The preseason is incredibly critical in dynasty leagues. After all, this is the first glimpse most of us have in regards to seeing our prized current or future rookie draft picks. It’s also the first chance we have to view many veteran players battle it out for certain positions or even a valuable roster spot in fantasy or reality. With the rest of the preseason games completed in week one, it’s time to spin around the league once more and note some of the important performances and their impact in dynasty leagues. If you missed the first installment of this series, make sure you keep yourself in the loop and check it out here.
Steelers 20, Giants 12
Joshua Dobbs got the start for the Steelers and had his fair share of ups and downs going 8-of-15 for 100 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. It’s clear Dobbs is far from NFL ready and the Steelers are going to need to a good job of grooming him this season if Ben Roethlisberger is really serious about retiring soon. Landry Jones should be the backup this season but he’s far from a long-term answer. JuJu Smith Schuster was making his long-anticipated debut but had to leave early with a concussion. He looked solid with a four-yard catch and a nine yard rush but that’s obviously a small sample size and his injury was a quick buzzkill.
As for the Giants, the running game was squarely in the crosshairs this week. Paul Perkins started but gained just three yards on five carries. Meanwhile, Orleans Darkwa was mixed in and gained 18 yards on just three carries. Many have assumed Perkins would just take the early down role and move forward but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Darkwa has been pushing him this off-season and is making a case to take the job for himself. Evan Engram was quiet in his debut with one catch for 11 yards as well.
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Bengals 23, Buccaneers 12
Fantasy owners have been salivating to see the first NFL action for Joe Mixon and they weren’t disappointed as he rushed for 31 yards on just six carries. Mixon looks the part but it’s going to be interesting to see just how long the Bengals stick with veteran Jeremy Hill in an effort for Mixon to truly work hard and earn the job. Hill did just fine in this game too, rushing for 26 yards on seven carries.
For the Bucs, it’s clear Mike Evans is going to have a monster season. He played sparingly and still had four catches for 58 yards. Evans is going to be peppered with targets and could flirt with overall WR1 status this season if he stays healthy and Jameis Winston progresses. Jeremy McNichols ran for 12 yards on just two carries. It really feels like McNichols is light years away from seeing the field as he’s competing with a ton of players even with Doug Martin suspended for the first three games of the year. Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and perhaps even Peyton Barber are all ahead of him on the depth chart.
49ers 27, Chiefs 17
All eyes were on the running back position for the 49ers as most expected Joe Williams to be first in the rotation behind Carlos Hyde. Unfortunately for his owners, this wasn’t the case as fellow rookie Matt Breida came in first and rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries while also hauling in two passes for 14 yards. Williams played well when he entered the game, rushing for 60 yards on just seven carries. Still, this is a worthy development as camp reports of late have indicated Breida is truly giving Williams a run to be the backup behind Hyde. Williams’ ADP is going to start taking a hit here shortly as he’s gone from a player who could start to a player battling to be a primary backup. Breida should be owned in dynasty leagues as a player who is surprising.
Patrick Mahomes II made his debut for the Chiefs and completed 7-of-9 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. It’s clear Mahomes has some dynamic ability but dynasty owners are going to need to be very patient here. Nobody did much on the ground for the Chiefs as CJ Spiller, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Kareem Hunt combined for 21 yards on just 12 carries. The Chiefs just couldn’t get anything going as they lost the time of possession battle by nearly ten minutes.
Jets 7, Titans 3
Taywan Taylor looks the part of pretty sneaky rookie pick right now. With Corey Davis nursing a minor injury, Taylor stepped up with four catches for 56 yards and had a near touchdown called back (he was ruled down). Taylor also added a nine-yard rush and looked electric. I’m not saying he’s going to be a late round dynamo like Tyreek Hill but I’m also not comfortable saying he’s not, either. In short, Taylor’s ADP should be moving up a bit and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start going in the late second or early third round in late rookie drafts. Meanwhile, Derrick Henry piled up 29 yards on eight carries, reminding us he’s a great long-term asset and one DeMarco Murray injury away from tangible short-term value.
