NFL games, Storylines around the NFL

Three statements for each week one NFL game:

Football is back, baby! After an awesome first week of NFL action, which I watched every full game of, I wanted to kind of recap all 16 matchups and come up with three statements for each one. Some of them may be more hyperbolic or could be labelled as hot takes, while others state for obvious facts. You can also listen to my Youtube breakdown of week one, where I just give more of my general thoughts on all these games, while also bringing up some of the points I make in this article.

So here’s what I took away from week one:

 

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NFL Predictions

Predicting the entire 2020 NFL season:

Now a week away from the season officially being kicked off with Texans @ Chiefs, I’m ready to commit to all these predictions. As I have done for several years now, I am going to forecast all the major season awards, such as league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and others, before I get into my playoff picks. To do so, I went through the schedule and predicted all 256 games, before putting all of that into playoffpredictors.com – which I can absolutely recommend you check out – to double-check my final seven seeds for either conference. On my first version, I got so complicated with the tie-breakers, that I actually had to contact the host of the page, to get some clearance on an issue, but after I went over it a second time, things became a lot easier to figure out.

With that being, this is how I believe the 2020 NFL season will look like:

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Fantasy Football

Fantasy diamonds for 2020:

Now that we are close to a lot of people’s fantasy drafts, I wanted to hand out some names that I frequently end up with when I do mocks, just because I have them higher in my rankings. So these are players, who present value based on their ADP (average draft position), all as an average between the three biggest platforms for fantasy football – NFL.com, ESPN and Yahoo. That’s as of August 20th, with the first two having a full-PPR scoring system and the last one being set to .5PPR. They also all have a standard lineup of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 DEF and 1 K. I had to wait until now, so that the draft data is representative of what people actually think of these players, especially with so many mocks having the majority of users set as auto-picks and distort the results.

So I will talk about what I like about these players heading into 2020, maybe a couple of concerns and talk a little bit about what I look at them as, compared to the where people are selecting them in their mock drafts. I listed three guys for every position that fills one spot in your standard lineup (QB, TE, DEF) and five for running back and wide receiver respectively. Oh, and I’m not doing kickers here – just pick one from the high-scoring team and that you know has a proven track record of converting on his opportunities.

Here are some of my favorite value picks:

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NFL Power Rankings

Ranking all 32 NFL teams in tiers pre-2020 season:

Now that we have passed the opt-out deadline and are only about three weeks away from the Chiefs and Texans kicking off the 2020 NFL season, I wanted to put together my pre-season power rankings and put all 32 teams in separate tiers, to give you an idea of where I see them at this point.

When putting together this list, I considered the talent on the roster, coaching staff and what will be a more important factor coming into this season than it has been in previous – the continuity as a franchise, since the COVID situation has limited the amount of preparation and ability to build chemistry as a team. That will be especially tough for new head coaches and inexperienced teams.

With that being said, this is how I would group them:

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NFL Top 100

NFL Top 100 Players of 2020:

Every year NFL Network puts out a list of the Top 100 Players for the upcoming season, as voted by their peers. I have talked about the flaws of that whole process a few times already – the players only write down their top 20 players, which is understandable, but also doesn’t result in the proper results, since everybody is somewhat to put their guys on; not all players actually get to watch a lot of games, if they don’t include teams they actually face or are limited to watching highlights; and the voting concludes before the playoff are even here, which can be the only somewhat logical reason, Patrick Mahomes was only number four on the official list – even though that would still be wrong.

For the purpose of this list, I first put together my rankings of the top players at every single position, but then somewhat went off script by just writing down names in the order that they shot into my head, before comparing it with the positional rankings and trying to weigh guys against each other. And just to make this clear – these rankings are based on players regardless of their position, since otherwise would have almost half the starting quarterbacks in the league within the top 20 or so. And of course this is a bit of a projection and not solely built on what these players did this previous season, but also not about where they will be at the end of 2020.

