15 Aug Fantasy Football Pre-Season Primer: AFC South
By: Mike Stromme – @stromme_93
Grown-ass men riding bikes built for children, pimped-out whips, heavy humidity and player “X” in “the best shape of his life” can only mean one thing… TRAINING CAMP! Click the red text for a list of the breakdowns of all the other NFL Divisions.
Here are some training camp story lines with fantasy implications to keep an eye on this August:
The point of interest with this team came painfully apparent when the Texans traded-up with the Buffalo Bills to get DeShaun Watson out of Clemson. Who in my opinion, was the most talented QB in the 2017 draft class.
While the QB of the defending NCAA Champions has a ton of promise, he has to be the clear winner of the QB battle between himself and the incumbent QB Tom Savage. Savage, a third-year QB, has played under HC Bill O’Brien’s offensive scheme his entire career.
To me, this battle will more than likely come down to who can get the most out of star WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins, who caught 111-1,521-11 on 192 targets in his breakout 2015 season, regressed immensely in 2016; catching just 78-954-4 on 151 balls thrown his way. The first QB to develop an excellent rapport with the uber-talented wideout will more than likely start Week 1 against Jacksonville.
The speed at which Andrew Luck has recovered from offseason shoulder surgery is starting to worry me. Luck, who went under the knife in January, has begun camp on the PUP list and may or may not be ready fo
r Week 1 in Los Angeles vs the Rams.
We, as fantasy football enthusiasts, handicappers, and football fans alike, need to monitor this situation like a hawk.
If Luck isn’t even cleared for throwing by Week 3 of the pre-season, we’re in a whole world of trouble.
When asked about his rehab progress, Luck told fans “not to freak-out”, but would not commit to a return time table. Yikes.
In the Blake Bortles-Allen Robinson era, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been widely known as a pass-happy, garbage time statistical juggernaut with an incredible taste for losing; the team was 14-48 under former HC Gus Bradley in that time.
In comes former Buffalo Bills’ HC Doug Marrone and the 5th overall pick in the draft Leonard Fournette. Between the two, and Marrone’s love affair with the ground game, it should be interesting to see how this team transitions from a trigger-happy offense to a run-first attack.
With the Bills in 2013, Marrone and his staff came out in the preseason and told the media that then-Bills HB C.J. Spiller will “run the ball until he throws up”. The Bills ran the ball 51.1% of the time that year, amassing to 546 total
carries for the team. It will be interesting to see if this team has the personnel around Fournette to turn into an effective ground and pound-type of offense.
This offseason, the Tennessee Titans invested a great deal of resources into surrounding QB Marcus Mariota with an improved receiving core. Taking Western Michigan WR Corey Davis with the 5th overall pick in the draft, and signing former New York Jet Eric Decker.
Davis and Decker join Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker to form a group of pass catchers that has caught a collective 62.1% of targets and 100 TD passes over their collective careers. Talk about efficiency!
Pair the offensive efficiency with a strong offensive line and two terrific RBs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and it will be really tough for opposing defenses to create turnovers on this “hybrid smashmouth” offense.
On paper, the additions of Decker and Davis look great. But, I wanna see how the two develop chemistry with Mariota this month. Should be an interesting sight to behold.