Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from the first NFL preseason game – the HOF game (DEN v. ATL). Weeks away from real training camp. Leading up to that time, I wanted to go back through Week 1 of 2018…just for fun and any learning/takeaways that could be had…and something to get the juices flowing to get ready for the 2019 football season.
I’m going to republish a Week 1 game every day the next 2+ weeks, publishing them as-is in the order I did them – starting with the TNF kickoff of Bears v. Packers. No extra/new commentary. Just the content/recap of things that were accessible only for In-Season subscribers Week 1 (and every week) last season.
Access to all our game recaps (and everything else we do) in-season are available via our In-Season subscription. You can sign up for that now and be ready for September 2019 new material and have access to all the private content from 2018 – BUT also note there are Combo packages/deals to get your Draft Guide and In-Season (and Dynasty Stash) all in one checkout right now as well.
Otherwise, let’s walk down memory lane to see what was important or telling or an entertaining reminder in Week 1 of 2018…
2018 Week 1 Dynasty-Fantasy Analysis: Seahawks v. Broncos
The Seattle Seahawks are not a good football team. I’ve been crowing about it for 2+ years now and I’m I’ve been right, ahead of the curve. The issue? Pete Carroll is secretly a bad, borderline terrible head coach. Just look at the dreck he has hired as coordinators – Ken Norton Jr.? Brian Schottenheimer? Going with Darrell Bevel at O-C for all those years – Carroll is wasting prime Russell Wilson years with bad coaching in a way Mike McCarthy is in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and Wilson should be in the Final Four every year. When has it been lately? Making the playoffs is now a chore for these teams.
Why am I picking on Seattle? Denver did everything they could to hand Seattle this game, but Seattle couldn’t take advantage. Case Keenum had 3 interceptions, some of them mind-blowingly bad. The real key to this game being – Seattle has a terrible O-Line and can’t run the ball or pass protect very well, and Denver could run the ball, in part because Seattle couldn’t stop the run. Seattle was hard-pressed to answer the bell or dictate the action.
I’m not sure Denver is all that great…it’s just Seattle is so flawed in every way. The Seattle side of this caught my attention so, I may have missed have good or bad Denver is.
Fantasy Player Notes…
I want to start out talking about these two backfields that saw two RBs from each team split carries 50-50, causing some angst or some free agent opportunity…depending upon how you look at it. I want to discuss the talent of the two backfields and where I see them headed.
Top side, I’ll say – there is so much RB talent flooding the NFL; it’s crazy. These two teams have franchise RBs in their possession…
-- Let’s start with Denver. Phillip Lindsay (15-71-0/2-32-1/3) is getting a lot of attention/buzz as a waiver guy this week after taking 15 carries this week. I can’t dispute that it doesn’t make you stop and pay attention but three things here…
1) Lindsay is not a workhorse back, he’s an Alvin Kamara. He’s not taking 10+ carries a game ahead, he’s just not.
2) Denver had a crazy time of possession advantage (36/24) and ran many more plays, in general.
3) Denver got more offensive time because Seattle was so inept at stopping the run…further leading to a lot of rushing attempts for the Broncos.
Lindsay matters as a 3rd-down RB, like a lot of guys…Darren Sproles, Austin Ekeler – but I don’t think it goes any deeper than that over time.
Part of the reason not to get worked up about Lindsay, for fantasy, is – Royce Freeman (15-71-0) is a star NFL RB. He’s young Marshawn Lynch. He’s Jordan Howard with more athleticism (but not equal in ‘vision’, because Howard is the best in the biz with vision/instincts). Freeman is a pro’s pro runner with surprising burst had shiftiness for his size.
The running duties in games where Denver needs it – is going to Freeman, not a split. Lindsay is nice to have, but Freeman is so-so-so good at what he does.
Against a better defense Freeman or Lindsay might not run rampant like they did here.
Also, note – no targets for Freeman. He’s not great for PPR at this stage.
