INTRO: Well, we got no preseason football to watch/analyze/hyperventilate over this year…so, my normal August ‘to-do list’ is blown to smithereens.
It feels weird to have teams going to training camps and for it to be August/preseason and there not to be my favorite kind of football to watch – the preseason, where we can see a lot of the new/rookie and lesser used players get to work and I get to go on a journey of discovery combing over the tape studying them. Fantasy Football 2020 is going to be a year of great college and pro scouting in years prior…and that should give me/FFM a huge advantage going into the redraft season and the NFL/FF season.
Still, we have no preseason football to watch/get hyped about. So, for a lack of football to watch this August…I had an idea to take snapshots of the 2019 season and publish certain of my recaps/game analyses from last season every day/every week of this preseason – to re-remember things we were thinking in at the various stages of 2019 season.
I randomly chose four weeks from the 2019 season to ‘replay’ (republish) every day/week up to the start of the season.
The schedule is planned to be…
Week of 8/3: Week 3 (every team would have had at least one home game, and no byes…trends developing).
Week of 8/10: Week 8 (midseason, only two teams on a bye)
Week of 8/17: Week 13 (most fantasy regular seasons ending, no bye week for any team)
Week of 8/24: Week 15 (the end of most fantasy seasons with the FF finals for most Week 16…also, NFL teams starting to change players/give younger players a chance if they were out of the playoffs, etc.)
Week of 9/1: The NFL playoffs from start to finish.
We’ll have plenty of other current fantasy/football content all August, but I wanted to have some semblance of ‘real football’ for us to read/re-remember/consider. 2-3 games per day I will publish as they were published for subscribers in 2019…and I’ll add some lite ‘updated’ 2020 commentary/hindsight as I see fit.
Enjoy a look back, a ‘skim’ of the 2019 NFL/FF season in August/Sept. 2020…
2019-20 Dynasty-Fantasy Playoff Game Review: Chiefs 35, Titans 24
We’re now fully into the era of Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs will be Super Bowl contenders for the next 5+ years no matter what, just because they have Mahomes…similar to the run Aaron Rodgers had back when he won a Super Bowl. Every year, after that first/only Rodgers’ title, everyone was looking at the playoff seedings and wondering if the Packers were going to hit the accelerator in the playoffs and win it all by virtue of Aaron Rodgers…no matter where Green Bay was seeded.
Eight years after that win…the Packers/Rodgers have never been back to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs lost in OT in the Final Four last year. Now, they’re moving on to the Super Bowl. They are going to be an obvious threat for years to come. Kansas City is not so dominant or obvious that they will win multiple Super Bowls…they’re just always going to be a threat – if they make the playoffs, no one will want to face them…just like those Rodgers’ years.
I was hoping Mahomes would have a quiet playoff, so I could go on shopping spree for him all offseason in places we didn’t already have him in Dynasty leagues. Well, that plan went up in smoke. He’ll now be debated with Lamar Jackson for most valuable fantasy QB for 2020. The Chiefs will always be a threat to win the next few Super Bowls, and dynasty teams in 6pts per pass TD leagues will always be a threat to blow through the fantasy playoffs with Mahomes. There are not many players like that in fantasy…Mahomes is among the rare, and arguably the top of the heap, nuclear bomb players in fantasy in favorable QB scoring leagues.
A few of us got bounced from the fantasy playoffs while Mahomes was going for 280 and a TD or two…and we’re watching this game (and last week’s) and are all like, “Where was this Mahomes when I needed him?” Sometimes, things just happen. Don’t doubt Mahomes…you ride him every week regardless of weather or opponent. That’s an amazing fantasy asset to have.
If Mahomes goes on to win the Super Bowl and has an MVP game…his fantasy value will be back through the roof. His final few fantasy weeks of mediocrity long forgotten (except by those who lived through the pain of it).
The Chiefs have the high-powered offense, but they will face the top defense in the league in the Super Bowl with the 49ers. I like the 49ers to win in this setup, but I’d never bet against Mahomes doing freakish things.
