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2022 Dynasty/Fantasy Camp Notes (8/06/22)…

August 7, 2022 4:04 PM
August 7, 2022 4:03 PM

2022 Dynasty/Fantasy Camp Notes (8/06/22)…


A collection of notes and commentary from training camps -- wanting to discuss the big news or give some tidbits you might not see anywhere else…


 -- I’m ‘out’ on any thoughts of Cam Akers for a 3rd-4th-round default RB pick if what I really want is gone. I’ve been forced into taking Akers a few times in mocks because what I wanted was gone. I’m telling you THE THIRD ROUND (12-team,) OF A REDRAFT IS EVERYTHING (more on that issue in a subscriber report to come).

Pure, unquestioned clear lead RBs are dying off one-by-one. Akers WAS the apple of McVay’s eye prior…but he’s not talking like that anymore.

McVay’s recent comments:

"I look at it as we've got two starting backs," McVay said. "Those guys are great compliments of one another, but I see them as both starting-caliber players. I think it's healthy for them to be able to supplement one another."

I don’t even like Akers as it is, as a talent…but I’d consider him if he was the volume guy. Now that his volume/touch count is in question, I’m out. And I feel great about it -- because I never liked him that much, as a scout. Darrell Henderson is always oddly treated by McVay, so I can't be heavy on him either. The Rams backfield has moved to ‘unknown’ from previously thought to be ‘known’ (Akers as main guy, when healthy). 



 -- I was surprised that pre-the-HOF-game, the Jaguars released a depth chart that had James Robinson as the #1 RB.

I would have expected ‘co #1s’ to send the message of how important Travis Etienne is to the new staff…or just to show respect to both JRob and Etienne.

I wouldn’t have been shocked if Etienne had been listed as the #1 RB, and JRob #2, with the new staff sending a real message…and with JRob rehabbing off his injury/surgery.

Instead, JRob was listed at the top. A nice sign of respect from the new coaching staff. It may be meaningless by September…we don’t even know if Robinson will be active for Week 1 (but it’s looking better and better he might, but in what capacity/effectiveness we don’t know).

Everyone in the mainstream is all into Etienne, because they are all-the-way-the-hell-in on Trevor Lawrence, and the two seem like a pairing…buy one, get the other for free. But Robinson is no slouch, and he is a team leader. If JRob can go -- this is gonna be a split of some kind. And Robinson may be the lead more than we think.

Last year, you could count on Jacksonville and the Rams having one true lead back to start the season. In 2022, both situations have succumbed to ‘splitsville’…like most all NFL backfields are headed towards, when everyone is healthy.

The more backfields split around the league…the less FF-valuable those split-fear RBs are, obviously…but the more EXTREME valuable the handful of unquestioned/non-split lead RBs are. Our recent draft guide ranking updates/changes are reflecting the economic push-pull of unquestioned, but injury risk RBs vs. golden elite #1 WRs.



 -- I’ve been reporting for two weeks about Javonte Williams being seen as the clear lead over Melvin Gordon, from the looks of training camp. But there was an NFL reporter recently blasting out on Twitter that Melvin Gordon is taking near 50% of the reps and is intimating that there is going to be in a true split with Javonte. Also, some reporter mentioned how Gordon has looked better than Javonte in camp. Huh?

So, who is lying?

I’m not sure anyone is lying in as much as you have to question what beat reporters are seeing because they are the worst. I’ve been among them at the Senior Bowl and at training camp events over the past decade -- they either aren’t really paying attention or don’t know what they’re looking at even if they do watch it all. And I mean that.

So many media people and NFL coaches watch a player/unit in 7-on-7, in shorts and t-shirt practice with no contact and are dazzled by what they see. A lot of players are WAY better when there’s no risk of getting blown up…especially the QB play in training camp. Media people see one great catch on a 7-on-7 bomb throw in a practice and hurriedly report out ‘____ receiver is making plays all over camp’.

A lot of good-looking plays in camp, non-contact practices or even contact practices, wouldn’t even happen -- but when the pass rushers breakthrough they swerve away to avoid the QB and thus the QB gets 3-4+ seconds to throw, again…entirely unafraid of any contact all along, and the DBs can’t hold coverage for forever and sometimes a play is made -- and a WR has no fear of getting blindsided, so they catch everything. It’s all different when people are getting whacked full speed/short windows.

