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2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/21/2020)

August 21, 2020 9:45 AM
August 21, 2020 11:30 AM

2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/21/2020)


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 phonelines 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…


 -- A quick reminder/PSA…

Keep in context the media period we’re in right now for fantasy/football. It’s the time where “EVERY player looks great, are in the best shape of their lives, and are poised for a huge season”…spoken/written by coaches, beat writers, analysts…the football intelligentsia spoon-feeding us a bunch of empty-calorie football garbage to gnaw on.

What do you expect the coaches to say?

Of course, they want to sign Aaron Jones long-term. What do you expect them to say publicly? You think they are going to say, “We have no plans to give a one-year lucky TD hog big money in this RB economy…we’re just going to ride him hard this year because we have no intention of signing him for the future. Why do you think we drafted A.J. Dillon? Did you see his thighs yet?

Of course, Kliff Kingsbury wants to get the ball to Kenyan Drake in the passing game more…is he going to say he wants to get him the ball less? Of course, Kliff thinks Chase Edmonds is a #1 RB in this league! What is he going to say…he’s a hack? You should’ve seen the glowing things Kliff said about David Johnson this time last year. You did…last year…you just forgot…and because they ended up being the most meaningless words spoken of 2019

I saw a roto-blurb talking about how great Ito Smith looked in camp the other day. Per who? Per a guy I have never heard of beat writer. I don’t know if he knows RBs. What are his scouting credentials? What did his vast analytic studies say about Ito when he studied the NFL Draft that year? What are his scouting credentials? Why did websites even publish this? Why? They’ll publish anything because they need/want/steal free content. The next day they posted Qadree Ollison is the best non-Gurley in camp. So, which is it? Again, I don’t know the person writing this’s credentials.

Point being, we need to remember three things about this preseason ‘news’ especially…

1) Players always look great in no contact/light contact, scripted practices. Especially QBs and WRs…and RBs not getting tackled.

2) The media observes practices and doesn’t recognize point #1, so they run off a cliff with what they see in non-contact practices all the time.

3) We don’t know the talent and skill and scouting ability of 98% of these beat writers…so, why do we care what they think as better than what any of us/the people think?

My first trip to Senior Bowl week, I kid you not, I’m watching practice, taking notes, in awe of being there…and all the NFL team scouts around me were doing two things – arguing about where they were going eating/drinking that night and then they were watching ‘Ellen’ show clips on YouTube and laughing…yes, that ‘Ellen’. You want their input into football things? You could be a football scout in the NFL easy…just parrot what everyone else is saying and put more time running up your expense report. It helps if you are related to the owner, GM, a coach, or a long-time player of the franchise too.

We DO need to stay in touch with the football news/blurbs to see how THEIR chatter will affect the masses/player ADPs, but also note…

1) You’re starved for football content, so you’ll eat anything they put in front of you…be careful what you’re biting into on camp notes. Who is the author/observer of said blurb? Is the blurb from a pre-hyped fan site where the volunteer writers spend all day dreaming up Super Bowl scenarios and protecting the team in articles like Communist China news reporting?

2) Many of you have a team drafted/dynasty, etc., already…so you REALLY, passionately care about news about YOUR players. When THEY report on your player ‘looking good’, you start to hyperventilate…because you’re hyper focused on your guys…or the guys you want in an upcoming draft. Not everyone cares about that same player’s news the way you do. Most every player of note or sleeper note has some hype-blurb posting on them every week during the preseason.

There are so many ‘this guy looks great’ blurbs happening, and it will keep growing/boiling over as we head to the next three weeks – the constant hype ends up drowning out a lot of individual player blurb-hype of today within a few days. Like…Bryan Edwards is a god this week, and then Henry Ruggs will be proclaimed a god next week to undermine it…then Jon Gruden will talk about how much he likes Tyrell Williams soon (to bump Tyrell’s NFL trade value, perhaps), and the Edwards’ hype cycle will cool down. Greg Ward is reported as starting at slot over Jalen Reagor, and Reagor takes a hit. Two days later, Carson Wentz is saying Reagor is like Julio Jones (which is a laugh)…and then inflated back upard is Reagor’s lost hype from two days ago.

Observe it all for study, but don’t lose your wits about it or take every roto-headline as the new Gospel. Every player is good/great/best shape/promising right now…except Mitchell Trubisky, he has no hope but yet Sam Darnold has high hopes, despite Trubisky being better in every statistic that matters (win%, QB Rtg, rushing, Comp. Pct., TD:INT ratio, sack%, etc.). You will not find one football analyst or scout or writer of note who thinks Trubisky is a better QB prospect than Darnold (except me, and I’m not ‘of note’ or in ‘the club’ of theirs)…and they love Darnold and hate Trubisky not because any of them deeply studied the matter – they are lemmings, who are mostly mediocre at their jobs…like most people where you work are. They’re not evil, they’re human…we just anoint them as special because ‘they work in football, and that’s cool’.

