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Preseason News and Notes: Week 1

Tue Aug 13 1:47pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Daniel Jones has great debut


Fantasy football season is quickly approaching. We have already had our first week of preseason action. Each week we will give a recap of the preseason games, giving you a look at some of the most important fantasy notes coming from the action. So without further ado, here is our look at this past week. . . . . . 

The big news from camp this week is all the drama surround Raiders receiver Antonio Brown. He is still dealing with his nasty foot injury and is yet to return to practice. But the other news is Brown is bent out of shape over not being able to use his old helmet. He actually threatened retirement over the issue, but has since recanted after losing his appeal. Either way, you have to worry about all the craziness surrounding Brown. Is he worth a high draft pick? He could end up being a boom or bust pick for fantasy teams. 

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had a great debut in New York, causing quite the buzz. He was a perfect 5-of-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown. Jones showed why the Giants used a first-round pick on him, hoping to have found their quarterback of the future. Sure, this was just one preseason game, but it was an encouraging performance from a pick that was really questioned on draft day. Jones could be moving closer to unseating Eli Manning as the starter. 

The Browns got great results from their first-team offense, seeing Baker Mayfield easily move the team down the field. Mayfield was 5-of-6 for 77 yards and a touchdown. He looked great and ready to take the big step forward many hope he will this season. Mayfield is getting a lot of fantasy love in early drafts and this showing could boost his stock even more. Mayfield looks ready to explode.  

It is looking more and more like a true timeshare in Denver this year. Second-year back Royce Freeman has looked very good camp and carried that over to his first preseason game, rushing three times for 49 yards. Phillip Lindsay had a breakout rookie year but don’t discount Freeman to get a lot of work this season. He is ready to take a big step forward in year two, splitting work with Lindsay at the running back spot. 

Rookie running back Devin Singletary had nine carries for 27 yards and three receptions for 21 yards in his first preseason action. The Bills are getting the rookie back a lot of early looks in the running and passing game. He has a chance to play a big role this season, especially if the veteran backs ahead of him show any signs of slowing down. It would not be a surprise to see Singletary starting at some point this season for the Bills. 

There are reports in Steelers camp that receiver James Washington is falling behind Donte Moncrief in the race for the starter’s job in Pittsburgh. Washington had a great showing in the first preseason game, though, catching four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. We would not count Washington out to start just yet. He is the younger option of the two with more longterm potential. Keep him on your radar the rest of camp and preseason action. This is a position battle to watch for fantasy teams. 

The rookie receiver that is supposed to be the difference maker for the Seahawks this year is D.K. Metcalf. But for now, undrafted rookie Jazz Ferguson is the rookie making waves for Seattle. He had four receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener. Ferguson is a huge target with plus speed. He has a chance to not only make the roster but be the most productive rookie receiver for the Seahawks if he keeps progressing. 

Another undrafted rookie receiver that is playing well is Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers. He is actually outplaying N’Keal Harry at the moment, performing better than the first-round pick in camp and preseason action. Meyers was the top receiver for the Patriots in their first game, catching six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. You never know with Patriots receivers but Meyers could be playing his way into a role with the Patriots this season. Put him on your radar for a late-round pick.

Don’t forget about Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert come draft day. He might be No. 2 on the depth chart but he is going to get his chances and if Zach Ertz were to get hurt, Goedert’s fantasy value would skyrocket. He had three receptions for 50 yards in the Eagles first preseason game. Goedert just makes plays. He has value as a backup tight end for fantasy teams.  

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
D.K. Metcalf Sep 19 7:30pm ET

