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2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/27/2020)

Date:
August 27, 2020 7:36 PM
August 27, 2020 7:35 PM

2020: Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason News, Observations, Rumors (8/27/2020)


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…

 

 

 -- CHIEFS Camp News…

I was surprised but pleased (because I personally like the player as a person/worker) with the info/vibe I’m getting that Darrel Williams appears to be the #2 back behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It makes sense, because…

1) Williams is a solid RB, like a poor man’s Jamaal Williams/GB…does everything solidly, to the coaches likings but doesn’t have star athleticism/abilities…just solid.

2) Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington are nothing special.

I think Washington might be closer to being cut than being the #2 back right now. His contract is very cut-able.

You know what else is debatable?

Who is better suited for the red zone/goal line? The 200+ pound rookie CEH or the 220+ pound, experienced, better blocking Darrel Williams?

Just thought I’d put the fear of god/Darrel into you CEH owners…

 

 -- What is the chance Joe Mixon or Dalvin Cook holds out of games this season?

The new CBA really pinched players from ‘holding out’ in training camp – but what about actual games? It’s a gray area, but one that seems to be more of a problem for the players…there’s CBA language that says a player missing substantial time on a holdout will lose their year of service – meaning their free agent season is pushed off for another year, defeating their holdout purpose.

In today’s RB economy…and NFL COVID economy (for 2021 salary cap)…a team would be insane to give a huge deal to Mixon or Cook. Likely, they will have to play out their season and then hit free agency in the worst year to hit free agency (the salary cap dropping 20-30%) in 2021.

There’s a chance either could go rogue and think they’re like Ezekiel Elliott and sit out regardless and really try and force the issue/play a game of chicken with the year of service language, and it’s possible one of them might do it because this is their big chance to cash in with a looming risk of playing 2020 without a deal and getting hurt – but most likely both will have to play and get to their free agency year next offseason. Mixon and Cook are more in the Melvin Gordon holdout world than Zeke holdout experience/victory.

So, considering the price you have to pay for them (Cook/Mixon) in redrafts…it is worth asking if you should avoid IF there is another RB you like as well, and this factoid would be the tie-breaker between them. They are not undraftable but they do have a minor cloud above them right now. *All this changes, of course, if one of them gets a new deal any day…but that’s HIGHLY unlikely.

It’s a bad time to be a free agent RB in the NFL…

 

 -- PATRIOTS Camp news…

1) I don’t know that Jarrett Stidham is totally dead yet from starting Week 1, but I’d bet on Cam at this stage – but if Cam flops, it could be a quick hook If Stidham’s hip issue is just nothing…as it appears).

Keep in mind – Cam was never the plan. Stidham was going to be the plan until Cam fell in their laps, to take a look at.

Everyone assumed Tom Brady would be back, but the Patriots were done with that (just look at their 2nd-half of 2019 season to know it was time).

Everyone then assumed the Pats would sign a ‘name’ at QB in free agency…they passed on them all.

Then everyone assumed the Pats would draft a QB…they didn’t.

‘EVERYONE’ (inside football analysis/reporting) assumed this because they believe Stidham sucks, for reasons I do not understand…but they also thought Jimmy G. was a stupid/wasted pick at first by the Pats as well.

Then when we all realized Stidham was going to be the starting QB…Cam sat available for months on end, and then he signed a ‘chump’ deal, a ‘he’s a nobody’ contract to have a chance to prove he was worth their time and effort and money. His deal is not a ringing endorsement at all…in fact, it’s a deal that’s easy to drop.

Cam may live up to expectations and be the man, but if he’s the same guy who looked kinda shot the past few years – it could be a quick hook. It might be a shock release/trade before September 1st if Cam doesn’t ‘get’ the offense. It’s not all that smooth with Cam in camp so far.

