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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk2 Game Analysis: Titan 34, Buccaneers 3 (By Ross Jacobs)

August 25, 2021 2:29 PM
August 25, 2021 2:22 PM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk2 Game Analysis: Titan 34, Buccaneers 3 (By Ross Jacobs)



This was another offensive-deficient game and that's not a surprise when the QB's playing are Logan Woodside, Matt Barkley, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin, and Kyle Trask. The game was actually fairly even on both sides with all backups playing, but the Titans got multiple turnovers off of pass deflections that led to short fields and they capitalized. There wasn't a ton to be gleaned from yet another crappy preseason game (this year hasn't been nearly as juicy as past years mostly due to changing attitudes on holding back starters) but I do have a small handful of interesting notes.


--My new favorite crush

The first thing I messaged RC after watching this game was “who is Pat O'Connor (3 tackles, 1 sack)?” The answer: O'Connor was a 7th round pick by the Lions in the 2017 draft out of Eastern Michigan. Despite a productive career he wasn't invited to the combine but grabbed some draft attention at his pro day. He was cut by the Lions in September of that year and was claimed by the Bucs. He spent a couple years on their practice squad and was elevated to the active roster in September 2019. In week 14 of the 2020 season he recorded his first sack. And get this, in March of this year he was given an exclusive-rights free agent tender by the Bucs. The team clearly knew they had something and didn't want any other team poaching him.

Well it's clear the guy can play. He was absolutely wrecking the interior of the Titans offensive line. Granted it's against backups but after he destroyed them 4 or 5 times they resorted to cut-blocking him and double teams. His get-off is incredible. It's possible he's just guessing but I don't think so because his side-to-side agility was excellent as well. He made his blocker completely whiff as he cleanly side-stepped it at least a couple of times. His motor is non-stop and even when he didn't just blow by his guy he was pushing the blocker into the backfield. I am highly impressed by this effort. I definitely want to see more to be sure, but I don't think this is the last we'll hear of Mr. O'Connor.


--The Darden report

As RC has already stated, start stocking up on Jaelon Darden (2-18-0/4) now in dynasty leagues. He is the future of the Bucs. Now I'm not ready to proclaim his greatness just yet but it's beyond obvious that Bruce Arians is in love and they are going to force feed Darden targets starting next year. He'll be a homerun ball for 2021 but this ship is going to take off next year. Get him while he's cheap.


--Other Bucs notes

Joe Tryon (3 tackles, 1 sack) still looks just average. I'm seeing a guy that belongs but nothing is standing out. He hasn't shown any moves so far and is either bull-rushing his blocker or trying to go around him. He's fine but no signs of the occasionally dominant rusher we saw in college.

OJ Howard (3-24-0/6) had a mixed day. He was clearly being targeted often by the Bucs QB's but he also had a couple of drops. I don't see any signs of the physical force we thought we were getting out of Alabama. He may not be long for this team. Wouldn't be surprised if he was traded soon partly because it looks like the team is higher on Tanner Hudson (6-74-0/7).

Scotty Miller (2-(-1)-0/3) is a nifty little slot receiver that had some moments last year. His stat line looks bad but he played a good game. Unfortunately his spot is going to be taken by Darden. He looks like he'll be WR5 this year.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn (9-18-0, 1-9-0/1) hasn't changed at all. He's still a straight ahead ineffectual runner. Interestingly, he was in ahead of Giovani Bernard (1-0-0, 0-0-0/1) but I wouldn't read too much into that. CJ Prosise (0-0-0, 1-9-0/1) came in with the dregs late. He's moving around as well as ever but I don't see him making the team.

Kyle Trask (13-26 for 131 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) sucks. In an era where every QB is coming in and looking comfortable, Trask looks like the game is moving too fast for him. Imagine Trey Lance at his worst and then take away the huge arm and you have Trask. He's been a complete disaster so far.


--Tennessee notes

The best Titan player this game had to be Mekhi Sargent (16-78-0, 1-5-1/1). He's not physically impressive but he runs smart and very tough. A worthy backup. I bet he takes the #2 job from Darrynton Evans soon. Former Falcon Brian Hill (10-24-0) was running well after Sargent. He's a non-factor at this point. Draft darling Jeremy McNichols (5-(-9)-0, 2-8-0/2) is dead in the water.

Rookie WR Dez Fitzpatrick (2-30-1/2) got a TD on a nicely designed play where he faked a block on play action and sprinted by coverage to the corner of the endzone. It wasn't anything special he did, just a sneaky play concept. He doesn't look particularly interesting so far.

Another rookie, CB Elijah Molden (8 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 PD) was very active here. He's small and not all that fast but plays scrappy and aggressive football. He'll be manning the slot and looks like he might be a playmaker in the mold of a Tyrann Mathieu. Some might think that's high praise but it's a little mixed for me. I'm not a huge Mathieu fan. I know he makes some big plays but he also gets beat a lot because he's constantly in search of those flashy plays. Either way Molden is going to work his way into that starting slot role soon.


***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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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

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>