If people are on fire for Lindsay, like thinking he’s an RB2…feel free to trade that. He’s a PPR RB3.
-- Chris Carson (7-51-0, 3-28-0/5) started and is considered the starter, but Rashaad Penny (7-8-0, 4-35-0/5) is slowly stealing my heart. Of all the RBs that I’ve seen in Week 1, live or some on re-watch, Penny is the one grabbing my scouting antennae the most.
Rashaad Penny looks to me like a poor man’s Joe Mixon. Cuts on a dime. So smooth on the move, effortless. Really caught the ball confidently in this game…I thought he was a bit shaky catching the ball in college. Not bad hands but looking ahead before the catch too much. No matter…watching him against NFL bodies…Penny has a bit of an ‘it’ factor, I think. Not ready to blow the horn fully, but I might soon.
What does that mean for fantasy? Well, probably not much in 2018. Carroll always does the dull thing at RB, so he’ll stick with Carson until it’s beyond obvious. When Penny takes over, he’ll have to deal with this trash O-Line (a la Mixon-Cincy 2017…and probably 2018). The one guy who could change this O-Line from terrible to ‘bad’ is Penny. Carson will always loom in 2018. This O-Line is not good at all, but just note that talent…keep Penny on your radar. We’ll try to time him right before ‘it’ happens for cheaper acquisition. Dynasty people start scheming now for the long haul.
-- OK, I’ve been hinting that Seattle rookie TE Will Dissly (3-105-1/5) was a better receiver than given credit since his NFL Combine performance and had him on the radar screen, but I never would have guessed output like this right out of the gates.
Then, I expected to study this game film and see a couple fortuitous long catches, forgotten in coverage, and then I would try to temper the mini-hysteria.
I can’t do it.
Dissly looked like he’d been working with Russell Wilson for years. Dissly isn’t a superstar receiver, but he’s reliable and more athletic than given credit…see: Jack Doyle, only better for Dissly.
Why not Will Dissly for fantasy? On a team that can’t block, and Dissly needs to play every snap because he’s an ace blocker…Dissly is going to log time and some numbers. He damn near had a 30+ yard TD in this game on top of what he already did. Very impressed.
-- Seattle cannot pass protect for long…Wilson was sacked 6 times and hit 11 times. They cannot run block either. It means Russell doesn’t have a ton of time to throw traditional passes medium range and deep.
The O-Line hurts Brandon Marshall (3-46-1/6) because he’s too slowed to get open quick for RW. It doesn’t help Tyler Lockett (3-59-1/4) get to another level unless they play him just like Baldwin, but usually they are sending Lockett deep.
I’m a seller, hot, on Lockett if someone overpays for the ‘Baldwin out’ narrative. Lockett is a strong WR2-2.5 with Baldwin out, but I fear there’s no WR 1-1.5 lurking because Wilson is running for his life and dumping off to RBs and Dissly.
-- Courtland Sutton (2-45-0/5) had a solid enough debut and he’s going to be a star someday, but not yet. Not now for FF. If you have him in redraft, he’s going to sit on your bench for several weeks (barring injury). It’s not his time, yet.
-- Rookie IDP reports…
Denver DL Bradley Chubb (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks) played 95% of the defensive snaps and looked fine but didn’t have a huge impact statistically.
Seattle emergency CB starter Tre Flowers (8 tackles, 1 PD) becomes an IDP sleeper because I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up as a starter the rest of the season or most of it as Seattle takes a year of ‘thrown into the pool’ learning. Long arms. Solid instincts. Solid, but in over his head right now. He’ll be picked on a lot as a starter…good, for IDP purposes.
Snap Counts of Interest…
29 = Freeman
26 = Lindsay
19 = Booker
35 = Vannett
33 = Dissly
56 = Lockett
37 = B Marshall
33 = Jaron Brown
16 = David Moore
25 = Penny
25 = Carson
54 = Br Chubb
46 = Rasheem Green
15 = Dion Jordan
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