2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 Patriots 22, Titans 17
The Patriots were down 17-8 at the half, but soon Jarrett Stidham would come and save the day and lead a 14-0 2nd-half Patriots edge for a 22-17 victory.
Watching Patriots practices, preseason games, looking at this roster with our talent grades, etc. – this is by far the best Patriots team I’ve seen the past couple of seasons. The deepest and chock full of young talent. Scary for the rest of the NFL.
That kinda hides the fact that the Titans have nice young talent as well, especially on defense. If the Titans can run a plausible offense and if the Colts lose Andrew Luck for a chunk of the season…the Titans may be a 9-win team again. The schedule is not their friend, in 2019, however. They have a gauntlet of top defenses to face the first 7 games of 2019.
Fantasy Player Notes…
— Let me start the player notes by talking about Alex Barnes (7-42-0), finally.
Barnes got some extra work in this game and did not disappoint. I need to see more of him running through better defenses/not in the preseason, but considering what I just saw in this game with him -- my premise that Barnes is one of the three best running back prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft remains, and he might be the single most gifted (but may never get the push/time he needs).
I don’t know how the NFL cannot see this. He’s arguably a better version of Le’Veon Bell as a runner comparing as rookies -- much stronger, tougher at the rookie stage of their career and Barnes a physical specimen entering the NFL. Barnes has that same delightful stop-start hesitation looking for his lane just like Le’Veon Bell, and then when the see what they want they punch the accelerator better than most humans on this planet.
This game may have been the turning point of Barnes as the obvious #3 RB over Jeremy McNichols (6-13-0, 3-24-1/5), but McNichols has had a nice preseason as well. Barnes as the #3 RB is possibly a Derrick Henry injury away from being forced into action in season. If he ever gets a chance…
— And then there’s Pats’ rookie RB Damien Harris (14-80-0, 4-23-0/4), who made a strong case in this game that he might be the single best RB prospect from the 2019 NFL Draft. What an excellent showing here. Harris is such a talented runner and receiver. I never understood why any analysts doubted his receiving ability…he was terrific as a receiver in this game.
Of course, I know why they missed it – they don’t watch anything with a real study purposes and they wouldn’t know what they we’re looking at anyway. I thought Nick Saban was a genius? Beyond reproach? So why do NFL analyst think they know better than Saban knows – because he pushed Harris over Josh Jacobs at all times at Alabama? I’m not saying Jacobs isn’t talented, but the fact he was everyone’s universal unquestioned number one RB prospect for this draft was a joke. There are so many talented RB prospects from this draft, it should be impossible that every analyst decided Jacobs was the clear #1 -- but that’s the thing with NFL scouting analysis…it’s not a science it’s all emotion, and people plagiarizing others emotions.
I’d be very afraid for Sony Michel in fantasy 2019 with Harris slicing in or just taking over.
— If I was going to give the player notes in order of the most impressive player in this game, I should’ve started this segment with Chase Winovich (6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs) as the first player note.
Winovich looks unbelievable in the preseason. Like possibly the best defense of rookie in the draft type of good. He was all over the place again here in this game -- virtually unblockable and his volume is cranked up to 15 on every play.
Good luck 31 other NFL teams – the one weakness Bill Belichick has had over the recent years is weaker/mediocre NFL drafts/not dominant drafts. Well, he may have had the best draft of any team in 2019. I thought the NFL was built to stymie the good teams and prop up the bad ones be at the draft? If Bill Belichick has a new personnel birdie in his ear or just developed his own new theory…watch out for another decade of dominance.
— Part of that amazing Patriots Draft in 2019 is the fact that they went in and stole, arguably, the best pure pocket QB talent in this draft. That’s what we had Jarrett Stidham (14-19 for 193 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) graded. And he has not disappointed at all this preseason. In fact, he’s looked better than I thought a rookie pure pocket passer could in the Patriots’ system.
Part of UDFA WR Jakobi Meyers (6-82-0/6) popping up strong is in part due to the fact that he has a top talent third string QB to work with. Imagine if he were trying to come up through the Atlanta Falcons ranks with Matt Schaub and Matt Simms? How could any WR look good there?
Meyers for his part looks solid and confident, like a veteran, again in this game. He’s definitely making the Patriots roster. He may get Demaryius Thomas sent packing if Thomas looks haggard when he gets back to work and at his higher price tag/easy to cut contract.
— If Chase Winovich was the best-looking young player in this game, then Tennessee rookie linebacker David Long (8 tackles) wasn’t too far behind. That guy is just a middle linebacking machine. He hits like a Mack truck and has such sensational instincts for picking through blockers and finding a seem to attack.
Sadly, for Long, the Titans have Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown in the middle of the starting lineup line backing group -- two of the better young linebackers in the game. They may have to move Brown or Evans to outside linebacker to then jam Long into the interior at some point. There will come a day when David Long is an IDP top 10-20 LB producer week to week – I’m just not sure when that will happen. But it will happen.
— My final vote is… Welcome back Delanie Walker (2-26-1/2)! He has fully rehabbed from his knee injury last season and made his preseason debut here and he looked just fine. Looked in much better shape than he has in recent years. I’ve been dismissive of Walker as having any impact in 2019, but he sure looked good here. I’m still not into Walker for fantasy 2019 because of the Titans offense/Marcus Mariota, but I may not be so boastful about it after watching how spry Walker looked in his debut.
I’m still betting against Walker as being a TE1, but it’s not totally out of the question. After you get past the first five or so tight ends, you’re into a random hodgepodge of hope. Snooty fantasy experts like to call that ‘streaming’ tight ends… Which is code for we don’t do any real studies or really know these TEs very well, so we’ll just stick our hand in a bag and pull out a name and try to feel good about it in our ignorance.
When I see people talk about streaming under the umbrella of “they’re all the same, so who cares?” -- I know I have an advantage over that person in my fantasy league. All of these players need to mean something. And that’s not easy. That’s what I try to do for our audience — make all these players/all these fantasy chess pieces as real as possible. That we have some kind of definitive scouting/feeling, pro or con, that we are working with. That they’re not a bunch of names and statistics that seem all clumped together.
An NFL general manager does not have the time to scout all of the games and all of the tape and all of the prospects. They rely on a scouting department to do that – to help them whittle down the group from a mass of humanity to a handful of select names to focus on. When I started FFM, that was my kind of mission statement. I was too busy to do all of the scouting work and have a real life. I knew that the mainstream coverage and opinion was not getting me anywhere and that everyone in my league was using the same info. I needed a new edge, a new way. I wanted to bring that edge to the marketplace for fantasy players and handicappers to try to prosper from.
That’s a long way to say I don’t want to use Delanie Walker for fantasy this year. It’s at bad draft if you came out of it with Delanie Walker as your starting tight end because ‘they’re all the same’.
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