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Our 2019 Scouting/Reporting Beginning-to-End on Jarrett Stidham (a 2019 year in review)

Date:
May 12, 2020 12:30 PM
May 12, 2020 12:27 PM

Our 2019 Scouting/Reporting Beginning-to-End on Jarrett Stidham (a 2019 year in review)

I’m getting a lot of Jarrett Stidham questions this offseason, which is logical – I was the football analyst who was the highest on him/with the highest scouting grades/ranks on him in 2019. No one in football-land (outside of New England) really cared last year, but suddenly everyone cares about the new Patriots starter in Spring 2020…a starter no one in the media predicted possible for five months of 2020 -- but the Andy Dalton to Dallas deal killed off their final hopes of snuffing out Stidham. Now, the football media has to deal with it...and they are not taking it well. He wasn’t THEIR guy, no one in mainstream football analysis world rated him highly...so, he must suck (their/the masses’s brilliant logic). 

All this Stidham activity made me think to do a 2019 retrospective…a collection of all the major things I wrote about him in 2019, in chronological order. I wanted to look back and see what I was seeing back in the preseason, and then I thought to make this a more complete ‘Year in Review’ thing on Stidham.

The Stidham Year in Review has six items…

(1) My 2019 scouting report from January 2019, from College Football Metrics.

(2-3-4-5) Each of the four preseason games for the Patriots in 2019, and my full game notes/reports published.

(6) The full game notes from his big ‘moment’ against the Jets in the regular season…the thing everyone is hysterical about. Somehow, Stidham’s future career projections hinge on one play late in a regular season game. That makes sense…?? I had a different take on that moment, which you’ll read.

Enjoy the look back at Jarrett Stidham 2019 through R.C.’s eyes (with many other football/scouting nuggets on other players in here too). What about for 2020? Well, you have to be a subscriber to see our Dynasty and Best Ball and upcoming (Re)Draft Guide for his projections and new reports.

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From our CFM scouting archives, written January 2019 (three+ months ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft):

Scouting Report: QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

*Our QB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

 

I previewed/scouted Jarrett Stidham this summer and I thought the same thing I did in my extended studies prepping for the Senior Bowl and NFL Draft…actually, I came to two conclusions about Stidham. And with these two things I know I’ll be all alone (again) in my beliefs…

1) To my trained eye, I think Jarrett Stidham could be the single best QB talent in the 2019 NFL Draft in terms of all-around skills. No one else thinks that…probably not even the Stidham family.

2) I’ve been doing this too long and been way too successful scouting QBs…so, I know Stidham is the exact kind of QB prospect that NFL Draft scouts will hate/overlook. When that happens, and it already has, NFL coaches and GMs will go into their never-changing default mode and adopt the herd mentality, and they’ll overlook and unwittingly bury him on an NFL roster. You know this one, the Nick Foles or Dak Prescott story…Stidham’s future hopes will lie in a starter getting hurt and Stidham being forced in to playing time to try to change his NFL future. He won’t be any team’s ‘on purpose’ guy.

I mention point #2 so you’ll know why my exuberance compared to his national rankings won’t be close…and why I don’t care what THEY think when judging talent. Sure, scouts/analysts will pay him tiny lip service and he might look good at the Senior Bowl, and it won’t matter – scouts and analysts have cast their die on Stidham, and nothing will change (see: Davis Webb’s college career, Senior Bowl performance vs. his treatment in the NFL).

But for everyone else reading with an open mind, I’m telling you – Stidham is a very good QB talent. Probably not ‘great’, but ‘very good’ with upside. Definitely better than Dwayne Haskins. I bring up Haskins because the Dwayne Haskins prospect story/status is the complete opposite of Stidham’s.

Haskins put up eye-popping numbers in college and yet when I watch the tape, I don’t like what I see. All I see are flaws. All I see is simplistic passing where the WRs are carrying Haskins from ‘good’ (Haskins is not terrible) to ‘elite’ in analysts’ minds – but analysts have all ‘discovered’ Haskins all at the same time. They paid him no mind to start 2018 season, and after the Michigan game they decided he might be the best QB for the 2019 NFL Draft and then his next two games didn’t change that any…and, now, ‘boom’ everyone thinks he’s the best…magically…all in the same time-frame…funny how that works.

Stidham did not put-up eye-popping numbers in college. He was good/fine but not ‘wowza’ stat lines like Haskins. However, every time I watch the tape, game after game, throw after throw…I know I can see the pure QB talent in Stidham. The ability to read defenses, make proper/accurate throws all over the field, and a plus NFL arm.

When I watch Stidham, I see a very astute, patient, gifted-thrower of the ball over all parts of the field. When I see Haskins, I see a typical college hype-QB…quick passes, no reads, deep balls down the sideline – and a disaster when kept in the pocket throwing into tight windows. NFL scouts and analysts ‘see’ the opposite of what I see…they love Haskins. I’ve done this long enough – I know what I see, and when I see it…it’s almost always freakishly right, so it doesn’t dismay me to find myself alone in a QB scouting situation – I’m overjoyed. When my scouting is in agreement with the NFL establishment, I know something is wrong. Haskins is ‘OK’ and can hang in the NFL. In my evaluation, Stidham is better than Haskins in every way and is near ready-to-go.