Don’t get too sucked in by their words…they are 95%+ unstudied/unqualified/unreliable in football observations in the mainstream and in the industry (ex-players, ex-coaches). They have football jobs, so that’s cool…but that doesn’t make them great at what they do/football analysis


 -- One situation where the recent camps news is making me waiver on something/take notice – the Tampa Bay Bucs backfield.

All the Bruce Arians-LeSean McCoy talk is a bit jarring…if you were getting into Ronald Jones and/or Dare Ogunbowale. I’m not calling for a McCoy takeover of things, but I was under the belief that when McCoy was signed that he was more destined to be ‘cut’ than actually be in a serious rotation with Tampa Bay.

I want to believe Ronald Jones is ‘the man’. Think what you want of Jones the talent, or any RB talents for that matter…first and foremost, I want THE MAN. I don’t want any cute games where my supposed #1 RB gets caught in a trap where ‘surprise’ Raheem Mostert is not the #1 RB but is the #3 RB. I want my fantasy RB to have the least resistance to getting to hog all their team’s backfield touches and to have his coaches unfailing love, even if misguided/ridiculous (see: Chris Carson).

The Bucs drafted a running back/Keyshawn Vaughn in the 3rd-round of the 2020 NFL Draft (and RB Raymond Calais in the 7th-round). They openly flirted with Devonta Freeman. They then signed LeSean McCoy. Dare Ogunbowale might be their best back (but I know Arians doesn’t think this). There are a lot of vultures circling Ronald Jones…

What do you think will happen to touch counts/game plans if Ronald Jones has a bad fumble Week 1…or misses a block…or has a ‘meh’ start to a game…and then McCoy or Vaughn comes in and gets hot? Pete Carroll will NOT hear of anything besides Chris Carson…but do you think Arians is ‘there’ with Ronald Jones? I’m starting to wonder. I hate not being confident in my RB option…even if false confidence.

I don’t want to get carried away with camp talk/coach speak…but I am watching for clues in this Tampa Bay backfield, and it’s making me nervous that there is no ‘true’/reliable answer and I’d be better off swerving away from Jones to avoid the risk for the growing price he costs.


 -- Jalen Hurd gone for the year… Deebo possibly gone for 2-6 games to start the year… Who are the 49ers ‘winners’ in all this injury activity?

Dante Pettis? So the 49ers draft/add 500 WRs the past two years, but now it’s Dante Pettis’s time? The 49ers have not been in on Pettis for two years now. He might be pressed into duty, but I wouldn’t get too excited. The talent is there, but everything else isn’t, apparently.

Trent Taylor? See note prior, only it’s been 800 WRs added since Taylor was drafted. He’ll play a role, but not a definite ‘winner’ for sure.

Brandon Aiyuk? Yes, but when do rookie WRs really pop out of the gates consistently? He’s very likely going to start but starting and mattering big-time for fantasy right away is a stretch. Deebo’s breakout performance in 2019 was Week 9.

Kendrick Bourne? Has the most time logged with Jimmy G. He had 5 TDs as a rotational WR last year. He’s a steady, solid hand for the 49ers. He’s going to start for sure (if Deebo is out).

What about Jordan Reed? The 49ers like two TE sets. Reed redefined ‘move’ TE just a few years ago.

My projection for the Week 1 starters:

3 WR sets = Aiyuk, Bourne, Taylor with Pettis rotating in/out a lot and a very low volume passing game is split up amongst four WRs, which will be hard to predict week-to-week for performance.

2 WR/2 TE sets = Aiyuk, Bourne with Kittle, Reed

The moment Deebo returns, he becomes the #1 WR and Pettis is toast/traded and Bourne is back to solid #4 WR hand. Aiyuk and Taylor would be lesser targeted on a team with a de-emphasis on passing (#27 in pass attempts last season, #32/last in passing yards).

Besides Kittle, I’m not sure there is a reliable/predictable target to try to play in redraft/best ball…and it will get reshuffled upon a Deebo return. The Hurd injury actually has me looking more at how much I’m willing to wait on Deebo to come back…could I live with 2 games, 3 games? Can’t do 6 games/PUP for sure.

My entire 49ers general target and red/end zone projections are very fluid at the moment. I just know that all the emergency WRs that the 49ers are adding…they are more worried about Deebo than not.


