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2015 REWIND: 2014 Preseason Week-1 Dynasty-Fantasy Recap: OAK vs. MIN

Date:
January 24, 2018 1:43 AM
July 25, 2015 12:52 PM
— Our offseason ‘Rewind’ reports are where we look at an individual player’s previous season(s) of work–analyzing and researching it for clues on whether it was a ‘blip’ performance, or signs of future greatness…or signs of a mega-bust approaching. We try to do two per week in the offseason. —

I was smitten with this idea the other day, and decided to go through with it for the next few days or so…before the football news really starts going in a few weeks.

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 (new commentary in block quotes). 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.

**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 **

 

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…

 

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 Let’s talk WRs to start this recap. Two very encouraging signs from WRs of interest:

 — The first two passes of this game were Matt Schaub (3-7 for 21 yards, 0 TD/ 0 INT) throwing, almost blindly, to Oakland’s new #1 WR Andre Holmes (0 rec., 2 targets). The message is clear, to me: Holmes has been elevated to 1st-team, and Schaub is nervously chucking the ball in his direction right away, hoping for the best…Holmes is the Raiders’ #1 guy now. Book it, and you’re welcome for this vision we had in late 2013.

Re-reading this paragraph above alone, now a year or so later, took the wind out of my gut. Wow, did that go wrong for FF-2014. However, the next paragraph is a continuation of the thought…and saves me. I shouldn’t have doubted my own self!

 

 

The downside is: Holmes is the Raiders’ #1 WR. The Oakland Raiders are a train wreck waiting to happen because of their QB play.Matt Schaub is all but done…if this game is any indication. That’s not going to help any hopes for Holmes having a big FF-season in 2014. We apologize for the vision we had in late 2013.

Matt Schaub was done, but not everyone admitted it at the time. He was an FF-sleeper for some.

Holmes was predictably benched to start the season by the geniuses coaching Oakland…only to later rise back up to #1-2 status when the the new coach jumped in for the fired one. Honestly, I can’t remember the name of the Raiders coach who was fired a few games into 2014. 

Holmes was not the Raiders #1 WR on opening-day (but he should have been), so book that as a 2014 ‘X’ for me.  

 

 

When Schaub falls down, and he will, the cry will go out for Derek Carr (10-16 for 74 yards, 0 TD/1 INT)…and that is no real answer for the masses. Of the ‘Big-4’ rookie QBs in Week-1 of the preseason, Carr looked the worst by far. He is the cliche’d, big-stat QB from those MWC/WAC type conferences that go on to belly flop in the NFL. Yes, I can tell that from one preseason game…and watching his college tape, and trusting The Computer.

Well, Carr was statistically better than I could have ever expected. However, I’ll bet you I’m right in the end. You’ll see. My case for being anti-Carr going forward here…(link)2015 Derek Carr ‘2014 Rewind’ research report

 

 

Alas, my Silver & Black friends, there is hope. The best QB on this team is Matt McGloin (11-18 for 90 yards, 0 TD/0 INT). I suspect he will be playing by about Week 6-8 (Week-5 is a BYE). Schaub will fail. Carr will be forced in, and will be a hot mess (he wasn’t). McGloin will wind up getting the job back…and hopefully he never let’s go (he didn’t).

Those of you in the deeper Dynasty leagues, with two-starting QBs per week…and ‘all the good QBs are all taken‘…put Matt McGloin on ice in early September, and see if you get a payday at some point. He might be a starter a lot longer than anyone would have dreamed.

We see now Schaub loves Holmes. I know McGloin loves Holmes. Carr will not be able to complete a pass downfield (how true this was, but nobody is talking about it), so it doesn’t matter what he thinks of Holmes. We’ve got a 2/3rds chance for Holmes to be a ‘#1’ this year…and for whatever that means playing for Oakland.

I still maintain Matt McGloin is a better overall passer talent than Derek Carr, but I don’t think either of them should start for an NFL team. You think I’m crazy? What, are you taking the side of Oakland management who butchered their RB and WR decisions all last season?

More on this in a moment when we hit the Latavius Murray section…

 

 

 — The first two Minnesota pass completions were to Cordarrelle Patterson (3 rec. for 38 yards on 4 targets), which is just what I wanted to see. They were mid-range routes as well…also a good sign. I know they are going to get him the ball short. He needs more experience going middle…he needs to prove (in the FF-sense) to me that he can work middle, IF he is going to become the #1 scoring Fantasy WR for 2014. Box checked for this week. He made tough catches, and ran smooth routes. Nothing but affirmation for me in this game that Patterson is the way to go for 2014.

All preseason, the coaches chirped about Patterson’s greatness. Two weeks into the regular-season he was deemed the worst WR to ever play the game. I still cannot figure out what changed. This scouting call destroyed many FF-season starts for me (and some of you) in 2014.

I don’t think Patterson is a route issue–he is a Norv Turner issue. You either force the talent to the system, or change the system to the talent.

Philip Rivers had to be saved by Mike McCoy (so said every national writer in the world)–saved from what? Norv Turner. 

Vincent Jackson’s best seasons…when he went to Tampa Bay. 

Darren Sproles went from cute option who caught a few passes for Norv in San Diego, to All-Pro with the Saints.

You’ll never convince me Norv Turner isn’t an issue. I’ve seen his coaching resume’. He’ll now get credit for Teddy Bridgewater, when Teddy was showing these skills at Louisville…only the media tore down Teddy for his Pro Day they didn’t like. Now, the story will be ‘Norv made/saved Teddy’. Again, this coming off Turner supposedly ‘destroying’ Philip Rivers to the point Mike McCoy gets credit for then ‘saving’ him (Rivers).

