2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk4 – Browns 20, Lions 16
The Browns did some wheeling and dealing Saturday, and it was really smart…and we’ll touch on that.
A couple days prior, they played in this game…a showcase of a lot of players about to be cut over the weekend. We do have some FF notes from it, so here we go.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Browns made one of the/thee smartest trades of Saturday when they acquired Taywan Taylor from the Titans…a guy I would argue was the Titans most explosive receiver. Maybe not the pure/technical best, but if you want a guy who can get open and make big plays – Taywan is your guy. And the Browns just heisted him away.
How can I trust an organization that values Tajae Sharpe over Taywan Taylor? I can’t…thus I’ll be pleased when Tennessee starts to swirl down the drain with their radically dull offense. Doubly making me happy…the Browns get Baker the missing #3 WR piece of the puzzle he needed.
The Browns have acquired the Dolphins best WR, the Giants best WR, and now the Titans most dangerous WR…all in little over a year. Baker has a virtual all-star team now to throw to. The Browns are going to be so good this year, and so many national football analysts are going to have to backpedal on their anti-Baker/Browns ways. Colin…I’m looking at you.
Taywan is a fantasy WR3 in Cleveland, maybe in a few weeks. He’s like the Browns’ Ted Ginn, of sorts.
-- Dontrell Hilliard (12-65-0, 2-13-1/3) started and played a lot…this coming off my sudden-like RB D’Ernest ‘Kamara’ Johnson (1-7-0/1) taking all the touches in Week 3. I wasn’t sure if this big Week 4 Hilliard workload meant anything for the Hilliard-Johnson race, but I think it was just getting Hilliard up to speed as the true #2 and guy that’s going to be playing/seeing touches in the Duke Johnson role with Kareem Hunt unavailable. It’s a huge step up for Hilliard. D’Ernest wasn’t ignored or resting…he was returning kicks/punts in this game.
Hilliard looked sharp in this game. What a smooth-looking backup RB. The Browns have two UDFA RBs (Hilliard and Johnson) that are two of the best backup RBs in the game…and barely anyone knows they exist. They may allow the Browns to flip Kareem Hunt before he even takes a snap for the Browns. I wouldn’t put it past GM of the Year John Dorsey.
Hilliard is going to shock some asleep-at-the-wheel football analysts with how good he is, because they had no idea. Do you think Steve Mariucci or Michel Irvin know who the Browns #2 and #3 RBs are? And yet they make hundreds of thousands of dollars spewing football words to you.
-- After the game, the Browns dealt UDFA QB David Blough (11-17 for 115 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) for three reasons…
1) Blough performed admirably, promisingly this preseason.
2) Garrett Gilbert (13-24 for 117 yards, 1 TD/0 INT), to my shock/surprise, outplayed Blough in the preseason and really earned this backup job.
3) The Lions have a Matt Stafford problem they are worried about…back issues at the top of the list. I’m not sure Stafford will play 16 games as a Lion this season.
-- The Lions swirl down the talent drain continued when they released promising 2nd-year UDFA WR Brandon Powell and rookie UDFA WR Tom Kennedy (2-24-0/4)…favoring to keep late-round drafted WRs who are bigger/can block better. It’s a sign this offense is going to die in a dull run game…as you’d expect from worst O-C in the NFL Darrell Bevell.
Matt Patricia signed his death certificate when he hired Bevell. Now, we’ll see it play out over the next few months.
-- Lions UDFA rookie RB James Williams (4-0-0, 1-5-0/1)…you know him? The guy who showed up 3x in the top 7-8 historically on PFF’s illustrious stat of ‘forced missed tackles’ (and essentially tied for #1 all-time by percentage), but no one cares – the stat is only used to promote top of their chart David Montgomery as a star?
He looked pretty nice in this game in his few touches. I don’t know why he cannot find a team. He needs Montgomery’s agent. There may be off-field issues?
-- Browns TE Seth DeValve (1-8-0/2) was released by Cleveland…the last, just about, of the Moneyball era Browns’ draft picks.
If he isn’t on the Patriots’ practice squad to start the season, I’ll be shocked. *After I penned this…I saw the Jags made the smart claim on him. That could be interesting given the state of TE affairs in Jacksonville.
-- I watched the Browns home feed of this game and there was WAYY too much time spent promoting recently signed Braxton Miller (3-19-0/6). And, honestly his feet looked read to go/start in the NFL…still very nimble. He was hyped so much on the broadcast, I thought he might make the roster…but he was cut. Interested to see if the Browns put him on a practice squad (if they can).
UDFA Derrick Willies (2-46-0/3) was running as a #3 WR a lot in camp, but then dropped below Rashard Higgins…and then Taywan Taylor was added…and then Willies was out the door. Likely, back onto the P-Squad. *Yes, he was signed back to CLE.
-- Lions sleeper CB Mike Ford (6 tackles, 1 PD) seemed in danger of getting cut, after a nice end to 2018 season…but for all the negatives from camp – he made the team. I was hoping he’d get cut and Arizona would grab him. If Ford rises back up to starter…he’s a nice fantasy asset at corner – a safety’s mind with a corner’s feet.
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