2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk3 Game Analysis: 49'ers 34, Raiders 10 (By Ross Jacobs)
Yet another imbalanced game where one team trotted out their starters while the other went with all backups. It's so hard to take anything away from games when the talent levels are so far apart. But it's a SF game so we all know who I'm going to talk about...But I do have some other relevant notes not concerning RC's favorite whipping boy to share as well.
--The Lance report
Let's get this over with since I'm sure people are sick of hearing me talk about Trey Lance (6-13 for 46 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 6-8-1).
Whew, that stat line is ugly right? RC was right all along. Actually I'm more encouraged than ever. I thought this was easily Lance's best game yet. Let me explain.
First, we saw a little taste of the Baltimore-esque run game I've been howling about. I knew this was coming and you could see the difference it made. The RB's had gaping holes to run through and that's not going to change. Once Lance is the full-time starter this running game is going to be magnificent. No, Lance is not the caliber of runner that Lamar is, not even close, but he's good enough to make it dangerous and more importantly Shanahan knows how to draw up plays that make it near impossible to defend. Jets sweeps, handoffs with a back going one way and Lance another, option pitches, Lance keepers, and of course linemen pulling all different directions...it's a nightmare to defend. One guy gets out of position and Mostert is taking it to the house. This is why Lance is the better option right now for this offense. He offers more options, more threats than Garoppolo. And this particular offense tailored to his strengths will help him perform much better than trying to be a pocket passer only.
Second, Lance looked much calmer and more crisp as a passer this game. He still had a couple of rocket passes that could have used a little less mustard, but overall he did a better job at throwing with proper velocity. I never thought it was a long-term concern since nobody has ever mentioned seeing him do that in college, but this was nice to see. He identified a problem and worked to correct it.
The completion percentage looks ugly, but note that Lance's receivers once again screwed him with some easy drops. He did sail one ball long, threw another into the dirt, and had two questionable passes that he somehow still fit into insanely tight windows that other QB's couldn't dream of. You can knock him for attempting those passes and that's fair but he did get the ball on target, accurately and safely. That's impressive. He worked his progressions here, seemed like he was seeing the field better, and overall it was his best work yet. I will note again that this was against the Raider backups, but I still saw a lot of improvement in Lance's game.
So what's Lance's outlook both short term and long term? Have I changed my mind or adjusted my thinking after seeing three preseason games of Lance?
I think I've been right on track for the most part and Lance is doing about as well as I had hoped at this stage. Nothing has changed for me. In redraft I think if he were to start he's a top 20 option and possibly gets close to top 12 or 15 due to his running ability. As a pure passing QB he obviously still has a ton of work to do. I've never denied this. I have harped on the fact that Lance has fewer reps as a passer than any other top QB in modern history. All his peers have a huge lead on him in the number of throws they've made in their careers and yet he isn't far behind them. Once he gets another couple years' worth of work and training I expect him to make a massive leap in ability and surpass them all. He has the work ethic, the flawless character, and the smarts to do it. He might not make it. He might plateau. Those things are on the table. But count me still firmly in the Lance camp. All I ask is to give him 2-3 years to let him fully develop Josh Allen style. Until then it's going to be a roller coaster ride of amazing throws and some head scratching stupid throws. Buckle up!
Since Lance is going to be rotating in for a few plays every game, it means you can't take Jimmy Garoppolo (4-7 for 64 yards) seriously for redraft. He's going to be coming out of the game a lot when the team gets to the goal line and those scoring opportunities are too juicy. Throw in Jimmy's injury history and the obvious fact that Lance will be taking over at some point and it makes Garoppolo completely undraftable.
JaMycal Hasty (6-55-2) might be the 2nd best back on this team, but he's probably 4th on the depth chart. Rookies Trey Sermon (7-37-0) and Elijah Mitchell (6-24-0) are both running ahead of him and I don't see that changing. I was a Sermon fan and he looks fine, but after watching all their games so far I think I'd personally have Hasty ahead of him if I was running the team, at least for the moment.
Trent Sherfield (2-26-0/4) is the 49'ers 3rd best receiver but he'll probably be 4th in targets since Shanahan has such a fondness for Mohamed Sanu. He's easily the best option outside of the top 2 guys. The team also seems like they are still holding out hope that Jalen Hurd (4-25-6) will stay healthy, but even when he was on the field here he didn't look all that fast and he had a couple of atrocious drops.
Have I mentioned that Nathan Peterman (18-29 for 175 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) is terrible? I feel like I've said that before...
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