Stidham was a top recruit QB prospect out of high school and went to Baylor initially (this was when Baylor was a top football power suddenly). He only took a few snaps early in his freshman season but late in the year, was pushed into a starter’s role, for a then top 5 in the nation (8-0) Baylor team. His debut against Kansas State…419 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs and ran for a TD. The following week, in a huge showdown vs. top 10 Oklahoma and some young QB named Baker Mayfield…Baylor lost, but Stidham threw for 257 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs and the team scored 34 points. His last start was the following week in a victory against then #4 Oklahoma State, and Stidham played a controlled game with 258 yards passing and 1 TD/0 INT.

Baylor’s starter, Seth Russell, returned from injury and came back to start after Stidham’s 2-1 run against the meat of the Baylor schedule. Russell lost the next two games and Baylor fell out of the national title picture.

…then the scandals hit Baylor, and Stidham decided to transfer free and clear to Auburn to get away from the Baylor nightmare. Just note – Stidham was brought in as a top QB prospect to lead a highly-pass oriented offense into the future. He was forced to transfer away from the gunslinging offense and went to Auburn to join a more run-oriented offense. Why? I’m not sure. It’s an offense that didn’t allow Stidham to be a gunslinger, and while Stidham isn’t a madman bomber…he’s a very smart, very controlled QB – more of a Tom Brady-type. Stidham is like a much better college-age Kirk Cousins – not the best QB you’ve ever seen but damn if he doesn’t play well and play his heart out. You can win with Cousins in the NFL…he’s just not going to the Hall of Fame. Probably the same can be said of Stidham.

There’s nothing to hate about Stidham – he has solid NFL size, all the arm ability, he can read defenses, he has good feet, he’s personable, he’s smart (SEC Academic Honor Roll)…he played well in the toughest conference in college. He beat then-undefeated Alabama in 2017…the only loss Alabama sustained in 2017. He’s a really sound QB, and better at passing than most every QB in the 2019 NFL Draft…this draft’s best pure reader of the defense and able to fit throws into tight windows.

  

Jarrett Stidham, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm: 

Against Alabama, Georgia, LSU the past two seasons of his SEC play…7 TDs/3 INTs with a 2-5 record. He’s not played poorly in the big games…he’s held his own despite being undermanned (in my opinion) versus these SEC titans.

Four big out-of-conference games, two of them his bowl games, three of them pretty big heavyweights over the past two seasons (Clemson, undefeated UCF 2017, Washington, Purdue) – 2-2 record, 7 TDs/2 INTs, with a big chunk of that versus Purdue (5 TDs/0 INTs) in his final college game.

Put the last two sections together, 11 games combined, 4-7 record, 14 TDs/5 INTs against a lot of tip tier opposition. I’d argue that I’ve not seen a legit NFL QB prospect with such a difficult schedule to face – and, of course, that will hold down his numbers…which consequently hurts his scouting perception. If Stidham had the schedule of Will Grier or the surroundings (and schedule) of Dwayne Haskins…what might Stidham have pulled off?

Haskins faced Purdue this season and lost, and threw for 470 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT. Stidham dropped 56 points on Purdue by halftime and threw for 373 yards and 5 TDs/0 INTs. Haskins 6.4 yards per pass, Stidham 17.8 yards per throw versus Purdue. The Purdue bowl game for Stidham may have been a glimpse at what could be if he’s unleashed.

Stidham projects to 6’2”+/215 and has decent wheels, maybe a 4.8+ runner.

  

The Historical QB Prospects to Whom Jarrett Stidham Most Compares Within Our System: 

The coveted Brady-Stanzi-Dalton comp kiss-of-death…the sure sign of QBs that we like that the establishment will not – just like they hated Brady-Stanzi-Dalton. Can Stidham be the next Brady? I mean, maybe in a perfect world with Belichick and the proper surroundings, but he’s more likely to be the next Stanzi – drafted late and never given a chance. I would argue Tom Brady would never have been discovered or become ‘Brady’ without Belichick’s guts. The NFL gives guys like Jameis Winston and Matt Barkley several chances – not guys like Brady.

The Brady-Stanzi-Dalton comp means, to me, QBs who are just good at playing QB right under the NFL’s noses. 


*(No display) COMP BOARD/TABLE only available on original scouting report on CFM*


2019 NFL Draft Outlook:

If I know my Brady-Stanzi-Dalton (Davis Webb) guys’ history right, Stidham will go 4th-5th+ round in the 2019 NFL Draft. He might get himself to the 4th-round with a big week at the Senior Bowl. He has almost no chance to create any buzz because he’s not super-big, super-fast, or super-armed. He’s, sadly, just a really good QB.

If I were an NFL GM, I’d be tickled at this opportunity being presented here. Every draft season usually gives us one really nice QB prospect who slips through the cracks and is a huge value proposition – even to just grab as a great backup for emergency (WHICH IS WHAT NFL TEAMS SHOULD BE DOING…DRAFTING 2ND QBS HIGH IN CASE OF EMERGENCY…THE POSITION IS TOO CRITICAL TO LEAVE TO GENO SMITH OR SEAN MANNION!!!). I’d love Stidham to be my #2 QB in the NFL. I’d be OK bypassing the 1st-round QBs and going for the value play on Stidham if I needed an instant starter.

