2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/10/2020)
Every few days in August on FFM, per usual, I’m going to share some observations from the latest football news and share any rumors/interesting conversations I’m coming across. I have to work the phone lines heavily this August to get info because open practices, preseason games, freedom of the press is severely limited/eliminated this virus year.
In no particular order, and the items I found most interesting…
-- Bad news is brewing for Carolina/Christian McCaffrey/Teddy Bridgewater – offseason acquired LT Russell Okung is seriously contemplating retirement. He has had some blood clot issues, etc., in recent years and COVID is a bit of an elevated threat for him.
Carolina gave up all-pro OG Trai Turner in the deal to get Okung this offseason…so, they lost a top guard there and now might lose their top tackle.
2nd-year, 2nd-round draft pick Greg Little is listed behind Okung on the depth chart. Little battled knee, ankle, and concussions in 2019 and only played 4 games. When he did play/was healthy…he was right into a starting/heavy snap role. He’s going to have to really step up...if Okung checks out.
Carolina has the toughest run defense schedule to face according to my internal numbers, and many other rating services have Carolina as facing a top 3 toughest run defense schedule this year as well.
All of these things are ‘not good’ for the offense, fantasy upside hopes, Carolina’s win total projections…IF it happens. The Panthers hopes of being a sleeper team potentially rest on Okung’s decision…
-- Seattle CB Quinton Dunbar was not charged for that bizarre offseason incident involving guns, robbery of party goers, etc. – but NYG 1st-round 2019 pick DeAndre Baker was recently charged with four counts. Dunbar is now cleared for training camp.
Dunbar is a top man-to-man cover corner that Seattle stole from Washington.
Seattle then made the play to acquire Jamal Adams.
Seattle is one more thing away from having a very serious turn in their defense – a legit edge pass rusher. If Seattle lands Everson Griffen…watch out! I think he’s absolutely headed there (or someone of his ilk) – Seattle has made too much investment to stop one step short.
I think they’ll sign Griffen and either release or restructure the deal on K.J. Wright or restructure someone to free up more space for this pass rush add to come for their title run.
-- I was listening to a Skype/Zoom call where the new Washington WR coach talked about the team’s WR group (which was a painful assignment…he’s not ‘electric’). What I heard/interpreted on the Q&A call has some fantasy relevance. Granted it was mostly a lot of nonsense and doublespeak and nonspecific, but there was a nugget or two…
When asked about the WR group, he went on about how Terry McLaurin was their #1 WR…that he’s proven. I think we all knew that. However, his following comment was what was FF-interesting…he said all the other spots are up for grabs. As the original Steven Sims proponent before anyone else thought he’d even make an NFL roster…I wasn’t thrilled about that.
The coach basically lumped Sims and Trey Quinn in as ‘the slot role’ and how they need two guys there all season -- but which was the better/starter (to the coach) was not elaborated on. The coach also mentioned working them out on the outside to see if they worked there – and I know Sims can do that and Quinn cannot, so Sims might be an outside WR this year and that hurts his FF value a bit. I’d rather him be in the slot.
…I’d also rather the coach seem to be aware of or more excited by Sims, but that did not occur. The coach said McLaurin was the #1 and then everyone else was a bunch of younger guys fighting for spots. Somehow McLaurin has become a veteran over Sims (he came in same NFL time as Terry) and Quinn (the veteran of the trio)?
The WR coach was more excited about Antonio Gandy-Golden…or possibly Antonio Gibson…I’m not sure if he was 100% sure of the difference between the two Antonio’s. But I think AGG was his favorite rookie Antonio.
-- Several top college prospects have opted out of the 2020 season. I cannot blame them one bit. Like I’ve said during this whole virus + football era of commentary – ‘money’/self-interest is almost always the answer to every ‘thing’.
We’re playing the NFL season and the power college conferences are going ahead because they make money. Once they all announced playing an all-conference schedule…conferences like the MAC, that exist on being high-paid punching bags during the season, had to suspend/not play because there’s no monetary reason to. The MAC couldn’t do an ‘all-MAC’ schedule and get anyone to care enough to make enough TV money to cover playing in empty stadiums, I suspect.
