Busy May, football never sleeps…
All month of May, I’m going to be working on writing Phase I of our annual/2020 Fantasy Football Draft Guide (for June 1st approx. target release date)…including the corresponding reports like Undervalued and Overvalued. We also have the NFL schedule announcement for the 2020 season happening – a lot of things happening in May, and I’ll be pressed for time for writing daily articles/notes, etc.
With that said, I’m going to re-post some material from the prior season…to keep content flowing and to look back at what we were thinking at various times in 2019. Right now, we need football in our lives. They aren’t in training camps yet, but we can try to relive some of it by reading some of my game recaps and reports from the 2019 season…with some quick 2020/current commentary over top of it.
So, enjoy a look back at some classic games from 2019, classic rants, and what we got wildly right and wildly wrong.
Looking back to Week 1 of the prior season a year later is usually eye-opening. In this case, this game, looking back -- it's quite stunning what has happened to some of the players since then. Week 1 of 2019 season, we had the Patriots working a great Brady-Antonio Brown connection (memba those days...day...?)...racing AB back to WR1 status, the Pats looking invincible with that -- AND then just a few days after the game AB had more allegations hit and eventually the Pats had to cut him.
Think back to a year ago, as of this writing, back to May 2019...
If I had told you the following would be true in the future back in May 2019, you would've thought I was on mind-altering drugs.
Imagine a year ago if I had told you...
-- The Patriots would have Antonio Brown (then Raider) Week 1 of 2019 season, and that he would play just one game for them, likely his last NFL game...and it wouldn't end due to injury.
-- Tom Brady would be a Buccaneer Week 1 of the 2020 season.
-- Gronk would be a Buccaneer Week 1 of the 2020 season.
-- Ben would play two games and be gone for the 2019 season. The Steelers would start 0-2 on the season. They would trade their 2020 1st-round draft pick away in a deal for Minkah Fitzpatrick and not make a trade for a QB. UDFA rookie QB Devlin Hodges would be the QB trying to take the Steelers to the playoffs...and he'd almost pull it off.
Enjoy a quick look back at the showdown, that was a blowout, Week 1 of 2019 Patriots v. Steelers.
2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 1 – Patriots 33, Steelers 3
I kinda thought this was going to happen. I had been saying it for weeks, and that it could/would have fantasy implications – that the Steelers new non-AB/Le’Veon offense with the vastly worse Conner/Moncrief replacements would get their heads handed to them by a months-to-prepare Belichick.
And it’s exactly what happened.
Also, part of my theory…
The Steelers would get their arses kicked and that would set off a Mike Tomlin panic and an anti-Tomlin sentiment among fans and among upper management. What are we even doing here if with months to prepare, taking away the two key players you gave him, he gets beat 33-3 by the Pats? It wasn’t even a game. Tomlin has been coaching this team down for years, but he’s got some weird respect like he’s a great coach/motivator. Funny how unmotivating it is to not have Bell-Brown to just chuck it to; arguably the two best players at their position in their prime in the last decade.
When the panic fully sets in, Tomlin is going to have to reach for changes to fix things. What they are is what is key to fantasy ahead. If the Steelers roll Seattle this week…delayed on ‘my changes’, likely. If Seattle goes in and beats the Steelers at Pittsburgh – fast-forward button on the full-scale panic attack plan I am proposing. *2020 Note = There was a mild Steelers panic, which led them to over-trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick to try to go the playoffs without Ben...it didn't work, but Tomlin gets a 'pass' from everyone because of no-Ben.*
I think the Steelers might be a ‘best bet’ for a win/cover this week (Week 2), but for fantasy…I want them to get rocked. *2020 Note = They lost when Ben got hurt and the season died Week 2*
And, note…the Patriots are awesome. There is no shame in this loss for the Steelers, but it will not be taken that way. If the Ravens had played the Patriots here, we’d spend the whole week talking about how Lamar Jackson is not a real QB. Instead, he’s the league MVP today. *2020 Note = I will have to re-live a lot of Lamar disbelief notes early 2019 season. I thought he'd be top 5-ish for the 2019 season, but never dreamed he'd be the 'it' QB of fantasy 2019.*
It’s just one-week folks!! Who played who…matters…in the NFL and for your fantasy results. 1-0 fantasy teams don’t get too full of yourselves either.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- If Antonio Brown becomes normal, I think he’d play Week 2 or Week 3, sparingly…and by Weeks 3-4-5 be fully integrated as Brady’s new #1 ahead of Edelman (maybe 1a and 1b).