For the Jets, it was the Christian Hackenberg “show” as he played most of the game and went 18-for-25 for 127 yards. The Jets played it conservatively with him and he didn’t fare too horribly as a result. There just really isn’t anything to get excited about with him. Robby Anderson caught three passes for 71 yards and that was a highlight for the Jets. Still, there’s not a lot of hope this season for this offense as they really don’t seem to have a good option at quarterback. Elijah McGuire only rushed for seven yards on six carries but did have a couple of nice runs called back.
Rams 13, Cowboys 10
The new-look Rams were without their new weapon in the form of Sammy Watkins but did have rookie Cooper Kupp, who caught two passes for 35 yards and also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Kupp had a knack for simply finding a way to get open in college and it looks like it’s translated quickly to the NFL. Malcolm Brown was the first back through for the Rams after Todd Gurley and it seems he’s primed for the handcuff role. Justin Davis is a deep sleeper who has impressed at camp and rushed for 70 yards on nine attempts but also fumbled twice, losing one.
As for Dallas, it was the Rico Gathers show after he caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Gathers is really coming on strong and while he won’t unseat Jason Witten as the TE1 in Dallas, he’s worthy of a roster spot in a dynasty league as it looks like he could be the heir apparent in a growing, young offense. Darren McFadden started in place of Ezekiel Elliott and ran for 28 yards on six carries. He’ll have short-term value when Elliott is out but he won’t be given every carry with Alfred Morris and others around.
Cardinals 20, Raiders 10
The Cardinals played it pretty vanilla this week so there really wasn’t much to take away from this game. Andre Ellington seems to have transitioned back to running back pretty well but won’t have much value with Chris Johnson around. Brittan Golden caught a touchdown with the first team but don’t get too excited in dynasty leagues – he’s 29 years old.
True to the theme, all fantasy eyes were on the Raiders and their running backs this week, too. DeAndre Washington played over Jalen Richard and looks to be the preferred handcuff for Oakland at the moment. However, he and Richard rotated series and neither were overly effective. If Marshawn Lynch was to get hurt, this would likely be a pretty ugly timeshare.
Lions 24, Colts 10
The original “Kenny G” has always been the most famous of the “Kenny Gs” for his sweet music and range with the wind instruments. Folks, we now have a new “Kenny G” in town and his name is Kenny Golladay. It’s official – the Golladay hype train will now be steaming forward like the Polar Express after Golladay torched the Colts first unit for three catches, 53 receiving yards and two pretty touchdowns. Golladay has been gaining value all off-season and this performance solidifies the hype. He has the look of a late round steal in early rookie drafts. Good luck getting him past round two at this point, though.
For the Colts, Troymaine Pope looked great but Marlon Mack and Frank Gore were both held out. Pope had 31 rushing yards, 25 receiving yards and a touchdown. It’s going to be tough for him to make the team but he’s worth monitoring for the second straight preseason. Robert Turbin is still the most likely handcuff to Gore but he was bottled up and produced just six yards on five carries.
Seahawks 48, Chargers 17
Another team, another running back depth chart to shake out. Thomas Rawls started for the Seahawks and picked up five yards on two carries. Eddie Lacy was the clear backup and rushed for ten yards on four carries. Our Summer Sleeper for Seattle was Chris Carson this year and he didn’t disappoint by picking up 19 yards on six carries and scoring two touchdowns. Carson is pushing for a roster spot and you could do worse for dart throws at this time of the year. Trevone Boykin also looked good as the backup and he should stick as long as the Seahawks are convinced his character issues are in the rearview mirror.
For the Chargers, there really wasn’t much to write home about with Mike Williams on the shelf and the starters playing very little. One player likely being overlooked in dynasty leagues is Travis Benjamin and he served notice that he could pick up the slack if Williams is out for long. Benjamin posted 89 yards on two early catches, one of them going for a 74-yard touchdown.
That’s a wrap for week one of an exciting preseason!
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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