News & Analysis

Fantasy football insights from 'Hard Knocks' episode 2

Jun 12, 2019; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Keelan Doss (89) during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The second episode Hard Knocks continued to give us Jon Gruden soundbites galore, but there was also some intriguing fantasy football intel from this behind-the-scenes look at the Oakland Raiders. This week’s episode gave us two interesting takeaways for fantasy football purposes. One of them deals with a big name wideout for fantasy, and the other is a much lesser-known wide receiver.

The Antonio Brown saga continues

We got a glimpse of Brown’s feet, which can best be described as “gnarly.” It’s no surprise he couldn’t run on them. Brown told the details of how the injury occurred, and his account aligned with what has been reported. We also saw his trainer say that the new skin underneath looks good. Of course, in the same scene we saw Brown deciding to leave training camp.

There were numerous quotes regarding Brown throughout the episode. On Brown, Derek Carr said to reports, “we haven’t paid attention to what’s going on.” But went on to say “we miss him and can’t wait for him to get back.” Later in the episode, Gruden sat in a team meeting and asked the room, “has anyone seen my friend Antonio Brown?” In the pregame interview with the coaches and broadcasters for the preseason contest against the Rams, Brent Musberger asked Mike Mayock about Brown. While Mayock didn’t get into the details, he said he’s going to be fine.

Of course, there’s also the Brown helmet situation. The episode didn’t give us much insight on this front other than what we already know. The episode wraps up with Gruden at the podium following the preseason opener. He said, “the helmet thing is a personal matter to him … and we’re supporting him.” As we now know, Brown lost his grievance against the NFL regarding his helmet, and is back in camp. While that’s encouraging, the multiple red flags with Brown make him a risky fantasy draft pick. There’s certainly major upside with Brown, but it’s tough to draft him any earlier than the mid-third round in 12- team leagues.

Keelan Doss gets some screen time

Rookie UDFA Doss saw an early spotlight on this week’s episode. Doss chatted it up with Gruden, who seems to have taken a liking to the you wideout. Gruden talked Doss up, pointing out his ability to make contested catches. Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for Doss, as the camera showed him committing multiple drops in practice. But Doss did get in the end zone in the Raiders’ preseason game.

Doss is a small schooler out of UC Davis who was one of the top players in the FCS over the last two seasons. Doss put up big-time numbers with 115 catches in 2017 and 118 last year. Despite the volume, he wasn't used heavily downfield with a career average of just 12.7 yards per catch. He posted just eight reps on the bench at the combine, but he did run a solid 4.45 40 time at his pro day. He also has NFL size (6-2, 211). While Doss is still a big-time long shot to surface on the fantasy radar, deep dynasty players will want to file his name away. Doss’s productivity at the college level and opportunity with the Raiders places him on the fringe of the deep dynasty radar.

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