Brown would be a top 5 fantasy WR from that start point, and so would Brady be top 5 at his position. If you see my ROS numbers on the two right now…you’d see the big jump.
However, I published those TUE projections before the Antonio Brown news hit on the rape allegations. Today, I have to scale it all back. You’ll see that in the updated projections today.
I have no idea whether AB is guilty of the charges, but this one doesn’t look good…and I saw his texts to one of the women – not a good look for the Patriots organization. Going to be hard to stick by him. That + AB going off his rocker prior…I think we’re closer to Brown taking 2019 off and going into hiding/rehab for mental issues than we are seeing him as a fantasy WR1 from Week 5 on.
The story is fluid, so we’ll have to see.
If Brown is done for weeks or the season…Josh Gordon (3-73-1/4) is still a WR2, but Phillip Dorsett (4-95-2/4) is the biggest winner…a legit WR2-3 as a starter the rest of the way. Missing Tyreek but waivers was cleared out of your faves? Dorsett might be the guy to plug in for 2-3 weeks while Hill is gone…and if AB is gone. ONLY if AB is gone/confirmed not playing this week (or longer).
Tom Brady (24-36 for 341 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) goes from QB1 top 3-5 to QB1 #8-12 with AB hopes gone.
*2020 Note = Brown was gone soon after, and everything in New England was worse than we thought...it just took 12+ weeks to find out.*
-- I trust Big Ben (27-47 for 276 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) more for fantasy numbers without AB than Brady without AB going forward, but both are talented and legit. Ben’s just going to have to throw a lot more…good for fantasy purposes.
-- Like I theorized…
James Conner (10-21-0, 4-44-0/4) looked like a slug running the ball. He’s not a bust, he’s just shouldn’t be starting for an NFL team as the primary. If they push him the ball 20+ times, he’s an RB1 threat on volume…like Devin Singletary, Josh Jacobs, Aaron Jones, or any decent back…C.J. Anderson, Carlos Hyde would be.
But, there is one HUGE problem with Conner’s travels ahead…his backup is vastly superior talent to him in every way. Jaylen Samuels (2-4-0, 1-2-0/2) IS the Le’Veon Bell that can help Tomlin save his job…or, his lack of use being the (unknown to all but me) reason Tomlin gets the axe after this season.
Another loss this week and/or another Conner slug-life work…Jaylen Samuels is coming to the rescue even sooner.
I don’t see it happening for a while. Mostly because Tomlin is too stupid to use him…as witnessed by not having him on five-wide passing downs in a big deficit here when he’s the 2nd-best receiver talent on the team.
…but when it happens – RB1 for sure.
*2020 Note = Victory...for proclaiming Conner was/is overrated. BUT 'defeat' for putting so much stock in Jaylen Samuels and the Steelers not doing much of anything with Jaylen in relief in 2019.*
-- The best WR on the Steelers is in a better situation to make his move soon…Diontae Johnson (3-25-0/5) played a lot more than I expected here. You can see it…Ben knows. He knows what even Tomlin looks like he might suspect. Diontae is the new AB just waiting to be unleashed. On a team that knows what that means and how to use it.
A few notes here on Diontae…
DJ was in the game a lot more than I expected (24 snaps)…and he was in early and saw good targets.
Also, note…he had two targets taken away by penalty…or he would have had a solid 7 targets in 25 snaps played.
Also, note…his one target taken away was all you need to know about Diontae. In the red zone, DJ took off on a short slant to the interior goal line but then planted his foot and spun back the other direction toward the end zone/sideline…doing it so fast, so adeptly (because he might have the most gifted feet of any WR in the NFL) that the Patriots defender had his ankles broken, was falling helplessly to the ground, and had to grab at Diontae to stop the easy TD. A safety smartly read the play and came over to bat the pass away from being an easy TD.