  

NFL Outlook:   

Gets drafted 4th-5th-round, I complain about it for 2-3-4 years and then we all forget and move on because Stidham never gets a real chance. The one potential for this entire story to change – New England/Belichick sees it too (like why he was trying to trade up for Mayfield potentially, if Mayfield fell mid-1st). Stidham to New England would warm my heart.

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PRESEASON 2019…


2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Wk1 Patriots 31, Lions 3 

For the second year in-a-row, Matt Patricia’s team looks like garbage in the preseason. Part of that may have been that the Patriots might have their best/deepest team in years. The Patriots are so much better at ‘football’ than all the other teams/organizations it’s hardly fair in the year of our Lord 2019.

A lot of fantasy/dynasty-related notes/nuggets within this blowout, let’s get to it…

 

 -- My 2nd-biggest note from this game (the biggest, for FF 2019, saved for last) is Jarrett Stidham (14-24 for 179 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) looked terrific. We rated him the 2nd-best QB prospect in the 2019 draft, and you got to see why here.

Well, you probably didn’t get to see why because I’m sure the NFL Network and ESPN all ran highlights fawning over Daniel Jones and hiding the Dwayne Haskins’ tape and then throwing it to another breakdown of every David Montgomery touch. Stidham quietly looked like Jimmy Garoppolo/Tom Brady in the pocket, as far as their balance and reading the field and delivery/throwing the ball. He’s not as good, yet…he just looks like a clone of Jimmy G. in his style and body movements.

The Patriots are the best team in the NFL and they arguably had the best draft this year…and they have a developing steal at QB for the future/post-Brady (which may be a need in 2020).

 

 -- I keep seeing all the glowing Jakobi Meyers (6-69-2/8) training camp notes and I know he’s a good, professional WR…but I think he lacks enough athleticism/speed to become a real factor for fantasy/dynasty in the days/years to come.

However, you can’t deny what happened in this game – Hoyer and Stidham were both leaning on Meyers, and Jakobi responded by making tough catch after tough catch.

If Meyers breaks through to becoming a star, and if KeeSean Johnson does the same along with a few other names/rookies from this year’s draft…among the WRs who were weak, historically, by Combine or SPARQ or analytics/measurables but became stars because athleticism is trumped by know-how and hands – then all WR scouting analytics might need to be blown up and re-done.

The NFL is changing so much every year the past is almost irrelevant/you cannot use scouting axioms from 3-5-10 years ago. It’s a new time, a new era, a new breed of athlete brought up in the game an entirely different way than their predecessors.

The era of brains over brawn, and savvy over speed might be upon us. Meanwhile 30+ coaches are yammering about imposing their will on their opponents through a physical running game and trading up for wide receivers who run really fast.

 

 -- If you didn’t know better, Patriots 2nd-year WR Braxton Berrios (3-34-0/3) looked like Julian Edelman was playing…he has moves and a style of play just like Edelman on the field. If Edelman went down…Berrios may become the shock PPR WR of 2019.

 

 -- Meyers is impressing. Berrios is Edelman cloning. And then N’Keal Harry (2-36-0/2) came out and did what he did at Arizona State – just made big-time, big boy/great catches. Hoyer threw him two passes off the mark in tight coverage and Harry made wonderful adjustments and made two terrific catches.

It might be a WR group of Harry-Meyers-Berrios for the Pats in 2020…but possibly less Brady in the equations, and that stings the enthusiasm a bit.

 

 -- The Gronk replacement, Matt LaCosse (2-37-0/2) looked fine as well. Had a nice release down the middle pass play/tough catch and just looks the part of a solid TE…working with the best team in the game.

Denver has been going through tight ends like paper towels for the past few years, and then the Patriots pluck the one they didn’t want (LaCosse) and will now use him to ride to the Super Bowl.

 

 -- With all the young WRs breaking out for New England, the clock is ticking on Maurice Harris (3-27-1/5). It didn’t help that Harris dropped one 40+ yard TD right in his hands and could have made a tough catch on another 40+ yard TD pass from Stidham in this game. Harris looked like the out-of-place WR talent among all the slick other options.

I forgot to mention these dropped TDs prior on Stidham… He threw 1 TD pass, officially. Harris butchered two perfect 40+ yard TDs from Stidham. Later, Dontrelle Inman caught a Stidham TD pass, but it was reversed to just falling short of the goal line…and then a short TD run ensued.

Stidham may have gained some media attention had he thrown for 4 TDs and 200+ yards in about a half of play. Mo Harris made it not even close to true.

 

-- I thought Phillip Dorsett would be a Very Deep Sleeper given all the youngsters in New England, but now I’m thinking there may be a youth revolution happening quicker than we imagined.

The Pats have about zero need for Josh Gordon to return on top of all this either.

 

 -- The Lions also played in this game, barely.