When the Seattle Seahawks drafted wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in the second round of this year's draft, there was a ton of criticism about how Metcalf was nothing but a workout warrior. However, head coach Pete Carroll was enthralled by Metcalf's size and speed combination. He's been searching for that type of receiver for years, trying out the likes of Sidney Rice, Brandon Marshall, and others. None have been the right fit for long, but so far, Metcalf has been fantastic. Metcalf will get another chance to prove the doubters wrong when he faces a soft Saints secondary on Sunday. He should have no problem racking up some more points.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Renfrow Sep 19 7:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow has made a mark in the team's offense, leading the team with eight targets in Week 2. He'll look to follow that up this week as the squad travels to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a game that will likely force more pass attempts from Derek Carr. With Tyrell Williams drawing coverage from All-Pro Xavier Rhodes, the field could open up more for Renfrow who's starting to become a weapon underneath the secondary. He's too risky to start in DFS and redraft leagues, but with another solid showing, he could be a sneaky option in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Sep 19 7:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly caught his first touchdown of the season last Sunday, and it was quite the relief for him. Dissly doubted that he'd ever play in the NFL again after he tore his patellar tendon last September, and the concern jumped up again when he left the team's Week 1 game early due to banging knees with a teammate. Now, it looks like he might be able to find a regular spot in the rotation of the offense. Dissly ended up hauling in two touchdowns in the win against Pittsburgh, and suddenly, teams are going to have to start scheming for him. With Seattle looking like they'll have no problem reaching the red zone regularly, expect Dissly to be a big, attractive target for Russell Wilson.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Richard Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is firmly planted as a distant backup to Josh Jacobs this season after dominating touches for the offense in 2018. He's picked up just five touches through two games so far for a total of eight measly yards after leading the team with 68 receptions a year ago. Richard was a valuable pass-catcher last season, but with more weapons added to the passing game, it appears Richard is starting to fade away in this offense. Jacobs is dealing with a hip issue as well as an illness so he may see a few more touches this week versus the Vikings, but he carries no standalone value in any format. Unless Jacobs misses significant time, Richard can be ignored for fantasy purposes.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny led the team in rushing last week, but it was really because of one big run that he got fortunate on. Penny lumbered 37 yards for a touchdown on a broken play where he cut back to the other side of the field and used lead blocker Russell Wilson to make way for him. Outside of that single run, Penny has carried the ball 15 times for 43 yards in the first two weeks, averaging less than 3.0 YPC. While starter Chris Carson has been catching some passes, Penny has caught just one for three yards. At this point, Penny needs to hit a huge run to matter. Outside of that, he continues to be a disappointment.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Coming off a big week where he snagged 10 passes for 79 yards, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett gets to face another one of the softest secondaries in the league. So far, wide receivers have scored the sixth-most fantasy points against the Saints Defense this season, and Lockett's quickness and route running should keep the passes headed his way. Lockett has received a surprising amount of support from teammate D.K. Metcalf after many thought Metcalf wouldn't be useful, and Metcalf's presence has freed up Lockett to juke and slide his way through coverage with ease. Seattle's offense is always one where the ball can go anywhere, so he's not a lock, but it looks like it should be another good week for Lockett owners.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Sep 19 7:10pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told the media on Wednesday that he's sad that Drew Brees won't be out there on the field on Sunday. Wilson mentioned that he's close friends with Brees, who he also said is one of his favorite players of all time. Wilson will instead be facing off against Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, though it will likely be the New Orleans defense that he's paying more attention to. The Saints Defense has struggled so far, and Wilson has been lights out up to this point. Completing 78% of his passes and racking up five touchdowns through the first two games, owners should expect another consistent performance by Wilson in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Sep 19 7:10pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson will be facing the best run defense he's seen this year when he welcomes the Saints to Seattle on Sunday. That said, the biggest thing that may help pad Carson's stats is the lack of Drew Brees in the New Orleans huddle. Without Brees, the Saints enter the game as a four-point underdog, and if Seattle can get out to a fast start, Carson could see a considerable amount of ground work later in the game. The coaching staff has made good on their promise that Carson would see more work through the air too, and he's already racked up nine catches for 61 yards and a score over the first two weeks. Expect to see a lot of opportunities again on Sunday, and he should be able to put up solid numbers.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Sep 19 6:40pm ET

