Every profession has its insider tricks to streamline routine tasks. You know, those quick fixes you wouldn’t otherwise know about unless you work in that particular sector.
Except, maybe, for writing. Particularly, forecasting sports or player production. More specifically, writing about fantasy expectations. For us, the insider trick is pretty simple. No, it’s not spell-check. It’s called CTRL+A then DELETE.
Yep, that’s write, err, right. Select all and delete. Sometimes it is the quickest way to fix an approach that isn’t working. Not all ideas are recoverable, and starting from scratch can help avoid trying to save a failed plan.
But that method isn’t limited to just our righting, err, writing. It also is a function that must be performed on our expectations. We must be ready to abandon, at a moment’s notice, ideas or notions we’ve spent most of the offseason crafting. Because sometimes, events take place that make that necessary.
The past two weekends provided a glimpse at numerous, what you might call, “scratch” events. As in: You restart your analysis of those players from scratch. From the surprise Andrew Luck retirement to Lamar Miller’s injury last week, to this week’s movement of several players and some trades of note.
So which players get the “scratch” treatment this week? Well, for starters, the Chiefs backfield. Carlos Hyde, who we didn’t deem a significant threat for a large workload, is gone. That was marginally good for Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. Then in came LeSean McCoy. We consider that an upgrade over Hyde, and McCoy has a history of working with coach Andy Reid — so we don’t expect him to be ignored in the offense.
This is not good for Williams, in that is it reasonable to expect McCoy, even in the current Geritol version of himself, to absorb some work. And we suspect much of that will come in short yardage and, more importantly, at the goal line. This will cut into Williams’ touchdown production.
We also expect, based on McCoy’s experience, that he could steal snaps from Thompson, particularly early in the season, in passing situations. We base this on McCoy’s pass protection skills and knowledge.
Now, this might make it seem like a wholesale committee backfield. But that also would be unlike Reid, who tends to lean on a primary running back. Reid’s comments that he sees both as starters contradicts this notion, but coaches often make public statements that don’t accurately reflect their in-game strategies.
We still expect Williams to get substantially more work than the other two. Yet, he is downgraded from a strong RB2 to more of a Flex option. He goes from the Chris Carson/Devonta Freeman/Kerryon Johnson tier down to Marlon Mack/Josh Jacobs level — which means late-third or early-fourth round, but adjust according to your draft, because it could be later. After Aaron Jones goes, that is when you should target the tier that now includes Williams.
McCoy getting waved, err, waived by Buffalo also affects our expectations of Bills RBs. Suddenly, Frank Gore is relevant again. Yep, that Frank Gore. Yes, your father’s Frank Gore. Sort of. Same player, not the same results. If McCoy is a product of Geritol, Gore is using the Dick Clark cream.
It also removes one of the roadblocks for rookie Devin Singletary to get consistent action. He still has T.J. Yeldon to contend with, but we expect Singletary to get enough work by October to make him a consideration for the Flex spot, depending on matchups. So those late-round fliers, err, flyers could pay off.
Hyde, meanwhile, heads to Houston, where Duke Johnson was thought to be the air, err, heir to Miller’s playing time. The Madman expected the Texans to add someone to compete with Johnson, who has primarily been a passing-down back in his career. We also expected it to be someone of greater statue, err, stature than Johnson’s former Browns teammate Hyde.
Don’t expect Hyde to get a heavy dose in Week 1, based on lack of knowledge of the offense. But Johnson only has a couple of weeks head start. So by Week 2 or 3, expect the Texans to go through the motions of learning that Hyde isn’t very good.
He will get ample use, cutting into Johnson’s touches, so the length of time for the Texans to learn Johnson is a better back. We figure by the end of September, either Houston has added someone to replace Hyde, or The Duke takes control. Considering Houston could have gone after others who might have presented a more worthy threat, and the Texans’ additional acquisition of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, we consider recent events good news for Duke.
Of lesser note, the Texans also acquired Kenny Stills. He is a legitimate threat to Keke Coutee’s production. Plus there is a possibility both could get enough targets to render the other useless in fantasy, but not enough to be useful themselves.
Then you have Jerick McKinnon going on the 49ers’ injured reserve. This isn’t unexpected, so it doesn’t change our rankings. But is has helped fuel the ongoing draft value rise of Matt Breida. He could be had in the 12th round just a few weeks ago, but now he is going at the turn of rounds 7-8, just two rounds later than Tevin Coleman.
Coleman was brought in as a free agent and has worked within a Kyle Shanahan offense in Atlanta. Breida was a supersub last season when McKinnon went down. He often played hurt, or was hurt. He has a physical running style that courts injury. We anticipate the 49ers giving Coleman every chance to succeed, which brings into question Breida’s meteoric rise.
We also fear that if given ample work, Breida will get injured, which brings into question Breida’s meteoric rise. In others words, there are reasons to question Breida’s meteoric rise. He was a great Coleman handcuff in the 12th round, but he is far too expensive in rounds seven or ate, err, eight.
It helps your analysis if you can have the memory of an NFL cornerback — forget the last play and just worry about what is happening right now. So yeah, so maybe the Madman should use more spell-check. But at least we have mastered CTRL+A DELETE.
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