their excellent home field advantage is built in.
The 49ers? The Jimmy G. crisis? Let’s get into it in the player notes…
-- First things first with Jimmy Garoppolo (1-6 for yards, 0 TD/1 INT), and this goes for other preseason players, QBs mostly – we have to consider what they are facing. This was Denver’s 1st-team defense under Fangio on the attack. The Rams rarely play any of their 1st-team in the preseason…so it’s easier for QBs to face them, as an example. Facing Denver is not an easy ‘debut’ after missing almost a year and coming back off an ACL with Jimmy. Every pass play was virtually a Denver defender about to kill him if he didn’t get rid of the ball quickly. You WANT him just throwing it to anywhere, even to the other team, in the preseason rather than taking a hit…especially just back from ACL rehab.
There was one play Bradley Chubb put a one-step fake on the 49ers’ left tackle and went 100 mph untouched, up the middle at Jimmy G. What’s he supposed to do? He saw it coming and ditched the ball. He did that a lot.
I’ll admit JG looked tentative, and I downgraded him a bit in our projections after watching it, but I more worried he’s going to start slow in-season and he may have more of a protection problem than I earlier projected…man did the SF line look bad, and I know it’s Denver…but ‘wow’. Kyler Murray can escape/run his way into checkmating a pass rush…Garoppolo cannot.
On the other side of the field, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think Joe Flacco was 10x the QB talent Garoppolo was. I’m not sure I’ve seen Flacco look so confident or precise throwing the ball in his career. You can win a Super Bowl with Joe Flacco…he has won a Super Bowl with the same formula – good defense, solid QB play. And when he did win a Super Bowl – he averaged 285.0 yards passing per game with 11 TDs/0 INTs in four games. Since 2010, in all his playoff appearances, including many AT New England…Flacco has thrown 24 TD passes with just 4 picks. The bad news is…Flacco hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2014 season. I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss Denver’s acquisition of Flacco.
-- The Denver backfield is a ‘split’. I’m not making that up or guessing or assuming.
Philip Lindsay (5-14-0) was interviewed mid-game and talked about how excited he is about working in a split backfield and how he doesn’t need a ton of touches to be a difference maker. He said all the right words, but if you wondered…he also confirmed a true split.
Freeman will be Ingram, Lindsay in his rightful spot as Kamara.
Brilliant usage by the new staff.
-- I love what the Broncos are doing with Noah Fant (2-7-0/3). 99 out of 100 times, an NFL team gets a weapon TE and brings them along (too) slowly or barely does anything innovative with them. Not Fangio and crew. Fant is already getting bubble screens, etc., in the preseason. Pat Shurmur is not as smart with Evan Engram, and he’s supposedly an offensive genius…Fangio ‘only knows defense’ but is smart enough to know when you have a Noah Fant, you use it…properly.
Evan Engram and O.J. Howard have been in the league three years and still aren’t used like they should be. Fant has been around for three preseason games and is getting better treatment than them. Kudos to my new favorite team, Denver! Welcome me aboard Rabbitt!!
-- The 49ers’ starting WRs…
And when they went to a 3-WR look, it was one Jordan Matthews (0-0-0/1).
Despite the rumors of his demise, Dante Pettis (0-0-0/1) was starting like usual. I’ve not seen Pettis being disciplined, etc. He worked with the starters in camp and practices all summer. He’s been out with minor injury some, but he sure looks like their starter…and then that means he’s their #1 best option in the passing game.
I want to love Pettis more for fantasy, because he has some Odell Beckham styled DNA in him, but you got Jimmy G. way more comfortable with Goodwin, plus he has Kittle to feed, and the RBs are pass game weapons too. Pettis is probably stuck as a WR1.5-2.0 with the 49ers…with the minor risk that there is a lot of talent behind him if he falters, acts like a diva (and he can), or has a nagging injury he doesn’t play through.
Eventually, Hurd-Deebo will replace Goodwin-Matthews as starters…possibly by Week 1. Goodwin could get traded/released (doubtful). Matthews is always a punching bag…a talented, NFL starter worthy WR who can’t catch a break. He’s benchable or releaseable.
The question is who doesn’t make the roster between Bourne-Taylor-James? Either James cut or Bourne traded. Some team will get a great bargain with them.
-- Emmanuel Sanders (1-5-0/2, 1-19-0) is back…and now is the perfect time to trade him. $13M to keep, $4M to deal/dump. Sanders looked fine upon his return. Most likely he is kept because I’m sure Denver feels the playoff run possibilities and they could use Sanders’ veteran experience with this very young WR group. If the season collapses, Sanders will be traded in-season.
Sanders staying helps Courtland Sutton (2-28-0/2) grab the mantle as WR to have for fantasy from this group, the Broncos new #1 WR. Sanders helps take some coverage heat.
Four IDPs to talk about, and two juicy ones (all from SF)…
-- Denver rookie LB Justin Hollins (2 tackles) is still running 2nd-team ILB. Josey Jewell (no stats) started and I saw him getting mowed over by blockers per usual. I just have never had a good feeling about Jewell since watching him in pro games. On paper, he looks great.
-- 49ers’ rookie Dre Greenlaw (5 tackles) really looks good, for a rookie, out of the gates for the 49ers. I said he would be starting for SF back a few weeks ago and that looks to be fulfilled. The 49ers have a lot of defensive talent if their secondary could hold up.
OK, now for the two REAL defensive standouts here. Guys that just jumped off the screen. One you probably know, the other is coming out of left field…
-- 49ers SAF Jaquiski Tartt (5 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 PD) looked the best I’ve seen him since his small-school college domination days. He was EXCELLENT in this game. He was blowing up every ballcarrier. I moved him into our top five DBs for IDP for 2019. He’s tracking #36 on FantasyPros list of 2019 DBs.
-- Where have you been all my life 2nd-year SF DL Kentavius Street (4 tackles, 1.5 sacks)? Wow! Street was a big man on a mission in this game. Every play I saw was Tartt killing someone but also Street motoring around looking to engulf ballcarriers all over the field. The 285+ pounder works as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT…and he was menacing and quick his entire appearance here. Big jump for him in our IDP projections.
FYI, the 49ers have as good a roster of D-Lineman as there is in the NFL. They have solid linebackers. If that defensive backfield holds up, watch out for the 49ers as a defensive-led team.
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