The Lions offensive player that caught my eye – rookie RB Ty Johnson (3-22-0, 0-0-0/1), who I’ve been a fan of since scouting him at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

The speed is ‘real’.

But before you get excited…note that Johnson entered the game early but there was no effort to work him in the passing game. Usually, if a youngster is going to be asked to fill some shoes (like Theo Riddick’s), you’d see them get a purposeful workout/forced targets to gain some experience. Not Johnson…nope, dunce O-C Darrell Bevel is way too smart for that.  

 

 -- Ditto, Lions’ 2nd-year WR Brandon Powell (2-27-0/2) who was a preseason star last year and picked up where he left off here…but probably doesn’t see much time come the regular season. It’s a shame. The Lions have weapons but the worst go-to-war guy in the business – Darrell Bevel.

 

 -- One reason why the Patriots receivers had such a day was the QB play, also their individual talent…but it helped that Lions rookie CB Amani Oruwariye (6 tackles, 2 PDs) was struggling in coverage.

He looks like a monster, physically, at corner…like a strong safety at corner, but he was flustered quite a bit in this game – but did make the tackles after. That dude can hit people for a corner. Free safety may be in his future.

 

 -- The Patriots young defenders did not suffer as many ‘struggles’. In fact, they were a well-oiled machine.

Rookie Chase Winovich (3 tackles, 1.5 sacks) was as advertised…only better. Can rush the passer and play the run. He’s a future Pro Bowl defender, who will have an impact right away.

2nd-year, UDFA CB J.C. Jackson (1 PD) was shutting down receivers per usual.

Freak-of-nature Obi Melifonwu (2 tackles) was in the game early and making some plays. The best he’s looked in his pro career. Jon Gruden, who knows talent, upon his arrival last year, cut Melifonwu…a former 2nd-round pick in 2017. Why? I don’t know. The Raiders defense was so great last year, who needed to develop  him?

 

 -- Get this…the Patriots held the Lions to 3 points, and they sacked Detroit QBs a total of 9 times…a stunning amount for a preseason game. 10 QB hits, 9 sacks, 8 TFLs. This defense is talented and deep.

You know where we stand on them if you are a draft guide subscriber…

Man, did they look smooth. I get that it’s backup QBs/the preseason, but wow…the Patriots defense. Mmm.

The Pats D has been very good the past few years/decades, but now looks great. Hmm, what has changed? Oh, Matt Patricia is gone. That’s right. How could that defense survive the loss of Patricia? Quite easily it turns out…he may have been holding them back.  

 

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2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk2 Patriots 22, Titans 17

The Patriots were down 17-8 at the half, but soon Jarrett Stidham would come and save the day and lead a 14-0 2nd-half Patriots edge for a 22-17 victory.

Watching Patriots practices, preseason games, looking at this roster with our talent grades, etc. – this is by far the best Patriots team I’ve seen the past couple of seasons. The deepest and chock full of young talent. Scary for the rest of the NFL.   

That kinda hides the fact that the Titans have nice young talent as well, especially on defense. If the Titans can run a plausible offense and if the Colts lose Andrew Luck for a chunk of the season…the Titans may be a 9-win team again. The schedule is not their friend, in 2019, however. They have a gauntlet of top defenses to face the first 7 games of 2019.

Fantasy Player Notes…

 

  — Let me start the player notes by talking about Alex Barnes (7-42-0), finally.

Barnes got some extra work in this game and did not disappoint. I need to see more of him running through better defenses/not in the preseason, but considering what I just saw in this game with him -- my premise that Barnes is one of the three best running back prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft remains, and he might be the single most gifted (but may never get the push/time he needs).

I don’t know how the NFL cannot see this. He’s arguably a better version of Le’Veon Bell as a runner comparing as rookies -- much stronger, tougher at the rookie stage of their career and Barnes a physical specimen entering the NFL. Barnes has that same delightful stop-start hesitation looking for his lane just like Le’Veon Bell, and then when they see what they want they punch the accelerator better than most humans on this planet.

This game may have been the turning point of Barnes as the obvious #3 RB over Jeremy McNichols (6-13-0, 3-24-1/5), but McNichols has had a nice preseason as well. Barnes as the #3 RB is possibly a Derrick Henry injury away from being forced into action in season. If he ever gets a chance…

 

 — And then there’s Pats’ rookie RB Damien Harris (14-80-0, 4-23-0/4), who made a strong case in this game that he might be the single best RB prospect from the 2019 NFL Draft. What an excellent showing here. Harris is such a talented runner and receiver. I never understood why any analysts doubted his receiving ability…he was terrific as a receiver in this game.

Of course, I know why they missed it – they don’t watch anything with a real study purpose and they wouldn’t know what they we’re looking at anyway. I thought Nick Saban was a genius? Beyond reproach? So why do NFL analysts think they know better than Saban knows – because he pushed Harris over Josh Jacobs at all times at Alabama? I’m not saying Jacobs isn’t talented, but the fact he was everyone’s universal unquestioned number one RB prospect for this draft was a joke. There are so many talented RB prospects from this draft, it should be impossible that every analyst decided Jacobs was the clear #1 -- but that’s the thing with NFL scouting analysis…it’s not a science it’s all emotion, and people plagiarizing others emotions.

