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2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 Steelers 17, Chiefs 7

August 19, 2019 1:39 PM
August 19, 2019 1:37 PM

2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 Steelers 17, Chiefs 7


OK, buckle up. I’m about to crap on a bunch of players here. You do with the information what you want. I’m a professional scout and professional gambler. I cannot take the ‘maybe’ position on high-level players. I am looking to go all-in or all-out. I have to pick a lane and drive as fast as I can in it…and if I misinterpret or misread the situation, I got a million other things to work with that I’ll be ‘right’ about. So, I’m going to blast a bunch of players here and I’m not touching them for fantasy because of my fears going into the season and now just watching them all coalesce here in one game just amplified it for me even more.

There are some positives, but there are mostly negative notes from this game.

If you’ve never read my work before, welcome…and I have like 5 million+ words published on football on the internet for you to see that proves I don’t ‘hate your team’ or that I am ‘just trying to get a rise’.  If you’re the type that gets their panties in a bunch because I spoke ill of ‘your guy’ or against ‘your team’, please not that I don’t care about any team, I’m a football profiteer…I only care about winning/earning money through football scouting. You worship players who could care less about you, and God bless you and your passion but I’m working with a different agenda and a different set of cards then the football media lapdogs trying to promote the product/the NFL or their team of employment.

(For long time audience members -- that was a pre warning for new readers because I’m trying to keep the social media hate, that I don’t look at 99% of for mental wellness maintaining, to a minimum. It’s that time of the season where football fans are out in full force filled with sugar plum fairy dreams right now. If you want to communicate with me…email me. My social media is just to keep people updated on my published work and/or pose teaser alternative opinions for people to come explore.)

OK, here we go…in no particular order.

Fantasy Player Notes…


 -- Patrick Mahomes went 2-for-5 passing for 11 yards in two series. He overthrew at least one open receiver, if not two. The Chiefs 1st-team offense did not look in sync.

Where is the Kyler Murray-esque hysteria here? I mean, Mahomes has been with these guys for three years now! It should be a well-oiled machine. Obviously, I’m being sarcastic.

Had this performance happened last season, before Mahomes had embarked on his great season…the media would have been hysterical, and thus the masses would have been too. For a week, maybe. That’s what the media does to unproven players moving into the spotlight. They are selectively hysterical, and love fear-monger stories that get clicks. It’s good business. We’re (the fans) just too dumb to realize it. We fall into the trap every time. We love football and fantasy too much and we’re always on-edge about any possible issue.

Playing fantasy is the #2 hobby of most everyone reading this.

The #1 hobby is worrying about players on your fantasy team. We love to worry.

But this KC offensive performance here generated no worries by the media or fans. It shouldn’t, but the Kyler event has been talk show fodder for days now. Not that it shouldn’t be, but it’s the ‘in our face’ part that alters our emotions on football things. We’re selectively picking bad preseason work to be nervous about while ignoring others. Kyler is just the biggest story of the preseason, so the microscope is out in full force.


 -- Damien Williams (0-0-0/1) DID start this game for KC. That’s a positive for any of his fantasy owners.

The downside…Williams looked to me as if he had a hundred other things that he’d rather be doing than starting at RB for the Chiefs in Week 2 of the preseason. You’d figure his demotion of the last few weeks would have rattled his cage and made him go out and ‘show all of us’ and his coaches who the man is. This was his first action since the RBBC was announced. This was HIS time.

Williams never took a hand-off as KC worked the first drive with their starters as they threw all passes. I watched Williams every play…he ran half-speed/lazy routes out of the backfield and when a 3rd-down wheel route pass play was designed for him and was all set to be a long gain/long TD, Williams half-assed it out of the backfield and Mahomes led the pass out to where a guy running full speed might be but it was too long for moseying along Williams.

It was a bit jarring to watch.

Williams was a college senior kicked off his team near the end of his career for multiple work ethic issues who grinded his way to a role in the pros, and who was given good money and given the title ‘main starter’ this year for KC, but had that title ripped away in training camp and here in his first action since the demotion he just drifted around the field like he was half asleep – it was jarring.

We may now know why Reid went way out of character and demoted him to ‘RBBC’ a few weeks ago.

The Chiefs starting RB for Week 1 may not be on the team right now…

Carlos Hyde (5-23-0) entered the game to start the second series and worked with Mahomes and the 1st-team. Hyde was OK/nothing special and lost a fumble. He did not seize the moment that Damien Williams is so desperately trying to giveaway.