Which brings me (back) to the comment that Gordon looks better than Javonte, per some opinion report. Really? You want me to believe what you’re saying/seeing when you tell me that Melvin Gordon is clearly looking better than Javonte…ever?  Melvin Gordon has never looked as good as Javonte Williams in his entire college or NFL career. Someone who says that I don’t trust whatever else they have to say…because I don’t trust their mind.

Did Gordon take +/- 50% of the reps in some 2-day period? Maybe. What kind of reps? Was it to give JW a break from all his prior lead work? Was the Javonte rep count tilted way in his favor prior? How many reps did Mike Boone take by comparison? Or is it now that we’re getting close to the preseason games, the true split intentions really are coming out just now?

All I know is…

Melvin Gordon cannot look better than Javonte Williams…no more than Sam Darnold could look better than Baker Mayfield. I can’t trust any report that says otherwise.

My sources have been picking up on a vibe of the different ‘way’ Javonte is being treated and what it all looks like in interactions with the 1st-team, interactions with the HC, and interactions with the QB, etc. To them, it just looks like Javonte is the lead guy…and Gordon is more of a side thought. The overview of watching both RBs throughout the day/s was somewhat of a surprise to the observers…that Javonte really looked like the main guy. I trust those ‘feelings’ and observations from my sources more than what a lone NFL beat reporter spouts off in 100 characters on Twitter.

But the case is not closed, for me, on Javonte clearly over Gordon.

Because…I am not ruling out Nathaniel Hackett being scared of mouthy Gordon and acquiescing to him and getting him more involved than he should be. I take heart in the reports that Javonte is claiming his rightful spot at the top, because it makes all the sense in the world -- because Javonte is 2x the RB Gordon is…but I am not 100% convinced yet for Week 1 that it won’t be a 50-50 split, but that’s more because I fear Hackett as a people pleaser that will give into Gordon’s whining. I hope I am wrong to worry about it…but it is in the back of my Javonte-loving-mind.

Just like with most NFL backfields these days…I’m trying to ascertain how much split is happening in all the split backfields. Getting more of those scenarios correct is worth its weight in FF-gold.

And I will re-state: Melvin Gordon’s new, 1-year deal contract is that of most backups…just a nudge better than Mike Boone or a D’Onta Foreman (signed with CAR in 2022) in total pay, but Gordon has more guaranteed of his backup-level deal. Gordon’s deal foretells something like a 70/30 split, Gordon the 30…and a nice insurance chip. 



 -- The Diontae Johnson new contract…what does it mean?

I get asked that question because of the obvious fear I have of Diontae’s overvalued situation in Fantasy right now, and you should know the reasons why if you’re a subscriber, no need to rehash that.

Nothing changes here for me except more fear on Diontae -- the one thing that coulda changed the game on Diontae’s value was him getting traded to a great landing spot, then I’d be kicking myself a tiny bit for Dynasty dealing him away/selling high all offseason. That’s now off the table. He’s now stuck in the situation that I feared/fear for FF for him all along (again, you should know why/what that is).

The good news is, to the masses, this looks like a big endorsement of Diontae by the team…so his ADP/valuation stays propped up if you still want to trade him off -- it’s a good time to do so now.

But note Diontae’s deal sucks, by comparison to Deebo-DKM-TMcL-AJB. Although Diontae has outperformed, statistically all of them or been right with them, Diontae got way less of a deal. Why? Everyone knows his numbers were pushed by Big Ben’s limitations the past two years…all Ben did was throw short/quick passes to Diontae. No one in the league was going to trade a big asset to get Diontae, only to have to pay him some monster contract extension like Deebo-DKM, etc. -- so, the Steelers were stuck with him, in a sense. They couldn’t go into the season not addressing it, because Diontae was pouting, so they addressed it…with a far-lesser deal than most top WRs and structured in a way to make him fairly easy to trade in 2023.

The Steelers have a great roster of WR talent, one that’s a year away probably (on the rookies)…so, they paid for Diontae for 2022 to sweep the problem under the rug, expensively. They were NFL-stupid to do so because they keep stockpiling WRs and not really addressing their O-Line and failing/fading defensive back seven. But they now have an overpaid WR that forced them (currently) into a bottom 10 CAP availability situation running with sketchy QBs and a bad O-Line, a terrible linebacker unit and dying DBs. Congrats!

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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 >>