That was a planned play, which means Ben knows ‘it’…and the Steelers know ‘it’…and no one else on the team could’ve run that route and broke those ankles. Take that JuJu crap somewhere else…Diontae is the future here.
I don’t know when it’s coming…but it’s coming with Diontae as a star WR…a future WR1 and possible AB-like numbers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-78-0/10) would benefit big time from Diontae being AB. He could go back to being sweet 2nd-fiddle circa JuJu 2017-18.
Donte Moncrief (3-7-0/10) sucks so bad, as I’ve said for 5+ years now…that his sucktitude helps bring on Diontae faster. James Washington will be the 3rd-wheel deep threat. Moncrief played scared and dropped passes…in other words, a normal Moncrief game when elevated to prominence.
*2020 Note = Donte Moncrief would end up so bad they had to cut him midseason...showing how 'bad' the Steelers are getting with personnel, that signing was an embarrassment. Diontae would be the 4th-best scoring rookie FF WR in 2019...making things work with Rudolph/Hodges. In 2020, now the Steelers are considering moving JuJu before free agency. There's a reason why...
*The FFM Lineup Optimizer for DFS (Daily Leagues) is now available. See home page for more info on this tool – our 2nd-year partnered with Advanced Sports Logic (ASL) and at a lower entry price this season to allow you to test run to see how you like it. My projections + ASL’s programming to find the best spend of your DFS budget in a variety of ways! Ask me questions on it, if you desire. – R.C.*
-- Patriots RBs…
I don’t know what that was from Sony Michel (15-14-0) but it’s why I wanted you to avoid it all preseason/in redrafts. You cannot predict this backfield and Michel is zero in the passing game.
I wouldn’t get chummy with Rex Burkhead (8-44-0, 5-41-0/8) either. Slow but stable and usually fantasy boring. If Michel falters, it will bring Damien Harris to the forefront…Rex is always a complimentary piece.
*2020 Note = Michel was more FF dud than not in 2019, but not nothing...his issues never did bring on Damien Harris, just more Rex Burkhead.
The 2020 College Football Metrics Season Is In Full Swing!
Time to start the studies, scouting, grading, ranking of the 2020 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft class. CFM, as always, will have scouting reports on all the top prospects and small-school sleepers and everything in-between as we grade/rank over 600+ prospects by draft day. We’ll cover the East-West Shrine, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and NFL Draft along the way and build to our weekly Top 200+ Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings (including IDPs).
We’ll also look back at the 2019 NFL Draft and 2019 Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings and re-do the 2019 Rookie Draft to see where we’re at and what items undervalued (now) to target in 2020. So much scouting to do – the Dynasty/Fantasy studies never end and are constantly fluid. It all starts again in early-mid January 2020.
Sign-ups for CFM and/or our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball (DOBB) subscriptions are found from the FFM home page ‘Subscribe now’ tab.
2020 Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball Reports and Rankings Are Constantly Adjusting To All The Changes!
It’s time for season #2 of our last season’s debut subscription…Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball.
I created Dynasty offseason as a way to communicate rankings/valuations on (500+) existing players (and also 400+ IDPs) for Dynasty and Keeper planning purposes (trades, etc.) as well as getting the jump on Best Ball/MFL drafts that begin in February and run all the rest of the year.
The fastest growing success percentage/money earning with FFM scouting/rankings/etc. is in those Best Ball/MFLs – draft a deep roster and forget it until the season begins, and then just watch the results…no lineup settings, no trading. Just pay to compete, out-draft everyone else, and try and cash in on our early/better read on things.
Dynasty Offseason subscriptions will be available when College Football Metrics begins (1/3/20), and you can purchase as a combo or just individually the one you want/need. However, the Dynasty Offseason rankings, etc., will not kickoff until right after the Super Bowl (articles and reports will post in January but player rankings/mock drafts not until past the Super Bowl)…and then we pile in material daily/weekly until opening day of the new NFL season.
If you were not a part of the Dynasty Offseason program last year, I will have more details on it on my playoff game recaps in 2020 and some additional explanation on Best Ball/MFL leagues, how to get started in them, how they work, etc. – if you’re not doing Best Ball/MFLs…you are missing out.
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