 -- Here’s an example of preseason beat writer talk meant to scare but I am not scared…

I'm not buying, at all, the Jets want to throttle back Le’Veon Bell’s touches to keep him fresh…so that Frank Gore can get more touches. Seriously? I mean, I know NFL head coaches can be dopes, but usually they’re greedy/bent on one RB…Adam Gase cannot afford to NOT have Bell on the field…or to give Gore touches, because I think the Jets/Adam Gase wants to win games – the pressure is mounting on Gase already into year two…it was mounting from his bizarre intro press conference. The Jets had the best record in the AFC East in the 2nd-half of the season 2019 (without C.J. Mosley and missing Jamaal Adams some due to nagging injury) …it’s not like they have to rollover and die immediately.

How can they get all excited about Le’Veon being in the best shape ever…and then worry about him staying ‘fresh’?

You know who else was going to get touches reduced for freshness last preseason? Christian McCaffrey. Funny how fast that changes when the games are real/the bullets start flying. Remember when Todd Gurley was going to get his touches reduced because of a very real knee issue last season? Nope…Gurley was taking heavy carries in 30+ point losses in the 4th-quarter of games. NFL coaches rarely/never hold back players for freshness, but they talk about it a lot.

They (coaches) also mean to get Cordarrelle Patterson more touches but always seem to forget through the past 7 years and four head coaches he’s had.


-- Let’s end on a non-football note…

More from the summer series files of things that aggravate me…

I’ve done a lot of mini-travelling this summer…so many family or business events to go to that required an all-day drive to get to a place to stay for two days and then an all-day drive back home. So many 8-10+ hour days behind the wheel this summer. Not my favorite thing, but not what I want to primarily complain about here.

With all that travel, I’ve been to a lot of different food stops and shopping malls across the land this summer. And with that, I’ve had to use ‘the facilities’ at a lot of different places across the country. I would rather not have, but I had no choice.

As a world traveler, can I ask – whose bright idea was it to put a push button toilet for flushing? They are everywhere now. I love the concept, in theory…but why is it a tiny depress-button 180 degrees opposite of myself when I need it the most?

I don’t know if you’ve had the sheer joy, the pleasure of going into a men’s bathroom at a convenience store/travel stop or fast food place on the road but let’s just say ‘disgusting’ is the minimum expectation of what you’ll encounter. Being the good human that I am, I’ll give a courtesy flush…however, good luck trying to reach back behind you in the center of your back and find ‘a small button’ to depress. There’s a reason I have to have my wife scratch the middle of my spine a few times a year…I CAN’T REACH IT ON MY OWN without dislocating the ball joint of my arm/shoulder. I just wanted to go to the restroom real quick, not go on I.R. with a rotator cuff surgery.

As I travelled this summer, I was wearing my mandated mask (the only benefit I’ve found of having to wear a mask is entering/existing in a men’s travel restroom), I was sanitizing, I was distancing away from germs…but, great, I’m so ‘clean’ but then I’m sitting on a public toilet reaching back behind me blind touching a every germ-coated toilet component behind me trying to find the handle to pull but not knowing it’s a small button in an unreachable place. I gotta be in Cirque du Soleil to be able to reach the button behind me without touching 97 other things. I think I’d be safer to bob for apples in a vat of coronavirus than aimlessly feeling around for 30-seconds in the back-toilet area trying to touch-locate that stupid push button at a men’s travel stop bathroom.

While I’m at it…why are the bathroom flushing items behind us anyway? It’s 2020, can we not find a way to have the button in my front view/reach? I wish I were alive in the hay days of that pull chain apparatus. Why isn’t there an app for touchless flushing yet? I’d pay a Netflix monthly fee to use this wireless/5G flush privilege on the road…I’m on my phone sitting in the bathroom anyway. Hey, Siri…flush toilet.

Speaking of bad bathroom ideas from travel stops -- why is the toilet paper roll like 3-6 inches from my body? You know, my arm is a good couple of feet long…I have to fold my arm like a paper airplane to get it in position to try and find which way the strange-to-me toilet paper will roll out properly from. Don’t even get me started on the quality of the toilet paper. You know when you see that Monster Truck tire-size roll of industrial TP…you know that you’re going to have to break your wrist spinning that big wheel like you’re on the Price Is Right trying to get enough paper to make your own homemade 2-3-4 ply stack out of their 0.25 ply offering.

Everyone says they want to retire and travel the world…this is why you work like a dog at a job you hate (those that do)? So that you can go around visiting strange, ergonomically bad, poorly supplied restrooms around the globe? I want to retire and stay in my own house with my own bathroom and proper toilet paper – that’s ‘the good life’ we should be seeking. I don’t want to traverse the globe using strange, disgusting, foreign to me bathrooms in my retirement.

Hope you weren’t about to eat after you read this! Sorry.


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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

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