Like every passionate NFL fan, I wait for week 3 of the NFL preseason because it is the week that should give us a glimpse into how the team, and individual players will perform during the regular season. Starters typically play half or slightly more than half of a game. In years past, only the few most elite players would be held out of preseason to avoid injury. Teams pay these players a lot of money and they want to keep them healthy for the regular season. I get it, but it seems to be trending that fewer and fewer starters play in the preseason.
Anyway, for the starters that did play, here is a breakdown of what my eyeballs saw:
Tyrod is going to outperform his draft spot by a huge margin this year. As great as Baker is, and he is great, unless Tyrod gets injured or underperforms, he will start the whole season. I don’t expect him to underperform because he was great on the Bills without many assets around him. Now, he has a dozen fantasy relevant players around him. He should be going higher in drafts, and in my rankings. If you miss on a top end QB, consider Tyrod as one of the best options at the end of the draft.
All 3 Running Backs are great! Carlos Hyde being the best of the bunch and a value at the 5th round in 12 team leagues. Hyde is the likely every down back while Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson contribute occasionally, especially on passing downs for Duke Johnson…maybe, unless Carlos Hyde takes over that role completely. Nick Chubb could be a thorn in Hyde’s side because he is a talented runner, but it may take the entire season before it matters to Hyde owners.
Tight End David Njoku continues to be a consistent contributor inside and outside the redzone.
Jarvis Landry is extremely sure handed, and his maneuverability is on par with some of the best in the league. I can’t draft him at his 3rd-4th round draft spot because there is too much talent on the team, and in that spot you can still get a Wide Receiver that is the number one on the team with less competition.
Nick Foles is really bad. How is that guy the same guy that played in the Super Bowl? Yikes. Wentz may not be ready for the season opener. If he is not, then all Eagle players take a hit. Unless, they start Sudfeld. He was worlds better than Foles.
Zach Ertz had a few standard catches.
Wendell Smallwood was the entire offense for the game. Are they trying to shop him? He looked really good.
Tom Brady still got it!
Mike Gillislee performed well, but he’s just trying to stay on the team at this point with Jeremy Hill looking good, although possibly injured, and the rest of the starting cast ahead of him: Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, James White, and Brandon Bolden. Most Analysts like Burkhead, but if I’m going to draft any of the Patriots Running Backs, it’ll be Jeremy Hill or Sony Michel because of what I think their roles will be this season, which is heavily involved.
Outside of Julian Edelman, who’s suspended for the first four games of the season, watch out for Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson. Someone is going to emerge alongside Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski.Taking one of those two might be a decent flier considering the Patriots organizations propensity to score.
Eric Decker announced his retirement.
Cam Newton worried me in his first preseason game. Everyone knows he’s a relatively inaccurate quarterback, at times. He has a great arm and can run the ball well, but he can sometimes throw the ball so wildly that you scratch your head and tilt it to one side. This game dispelled my worries. He’s great. He’s the same usual SuperCam that will be in the top quarterback conversation again this season. He has more weapons and another year in this system.
Christian McCaffrey is Cams boy. He will dump it off to Mccaffrey all day if his reads aren’t there, and why not? McCaffrey is a stud that can take it to the house on any given short pass.
I pass on CJ Anderson. I have seen him. I wouldn’t fill a roster spot with him right now, but he’s going in the 10th round of 12 team leagues, and the Running Back talent in that round is thin. So, I would understand why someone would put him on their team. He has some potential upside, but I don’t see it happening even with an injury to McCaffrey.
Greg Olsen looks back to form, but for some reason I am concerned about his targets and production in 2018. I think it’s more of a gut call than a logical one. We’ll see.
Curtis Samuel, Devin Funchess and DJ Moore all had a part on the offense. Funchess and Curtis Samuel impressed me the most. Funchess is being slightly dissed by analysts this season. I don’t know why he’s being ignored, but after I write this piece, I’m raising him in my rankings. He had a couple of plays that reminded me why I liked him in the first place.
Case Keenum has restored some confidence in the Broncos.
Royce Freeman will be the main ball carrier. Don’t let them fool you with their coach speak. Devontae Booker had an opportunity to show us what he had, but he didn’t have very much. Rookie Running back Freeman should be the poor man’s Saquon Barkley. Although, he keeps rising in drafts. Meaning, he’ll get a ton of carries and targets this season, to the tune of 20 plus touches a game with 3-5 targets.
