Tue Aug 20 5:24pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Murray struggled last time out
It is hard to believe, but we are already halfway through the preseason schedule. There are just two weeks left before some real football. But before that happens, there is a lot to be decided. Below is the latest look from around the league, taking a closer look at the preseason games in Week 2 and what it means to fantasy owners.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray had a decent first game but had a rough showing his second time out. Murray was just 3-of-8 for 12 yards and was sacked twice. He missed on some throws and looked tentative in the pocket. It shouldn’t be a huge a surprise he had some struggles, though. He is a rookie and is playing in an offense that isn’t the best. Fantasy teams might want to temper their expectations a little with the rookie quarterback.
Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders played in his first game of the preseason, trying to return from his torn Achilles’ tendon. Sanders looked good in his return, showing off the speed from past years. He ran once for 19 yards and caught a pass for five yards. Sanders is making a strong recovery and should be ready for Week 1.
Patriots rookie running back Damien Harris got a big workload in the second preseason game and did well with his chances. He had 14 carries for 80 yards and caught four passes for 23 yards. Harris could be playing his way into a role with the Patriots for the coming year. There could be a logjam at running back for the Patriots this year with several quality options on the team.
Former rugby star Christian Wade continues to make plays with his chances. He ran twice for just four yards but had a reception for 48 yards. It seemed like he might be a long shot to make the roster at first but Wade is playing well. He could crack the roster to start the year and eventually carve out a speciality niche with the team.
Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard is alleviating some of the worries about Ezekiel Elliott holding out. Pollard had a great game his last time out, rushing five times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for nine yards. He is proving capable in a starting role, which could make it harder for the Cowboys to cave in to Elliott’s demands. We’ll see.
Patriots rookie receiver Jakobi Meyers continues to make his presence known. He led the Patriots in receiving again, catching six passes for 82 yards. He is outplaying first-round pick N’Keal Harry despite not even being drafted. Meyers is making a strong case to not only make the roster but earn playing time for a shallow receiving corps.
All the talk in Steelers camp is Donte Moncrief currently is the starter opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster. James Washington is making a push, though, especially after his last preseason game. Washington had four receptions for 78 yards. Don’t discount Washington for the starter’s job just yet. He still has a legit shot to earn it before the preseason is over.
The Bills signed receiver Cole Beasley this offseason to take over a slot receiver role with the team. He seems to have quickly become a favorite target of Josh Allen. Beasley had five receptions for 44 yards their last preseason game. Beasley could really rack up the receptions in this offense.
Bucs tight end Tanner Hudson had another huge game, finishing with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. He has been the talk of camp for the Bucs but still isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot because the team is deep at the position. He is a player to keep an eye on, though, if he makes the team. He could push Cameron Brate for the No. 2 job.
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a preseason debut to forget. He was 1-of-6 with an interception. This comes after reports of Garoppolo throwing five interceptions in practice earlier in the week. He obviously has a ways to go to get back to his old self, returning from a torn ACL. He could have some issues early in the season.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Waiver Wire Adds: Week 4
New York Jets running back Kalen Ballage has only three rushing attempts on the season, but was able to produce some PPR value last week. Ballage rushed two times for eight yards and caught five passes for 44 yards through the air in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He was heavily used as the receiving back, but fantasy owners shouldn't trust that will happen every week. He's a desperation flier option against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) was limited during Tuesday's practice. He has been unable to play each of the last two weeks, but is desperately needed on the Jets offense. He looked solid during their Week 1 contest, but sadly has been sidelined with a hamstring issue since then. It's a short week with the Jets facing the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. It's possible that Crowder takes the field, but more information probably won't be known until closer to game time. Fantasy owners should be able to count on Crowder as a low-end WR3, assuming he returns for Week 4.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore has been heavily involved in the offense over the last few weeks. He saw 15 carries for 57 yards in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week. He is expected to continue carrying the ball quite a bit with Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) still sidelined. The veteran running back has been doing his best, but isn't a reliable option in 12-team leagues right now. He could have some value in deep leagues versus the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine has been unable to find much room to run early in the season. He made his NFL debut in Week 2, but hasn't been able to impress the team. Perine has 10 rushing attempts for 41 yards through two games. He'll have a tough challenge against the Denver Broncos who allowed 2.7 yards per carry against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Perine has some stashing value, but won't be worth using against the Broncos elite run defense.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is coming off his worst performance of the 2020 campaign. He completed 17 of 29 passing attempts for 168 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Darnold has not looked sharp all season long, but it's not all his fault. The Jets are without star running back Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) and both their top receivers are banged up. Darnold does not have much upside right now and should be ignored in basically all formats for Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) intends to play when he's eligible to come off the Reserve/Injured list in Week 5.
Fantasy Spin: Bell would be a midrange RB2, but his value is starting to plummet after a poor season last year and a rough start to '20.
Free-agent DT Timmy Jernigan (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Denver Broncos Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said that he expects wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. (back, chest) to be a limited participant in practice on Wednesday after he missed the team's Week 3 game last Thursday. Barring any setbacks this week, it looks like he'll return to action this Sunday against the Bengals. The Jags passing attack looked lost against Miami last week without Chark in the fold, so he should see a decent amount of targets from quarterback Gardner Minshew II this week. Rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and Keelan Cole have had their moments in the first three weeks, but Chark remains the team's No. 1 passing option when he's healthy. Consider him on the WR3/flex radar for Week 4.
