Matthew Berry previews Raiders, Falcons offenses
Matthew Berry, Jay Croucher and Connor Rogers run through the latest Rotoworld NFL headlines including Davante Adams and the Raiders offense, Bijan Robinson's expected usage, the Commanders backfield and more.
CONNOR ROGERS: All right, let's get into the Rotoworld headlines here, and starting with a very interesting one. The Ringer's Mirin Fader writes that Davante Adams has reservations about Las Vegas's vision for the offense. A giant quote here from Adams.
The pullout to me here, guys is, from Adams, "we don't see eye-to-eye on what we think is best for us right now," which just screams maybe some doubt about Josh McDaniels' offensive system, I would think.
MATTHEW BERRY: Well, but I think-- I think it's three things. This one's a really hard kind of-- because I don't totally understand what they think. It's like, I think "this is the best bet for us right now to put us in a position to be urgent," which is great. But then he's just like, maybe "we don't see eye-to-eye on what we think is best for us right now," maybe to accomplish that.
And then down there, if you look at the bottom of the quote, "If we play a certain brand of ball, if I can get"-- and he references Garoppolo there, "I can get Garoppolo to conform to whatever. But if we use him a certain type of way, then it's going to make it tough for us to maximize who we should be this year," basically saying-- I feel like, I'm interpreting that to say, like, hey, if Garoppolo's just going to be dumping it off and being a game manager, like, that's not what I signed up for. But if we can start throwing it deep, if we can be aggressive down the field, then maybe that'll be OK.
But you do sort of feel like-- you feel for Davante Adams here. I mean, again, the whole reason he left a really good situation in Green Bay playing with Aaron Rodgers was to go reunite with Derek Carr, one of his best friends in the world, his college quarterback. And now, Derek Carr is a member of the New Orleans Saints. They get rid of Darren Waller as well in the offseason. They bring in Jakobi Meyers.
But it feels-- and they just signed Josh Jacobs. They just do a one-year deal with Josh Jacobs and the franchise tag. We'll see if they get something long-term established. But it does feel weird, right? That was a team that was really run-heavy last year.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I mean, the thing is, though, is that it's not like he signed-- like, Derek Carr's not a great deep ball thrower. That's never been his game, his archetype. Like, now, he's got a quarterback who is--
MATTHEW BERRY: He's actually-- he's better than you think he is, I would just say this.
JAY CROUCHER: The thing is, is that he was so unwilling to do it for so long. And he--
MATTHEW BERRY: That-- that may be a McDaniels thing. We don't know. But I would push back on Derek Carr not being a good deep ball thrower.
JAY CROUCHER: Well, I just don't think that Garoppolo as a-- I think he's a reasonable facsimile of Derek Carr. And I think they're drastically different. And the fact that you've still got Renfrow, you've got Jakobi Meyers in there. You've got some talent pass catching at tight end. You've got maybe the best running back in football.
Like, it's not like he's just wilting away on what's going to be a dreadful offense. Like, there should still be enough there. I'd be a lot more concerned about the defense in Vegas.
MATTHEW BERRY: It just feels like they're not going to be-- again, right, but Jakobi Meyers is a fine player. We like Jakobi Meyers. And we like Hunter Renfrow-- also a fine player. Both those guys are possession guys, right?
I mean, again, and you think about what Garoppolo has done, the brilliance of Garoppolo-- and I'm using that phrase very casually here. But the brilliance of Garoppolo was in that Kyle Shanahan offense, he's really accurate, Garoppolo is.
And so Shanahan would scheme up all these mismatches where you're putting Deebo Samuel in motion, where you're-- you're getting George Kittle up against a linebacker, whatever. He would create all these mismatches to basically let Garoppolo throw a short pass that was accurate. And whether it was Deebo or Brandon Aiyuk or George Kittle, or later in the season, Christian McCaffrey last year, get these guys that are incredibly good after the catch to get tons and tons of YAC. And so I just-- I sort of, like, get it if I'm Davante Adams.
