2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk3 – Steelers 18, Titans 6
The Steelers and Titans played in a steady drizzle, and I watched the tape from the NFL which was the NBC feed…a camera shot in NBC’s angle, I guess, where if you wondered what it would be like to watch a game from the worst seats in the stadium…you got to experience it here. Is that what NBC showed live, too? Yuck.
I like the All-22 view…to watch pass coverage. When I want to watch running and blocking and tacklers, I need to see up close. Thanks, NBC/NFL for the constant aerial shot! Well, at least, I got to hear the genius that is Chris Collinsworth on the mic…a sure reminder football is almost here, and I have 17 Sunday night games to watch with my fingers in my ears. Which is better than Monday nights in which I will surgically remove my ear drums every Monday afternoon to avoid Booger McFarland chatter. The next day of having the drums reinserted is no fun but you have to pay the price to avoid Booger-talk. If only there was another, simpler solution…
In this game, the Steelers went at Tennessee with a lot of starters and Tennessee not as much with the starters. So, the final score reflected how seriously it was taken…and the sloppy conditions hurt real scouting of the action on top of that.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I know, I know… I don’t need you to point it out. I see James Conner (5-41-0, 21-5-0/2) is being used as the workhorse back…and that Jaylen Samuels (4-16-0, 2-11-0/3) is nowhere to be found with the 1st-team, hardly.
But you said Jaylen would be the guy and…
1) “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Iron Mike Tyson.
Last year, the Eagles were all in on their assumed franchise RB Jay Ajayi Week 1.
Alex Collins was the revelation for the masses/the Ravens going into 2018 season.
Rex Burkhead led the Pats in rushing Week 1 last season.
I could cite other examples of ‘they were the guy, and then they weren’t soon after’ by Week 3 or 4 or 5, etc.
When big name QBs fail, teams still stick by them for years. When big name, assumed starting RBs fail…it’s easy to slide in a talented ‘other guy’ for more touches and then the competition is on.
2) If the Patriots beat the Steelers by 30+…just humiliate them and Conner goes for 17 carries for 42 yards and loses a fumble, let’s say, while Samuels came in and made a few nice plays AND reminds fans that ‘Oh, yeah we beat New England last year WITH Jaylen as lead back rushing for 140+ yards and putting on a show in a huge spot after barely having been allowed to see the field all year’…then perhaps the narrative starts to turn after just a week. This Patriots game is going to set the tone for the Steelers’ 2019 season. The Patriots could care less, but for the Steelers it justifies all their recent moves…or it brings on the fan/media wrath for them.
3) Jaylen Samuels is Le’Veon Bell reincarnated, in a sense…same look, running style, and even better hands. It won’t take long for Steelers nation to ‘get it’ and pressure a wobbly Steelers team into an obvious change.
If the Steelers pound the Patriots, Conner is golden for a while. That Week 1 is going to be so huge for the direction of the Steelers ‘plans’.
4) What if the Steelers know that one of their best ways to trick Belichick is show him the obvious this preseason…Conner as lead, and then come Week 1 they break out the Samuels as a weapon all over the field act? Not saying…just wondering.
5) I’m not leaving redrafts with Samuels as much lately (as I was in June-July). Why? I’m too busy taking Pollard-Justin Jackson in that range. Better values at the moment. I think I can go back and get Samuels in-season. If Zeke shows up, maybe I drop Pollard for Samuels on the back of my bench.
-- Steelers’ WR notes…
I found it curious that Ryan Switzer (0-0-0/1) was on the field so much in this game with the 1st-team. It looks like that is a thing, again. But they did that last year, they’d dip their toe with Switzer as Edelman and then they would stop/ignore it soon after. Not sure what they’re doing but he was out there A LOT with Ben.
JuJu (4-37-1/5) worked a lot of outside in this game. I don’t love that for fantasy. He might be the Michael Thomas-a-like for Ben, but I don’t know. I just do not like the risk for the price on JuJu in redraft right now. But it’s not crazy to dive in on it if you believe. Sure, he scored a TD here…on solo coverage with Leshaun Sims. The first team corners were not in…and if Sims is their new 1st-team guy, the Titans are screwed.
James Washington (1-41-1/2) strikes again!!! He’s awesome. Notice who it was throwing it…his old teammate/QB again (Rudolph). It’s an unfair advantage against 2nd/3rd-team defenses…I’m just saying there is some optical illusion here. Washington is a good WR, he’s getting an extra preseason bump getting favorable treatment from Rudolph.
-- Is there a QB controversy in Tennessee? Yes.
Ryan Tannehill (6-9 for 62 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) was brought in for emergency purposes due to Mariota always getting hurt, but Tennessee is moving on Mariota at years end…so if they make a switch at some point, it won’t be a worry on affecting Mariota’s psyche because he won’t be on the team next year.
It’s here nor there for fantasy…both QBs are fairly weak for FF production and in what they do for their WRs.
-- The QB controversy in Pittsburgh is…who’s the #2? Mason Rudolph (6-9 for 75 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) seems to be nudging ahead but it’s hard to tell because he keeps succeeding with James Washington…and vice-versa. It’s like a little unfair advantage.
Rudolph just looks ‘OK’ to my eye right now. I was a big fan of his work at Oklahoma State, but not sure his style of play fits the NFL perfectly…that it was more college great. I’m still optimistic but losing faith.
-- Titans’ rookie WR A.J. Brown (1-10-0/1)…it’s like he doesn’t even really exist. So quiet from camp to the preseason. About a billion rookie WRs have passed him in status, buzz, and everything else.
Was once the hands down #1 WR in this class, he and D.K. Metcalf, for the mainstream. All the modern scouting technology and access we have and lessons we should’ve learned…and we’re still at ‘glom onto top names from big name/SEC mostly schools we see on TV a lot’ as the supposed top prospects at each position to start a college season and everyone in the scouting community just adopts the position because they don’t know and don’t put in the work…then the masses just assume everyone with a white lab coat on is a doctor, so they trust every article/list produced on football websites and ‘boom’…led astray by a lazy media/analyst class again.
-- Titans UDFA rookie RB Alex Barnes (9-32-0, 2-5-0/2) consistently works behind Jeremy McNichols (9-43-0, 0-0-0/1) every preseason game. Barnes looked clearly better than JMN last week but was ‘meh’ in the slop/rain this week.
Barnes may make the team, but I’d guess they’ll slide him quietly onto the practice squad.
Barnes has some Le’Veon traits to him as well.
-- Western Michigan/Steelers 2nd-year UDFA LB Robert Spillane (5 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs) was a small, slow ILB prospect coming into the pros (2018) but has bulked up a bit and shows signs of being a better player than Pro Day warrior. Played a very energized and solid game here. Probably headed to the practice squad but may have caught another team’s eye if any desperate for ILB depth right away.
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