2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk3 – Cowboys 34, Texans 0
Both teams were going with their 1st-teams (mostly) as this ‘dress rehearsal’. Dallas stalled out on their opening drive. On their first drive, Houston lost their only real/experienced lead running back for the season and lost a starting O-Lineman (Fulton) hit in the leg by a sacked Deshaun Watson on the next play for an undetermined amount of time for the season. Not the first drive they were planning on…
At that point, it looked like Bill O’Brien just pulled every offensive starter and quit playing the game out of frustration. The team and the coaches were shell-shocked from the moment Lamar Miller went down on play #2, and then they were done when another player was carted off the very next play. They mailed it in at that point, and Dallas took full advantage…34-0 Cowboys.
Obviously, the big fantasy stories are surrounding Lamar Miller, Pollard-Zeke-Jerry, and now Amari Cooper trade rumors and a very imminent Jadeveon Clowney trade coming? Oh, boy…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Lamar Miller (ACL) is done for 2019 and likely done as a Houston Texan. Everyone in fantasydom immediately started trying to gage the fallout for opportunity, because fantasy GMs are RB hysterical at all times…and greedy vultures (that’s me!).
This injury is also proof once again of the devaluation of the fantasy running back – Lamar Miller goes down, and his replacement for Week 1 will probably have a higher ADP than Miller the moment we know who it is. If Zeke is truly out, Tony Pollard is an RB1 potential. One man gone, one man replaces like nothing happened at RB…and RBs are ‘gone’ often. There’s a constant supply of running backs. Yet, we still insist on getting hyperbolic trying to fill a war room of them on our fantasy rosters from the draft and in-season.
Running back is the only position that constantly grows back its own crop instantly. Fantasy running backs are like a lizard’s tail. If DeAndre Hopkins tore his ACL…Will Fuller is not suddenly a WR1 or the best WR in football. If Deshaun Watson gets an ACL, Joe Webb is not a QB1. When Miller goes down, if you knew his certain replacement today…that RB would have a better ADP than Miller did pre-injury. Tony Pollard will be a high ranked RB2 for Week 1 with no Zeke, with RB1 hopes and heavy DFS play.
OK, we know my shtick on this RB stuff already if you’ve been with me for a while. You want to know the answer to the question – What’s the fantasy play here?
Answer = I don’t know yet, but it’s not on the roster right now. That’s the way I’m operating.
If this injury happened Week 1 of the regular season, we would have a different answer. I believe if it were Week 1, with little time and opportunity to adjust/react, it would be Buddy Howell (DNP) splitting with Duke Johnson with Buddy as the ‘lead’ a la the times Alfred Blue was the lead for Houston every so often the past few seasons. The Texans are vested into Howell more than people realize.
But it’s not Week 1, so the Texans have a week+ to get a more experienced lead running back in and up to speed. O’Brien’s job is not totally safe in Houston, so he can’t put his job on the line with Buddy Howell, I would suspect. And within that week+ to react, the NFL is about to offer up a bunch of released RBs due to depth/youth and salary cap casualties. There will also be trade possibilities from it all.
The Texans do not have a real GM, so we have no idea who is watching what there. It’s likely Bill O’Brien giving the final decision…which means it’s dealing with someone he knows from however he knows them. It won’t be a brilliant trade most likely, as head coaches like O’Brien have little idea of the chess board of personnel, especially the younger guys under the radar. So, likely, a Josh Adams wouldn’t find his way there.
O’Brien will likely lean on his fraternity of coaches back to their New England ties for assistance or he’ll seek ‘names’ like a fan, almost.
Here are some possibilities (in some order, but loosely)…
1) Rex Burkhead, NE – The Pats don't need him and he’s the kinda grinder the ex-Patriots coaches love.
2) LeSean McCoy, BUF – The Bills have been offering him around since the summer. Now, he means a lot to the Texans. But I’m not sure Buffalo wants to aid an AFC foe…unless the Texans make a big offer.
3) Zach Zenner, DET – Think about it. The Lions have three RBs ahead of him, and the Lions GM and HC are all ex-Patriots and they personally like Zenner and this would be a chance for ZZ that he’s never gotten before. Helps the player and a ‘friend’ not in the same conference. If this happens, run don’t walk after Zenner for fantasy. This makes so much sense I’m scaring myself into picking him up in deeper leagues just to see what happens. Zenner would be the day one starter.
4) Ronald Jones, TB – There’s a sucker born every minute, and if the Texans’ personnel moves are run by scouts…they just echo popular sentiment, so they’d love a chance to get a guy who was SUPPOSED to be good.
5) Devontae Booker, DEN – Maybe. Denver might keep for depth. They might dump and pick up someone else during Sept. 1st cuts and Booker is available for free.
