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2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/17/2020)

August 17, 2020 11:29 AM
August 17, 2020 12:30 PM

2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/17/2020)


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 heavy 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 (and forgive any typos, I’m moving fast to get info out)…


 -- One thing to remember about the football news you’ll see from the mainstream the next 3-4 weeks…

Every football player looks/plays better in shorts and t-shirt/non-contact drills. When you see some report something like such-and-such rookie/young WR is ‘really impressing’ in camp’ or some formerly troubled QB is ‘highly accurate with the ball this year/camp’ – don’t take it seriously. It doesn’t matter for us. It only matters to know what THEY are thinking so we can take advantage in a trade/draft spot.

Football people, and thus fans reading about it, are suckered by two things constantly…

1) What players look like in non-real game conditions...

I see it at the Senior Bowl week all the time…people fall in love with players who play confidently/well in t-shirts and shoulder pads 7-on-7 drills. That’s how we get Logan Thomas as a highly drafted QB or Jeff Janis as the future Julio Jones.

This particular preseason is going to be such a head fake of football analysis from the dopes reporting about it like they know something…they are going to move ADPs on players based on nothing, and we have to be ready to take advantage in fantasy/dynasty. As always, I’ll be pointing it out constantly so we can profit off of it -- because 95%+ of the FF population trusts ESPN and NFL Network, etc., reporting.

2) Deep Historical analytics…

Every preseason, over the past few years, with the rise of ‘analytics’, I see these elaborate scatter plot displays on RB or WR or QB or TE performances corresponded with FF draft positions going back over the prior 5-10-20 years on how good the positional performances were and/or who lives up to their draft stock in the end, etc. It’s nice work…but it’s mostly all meaningless, to me.

The NFL is way different today than it was 20 years ago or even three years ago. The quality of college play/players is changing the game in a way that wasn’t reflected five years ago. There hasn’t been an NFL heavy with Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson type QBs, or the QB depth of talent in general, or as many 3-4 WRs sets run, or as many guys running 4.3s at WR or 4.5s at TE, or as many starting QBs changing teams. The landscape changes too fast for deep history analytics to mean much. The analytics constantly have to evolve. My college prospect scouting models are always being tweaked for the new year because a great ‘analytics’ or measurables prospect from 2011 would be an also-ran prospect in 2020. It’s somewhat apples and oranges comparing players today with ones 3-5-7 years ago in the NFL.

From my view…each NFL/FF season, these days, almost stands on its own like a unique snowflake...a new style puzzle to figure out. Prior year's data has a place but not the end-all. ‘Football things’ are evolving too fast to do long history studies, or even five-year ones. You HAVE to know the player capabilities as best as humanly possible, first (and that’s my specialty) and then you have to look at their current coach, their schedule, their O-Coordinator, their O-Line…and their history of performance against weighted competition…not just against all competition. All performances/opponents/time of year/ingredients are not the same mixed equally into baking the cake.  

This is the time of the year for a thousand different ‘this guy’s a sleeper’ reports and another thousand elaborate scatter plots and acronym stats that are line-item taken out of a major context and held up as ‘proof’ of what we want to be true. We’re all chasing ‘proof’ on players. I think I am better at player analysis/capability/study than anyone alive, but if I’m not…I can tell you beat writers, scouts, and NFL analysts on TV are not the answer. They are not as serious about this as most high-stakes fantasy players I know/work with.

You also cannot easily replace hours of study, observation, statistical data, and visual scouting and comparisons for thousands of hours over all levels of play of full-time work in this arena with ‘super-fan thoughts’ either.

Football study is a full-time+ gig, and it's not easy and it's always evolving quicker and quicker.

That’s why I walk a different path on football scouting with my constant, full-time study…and trying to boil it down to stuff we can easily wrap our minds around/get behind/reject and make actionable -- and change course faster than anyone else if situations change. I invite you to walk with me this season!! It’s a constant journey of discovery with all kinds of twists and turns.


 -- Two quick updates on 2019 injury players of note:

1) Deebo Samuel is being predicted out for as much as 4-5 games and even a possible PUP candidate to start the season. Some are ‘hoping’ he can be back Week 1, but the smart money on him is moving to ‘not ready’ Week 1 (or 2-3-4 either).

If Deebo is going to miss 2-4 games, he’s almost undraftable in redraft, to me. Are you going to block/tie up a roster spot for 3-4-5-6 weeks for him? You’ll drop him Week 2 for some hot RB that piped up from waivers.

It’s not just the injury delay risk, but that he will return to a team with Jalen Hurd and Brandon Aiyuk playing, taking targets. Deebo will be ‘one of the guys’ not  automatically (or ever again, potentially) ‘the clear WR1’ upon his return.