The media is 1,000,000% into Cam and his retribution story…and 1,000,000% sure Stidham is awful, so that’s your first clue that it’s not that way in reality. Betting against the media tide is smart money. The camp reporting via the media is going to be biased for Cam and anti-Stidham, because it’s their world (football) view going into things. We don’t know what’s really going on with the Pats QB battle the way we think we do if we rely on beat writers who are already in the tank. The mainstream national writers are for sure in the tank for Cam.

I think the media pressure and the intrigue gives Cam the Week 1 start, and rightfully so…with his experience and if he’s rehabbed -- but if he falters the first 2-3 weeks…Stidham is going to Brady-Bledsoe Cam.

2) All the N’Keal Harry ‘looks bad’ reports from camp…I went over this on our Subscriber Video Q&A show TUE night…it’s all a bit silly.

Keep in mind, beat writers watch practice and see a really good catch or a really bad drop…and they note it and report it out as a serious issue/alert/forever issue because they have to report something like they know what they’re talking about. Roto-blurbs then crafts a headline out of it to scare or inflate the player for whatever reason they’d like…mostly to get you to click/read – and then ADPs shift, narratives are created, people go off misinformed.

N’Keal Harry is fine, and you’ll see reports this week about how good he looks after a prior week of him being the worst WR in the world.

Whether he’s the right receiver to work with Cam…it’s a different debate. FYI…he isn’t. He’ll have more of a chance to thrive with Stidham.

3) Sony Michel was activated from the practice PUP…after word that he might be ‘questionable’ for Week 1 with a foot injury.

It might be an all clear…it might be he’s just back at practice, observing, walking thru/light duty work – working like he’s not 100% and needs to stay away from the fray until he’s ready. Activated off PUP is a good start but wait to see him taking full speed drills before feeling good that he’s a Week 1 guy.

Damien Harris is/was stealing his job, so Michel may be rushing back not at 100% and could cause more of a mess with his foot. We’ve seen James Conner do similar in 2019. You can’t blame the backs that haven’t gotten a big contract for rushing back to keep depth chart contenders out of the spotlight, really.

 

 -- RAMS Camp Notes…

1) Rookie Van Jefferson is getting the typical rookie kudos, and local analysts are speculating on him as a starter/star quickly…typical.

I’d just say, from my scouting of Jefferson – he’s a great practice player. He’s like KeeSean Johnson/2019. Memba that hysteria? Best Cardinals WR in the 2019 preseason? Week 1 starter? Fantasy dud? Disappeared quickly?

The world changes when you work full-speed, full-contact with top corners covering you. I don’t think Jalen Ramsey is covering Van Jefferson in 1s v. 1s scrimmages/practices.

Jefferson is a really handy, good hands, professional WR who works in a pinch – not likely a future star for FF.

2) Everyone seems to hate the Rams for 2020, because everyone in the media (and thus the fans) hates Jared Goff for reasons I cannot understand…but I know they do. You can see it in their discussions and writings in season and offseason since he was a rookie. They mock/dismiss him as if it’s a given.

I just wanted to show something, because ‘the way players/teams finish’ supposedly really matters…

66.8%, 328.6 pass yards, 2.2 TDs/0.8 INT, 0.8 sacks per game = Goff in Weeks 13-17

60.9%, 272.3 pass yards, 1.0 TDs/1.1 INTs, 1.6 sacks per game = Goff in Weeks 1-12

Notice Goff’s sack rate dropping, which might be a forerunner of that young O-Line gelling late…and that being a good sign going into 2020.

Also note, Goff faced Arizona twice in that late season span…and the Cardinals’ defense was an abomination of awful coaching (Vance Joseph, great former head coaching call by John Elway prior). Sadly, the Rams face Arizona Weeks 13 and 17 this season…not helping Goff’s early FF projections.  

Goff Weeks 1-12 in 2019 = #23 in fantasy PPG among QBs (4pts per pass TD)

Goff Weeks 13-17 in 2019 = #7 in fantasy PPG among QBs

 

 -- Exciting kicker talk...

A lot of rookies are flopping in their bids to be their team’s starting kicker – and many of these kickers were drafted/thought to be shoo-ins and working on good offenses.

