Welcome to the So-Called Fantasy Experts Preseason Weekly Analysis series. In the coming weeks, we will be recapping and forecasting all significant aspects of this year’s NFL preseason.
In today’s article, we only have the Hall of Fame Game and Wednesday’s Texans vs. Panthers game to recap, but after that, we will be taking a look at what you should be watching for the rest of the opening week of the preseason.
As far as recapping goes, we will be helping you distinguish which of the most recent preseason performances are significant and which ones don’t matter. It can be tough to do this, but that is the exact reason why we are here to help. Then, we will proceed into going over through various different categories in previewing the upcoming games. For both the recapping and previewing, we chose to analyze categories of players rather than the games itself, because who really cares about the actual games?
For both the recapping and previewing, we chose to analyze categories of players rather than the games itself, because who really cares about the actual games?
I don’t think much else needs to be said. Let’s start by recapping the first two games.
Preseason Weekly Analysis
Preseason Weekly Recap
Here, we will have two categories: For Real, and Not For Real. The three “For Real” players are ones whose preseason performances (good or bad) actually may, at least to some extent, be indicative of what is to come for them. The three “Not For Real” players are then obviously ones whose performances (good or bad) aren’t indicative of much at all. With the explanation out of the way, let’s start with the “For Real” section.
Note: We only have two games, so the list will be obviously weaker than it will in the upcoming weeks.
Alfred Morris, RB, Dallas Cowboys
vs. Cardinals: 7 carries for 42 yards
Obviously, barely anyone significant played in the Hall of Fame Game, but I wanted to make sure that I chose at least one player from that game and Morris seemed like a good choice. Ezekiel Elliott is still the sure starter once his suspension has been served, but Morris’ good performance proves that he is a must-own handcuff and will be a good option given that Elliott has been suspended for a few games to start the season (pending appeal). Even though the Cowboys have shown loyalty to Darren McFadden, we expect Alfred Morris to win the #2 running back job and start while Zeke is out.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
vs. Panthers: 15/25 for 179 yards, 3 carries for 24 yards and one touchdown
This one isn’t much about Watson’s Fantasy value. It has more to do with the players around him, specifically DeAndre Hopkins. Although Tom Savage is said to be the starter, if Watson keeps playing like this, then he should definitely win the job. Hopkins was held back by quarterback play last year, and while Watson likely won’t be a Fantasy option this year, hopefully, this performance indicates that he won’t hold down Hopkins’ or any other Texans’ Fantasy value this year.
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans
vs. Panthers: 9 carries for 76 yards, 2 receptions for 6 yards
This one was a stretch here, but come on, I had two games to work with. I could have gone with Alfred Blue but I went with Foreman for one reason and that is the unknown aspect. We know who Alfred Blue is, but we don’t know about Foreman’s ceiling. Either way, the battle for the #2 running back job will be interesting just in case Lamar Miller struggles or gets hurt.
Not For Real
Rod Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys
vs. Cardinals: 18 carries for 64 yards, 3 receptions for 25 yards
Remember that no one cares about the Hall of Fame game. Smith got 18 carries but averaged under 4 yards per carry with 64 yards, so he didn’t even play that well. People might over think the workload, but in reality, he is a distant third on the depth chart, at best.
Damiere Byrd, WR, Carolina Panthers
vs. Texans: 4 catches on 6 targets for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns
This one is simple here: my rule of thumb with players that I have never heard of before is that they have to stand out in at least two weeks of the preseason before I begin watching them. Even though this was the performance of the night on the only game of the night, it has no meaning until Byrd shows that he can continue his success
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
vs. Panthers: 2 carries for 0 yards
First off, I don’t even like Lamar Miller. But writing him off after two carries? That is ridiculous! And it happened. While everyone was tweeting about Deshaun Watson’s brilliance, many were also tweeting about how Lamar Miller is now the third best running back on the Texans. After one game. After two carries. Calm down.
Preseason Weekly Preview
For the preview, we have several different categories, and each one is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s just jump right into it.
Matchup of the Week
Seahawks vs. Packers
Now, obviously preseason games don’t matter, but if you want to pick any game to watch just for the football, then it is this one. Here at SCFE, we don’t care to analyze why this is a good game, but we want to see why it can be relevant for Fantasy purposes.
First off, I am interested to see Randall Cobb while he is in the game. He is a bounce-back candidate and it should be interesting to see how the preseason treats him. For the Seahawks, I can’t wait to see how they use their backfield. With Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise, at least one of those talented backs will be in the game for the majority of the game. I will be rooting for some success for Prosise as I believe that he could be really good if given the chance.
