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I was smitten with an idea the other day, and decided to go through with it for the next few days or so…before the 2015 football news really starts going in a few days.
I was thinking about how we all get way too excited when we first get football news, and that includes me. I got to thinking that I should go back and re-read all the early preseason game recaps I did, and see what massive mistakes or pure genius I was onto upon witnessing the first preseason games.
So, I am going back through each Week-1 preseason game recap from 2014, and critiquing myself on the spot (my 2015 notes are in teacher-correcting red font). Below is an original, unfiltered, untouched up to avoid my embarrassment, Fantasy-Dynasty game recap from Week-1 of the preseason with my random comments from re-reading them today.
Note – I did not go back and re-watch these games before critiquing myself a year later. I’m just reading and reacting to what I wrote after what I saw last year. I hate re-reading my own stuff, so this will be the first time seeing it since I wrote it. Actually, it’s kinda like photo album or yearbook review. You know, where you look back and think, “What was I thinking when I wore that?”
These 2014 preseason games ‘Rewinds’ will be posting in random order. Here we go…
**Original 2014 reporting in black font, new 2015 commentary in red:
— Pierre Thomas (DNP) missed the game as somewhat of a surprise (it was not pre-announced). Some local beat writer soon after reported PT was 3rd on the depth chart, and was in some kind of trouble for playing time. However, it looks like there was an undisclosed minor injury (and/or was given the game off), and Thomas was back to practice as normal this week. I hope this PT-negative Rotowire headline drops his ADP a little more, so we can all keep scooping him in PPR redrafts at will.
It was a minor thing, and no big deal that PT missed this game. He would go on to be decent PPR RB in 2014, not as ‘awesome’ as I had hoped he could be with Sproles gone.
Thomas was averaging 4.3 receptions per game before he was hurt last season in his 11th game. He might have been on his way to 1,000+ combined yards with 70-80+ catches and 5+ TDs…but his season was cut short. I cannot believe a team has yet to sign Thomas this offseason–unless he is asking for a ton of $$$.
Mark Ingram (8 carries for 83 yards and 1 TD) ‘started’, and did what he does: Runs the ball effectively, and is a ghost in the passing game. On a different team, Ingram would be a 1,000 rusher (I am not a huge fan, I’m just saying if he got 250+ carries) potentially, but he really dings the Saints offense a little because he is such a non-factor in the passing game. He’ll see 5-12 carries in most games this year depending on the flow of the contest.
Ingram got a career high 226 carries, and hit 964 yards rushing in 2014. I didn’t give the 1,000+ yard rushing note in Week-1 last preseason because I liked Ingram–I was only noting he is like a million other RBs if you give them 250+ carries in a season. I cannot believe the Saints paid him $4M per year and extended his contract.
I don’t get what the Saints are doing on anything–they are a team prepping for a giant freefall and chaos to ensue. They have one saving grace–their division is weak. If the Saints were in the NFC West, we’d all be on a Sean Payton firing ‘watch’.
Khiry Robinson (5 carries for 23 yards and 1 TD, 2 rec. for 16 yards on 2 targets) has trimmed a couple of pounds, and looks a little quicker, but still runs with high-energy/passion/power. He can work in the passing game too, which makes him a more desired PPR choice between he and Ingram.
In the end, Pierre Thomas is a more talented power-runner, speed-runner, and pass catcher than all of them.
For a few weeks last season, it looked like Khiry Robinson was going to team up with PT as the Saints RB-duo, but then Khiry got dinged up and Ingram ran well the rest of the season. Now, it’s as if Khiry doesn’t exist.
— Brandin Cooks (5 rec. for 55 yards and 1 TD on 8 targets) gave of us all a glimpse, in this game, of what he is going to do this season: He’s going to catch various short passes, and every time he touches the ball…it might be a score. Like with this TD (below)…where he catches a simple pass, does a quick 180, breaks the defender’s ankles, and then runs past everyone. I’ve said it a hundred times pre-NFL Draft: This was the Tavon Austin NFL teams were looking for. The Rams wasted a high draft pick on the generic version…when they would have been better off with Cooks. Instead, Cooks joins one of the three most dangerous passing offenses in the league…that should be pretty, pretty, pretty good for Fantasy-purposes.
…and it was until Cooks broke his hand.
Cooks’ current 2015 ADP is only going to rise as he becomes one of the ‘it’ redraft players of the 2015 preseason–you watch. His universal ADP is 25-30 now, he’ll be top 20-24 before opening-day.
