2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Wk1 Patriots 31, Lions 3
For the second year in-a-row, Matt Patricia’s team looks like garbage in the preseason. Part of that may have been that the Patriots might have their best/deepest team in years. The Patriots are so much better at ‘football’ than all the other teams/organizations it’s hardly fair in the year of our Lord 2019.
A lot of fantasy/dynasty-related notes/nuggets within in this blowout, let’s get to it…
-- My 2nd-biggest note from this game (the biggest, for FF 2019, saved for last) is Jarrett Stidham (14-24 for 179 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) looked terrific. We rated him the 2nd-best QB prospect in the 2019 draft, and you got to see why here.
Well, you probably didn’t get to see why because I’m sure the NFL Network and ESPN all ran highlights fawning over Daniel Jones and hiding the Dwayne Haskins’ tape and then throwing it to another breakdown of every David Montgomery touch. Stidham quietly looked like Jimmy Garoppolo/Tom Brady in the pocket, as far as their balance and reading the field and delivery/throwing the ball. He’s not as good, yet…he just looks like a clone of Jimmy G. in his style and body movements.
The Patriots are the best team in the NFL and they arguably had the best draft this year…and they have a developing steal at QB for the future/post-Brady (which may be a need in 2020).
-- I keep seeing all the glowing Jakobi Meyers (6-69-2/8) training camp notes and I know he’s a good, professional WR…but I think he lacks enough athleticism/speed to become a real factor for fantasy/dynasty in the days/years to come.
However, you can’t deny what happened in this game – Hoyer and Stidham were both leaning on Meyers, and Jakobi responded making tough catch after tough catch.
If Meyers breaks through to becoming a star, and if KeeSean Johnson does the same along with a few other names/rookies from this year’s draft…among the WRs who were weak, historically, by Combine or SPARQ or analytics/measurables but became stars because athleticism is trumped by know-how and hands – then all WR scouting analytics might need to be blown up and re-done.
The NFL is changing so much every year the past is almost irrelevant/you cannot use scouting axioms from 3-5-10 years ago. It’s a new time, a new era, a new breed of athlete brought up in the game an entirely different way than their predecessors.
The era of brains over brawn, and savvy over speed might be upon us. Meanwhile 30+ coaches are yammering about imposing their will on their opponents through a physical running game and trading up for wide receivers who run really fast.
-- If you didn’t know better, Patriots 2nd-year WR Braxton Berrios (3-34-0/3) looked like Julian Edelman was playing…he has moves and a style of play just like Edelman on the field. If Edelman went down…Berrios may become the shock PPR WR of 2019.
-- Meyers is impressing. Berrios is Edelman cloning. And then N’Keal Harry (2-36-0/2) came out and did what he did at Arizona State – just made big-time, big boy/great catches. Hoyer threw him two passes off the mark in tight coverage and Harry made wonderful adjustments and made two terrific catches.
It might be a WR group of Harry-Meyers-Berrios for the Pats in 2020…but possibly less Brady in the equations, and that stings the enthusiasm a bit.
-- The Gronk replacement, Matt LaCosse (2-37-0/2) looked fine as well. Had a nice release down the middle pass play/tough catch and just looks the part of a solid TE…working with the best team in the game.
Denver has been going through tight ends like paper towels for the past few years, and then the Patriots pluck the one they didn’t want (LaCosse) and will now use him to ride to the Super Bowl.
-- With all the young WRs breaking out for New England, the clock is ticking on Maurice Harris (3-27-1/5). It didn’t help that Harris dropped one 40+ yard TD right in his hands and could have made a tough catch on another 40+ yard TD pass from Stidham in this game. Harris looked like the out-of-place WR talent among all the slick other options.
I forgot to mention these dropped TDs prior on Stidham… He threw 1 TD pass, officially. Harris butchered two perfect 40+ yard TDs from Stidham. Later, Dontrelle Inman caught a Stidham TD pass, but it was reversed to just falling short of the goal line…and then a short TD run ensued.
Stidham may have gained some media attention had he threw for 4 TDs and 200+ yards in about a half of play. Mo Harris made it not even close to true.
-- I thought Phillip Dorsett would be a Very Deep Sleeper given all the youngsters in New England, but now I’m thinking their may be a youth revolution happening quicker than we imagined.
The Pats have about zero need for Josh Gordon to return on top of all this either.
-- The Lions also played in this game, barely.
The Lions offensive player that caught my eye – rookie RB Ty Johnson (3-22-0, 0-0-0/1), who I’ve been a fan of since scouting him at the East-West Shrine Bowl.
The speed is ‘real’.
But before you get excited…note that Johnson entered the game early but there was no effort to work him in the passing game. Usually, if a youngster is going to be asked to fill some shoes (like Theo Riddick’s), you’d see them get a purposeful workout/forced targets to gain some experience. Not Johnson…nope, dunce O-C Darrell Bevel is way too smart for that.
-- Ditto, Lions’ 2nd-year WR Brandon Powell (2-27-0/2) who was a preseason star last year and picked up where he left off here…but probably doesn’t see much time come the regular season. It’s a shame. The Lions have weapons but the worst go-to-war guy in the business – Darrell Bevel.
-- One reason why the Patriots receivers had such a day was the QB play, also their individual talent…but it helped that Lions rookie CB Amani Oruwariye (6 tackles, 2 PDs) was struggling in coverage.
He looks like a monster, physically, at corner…like a strong safety at corner, but he was flustered quite a bit in this game – but did make the tackles after. That dude can hit people for a corner. Free safety may be in his future.
-- The Patriots young defenders did not suffer as many ‘struggles’. In fact, they were a well-oiled machine.
Rookie Chase Winovich (3 tackles, 1.5 sacks) was as advertised…only better. Can rush the passer and play the run. He’s a future Pro Bowl defender, who will have an impact right away.
2nd-year, UDFA CB J.C. Jackson (1 PD) was shutting down receivers per usual.
Freak-of-nature Obi Melifonwu (2 tackles) was in the game early and making some plays. The best he’s looked in his pro career. Jon Gruden, who knows talent, upon his arrival last year, cut Melifonwu…a former 2nd-round pick in 2017. Why? I don’t know. The Raiders defense was so great last year, who needed to develop him?
-- Get this…the Patriots held the Lions to 3 points, and they sacked Detroit QBs a total of 9 times…a stunning amount for a preseason game. 10 QB hits, 9 sacks, 8 TFLs. This defense is talented and deep.
You know where we stand on them if you are a draft guide subscriber…
Man, did they look smooth. I get that it’s backup QBs/the preseason, but wow…the Patriots defense. Mmm.
The Pats D has been very good the past few years/decades, but now looks great. Hmm, what has changed? Oh, Matt Patricia is gone. That’s right. How could that defense survive the loss of Patricia? Quite easily it turns out…he may have been holding them back.
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