Since the time my last column ran, it feels like the NFL got turned on its head.
Teams cut down their rosters to the more familiar 53-man rosters. In that we’ve seen the departure of some of our favorite, consistently underperforming but somehow still here backup quarterbacks. None more heart wrenching than Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, who talked his way into a tryout with the Cleveland Browns after having to sleep outside a gym because he was homeless.
The Browns were so close to being the new America’s team, but not signing Sheehy-Guiseppi is a move that will come back to haunt the Browns.
Memes aside, the best time of the year is finally here. Football is back and I can finally pump nothing but NFL news into my veins until the end of next winter. To start this season off right, here are some big storylines I am following before we begin the long descent into football this week:
Melvin Gordon and the Chargers: Players always want their money and they want it even more after having a long string of productive seasons. There’s nothing wrong with that, but holdouts seem to be the norm among big time running backs now. Gordon — now in the last year of his rookie deal — is set to earn $5.6 million this year, but has not reported to practice or training camp because he is wanting an extension. Chargers GM Tom Telasco has said that he is tabling contract talks until the end of the season, leaving some question as to whether or not we will see Gordon out on the field in Los Angeles on Sunday. If he does play, that will be a huge help to those fantasy owners who took a risk on him. Only time will tell if he will be the fantasy bust that Le’veon Bell was to fantasy owners last year.
Will the Seahawks defense be a top five in fantasy this year?: There is no one doubting the Seahawks are one of the better defenses in the NFL, but since the Legion of Boom got split apart, everything else seems dull in comparison. However, the Seahawks somehow managed to steal 3-time pro bowl Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney away from Houston for next to nothing, adding a huge presence to a front seven with veteran experience like Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright and some talented, younger players in 2019 first round pick L.J Collier and Shaquill Griffin. If this team can play aggressive and be an absolute terror to opposing team’s running games, then I see the Seahawks being a defensive powerhouse this year.
Exactly how much important will T.J Hockenson be in Detroit’s offense?: Hockenson was without a doubt the best tight end in the 2019 draft and has the potential to be explosive. Him and Matthew Stafford have look coordinated in the preseason, but there is one roadblock. In the offseason, Detroit signed veteran Tight End Jesse James and as of right now he has the starting job over Hockenson. Though, there is a chance Hockenson could start if they need a playmaking receiver because let’s be real, Detroit has not had a truly explosive receiver since Calvin Johnson retired.
Can Baltimore throw the ball effectively?: The Lamar Jackson experience in Baltimore was a weird one. His passes were efficient but Jackson tended to want to run the ball whether it was with himself, Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon or Ty Montgomery. In the offseason the Ravens added veteran play maker Mark Ingram II to take the starting running back role, which only adds to the speculation that the Ravens will revert to a run first offense. But is that such a bad thing?
For Fantasy purposes it might be if you have any Baltimore wide receivers on your team. If you have Jackson or Ingram II on your team, look to them to be very productive this season alongside a possible risky payoff in Gus Edwards.