6) Kenneth Dixon, BAL – The Ravens are likely releasing, but would take a 7th-rounder for him. He’s been trouble though.
7) C.J. Prosise, SEA – If cut and roaming free.
8) Carlos Hyde, KC – If/when he gets cut, he’s a veteran hand.
9) Elijah McGuire, NYJ – Potential Jets cut, and he had a decent game against Houston last season.
10) Samaje Perine, WAS – If/when he gets cut by Washington, but I think Jay will send him to Jon. Unless he gets kicked into a Jadeveon Clowney deal.
11) An Eagles cut RB…either Clement-Smallwood-Adams.
12) Melvin Gordon? The Chargers can trade him at any time. Why help an AFC playoff contender out now. Just wait until the trade deadline to move him somewhere or the offseason? Or just use him up Weeks 11-17 and the playoffs (if they make it) and get a compensation pick in the draft. No one wants Gordon…when it’s Gordon + a massive deal to go with it.
To me, there is no way Duke Johnson is the main carry RB for long or at all. That’s not his scene. He would split touches with either Buddy Howell or Damarea Crockett (3-27-0) and they’d see more 1st-2nd-down work.
The Texans have vested and stuck by Buddy Howell. The Texans working a split with him (or Crockett) and Duke is not out of the question, and then grabbing a guy off the 53-man cut down day heap if it comes to them.
Why didn’t Buddy enter the game here once Lamar went down? I don’t know if Howell was active or not. Trying to find out but haven’t yet. He didn’t get any touches in this game. I think when Miller then OL Zach Fulton went down…Bill O’Brien wasn’t playing any more starters – that fact may bode well for Howell’s standing in the universe if O’Brien was keeping him and Duke off the cursed field.
-- OK, the latest on Ezekiel Elliott…
It’s obviously Tony Pollard’s (6-26-0) in lieu of Elliott. That part has been made clear. I like Pollard, but he’s nothing like Elliott…and I’m not an Elliott worshipper. I hope you’ve been grabbing Pollard cheapo as we’ve been pushing since July (if you already drafted).
I would say the odds Elliott is back with a new deal Week 1 is 40%. He’s not coming back without being the highest paid RB in the NFL. And Jerry is not going to buckle on a guy with two years left on his deal.
How about this theory…
If Jerry is willing to pay Elliott when he needs to, why not just wait a few weeks into the season and see what they got. The early schedule is favorable. It gets Pollard up to speed. It keeps Elliott in the garage for a few weeks or several and keeps him healthy/injury free. If Jerry is going to cave, he can cave in a few weeks if things go south and rest up Elliott for the playoff run. If Dallas is awesome without him, then Jerry just continues to not blink. Dallas’s schedule of NYG-WAS the first two weeks buys Jerry time to sweat Elliott some more.
You think I am joking about Elliott to the XFL for a splash deal…I’m not.
-- An Amari Cooper trade rumor? I heard this pop up today, but I have not found any credibility to it. It wouldn’t shock me, and I’d be a big Jerry fan if he dealt him because he should versus paying him. But I cannot confirm any deals involving him wafting around.
-- Jadeveon Clowney should be traded this week. Where?
Him for Trent Williams has been talked about a ton in the media. Laremy Tunsil (MIA) might be in play.
Rumors are swirling that they are looking for wide receiver help in a Clowney deal. If there is any truth to that – it means they either don’t trust Will Fuller in general or that Keke Coutee cannot stay healthy/isn’t healthy now. Fuller seems to be more the takeout target because Coutee plays a different style of wide receiver. A nice #2 (Fuller now) takes heat off Hopkins and helps Watson. Fuller is at risk here.
-- Another nice showing by former Jets’ 2nd-round pick, but 2x ACL’d, Devin Smith (6-79-0/10) for Dallas. I think he is making this team and if so, and if Amari either cannot play Week 1 or is dealt…Smith might be a shock starter, pressed into duty.
-- A couple IDP rookie notes…
Dallas UDFA DE Jalen Jelks (4 tackles, 2 TFLs) was very active and caught my attention. His measurables say, ‘don’t look’ but he at least showed a sign of life here.
Dallas 2nd-round pick rookie DE Trysten Hill (2 tackles, 0.5 sacks)…I saw a little spark here. I want to see more but Hill looked better here than the prior few weeks. I’m still trying to understand what Will McClay saw here…but McClay is an excellent scout, best in the biz perhaps, so I’m open to watching how this develops.
Houston rookie CB Lonnie Johnson (3 tackles, 2 PDs) had a nice showing here. He won’t start Week 1 of maybe in 2019, but there is hope he could become a starter someday.
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