JAY CROUCHER: I think the worst sign for Davante Adams is how good Brock Purdy looked in the Kyle Shanahan offense, where that just really lends credence to the idea that Garoppolo is a product of scheme. And we haven't seen him really flourish outside of that. So yeah, I mean, just the-- I mean, they play in the toughest division in football. They're the fourth team in that division. It's probably going to be a tough year for Vegas.
MATTHEW BERRY: All of that said, just to wrap this up and we can move on, the fact is that for our purposes, for fantasy football, it sort of doesn't matter.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Like, Davante Adams is going to get his. He is still one of the best wide receivers in football. He still had back-to-back years with over 1,500 receiving yards. He's had at least 1,300 in four of the last five. He's one of only two wide receivers in the NFL to have at least 100 receptions and double-digit touchdowns each of the last two years.
He's my wide receiver six. I'm not moving off that ranking because of he's frustrated. I get it because he went there thinking one thing, and now, the team has gone a slightly different way. We expect Josh McDaniels to once again be run-heavy. And there's going to have to be a learning curve with Garoppolo that wasn't there with Rodgers or with Carr, his old college roommate.
But whatever, he's still Davante Adams. He's still going to get a ton of looks. He'll be fine.
CONNOR ROGERS: Sticking with the theme of wide receivers, Saints coach Dennis Allen said he expects Michael Thomas to be good to go for training camp. Now, this one maybe take it with a grain of salt. We know Michael Thomas has not gotten to play a lot over the last couple of years. He's been dealing with a lot of injuries, as Jay, you see the stats right on the screen right there. I mean, it's just been a long time since Michael Thomas has been a consistent performer because of health.
JAY CROUCHER: I mean, yeah, it's been basically three lost seasons. It should be said that in 2019, he did literally win Offensive Player of the Year and was the best wide receiver in football.
But I mean, that guy, the thing is, is that when he did play this season, like, he looked pretty good. I thought he looked better than expected. Like, he wasn't washed or anything like that.
And the idea of how Thomas can fit into this offense with an upgrade at quarterback in Carr, with Chris Olave, who I think is going to be a bona fide superstar-- I mean, if he's healthy and he's right, then he's going to be a weapon. But there's just nothing to suggest at this point that he can stay healthy.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, I mean-- so I'm going to take you behind the scenes here for a little bit. In the-- we have a group chat for the show. We have a group chat for the show among-- Jay is on, and all of our producers-- are you on this group chat?
CONNOR ROGERS: Just like the fantasy league, I've snuck into this one.
MATTHEW BERRY: Have you? OK, good. So apparently, Connor is on the--
CONNOR ROGERS: I watch from afar and react once in a--
MATTHEW BERRY: Connor is on the group chat as well. So whatever, there's a bunch of us on the group chat. And I was running-- kids were late to school, blah, blah, blah. And I said-- I tweeted something-- I texted something into the group chat. Hey, running late, because of course I am, I am typically. I have a lot of skills. Time management is not one of them.
CONNOR ROGERS: It's part of your brand.
MATTHEW BERRY: Part of my brand. It's on brand for me.
CONNOR ROGERS: It'd be creepy if you were on the call at 9:59.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: I would be on at 7:00.
MATTHEW BERRY: It'd be-- what's going on?
CONNOR ROGERS: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Who-- who's kidnapped Matthew? So-- but anyway, the point is, so I text that. Hey, I'm-- I'm running late. And Pete, one of our producers, texts back, evergreen text, which is 100% accurate and fair. And that's what I feel like about Michael Thomas here.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Oh, Michael Thomas is feeling really good in training camp.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Evergreen, evergreen tweet, evergreen statement that then winds up not being true at all.
JAY CROUCHER: Matthew's on the call at 10:07.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, of course. I don't know why we just don't start the call at 10:07, honestly. Honestly, Steven, why don't we do that?
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Make life easier. But-- actually, tell me--
JAY CROUCHER: Why not start at 10:14?