I’d be very afraid for Sony Michel in fantasy 2019 with Harris slicing in or just taking over.

 

 — If I was going to give the player notes in order of the most impressive player in this game, I should’ve started this segment with Chase Winovich (6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs) as the first player note.

Winovich looks unbelievable in the preseason. Like possibly the best defense of rookie in the draft type of good. He was all over the place again here in this game -- virtually unblockable and his volume is cranked up to 15 on every play.

Good luck 31 other NFL teams – the one weakness Bill Belichick has had over the recent years is weaker/mediocre NFL drafts/not dominant drafts. Well, he may have had the best draft of any team in 2019. I thought the NFL was built to stymie the good teams and prop up the bad ones at the draft? If Bill Belichick has a new personnel birdie in his ear or just developed his own new theory…watch out for another decade of dominance.

 

 — Part of that amazing Patriots Draft in 2019 is the fact that they went in and stole, arguably, the best pure pocket QB talent in this draft. That’s what we had Jarrett Stidham (14-19 for 193 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) graded. And he has not disappointed at all this preseason. In fact, he’s looked better than I thought a rookie pure pocket passer could in the Patriots’ system.

Part of UDFA WR Jakobi Meyers (6-82-0/6) popping up strong is in part due to the fact that he has a top talent third string QB to work with. Imagine if he were trying to come up through the Atlanta Falcons ranks with Matt Schaub and Matt Simms? How could any WR look good there?

Meyers for his part looks solid and confident, like a veteran, again in this game. He’s definitely making the Patriots roster. He may get Demaryius Thomas sent packing if Thomas looks haggard when he gets back to work and at his higher price tag/easy to cut contract.

 

 — If Chase Winovich was the best-looking young player in this game, then Tennessee rookie linebacker David Long (8 tackles) wasn’t too far behind. That guy is just a middle linebacking machine. He hits like a Mack truck and has such sensational instincts for picking through blockers and finding a seam to attack. 

Sadly, for Long, the Titans have Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown in the middle of the starting lineup line backing group -- two of the better young linebackers in the game. They may have to move Brown or Evans to outside linebacker to then jam Long into the interior at some point. There will come a day when David Long is an IDP top 10-20 LB producer week to week – I’m just not sure when that will happen. But it will happen.

 

 — My final vote is… Welcome back Delanie Walker (2-26-1/2)! He has fully rehabbed from his knee injury last season and made his preseason debut here and he looked just fine. Looked in much better shape than he has in recent years. I’ve been dismissive of Walker as having any impact in 2019, but he sure looked good here. I’m still not into Walker for fantasy 2019 because of the Titans offense/Marcus Mariota, but I may not be so boastful about it after watching how spry Walker looked in his debut.

I’m still betting against Walker as being a TE1, but it’s not totally out of the question. After you get past the first five or so tight ends, you’re into a random hodgepodge of hope. Snooty fantasy experts like to call that ‘streaming’ tight ends… Which is code for we don’t do any real studies or really know these TEs very well, so we’ll just stick our hand in a bag and pull out a name and try to feel good about it in our ignorance.

When I see people talk about streaming under the umbrella of “they’re all the same, so who cares?” -- I know I have an advantage over that person in my fantasy league. All of these players need to mean something. And that’s not easy. That’s what I try to do for our audience — make all these players/all these fantasy chess pieces as real as possible. That we have some kind of definitive scouting/feeling, pro or con, that we are working with. That they’re not a bunch of names and statistics that seem all clumped together.

An NFL general manager does not have the time to scout all of the games and all of the tape and all of the prospects. They rely on a scouting department to do that – to help them whittle down the group from a mass of humanity to a handful of select names to focus on. When I started FFM, that was my kind of mission statement. I was too busy to do all of the scouting work and have a real life. I knew that the mainstream coverage and opinion was not getting me anywhere and that everyone in my league was using the same info. I needed a new edge, a new way. I wanted to bring that edge to the marketplace for fantasy players and handicappers to try to prosper from.

That’s a long way to say I don’t want to use Delanie Walker for fantasy this year. It’s a bad redraft if you came out of it with Delanie Walker as your starting tight end because ‘they’re all the same’.

 

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 2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk3 – Patriots 10, Panthers 3

 

The 2019 debuts of Cam Newton and Tom Brady, and the biggest news to come out of it was a foot injury scare with Cam. Once Cam left, Kyle Allen struggled to lead any offense as the Patriots looked sharper with their 2nd-team groups but because this became a battle of Nick Brossette and Jordan Scarlett slowly running the ball, there were a lot of nothing plays running the clock and giving the punters a nice workout…which made for a dull watch.

We have some fantasy player notes from it all…

 

 -- Cam Newton (4-6 for 30 yards, 0 TDs/0 INT) avoided serious injury and is likely to play Week 1…even if hobbled. He wasn’t in this game long enough to get any feel for how he was using the wide receivers, etc. It looked like he started up where he left off last season before his season ended early – McCaffrey is the guy and Curtis Samuel (2-16-0/3) is his new #1 WR with D.J. Moore (1-3-0/2) as his nice other option.