CFL veteran Lirim Hajrullahu is whooping rookie 7th-round pick Sam Sloman in the Rams kicking battle.

The Patriots recently signed Nick Folk, not to be a camp body but to compete with a failing 5th-round rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser.

Highly-lauded Colts rookie Rodrigo Blankenship is having a decent camp, but Chase McLaughlin is winning that battle so far with an excellent camp.

On the flipside…

Buffalo’s rookie PK Tyler Bass is really pushing Steven Hauschka in Buffalo, but it looks like Hauschka might win as the trusted/veteran incumbent. If Bass gets released and tried to put on the practice squad, some team (like the Pats) will snap him up. The Bills might be forced to roster two kickers.

*Breaking news after I wrote this – the Bills released Hauschka…Bass is an actual rookie kicker winner for 2020! Hauschka…enjoy your time on the Patriots.

Last year rookie kicker news…

Matt Gay is struggling in Tampa…he’s losing Bruce Arians’ faith a bit and Elliott Fry is pushing hard while Gay struggles with accuracy. Might be a shocking upset in Tampa Bay. Enough of a concern to drop him down the rankings for 2020.

 

-- I’ve seen some camp reporting showing concern for Big Ben’s arm strength and changes delivery, coming off his arm issues/surgery last year.

I’ve only seen limited bootleg tape of Ben throwing in cam-/practices…I can’t see any issue, but I didn’t get enough looks to really sink my teeth into. So, from here…I’m aware there is ‘chatter’ but I’m not acting upon it/changing projections harshly for him or the WRs.

All things being equal…it might be a tiebreaker concern on not going Ben vs. ____ as your QB2 in fantasy, but that’s pure conjecture.

 

 -- As soon as Earl Thomas got cut, I think every football writer set out to write an article on why THEIR team should get Earl Thomas.

Who thinks Thomas still matters that much, or really believes strongly he’ll play football ever again? Why would he…for a league minimum look somewhere? He suckered the Ravens out of money, as Seattle laughed at them…he doesn’t need to ‘hang on’ in the NFL.

It’s not that Thomas had a minor flare up and there was too strong a punishment and now he is ‘shockingly’ available to the team. No, that’s not it…

Thomas has been a nuisance for a while, and I saw where he was axed because the Ravens’ ‘leadership council’ (the team leaders) wanted him booted. And if that is true – that’s pretty damning for Thomas to be in an NFL locker room again.

It’s ‘the NFL’, so he’ll probably get a desperation look from some poorly run/desperate team…but this isn’t going to end well. He’s not ‘that guy’ anymore.

 

 -- From the files of things that annoyed me this summer, and so as to write about some non-football stuff…

This week, I’m annoyed with myself.

Anyone here have leftovers at their house ever…or do you eat exactly what was cooked, no more, no less?

My Utopian dream life/bucket list item is – that I don’t want to ever cook in my house again (whether me or my wife), because I hate leftovers. I want to eat whatever food and throw out the rest immediately because it’s not so much the leftover food I hate, although I could live without it – no, I hate leftovers management.

Allow me to explain…

So, I’ve been in the same house for like 15+ years. Been a great house, except everything is falling apart at the same time in 2020…in the middle of the COVID era. If I could ever please have stuff go wrong with my house not on a weekend, not at 3am, not on a holiday weekend/Monday, or not during a pandemic it would be a miracle. If something ever went wrong with my house on Monday 10am while everyone was home to help, it would be a blessing. That’s a bonus complaint.

A key item of repair this summer – replacement of my entire floor from kitchen, to living room, etc. Not my choice. I would be fine just taping down flattened Amazon boxes and not spending any money. No, my dishwasher sprung a leak and insurance footed a bill for the entire floor having to be replaced because you can’t just replace the waterlogged section near the dishwasher.  

So, the look of my kitchen (and everywhere else) just went from good-to-great by chance this summer.

