Now that every team has completed its first full preseason game, a fair assessment can be made, without the glitter of drills run on air. To start of this segment we will discuss the performances of Jimmy Garoppolo, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and some Fantasy Football insight.
I should have known better than to assume Jimmy Garoppolo would get the start this past week against the Green Bay Packers in the New England Patriots opening preseason game of the 2015 season. With Tom Brady handling the legal issues behind his “Deflate Gate” scandal, Patriots brass said Brady would not be playing in the team’s first preseason game. Only he did. Another sneaky move for the Pats, but I wont be giving much attention to their renowned ability to push the envelope in this segment. Back to Jimmy G. Overall, I would rate his performance a 76% (which is higher than his completion percentage). Jimmy G, in his second-season, failed to ‘Wow’ me with any real throws and I felt as if they were running dink and dunk plays to get him into rhythm and maybe build some confidence in their potential starter to open the regular season. Of the shots Jimmy G did take down field, he failed to connect; there seemed to be a disconnect between both quarterbacks and their receivers, but I suspect that they are just testing out a few new toys. If Tom Brady’s suspension is upheld (as it should be), expect the Patriots to rely heavily on the run game and defense if they plan on surviving the first four weeks. I anticipate that the Patriots will go 1-3 in those four games with their only win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will forever be linked together as they were selected number 1 and 2 overall, respectively, in this years NFL Draft. When analyzing Jameis Winston’s debut performance, I would give him a 79%. Winston’s first three passes were incompletions and he even admitted to feeling butterflies leading up to his first drive. Truth is, it is a lot of pressure for a 21-yeear old and one of the most polarizing figures since Tim Tebow. When Winston did settle his stomach, he showed flashes of why he was selected number one overall, as he stood in the pocket, took the hit and delivered an absolute strike down the field to Vincent Jackson. Winston did however commit a turnover in one of his first drives, but a pass interference call should have been made and wide receiver Mike Evans admits that he [Evans] should have made more of an effort. To close the half, Winston put together a really good drive and capped it off with a scramble for his first NFL touchdown. Ironic that Winston got his first touchdown using his legs and not his arm, because his counterpart has been known to be quite the runner.
Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, had a nightmarish first two drives. All the questions I posted last week about Mariota not throwing an interception through training camp were answered and found to be true. First, the Tennessee Titans defense is awful; Matt Ryan and company drove down field in their first possession as if they were facing the Titans’ practice squad. Second, Mariota does not take chances. This drew a heavy debate leading up to the draft about each player’s ability to take care of the football and I think it is safe to assume Mariota is not a gunslinger, but that does not mean he won’t be successful in this league. Lastly, the bottle-feeding is over for Mariota. He threw an interception on his first drive and fumbled on his second, leading to a combined 10 points for the Atlanta Falcons. My father always said, “When the bullets start flying, either you duck, run, or fire back.” Mariota fired back, especially with a 16-yard laser on a 3rd & 12 that had Titans fans out of their seats. I give Mariota a 78%, a shade below Winston because he did commit those two turnovers in his first two drives and failed to score a touchdown of his own. But don’t over look him just yet, as if you could; this kid is going to be special. If handled properly, Mariota might be the spread quarterback that finally changes the game and puts down the question marks regarding spread-option quarterbacks in college and Ken Wisenhunt might have just resurrected his coaching career.
Fantasy Football Leagues should be heating up right now and there are some questions that you should ask yourself before entering your draft. The two most important questions are: ‘Which pick should I take if I could choose?’ and ‘What happens if I pick in the bottom half of the first round?’
If you could choose your pick in this year’s fantasy football draft, I would suggest getting the number overall pick and don’t look back. If you’re not a number one type of guy (or gal), then go for pick 5. With the number one overall pick, you simply cannot screw it up. It is indeed a lot of pressure, but luckily, pressure makes diamonds and the gem of fantasy football this year will be Adrian Peterson. AP gets what AP wants and there isn’t a more determined player this season to prove he his King of the Gridiron. With a self-proclamation of 2,500 yards from scrimmage, I would take a chance on drafting him number one overall based on that statement alone, and his body of work as supplemental satisfaction. If you do not land the top spot, however, you can salvage a victory with one of the elite running backs, such as Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles and a healthy LeSean McCoy (keyword: healthy). Somebody in your league is bound to make a bold statement so expect Antonio Brown, Aaron Rodgers or even a Jimmy Graham (if not all three) to be selected within the first 8 picks.
So let’s say you get stuck with the 9th pick in a ten- or twelve-league format. Honestly, it’s a horrible spot. Due to a recent hamstring injury, LeSean McCoy may still be on the board and you could take a jab at him, but let’s think worst-case scenario here. Peterson, Lacy, Charles, Lynch, Rodgers, McCoy, Brown, Graham/Gronk are all off the board. What do you do? Think long-term. Don’t go for the Graham or Gronk bait. I know I said the Titans defense is awful, but seriously consider drafting Julio Jones. I have reason to believe he will be the leading receiver this season; after all, he is waiting to sign a new contract (inserts smirking face emoji). As many leagues use a snake format, this leaves you open to selecting a Mark Ingram, Demarco Murray (proceed with caution), CJ Anderson (kind of a boom or bust pick, but I would trust Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme, we saw what it did for Justin Forsett), Alfred Morris, and the fore mentioned Justin Forsett at the top of the second round. I wouldn’t suggest picking another receiver or a quarterback in this situation since there is a severe drop off in workhorse running backs.
That is all for you today, check back with us next week on The Sports Kase and please leave a comment below (this is an open discussion board)
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