Player Trends: Week 1

Pat Thorman takes a last look at preseason player trends as we head into the first week of the regular season.

| 3 years ago

Pat Thorman takes a last look at preseason player trends as we head into the first week of the regular season.

Player Trends: Week 1


Isaac RedmanDigging for fantasy relevant bits of information within the mountain of preseason statistical noise can be like losing your wedding ring. It is worthwhile to search high and low, but the process is full of dead ends and frustration. The rewards, however, can indeed be sweet.

As we wait with baited breath for Week 1 of the NFL season to rain down sweet, sweet data upon these stat heads of ours, let us take one last look at some interesting nuggets from the recently departed preseason games.

Jake Locker – Quarterback – Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker has been widely dismissed based on two injury riddled seasons and a hugely inaccurate arm. However, he also is in a good situation calling signals for an offense that is predominantly run based, has a strong offensive line, and boasts plenty of talent at the skill positions. 380 pass attempts in 16 games over two tough seasons is a bit early to give up on a player with Locker’s skill set, especially since he has recently shown signs of promise during the preseason of what many believe to be his make or break year.

While small sample size disclaimers apply, and the preseason needs to be taken with an entire salt lick, the numbers bear out something that esteemed NFL guru Greg Cosell told Colin Cowherd recently while a guest on The Herd.

Locker’s exhibition numbers show the hallmarks of “a managed, controlled player” that Cosell claims to have surprised him the more than anyone in the NFL this preseason.

Locker

PFF QBR

Comp %

Acc %

Yds/Att

Sacks/DrpBks/%

2012

80.64

56.4%

69.7%

6.95

23 / 370 / 6.2%

2013

93.62

67.3%

75.0%

6.90

5 / 61 / 8.2%

Cosell stated that Locker is being coached to rely less on his improvisational skills, and his Time To Scramble figures appear to bear that out. His 5.07 seconds to scramble average during the preseason, versus 4.85 seconds in 2012, may mean nothing or it could be a clue that Locker is playing more under control. Taking sacks on two percent more of his dropbacks (above), as opposed to forcing a risky play, is another potential hint.

An NFL quarterback rating of 99.9 when he has 2.6 seconds or more to throw during this preseason, versus his 65.7 mark in similar situations last year, supports Cosell’s theory that he is more under control when holding the ball in the pocket. His completion percentage was also 19.4 percent higher than last year (74.1 versus 54.7) when he has this extended time to throw. It could all be so much exhibition game generated fluff, or it could be mean far more than that for Locker’s fantasy owners and the Titans’ entire offense.

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Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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