As far as wrapping up the Titans season… I think we’d agree that this is the way it should be wrapped up, and it’s sad but true: Nice job, nice season…you will not be the consensus AFC South winner, you will be many people’s ‘team that falls in 2020’ pick. All the Final Four teams, regardless of outcome, will be the consensus pick to win their division next year…but not Tennessee. I think that kinda says it all…nice run, we don’t really believe it, you’re going to get burned by going all-in on Tannehill, we’ll forget you were a Final Four team by October…kinda like that time Jacksonville had a chance to beat New England for a trip to the Super Bowl, led by Blake Bortles, a few years ago. I think it’s unfair to Tennessee, they’re promising ahead, but it is the reality…none of us really believes in them.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The Titans are ‘stuck’ with Ryan Tannehill (21-31 for 209 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT), at least for another season. When teams get a QB that gets hot like this, a hot backup QB…they do not change off the lucky rabbit’s foot in most cases (unless they are free agents and someone else spends a ton to steal them away…even more egregious). Jacksonville stuck with Bortles into a disastrous follow up season after their Final Four run a few years ago.
Tennessee will dump Marcus Mariota. They will draft a young QB prospect 2nd-3rd-round to prep for the future…but 2020 belongs to Tannehill. He earned it. It’s hard to deny him, but who thinks the Titans are winning the Super Bowl next season led by Tannehill? Who thinks they are AFC South favorites?
*2020 Comments: inexplicably, the Titans did not draft a QB seriously in 2020...they have no one of note to backup their mostly failed QB who has had two ACL surgeries in the past 5 or so years. What could ever go wrong with this (non)plan?*
The Titans’ offense we saw the last several weeks…it’s exactly what the plan will be for Week 1 in the upcoming 2020 season. All Derrick Henry (19-69-1) and Tannehill sprinkled in for decent numbers as defenses overplay Henry. Tennessee will be in the 8-8/9-7 hunt again and will be forgotten and another year lapses on building a real future contender. It got them this far, they’ll think they can do it again.
Had the Steelers not lost to the Jets Week 16…Tennessee might not see the playoffs, and then the Tannehill experience would potentially be over. But, making it this far, almost by accident…it buys Tannehill another year, at least. Hard to deny him that shot.
And if you think Derrick Henry won’t get a mega-deal to stay in Tennessee…you’re crazy. The Titans cannot let Henry go. He’ll be the highest paid RB in football for sure. He’s earned that. And paying RBs huge contracts always seems to work out!! ;)
-- If the Titans are going to try to replicate 2019 in 2020, then…
A.J. Brown (3-51-0/6) excitement needs to be tempered for 2020. In the most important three games of 2020, the playoff run, Brown averaged 1.7 catches (3.3 targets), 32.0 rec. yards, and 0.0 TDs per game. Are you serious, bro?
With Tannehill back, and the Titans will not add any WRs in 2020, Brown is the #1 -- and other teams know it and he’s not a real/true #1, and he doesn’t work well with a low volume, non-precision passer – so, it will be an erratic 2020 coming. Some will remember the four 100+ yard games in his final 6 regular season games. I will remember his three one-catch games in his final five games, including the playoffs…and I’ll remember this overall playoff flop. He’s a ‘sleeper’ not a reliable WR for fantasy 2020. He’s likely to be overpriced because his big game memories will outshine his playoff collapse.
If only he were on the Packers…
And if you think Jonnu Smith (3-38-0/4) is coming on for fantasy…you’re a hopeless romantic, like I used to be. I love Jonnu, but I will not touch him in most typical roster-size leagues. A deep roster/big team count league…he’s a deep sleeper maybe. Tennessee has shown zero interest in making him a feature for even a quarter much less a game, much less for a season the past two years when he showed many times that he is a true weapon. Love the player, hate the situation.
If you think the Titans will find some new offensive religion in 2020…you haven’t watched the past two seasons under Mike Vrabel. It is what it is. Why should he change it after this magical run? Exactly what Jacksonville thought when they did their big push a few years ago. The odds that the Titans’ game plan will make Brown or Smith fantasy stars in 2020 is the same number of times I’ve watched The Masked Singer…zero.
-- Last week, people were wondering where Tyreek Hill (5-67-2/7) was…as Travis Kelce (3-30-0/4) went bananas. Well, this week, as I guessed, we had the reverse.
Here’s the mildly scary part…
Hill’s targets the last 7 games since returning from his hamstring injury: 8-8-7-5-5-4-7 (6.3 per game). Seven wins in a row, a run to the Super Bowl…and Hill averaged 6.3 targets per game and did not have a game over 75 yards. Very odd. Very different than we are accustomed to seeing. The last time KC played Tennessee, midseason – Tyreek had 11 catches, 19 targets, 157 yards. And a TD.