MATTHEW BERRY: No, no, no-- right, exactly.
CONNOR ROGERS: Yes.
MATTHEW BERRY: You guys should-- you guys internally should say, hey, guys, the real start time of the call is 10:07. Tell me it's 10:00, and then we can go from there.
But I just-- with Michael Thomas, it's like, OK. I mean, again, it has been three years. Now, it's a new quarterback. Again, no Sean Payton there, which is-- who was his coordinator and his play caller when he was a fantasy superstar.
If there's a positive to hang your hat on last year, when he was healthy-- and it was a very small sample size, just three games. But he averaged 17 fantasy points per game in those three games. He had over seven targets a game, almost a 20% target share. They were looking for him early and often.
I don't think there's a fantasy draft in the world where Chris Olave doesn't go five, six, eight rounds ahead of Michael Thomas. I've been wide receiver 35 Thomas this year, which is fine. He's a wide receiver four. He's a flier.
If he can stay healthy, is there potentially some value there? Sure, maybe. But for me, I feel like for my wide receiver four, I'd rather take a chance on, like, this year's Chris Olave. I'd rather take a chance on, you know, Jordan Addison or something like that, somebody that could pop, versus Michael Thomas, who I get it, last year, he was good. But that was before Olave sort of exploded. And you know, I don't know, they also signed James Washington.
JAY CROUCHER: I mean, the one thing is, is that he's-- like, he's 30. He's the same age as Davante Adams, the guy who we were just talking about. So in theory, if he's able to get his body right, he should have a lot of good football left.
And he did look really good when he was out there. But I think you just have to-- you have to see it. You have to see Michael Thomas log on to the call at 10:00 AM.
MATTHEW BERRY: He is-- right, exactly, he is-- he is a close your nose, hope for the best-- you know, close your eyes, hold your nose, hope for the best kind of draft pick. He's no one that I would want to target going into drafts.
CONNOR ROGERS: On a more optimistic note, Falcons running back Bijan Robinson said head coach Arthur Smith "uses me everywhere, from receiver to running back" when asked about where he's lined up in minicamp. Very huge expectations for Bijan, even as a rookie. And this is the type of thing that'll sell even more promise.
MATTHEW BERRY: And I'm annoyed about this. And I'm going to tell you why I'm annoyed about this. Because again, it's all about me. And the fact of the matter is, is that when he was drafted, one of the things I said-- and we talked about this on draft night, and we've talked about it since.
So it's like, I could see them using him like Cordarrelle Patterson. Think about how creative they were with Cordarrelle Patterson in this offense, catching passes, going long, using him in the slot, using him in the backfield, just lining up all over the place. And I'm just like, that's the potential here with Bijan Robinson.
It's not that he's a good running back who's going to get 20 touches. It's that there's going to be lots of creative ways to use him. So that's what I said. But now, Arthur Smith comes out and-- or sorry, Bijan himself comes out and tells everyone this. And it's just like, well, now, I get no credit for that.
It's very upsetting, very upsetting to me. And I know what you're saying. Like, wow, Berry, did you just make this positive spin note about Bijan Robinson somehow about you? And the answer, Jay Croucher, is yes, I did because that's my superpower. That's what I can do better than anyone else in the world-- take whatever subject it is and somehow make it about me.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, Bijan Robinson as a receiver is about Matthew Berry. Yeah, I think--
MATTHEW BERRY: Did I not just accomplish that? Thank you, America.
JAY CROUCHER: There is a chance that we look back on week 10 and be like, why didn't Bijan just go first in drafts? Like, why didn't we see this coming, that this team-- that this is the best team in the NFL that he could have gone to for his fantasy value for this season, with their commitment to running the ball.
I think that was the only team that had more run plays than pass plays last season. And they weren't even a winning team. They were able to do that. And now, they've got the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, if you want to-- you can throw a Saquon Barkley in there as well.
