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Cleveland Browns

2015 Preseason Week-3 Dynasty-Fantasy Recap: CLE-TB (8/29/15)

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tags — Fantasy Football, Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Doug Martin, PPR, Josh McCown, ADP, Kwon Alexander, IDP, Jameis Winston, dynasty rookie draft, Duke Johnson, handcuff, Mike Glennon


– I’m not sure I can find the right combination of words in the English language to express the complete fraud, and cover up, taking place with Jameis Winston (6-15 for 90 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) as a football ‘talent’ from football analysts.

Let’s set the scene, and review where we are at in our story before this game: Jameis Winston was awful in his Week-1 preseason debut. He threw passes the way someone who played QB in high school 20-years ago, and then stopped playing football since, but was called down from the stands to that very day to play QB for the Buccaneers. It was really bad—bad from the perspective from someone who observes this stuff for a living. He did run for a goal-line-ish TD, so the media had its one highlight to loop all week.

In Week-2 of the preseason, the team reeled in Winston with more short, simple passes—and it was still dicey; just not as dicey as the meltdown of Week-1. There was no ‘progression’ from Winston, only concerted ‘protection’ from him looking bad.

The media has been beautiful for 2+ weeks during all this. They have been somewhere between ‘Oh, you know the preseason doesn’t matter’ and ‘Look, at the video of his ‘cool’ TD runs and this one medium pass Winston completed—gosh, he’s great’.

So here we are in Week-3…the big test. The extended look for ‘the starters’.

Thank you to God, who allowed the game to be made available from the Tampa Bay network-side of things. It’s not as fun watching Winston without ‘the Machine’ comically pushing him with overtly biased ‘State sponsored’ coverage.

This game opened up, as all preseason games do, with some video editor putting together a 30-second, super-serious propaganda piece about ‘protecting this house’ or ‘all for one’ or ‘do your job’ or ‘this is OUR time’ or whatever other nonsense Under Armour and Nike can fit on T-shirts to sell to pre-teens…but also doubles as clichés that NFL head coaches who make millions of dollars per year can yell at grown men football players who many make millions of dollars a year. It’s all very nonsensical, but expected and unquestioned. The Tampa Bay lead-in video was, of course, cherry-picking Winston’s three best plays of the preseason shown in a slow-motioned montage as a deep-voiced voiceover guy says something overly-serious about, “This field general who is getting better by the moment…” After watching it, I almost believed Winston was wonderful with ‘no worries’ myself.

The Tampa home announcers, of course, danced right into how much better Winston is getting—and how they were looking forward to him taking his ‘next step’ in Week-3 of the preseason. Now, the funny part of the announcers was watching them cover up for Winston after every bad throw in this game. I don’t mean ‘rookie-bad’ throws. I mean throws that leaves football commentators speechless for a split-second.

To hear the paid-by-the-team-please-god-don’t-fire-me duo describe it this game, Winston was just the victim of bad O-Line play and ‘exotic defenses’ being used by Cleveland. You’re going to hear that one a lot—bad O-Line play, a ‘young group’. It’s the perfect excuse because Winston is going to get sacked a ton, because (a) he has the speed of a bag of bricks in the pocket, and (b) he’s so indecisive—and his indecisiveness is going to an all-new level each week because he’s afraid to the throw the ball because his decisions are ridiculous, but he is totally panicked to get hit as well…so what is one to do? Take a sack or throw blindly to avoid the pain? He seems to give both sides equal attention—in this game he took on four sacks in 2.5 quarters, and completed 40.0% of his passes…and 6.6% of them to the other team. ‘Bad O-Line’ was what they attached to old Texans, #1 draft pick total flop, David Carr…and it will be trotted out here. Tampa does have a shaky O-Line, turbocharged by blocking for the worst starting QB in the NFL times 100.

You might think because I was anti-Winston the first time I watched him play in 2013 (FSU vs. Clemson, where FSU rolled Clemson), and then was negative in a scouting report in after his freshman year, and then officially negative after fully scouting him for the pros after last season—you might think I am ‘seeing what I want to see’…or that I’m judging him too hard based on the preseason. I get that.

I literally cannot tell you how many hours of video study I have on college-to-NFL QBs over the past 5-7 years, along with the sheer amount of NFL games I’ve watched live and then re-watched. I wouldn’t be surprised if God had a counter, and announced that I had logged the most video time of any human on Earth. I say that as a precursor to say, “Winston’s preseason work is probably as ‘bad’ as I have seen from a (media) highly rated, young QB.” I thought he would be sloppy right away, but I could have never imagined it was this bad—that our computer models were this ‘right’ about him.

You expect ‘rookie mistakes’ in the preseason from rookie QBs. You expect a timing throw to be made without looking, and a DB jumps the route. You expect a throw into coverage that ‘they wish they had back’. I’m not coming at this with lofty standards. I mean to proclaim, Jameis Winston is making throws that bad, never-to-play-in-the-NFL, college QBs make. Throws 10 feet over the head of the targets, or five-yards behind them, or throws without ever changing his stare down of a receiver and just throwing into a crowd. It is breathtakingly bad.

