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The NFL preseason is finally over.  Many younger and/or fringe players fought for roster spots on NFL and your fantasy football teams. We got slight glimpses into the thought pattern of some teams with how much or how little these athletes richardsonplayed and others we can only guess.  Here are my general thoughts about some of the more interesting younger players or free agents from the first half of their last preseason game.

Falcons vs. Jaguars

The Hard Knocks legend, rookie running back Devonta Freeman, may continue to get dressed down in team meetings and see the field third of the backs, but he continues to produce.  I love the way he gets small in the hole, shows a good burst, and runs tough between the tackles.  The former FSU runner scored a short yardage touchdown, makes clean catches in the passing game, and is working on his pass blocking.  Second year linebacker, Paul Worrilow, gets to the ball quickly with good vision and agility.  He also provides pressure in the passing game rushing the passer or can drop back into coverage.

NFL and fantasy football pundits alike should be discussing first round rookie quarterback, Blake Bortles.  The young signal caller showed maturity taking a sack when nothing was open and no safe passing lanes were present.  He is very mobile, sets his feet before he throws, but needs to improve his pocket presence.  For his detractors that question Bortles’ accuracy and arm-strength, look at his 45 yard rainbow that fellow rookie Marquise Lee caught for a 57 yard touchdown.  Receiver Cecil Shorts is still knocking off the rust for not playing the rest of the preseason due to injury.  The wide out creates separation with clean, crisp routes and a bit of wiggle.  Third year defensive end Alan Branch is stepping up his game, playing the Leo position at times.  He gets good penetration off the snap, and flows quickly down the line playing both the run and pass equally well. Read More »

The NFL preseason is now over.  Many younger and/or fringe players are fighting for roster spots on NFL and fantasy football teams as you read. We got slight glimpses into the thought pattern of some teams with how much or how little theselandry athletes played and others we will never know.  Here are my general thoughts about some of the more interesting younger players or free agents from the first half of their last preseason game.

Rams vs. Dolphins

The later the game, the leaner the talent is to find.  With that being said, Miami rookie receiver Jarvis Landry keeps on getting better.  He catches passes in traffic, and gets to the ball at its highest point.  The former LSU wide out fights for extra yardage and uses his body to block the defensive back from getting to the ball.  For the Rams, second year Stedman Bailey appears to be the best receiver on the Rams, despite his four game suspension.  He runs crisp routes, looks to bail his quarterback out of trouble, and has a good catch radius.  Shaun Hill will miss his calming presence over four games.   Rookie runner, Tre Mason, isn’t close to taking carries away from Zach Stacy, Bennie Cunningham is clearly the better runner right now.   Mason gets knocked around in pass protection, catches the ball with his body, and doesn’t seem to have a lot of lower body strength.  That isn’t to say that the young back can’t get small in the hole and learn how to pass block well, but it isn’t going to be this year. Read More »

The NFL preseason is now over.  Many younger and/or fringe players are fighting for roster spots on NFL and fantasy football teams as you read. We got slight glimpses into the thought pattern of some teams with how much or how little these jfootathletes played and others we will never know.  Here are my general thoughts about some of the more interesting younger players or free agents from the first half of their last preseason game.

Browns vs. Bears

This is one of those games only the fantasy community and the greater Northeast Ohio area could love (I speak from experience coming from Wayne County).  Johnny Manziel plays like a crazy man.  One minute the quarterback shows patience in the pocket, sets his feet, perhaps he bootlegs one side or the other, and then throws with a solid motion connecting downfield.  On the very next play, the rookie tosses a wobbly duck across his body.  Two plays after that Manziel doesn’t feel pressure and gets strip sacked.  Fast forward to the next series, he runs around in the backfield trying to give his receivers time to get open downfield then runs for a five yard gain.  Inconsistency is the name of his game.  The running back race just got a lot tighter with rookie Isaiah Crowell showing up in the third quarter to have over one hundred yards on 13 carries.  Yes, most of the people playing at that time are not NFL employees anymore, but the troubled free agent rookie finally shined carrying tacklers with him.  Crowell got low, ran thru defenders, and demonstrated a high effort.  Read More »

The NFL preseason is now over.  Many younger and/or fringe players are fighting for roster spots on NFL and fantasy football teams as you read. We got slight glimpses into the thought pattern of some teams with how much or how little these garopathletes played and others we will never know.  Here are my general thoughts about some of the more interesting younger players or free agents from the first half of their last preseason game.