Rookie Darwin Thompson (4-30-0, 0-0-0/1) entered the game a little later and looked good on a carry or two against the lesser defenses. I want to believe Thompson playing a major role in 2019 is far-fetched, and it should be, but things look exceedingly troubling in the KC backfield right now as the loss of John Dorsey as GM is being felt in waves.

A Super Bowl contender because of their quarterback, the Chiefs are slowly going down the Andy Reid drain. Someone with the Chiefs should be on the phone with Buffalo beginning for LeSean McCoy in a trade.

It may be too late to do anything for Week 1, and Damien may ‘start’ because they have no other choice…but, man, this does not look good. Not good on Reid’s sudden turn to RBBC. Not good on Williams’ performance and body language in this game.


 -- OK, you’re with me so far. You found my Mahomes-Kyler take mildly entertaining, a sarcastic aside. You are worried about the KC backfield too…because you love to worry. So, I’m playing to your wheelhouse. But I think we’ve got a right to be worried with the KC backfield…it may be worse than we think (i.e. a trade may be happening before the 53-man rosters get set).

However, now I’m going to lose a lot of you. When you leave after this next section, I appreciate you stopping by.

James Conner (6-28-0/7) is not a very good lead running back in the NFL. Watching him work in this game against a weak defense while working with the 1st-team offense – there’s no ‘there’ there. He’s a vanilla/bland/non-explosive/nice backup NFL talent getting shoved all the opportunity. This is happening with the Steelers possessing an exponentially more talented Jaylen Samuels (4-26-1), and if you watched this game only, it would be undeniable that Samuels is the greater talent, but they insist on pushing Conner…and it’s a huge mistake and the clock is ticking until the day they don’t. There is not one area of the game Samuels is not better than Conner in, and yet Samuels is an afterthought for Pittsburgh right now…sadly, just a nice limited touch relief back.

I believe sometime in 2019 season the James Conner story, of him thought of as a top NFL RB, is going to go ‘poof’. Samuels will consistently outplay him in limited touches and work his way to a split and then takeover, and the real icing on this cake is that Samuels looks just like Le’Veon Bell, as a player…a living reminder of days gone by, and their possible bridge to get back to those great running game days. More importantly, a bridge to those passing game out of the backfield days gone by with Bell. Samuels should be getting pushed, but the Steelers are not doing such a thing.

If they were pushing Samuels…we would have seen some Samuels going in and out with Conner in 1st-team work, which would have been a subtle message. However, Samuels has been relegated to second-class/team citizen all summer. Just like last year, when they virtually ignored him, until they had to use him, and he showed he was better than Conner the moment he filled in for him…Samuels is buried until Conner creates a crisis/the Steelers finally admit it.

James Conner is going to be bad new for fantasy teams ahead. I just don’t know if that’s Week 2 this year or Week 7-8-9 or in Week 1 in 2020. It may be by halftime of Week 1 this season.


 -- That wasn’t so bad, right? Well, let me make it worse. This is where the Steelers fans all turn on me…

JuJu Smith-Schuster (0-0-0/3) does not feel like a high-end #1 wide receiver in the NFL, to my scouting eye. The people that have theorized that JuJu is more a creation of being a sweet #2 WR operating behind the protection of Antonio Brown getting all the coverage attention…I’m with you and have been all year. If you watched JuJu in this game, you’d join our side as well. Against one of the worst pass defenses of 2018, JuJu could not get open well to present a nice target for his quarterback in this game. If you blame no Ben playing, it’s not illogical, but it’s also ‘theory’ as much as my theory is.

If JuJu Smith-Schuster were named Jim Smith and played for the Buffalo Bills, you couldn't care less. JuJu has a lot going for him -- Memorable name. High visibility team. In commercials (with AB, because of AB…again, AB is breathing extra life into him). AB gone…JuJu gets all the targets. I know why he’s ranked so highly. It’s a logical case…except that so is the fact that JuJu might not be a #1 WR worker, and especially when AB isn’t providing the opportunity to shine.

I know the first 10-12 ranked WRs in ADP/expert rankings are all ‘the guy’ for their teams and are proven #1s…expect with JuJu. We don’t know that he can be a #1…a #1 that belongs as the #7 ranked WR or #15 player overall in fantasy. JuJu is good…I never thought he was great, and not #1 WR great. Nice part of the ensemble but not the lead singer.

