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 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 15 – Chiefs 23, Broncos 3
Strange game. The snow picked up more than expected and the game was played in a steady, light snow that accumulated on the field. It made visibility tough and footing even tougher. Within that, the Chiefs played a lot of the game like there was no snow…I mean, Patrick Mahomes looked as good as ever in the worst conditions. Honestly, it may have been one of the best QB passing performances of 2019.
Mahomes was 27-of-34 (79.4% Comp. Pct.) and was an assassin in terrible field conditions. On the other side of the ball, the weather made Denver look like a passing game you’d expect in this condition – Drew Lock was less than 50% Comp. Pct., his receivers were slipping and tentative moving around a lot and there were plenty of slick ball drops. What Mahomes did here was almost supernatural.
The Chiefs got up 9-0 quickly and then led 15-3 at the half and then the game just kinda chipped away in the 2nd-half…only KC scoring a TD and Denver shutout -- a 23-3 solid win for KC.
The Chiefs, to me, are the only team that can take down the Ravens for the Super Bowl rep of the AFC. KC is either going to be a #2 or #3 seed, which means they will likely play the Patriots one way or the other in the 2nd-round – and it doesn’t matter if it is at Foxboro…KC is winning that game. The Chiefs and Ravens are on a collision course for the AFC Championship, and if there is one guy who can keep up with, chase from behind on, and take down Lamar Jackson…it’s Patrick Mahomes.
The two worst case scenario teams for the Ravens to have to face to get to the Super Bowl are Buffalo and Kansas City…and I think they’re going to face both of them if they march ahead to the title.
Denver falls to 5-9. A ‘what might have been season’. If you gave Denver three more points in every loss this season…they would’ve flipped 3 losses to wins and been 8-6 right now. They had every last second win/loss chance go against them this season (except Wk13). This is going to be a dangerous wild card type team in 2020…possible threat to KC for the AFC West with a fortuitous defensive personnel offseason.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let me just start with this… I’m very impressed with Drew Lock (18-40 for 208 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) in his first three starts in the NFL. I mocked this pick by Denver, and there is a reason Lock fell in the draft and why we graded him mediocre/poor for the draft, but what I’ve seen in the NFL so far, and even in this game, is the best Drew Lock possible.
What I love about what I’ve seen from Lock – the sheer confidence playing the position. He has no fear. Most rookies play a bit tentatively, erratic out of the gates, but Lock is just letting it rip with confidence…he’s controlling the tempo and the team.
There is a good and bad Lock…
The good = Has some Brett Favre in him. A gunslinger. Great arm and mechanics. Plays with energy. Not afraid to take shots.
The bad = Lock gets overconfident, bordering on Baker Mayfield on-field arrogant. Thinks he can make any throw, any time…and Mayfield is much better and precise at that than Lock. In this game, Lock made some excellent throws…made them look so simple. He also flirted with 3-4-5 interceptions, because when he gets hot, he thinks he’s unstoppable and forces into places he shouldn’t.
I kept thinking, as I rewatched this tape – who does THIS good version of Lock remind me of? I was thinking Favre. I wondered if it could be a different version of Mayfield. Then it hit me…and this is going to be a challenge for his career. Lock is Jameis Winston.
Winston throws with no conscious. Winston throws into coverage at will…sometimes like he doesn’t see the 3-4-5 guys in front of his receiver. Winston throws a pick to start a game, the fans boo…then Winston goes out and leads a nice drive after that, like nothing happened. Winston will throw 3-4 picks in a game and be down 20+ points with 7 minutes left and then add on an extra 200+ yards of passing a junk TD or two to cut a huge loss to a medium loss. Some QBs shrink when things don’t go their way…not Winston. Not Lock.