Demaryius will undoubtedly catch the contested ball, but he doesn’t seem to be quick or creating much separation lately. That shouldn’t stop him from seeing 140 plus targets.
HOLY MOLY! Emmanuel Sanders is a great receiver. Our collective recency bias has dropped him several rounds. He’s almost identical to DT in targets and Touchdowns, and he’s a few rounds cheaper. Yes, please.
Courtland Sutton is going to eat into both of their target shares, but I suspect it will affect DT more than Sanders.
Alex Smith is going to be asked to throw the ball a lot this season. He’s a super talented, former first overall draft pick.
Vernon Davis will fill in while we wait for Jordan Reed to get back to full speed. Deja Vu.
Adrian-All-Day Peterson still has some moves baby! Behind him, Kapri Bibbs looks more impressive than Fit Rob Kelly.
The Vikings new Quarterback, Kirk Cousins looked a bit lost at times on the field. He has so many weapons at his disposal in 2018. Barring injury, he would have to really shit the bed to not be a top 8 Quarterback.
I can’t wait to see Dalvin Cook play, but in the meantime, prospective carry and touchdown vulture Latavius Murray showed off his skills in preseason.
The top two receivers on the team are high end options. Adam Thielen and Stefon DIggs are going to be a powerhouse duo. Thielen reminded me how good he was last season. He showed great catching ability, route running, and power! I wouldn’t mind taking Diggs as my number one receiver this season.
In the background, Laquon Treadwell is getting better at his craft, and it’s showing on the field.
I have a man-crush on Russell Wilson. The dude is so damn good. He can make any scramble play turn into a touchdown. Russell Wilson doesn’t have to worry about considering time in the pocket,usually, so he has to be able to throw on the run. He’s a future hall of famer. I don’t know who’s better, Wilson or Aaron Rodgers? Right now, I have Wilson ahead of Rodgers by a smidge.
Oh, and in case Wilson gets sidelined, backup QB Alex McGough was on fire. He has Chutzpah. I like it.
Rashaad Penny should be back to practice soon. I expect big things from this young champ.
Meanwhile, Chris Carson continues to outperform expectations. At least, he outperforms my expectations. Both Mike Davis and CJ Prosise had some nice plays on a substantial amount of carries doled out to the Seattle runners.
The only receiver that had my eyebrows move was Brandon Marshall. He is going to be a bigger factor on this offense than most people realize. Jimmy Graham is gone. Paul Richardson gone. Doug Baldwin is mildly injured – though, he’s going to be a WR1.
The targets have to go somewhere on this team. They will be dispersed to Baldwin first, the Running Backs second, and Brandon Marshall third, with a sprinkling in of potential Tight End Nick Vannett taking away some targets on occasion.
Matthew Stafford does what he does. He slings the ball. He makes plays. He’s not going to run with the ball, but he will score touchdowns and throw the ball a bunch.
Beside a few drops, Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay had a nice catch or two in their limited play.
LeGarrette Blount is going to start, and do really well. He’s consistently undervalued in fantasy. It seems that season after season, team after team, Blount performs and people are surprised. My eyes say he’s still good.
Kerryon Johnson, I love him. I made a video about him. (Go Watch it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLGYYSmPyjQ) Kerryon is going to get the ball at times. He will get opportunities. The quicker he does well with those opportunities, the quicker Blount is sidelined without an injury.
I’m not being contradictory, am I? I think both Blount and Johnson are studly, but, like the highlander, there can be only one. Ok, maybe there can be more than one, but in terms of fantasy prospects, Kerryon could carve out the 3 down back job and be a league winner this season. Whereas Blount might be part of the Lions RBBC, at best, even if Kerryon doesn’t emerge as he should. Like I said in the video, Kerryon is younger, faster, stronger.
The Tampa Bay Quarterback situation is tough for fantasy football. Jameis Winston would be going so much higher if he wasn’t missing a quarter of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick should fill in just fine, but he’s undraftable. I could see streaming him potentially on one of those 3 weeks if he happens to look good and not like Pickzpatrick. It must suck to have a last name that is so easily used like that.