Here is my list:

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NFL Offseason

Key position battles at 2020 NFL training camp:

We have finally reached NFL training camp and with the agreement between the league and the players association, there is a little more clarity about how the preparation for the 2020 season will look. With such a long time off, the early stages of this will involve a lot of lifting and running, before the players actually go out on the field and compete, but like I have done for several years, I want to look at some of the more interesting battles for starting positions.

Now that preseason has been cancelled, it will only enhance the importance of these competitions and even though I usually have a little bias towards rookies, since I studied them a lot since the Super Bowl ended, this whole situation should actually favor the more seasoned veterans. For this exercise, I tried to avoid a few of the really obvious ones, such as the Bears QB competition that has and will be talked to death by all the major networks, or the Dolphins entire offensive line pretty much, where you can’t point to one specific spot.

With that being said, here at the ten that I will follow the closest:

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Power Rankings

Best triplets in the NFL going into 2020:

After a week off, I am back with a vengeance! Since this was kind of a trending topic a few weeks ago and I saw a lot of media outlets/networks put out their rankings of the top triplets in the NFL, I thought I needed to put myself into the conversation and right some of wrongs that were done.

This list only includes combinations of one quarterback, running back and wide receiver each. That means no players beyond that and no consideration of the offensive scheme or play-caller, as much as that’s possible. And to lay the ground rules – all three positions are weighed equally. So just because you have one of the elite quarterbacks doesn’t necessarily put you up there and if one of those spots doesn’t have a really good player, I don’t care how great the other two are.

So with that being said, here is my list of the best trios in the league:

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NFL Offseason

NFL players in a 2020 make-or-break season:

We have talked a lot about breakout NFL players, most improved position groups and all that kind of stuff. Now I want to shift the focus more towards players, who aren’t in a position where they are locked in as long-time contributors for their respective teams and will be entering a crucial season in their careers.

Those can be young players not living up to their draft status, guys in a contract year wanting to earn another lucrative deal or long-time veterans trying to stick around. I called this a make-or-break season for these players because they aren’t at a point, where people recognize them as some of the best players at their position. So you won’t see necessarily see players on the franchise tag, trying to earn that long-term contract for big money, but rather guys who could also be labelled as draft busts or washed up veterans.

Here is the list:

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Power Rankings

Top 10 offensive lines in the NFL heading into 2020:

Talking about the most improved position groups in the NFL last week inspired me to look at one of those in particular and list my top ten units. For this exercise I tried to look at all these offensive lines in a vacuum – how well they execute certain run schemes, how diverse they can be or how great they are with their bread-and-butter and of course how well they protect the quarterback. While I support my case with certain statistics and advanced numbers in particular, solely going by the stats would be a huge mistake, since that would mean the Rams allowing the fewest amount of sacks qualifies them as the top pass-blocking line or the Giants almost had a top five run-blocking unit, even though Saquon Barkley routinely had to make people miss in the backfield and Daniel Jones averaging over six yards a carry certainly helped.

Instead, I’m trying to go through the starting five individually, then talk about their strengths and weaknesses and just some of the plays they run routinely. I have to project the starting lineups a little here and there will be some battles for specific spots during whatever we will have from training camp. That’s why I mention the key backups as well, which could feature guys who will be in the starting lineup week one. Under the new CBA, teams are now allowed to dress at least two more players on gamedays and another one if the active roster includes at least offensive linemen. So the strategy teams are going to choose will be interesting to me and I would expect a lot more groups carrying eight linemen on Sundays.

And just to make this clear – this is a projection of what I think will be the top ten O-lines in 2020, even though I will often reference to what they did last season and beyond.

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NFL Draft, NFL Free Agency, NFL Offseason

Most improved position groups in the NFL for 2020:

As I’ve been working through every NFL roster to point out their biggest remaining need(s) and which players could break out for them in 2020, I wanted to look at this from a different angle. Therefore, I compared the rosters from a year to the ones heading into this upcoming season and tried to figure out who has improved the most at every single position.

For this piece, I am considering top-end play a depth. Players that are simply coming back from injury will be weighed to a smaller degree, but that can obviously vary depending on how much or if that guy actually played for them last season.

With that being said, here is my list:

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