It’s the beginning of August which means NFL Training Camps are in full swing and the NFL season is just around the corner. Following the NFL from Australia (note the lack of “z’s” in this article) is an interesting experience. The timing of games is tricky (approx. 3am for the first Sunday games), the night games occur during work hours (sorry work), not all of my friends love it (let alone know about its existence), and the only name the Australian media seems to know is Tom Brady (although Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes sometimes creep into the vernacular). But I love it. In contrast to the native game of Australian Rules Football (or AFL/Aussie Rules/footy, which I love), it is methodical, well thought out, intricate, as well as bone-crunching, high-flying, and super athletic.
I’ve played AFL Fantasy since I was in high school and dabbled in Fantasy Basketball in university. Fantasy Sports drew me into those sports more. It opened my eyes to different ways of viewing the games and appreciating the different aspects of each. So, when I was asked to join an NFL Fantasy league at work, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes. That was 5 years ago. Since then I’ve made leagues for some old school friends, church mates, and started a podcast (The TFL Podcast) in 2019 with my mate Arch who commissions the work league that kicked it all off. It’s been a rush. I’ve joined the Twitter world and found that the amount of content is insurmountable, the analysts aplenty, and the hot takes abound! There are great communities of like-minded people, but also those who really know how to polarise and isolate people with different opinions to them. It’s hard to filter at times.
As we first started the podcast, I don’t think I knew what we were getting into. Such as what it took to emulate something like the Fantasy Footballers or have the level of research and analysis akin to a Matt Harmon. I’m in awe of what those in this field do, and there are so many I haven’t read or heard that are killing it. I’m a tiny fish in a massive pond. Yet, I’m still here. The podcast, whatever this regular article turns into, will be my small ripple. I’m just a guy who loves sport, particularly fantasy sport. I don’t analyse for hours on end. I consume more than I make. I’m here for the ride and I reckon that chances are, you’re just like me.
I wanted to put my weekly thoughts onto paper (digitally obviously, I don’t even know where I’d find a blank piece of paper in my house). Nothing crazy, just some short reactions and a few player takes (be it hot or cold). I can’t promise great statistical analysis or great knowledge about player contracts, but if you’re an everyday fantasy player like me then this is for you.
You can’t have NFL Training Camps without a regular season-impacting injury. Let’s start with a guy who, in 2016/17, helped me fall in love with the Eagles. People even whispered MVP for a time there. He was a fantasy QB I picked off of waivers that took me to the top of the league table. You have to love that. Who doesn’t have stories of fantasy football brilliance that entices you to appreciate their team? It was a good time. But that was ages ago. 2020 was gross. He’s moved teams and before even hitting the field for the Colts now he’s hurt his foot and is out for 5-12 weeks. (Surely we can be more specific than a 7 week window!) A few quick thoughts:
- Eason, the backup QB, is intriguing due to his draft capital (3rd round), but I would be surprised if they don’t bring in a veteran QB to provide healthy competition.
- If you’re a fan of Pittman, stay a fan. A must to roster if Wentz comes back good to go. I still like him to step up, but it might be an ugly start to the season.
- JT will suffer if the QB play isn’t consistent. I think his floor has dropped, and I don’t like taking an RB in Round 1 or 2 that has a questionable floor, even if his possible ceiling is fantastic.
- Wentz will be a waiver wire add down the track unless you have an IR spot and are keen to waste a draft pick on him. (Don’t do it).
- Ultimately, I’ll be avoiding this Colts team, for better or worse.
Rodgers and Green Bay
What a roller-coaster of a story. And how good was Rodger’s super candid presser! As much as I have thought he puts the “I’s” in narcissist, he’s pulled me back into respecting him a touch more. Maybe just one “I’ now. I’m back on Green Bay to have a big year (Insert NFC Championship gag here). Cobb’s back which is fun, but probably not going to impact my fantasy team much. Unless he pulls out 2019 Dallas Randall Cobb which would be quite fun to watch. A few quick thoughts:
- Rodgers should be a top 12 QB, but is going earlier than I’ll take him (ADP 50th overall, #LateQBszn)
- Adams is my WR1 and will forever be my WR1. What. A. Gun.
- Cobb will be a WR4/5. His Houston season is an aberration, we all know how stuffed up that organisation is. So, if his Dallas season isn’t to be discarded then perhaps, he can do more than a 4/5. Maybe a WR3 isn’t too far out of the question.
- I will be watching the Green Bay Training Camp carefully, as will the rest of the NFL world.
Training Camps are all the rage right now. Seriously, inject it into my veins! Who doesn’t love watching Lamb take contested catches in the end zone! But there’s so much coach speak, so many hot takes based on nothing, so much to filter. The QB competitions are intriguing but at the end of the day who’s seriously drafting Lock/Bridgewater in 1QB redraft leagues? Now, as a Jimmy Garoppolo manager in my main dynasty league I am very interested in what the 49ers are going to do, and for once in my life I really want the team to go with the older, less interesting QB. I don’t feel good about it. Here’s some of the noise I’ve been listening to:
- So apparently we’re buying into Qadree Ollison winning the Atlanta RB job over Mike Davis? Or being fantasy relevant if he even takes the job? Big pass.
- The Cowboys WRs are being moved around to different positions. Give me more Gallup slot routes! Oh and Lamb is breaking out… did you hear that already?
- Justin Fields is showing out! Nagy’s “Dalton is the starter” nonsense surely fades away as we get closer to the season start. If Fields starts then give me Mooney (ADP WR56) everywhere.
- Some mixed reports on Trevor Lawrence. I don’t think we’ll see a Justin Herbert-esque season out of him.
- Devonta Smith is down with an MCL sprain. An interrupted pre-season is never good. For fantasy I reckon Hurts can survive Smith not making the leap this year as he still put up QB1 numbers in the games he started last year, but the chances of him sustaining that have definitely lowered.
- Jameis Winston had a good practice Monday. I still think Taysom takes the job, but I am more than happy to have Jameis slinging the ball if it means Tre-Quan Smith’s value goes up in my dynasty teams!
- Stafford’s thumb injury makes me worry for this offense. After having surgery in March on that hand if Stafford gets back up for the season I would not be surprised if this is one of those hidden injures that carries on throughout the season. Do I still draft Woods and Kupp? Yes, but temper expectations. Chances are I’m going to be taking guys like Diontae Johnson and Tyler Lockett over them.
There is information pouring out of every journalistic orifice known to man. The trick is figuring out what’s actually worth listening to. I’m not saying I have the answer to that conundrum, but hey, we do our best right? Thanks for reading and check back next time for some more Ramblings!
Check out our latest pod: Ep 70: 2021 RB Preview