Samuel looked fine as ever but once Cam left, he worked some with Kyle Allen again…and that’s meaningless because Allen is not helping anyone. If Allen is forced to start Week 1 for some reason, we probably bench Samuel for a week.

 

 -- Tom Brady (8-12 for 75 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) looked like normal Tom Brady. There was something to be taken away from his 1st-team work. Two things…

1) Jakobi Meyers (7-74-0/12) started and Brady made a point to target him a bunch, but the star of the preseason got splashed with a cold dose of reality…what I feared when this feel-good story first arose so strongly – Meyers has a hard time getting open against top/starting NFL corners.

Meyers was always covered tight by the 1st-team corners and when he was open over the middle, he dropped a pass looking for the hit. Things move a lot faster with 1st-team defenses playing with some effort. Meyers showed he was not fully ready to start in the NFL yet – has great hands and can develop into a useful hand or better but not yet. Maybe never. He just doesn’t have those high-end wheels to get open enough.

Where Meyers faltered with Brady...our Very Deep Sleeper subject a few weeks ago, Phillip Dorsett (7-47-0/7), showed him how it is done. Dorsett was Brady’s go-to, but keep in mind…no Edelman-Gordon-Thomas-Harry.

2) Sony Michel (10-36-0) was being used as the clear lead back here. There was no Damien Harris (2-8-0) controversy leaked here at all. There will be soon, but not yet. The clock is ticking on Michel as the full lead on 1st & 2nd downs. At some point, sooner rather than later, Harris will be mixing into a real, unfigured-out-able RBBC with Michel-Harris-White. Belichick is not beholden to any convention on how and when he uses his RBs. One day a guy is rushing for 150+ yards and 4 TDs, the next he barely touches the ball.

 

 -- But Jakobi Meyers caught 7 passes, he couldn’t have been that bad!

Once again, I say…thanks to Jarrett Stidham (15-19 for 134 yards, 0 TD/0 INT). He went to Jarrett (Jarett went to him?).

Meyers is solid/good/promising but he gets to work with a backup QB who was the best pocket passing QB in the 2019 Draft, only THEY all missed it again and Belichick just got another gift. Stidham has been so good, so fast the ‘replacement for Brady’ (someday) talk has begun. Patriots fans now realize there is a legit options/plan for when the inevitable happens. Stidham looks better than any rookie QB this preseason.

In other news, seven QBs went ahead of Stidham in the draft. John Elway just LOVES Drew Lock (but Fangio doesn’t). Washington and NYG wasted 1st-round picks on inferior-to-Stidham QBs. Carolina, possessing offensive football genius Norv Turner, drafted Will Grier 33 picks ahead of Stidham. If you watched this game, you would realize the stupidity of that decision up close and personal.

 

 -- Carolina rookie DE Brian Burns (5 tackles, 2 TFLs) seems to be paying off early dividends/gives the Panthers immediate help.

…Norv likely didn’t help with that draft pick (Burns). Norv was probably too busy giving the thumbs up on drafting Jordan Scarlett (10-24-0, 1-8-0/1) as the brilliant backup plan for Christian McCaffrey.

Jordan Scarlett answers the question…”What would it be like to waste a draft pick on a guy who might be able to make a CFL roster, if he’s lucky?”

Jordan Scarlett wouldn’t make the roster of about 25+ teams in the league, but he’s potentially the McCaffrey fail-safe plan. Great planning. The Pats added Stidham-Harris-Harry in this year’s draft, the Panthers added Grier-Scarlett-Godwin…thanks for all the help Norv!!!

 

 -- Patrick Chung (DNP) is under investigation for cocaine possession, but before you jump off a cliff wondering how it would affect the Patriots’ defense for handicapping or their fantasy DST standing – two things…

1) It’s Belichick…he’d find an answer in short order.

2) The cocaine was found in this manner (if I have my research correct)…

At Chung’s house hours away from the Patriots team facilities an alarm was tripped and when investigators went to check everything out…they found a small amount of cocaine. Chung owns the house and thus is under suspicion, BUT Chung hasn’t been at his house for a while given training camp and the preseason. He wasn’t there the night the police found the drug. It may not be his.

However, it is his house. He would be the prime suspect. If someone else is guilty in this, then Chung would likely avoid any arrest or NFL suspension easily. Worst case, he pleads to community service, etc., and probably gets suspended for 4 games by the NFL. If that happens, he’d be smart to play Week 1, then he should sit out Weeks 2-5 (MIA-NYJ-BUF-WAS)…those are almost four BYE weeks for the Pats.

There’s a long way to go in this story. Don’t get fooled by the headlines that make it seem like he was caught walking down the street with a straw and mirror in his hand inhaling white powder.

 

============================== 

2019 Dynasty-Fantasy Preseason Analysis Wk4 – Giants 31, Patriots 29

 

Week 4 of the preseason and the Patriots came at NYG with a host of veteran, ‘starting’ type WRs early on…the 2019 debuts of Demaryius, Gordon, and Edelman.

This was also the battle between that great rookie QB from this year’s NFL Draft and his opponent, the Giants’ Daniel Jones.

