Fantasy Football Metrics

Dynasty-Fantasy Football Recap — 2017 Preseason Wk 1: Texans v. Panthers

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Sweet…I’m perfect on the preseason picking games! 0-2 after a loss betting on Houston last night…no thanks to a highly questionable reversal of a scoop and score TD that would have tied the game in the 4th quarter, and with Houston having all the momentum in the 2nd half. Such is life.

More egregious was the media coverage of this game. As I wrote yesterday…

 — The media already has their pre-election day “Hillary Clinton won the election” stories written about McCaffrey…now, he just needs to bring it home for them to go nuts.–

Only I was wrong. I mean, they still went predictably overboard for anything McCaffrey touched, but the real push..the real ‘fake news’ spin was reserved for Deshaun Watson.

ESPN headline: “Rookie QB Watson shines in Texans 27-17 loss to Panthers‘. Really? What the hell game were you watching? Don’t answer because I already know…you didn’t watch…and you have no idea what you’re watching when you watch.

Deshaun Watson (15-25 for 179 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 24 yards rushing and 1 TD) was EXACTLY how I scouted him and how our computer scouting models at CFM pegged him – soft arm, not accurate (at the NFL level), and indecisive/unable to read defenses. This is what the awful mainstream sports media does…it’s worse than the political media. Actually, it’s exactly like the political media. No independent thought…everyone crowded onto one side. I’m not making any political statement there…I’m talking the human element – how every one of them thinks the same/follows the thought leader. It’s sick. There is no diversity of football thought. Thank God for it, or I’m out of business.

What was done by the lazy media with this game is the same sleight of hand they do all the time. It isn’t even sinister – it’s just that they’re that dumb/awful at what they do. And yet people still lap it up in Fantasy — thank the Lord for you people who do so. Watson missed I don’t know how many wide open people last night – and he didn’t just miss he threw the ball a mile past them. Don’t jump up and go ‘nerves’ or ‘rookie’. I’m just saying he was erratic and unimpressive all game…and yet all we are seeing are reports about how great he was. He completed passes between the 20s on no-read throws, mostly…and anytime things mattered and/or they got to the red zone, Watson was at a loss when there was traffic.

Then there was this — Watson leading a one-minute hurry up drive before the half, completed a 20+ yard pass up the middle with 0:30+ seconds left and started sprinting up to the spot to get the offense in position to spike the ball was really brilliant – considering they had two timeouts left. Watson wasted 0:10+ seconds running downfield to get the offense in place for a spike…and ultimately the whole drive was blown because they ran out of time. How do you not call a timeout there? It’s QB 101. The game announcers never said a word, and I’m sure there is zero criticism of it in mainstream articles anywhere…if there is I’m sure it’s “Oh, silly rookie. He’ll learn.” Really, I thought we loved him because he’s played on so many big stages nothing fazes him? Except knowing how many timeouts he has before half…that’s kryptonite.

Even if he goes on to be Tom Brady from here – no one watching could deny he was an erratic rookie at best last night. Instead, it’s packaged to the masses, who didn’t watch, as ‘great’.

Why?

The media absolutely wants Watson starting over Tom Savage (9-11 for 69 yards, 0 TD/0 INT). They will not rest until it happens.

I know this from experience, but I also know it by the coverage. If you watched this game, you saw Savage do little on the opening drive and then slice up the Panthers on the next drive…a TD drive. He was so obviously in command of the offense, unfazed in the pocket that you couldn’t help but notice how skittish Watson was by comparison. In addition, Savage has a quick release Cannon, and Watson has a pea shooter, by comparison, but all you’ll hear is how Watson looked great and Savage struggled. It was totally the opposite. Only the biased, asleep football media could watch a QB complete 81.8% (Savage) of his passes, leading a scoring drive in one of his two series — and say he struggled. It’s beyond the pale…and the norm for the mainstream. I really cannot wait for ESPN to collapse fully. It’s fun watching them torch their own selves to the ground. I will dance on this grave. ESPN is the K-Mart of sports coverage – cutting edge when I was a kid, and a joke today.

Christian McCaffrey (7 carries for 33 yards) looked like every solid RB to ever play in the NFL. If you thought the same watching, then you are stupid — because the media saw Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Gale Sayers cram themselves into Danny Woodhead’s body…and spin gold. You never saw 7 carries against a half-hearted, vanilla defense for 4.7 yards per carry in a preseason game look so good.

D’Onta Foreman 9 carries for 76 yards…8.4 ypc and a 41-yard jolt? Yyyyyyaaawwwwnnnn.

Alfred Blue (5 carries for 33 yards and 1 TD) looked as good as Christian McCaffrey, but when you look at everything through McCaffrey-colored glasses it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. It is beyond ridiculous.