I got a brand new, awesome floor, and I paid a little extra out of pocket to get a really nice, thick everything-proof laminate (wood look) floor…on a discount (thanks to COVID making businesses struggle months ago and things on sale – but then my project delayed for months because of COVID reasons…so I had a half ripped up kitchen floor to live with day-to-day all June-July).

Of course, I had to get a new dishwasher…and I got one of those ones that’s so quiet you don’t even know it’s running unless you see the light on. My prior one sounded like the space shuttle was launching for an hour+ every time it ran…the new one is a dream come true.

The new floor also goes well with the redone kitchen cabinets and countertop I (my wife forced me) upgraded like 7 years ago.

My house is slowly falling apart and/or is out of date in a few areas – but the kitchen has become terrific, the showcase of my house now…it almost looks out of place among everything else, but we love it.

So, is this a complaint? Sounds like a charmed life…or at least a charmed kitchen?

What does this have to do with leftovers?

I’ll get there.

So, I’m putting away some leftover food from tonight’s dinner and I go into my cabinet of containers…and I can’t find the right size, and then when I do I cannot find the lid that goes with the right size container and I’m yelling at inanimate objects trying to find a complete container/lid combo to put food away.

My complaint, on me, is… We spent good money fixing the kitchen cabinets/countertops, and then insurance and warranties spent good money on my floor and dishwasher. I’ve got a really good-looking kitchen set up now…so, why is it all I have is makeshift, ratty containers for my leftovers in said top-notch kitchen? Why do I have this gathering of old cool whip and sour cream and fancy restaurant takeout containers we saved and cleaned and somehow turned into our Island of Misfit Toys’ Tupperware collection? Why is my and/or my wife’s inclination – “Don’t throw that (container) away, we can reuse it!” WITH GLEE when we see ‘a good one’! How did we get so staunch, so excited by fancy used food containers we somehow quickly envision turning into free Tupperware? Am I saving my way to prosperity here by doing this? I am good at scouting two things…football players and leftover/emptied containers that can serve as our Tupperware.

I can never find the matching parts of these things in my black hole cabinet of them. I never know what food is in the containers when they are in the fridge. Is it really leftover Panera Bread soup in their container…or is it leftover scrambled eggs from breakfast 3-to-15 days ago?

I just spent $50 on replacement central air floor vents/grates because our new floor made the old floor vents look like rusty/old nightmares. Useless (to me) vents to let air through…like my old ones, just better-looking versions doing the same stupid thing…allowing air to pass. I was somehow fine (not that fine) spending $50 on those -- but If I just spent $50 on proper, matching Tupperware with universal lids and clear view of what’s in them, etc., I would be in heaven – but no, I’m too smart for that.

No, I’m going to find some secondary use for that empty pickle jar because ‘you never know’ and we just saved a few dollars (in my head, I guess). But did I really save money but lose my soul/dignity? How many Omaha Steaks Styrofoam coolers, from family sending us holiday gifts, do I need to hold on to ‘just in case’? What is my obsession with not getting quality, competent food storage for my leftovers and instead trying to MacGyver a bunch of unintended-to-be-Tupperware containers from various sources into my bizarre food storage lineup?

Not anymore. It dawned on me today when trying to put away clean ‘containers’ into their area and hardly finding space…put one item in and two fall out and I have to shove them all back in before a tidal wave of them fallout of this cabinet. I’m going onto Amazon and getting proper Tupperware…cost be damned. No more should-be-trashed food containers in my gorgeous kitchen!

Why was I doing this to myself day-after-day for 15+ years?

I blame my Great Depression-era Grandfather. I was raised that way…I came by it honestly! Still, I’m annoyed with myself…because during our current Great Depression, we have the luxury of Amazon and plenty of China-made Tupperware knockoffs I can get at reasonable prices…ones that definitely don’t have COVID breathed into them so it releases into my house/nostrils when I open them up for the first time. I’ll just have the kids open that package and put it away for me.

You know what…let’s go all the way – I’ll buy my real Tupperware from a proud American company instead…likely with their stuff made in China, but still…it’s the thought…




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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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