They've got a top two, top three run blocking offensive line. And they should have, I think, a better quarterback situation. It's not necessarily that Desmond Ridder's going to be better than Marcus Mariota. But I think that Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke, whoever is better out of those two, will probably be better than Marcus Mariota.
And then you've got Matthew's man in Kyle Pitts and Drake London kind of spacing the floor for Bijan. I think he's going to be an absolute force.
MATTHEW BERRY: I am not ranking him as my number one running back.
JAY CROUCHER: No.
MATTHEW BERRY: But finishing as the number one running back in fantasy is certainly within the realm of possibilities for Bijan Robinson this year. It is within the range of outcomes, there's no question.
JAY CROUCHER: He is the corollary to what Justin Fields is at the quarterback position, where he might have a higher upside than just about anyone just because we haven't seen it, there's so much variance. But you know, you're going to take Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes over Fields. You're going to take Christian McCaffrey over Bijan Robinson.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, 100%.
CONNOR ROGERS: Jay, you've talked--
MATTHEW BERRY: He's right there. I think-- I have Bijan Robinson at running back five overall. I might be too low.
JAY CROUCHER: It's in play.
CONNOR ROGERS: And you've talked about how he's being undervalued-- forget Offensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year is on the table. And he's out of range right now in terms of the odds.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I mean, he's like, 60 to 1, 50 to 1, that type of range for Offensive Player of the Year. And that-- that's a fantasy football award. That is just if you are the best at your position in terms of standard scoring, fantasy production, then you typically win that award so long as you're on a winning team, and you beat out the other best wide receiver or the best running back.
And Bijan, I think he has a huge fantasy--
MATTHEW BERRY: Right, I mean, two years ago, I think Cooper Kupp won that award, right? Yeah, I mean, like, when he had the monster year. And so--
JAY CROUCHER: That was Michael Thomas in 2019 when he was the best wide receiver in fantasy.
MATTHEW BERRY: And by the way, think about-- just play that out for a second here, right? That's not a division that's unwinnable for the Falcons. I mean, they were right there last year.
I mean, Carolina Tampa Bay, New Orleans are all sort of rebuilding. Like, I would assume the Saints are probably the favorite right now. But you don't feel like, oh, yeah, there's no way we can beat Derek Carr. Like, yeah, I mean--
JAY CROUCHER: They are the favorite. But they're also, like-- I don't know, they're like the 18th best team in football, the Saints.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right.
JAY CROUCHER: So they're very, very beatable. And the Falcons are the second favorite in that division. So they could just go 10 and 7, and Bijan could be the best running back in the sport.
CONNOR ROGERS: Staying with running back usage, your Commanders, Berry, head coach Ron Rivera said he would like to get Antonio Gibson more touches in 2023. The old "we would like to do" Rivera actually said he's intrigued by the way Gibson fits into what Eric Bieniemy wants to do with the offense.
MATTHEW BERRY: And that's the key of it. I mean, the fact of the matter is Ron Rivera can say, I'd like to get him more touches. Ron Rivera is not going to touch the offense. He never has, he never will. Eric Bieniemy, the assistant head coach, and coming in to call the plays, to run the offense--
I interviewed Ron Rivera at the NFL Combine. And you can watch that video on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel. What I will tell you is that when I asked Coach Rivera-- and I said, hey, what was it about Eric Bieniemy that made you think this is the guy to run your office?
And he said, I loved how dynamic he made all the plays in Kansas City and how he was able to spread the ball around, especially getting the running backs involved in the passing game. And so if-- as you sit there and you look at the backfield from last year, JD McKissic isn't there. Jonathan Williams is whatever. Curtis Samuel, they sprinkle it in.
I think you're going to see Brian Robinson in the Isiah Pacheco role, and Antonio Gibson in the Jerick McKinnon role, just to use kind of a very simple, basic comparison, a little bit of a lazy comparison. But honestly, that's-- it's going to be a little bit of that.