It needs to be monitored and mentioned by me because no matter whether you think I’m being over-the-top or not – this media hype affects NFL team decision making in 28-30 front offices and head coaching minds. ‘Weak-willed’ rules the day/league. Because ‘weak willed’ rules the world, weak coaches (about 28-30 of them) and front office people (about 32 of them) will cower to the pressure. Bill O’Brien will be forced to defend (to the media) Tom Savage after every incompletion. Christian McCaffrey will get 314 touches per game…or else. My talent evaluations are meaningless unless you filter them through the media vs. organizational strength.

Savage is pretty much doomed before he gets a chance.

McCaffrey will be Rookie of the Year. The voting already took place. The results will be announced next year. If you ‘like’ McCaffrey for fantasy/PPR…you better consider loving him because he’s going to get a million touches this year. Not by design, but because of the media hype forcing it.

— Speaking of rookie RBs and D’Onta Foreman – he looked fine. I was not wowed with the way he ran the ball one way or the other. More unimpressed…too much finesse for a guy his size. However, I was very impressed with the way he caught passes. He gets knocked for his hands, but he does have good hands for the passing game. He was split out as a flanker on his very first NFL play. He’s not David Johnson, he’s just not Alfred Morris in the ‘hands’ department.

— Quick football pause. I actually made note of this because I’m sick of it. I meant to say this to somebody for about 2-3 years… I would like to take that Dougie Howser guy and all the people who write and edit those Heineken commercials they do and heave them all into the sun.

I’d like to meet the person who finds the ads charming and funny. If I do, they have a ticket on that solar express as well.

— The star of the game was Carolina WR Damiere Byrd (4-98-2/6). Good for him. I had him on the original list for ‘Very Deep Sleeper’ articles in 2017 but then he hurt his knee (torn meniscus) and went on I.R. in March 2017 and I didn’t know he was back, fully ready for game action. I knew he was moving around but not back all the way. My bad.

All you need to know is this…

2015 Pro Day: 4.27 40-time, 6.59 three-cone, 42.0″ vertical.

Poor/boring output at South Carolina but he has been scrapping his way to make it in the NFL for a couple of years. Byrd is going to end up the starting #3 WR on this team…and it may be opening day. He is a deep sleeper now…but got more nationally noticed today/last night, and will be mostly forgotten among the big wave of preseason games this week.

— Texans’ rookie WR Riley McCarron (1-8-0/2) got more playing time than I expected. He looked pretty solid. He didn’t have a ‘moment’ but did get a lot of work…including on kick and punt returns.

He’s another one to look at the measurables on…

2017 Pro Day: 4.41 40-time, 6.59 three-cone, 40.5″ vertical

— I watched a lot of rookie IDP Zach Cunningham (7 tackles) in this game. I pretty much rewound every snap he was in on and watched just him during the live watch. I don’t see it. Long arms. Late reactions to plays. Constantly chasing and late to the party…never the initiator. I want to be a fan, but ever since I scouted him for 2017 NFL Draft…I can’t. All arm/reach tackles.

Give me IDP UDFA ILB Dylan Cole (3 tackles) instead. He looked much better than Cunningham. I really liked Cole’s athletic profile and was close to making a full-length scouting report on him for College Football Metrics but I kept putting it off for other players and never got back to it. I thought Cole would slim down and make a nice LB/Safety prospect…because linebacker didn’t seem to be his natural fit. He was our #8 rated OLB prospect for 2017…just behind Cunningham.

Cole has since added even more muscle and looked terrific (physically) last night. It was Cole that scooped and scored on the 4th quarter fumble – for a TD…an eventually reversed TD. Cole looked like he was shot out of a cannon scooping and scoring. With good reason…

2017 Pro Day: 4.54 40-time, 6.82 three-cone, 32 bench reps, 39.0″ vertical.

I must apologize, I’m an idiot – I didn’t have him on our top 250+ names for the 2017 dynasty rookie draft rankings. I try to get all the relevant and semi-relevant ones on there but via admin error, I didn’t get him on. You’ll see him debut on the dynasty rookie draft rankings today. My bad.

— On defense, former highly-lauded college safety prospect, Carolina IDP Jeremy Cash (4 tackles, 0.5 sacks), now turned linebacker caught my attention. He’s fully healed from injury and looked pretty solid.

Braxton Miller (3-10-0/4) looked OK. I want to see more. I want to love, but he always leaves me lacking after every watch. I’m still monitoring closely for him getting involved in the run game. Last night carries = 0.

Kelvin Benjamin (2-40-1/2) looked just fine last night. A catch on the first play and just shedding CB Kevin Johnson for extra yards after. Not too soon after – a great high point TD catch. KB looks in shape and ready to go. I’m not a huge fan, but he tends to suck me in when he high points for TDs on a team where I know Cam wants to get him the ball.

…unless McCaffrey takes all the touches 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. His group also provides player projections for Advanced Sports Logic’s football software “The Machine.”

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