All the recent bluster about the power five conferences delaying/cancelling – I’ll believe it when I see it. Of course, the media is writing stories like EVERYONE wants to cancel despite having like only 1-2-3 meeting attendees anonymously say something that the media is running off with.
If you were a school AD or President and you really felt like this was a horrible idea (to play)…why wouldn’t you rush to the first open mic and start preaching? Why are there only ‘anonymous’ detractors? Probably because there aren’t really any…or there are 1-2 in a group of 50+. As I’ve said all summer…the virus is the media’s religion and they must protect the power of the virus at all costs, even making up sources, quotes, or manipulating numbers. So, excuse me if I don’t buy their latest slick attempt to turn 1-2-3 anonymous sources into ‘a tidal wave’ of people wanting to cancel the season.
If the media told me to turn north, I’d go south – and they’ve done that to the public, it’s not me being a jerk. I don’t have less than 10% trust of the public like they do. They didn’t earn that rating by accident. If they tell me that EVERYONE wants to cancel the CFB season – then I’ll just assume the opposite is true. Plus, I know ‘money’ wins out over everything…so, I’m betting on the power conferences/teams are playing. Not a ‘lock’ but it’s my bet (all along).
If I were a current top prospect for the NFL Draft, or a hopeful one, and I could opt-out of the 2020 season to stay healthy for my pro prospects, and with a perfect reason so no one would think negatively about me – I’d do it in a heartbeat. If my son were a top prospect for the NFL, I’d advise him the same way. There’s almost nothing to gain for a million+ dollar contract prospect playing in this jumbled/disjointed virus-season…and with everything to lose. Self-interest wins again! As it does.
What fascinates me about all this virus + CFB activity and chatter is thinking about how college football is going to be forever changed because of this. I think the power conferences are going to try to align and make their own ‘division’ of football and try to put the MAC type conferences under/bury them. The real story is not whether some Ads wonder if ‘they should play’…it’s that the power conferences might have cloud cover to succeed from the NCAA and create a new, better, smarter, exclusive entity.
Also, as our nation finally starts to realize what an abject bloated, overpriced, budget busting, failure at their missions/wastes of time con most big universities are (and 67% of people in the U.S. attending never graduate)…and that you can be more efficient and save a ton of money going to college online, for most college programs, and you can go online to almost any school you want without moving there – physical college attendance is dropping. And with loss of income from tuition/attendance and the loss of sports revenues…a lot of colleges are about to become the J.C. Penney, Sears, Pier One, K-Mart of the world in short order. Many will be bankrupt very soon needing a bailout…with none likely to come, nor should they. The rise of cheaper, more efficient online colleges and the rise of trade schools teaching real skills are also likely to spring out of this virus era – and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
The young people of today are way more efficiency-minded then the generations before them…and, thus, things like in-person classroom attendance is a waste of time/travel and living in a crappy box of a dorm with smelly communal bathrooms is not the dream of kids growing up with their own rooms in Suburbia with a stocked fridge and great Wi-Fi at their parent’s house. Kids of the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s living in smaller houses and sharing rooms with 1-2-3+ siblings was more the norm, and thus a college dorm seemed like the Ritz Carlton way to get away from your stuffy parents and weird siblings. Not today. Colleges are in big trouble with this forced move online due to the virus…and I don’t think many will recover, and the college football landscape is going to get turned upside down in the process.