Patriots vs. Giants

Don’t be fooled by Rashad Jennings two super carries in front of his first team offensive line against the Pats second and third team defense.  Rookie Andre Williams once again showed off a low center of gravity, powerful legs, a nice stiff-arm, and some open field burst.  The dreaded running back by committee seems inevitable in New York.  Oh by the way, Eli Manning and Rueben Randle still haven’t worked out their timing issues.  Read More »

d'a thomasThe time is drawing near. Preseason game three is the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football. The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against. The only constant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different. I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used. My focus is on the first three-year players and this year’s free agents.  Here are my observations:

Chiefs vs. Vikings

The Travis Kelce show took a detour against the Vikings when Anthony Fasano got the majority of the targets with the first team.  Second year running back, Knile Davis, has good hands, nice leg drive, and uses a stutter stop and start to get past defenders.  He is no Charles though, even with a few spins and forward lean. Rookie offensive weapon De’Anthony Thomas seems to be used as a distraction with a few trick plays here and there.  He has great burst combined with good downfield vision which makes his very dangerous in space. Unfortunately, Thomas is so small that I’m not sure if he can hold up with more than five touches a game. Read More »

The time is drawing near. Preseason game three is the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football. The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against. The only constant hydeabout the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different. I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used. My focus is on the first three-year players and this year’s free agents.  Here are my observations:

Chargers vs 49ers

For the Chargers, it looks like tight end Ladarius Green will play as much as Antonio Gates.  Green went in motion quite a bit, got behind the defense a couple of times, but did not do anything of note.  Finally a defensive linemen stepped up for  San Diego, defensive end Corey Liuget applied pressure against the run and pass.  He knocked a ball in the air and stripped the ball out of Kaepernick’s hands while sacking him.  The Chargers need to find a pas rush to make up for their limited corner backs.

Signal caller, Colin Kaepernick, did not have a memorable first quarter.  He lost two fumbles within six minutes of the game starting.  It looks like he feels the pressure of the offense and holds onto the ball too long trying to free receivers downfield. While the young quarterback can throw darts past double coverage, it is in his best interest to find his dump off receivers first.  Rookie back Carlos Hyde has trouble running the ball without a clear lane.  He does get physical swatting defenders around, using a spin move, and showing good leg drive when he has room.   I am still leading the charge on rookie receiver/returner Bruce Ellington.  He looks good playing the slot, adjusting to the ball in the air, and making catches in stride. If the versatile playmaker needs to take a handoff or return kickoffs/punts, Ellington can do that too.  IDPers don’t sleep on safety Eric Reid.  He is a great open field tackler who likes to play the ball hawking role. Read More »

The time is drawing near. Preseason game three is the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football. The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against. The only evansconstant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different. I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used. My focus is on the first three-year players and this year’s free agents.  Here are my observations:

Bills vs. Bucs

The Bills defensive  front four collapsed the Tampa Bay pocket well, which hurried a lot of throws and shortened a lot of running lanes.  Unfortunately for Buffalo fans, EJ Manuel is looking worse, not better each week.  He does not set his feet, and rushes most of his throws.  The young quarterback got strip sacked for a touchdown and threw a pick when his tight end fell down on a route. Manual played better in the third quarter, but that was against the Buccaneer second and third team defenses.  Former Tampa receiver, Mike Williams, made a nice jump and stick the landing catch on the sidelines.  He also got behind his corner to score a red zone touchdown.