*At the time, I am writing all this the 53-man rosters and all these trades are coming through. So, I have some/a lot of up to date 53-man info (but not all just yet).

 

Fantasy Player Notes…

  -- Jarrett Stidham (18-28 for 225 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT, 7-50-0) was terrific again…and no one outside of New England fans and FFM cult members realizes (or cares) it’s happening.

Stidham ran the whole game and got to work with a lot of veteran/starter WRs.

Here’s how good Stidham is…Brian Hoyer was released Saturday. That’s a big endorsement by Belichick. That should carry a lot more weight than ‘look at my awesome preseason comp. pct.!’, but the media cannot get enough of Daniel Jones’s high completion percentages.

 

 -- Daniel Jones (4-4 for 47 yards, 0 TDs/0 INT) has been fine, and people are making a big deal about his preseason but there’s something we’re missing in 2019…

We’re all used to the NFL taking the preseason somewhat seriously – it used to be not many starters Week 1 of the preseason and then some starters Week 2 and then Week 3 was a real test/prep game and Week 4 was sometimes ignored other times used as the ‘prep game’. However, in 2019, the entire NFL has shifted…they don’t care about the preseason anymore. Maybe 5-10 teams do, and 15-20+ held most everything back.

So, players could look better or worse depending upon who they drew and what week they got them. If you drew Denver or Baltimore, teams taking the preseason more seriously (at the beginning of games) then their opposing QBs tended to look bad. When you faced the Rams or Bears…they weren’t even trying. They were playing a lot of future CFL tryout players.

The one-time Jones really faced something was Week 3 vs. Cincy using some defensive starters…and that was when you saw jumpy, more soft armed Jones. In a clean pocket, with no pressure…confident laser beams to predetermined receivers found their mark.

Jones isn’t terrible…he’s just not the 6th pick overall in the draft-worthy.

…nor is he better than Jarrett Stidham.

…and Stidham makes a fraction of what Jones does – that’s what pisses me off for the terrible scouting and blind media push. It costs guys money and time before they can get to work/start. Stidham could wait three years before playing. Jones will be starting by Week 3 or 13 or somewhere in-between this season.

 

 -- Stidham’s job early on in this game was to get the veteran WRs a workout, especially Gordon/Thomas…

Josh Gordon (2-30-0/6) looked solid, a bit rusty but fine.

Demaryius Thomas (7-87-2/8) seemed fine too. Athletically looked sound. Was still a bit tentative in spots, but I thought he locked up a roster spot…but Belichick cut him Saturday. We’re near the end of the line for DT. He may rejoin the team cheaper…as Belichick does…

 

 -- With DT gone, and Braxton Berrios released as well…who did make the Patriots WR depth chart?

Well, we know Very Deep Sleeper Phillip Dorsett will be starting Week 1.

N’Keal Harry (DNP) and Jakobi Meyers (1-28-0/2) are in…but man has Meyers fizzled as he has faced better defensive coverage as the preseason wore on.

The shock was rookie UDFA WR out of Bemidji State Gunner Olzewski (2-35-0/2) making the team. A 5’10”/178 scrapper WR/return man/played CB in this game as well. I’m shocked he made it. He does not look ready, but I’ll defer to Belichick on this one…that’s how bad Demaryius must have been to Belichick’s eye…Gunner beat out DT, but Gunner is way more versatile.

 

 -- The Patriots also cut Eric Saubert and Stephen Anderson…so, Matt LaCosse Week 1 is about to happen. For what it is worth.

 

 -- The Giants are thin on depth of talent, so not as much to discuss here.

I was surprised T.J. Jones and Reggie White Jr. did not make the team while Alonzo Russell (5-92-2/15) apparently did. Why? I have no idea. If it was because of his 2 TD game here, it was a mistake. He is not a very fluid WR.

Russell made the NYG roster (it seems), but he would have been the Patriots 9th-10th best WR on the roster last week. That’s all you need to know about how these two teams are being run.

They’re really trying to sink Eli, aren’t they?

 

 =========================


THE ONE REGULAR SEASON GAME THAT MATTERED FOR STIDHAM....

2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 3 – Pats 30, Jets 14

Not much to say here, the Pats are great the Jets are not…and the Jets had several injuries they were dealing with.

The Pats won’t go undefeated – too many O-Line injuries and the loss of the what might have been with Antonio Brown. Still the best team in the league, but they’ll get-got 2-3 times this year.

The Jets won’t go winless, they’ll beat Miami once…maybe.

 

Fantasy Player Notes… 

 -- I love how Phillip Dorsett (2-12-0, 6-53-1/7) is improving as an all-around WR. He always had the high-end speed, but now he can really play the WR position…AND he works with/for the Patriots, always great for player development.

I am also starting to wonder… All that hype/enthusiasm we thought was coming with Brady-to-AB…how much of that is transferred to Dorsett? Is Dorsett about to go above and beyond the simple ‘any starting Patriots WR can be good’ – to “Is Dorsett a Pro Bowler…a Robert Woods 2.0, only better, lurking?”