Like, Gibson is-- and Connor, we weren't working together at the time that he came out. But my assumption would be is, when he came out of college, you were talking about his pass catching because this is a guy that was more of a wide receiver at--
JAY CROUCHER: It's what Memphis does.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, I mean, like-- yes.
CONNOR ROGERS: Kenneth Gainwell, same mold. I mean, this is what Memphis does. If you're a run-- and yes, he actually legitimately played wide receiver as well. It's the fact that you can be motioned out wide, or you can sit in the backfield, or just be thrown to as a running back.
So the McKinnon, I don't think that's a lazy comparison. I think that's actually spot on, especially when you talk about a coach going to a new place and looking at players that are on the roster no matter what, that he's had success with, the usage should be very similar.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: 46 receptions last year, a 12% target share in a year in which JD McKissic played, like, half the season, off the top of my head. Again, so McKissic's not back. And you know, it literally is going to be-- it's going to be thunder and lightning. It's going to be Robinson and Gibson.
And so given his skill set and his versatility, Antonio Gibson-- because he is somebody that can still run between the tackles. He is somebody that can play in the slot. He can go out wide. They can use him in a variety of different ways. I do think Gibson becomes kind of an interesting later on flier in PPR.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I don't know what you guys thought, but I thought Brian Robinson, even though his, like, yards per carry wasn't particularly efficient, I thought he looked fantastic last season. And he had a top 10 PFF grade for running backs. Do you think that he could add a receiving element to his game? It looks like Gibson is going to get the usage there. But could Robinson be more of a pass catcher?
CONNOR ROGERS: He can catch the ball. And his pass protection keeps him on the field on those downs. So you're looking at is he going to be the guy in the slot that catches the bubble screens or gets the premium receiving back usage? No, but in terms of being a checkdown outlet or a slip screen guy, that is absolutely in the cards for Brian Robinson.
MATTHEW BERRY: And we just don't know what we're going to get out of Sam Howell. But inexperienced quarterback, you would think he might be more prone to dumping off than perhaps a more veteran quarterback that's more used to just getting rid of the ball quickly, or somebody who's more athletic than Sam Howell, that could just scramble out of danger, right? Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, they can just do that, right? Sam Howell's not going be able to run away from a defender the way-- like those quarterbacks could.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: Broncos head coach Sean Payton reiterated the team believes Samaje Perine can play all three downs. We got to see Perine's usage sharing a backfield with Joe Mixon last year, guys. And Payton also said this about Javonte Williams-- hopefully might not start on the PUP. That's not really the most optimistic quote.
MATTHEW BERRY: And that's the thing-- I saw a lot of people-- it's interesting. It's so important to read every single word, right? And I saw a lot of people sort of, like, talk about that quote from Payton about, like, hallelujah, Javonte Williams, he's a great value, blah, blah, blah. Look, you know-- and I'm like, I don't-- read that again.
CONNOR ROGERS: Hopefully might not.
MATTHEW BERRY: Hopefully might not-- you know? Like, there's a lot of caveats. I mean, they signed Samaje Perine to a real contract. Like, not just to be a-- and the Bengals wanted to keep Perine. And he had other offers.
And one of the things that came out once that signing happened-- and I saw this on ProFootballTalk as well, is you know that Payton talked about I sold Perine on-- and Perine kind of corroborated this, that like, hey, think about what I did in New Orleans. I used multiple running backs. I'm very creative in how I use them.
And you think about the heyday of Mark Ingram-- the Alvin Kamara Mark Ingram, not his second stint with the team, but sort of the heyday there, when that offense was really humming. And Mark Ingram had legit fantasy value, to the chagrin of people that had Kamara on their roster.
And so Perine, who had four different games last year where he had double-digit touches, he averaged 21.3 fantasy points per game. The two games that Joe Mixon missed, 248 total yards. And you think about the five of the six seasons, here's just a number to tell you what we just already know sort of anecdotally.