However, the biggest story to watch here will be the Packers’ backfield. Obviously, we probably won’t see enough of Ty Montgomery to make a judgment, but I can’t wait to see Jamaal Williams. He is one of my favorite sleepers this year, as he is a talented back in a juggernaut offense with a clear spot to a workhorse role. Definitely be on close watch with Williams.
Ones To Watch For
Usually, this list will consist of at least one breakout from the previous week that we want to see if they can repeat their performances. However, we obviously don’t have any of those scenarios this week, but there are still plenty of options between position battles, injuries, high draft picks, big-money free agents, and training camp stars.
Here are three players to watch for in Week 1 of the Preseason.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Here is a player who’s hype needs to be validated. There is skepticism by everyone, and for good reason. This isn’t due to anyone doubting Fournette’s talent, but it is more due to the fact that he almost seems too good to be true. On paper, his situation looks like that of an RB1, but can it really be that good? It also doesn’t help that the Jaguars haven’t been able to have any sort of ground game at all in recent years. Either way, Fournette will surely be a player to watch.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
No, this isn’t about Trubisky himself. I see no possible way that he will be at all Fantasy relevant this year. It is more about the players around him. Even though the Bears are and will be terrible, players like Jordan Howard and even Cameron Meredith and Kevin White will need solid quarterback play to succeed. Although Mike Glennon has been tabbed as the starter, it will be interesting to see if Trubisky can win the job, as I think he has a real shot to do so if he plays well. Also, it is always fun to watch a rookie quarterback in the preseason.
Although Mike Glennon has been tabbed as the starter, it will be interesting to see if Trubisky can win the job, as I think he has a real shot to do so if he plays well. Also, it is always fun to watch a rookie quarterback in the preseason.
Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins
I basically could copy paste the section on Trubisky, without the rookie part. Cutler was signed on to be the starter this year for the Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill’s injury, and unless he plays so bad that the Dolphins are left with no choice besides cutting him, then he will be the starter. He will be definitely one to watch this preseason, but like Trubisky, it isn’t about him. Players like Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and
He will be definitely one to watch this preseason, but like Trubisky, it isn’t about him. Players like Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and so on need a quarterback to succeed, and it will be very interesting to see if Cutler can hold down the fort.
Stories To Watch For
The Jets Rookie Receivers
Although it is the Jets, they will have a situation with possible Fantasy relevance. It isn’t the Matt Forte vs. Bilal Powell battle, even though that does have its own relevance. It will be the Jets rookie receivers, Chad Hansen and Ar’Darius Stewart. With Quincy Enunwa out for the year and a terrible Jets team that will want to try out its youth. Hansen and Stewart are two talented players who could carve out meaningful roles this season, making them decent sleepers to target late if they play well.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries
Arguably the most important thing to watch out for during the preseason is injuries. You need to keep close tabs on players so you don’t draft someone with a health issue that could linger throughout the year, and you definitely want to avoid being the guy who drafts an injured player. Don’t be that guy. Make sure you keep close tabs on the injury situations around the league.
I’m honestly not sure if this is very Fantasy relevant at all, but it will certainly be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick will land a job somewhere. While he isn’t the greatest quarterback, he definitely at least deserves a backup role, and I believe that at least a few teams could even use him as a starter. Like, come on, he has to be better than Jay Cutler, right?
Position Battles to Watch
Benjamin Watson vs. Maxx Williams vs. Larry Donnell, TE, Ravens
Normally a tight end position battle wouldn’t have much Fantasy relevance, but since the Ravens throw the ball so much, and considering the fact that all three of these tight ends are talented in their own right, the winner could end up being a great sleeper TE2 target. I will be rooting for Watson, but it will definitely be an interesting situation to watch.
Joe Mixon vs. Giovani Bernard vs. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
People mistakenly believe that Mixon has already secured the job. While he is very talented, he will be battling two young running backs with starter experience in this scheme. Whoever wins this job should be vaulted into RB2 status, and even if Mixon wins like expected, it will be interesting to see how the other two running backs play, and more importantly, how much they play. We don’t want to be stuck in a three-headed-monster situation.
Spencer Ware vs. Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
This is definitely the most important position battle to watch this preseason. The winner of this battle is a sure RB2 with huge potential. Ware looks like the starter for now, but Hunt was brought in to compete and he has done a great job of that so far. It is a toss-up at this point, but a toss-up with huge Fantasy significance.
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