In the 2018 and 2019 season, when targeted 4 or more times in a game, here are Dorsett’s per game numbers…

4.8 catches, 57.7 yards, 0.75 TDs per game…9.8 FF PPG, 14.6 PPR – which tracks to very backend top 25 type PPG numbers in 2018 (as a comparison).

In two games this season WITHOUT AB on the team: 5.0 rec. (5.5 targets), 74.0 yards, 1.5 TDs per game…16.4 FF PPG, 21.4 PPR. He’s tracking as a top 5-8 fantasy WR without AB so far this season. Just two games, I get it.

You know what, I didn’t even include his rushing totals in there. My bad. Did you know he’s run the ball 2 times in a game in three of his last 5 regular season games? At nearly 7.0 yards per carry.

Dorsett is a rock steady WR2 without AB and is a WR1 threat in non-PPR because his TD pace is like he’s more Cooper Kupp than Robert Woods in comparison.

This is why I pushed him to get the moment AB was cut. The possible steal of 2019 was grabbing Dorsett in the preseason (one of our Very Deep Sleepers for 2019) or grabbing him late last week. You got a top 20 fantasy WR for 2019 for free in redraft, for many of you.

 

 -- How fast is Damien Harris (DNP) going to happen? I don’t know. doesn’t look close yet. However, things will Belichick change so fast. One day a nobody then next week Harris starts and takes 20 carries.

I do know this…

Sony Michel (9-11-1, 0-0-0/1) is failing as a runner. You can get away with this nothing work against the 0-9 combined records on the Pats’ schedule so far, but when the Patriots play the big boys (from Week 8-9 on) the Belichick patience will wear thin.

Rex Burkhead (11-47-1, 6-28-0/7) is a nice piece but not a guy who can help push the offense higher. Harris is the only back NE has that can.

Could be Week 5…Could be Week 11. I have no idea.

If/when it does happen, Harris will still split with Rex-White-Michel to some degree, so the FF-upside is a bit limited in 2019.

 

 -- You don’t like the Jets…you don’t like Sam Darnold…but you see Jamison Crowder (2-25-0/5) as a fantasy option because ‘they have to throw to somebody’. Crowder makes sense for noodle-armed Sam Darnold – he’s an easy dump pass. See Week 1 with 14 catches (and 6 catches since).

If all that logic has…logic…then consider Braxton Berrios (2-29-0/6) is about to become that guy – because he plays the slot better and isn’t well-paid and afraid to get hit like Crowder. Berrios is still hungry, and a better athlete with better hands.

The top takeaway from this game for me, one of the top ‘things’ I saw this week that I wasn’t expecting – Braxton Berrios might lead the Jets in catches the rest of the season. In part because of Darnold’s deficiencies. In part, because Berrios is Julian Edelman trained. In part, because Crowder is overrated and mailing it in.

In this game, you could see Luke Falk trusting Berrios on all the plays that every Jets receiver was covered because the routes/play calls are as bad for the Jets as the Browns – no crossing routes just guys going out for passes with Patriots blanketed all over them. When everyone was covered, Falk just tried to put the ball where only Berrios could make surreal grabs…and Berrios did a few times. Berrios really caught my eye here.

Yes, it’s the Jets. Yes, they’ll try to justify Crowder. No, wait…that’s the old GM’s guy. Berrios is the new GM’s grab from the Pats. Maybe Berrios has a shot.

Nothing would surprise me with Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains totally overlooking a player, but Berrios kinda fits…the Jets have a great need and Darnold only throws passes a few yards deep on purpose with occasional closes his eyes and wings it to Robby Anderson.

I’m not getting too excited for FF, because this team is terrible, but in deeper PPR leagues.

 

 -- Luke Falk (12-22 for 98 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) had no time and no one open but is the easiest guy to blame or just look past. His career ended this game, and it shouldn’t…but it will. Falk’s pick was a bad route by Crowder…stopping instead of running to space. Doesn’t matter. The NFL had their minds made up on Falk and this game doesn’t change it. R.I.P. Luke. Go do well in the XFL.

 

 -- Jarrett Stidham (2-3 for 14 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) came in when the score was 30-7 and threw a pick-six and then got pulled for Brady to re-enter because the score suddenly went to 30-14.

When Stidham entered, it would have been easy to just sit on the game…bit Stidham came out and threw three passes/dropped back four straight times (sacked once). He looked totally fine on his first two throws and then on a little dump pass he got hyped or who knows and overthrew it…right into a safety’s hands and backdoor Jets cover…and Stidham pulled…and Cody Kessler signed.

If Belichick is mad at a rookie making his first few throws and then sailed one…give me a break. Stidham didn’t beat out Brian Hoyer as a rookie because he showed no skills. He was terrific in the preseason. He had a bad rookie moment. I don’t think his entire body of work is thrown out on one garbage time, debut play.

 

 -- I hope the Jets aren’t going to take rookie LB Blake Cashman (8 tackles, 1 TFL) out of the lineup when C.J. Mosley returns. It would make little sense (which means it will happen). Cashman is playing very well and is averaging 7.0 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, and 0.5 PDs per game as a starter in two games.


THE END (of Stidham material in 2019)





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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

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