Sean Payton gave 150 or more touches to multiple running backs in five of his last six seasons with the Saints. He had at least two running backs get at least 150 touches five of the last six seasons with New Orleans. So he-- especially given that we don't know when Javonte Williams is going to play. And if he does, they might ease him back in.
Samaje Perine is somebody that again, Sean Payton, new regime, went out and said, like, that's a guy I want. Let me pay him some money. I think Perine, who's-- I think Perine's a good value this year.
JAY CROUCHER: I think that Javonte Williams obviously has more upside and is more explosive. But I would make Perine a favorite head-to-head to outscore him in fantasy this season, just because he might be getting a six-week head start.
And then the other thing is that when you're not giving the ball to Perine with the Super Bowl on the line, like, he's really good. He's been really solid outside of, you know, giving the ball to him with the Super Bowl on the line, which they probably shouldn't have done.
But yeah, I think that Perine's got the talent. And he's going to be a very unexciting pick in fantasy drafts, but a very good pick, I would think, for the most part.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, massive upside depending on how much time Williams misses. And if Williams is healthy, I still think there's a role there for Perine to have positive fantasy value. I like-- I don't know where you'd get a line on that. But I like the bet of Perine to have more fantasy points total for the year than Javonte Williams.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: Moving over to the Bucs, their quarterback coach, Thad Lewis, said Kyle Trask and Baker Mayfield will get even reps during summer practice. There's a little battle here in Bucs camp, Jay.
JAY CROUCHER: Wow, it's been a steep falloff, one, for Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans, who've gone from the greatest quarterback of all time to a quarterback battle between Kyle Trask and Baker Mayfield. And then two, it's quite a steep drop-off for Baker Mayfield as well.
I mean, do you he's just a write-off, Connor, like, versus what he put up in college, where he's a consensus number one pick? Is there just nothing left of this guy?
CONNOR ROGERS: It seems like the shoulder injury he suffered in Cleveland that he played through definitely physically limited him. And it feels like honestly, as well, the mental side of the game has not caught up to the pro level. I mean, he drifts backwards a lot. He runs into pressure. The arm strength is not the same as it was as a prospect in the early Cleveland days.
And I think simply, Baker Mayfield hasn't been a good decision-maker, either. It's unfortunate. And he's-- this is a good offense, right? There's still receiving talent. The offensive line will be better.
But Baker Mayfield should be dominating Kyle Trask in a camp. And the Bucs don't seem to expect that.
JAY CROUCHER: Here's the thing with Baker-- if you want to make the case for Baker, he was really good in his first and third years in the season. I think year two was the Freddie Kitchens year. He was injured year four. He did the shoulder in year four.
And then last year, he gets signed by Carolina. He doesn't have much time to prepare. Then he's on the Rams all of a sudden.
MATTHEW BERRY: Late-- late into camp, he gets signed in Carolina.
JAY CROUCHER: So there is-- like, it's a bit of a stretch, and it's a bit of a concern. Like, he was on Carolina for a while, and he didn't get better, which is the red flag. And he wasn't great in LA either, though he was a little bit better.
So I wouldn't completely put a line through Baker Mayfield. But it's certainly trending in the wrong direction.
MATTHEW BERRY: You have to squint to get there, but you can get there.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: You know, and right, again, like, if there was a-- like, if you were a quarterback in the NFL, and you're like, look, all you have to do to get the starting job is to beat out Kyle Trask, you'd like that opportunity, you know what I mean?
Like, Kyle Trask was a guy that people were somewhat surprised when he was drafted. He felt like he was going to be-- a career backup was the best-case scenario.
CONNOR ROGERS: Or a day three pick that got taken in the second round.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right. I mean, just-- and to your point, there is offensive talent on the Buccaneers. But sort of fantasy-wise, I don't know that this matters.
JAY CROUCHER: No.
MATTHEW BERRY: You know, it just-- like, neither one of these guys-- whoever is the starting quarterback will be drafted in deep two-quarterback leagues, super flex leagues, that's it. Maybe if one of them has some success and they have a good match-up, you could see streaming one of them as a bye week guy.