2) Rashaad Penny isn’t close to being back. He’s not practicing at all. He is so going on the PUP list to start the regular season. Signing Carlos Hyde and drafting DeeJay Dallas were the signals on Penny…and the mild worry about Chris Carson’s readiness/100% health for Week 1.

I think Carson is more likely good for Week 1, but no way Penny is.


 -- Two 2020 injury notes from yesterday…

1) Jalen Hurd landed hard on a play in practice and walked off the field and didn’t practice the rest of the session. Hurd owners had a collective gasp at the news, but I was told his back is fine (for what it is worth), but they want to be cautious because he is coming off a back procedure from the 2019 season.

HOWEVER, news is floating that Hurd might have torn his ACL -- if that's the case, it's a giant death blow to all the Jalen Hurd hype we've had the past few weeks/months. We await the MRI results to find out.

If Hurd is done for 2020, Aiyuk becomes a hotter commodity and Deebo needs a 2nd-look at whether you want to hold on for a few weeks...it also brings up Trent Taylor discussions.

A lot of chaos looming for the 49ers passing game already this season and we've have hardly had contact!

2) Josh Oliver broke his foot in practice yesterday. He’ll likely miss at least half the season, I suspect. It’s a shame.

Tyler Eifert gets a bump for sure here, but not a radical one…as an injury hitting him is likely around the corner.

James O’Shaughnessy lurks…but that’s not much for FF purposes.

I don’t think the Jags will make any huge move for a TE, but they will make one because Eifert and O’Shaughnessy are so injury prone. They’ll comb the waiver wire or make a throwaway trade at the end of August to pick through other team’s discard pile.

Watch for Ben Braunecker or Ben Koyack to get picked up, or Geoff Swaim brought back.


 -- You likely saw the roto-note about Cordarrelle Patterson attending the RB meetings, not the WR meetings?

What do I think? The NFL Network teleprompter reader who broke the news said it all beautifully. He didn’t even realize how utterly stupid what he said was.

So, the NFL Network ‘breaks’ the story and is panting/all excited about Patterson being used by Matt Nagy in ‘creative ways’, and the guy reporting it nearly had an orgasm about it. But he also said this…

(paraphrasing some of it) They had plans to use Patterson in creative ways last year, and when they signed/recruited Patterson he came into Nagy’s office where all these creative plays were up on the board for him to see (and he said all this with such glee) to show how creatively they planned to use him!

And then this was said right after that = …BUT THEY JUST DIDN’T GET AROUND TO IT LAST SEASON, but this season they might plan to and look for Nagy to get creative with his offense and Patterson.

How do you ‘not get around’ to using Cordarrelle Patterson creatively? Did they forget he was on the team or did they forget to write his special plays into the play scripts? Did a hacker delete all of it from their files? How does one forget to use Patterson (or any player for that matter)?

Yet, we see it all the time…NFL coaches talk a big game about creativity and then…a big nothing. Matt Nagy forgot David Montgomery failed on most of his runs, so he kept giving him the ball without any memory…so, why would I think he’d remember TO USE Patterson?

It’s all so idiotic.

Look, you know how many times we’ve all heard how special Patterson is and how ___ coach is going to use him in such creative ways…AND THEN NEVER EVER DOES A COACH DO SUCH A THING THEY BRAGGED ABOUT ALL PRESEASON?

Here’s a list of coaches who said the same damn thing about Patterson, and yet didn’t do a damn thing about it (they must have all ‘forgot’ or ‘didn’t get around to it’)…

Mike Zimmer

Norv Turner

Pat Shurmur

Jack Del Rio

Todd Downing

Jon Gruden inherited him and traded him ASAP

Bill Belichick

Josh McDaniels

Matt Nagy

Mark Helfrich


Seven NFL seasons, ten different HC and O-Cs, 111 NFL games played…AND NOW he’s going to become an exciting tailback, just figured out by Matt Nagy? Bill Belichick used him as a running back one time because he had so many mass RB injuries, he had nothing left at RB to use so he had to use CP. Belichick was so impressed by it that he rarely used Patterson again after that and then didn’t re-sign him in the following offseason.

Wow, how electric! How excited I am that Matt Nagy is FINALLY going to get around to it this year. Thanks NFL Network!!! Next, you’re going to tell me that Lucy is actually going to hold the football so Charlie Brown can kick it this time?