Perhaps, he will be. But my grievance is people are taking him in fantasy like it’s a done deal. You bypass Mike Evans for JuJu Smith-Schuster early in fantasy redrafts? Why? If you watched this game, you’d be very worried that JuJu is more WR2 than WR1.

I get that JuJu has the path to volume for nice fantasy numbers. I get that I could be wrong about his ability to be a dominant #1 WR. But I think it’s worth questioning and not paying the prices people are. How did he become a ‘given’ so fast as a #1 WR? This game didn’t help ‘change my mind’.


 -- It’s not going to help JuJu that awful Donte Moncrief (1-1-0/1) as the #2 WR…teams do not fear Moncrief. They wish the Steelers would throw to him. Moncrief is a great shorts and t-shirts WR and passive/disappointing in live action…and hampered a bunch with nagging injuries.

Moncrief caught a short pass here, got tackled normally and spit out the ball for a turnover. He is S-A-W-F-T, as I’ve said since scouting him out of Ole Miss.

The Steelers #1-2 WR punch for Week 1 is a guy that has not proven to be a #1 WR and a free agent who wears out his welcome/frustrates/teases wherever he has been in his NFL career. Good luck with all that.


 -- One more Steelers’ bullet fired…

Rookie Benny Snell (7-16-0, 2-5-0/3) does not look like an NFL RB…far too slow. I thought the same scouting him out of Kentucky. He’s looked so porous this preseason that I question whether he makes the team, but the Steelers choices on who to start Week 1 are so sketchy, I’m sure they will keep and love Snell beyond when it becomes obvious to everyone else.

He’s a rookie, so I am willing to let him put more tape down…but I have not liked what I’ve seen in college (from a pro prospect perspective) or the pros from Snell.


 -- Let’s get to the good, but sad…

James Washington (4-78-0/5) is making his case that he should start, and he should be the #2 WR Week 1…I think he should be working over Moncrief. My fear for JW is…he’s OK/good-not-great and he looks really good when working with his college QB Mason Rudolph…but how does that translate to working with Ben? Is he a bit of a preseason optical illusion with an unfair advantage at QB?

Washington should start over Moncrief with JuJu, and with WR Diontae Johnson (3-46-1/5) starting in the Antonio Brown role. Diontae is clearly their best WR talent and one of the best/smartest picks in the entire 2019 NFL Draft (see, I don’t hate the Steelers!).

Johnson won’t start, however. Part of that because Moncrief is getting love now he won’t return on-field consistently. And part of what holds the Steelers from putting Diontae over Washington MIGHT be Washington is shining due to his relationship with Rudolph.

Eventually, it will be Diontae.


*PAUSE* I have some bonus thoughts on Diontae (and subscribers know why) and the Steelers situation in general…and part of it is a direct money-making idea, so it will be published for Draft Guide and Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball subscriber’s only in the next 24 hours.


 -- OK, no more crapping on players. Back to just some quick analysis from this game…

Mason Rudolph (10-15 for 77 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) may have taken a step past Josh Dobbs (6-11 for 95 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) finally as #2 QB. Rudolph more fits the normal offense the Steelers run. But I still am not seeing from Rudolph what I expected. He still looks like and carries himself like a backup QB. He’s getting a bit more confidence, looks a bit more sure…but not anywhere as I expected he’d be at.


 -- Chiefs’ rookie WR report…

UDFA WR Cody Thompson (7-69-0/11) is pulling away from the pack to be the guy that gets kept on the roster, but it’s 50-50.

Jamal Custis (0-0-0/1) got a target at the end of the game, a slant into the end zone and couldn’t come down with the tightly covered pass. He has done little this preseason.

Felton Davis (1-7-0/1) got some late playing time, and a simple dump off pass. He looks like he has no shot to make the team. He’s talented but coming off a major injury, he’s way off the grid.


 -- Mecole Hardman (1-17-1/3) caught a simple TD pass, but as we do in the preseason…he’s being canonized because he has a TD in two straight preseason games. This week’s score was pretty simple. I’ve not seen any evidence Hardman is a legit NFL WR already. His one good play of the preseason was a virtual running play. We know he can run, but can he play professional WR?


 -- Steelers’ rookie LB Ulysses Gilbert (4 tackles) looked solid in his appearance here. He came in mid-game and was fine.

Tyler Matakevich (7 tackles), who I really like, started and played almost the whole game. Another nice outing…but I know that’s meaningless to him getting a full shot someday. His ship has sailed, it seems.




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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>