2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason HOF Game Notes: Broncos 14, Falcons 10
Well, ‘real’ football is back…well, somewhat ‘real’. Your ‘real’ levels can only go so high when Matt Schaub is starting an NFL game in the year of our Lord 2019.
It was the expected ‘dull’ affair HOF games have become of late, but fun for me to scout some of the 2nd+ tier players working in the game. A first glimpse.
My two main/overarching impressions from this game:
1) It was a reminder that the Denver defense is not to be trifled with – one of the best defenses in league history just a few years ago and some of those remnants remain with an infusion of young talent and a top defensive mind as the head coach now.
It was only the glorified scrimmage, but the Denver defense was moving around quickly and imposingly early on with a few starters working a few snaps. It was a nice little appetizer of what might be to come from Denver 2019 with Fangio as the head of things.
2) How can I evaluate either the Denver defense or any Atlanta offensive weapons when Matt Schaub is playing a chunk of the game? It really screws the young guys trying to make an impression when they have a quarterback to work with who hasn’t been good for half a decade.
How do the Falcons continue to roster this guy?
The Broncos won on a late TD pass that was actually a terrible play/throw, but the end zone interception gift was batted into the sky and the DB lost it and the WR stayed with it and grabbed the gift for the game winner. Yeah?
Let’s take a look at some of the players of interest from this game:
-- I came to see Noah Fant (1-7-0/3) and I wasn’t too disappointed. Not a big game with highlight reel plays for him, but what I appreciated is that Denver‘s coaching staff tried to force the ball to him…most of the first few plays were designed, simplistically, to get Fant the ball.
That’s what you wanted to see here – a staff recognizing what they have with Fant and him lining up various places to run simple TE plays…plays designed to get the speedster on the move and taking advantage of his quickness advantage (see: what the Giants don’t do enough with Evan Engram…because Pat Shurmur is smarter than you and I).
I think we saw the first steps towards Fant as the main TE for Denver in 2019, whether he starts the game or not, he will play the most snaps – and is used as a weapon on purpose enough to be fantasy viable right away.
I’m starting to get a really good feeling about Denver for 2019, with this new staff. They have projected 8-9 wins in our Faux computer simulations so far this year. A possible run at the AFC West title? I’ll give more reasons on that in the next week.
-- I would place a small bet on the Denver ‘over’ 7-7.5 wins right now if not for my fear of how awful Drew Lock (7-11 for 34 yards, 0/0) is. I’m not judging him from this one event…he’s sucked back to his Missouri days. Sucked as a pro prospect.
Typical Lock here…looks glorious, mechanically (just no accuracy), when there is zero pressure. Complete disaster when anyone breathes near him. He was staring down one option and gunning…that is when he wasn’t getting happy feet and getting sacked/hit otherwise.
Drew Lock is a bust…it will just take 1-2 years for it to become official. Paxton Lynch called…he wants his NFL career arc back.
If Flacco goes down, Denver cannot go with Lock…if the Broncos are serious about winning in-season 2019.
-- I wasn’t as interested in seeing Atlanta’s young players, Denver has the more intriguing young roster, but I did want to see how rookie RB Qadree Ollison (6-20-0, 1-3-0/1) looked…and it was the same as I remember from scouting him out of Pitt – too slow for the NFL. He just cannot elude NFL defenders because he’s too slow of short space speed.
Roto-blurbs denigrated Ito Smith (3-6-0, 1-6-0/1) and pumped up Brian Hill (11-57-0) from this game. I’m not an Ito guy either but give him a break – Ito started with Schaub against an overpowering Denver first group on defense. He never stood a chance.
I’d say it’s Smith-Hill-Ollison for the #2 spot on what might be the single worst RB depth chart in the NFL…the Atlanta Falcons.
-- My best takeaway from this game happened in a very brief showing/time of play for one particular rookie…Denver rookie LB Justin Hollins (1 tackle).
I saw what I wanted to see/what I didn’t expect to see.
Hollins is a bit of a freak – an athletic 6’5”/248 pound DE/OLB by college trade/label as a prospect…but at the Senior Bowl teams were working him inside at ILB. He was drafted as an OLB, but I heard he was getting looks at Denver camp at ILB.
In this game, there he was in the middle of a 4-3 alignment…moving confidentially and making a nice snuffed out tackle on a running play. Justin Hollins as an ILB prospect gets my IDP and dynasty rookie draft motor running a little bit.
It’s also why my Josey Jewell motor is running lower than you’d think (as a follow up to a question on last nights Video Q&A).
-- I was interested to see who looked better between Denver rookie WRs Juwann Winfree (1-15-1/2) and Trinity Benson (0-0-0/1). It was tough to make a call because of their limited targets, but I walk away on Team Trinity.
Benson is a 4.4+ runner with 6.87 (pro Day) three-cone and a 40/5” vertical…he’s an athlete. He got an end zone alley-oop type throw late and had his hands on it but was tightly covered and fell out of bounds trying to make the toe-tap TD catch. In that one play, you could see he had the body/movements of an NFL player/WR.
Juwann Winfree is more of a poor man’s KeeSean Johnson…professional WR, but thinner-framed and not super explosive. He needs to ‘professional’ his way to a roster. In this game, he started and had a chance at a leaping catch over the middle, but he dropped it…tough catch but more so nerves it looked like. Later, Winfree caught the game winning TD pass…but he wasn’t open, he just got lucky the ball was tipped up/deflected to him.
Winfree vs. Benson = Benson is the better prospect.
-- Atlanta rookie DE John Cominsky (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL) stole the show for the Falcons’ rookies. He was very active and nosing in on many plays. He definitely established himself as not an overrated small school bust. I was on the fence with Cominsky, but I see he belongs. Not sure he’ll ever matter for FF/IDP, but let’s see what the next few showings bring. Round one, for him, he looked good.
-- ‘The Falcons like this kid’ QB Kurt Benkert (19-37 for 185 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) played most of the game for Atlanta. The Falcons ‘like’ him, but not I… No thanks for dynasty/fantasy.
If Matt Ryan gets hurt, you’re totally screwed Atlanta. Thomas Dmitroff’s big Ryan insurance plan is Schaub-Benkert? How is that even possible to be a GM with that plan at the most important position in the game times ten?
-- Welcome back, Sua Cravens (2 tackles, 1 TFL). I almost forgot he was still in the NFL. Former draft pick of Washington, then retired/quit, then tried to comeback, then Denver traded for him for some reason. He made a few nice tackles/plays in this one. He looks back to NFL form. Not sure he’s much more than ‘depth’ but Vic Fangio has his ways…and looks like he’s bringing out the best in Cravens.
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