**See our 2014 scouting report on Brandin Cooks, and all the top prospects from 2012-2014…as well as prepping for the 2015 Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before, with our Moneyball-style scouting reports and rankings. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com **
— Tavon Austin (3 rec. for 20 yards on 3 targets) isn’t a bad player, he’s just not Brandin Cooks…because Cooks is a more polished WR with a sturdier frame. Austin could be fine for FF-2014. There is value in him running the ball once and catching 2-3-4 passes in a game, but launching one of them for a long TD. You may think I’m not a fan of Austin, but I’m well above the national ADP with him so far this preseason. My point last year was that the hysteria price was too high…now it’s potentially too low.
The low ADP was appropriate on Tavon Austin this time last year, as he never did take a step forward in 2014, but Sam Bradford was supposed to be part of the equation to elevate him (if possible)…and we know what happened there. I’m still not a huge Tavon fan, but now with deep ball master Nick Foles…this could get a little interesting.
There wasn’t a ton that caught my eye in this game, I just show a bunch of one-liner notes on my clipboard. Here are some quick snapshot thoughts from this game:
— Saints rookie UDFA WR Brandon Coleman (0 rec., 2 targets), and Marques Colston-esque hopeful, showed why teams passed on him in the NFL Draft: He had two horrible ‘drops’ in this game. Rookies drop balls in debut preseason games, so that’s not a shock. However, these were like comical drops. His Dynasty ‘sleeper’ appeal is near-death.
People kinda liked then rookie Brandon Coleman in deeper Dynasty leagues last season, but we liked Seantavius Jones more…and Jones is playing out as the right call between the two, it appears. None of it means much until Marques Colston goes away. If there is a Coltson replacement on the Saints roster today–it’s Jones, not Coleman.
— I don’t think that I witnessed Chris Givens (0 rec., 1 target) until the 4th-quarter. My, how his star has fallen. Brian Quick (0 rec., 1 target) started, and did his usual nothing. If Stedman Bailey (1 rec. for 24 yards and 1 TD on 3 targets) and Tavon Austinalso flameout, and the Rams go 7-9 this year, will the beloved Rams GM comes under massive pressure for all these wasted, high draft pick WRs?
In this cluster of notes…a subtle, dismissive slam of Brian Quick, who then cranked it up to have a great start to 2014. Quick has developed his game well, and is better than I thought he would be. However, he has heat that may not be totally warranted–or is a little too hot.
My ‘Rewind’ report is an appropriate read for those trying to figure out Quick for 2015: (link) Brian Quick ‘2014 Rewind’ scouting report in 2015
— For what it is worth, Jimmy Graham (2 rec. for 13 yards on 2 targets) looked much quicker to me. He’s fought some plantar issues in the past. He looks like he has a spring in his step, on top of all his normal devastation he dispenses.
Graham came out of the 2014 gates on fire, and then he hurt his shoulder and was ‘only’ mostly good-great all year, not ‘beyond awesome’.
Everyone think Russell Wilson is this limited passer, and thus Graham will take a massive step back…what if Wilson, who was a surreal passer in his senior year of college, and has almost won back-to-back Super Bowls, takes his next step towards passing greatness? What if Graham is better in Seattle than New Orleans, because we bought into Sean Payton as a genius…when he isn’t?
Just food for thought?
— Benny Cunningham (5 carries for 24 yards) ran the ball well. Tre Mason (15 carries for 51 yards) was fine. Zac Stacy (4 carries for 22 yards) was his normal self.
Stacy started, and will start opening day. I want to like Stacy, but then I look at Cunningham and Mason and wonder, “Are they really going to pound Stacy 15+ times, and give Benny and Tre nothing all year?” All three are quality NFL RBs…there’s a hint of risk here with Stacy for FF, given all the other RB options you have in the 3rd or 4th-round.
We have to kinda re-remember what happened this time last year–Zac Stacy was like C.J. Anderson or Justin Forsett this season…RBs who were the assumed starters with talented guys underneath them, and very quickly the assumed starters faded off the map into an RBBC or doghouse.
I like Stacy’s value this year vs. last year. Who can’t beat out Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley? Remember, we all loved Stacy this time last year, because he was stellar the year prior–as a rookie.
— This game ended with Greg Zuerlein (1-3 FGs) trying to hit a 59-yard FG at the buzzer to win this game. He missed it by a foot or two…with plenty of leg to spare. He’s still the best deep ball kicking weapon in the NFL.
Zuerlein went five of seven from 50+ yard FG-attempts last season. The problem is not his leg, it’s the opportunity guys like Austin Davis can lead an offense to–which is ‘not much’. Totally different this season with Nick Foles.
**Our ever-evolving, ever-updating to opening-day, Moneyball scouted, 2015 Fantasy Football e-Draft Guide and Cheat Sheets are available now. Direct link: Draft Guide 2015 options **
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