2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk3 – Dolphins 22, Jaguars 7
The Dolphins and Jags’ 1st-team went at it for a while in the 1st-half of this game. It was not pretty, but it was fairly obvious the Jaguars would destroy Miami if this was a ‘real’ game. The Jags controlled this game the way that they will in the regular season – a great defense that can shutdown any passing game and a vanilla offense designed to not do anything stupid. You can win titles with that philosophy if you have a high-end defense. We’ll see if the Jags do. They have some trouble at linebacker until Quincy Williams returns.
The Dolphins won the scoreboard but the judge’s fight card by me goes to Jacksonville (their 1st-team anyway).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- You are going to be disappointed with my first note here, but take heart...
I saw the box score for this game after my Video Q&A show was over last night. One of the first things I looked at was to see what UDFA rookie WR Preston Williams (0-0-0/2) did, and then saw the no catches on two targets and was disappointed.
After being crowned at training camp superstar and after a nice showing in Week 1 of the preseason, Williams has gone one catch on 8 targets in the last two preseason games are…and the air seems to be let out of his hype balloon.
I know this is true because Troy Aikman said as much on the broadcast in this game. In addition, it’s been a Roto-notes negative hit two weeks in a row…but Rotoworld still thinks he might make the 53-man roster. That’s a far cry from all the superstar talk a couple of weeks ago. That’s the preseason for you!
Is it time to panic? Was Williams a flashlight in the pan that we get too excited about because beat writers do would beat writers do and try to whip up interest in the players on the team they cover and football society chooses to latch onto some and ignore other players getting the same buzz? See also: other UDFA WRs -- Jazz Ferguson (the name I will now check into hotels under) and Emmanuel Butler.
I have a pretty deep answer to this phenomenon.
The disappointing part for you is you’re going to have to wait to find out -- it’s too important to dissect out here in public. I want to discuss it in private since there’s a potential big fall and then rise and then fall with Williams (and others of his ilk) heading into all your redraft and dynasty rookie drafts these next two weeks.
Later today you will see my bonus notes on this situation. You’ll want to read it.
— Let’s continue the wide receiver talk, but shift our focus to the Jacksonville Jaguars…
The Jaguars started this game in a 2-WR set, and those two WRs were D.J. Chark (0-0-0/0) and Chris Conley (0-0-0/0). When they switched up to a 3-WR look, Dede Westbrook (4-29-1/7) was introduced.
Yes…Westbrook was the star in the box score compared to the other guys, but the performance wasn’t like ‘wow’. Nice numbers, but never did I think watching this that there was some special connection between the two. Westbrook was in, he played well, Foles took advantage, nice numbers in the short period of time. Because the media adores Westbrook, it will be painted as some major event as to why Westbrook is in the Jaguars top receiver – I’m not sure I buy it. He’s a receiver option who starts and is in the slot so that’s FF-good, but I don’t see a standout star receiver here. Never have.
Most of us were hoping to see the D.J. Chark show, but all we got was no targets and then on a kick return he was blasted in the shoulder and left the game with a reported concussion. Watching the play, I don’t know how he was concussed from the hit. Broken shoulder I could understand, but I did not see anything that remotely looks like a concussion. The defender targeted him in his upper left shoulder and Chark collapsed fast but his head never bounced off the turf or even got close to it…but Chark looked dazed and confused after like a concussion had happened. If it’s a concussion it can’t be a major one, because there was no major hit to the head. We may find out there’s something wrong with the shoulder but will have to see.
Outside of that, I thought Chark looked fine. The Jaguars offense was nothing spectacular and Foles was playing a pretty safe. Chark was open going deep a couple times but Foles looked like he was running specific plays – he was probably planned to keep working Westbrook since Dede had been out so much in training camp.
Conley was a non-factor as well but looked fine. He drew long P.I. to set up a short Dede TD. Foles was not really working the outside receivers all that much or even looking at them but that’s not a harbinger of things to come because Foles loves to let it fly. The vanilla play calling had to be some design – a huge game with KC in Week 1 may be a playoff hole field edge at season’s end. It’s a playoff game for Jacksonville Week 1.