 

 

 — Speaking of bandwagons, I just loaded an old 2013 one up with rocket fuel, and she’s ready to ride. I’m done pouting, and doubting…it’s Latavius Murray (7 carries for 28 yards, 2 rec. for 13 yards on 2 targets) time.

Latavius Murray is Oakland’s version of Christine Michael. The backup RB everyone should be totally insane about, while sacrificing chicken bones to strange gods hoping to get the starters above him removed via injury. It’s funny. Everyone is totally sold on Marshawn Lynch having to physical breakdown because of so many carries, when the guy is NEVER hurt…and never tires. They fantasize about that because they pine for Christine. On the other hand, Murray trails behind two of the most injured RBs of the past three seasons, and everyone is like, “I think this change of scenery could be good for MJD.

First, for those of you who are newer to FFM, I would argue Latavius Murray is the single most talented RB from the 2013 draft, along with Le’Veon Bell. Murray is 6’2″+, 220+, and runs a 4.3+ 40-time with excellent burst and agility times. Not only is he a talented runner (18 TDs in his final 9 college games), he also catches the ball like a WR…he could be an NFL WR. If you watched him in this preseason game, you saw why on his two receptions: His first catch was like a WR sideline pattern, where he reached out and caught it in stride. His second catch was on a ball thrown behind him coming across the middle, he reached back and one-handed it, pulled it back in and kept going. He should garner similar enthusiasm as Christine Michael…but he doesn’t.

I thought Murray looked as good as I’ve seen him run the ball in this preseason game. He ran with power, and showed his swift feet and vision in changing directions to find holes up the middle. I am wildly excited, again.

I know what your thinking…”But what about MJD and DMC?” That’s a fair question. It’s why I’ve been down on Murray, but it’s now why I am as enthusiastic as ever.

MJD (2 carries for 10 yards, 2 rec. for 14 yards on 2 targets) has one of two problems, and maybe I’m reading it wrong. He either unfairly looks very bloated in a different uniform (teal may have been ‘slimming’), or in moving to the West Coast, he discovered ‘In and Out’ burger, and has taken up residence there. Maybe he just has that odd muscular/pear-shaped body type, but he looked like the ‘Mini Me’ version of the Michelin man in his white uniform. He’s been banged up for years, and now may be hauling around extra junk in the trunk.

We all know Darren McFadden (1 carry for 23 yards) is going to get hurt, so let’s not even quip about it. Let’s just assume it’s true, and move on.

Latavius Murray is the all-around most talented RB on the Oakland Raiders right now. The question is, “How long until we see him starting?” Answer: I don’t know, but that day is much closer than I thought 2-3 weeks ago.

Come on, people! Give it up for Mr. R.C. Fischer! A man more talented at judging talent than people paid by NFL teams seven-figures per year to manage personnel and coach teams! 

How did they not turn things over to Latavius Murray prior? Seriously, this is insane. How good was Murray when he finally got in? I’ve been saying it since before Latavius was drafted, but what do I know? I never played the game at a high level. I don’t get to see these guys in practice like the team’s management does. ‘They’ know best, right?

 

 

**Read our 1,000+ word 2013 scouting report on Latavius Murray, and see all of our 2012-2013-2014 scouting reports, as well as all our 2015 scouting reports in preparation for your 2015 Dynasty Rookie Draft at www.collegefootballmetrics.com**

 

 — Jerick McKinnon (12 carries for 45 yards, 2 targets) showed he is ready to be useful now. He ran with nice speed, power, and decisiveness. On Arizona, he rushes for 1,000+ yards this year. On Minnesota, he may not see the ball until 2015-16.

McKinnon was terrific in spots in 2014, but then got hurt. Why the Vikings invested as much/more touches in Matt Asiata than McKinnon, I’ll never understand. It doesnt matter now. We’ll all FF-wait for McKinnon’s free agency in 2019…that’s when he’ll likely be FF-relevant again.

 

 

 — Kyle Rudolph (1 rec. for 22 yards on 1 target) does look slimmed down, and he did have a nice catch where he looked like he rumbled in for a TD, but was ruled a yard shy. He is definitely in play as a 2nd-tier TE…I just don’t think top-tier is on the table.   

All true…and Rudolph was hurt again and missed a lot time in 2014. He has been nicked up and missing time going back to his college days, but for some reason we FF-excuse it. Darren McFadden we crack jokes at, but Rudolph we gobble up more ‘lost weight’ blurbs and ‘this is the year’ stories. 

 

 

 — I thought Teddy Bridgewater (6-13 for 49 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) was the best rookie QB debut of the ‘Big-4’ in Week-1 of the preseason. He wasn’t a sensation, but what he does that the other top rookies aren’t: He is scanning the field. He is making 2nd-reads. He is looking off DBs. He had rough spots–he took a sack and fumbled in the red-zone. It was a nice defensive play, but analysts are acting like it was Bridgewater’s fault…because he is not ‘ordained’ in the media. You take Blake Bortles. I’ll takeTeddy Bridgewater.

I’m not saying Bridgewater should start, or is poised for stardom, but people turning their nose up at this performance are being short-sighted.

Remember, at the time Bridgewater had been under assault as a bad QB prospect for months. Teddy was a butt of jokes by Mayock, Jaworski, etc., but they all loved Bortles. How is history judging that now?

 

 

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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 >>