Doug Martin caught the ball well in stride, showed off a little wiggle, and got low on the way to a short yardage touchdown.  None of his backups are standing out in the preseason, so he should get the bulk of Tampa’s carries this season.  Rookie receiver Mike Evans does a great job of shielding his coverage away from the ball, and catches the ball at its highest point.  The young wide out gets sent out in motion to create the best one on one matchups.  He sprinted down the field 30 yards untouched to make a nice jump ball catch in the end zone.  I would be excited if I had him on my dynasty squad. Read More »

The witching hour is finally here.  Preseason game three, the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football.  The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against.  The only ebronconstant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different.  I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used.  Here are my observations:

Raiders vs Packers

The Al Davis era might be over in reality, but the legacy still lives on with recycled older players that might be over their heads along with a few young upstarts.  Newly signed receiver James Jones runs crisp routes, creates separation, but is not in sync with Matt Schaub.  I’m not sure any of the Raiders receivers are on the same page with their quarterback which might be a bigger problem sooner than later.  MJD looked great on one of his carries where he broke a few arm tackles and showed some burst on a 40 yard touchdown run.  Jones-Drew might have five more of those runs left in his body, but playing with this offense they might get used up quickly.  The reason for optimism in Oakland is the play of their two young linebackers, Sio Moore and Khalil Mack.  Moore applied inside pressure in both the run and pass games.  His motor is unrelenting and he delivers punishment on every blow.  He left the game with a strained neck which the backer can hopefully recover from quickly.  Mack reads and recognizes immediately what the offense is trying to do.  He picked off a screen pass and is constantly generating pressure in the running and passing games. Read More »

The witching hour is finally here.  Preseason game three, the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football.  The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against.  The only driconstant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different.  I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used.  Here are my observations:

Steelers vs. Eagles

Biases aside, this was an ugly game for Pittsburgh.  You could almost feel the shadow of the drug arrests from the day before on runners Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount.  Bell got touches early, bounced off some of the defenders, but left a lot of blocked openings unanswered.  The second year back took a head shot, but came back a series later.  Blount, however, appears strong/powerful at the point of attack with quick feet and good balance.  Rookie Dri Archer got sent in motion the majority of the time he lined up in the backfield.  The Eagles front seven seemed more ready for his quicks and wiggle than the other teams the Steelers faced as they did not allow many openings in the first three-quarters of play.  Chemistry issues plagued second year receiver Markus Wheaton and Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben tried to get him involved early, but either their timing was off or Wheaton would bobble the pigskin.  Last week’s highlight reel, rookie backer Ryan Shazier, was less active.  He did not do as good of a job using his speed to prevent plays; instead the youngster spent most the game chasing down ball carriers several yards down the field.  Ertz caught him out of position twice.  Read More »

It had been awhile since I had dipped my feet into a dynasty fantasy football auction.  In my last auction article http://dynastyblitz.com/2014/08/13/auctions-league-aka-what-not-to-do/ , I found myself with four starting quarterbacks in a auctionsquarterback flex league investing 35% of my auction/salary funds (I got caught trying to price enforce).

By use of some savvy bidding, good nominations, and taxi squad demotions (players held there only cost 10% of their price with only rookies and second year players allowed), I recovered to get some good values in the auction and built up my individual defensive players (IDPs).  For me, the auction is over.  I might be able to trade a quarterback or two for better runners or receivers, but I am ready to make do with the team I built.  For the complete auction and league, click on the myfantasyleague here http://www4.myfantasyleague.com/2014/home/26388#0 .  Before the season starts in this league, every owner must choose how many years to put on a player’s contract (rookies are automatically given a four-year contract).  Each contract goes up 5% each year, so that must be factored in when deciding the length of the contract.  Cutting a player early causes a 15% penalty for each remaining year (hopefully I haven’t lost you and I’m not lost on the rules myself). Read More »

Here it is, another week of NFL preseason games.  Hopefully your fantasy football players are more involved this week, so we might get a better idea about how each team will look like in the regular season.  It’s critical to keep up with the NFLkbenjamin changing landscape, because it gives you a jump on the waiver wire and possible trade scenarios.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions.  Here are some quick observations based on around the first three-quarters of each game:

Chiefs vs Panthers

The return of Cam Newton disappointed to say the least.  He looked a bit gimpy at times, especially when he rolled away from impending blitzers.  The quarterback’s upper body is still shows the power to throw the ball on a wire 50+ yards downfield without a solid base.  Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin got behind the defense a few times.  Once, Cam missed him with too much torque, but the second time Benjamin made the catch between three defenders.  It was a thing of beauty, because he caught the ball at its highest point and shielded the ball away from all three defenders.  Much injured Jonathan Stewart has some burst and power back, but how long will it last?   Good thing Carolina has one of the most dominant front seven defensive fronts in the league. Read More »

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