When searching for fantasy football relevance and information in early preseason games, especially in the first game for teams, it can almost seem like the search for water during a drought at times.
Of course, that can depend on your idea of what seems to be relevant to fantasy football. If your thirst can only be quenched by large yardage and attempt stats that come with a touchdown or two, expect a slow death from dehydration during the preseason. There’s just not that much information out there.
However, if you believe you have a feeling for a team’s offensive schemes and strategy, chances are you can locate tidbits of information that will either confirm or dispute your thinking.
For instance, on Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks traveled south to start their preseason schedule against the San Diego Chargers. As is the norm, starters were very limited, so player stats were tough to come by. However, team philosophies could be determined in some ways.
For instance, Mike McCoy is the new head coach of the Chargers. During his time as the OC in Denver, he traditionally ran a split playbook between the run and pass (even with Peyton Manning under center). Logic dictates he will implement a similar scheme in San Diego. Looking through the recap for the Chargers for one night, that line of thinking is confirmed as the Chargers threw 31 times and rushed 27 times.
However, an interesting stat line of note from this game is the number of times the Chargers threw the ball on third down versus running the ball. Obviously they didn’t have a choice in third-and-long situations, but there were also instances of third-and-short passes. If you are targeting Danny Woodhead in league drafts, this is an important stat.
The Seahawks also displayed a balanced attack, running 29 times while throwing the ball 26 times. However, the Seahawks showed more conservative play-calling than San Diego, which is a note worth jotting down if you plan to target Marshawn Lynch.
The individual stats will not jump out of the box score and it is tough to get much information but there are some things to look at. Although Ryan Mathews did not have a traditional full load, we can see he averaged over six yards a carry. This is a rather big stat line to monitor, especially if you are one that believes Mathews will finally live up to potential under the tutelage of McCoy.
Not that you need much confirmation, but Russell Wilson still runs and throws the ball. With the impact running quarterbacks have in fantasy football these days, that is a noteworthy confirmation.
The main thing to remember during the preseason is this: don’t base your decisions on a box score from a single preseason game. Add them together, compare and contrast and see what trends the numbers are trying to tell you. There is relevant information in the preseason; you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.