‘The Rock’ buying the XFL…he might have fallen into the right thing at the right time. The future might be the either the XFL or the NFL providing a ‘D League’ where they train college-aged students with a free online educations, real world classroom events, better dorms, and football training (and a stipend/payment) as they work for a chance to move up to the big club. Tell me the great high school prospects wouldn’t rather go to a D-League and get (legally) paid over going to 95%+ of the Division 1 football programs out there (I know for some of them the money is better in college, but hey…)? Wouldn’t you rather ‘go pro’ right away with a more efficient educational program or tech school training by the employer/football team instead of wasting time at an outdated university and taking a bunch of nonsense classes? My kids both just graduated from college and I was deeply involved in their scheduling/graduation track – I know how ridiculous most of their classes were, and what a waste of money it was overall. I wish I could’ve just written them a check for half the cost four years ago and gotten a degree for each of them and then let them start working/apprenticing/interning. I digress…
College football, and thus the NFL Draft, the way we all know it today…could all be turned upside down within the next few years. Which is another reason why there will be major conference football this year – they have to play/be a thing in order to try to stave off bankruptcies and certain death. The money party is over for most colleges ahead…they just don’t fully realize/they are going to not want to leave the money party without a fight.
-- As I like to do in the summer with my news/notes/commentary pieces, I like to add a ‘things that make me mad’ commentary/note just for fun and catharsis. This next month, with no preseason games AND I didn’t get to do them in my usual June-July spot AND I need a break of writing about all football (and virus) stuff -- I’ll drop little nuggets in on things that annoy me. You can skip them or just laugh at my pain.
Here’s just a small nuisance item to warm us up for things to come (I keep a list of things to complain about).
A recent irritation happened a few nights ago…
I don’t watch movies much. I’m way behind on things everyone else has seen a while back. Football work is so busy, so many hours of my life I don’t have much time for consuming two-hour flicks. I don’t like going to the movies (I’d rather watch a good TV series at home), because the other movie theater patrons are so annoying, and most movies I see are never satisfying, especially for the cost and movie theatre annoyance of going to see them – so, I just do the miserly thing and wait for my free HBO or Showtime preview weekend on DirecTV and DVR any free movies I want to catch up on.
Because football work is so nonstop, I usually don’t watch what I recorded until the summer. This summer has been very busy for things outside of football, so I’m sitting on a bunch of flicks I’ve wanted to watch. I finally got to watch my first recorded/awaiting movie of the summer. I had about a dozen options to choose from and there was one I was really looking forward to for weeks…the Stephen King movie It: Chapter 2.
I remember watching the original version of ‘It’ many moons ago, which is why I was ready to watch the modernized first installment -- It: Chapter 1 (for ‘free’/that I also recorded from free HBO weekend a year or so after its theatrical release). I watched Chapter 1 and I thought it was OK. A modern twist on his original. A bit hokey, a few nice jolts or scare…and it left me wanting to see what he did with Chapter 2 to end the story. I’ve been sitting on the recording for many months waiting for some time to sit and consume the end of the story.
So, I got some sunflower seeds and a big tanker of Diet Dr. Pepper for an evening off from football…I watched It: Chapter 2.
Can I just say that was possibly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen!? Chapter 1 was a nice throwback, nostalgia period piece surrounding a pack of grade school/early high school aged kids with some horror and story mixed in.
Chapter 2…the kids are all grown up and returning to battle the ‘It’ 27 years later. Honestly, this movie was so bad…the dialogue so awful, the story so dull/annoying/ridiculous that I found myself rooting for the ‘It’ to win. I don’t think that was supposed to be the point of the story…sympathy for the thing that eats kids. But then I was thinking…damn, if ‘It’ wins there might be a third movie stretched out of this…so, I had to turn my allegiance from wanting the ‘It’ to vanquish his opponents to hoping the ‘It’ appeared in my room and ate my television as an excuse to not have to finish this thing.
My real complaint:
You know, with DirecTV…a satellite-based TV…very rarely do you get some storm clouds moving in and it disrupts what you’re watching -- but it does happen a few times a year…and it always happens when I’m really into something. I’ve had to go buy a single episode of a TV show because my recorded version bugged out on weather issues…or I’m watching a great football game live -- and then here comes the temporary storm disruption during a key play or series/not during a commercial.
…but freaking It: Chapter 2…nope, no weather issues for my recording of it -- clear skies for miles apparently. DirecTV worked like a charm for that piece of crap. I finally take time away from football and Stephen King duped me again…I should’ve known.
My movie critique: Two Thumbs Down with a caption of ‘What the hell was that?’
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