The difference is…because the media endorsed Winston, all his bad is swept under the rug/joked about and the moment he has 2-3 hot games (like current) everyone thinks the magic man has finally arrived. The media is going to be against Lock, definitely not with him like they are with Winston. When Lock makes mistakes, has multiple picks…everyone will turn on him as too sloppy. No one will laugh about ‘good Lock’ and ‘bad Lock’...like 'good' Winston and 'bad'Winston. Vic Fangio wouldn’t put up with Winston for two seconds…he’s going to have a hard time doing so with Lock. In Tampa Bay, Winston has run the organization for years because he was SUPPOSED to be great, so everything was built around him and excuses made, and coaches brought in to coddle/fix him. Fangio is not one to suffer Lock’s ways for long.
Fangio could be great for Lock, or it could be a nightmare. Fangio is going to try to break the wild stallion QB…the bucking Bronco, if you will. Lock will either become the best version of himself under it…or he’ll fight it and it will be a choppy relationship for the next 2-3 years.
All that to say…I think any of our/my fears of Lock being bad for Sutton-Fant – I’m past that, for now. I want Lock-Sutton to be Winston-Evans/Godwin…that would be FF-fine by me. If Denver never has a winning record/playoff team because of it, like TB with Winston…I don’t FF-care.
How much Fangio tries to micromanage Lock is the big 2020 question. Lock just needs to be Lock, but Fangio is going to want to McDermott-Josh Allen it. Defense and run game, and less Lock. But if Fangio gives into it some…Lock might be OK, and better for FF than the NFL. I just don't think Fangio will give into 'sloppy' Lock.
*2020 Comments: I stand by this going into 2020 season...more danger than not with Lock.*
-- Speaking of Sean McDermott…he might be the 2nd-best coach/personnel evaluator in the entire NFL and it’s flying right under our noses. Why mention that here?
When McDermott got to Buffalo, one of the first things he did was dump Sammy Watkins (3-49-0/4) and Reggie Ragland. This season, out of nowhere, McDermott just dropped LeSean McCoy (6-16-0). All three of these players are currently sucking/killing the Chiefs from the inside.
The Rams are dying with all the ex-Jaguar 1st-round pick busts (Bortles, Fowler) + the great Jalen Ramsey. The Chiefs are wasting time and money with McDermott’s castoffs.
Darwin Thompson (8-38-0) led the team in carries here, but it was even work between he and McCoy and Ware. There is no reliable Chiefs RB…which may be the thing that upends them in the playoffs.
-- Speaking of RBs, I have no idea what the Broncos are doing with Phillip Lindsay (7-32-0, 0-0-0/2) and Royce Freeman (5-12-0, 4-14-0/4) – two of the most talented RBs, one of the great potential duos in the NFL…and they’ve done little all season.
I think the O-Line is to blame more than they are. This is a bad O-Line that’s been ravaged by injury of late.
-- With Sammy Watkins a fraud, I would’ve thought Mecole Hardman (1-10-0/2) might have progressed more with touches and production in this offense…but it’s like he’s not even there. Mecole is a weak WR technician, but his athleticism warrants bubbles and jet sweeps, but he’s seeing very little of that.
If an NFL team hires Chiefs O-C Eric Bieniemy as their head coach this offseason it will be one of the epic fails of the offseason. Just because you’re near Patrick Mahomes…doesn’t make you the reason for his success. So…get ready for your new head coach, Washington Redskins!!
-- How about these two DSTs for Week 16?
Denver has held opponents to 20 or fewer points in six of their last 10 games. They are a top 10 points allowed and pass defense in the NFL. They are talented in spots, well coached, but hit with a ton of injuries. They’ve also faced mostly playoff teams recently. Four of their last 5 games are with current playoff teams. Facing the Lions this week will be the easiest single game they’ve had this season. Their prior easiest was facing Mariota-led Tennessee…which they shut out in Week 6.
The Kansas City defense has stormed into the top 10 party…basically tied with Denver at #10 for points allowed and passing yards. KC’s defense has held their last four opponents to 17 or fewer points in a game. They face the sluggish Chicago offense this week. I’ll take it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
27 = Ware
24 = Darwin
17 = McCoy
32 = Freeman
23 = Lindsay
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