But just whether it's Baker or Kyle Trask, neither of those guys run. You know, and it's hard to see them putting up in the Tampa Bay offense-- even though they have Evans and Godwin, it's hard to see them putting up massive numbers.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I think if you draft Mike Evans in particular, you're hoping for a trade in the first six weeks of the season or before the season starts. Because it's just very hard to see Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both ending the season on the team-- on a team that's starting Kyle Trask, potentially. Like, those guys have a lot to offer the Saints.
MATTHEW BERRY: It's a weird sort of thing there in Tampa Bay because you're sort of like, well, what are you guys doing? Are you guys tearing it all down or are you, quote, "going for it"? Because they've got some--
CONNOR ROGERS: Timeline's odd.
MATTHEW BERRY: It's a-- it does feel a little bit weird. And it's similar to what's going on with the Raiders, right? You sort of feel like, hang on, you got rid of Carr and you got rid of Darren Waller, but then you also signed Garoppolo to a big deal? And you get Jakobi-- anyway, it's a little--
JAY CROUCHER: The issue there, too, that complicates the timeline is that the division is so bad. Like, they could win the division. Like, this team is a mess, but they're only plus 500 to win the division. And Todd Bowles probably wants to save his job. And if they go 9 and 8, 10 and 7, they'll win the division.
CONNOR ROGERS: Coach trying to save his job, same with McDaniels with the Raiders.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: Very weirdly similar situations that'll be hard to dissect.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: Our final Rotoworld headline-- the "Kokomo Tribune's" George Bremer said Colts coach-- I had to make sure this was real--
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: I thought somebody was pranking me in the rundown. George Bremer said Colts coaches have been impressed by quarterback Anthony Richardson's pocket awareness. That's what you like to see.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. Now, do you think it means-- when he says that, do you think he's like, when he's been doing plays, he feels really good in the pocket, and he's got good pack awareness? Or do you think it's, like, just sort of like, ooh, that's the pocket? Like, he's aware of where it is. Like, he can point it out on-- on film.
CONNOR ROGERS: I think it's absolutely what they've seen in practices in shorts.
MATTHEW BERRY: Got it. OK, that makes sense. It was just a poorly phrased sentence. Here's what I'm going to tell you-- everyone sort of like-- so the reaction on Fantasy Twitter-- I don't know if you guys saw this. The reaction on Fantasy Twitter was, yeah, yeah, yeah, coachspeak, whatever, Anthony Richardson, blah, blah, blah.
But then our friend and colleague Denny Carter tweeted out-- he says, everyone's going to laugh about this until he drops 38 on the Jaguars in week one. And I quote tweeted and I said this-- because I have to tell you, like, 38's an exaggeration, honestly. But Anthony Richardson I think is arguably a top 12 fantasy quarterback from day one.
Again, we know there's accuracy issues. We know there's concern about the arm until he gets more reps and more up to speed. But he is such an amazing athlete.
And because of the rushing in terms of fantasy, think about Lamar Jackson's rookie year. They literally would not let Lamar Jackson throw the ball his rookie year, right? And he came in over the final nine games, he had seven starts. And in those seven starts, he averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game. He was the ninth best quarterback in fantasy over that stretch, and almost never threw the ball.
Jalen Hurts had only four games. And by the way, Jalen Hurts's rookie year, Doug Pederson is fighting with Howie Roseman. It's tons of injuries as well. Like-- they had, like, AAF superstars, where their best-- they had no skill players around Jalen Hurts. And yet in four starts, he averaged 23 fantasy points per game. Once again, the ninth best quarterback in fantasy in his rookie year of 2020.
I'm telling you guys Anthony Richardson, from moment one, the minute he's announced the starter as the Colts, he's a top 12 fantasy quarterback.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: Even if he never throws a pass.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I think it's going to be an incredible sign for Richardson and his fantasy value if they have him as the week one starter, which I think is probably an underdog. You'd probably think they start off with Gardner Minshew.