Peyton Barber was the starter, but I still don’t believe that will stay true for long. Maybe he leveled up. I can’t tell. Once real game action starts it will be apparent fairly quickly.
Ronald Jones is a beast. He caught a nice long pass down the sideline, which is what they say he can’t do, catch the ball. Maybe not, but so far so good. If he can improve in that area, he’s up there with the best of them, a top 20 RB.
OJ Howard has been called for too many penalties. I like OJ, but he needs to be more subtle or not get caught.
I wish you good luck with Mike Evans if you draft him this season. He is a monster of a Wide Receiver. He should have a decent end ranking, but the road there will be bumpy because there are many more targets on the team now, like veteran Desean Jackson, up and coming Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate, and his quarterback’s play will be inconsistent to start the season, at least. The Bucs are in a tough division too. I’d prefer the price of Godwin if I want a piece of the action on a team that is likely to be throwing the ball to save their lives. I mean, to win games. I don’t have any qualms with garbage time points.
Aaron jones didn’t look all that good, and he’s going to miss the first two games.
Ty Montgomery or Jamaal Williams? Who will shake out to be the best runner for the Packers in 2018? Initially I was betting on Ty Montgomery, but my thoughts and feelings aren’t as important as how the coaches want things to play out, which seems to be that according to the Coach, Jamaal Williams will be the starter and main beneficiary of a confused backfield.
Geronimo Allison is going to surpass Randall Cobb, who’s dealing with an injury, as per usual. Allison will be Aaron Rodgers second or third favorite target, behind Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham.
Doug Martin should find ways to contribute behind a top notch offensive line in Oakland.
Amari Cooper is going to be the main focus of this team. Whatever that means, I agree. He can be on my fantasy team this year because he’s going to be peppered with targets. I expect upwards of 140 plus, and maybe even as high as the upper echelon ranges with the league leaders (160-180).
Martavis Bryant had a rough start to camp, but he seems to be picking things up just fine now. I would consider him a late round flier. The floor is zero, but the upside is pretty good. He will be a boom bust sort of player, and ain’t nobody got roster space to waste on that.
Chase Daniel is a really decent backup for Trubisky.
Benny Cunningham is clearly Jordan Howards Backup.
Kevin White is going to make the team and finally play all 16 games….and he will finally be fantasy relevant in 2018. Those are guesses that have a 12.4% chance of happening.
Patrick Mahomes seems like he understands what he is and what is being asked of him, which makes him get a bump in my rankings because he is going to get rid of the ball quickly to his playmakers, while throwing deep and running only when necessary. He looks ready for the Job. I loved him last season, and I like him even more now. I was skeptical to start OTA’s and Camp, but now I’m convinced that he’s the real deal after seeing him again in preseason.
Kareem Hunt can be a top 12 RB this season. He may lose some carries to Spencer Ware. So, he goes a little later in the first round than you would expect based on how he ended last season, as the 3rd overall running back, but that’s because his per game usage was higher than Le’Veon Bell’s, who is usually the league leader in the high 70-mid 80% range. That will regress, and along with his usage his production should regress a bit.
The whole chiefs squad is legit. Travis Kelce is named after a Greek God for a reason. Zeus is a ferocious and unstoppable warrior! I like him as much, if not more than Gronkowski. I’m toying with the numbers to see how likely I think Kelce is to be the number one over Gronk. We’ll see how my rankings end up on Thursday.
I am soured on Sammy Watkins while finally agreeing with Tyreek Hill’s second round ADP in 12 team leagues. He is really fast. Really really fast. So, incredibly, really fast. Talented too. Yet, I can’t see him as my WR1.
Deshaun Watson may be going too high in drafts, but, I grant that he did not play much in this game. This was a very boring game for fantasy purposes.
Lamar Miller “is a 3 down back”, said Coach Bill O’Brien. I’m not sure that’s true, but all we need to know is that the coach believes it’s true. I think Miller see’s the ball 20 plus times a game. I’m bought into that opportunity on a team with a mobile QB.
The only other noteworthy player is Braxton Miller. He was good.
JOHN KELLY IS AMAZING!
I will not be writing about the NFL’s Preseason week 4 games. Instead, I will be preparing to serve you throughout the season by putting my week one rankings together, along with some start sit advice videos.
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