I still think this dip in production is more of a blip or there could be something lingering with Tyreek’s injuries. Whatever it is…I’m watching it and will re-look at it in the offseason to see how we will project Tyreek for 2020 and beyond. I’m usually Tyreek over all for fantasy at WR…not likely in 2020.
Tyreek running out during the introductions and getting down on all fours to pee like a dog…what a class act. How hilarious and original. My patience is wearing thin with Tyreek’s act.
The dip in Hill production is not because of a major turn to Sammy Watkins (7-114-1/10)…Watkins has a good game about every 5-7 weeks. He’s a random event. He was never the star people expected when he was supposed to be the next big thing coming out of the draft years ago. Watkins is a prime example of the state of NFL WRs. 5+ years ago he was touted as the best WR anyone had seen – Rex Ryan traded two #1s to get him. If Watkins were coming out into the draft these days, he’d be a 2nd or 3rd-round talent, still his scouting/status fluffed up because of ‘Clemson’..
-- Think of all the rookie WRs who exploded onto the scene in 2019 season…and most of them broke out 2nd-half of the season. Deebo, A.J. Brown, Diontae, D.K. Metcalf, Renfrow…and don’t forget the instant breakouts (and then fade) on McLaurin and Preston Williams. Rookie WRs can/should produce early/right away – they are far superior in reps/training their whole lives compared to the WR prospects of yesteryear.
With that said…Mecole Hardman (1-8-0/1) worked with one of the best QBs of our lifetimes this season…and he’s caught 9 passes in his last 9 games. He’s been playing some decent snaps, but he’s been a ghost the 2nd-half of the season and had a few lightning strikes early in the season but never developed any better as the season went on.
Will he take a step next season? I just don’t think he has real receiver talent…just high-end speed. What’s that worth for fantasy 2020? Hard to say, hard to rely upon. This year, it meant virtually nothing.
-- I had a couple of people ask me during/post game…is Damien Williams (17-45-1, 5-44-0/6) the starter for KC next season? I think we’re confusing ‘guy who scores TDs in recent games’ with ‘real lead RB for an NFL team’.
Sure, it’s been a great run for Damien…4 TDs this postseason. 11 TDs in like 11-12 games he played the lead role in this season. But you have to note…he ran the ball terribly this season. The offense drives his TD counts.
Counting the playoffs, you’d see his season average at 4.0+ yards per carry and wonder what the problem is. However, Williams had two long TD runs this season, late in the season, and they are very unusual occurrences for any RB to have. If you take away his two 80+ yard TD runs…he has 138 carries for 415 yards rushing otherwise = 3.00 yards per carry in 2019-20 season. That won’t cut it.
He’ll be 28 years old in the upcoming 2020 season. He’ll be coming off a season where he was hurt on and off all season and most of the preseason (lost his job to Carlos Hyde at one point in the preseason and then to LeSean McCoy for a few minutes early in the regular season). Why would Kansas City put all its eggs in this Damien basket with so many other options out there?
The Chiefs, with Mahomes, are going to become like LeBron in the NBA – good players will come to KC on a discount to try to get in on a title. Le’Veon Bell could be out there available for free this offseason, David Johnson as well. What about Kareem Hunt as an RFA signing? Melvin Gordon will be out there. Why would KC go into 2020 with this aging, mediocre, free-agent-to-be (after the 2020 season), non-legit lead RB with a Super Bowl roster otherwise and so many RBs out there to consider…including any incoming rookies?
-- Another quality game from the rising Chiefs’ defense. They gave up 10 points kinda quickly, and then started to shut the Titans down from mid-2nd-quarter on as the KC offense steamrolled ahead. Tennessee couldn’t get back into the game and Derrick Henry was held to just 69 yards rushing…his lowest tally in his last 9 games.
Again, I will say…
This KC defense is so much better with Daniel Sorenson (8 tackles, 1 PD) playing a big role. It always has for years, but he still gets no respect…even from his own coaching staff. He has gotten someone’s attention in the playoffs…averaging a team leading 8.5 tackles per game in the postseason.
You know what his three-cone time was, right? At the 2014 NFL Combine…6.47 with a 3.95 shuttle. If you don’t follow such things, that’s what we in the biz call ‘elite’ foot movement skills. Remember when Sorenson wiped out Justin Reid on that 4th-down play against Houston? Sorensen can move side-to-side pretty, pretty, pretty quickly.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the game I said was the best bet of the playoffs…SF to crush GB, and they did.
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