2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 Browns 21, Colts 18
Backups mostly right away for the Browns vs. many starters for the Colts…and the Browns just look better with their backups than the Colts did with starters. The national media loves the Colts, the people love the Browns…I think Cleveland is the much better, deeper team here for 2019 and beyond.
There were a couple eye openers in this watch/study, so here we go…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I was watching a video of Pat McAfee interviewing the Colts’ GM Chris Ballard from a few days ago. McAfee tends not to pull any punches, but he’s becoming an insider/in the club…and he’s friends with Ballard, so he didn’t press the GM too hard after he asked him about Andrew Luck’s ‘injury’.
However, the Colts’ GM did blather on a bunch and within in his long non-answer was somewhat of an answer to me.
Gone was the bravado that ‘everything is fine’.
Now, everything is…‘we think we know the problem’. Great, they know the issue, they think, but not totally sure, and there is no timetable anymore. Just a lot of ‘we hope’, ‘we’re planning’, ‘we feel good about Jacoby Brissett’, etc.
I said it on my video show Saturday night – it’s up in the air and it’s being written about like “He may miss Week 1.” As if he’ll just miss a game and magically be back for game two thru 16 for some reason. He could miss Week 1, meaning that’s just the next thing on the schedule…he could miss several Weeks – because THEY DON’T KNOW.
You say, “He may miss week one,” a road game, to keep ticket sales good for the home opener…as Indy has done before with Colts’ fans – lied to them with false hope so they fans wouldn’t abandon the season already. It’s already happened before, so it could happen again here…we don’t know.
The fact that we’re months into this and they ‘think’ they know the issue and they ‘hope’ he’s ready for Week 1…you have to downgrade things for the Colts – including their AFC South title hopes and over/under win total.
You have to like LAC -3.0 over Indy Week 1 right now, no? You got a good chance on that get if Luck plays anyway, but if he’s out…you love it. It’s a boost for LAC and TEN (their road opponents Weeks 1-2) as well. Boosting their odds of being playoff teams.
Jacoby Brissett (8-10 for 100 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) is less fleet a foot Tyrod Taylor. Good luck with that. I think their 3rd-string QB, Phillip Walker (10-17 for 109 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) shows more moxie and talent than Brissett…but EVERYONE loves Brissett, so I won’t peddle that theory. Plus, who cares? They’re both mediocre backups for the NFL.
-- It was the debut of Kareem Hunt (2-6-0, 0-0-0/1) as a Brown…and no one really cared.
It kinda proves the devaluation of the RB position. Hunt, without the hype, working with the backups, looked like 50-100 other backup RBs that I watch in these preseasons. Most will not get the chance Hunt had.
I’m not slamming Hunt, because he’s a solid NFL talent…but we all elevated him to god status pretty quickly his rookie year and then he collapsed after Week 4 that season to ‘benched’ by the end of that same rookie fantasy campaign. In 2018, Hunt was on and off great with production…and then Spencer Ware and then Damien Williams came in were just as productive/good.
NFL head coaches and GMs get overemotional on players and see what they want to see…especially with RBs. That’s why Jerry Jones should trade Ezekiel Elliott before ruining his salary cap anymore. The Chargers should do the same with Melvin Gordon. There are plenty of RB options out there if teams just looked.
But they really don’t look. They latch on to one and act like he’s their only hope.
So, we have this Downton Abbey system of nobility and grunts among running backs – a system not based on merit just perception. So many running back talents that get overlooked that could be 1,000+ yard rushers in a season if they got the same pampered treatment. Teams talk themselves into Jay Ajayi, Matt Jones, Jeremy Langford types all the time…until they turn on them and go seek emotional love from another RB. How did Jay Ajayi go from the cornerstone of the Eagles backfield to ‘cannot find a job’ in a year?
Fantasy GMs are just as bad with emotional attachments and concern about RBs in general over all the other positions.
-- Case in point… Where in the hell did Browns UDFA RB D’Ernest Johnson (10-53-0, 3-26-1/3) come from?
I can’t see so good *moves glasses up and down from eyes*…was that Alvin Kamara or D’Ernest Johnson I just watched play in this game?
I am not kidding you. It looked like Alvin Kamara…slithery runner, tough/balanced and nice hands out of the backfield. When did this happen?
I didn’t even remember him from college scouting – he came out 2018 from South Florida. Ran, get this, a 4.81 40-time at his Pro Day (at 5’11”/200) with a 7.23 three-cone. I refuse to even watch tape of a guy with numbers like that when scouting for the NFL Draft. He looked like 4.5+ 40-time and sub-7.0 three-cone here for sure.
He didn’t time well, but maybe he tore it up with his college play? Nope. Not really. Never rushed for over 800+ yards in a season. Did score 13 TDs in 2016…8 rushing and 5 receiving, so you know he can catch.
I think Dontrell Hilliard (DNP) is the #2 back for sure, right now, and Hilliard looked great this summer, but Johnson is going to make the team as a #3 back with a decision for the Browns on what to do when Hunt returns. But watching Johnson this game…he might be better than Hilliard, and he sure as heck looked better than Hunt in this game.
Keep the name in the back of your mind.
Or don’t. You know I will.
-- One of the reasons D’Ernest Johnson didn’t explode in college production…he was running mates with starter Marlon Mack (6-10-0, 1-6-0/1). The year Johnson scored 13 combined TDs…Mack had 15 TDs as the lead runner.
If I didn’t know the history of the RBs in this game, I would have assumed Johnson was far superior to Hunt or Mack.
The Browns will roll with Chubb-Hilliard-Johnson-Hunt on the 53-man. Marlon Mack is arguably the 5th-most talented RB on the Browns right now – but he is the Colts love child starter. Good luck with that long term.
The Browns are far superior at QB, RB, and WR than the Colts.
-- I’m not a big Garrett Gilbert (13-19 for 151 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) fan, as a scout, but he looked way better than Jacoby Brissett, as they opposed each other as starters here. Impressive progression by Gilbert. His season in the AFL helped him it seems.
Then Browns rookie UDFA QB David Blough (7-12 for 74 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) came in and looked like poor man’s Baker again. Like I said, the Browns have better QBs than the Colts -- a better starting QB and their backup QBs are better as well.
-- Let me praise a Colt player before my Indy people click the ‘x’ on this article…
2nd-year WR, recovering from an ACL last year, Deon Cain (7-80-0/9), the talk of camp last year and this year…and I’ve mocked that a little as a bit too much camp hype. I mock no more. That was a hell of a performance in this game. What a great display of hands ability…catching passes thrown all over all game. Kudos to Indy for that one. Cain was a bit player at Clemson but given a chance to shine…he has been. He has high-end measurables to go with it. I can buy a hidden gem here down the road.
-- Browns have a plethora of talented UDFA WRs…
My guy, rookie UDFA from Austin Peay, D.J. Montgomery (3-77-0/4)…he put on a show for the second week in a row. He’s making this team.
UDFA Derrick Willies (1-4-1/4), who I’ve seen with ‘the 1s’ a lot this summer…so much so I theorized he’d start Week 1. Looks like that is Rashard Higgins (4-34-0/4) at #3 not Willies now. It doesn’t really matter much, neither will be overly relevant for fantasy in that WR group…but the #3 WR for Baker will have TD moments.
-- A rookie IDP that looks better than our bad scouting grade on him…Browns LB Mack Wilson (3 tackles). He’s just a player who defies mediocre measurables. I just didn’t see him standing out at Alabama, but he may have been buried behind all their talent on the roster.
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