But the thing to remember is that coaches generally know better than we do, outside of Nuggets-Lakers last night, where Jamal Murray should not have been switching onto LeBron. But outside of that, usually, coaches know better. And if they believe that Anthony Richardson is ready to start week one, then go ahead and bet him to an Offensive Rookie of the Year because he should be second favorite after Bijan if that's the case. And go ahead and draft him pretty high.
MATTHEW BERRY: And by the way, there's other aspects at play here. I-- again, you never like to always quote "Draft Day." But--
CONNOR ROGERS: When you can.
JAY CROUCHER: Well, you're doing it a lot lately.
MATTHEW BERRY: When you can-- we are. But no, I mean, like, the one-- there's much that's wrong with "Draft Day." The one-- "Draft Day." But one thing that's very real is an owner coming to a coach and a general manager saying, I need butts in the seats. I want some excitement. I want the back pages and I want the front page of the sports section in the newspaper. Put that guy in. Do that, do that.
It's one of the things that candidly, with the Commanders, was a huge issue with the Commanders because the coaching staff all wanted Kirk Cousins. But Snyder wanted RG3, like, in year two or three, when they realized-- when you know, RG3 just wasn't right with the leg. And in practice, everyone was like, Cousins is outplaying him every single week.
The point is, is like, there's a scenario where you say-- they may say, coach-wise, you know, we think Minshew is probably a little bit more NFL-ready than Anthony Richardson, where Jim Irsay, who is certainly not shy about voicing his opinion, says, I don't care. We used the fourth overall pick on this kid. He's starting day one.
And there's also a scenario where they say, like, look, is he ready? No, he's not. But you know what the best way to learn? Trial by fire. Just get out there. Just--
CONNOR ROGERS: Right, you have to play.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right.
CONNOR ROGERS: I mean, that was the thing with Richardson at Florida. There was times where they tried to kind of keep training wheels on him there. And it's-- they finally just let him play this last year.
And you look at the second half of the season, the last seven games, touchdown to interception ratio was significantly better. Let the guy play. And I think Steichen and the Colts are going to come to that conclusion after a couple of weeks of August.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, and I think as well-- I think that what happened, the path that Rodgers and Mahomes took, like, that happened to work out. But it also might have worked out if they just played from the start.
CONNOR ROGERS: Right.
JAY CROUCHER: We don't know that. Like, everyone's like, oh, it'll definitely work because they did this. Maybe Mahomes would have just been good his first--
MATTHEW BERRY: And by the way, let's be clear here. In the Rodgers and Mahomes scenarios, like with Mahomes, they had Alex Smith, a former number one overall pick, a very good NFL quarterback, who yes, had led them to the playoffs the year before, right? And then with Rodgers, it's Brett freaking Favre.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: So I mean, like, both those guys-- like, Alex Smith isn't a Hall of Famer. But Alex Smith was an above average NFL quarterback, and certainly very solid. Favre is a Hall of Famer. And so all due respect to Gardner Minshew, he ain't either of those guys.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: So right, I mean, I do think-- yeah, they got to just-- they just got to let him play. And he'll take some lumps. But I'm telling you, as soon as he is named the starter, and hopefully it's by week one, top 12 fantasy quarterback.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
MATTHEW BERRY: And he will develop.
CONNOR ROGERS: Especially in a division that-- I mean, what are you afraid of? The Texans are probably going to start Stroud. There's just not a lot in that division that you're looking at and going, we're so afraid to play our guy.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right. I mean, you know, Tennessee is going to have Tannehill. But--
CONNOR ROGERS: Last year with Tannehill.
MATTHEW BERRY: Right, but they may turn to Will Levis at some point if you believe in-- and then you get the Jaguars, who were a great story last year. And we like them this year, but they're certainly not world beaters at this point.
JAY CROUCHER: No, they're probably a 10 and 7 team.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah.