Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What We Know 35 Days Later

We're almost there, friends.  The NFL season - and the fantasy season - are so close you can smell it.

I mean, literally.  It smells like football.  The crisp morning air, the turning leaves, the random waft of wood smoke drifting from a smoldering chimney.

If I could bottle the smell of September mornings, I'd sell it.

But I digress.

Before the season starts, it's time to take a gander at the past month and answer a simple question: what do we know today that we didn't know August 1st?


There's a saying that goes something like, "You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."  Perhaps that is something Sam Bradford should contemplate.

Back in July, I mentioned I was not high on any Rams receiver.  I referred to this corps as an "enigma";  a group that could be great, but simply weren't.

I'm even less enthused now.  Shaun Hill has been in the league for 38 years (well, more or less) and I will use the same logic I used when some folks were excited that Josh McCown was signed by the Buccaneers in the off-season: he has been a career back-up for a reason.

This is not to say Shaun Hill is Brady Quinn/JaMarcus Russell appalling.  Hill has started some NFL games (he's averaged a little more the three starts a season during his career) and he's had some success, but there is a reason why teams haven't offered him big bucks to remain the starter.

I've got a feeling Zac Stacy's workload will be even larger and the Rams' receivers will be all but worthless from a fantasy perspective.  (Editor's note: perhaps "worthless" is too strong an adjective, but it defines "without worth" ...and, well, that pretty much sums it up).


If you read The Lone Pylon enough (and if you do, thank you!), you already know how I feel about rookie wide receivers.

And it has come to pass.

The Bills hype machine has been full tilt since May over Sammy Watkins, but he's already proving he can't take a hit.  He injured his ribs twice already this preseason and has struggled to stay on the field.  He finished the preseason with 3 catches for 21 yards; and 14 of those yards came on one catch.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: It's the preseason.  But the injuries are cause for concern.  His lack of time on the field is also cause for concern.  This, coupled with E.J. Manuel's less than stellar passing ability, makes me drop Watkins even further down my board.

But at least he's not Odell Beckham Jr.


Way back in June I wondered aloud if BenJarvus Green-Ellis would even make the Bengals roster.  It turns out he didn't.  I was also gushing over rookie Jeremy Hill.  As I predicted in June, Hill is zipping up draft boards faster than a sneeze through a screen door.


I tried to give Arian Foster the benefit of a doubt back in July, but that might have been a mistake.  He's coming off an injury-plagued season, he's still on the injury report (hamstring) and did not make a single rushing attempt in the preseason.  Foster says he feels "wonderful," but color me skeptical.  Jonathan Grimes just might be one of those players you've never heard of to make a big fantasy impact this year, รก la Mike Anderson, circa 2000.


Like Foster, Adrian Peterson has not made a single rushing attempt this preseason.  And that's where the similarities end.  Next subject....


Speaking of the Vikings, Cordarrelle Patterson is going to be even better than I thought.  Maybe that's a homer statement.  ... and maybe not.


Montee Ball has, essentially, missed the entire preseason and most of training camp after an appendectomy.  Still, has his ADP as a late first round pick.  In a league with very few bell cow running backs, fantasy owners are willing to gamble.  He's high risk, high reward.


Wes Welker has almost dropped off the fantasy radar.   He had already tumbled down my draft board like Aunt Bunny on a staircase due to his chronic brain-rattling predicament.  Now with his "I-did-not-knowingly-take-amphetamines" shenanigan (don't worry, Wes, I unknowingly ingest amphetamines all the time... I mean, it's just so easy to do), he's almost an afterthought.  First, he's not available until week six (including the Broncos' bye week).  Second, he could be done for the season with one hit to the helmet.  Draft at your own risk.  And it's a considerable risk.

This is what happens when you mix amphetamines and concussions... 


Michael Sam is a Dallas Cowboy --  or at least he's on the practice squad and that will sell a lot of jerseys.  Er, and it makes the team better.  Yes, that's it.

(And Jerry Jones is even a bigger attention whore than I thought.  And that's saying a lot.)

"We're gonna have ourselves an uphill climb this season.  And if I like anything, it's an uphill climb."


I still would not draft Rob Gronkowski.  He's a human time bomb waiting to blow up your fantasy season.


Matt Schaub unseeded David Carr's starting job in Houston.  Derek Carr unseeded Matt Schaub's starting job in Oakland.  Mind = Blown


I'm much less high on Robert Griffin III now than I was a month ago.  He continues to play far too recklessly.  He won't last 16 games.


Okay, that's enough...  it's time for the season to start!  Stay tuned early next week for The Lone Pylon's first edition of "NFL History in the Making" for the 2014 season.

Good luck in your fantasy leagues this week.  LET'S PLAY FOOTBALL!