Winston makes throws that are so bad, that the announcers have to pause to come up with a plausible cover up/excuse. He made a throw so bad in this game that the defense was taken aback—they weren’t prepared for had sad the throw was. His passes are so aimless and desperate, and ill-conceived, that I like to think the other teams kinda feel sorry for him—like ‘they know’ what their witnessing, and they can see the fear and struggle in his eyes and body language…and ‘they know’.

I was 95% sure we scouted Winston properly in January 2015. I deducted 5% because I am human (to a degree). When everyone in the football business in our known galaxy was standing on one side of the argument, and I was totally alone standing on the other side—I did start wondering “Am I crazy?” or “Is this the one where I am humiliated by being wrong?” After watching Winston’s first three preseason games in 2015, now I am 110% sure we are right with our Winston scouting. This is not going to work. Winston hopes he gets that one lucky Josh Freeman season that will have people proclaiming him America’s next great, young QB…because he’ll be lucky to be as good as Josh Freeman in the end.

After Winston was done with his work in this game, the Tampa announcers glossed it over with: “Well, he’s got good stuff to build on after this game.” That he does.

That he does…

**See what crystal ball scouting of Jameis Winston looked like months and years ago…and see the 2015 NFL Draft and 2015 Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports and rankings. ALSO, USE THIS FOR SCOUTING ALL THE IN-SEASON FF-WAIVER GUYS THAT POP UP!! Go to**


 — Side note, I could argue the Tennessee Titans DST is one of the most interesting plays of Week-1 versus Jameis Winston. Currently, Fantasy Pros ranks Tennessee as the 25th best DST to consider in Week-1.


 — Because Winston is so bad, you kinda want to throw Mike Evans (DNP) FF-stock in the trash. The one thing to hold onto hope with Evans: Winston may be so bad it forces the very capable, far superior to Winston, Mike Glennon (6-13 for 64 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) into the lineup quickly—and that would be FF-great for Evans.

You may look at Glennon’s stat line from this game, and think it’s nothing special either, but there is a massive difference. Glennon, working with backup WRs (who are soon-to-be-cut) in the 2nd-half, had half+ of his incompletions as ‘drops’/passes ‘real’ WRs will catch. So too did Winston—half his incompletions should have been caught too, by the defense.

I’m not going to waste any more energy on trying to prove Glennon is better, because no one believes me or cares—and because it won’t matter, because if Tampa Bay is stupid enough to hand Winston the starting job out of training camp, then they are stupid enough to roll through an entire season making excuses with him. All involved in this decision, from the GM to the coach playing him right away—should be fired when it comes unraveled quickly into this season. Winston’s not ready for this, and everyone should see that…they don’t…or don’t want to. They are torpedoing his career.

You would think a switch to Glennon is coming soon to FF-save Evans, but it is 50-50 at best, and by the time it happens—your FF-season could already be on the ropes.


 — I wish I had an interesting Cleveland note from this game, but I don’t. I noted that Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, the two ‘big’ Cleveland WR acquisitions this offseason combined with the other ‘big’ offseason move, Josh McCown, to combine together to tally 1 catch for 3 yards on 6 targets in this game. I just watched the Browns 1st-team offense in this game, and shook my head—how does it get this bad? It’s not even bad luck—you have to purposefully make these horrible personnel decisions. It can’t be ‘luck’ (bad). A great defense, led by a fantastic defensive coach, and a nightmare offense. Another letdown in Cleveland coming.

They could have drafted Brett Hundley and had at least a flicker of hope. But, I guess they needed to draft more backup defensive players and practice squad bound O-Linemen—critical to the operation in a ‘QB means everything’ league.

Tampa Bay and Cleveland deserve, they’ve earned, everything about to happen to them this season…and subsequent ones.


 — Tampa rookie LB IDP Kwon Alexander (5 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 2 TFL) was very active in this game. He is holding his own, and then some, in this preseason. He’s definitely starting this season. We don’t see a star here, but should be IDP useful for deeper IDP leagues.


 — Doug Martin (9 carries for 40 yards and 1 TD) had a real nice TD run in this game, and looked good—but also ran into several brick walls. Obviously, the Winston-issue is not going to help Martin go to a superstar FF-level, but he might get a decent PPR bump in getting several screen passes from the ‘incompetent one’.

Mike Glennon would change everything, positively, for Martin as well.


 — How did Duke Johnson (1 carry for 4 yards, 1 rec. for 1 yard on 2 targets) look? Not sure. He was only in for a blip before he got hurt…again. From what I saw, he looked like every solid 205-pound RB in the NFL, and probably the 3rd-most interesting RB on the Browns roster.


**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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