Fantasy Football Notes: Cleveland Browns-St. Louis Rams Preseason Game

By Jim Heath
Greg Little Cleveland Browns
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy football market becomes volatile this time of the year. Players ADP rise and fall based on preseason games — games that are played with multiple player packages put on the field for the primary purpose of coaching evaluations.

That is a fact that is traditionally over looked by fantasy football GMs trying to find under-the-radar sleepers from each preseason game, which of course seems ridiculous in nature simply because every game finds its way to national television at some point or another, making all player performances public knowledge.

Regardless, this marks a fun time to watch the social media world as it pertains to fantasy football. There is a plethora of overreaction to an almost comical degree.

Take Thursday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams as an example. Brandon Weeden’s ADP will increase tomorrow based on this game, even though it shouldn’t. He did a good job — no argument here — but every quarterback has an occasional good series or two, especially during the preseason.

Now, chances are good what you saw Thursday is more accurately reflective of Weeden’s skill sets than his current rock bottom ADP. Weeden has the benefit of a new coaching regime in Cleveland, namely Norv Turner. Turner has struggled as a head coach in the NFL, but he has assembled an impressive resume as an offensive coordinator and more importantly, he is friend of quarterbacks.

Chris Givens, not Tavon Austin, was the big target for Sam Bradford on the night. Givens caught three balls for 82 yards and one touchdown. Austin was targeted on one pass but didn’t have a reception or rushing yard for the Rams. Does that mean Givens is now the no. 1 receiving target for fantasy football GMs in St. Louis? Maybe, maybe not – there simply isn’t enough information to determine the answer of that question.

How about the running back position battle in St. Louis?

Daryl Richardson carried the ball for 24 yards, while Zac Stacy rushed for 23 yards and Isaiah Pead gained 18 yards. On the surface, these stats seem unimpressive and don’t seem to have created separation in the position battle.

However, when digging deeper, you find Richardson carried the ball just four times and averaged six per carry versus the Rams’ no. 1 defense while Stacy needed seven carries to reach 23 yards vs. the Rams’ second team for a 3.3 yards per carry average. And if you watched the game, you saw the explosion Richardson demonstrated from the backfield.

However, the three running backs competing for the number one job only ran the ball a combined 14 times on the night — simply not enough input to accurately predict an outcome just yet. Regardless, and no matter how you look at the numbers, they will impact the ADP of Richardson, Stacy and Pead during mock drafts this week.

The Browns looked better on the night and ended up defeating the Rams 27–19. That said, you probably wouldn’t see a single change in the Browns or Rams’ Vegas odds to win their division, conference or the Super Bowl based on this one game. Yet, there will be change at every level of Fantasy Football tomorrow.

Why is that? Simple – folks are chomping at the bit to get the football season started. They soak in, chew on and inevitably respond to all news and notes that relate to a player they plan to target in league drafts. Even if that news is based on around two catches in a preseason game vs. the opponent’s second-string defense.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again — avoid the hype. Don’t get me wrong, you can find valuable data and historically-backed trends based on several solid performances by a player in preseason. Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson were prime examples of players that made a name last preseason based on back-to-back-to-back solid performances.

Watch the games, take them in, run them through the ‘ole decision-making mechanism inside your collective fantasy football noggins and act from there. Just don’t over react or take up practice in knee jerk reactions. It’s really unbecoming of a the truly talented fantasy football GM you are.

Jim Heath is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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