2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk1 Game Analysis: Chargers 13, Rams 6
A boring game from a ‘stars’ standpoint (none of them played) but a VERY fertile game to watch as a scout of the young players, especially the rookies – a lot of interesting day 2-3 draft picks and UDFAs on display here.
I was very excited to scout this tape, but having to ride through with too-excited Andrew Siciliano and wandered-into-the-booth-by-accident/with no prep Aqib Talib and unsure when to chime in with her obvious observations Mina Kimes on commentary – what circle of hell did Dante throw me into?
Here’s what it’s like trying to focus on game tape with Aqib Talib on commentary randomly chattering away (I’ll let you guess who Talib is in this clip): https://youtu.be/RJxUEsk98Tc
Dynasty/Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First things first… Jacob Harris (4-43-0/7)…ready-to-go right now, a legit NFL starter today. Now, he won’t start over Tyler Higbee…I’m just saying, as a receiving weapon – Harris ready now. The WR-to-TE conversion is tricky, but as we get more instances of it, and me being a connoisseur of it over the years – I know ‘it’ when I see it.
Juwan Johnson, NO…probably not. Needs more time.
Jacob Harris, LAR…better than I expected, and I expected a lot. He’s going to be playing on passing downs and red zone right away. Anyone thinking Higbee will be a big FF producer in 2021 is in for a rude awakening. Oh, I can just get a TE later – yeah, well good look with the likes of Higbee, etc.
I’ve made myself clear on Harris pre-Draft, post-Draft and all the DRD series. I need not say more, except to say – it is game on. Working with 3rd/4th-string QBs he was the best Rams receiver by a mile here.
-- FYI, Tutu Atwell (2-21-0/4) was not the best Rams receiver. He’s good speed (not great) and so tiny…he’s going to get lost in the NFL shuffle over time. Tutu caught a pass and got blown up by Asante Samuel (3 tackles), who looked very good, like Atwell was a bag of feathers being hit by a sack of potatoes. What the Rams thought in drafting Atwell so highly is still one of life’s greatest mysteries.
-- The Rams backfield report…
Xavier Jones (7-21-0, 2-6-0/3) was treated like the obvious #2 guy, and he looked fine, but I expected to see ‘more’. Jones was OK, didn’t hurt himself…but didn’t do anything that got me excited about his prospects.
I say all that about Xavier to then contrast it with – Jake Funk (5-12-0, 1-0-0/1) did look the part. Using this game tape alone, to decide who was the better NFL prospect – give me Funk. He looks bigger, quicker, and tougher. Funk was running behind Jones in the rotations but was in the game quickly and they rotated some…Funk was not totally doomed behind Jones here, just was behind him…for now. Funk is going to play in that backfield this year, probably earlier rather than later.
Raymond Calais (7-14-0) made more of an impression in the return game – he will be the Rams KR/PR this year. Not a real touch count back unless one of the big three goes down.
-- The Chargers backfield report…
Justin Jackson (5-13-0, 1-9-0/1) was running as the clear lead back here, which means he’s the top #2 back for Brandon Staley at this point. He looks slimmed way down…which is not a good thing, to me. He looked very generic here. I liked him with some bulk/muscle from the past two years.
I was prepared to see Joshua Kelley (8-19-0, 1-0-0/3) not look as good as JJax, but Kelley looked far superior to me. If I were the Chargers, I’d pair Ekeler with Kelley – but I don’t know that they’re thinking that, and it’s possible the Chargers add a veteran name from the pre-53-man cut downs in a few weeks.
Rookie RB Larry Roundtree (8-63-0) gave a good effort but is still too NFL-slow to get me excited. He’s not bumping Jackson-Kelley in 2021.
-- Did you see where Chris Harris compared Josh Palmer (6-36-0/7) to Dez Bryant? That’s pretty high praise. I can see some of the similarities, except Dez was a WAY better athlete than Palmer. But you could see in this game – the future #2 WR for LAC is Palmer, not Mike Williams.
Josh Palmer just looks like a future-Mike Thomas for the Chargers, who are trying to replicate the Saints offense.
I’m buying into Palmer more and more, but he scares me that he doesn’t separate enough to really shine in the NFL, but he may out-route and out-muscle DBs and become a star by savvy not athleticism.
If Mike Williams goes down, Palmer will step into his role and may never give it back. Palmer is likely a 2022+ thing…thus, LAC not extending Mike Williams beyond this year.
-- I’m done pining away for Joe Reed (1-6-0/1) for LAC…he was buried playing with the future-to-be-cut guys and barely has a pulse or gets any touches.
-- IDP notes…
Rams DL/LB Justin Lawler (5 tackles, 1 TFL) was pretty impressive in this game. Definitely NFL-worthy and one to watch for the future. He’ll be rotational in 2021, I suspect as an OLB in the 3-4 scheme A possible starter in 2022.
Rams rookie ILB Earnest Jones (3 tackles, no solos) I still don’t get. I hear all this talk of effort and leadership and smarts, which are all true I’m sure – but I never see anything exciting on the field.
I was looking forward to watching LAC rookie LB Nick Niemann (7 tackles) in his debut, but it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped. There was a flash here-and-there, but he does not look ready for serious NFL work yet. He was just floating around the field aimless a bit too much here…not totally sure of himself/his position yet. He was working as an ILB mostly, so that’s good.
***The 2021 FFM Draft Guide Package is now available – see the FFM homepage for more information, including Combo deals with the In-Season Package and Dynasty Stash reporting.
2021 College Football Metrics subscriptions are still available – all the NFL Draft/rookie prospect scouting reports, Dynasty Rookie Draft (weekly top 350) coverage and analysis PLUS our annual Devy scouting report/rankings summer series begins in July.***
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