When the Los Angeles Chargers signed 36-year-old linebacker Thomas Davis over the offseason, the question was whether he would still have it. That seems to be clear now. After two weeks, Davis is tied with former Defensive Player of the Year and former teammate Luke Kuechly for the league lead in tackles. It's been a blessing that the Davis signing has worked out so well since the Chargers Defense is riddled with key injuries. After losing Derwin James before the season, LA lost Adrian Phillips in the Detroit game. The continued losses means it's a tough sell to believe the Chargers defense can hold up against Deshaun Watson and company, but Davis will certainly be leading the charge.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Sep 19 6:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams will be facing off against his college teammate Deshaun Watson for the first time as a pro on Sunday. Obviously, the two won't be going head-to-head on any given snap, but it will be the first time they've been on opposite sidelines on the field. Williams and Watson gained national attention their starring duo helped lead Clemson to a national title in 2016, and they're still close friends. Williams will be trying to build on his career-high 83-yard game from last week, and he'll be facing a secondary that has struggled so far. Williams is still a home run play because Keenan Allen is the man in LA, but owners should be prepared for Williams to break out in any game.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Sep 19 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams should be benched by fantasy owners this week. The running back position has been dominated by Aaron Jones, even though Williams has been more involved in passing plays. However, the Packers are the home favorite, meaning that they are unlikely to be utilizing Williams' pass-catching ability. Fantasy owners should still hold Williams on their roster, but he doesn't hold much fantasy value this week.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Sep 19 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams faces a tough personal matchup this week. Adams is likely to find himself matched up against one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Chris Harris Jr. Harris was effective last week in limiting the impact of Chicago Bears lead receiver Allen Robinson. However, Robinson isn't as talented at running routes as Adams and has an inferior quarterback throwing him the ball. Adams is an elite talent, therefore meaning he is effectively a must-start every week, but this week the matchup means his upside is limited and Aaron Rodgers may look for easier matchups.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Sep 19 6:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas may be missing his starting quarterback, but that shouldn't stop the fourth-year wide receiver from contributing in a potentially juicy Week 3 matchup against Seattle. Teddy Bridgewater peppered Thomas with targets last week after Brees was forced to leave the game due to injury, and there's no reason to believe the game plan will change without the Saints No.1 quarterback under center. Seattle has allowed a downright ugly 575 yards through the air so far this season, so moving the ball should not be an issue for the Saints. Expect Thomas to get his usual 10-plus targets this week, slotting him in as a low-end WR1 even with the loss of his starting quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues his series of tough matchups this week against the Denver Broncos. Rodgers flashed at the start of last week's matchup but struggled as the game progressed, as well as appearing to suffer some type of arm injury in the game. The Broncos are one of the better units against the run this season, so the Packers may have to rely on Rodgers' arm to get things done. However, the Broncos are one of the more effective units against quarterbacks this season, giving up just 10.1 points to the position. Rodgers should be an effective fantasy option this week, but he doesn't have week-winning upside.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is a must-start this week against the Denver Broncos. Jones was highly effective as a battering ram all game for the Packers in Week 2 and is likely to be used the same way for this matchup. Jones is clearly the lead back in the offense with over double the touches of teammateJamaal Williams. The Broncos have shown their ability to limit running back production so far this season, limiting rushers to an average of 3.47 yards per carry and three touchdowns. However, this week the Broncos will not be able to stack the box while facing Aaron Rodgers. As a home favorite, the game script should allow Jones to be involved throughout the game, making him a must-start for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Sep 19 6:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith may ultimately wind up suiting up Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, but he certainly isnt trending in that direction after having been held out of practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Additionally, even if Smith is able to get on the field, hell be dealing with a new signal caller, as Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill are expected to see the snaps under center with Drew Brees sidelined. When factoring in the absence of Brees, Smiths inability to practice, and his competition among his fellow wideouts, he appears to be safe to avoid in any fantasy capacity come Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is in for another challenge on Sunday as he faces a Texans Defense that has been better than either of the teams he's faced so far this season. That said, Ekeler has been electric this year, and he is still a sure start in every league. Ekeler has successfully killed Melvin Gordon's bargaining position so far by putting up back-to-back 130-yard games with four touchdowns. He also lost a critical fumble in last week's game against Detroit, but hopefully, that's a lesson learned. So far, Ekeler looks like he could end up being one of the top backs in the league this year.

From RotoBaller

Justin Jackson Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson has become the new Austin Ekeler. Not the 2019 version of Ekeler that is blowing up and costing Melvin Gordon millions of dollars. The 2017 and 2018 version of Ekeler that worked as the change-of-pace back and put up gaudy YPC numbers while Gordon did the dirty work. Jackson is currently averaging a ridiculous 8.9 YPC, but he's only carried the ball 13 times in two games. He's also caught a couple of passes so far. The problem with a back in Jackson's position is that his success is unpredictable because he'll be entirely dependent on touchdowns, and he hasn't scored any yet. Owners in deep leagues can roll the dice on Jackson, but he's a home run play for now.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Sep 19 5:50pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is set to start his 211th consecutive game on Sunday when the team faces the Texans. That start will pass Eli Manning and give Rivers sole possession of second place on the all-time Iron Man list behind Brett Favre. While the accomplishment was always going to be noteworthy, it is especially magnified this week since Manning just got benched and Ben Roethlisberger, Rivers' other famous draft classmate, was placed on IR this week with an elbow injury. Rivers will match up against a Texans Defense that hasn't looked as intimidating as in years past, and owners should expect him to put up excellent numbers once again.

From RotoBaller

Taysom Hill Sep 19 5:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater saw ample playing time during the teams Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after he replaced the injured Drew Brees. Bridgewater finished 17-for-30, and while he did not commit a turnover, he was unable to lead New Orleans into the end zone. Despite that, Bridgewater appears in line to start Sunday on the road against Seattle, although Taysom Hill may throw a wrench into those plans. New Orleans offensive Swiss army knife has been utilized essentially everywhere but as a passer this season, but head coach Sean Payton has left the door open for both men seeing considerable snaps. With that in mind, rostering either man seems a difficult proposition until theres further clarity to the situation.

From RotoBaller