If only I had this kind of power over NFL head coaches and their O-C’s: https://youtu.be/s4-wJ3zmlXQ


-- Round and round we go on college football…whether to play or not, what conferences are playing, etc. I’ve followed the story at a distance…because I’m all NFL Aug-Dec., then studying CFB prospects for the NFL Draft and look ahead at Devy’s, etc., in Dec-July. I barely pay attention to the college football regular season as it happens in real time, I only study tape of players/prospects after the season is over. But I am fascinated by the serious business (and virus) chess game happening here.

My theories on the CFB season have been, so far…

1) *July* The Power Five Conferences would play this season/year, because of the one thing that unites most people – money.

2) *early August* When the Big Ten and PAC-12 bailed, I thought the other three might follow because of – money. That there was a move afoot to try to move CFB to Feb.-May to get away from the NFL, for increased TV ratings/attention, etc.

I still believe that motive was out there, but talking to more people about and listening to various opinions…there’s a new ‘money’ motivator winning out…

New thoughts/theories: *Mid-August* The SEC, ACC, Big 12 somewhat suckered the Big Ten (in particular) to cancel their Fall season so that the following would happen to destroy the Big Ten conference.

Here’s how the diabolical plan to squash the Big Ten could play out, if the Big Ten chooses to move to the Spring…

a) Most all the top 2021 high school prospects will want to go to the SEC, ACC, Big 12 because ‘what if the virus still happens next year?’ The Big Ten has a massive black eye now in the high school/college football power conference/top prospect community.

b) Teams will want to secede from the Big Ten union…a few teams might join other conferences – and when one goes, then many will go. Hell, the ACC has Miami, Florida. AND Boston College…don’t tell me Ohio State can’t be in the SEC.

Some football programs will have to drop out of the Big Ten, if at all possible, for survival because they cannot afford, financially, a year without revenue/income…and a 2021 where the conference is dying and takes the football program revenues down more.

c) Spring football is seen as a problem by players/prospects who want to go to the NFL, so now Big Ten top prospects will opt-out more for 2020 and thus watering-down/ruining the Spring season. Other top Big Ten prospects may use this nightmare to transfer to the SEC, ACC, Big 12 for 2021.

The Big Ten is on its way to being gutted of talent in a shocking way, thus reducing the conference to its knees…and potential obsoletion.

After the dust settles, college football may be down to three conferences that matter…and those three conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 12) expand and absorb many other teams and become a quasi NCAA of their own.

The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 are about to put the Big Ten out of business, functionally. It’s breathtaking to see. It’s like if Microsoft buys TikTok…the rich get richer. The weak are picked off. The Big Ten is going to become a glorified MAC…playing in a geography that top HS prospects don’t really want to play in/at if given options. Once the majesty of playing for Michigan is gone because they play in a weak conference…Michigan football, or Iowa football, and even Ohio State – they are going to fall fast. What prospects want to play football in the Midwest winters with viable other options? A small handful.

Because the vultures are circling around the Big Ten…I will make a nickel prediction that the Big Ten changes course and announces (this upcoming week) that they are playing this year/fall 2020. If they don’t…they’ll die a slow death the next 2-3-4 years. Players will bail, prospects will decommit, and high level Big Ten coaches will see the writing on the wall and want to leave…they’ll need to or face their career dying right along with the Big Ten. For all those reasons, the Big Ten will go this year…I think.

If not, I believe several Big Ten teams will bail if they can…and the serious negotiations/talks of it happening right now will force the Big Ten back into playing. The Big Ten needs to announce they are playing quickly because once like a Nebraska leaves, it sets the stage for the next team and the next team to follow suit.

If Ohio State or Michigan leaves in all this…then the Big Ten is done. The Big Ten has a life or death decision to make – and if ‘money’ is always the answer, then the Big Ten will jump back in to playing this season.

What about the PAC 12? I think the other four power conferences could care less about the PAC 12. They aren’t going to want to have a future tied to anything to do with California or Oregon or Washington…those states have done themselves in with the way they’ve been run -- and thus businesses, people (the number of people fleeing the west coast is staggering), and college sports are going to leave for greener, freer pastures and effectively kill off the PAC 12…actually, just abandon it to die on its own. Arizona, Colorado, and Utah should join the Big 12 like yesterday. USC will not be coveted by any of the other power conferences, because of future fears of California ‘government decisions/regulations’ but they may be able to buy their way into a power conference…ditto Oregon…but most of the PAC 12 could be left to die/merge with the Mountain West and be a Mountain West level mid-major talent/conference from here on in.

College football is about to find out that ‘tradition’ is meaningless, and that ‘money’ rules. We’re going to get restructured conferences, new conference names, a potential seceding from the NCAA into its own governing body, major coaching changes, bankrupt college football programs and more from all this in coming years.

College Football 2021 and 2022 will look nothing like the past decade. 2020/the virus is a wrecking ball of change coming. 


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>