Thanks to the “skip 30 seconds ahead” button on a typical dvr remote control, one truly can get through an entire televised NFL football game in about an hour. That said, about 65 hours of my summer were spent watching every snap of every NFL preseason game. Pathetic? Without question. Totally worth it for the rewards I will reap this fantasy season? Absolutely.
I watch so you don’t have to. You see, I quit my career as a financial planner, so that I can make fantasy football my day job. I’ve been playing fantasy football since 1988, when as commissioner; I tallied the scoring manually by going through the morning paper with a highlighter. That’s right; this was pre-internet, post-highlighter in terms of technological evolution.
If you had watched every snap of every pre-season game, you’d know the following tidbits that maybe– just maybe– could be the difference makers that get your team into the playoffs by spotting potential late-round steals.
In general, I try not to use the pre-season to downgrade a player. And I try not to go too much by stat lines. There really is something to be said for the eyeball test. You’re not going to see too many back get 25 carries for 150yds in preseason. But you can see who has a burst, who fights for yardage, who can play. who is getting targets, etc.
So, if you had watched EVERY snap, of EVERY pre-season game, you’d probably have the following observations:
It was obvious from snap one that Kevin Kolb is not an NFL caliber starter and John Skelton is the obvious choice here, yet I can point to you to several resources that projected otherwise.
Same can be said for the quarterback situation in Seattle. Watch Russell Wilson. Dude can play. Yet everyone was clamoring over Matt Flynn after just two NFL starts. Flynn and his $12 million guaranteed are on the bench.
Not that anyone should seriously think about drafting Skelton or Wilson, but if you want to sound smart the next time you’re belly up to the bar at TGI Friday’s, you can establish credibility in the minds of your buddies by calling these things.
Also, if you had watched EVERY snap of EVERY pre-season game, you’d have strong feelings about Houston’s Defense. Trindon Holliday is good for at least one score on special teams and their defense is relentless (they sacked Alex Smith twice on the opening drive in week two of preseason.
Peyton Manning. Remember him? This guy always puts up 350 fantasy points, yet I see several fantasy projects with as many as ten qb’s ahead of him. If you watched EVERY SNAP of his preseason, you’d see a sharp-as-ever Peyton Manning, who was always considered a top two fantasy quarterback. Well, some guy out there is saying that he has a 2-3 TD/INT ratio. Well, my eyeballs tell me that two of those interceptions were caused by Manning’s receivers having the courtesy of deflecting the passes to the other team. How nice of them. Manning was sharp, decisive, accurate, and appears to have identified Eric Decker as a red zone favorite.
I’m probably belaboring the point, so I’ll summarize the rest of my preseason observations as follows:
Isaac Redman is productive but unspectacular. Fred Jackson gets the ball on pretty much every play and can be considered first round worthy. Jared Cook is an under the radar tight end. Antonio Gates is healthy. The best running back in Arizona is not the starter, it’s Ryan Williams, who ran with the football like a player who missed football all last year and wants to make up for it. The best running back in Washington is Alfred Morris, and he’s third string. God knows what Shanahan will do. There is no Jet worth drafting. No Dolphin is worth drafting (I’m even down on Reggie Bush). Chandler Jones is a difference-maker in NE. Danny Amendola is going to be the top receiver in Stl, and he’ll be available in the 15 round. Jamal Charles is looking like he’s back to form and is first round quality. McFadden is a top 5 back. Jordy Nelson was the second highest scoring WR in fantasy points last year, and is still under-valued. Buffalo has five players that have led their team in sacks. Cutler to Marshall will be huge. David Wilson can play. Torrey Smith is a guy you’ve never seen who is emerging as a star. Vincent Brown was going to have a nice year until he broke his ankle scoring a touchdown. Finally, there’s a guy named Rod Streater who is Carson Palmer’s favorite target. Yahoo has projected Streater will get 4 points THIS ENTIRE SEASON. I say he’ll have four in the first game.
Now, I’m in over thirty leagues. Thirty. I use the fantasy football draft matrix. I almost always make the playoffs. I watch so you don’t have to. Here’s the revelation you need to have before you can truly become a dominant force in your fantasy leagues…
The draft is everything. But keep this in mind. Everyone in your league is basically drafting off the same cheat sheet, right? That’s where the fantasy football draft matrix and accurate projections come in. Apply a proven draft methodology with good numbers, and you’ll have an elite starting lineup.
I’ll report what the experts are saying, but I’ll chime in with my own opinions. I’ll be comparing my cheat sheets to the experts, and I’ll direct you to the most accurate prognosticators.
I went outside this morning and took a deep breath. It’s the first fall weather day, to be sure. The air is crisp. All is right with the world. I live for this!