— But what you could walk away from this game thinking about the Jaguars offense was that it is Leonard Fournette (7-27-0, 2-19-0/3) centric. As part of Foles’s small ball game here, which also keeps him safe from hits in the preseason, he dumped a lot of passes to Fournette by design. When Fournette wasn’t catching passes he was running the ball as tough as ever. He did not have a lot of room to work with, but he did his normal thing of blasting away and taking what they give him and then springing loose once the opportunity presented itself. I thought Fournette looked totally fine and ready to go.
The Jaguars better pray that Fournette doesn’t get hurt again, because Ryquell Armstead (8-18-0, 3-0-0/3) is absolutely not ready to make you forget about Fournette. I suspect the Fournette handcuff is on another team right now waiting to join in September.
— It could be worse for the Jaguars, they could have Miami’s backfield…
Kalen Ballage (12-17-0, 2-0-0/3) did his thing I’ve been talking about for a year – run straight into the backs of blockers and go as far as that takes him. Rarely does Ballage sense or is able to approach congestion and then switch his direction. He did have one nice run he kicked to the outside in this game but the rest of the time he just smashed into the pile and went nowhere.
I still maintain Ballage is a great shorts and T-shirt running back, but going to be a flop as an NFL runner. Kenyan Drake cannot get back fast enough for Miami.
Possibly the best-looking Miami RB this preseason has been UDFA Patrick Laird (6-26-1). He did his Danny Woodhead routine once again in this game and looked promising…albeit against the Jags’ 2nd-team or worse defense.
— It definitely looks like Miami is going with Ryan Fitzpatrick (12-18 for 126 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) to start. I don’t think it’s even debatable. Fitzpatrick didn’t look great, but he was also facing arguably the toughest pass defense in the NFL…the Jaguars first team defense. When Josh Rosen (5-7 for 59 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) entered it was in a much simpler situation not against Jacksonville’s top defenders, so he might’ve looked a little better/more comfortable…but it was a totally different backdrop that he worked against compared to Fitz.
You could see beyond a shadow of a doubt that Miami is going with Fitzpatrick Week 1 watching this game.
— No QB controversy on the other side, Nick Foles (6-10 for 48 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) looked ready to go. It looked like they had it dialed down to keep it simple but he Foles was his normal solid self here.
Can I just make this statement?
You know, Roto-notes…if every time you mention a Jaguars starting wide receiver (Chark-Conley-Westbrook) you note ‘seems to have a connection with Foles’…don’t you think MAYBE Foles has something to do with that?
People are so brainwashed by the football intelligentsia against Nick Foles (see too: Mitchell Trubisky…and suddenly Kyler Murray) that Foles can’t be having a great camp or anything promising…it’s all written about for the WR perspective of having a nice connection. If you have a nice connection with your three starting wide receivers you’ve never worked with before…you must be a pretty damn good QB, no?
Gardner Minshew (17-27 for 141 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is the obvious #2 QB here. That’s no longer up for debate.
— Jaguars first round draft pick, rookie pass rusher Josh Allen (4 tackles, 2 TFLs) has played in all the preseason games. And in his brief stint Weeks 1-2, Allen was getting into the backfield to make plays right away. What happened in Week 3 with the first team defense? Allen was starting and he was right into the backfield making plays right off the bat again. Josh Allen looks like he’s going to be a payday for Jacksonville. Another reason to love this defense and team for 2019.
— Two Miami Dolphins IDP notes…
Jerome Baker (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) sure looks like the middle linebacker you want from Miami for Week 1 in IDP if you’re into such things. He’s been the talk of camp and he’s been showing his skills this preseason as he did last preseason.
Good to see Eagles former second round draft pick, then former Patriots DB, Eric Rowe (5 tackles, 2 PDs, 1 INT) getting an opportunity to shine. Rowe came over to Miami with the other ex-Patriots coaches that I think could be a solid talent waiting to get a full chance to start without looking over his shoulder. He’s starting at corner for Miami, but he’s got a safety’s mindset. He’ll get you tackles from the corner.
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