News & Analysis

Fantasy football insights from 'Hard Knocks' episode 4

The fourth episode of Hard Knocks delivered some great Jon Gruden sound bites. The show had a montage of the Oakland Raiders head coach’s signature “knock on wood if you’re with me” and twice showed him counting down from 100 by threes. We also got an epic ending with Trent Brown absolutely housing some candy and sneaking off with a bag of Doritos. Of course, there was also some behind the scenes insight into the Winnipeg field fiasco from the Raiders and Packers preseason contest in Canada. While there wasn’t as much fantasy football intel as we had in previous episodes, we did get a few nuggets of information.

Antonio Brown’s helmet saga looks to be calming down

The episode opened where last week’s left off with Brown on the jugs machine, fully equipped with a league-approved helmet. Brown complained that the helmet hurt his head, but he seemed to be in good spirits for the camera. Toward the end of the episode, Brown was asked about the helmet by a man at a local high school football game. In response, Brown said “I only have one head and one neck.”

Unlike previous weeks, we got no shots of Brown running or catching, so there’s unfortunately no fantasy intel on that front. At this point, Brown’s fantasy stock has stabilized as the back-end of the WR1s. That puts him in the third or fourth rounds of the final stretch of fantasy drafts. It doesn’t appear like the helmet issue will cause Brown to miss any time, but the concern now is Brown’s chemistry, or lack thereof, with Derek Carr.

Darren Waller working hard off the field and on the field

Waller got some more screen time this week and was shown on his way to a 12-step meeting. We got insight into Waller’s history of substance abuse in the last episode. It was a sad story that nearly ended with Waller derailing his pro career, but he’s now on a much better path. While we didn’t see any of Waller playing this week, he’s still in the mix as a late-round tight end option with breakout potential. 

Keelan Doss continues to shine

Undrafted free agent Doss continues to make an impression in Raiders camp. Jon Gruden said he’s getting lots of calls about him. It was Doss’ turn to sing this week. He certainly wasn’t the worst rookie singer of the bunch, but he certainly isn’t going to be auditioning for The Voice anytime soon. 

However, Doss did show well in the Raiders’ third preseason game. Gruden specifically requested that he was on the field and said “I love this Doss.” That takes us back to his days in the booth, but there’s obviously a lot to like about Doss’ preseason play. He’s still a longshot to make an impact in redraft leagues, but he’s more than worthy of a roster spot in deep dynasty leagues. That’s especially true after Gruden said “we may have five undrafted players make the team” toward the end of the episode.

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