The Philadelphia Eagles placed rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday, and the first-round pick is expected to be out for more than three weeks. The Eagles are hoping that Reagor can return after their Week 9 bye, so the speed demon can likely be dropped in shallow leagues if you don't have room to stash him. Philly's offense is really beat up with injuries to Alshon Jeffery (foot) and Dallas Goedert (ankle), while DeSean Jackson is also dealing with a nagging injury. Greg Ward Jr. is worth a waiver-wire pickup heading into Week 4 against the 49ers, but both he and D-Jax will be boom/bust WR4/flex options in deeper leagues. Zach Ertz has high-end TE1 potential.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (hamstring) is considered a long shot to play in Week 4 against the Bills due to a lingering hamstring injury, according to a source. The first-rounder shouldn't be out for an extended amount of time, but it's a concern for a player that relies heavily on his speed. Ruggs is also dealing with a knee ailment, and both injuries are a concern to the team. The rookie also sat out last week, so you'll need to temper expectations for the speedster when he gets back on the field. With fellow rookie Bryan Edwards also out this Sunday, it should be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor in three-wide sets against a tough Bills Defense. The only pass-catcher for Las Vegas that you should be starting is tight end Darren Waller.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 4 against the Bills as he battles an ankle sprain, according to a source. Edwards is considered week-to-week moving forward. There's a chance that the No. 81 overall pick in this year's draft misses additional games. Fellow rookie Henry Ruggs III missed last week with an injury, so the Raiders could be short-handed at the position in a tough matchup this Sunday. If both rookies are inactive, it would be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones and Nelson Agholor in three-wide sets. Tight end Darren Waller figures to dominate the passing-game targets yet again, and he's really the only pass-catcher of this group worth using in starting lineups for Las Vegas.
Washington Football Team rookie pass-rusher Chase Young (groin) suffered a moderate groin strain in the Week 3 loss to the Browns and is expected to be out in Week 4 against the Ravens, according to sources. The No. 2 overall pick already has 2.5 sacks in his first three games, but he's considered week-to-week at this point. The former Ohio State star has asserted himself at the next level right away and has become relevant in IDP leagues right off the bat, but you'll have to look elsewhere this week and possibly next. Against a high-powered Baltimore offense that is looking to bounce back after losing to the Chiefs on Monday night, Washington's defense shouldn't be in anyone's starting lineup this weekend, especially with Young on the sidelines.
An MRI exam on Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) on Tuesday confirmed a mild hamstring pull, according to a source. Godwin will be out for Week 4 against the Chargers and could also miss next Thursday's game against the Bears, but he shouldn't be out much more after that. You'll obviously need to sit Godwin on your bench if you roster him. In two games in 2020, the 24-year-old has been productive with 11 catches on 13 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown. His absence will mean more looks for both Mike Evans and Scotty Miller. Evans is a must-start each and every week, while Miller will become a flex sleeper in deeper PPR leagues.
Edwards is expected to be sidelined for the Raiders' Week 4 game against the Bills after spraining his ankle in Sunday's 36-20 loss to the Patriots, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) has a mild hamstring pull that will keep him out for Week 4.
Fantasy Spin: He could also miss Week 5 since it's on Thursday night. Justin Watson, who had two catches for 48 yards last week, figures to be a hot pickup on waivers. He'll be a flex option if Scotty Miller (hip, groin) continues to be ailed.
Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson had more snaps, carries and yards than the rest of the team's backfield in the Week 3 win over the Cardinals. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell made it sound as though Peterson could wind up being the lead back for the team in the immediate future. Detroit went with a committee approach the first two weeks, but AD played 40 snaps last Sunday and carried the ball 22 times for 75 yards while also catching a pass for 10 yards. Bevell was the future Hall of Famer's coach back when he was with the Vikings, so they have some history. Peterson has outperformed rookie D'Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson, so the younger backs will continue to spell him in certain situations. Peterson doesn't have a ton of upside left towards the end of his career, but he'll be in the RB3/flex consideration because of his secure role as the leader (for now) of this backfield.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen has 20 receptions on 29 targets for 228 yards and a touchdown in the two games QB Justin Herbert has started.
Fantasy Spin: Allen's production was expected to dip a bit this season with the departure of Philip Rivers, but with Herbert looking his way early and often, Allen seems poised to stay in the low-end WR1, high-end WR2 mix.
Dallas Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson caught five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3, but Todd Archer of ESPN.com believes Wilson won't be 'anything more than a bit piece' of the offense going forward.
Fantasy Spin: Wilson didn't have a target coming into Week 3, and he is still the No. 4 or No. 5 option in the passing game, at best. Don't overreact and waste a waiver claim on Wilson after one big performance against a terrible Seattle secondary.
Detroit Lions RB Adrian Peterson will continue to see a heavy workload, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Tuesday, Sept. 29. 'He wants the ball, we want him to have it, and we'll just keep continuing to go there,' Bevell said.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson has 43 carries for 209 yards through three games, rushing 22 times in Week 3. Peterson is a volume-based flex play in his current role, but it would be a surprise if rookie D'Andre Swift doesn't see more touches as the year goes on.
Free-agent DT Myles Adams (Panthers, DB Damarious Randall (Raiders), DT Kobe Smith (Titans) and LB Tim Williams (Packers) tried out for the Seattle Seahawks Tuesday, Sept. 29.