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.
If you missed part one where we reviewed the quarterback issues in Buffalo and Jacksonville, be sure to check out our Dynasty Fantasy Football Preseason Notebook: Week Two, Part One.
Seahawks 20, Vikings 13
Two youngsters are making serious noise for the Seahawks – Kasen Williams and Chris Carson. Williams started against the Vikings and responded by catching two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown, narrowly missing a second score as he couldn’t quite adjust to another ball thrown into the end zone. Williams’ strong showing comes on the heels of his four catch, 119-yard performance last week. While the brakes should be pumped a bit considering the Seahawks were without Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett, it would be a big surprise if Williams hasn’t earned himself some playing time and jumped former fellow Washington Husky Jermaine Kearse on the depth chart in the process. As for Carson, he posted 27 rushing yards on six carries and added a 17-yard reception. While those numbers aren’t anything to write home about, Carson worked with the first unit and rotated in with Eddie Lacy, who wasn’t impressive at all (20 yards on six carries). Thomas Rawls didn’t play because of an ankle injury but it’s clear our Seahawks Summer Sleeper is making a case to make the team and even earn some playing time. In the end, this backfield could be ugly from a fantasy football perspective this year.
For the Vikings, it’s clear they have not one, but two serious, young playmakers. Dalvin Cook is taking the running back job and, well, running with it. He posted 40 yards on seven carries against a solid rush defense and also added a catch for ten more yards. Cook is a dynamic player and narrowly missed breaking a couple of bigger runs. There are concerns about having him in a dynasty league but he’s quickly extinguishing any of those revolving around his athletic ability. Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs continues to evolve and he recorded 65 yards on four catches. If Sam Bradford can stay healthy, these two players could both have great seasons. Meanwhile, Laquon Treadwell is still being treated as if he was on a milk carton as he missed his second straight preseason game, this time with a minor lower leg injury. He’s running out of time to make an impact this year and needs to put it together to avoid another lost year.
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Titans 34, Panthers 27
As we focus on the Titans, Marcus Mariota looked great and handled things like a seasoned veteran. Mariota completed 6-of-8 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown on the day and was impressive in just about every way. Taywan Taylor caught three passes for 41 yards and continues to be a standout preseason rookie performer. Derrick Henry also scored twice for the Titans and even though the stats aren’t great (36 yards on 16 carries, though several of them were in the red zone), Henry is big, strong and elusive. He’s one DeMarco Murray injury away from major immediate value. The Titans offense looks like one on the rise and we still haven’t seen Corey Davis.
For the Panthers, it’s clear Christian McCaffrey is going to need to be on the field as much as possible. While Jonathan Stewart sill looks like the “starter,” McCaffrey is a big play waiting to happen and he posted 72 yards and a score on just five touches just to prove it. The Panthers offense should look a lot different this year with a healthy Cam Newton (hopefully), a healthy Kelvin Benjamin and a dynamic young playmaker in McCaffrey.
Chiefs 30, Bengals 12
The Chiefs should be a solid team again this season but dynasty owners are more concerned about the future right now because both their heralded rookies looked great tonight. Patrick Mahomes II completed 10-of-14 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns and added 29 yards rushing in the process. Mahomes is electric with the football and just missed out on a rushing touchdown as well. The challenge he has is Alex Smith has looked terrific (in a non-exciting Smith-like way) this preseason. Meanwhile, fellow rookie Kareem Hunt posted 40 rushing yards on eight carries and had 23 receiving yards on three catches, looking impressive the entire time doing it. Hunt came in on the second snap, so his damage was against better defenders as well. He’s going to push Spencer Ware for carries early this season and this was big for owners who have risked a mid-to-late first round pick on him.
All eyes were on Joe Mixon for the Bengals and it wasn’t a great show tonight. He rushed for just 16 yards on six carries and caught one pass for 15 yards while mixing in with Jeremy Hill. Those who had hoped Mixon would just seize the job and never look back are likely going to be disappointed. While Mixon should eventually overtake Hill for the lion’s share of the carries, it may take a few weeks or even longer for that to materialize.
Cowboys 24, Colts 19
Darren McFadden rushed for 59 yards on nine carries, caught a pass for four more yards but lost a critical fumble in the Cowboys second preseason game. We saw some vintage McFadden at times and the positive news is he looks like he’s in great shape and very healthy at the moment. The problem is McFadden likely hasn’t done quite enough to take over as a true bell cow back if and when Ezekiel Elliott sits for his suspension. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott (7-of-8 for 106 yards and a touchdown) and Dez Bryant (two catches for 55 yards and a score) look like they could play the season opener in the morning.
For the Colts, Marlon Mack made his long awaited debut and didn’t disappoint. Mack rushed for 45 yards on just five carries and caught two passes for 14 yards, albeit against mostly backup players. Mack is still very much behind both Frank Gore and Robert Turbin. Still, this was a solid start for him and he has two weeks to try to close the gap. He’s a playmaker and it looks like his athleticism will translate. This can only be considered yet another successful night for a prized rookie.
Lions 16, Jets 6
You have to wonder if the Jets were actually given the choice to either play the season or simply get the money they’d receive from ticket sales and merchandise instead, which would they choose? It’s really tough to say because I genuinely feel bad for that defense because they’re going to be put in some terrible situations. Christian Hackenberg started the game and completed 2-of-6 passes for 14 yards. Hackenberg played an entire half of football and could still only muster those 14 passing yards. When you take into account the sacks he took, the Jets had -3 yards passing in the half which is three less than YOU had for the Jets tonight. They also had just two first downs and 43 total yards at halftime. They simply don’t have a good answer at quarterback things are going to get really tough for Bilal Powell and Matt Forte.
For the Lions, you’d think the Kenny Golladay hype train would slow down after he posted just one catch for six yards. However, he played with the starters and if the TJ Jones injury is significant, Golladay could start on opening day. Meanwhile, Eric Ebron is hurt again and it’s getting just a little old for his owners.
Packers 21, Redskins 17
There’s a ton of talk about just who is going to lead the Packers in rushing this year. However, it’s clear this team is going to simply chuck it all over the yard so it may not matter quite as much as some would think. No Packer performances really stand out, though people are quickly forgetting about Brett Hundley. He finished the night completing 9-of-10 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. If Aaron Rodgers was to ever miss time, Hundley would get a great showcase for a future contract as a possible starter somewhere else. The Jets would likely trade most of their offensive roster for him but the Packers wouldn’t want it.
As for the Redskins, all eyes were on the first team offense and it was anemic for the second week in a row. This group just looks out of sync and the dress rehearsal this next week is borderline critical for this team. Robert Kelley posted just nine yards on nine carries while Samaje Perine put up 45 yards on eight carries and also caught a 29-yard pass. Kelley played the whole first half and Perine played against backups. However, this was the first time we could plainly see Perine closing the gap a little.
Texans 27, Patriots 23
The Texans were able to get a nice night from D’Onta Foreman who had just 17 yards and a touchdown rushing, but also posted a nice 63-yard reception. Foreman looks like a nice change of pace for Lamar Miller this year and could turn out to be more in the future. Bruce Ellington stated his case for a roster spot with 93 yards on four catches but he’s still pretty far off the dynasty radar. DeShaun Watson failed to make up any ground on Tom Savage as he only completed 3-of-10 passing for 102 yards. Savage’s job looks safe for now but all bets will be off if the Texans lose multiple games early in the season.
For the Patriots, Rex Burkhead worked with the first team New England offense and posted 20 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and scored a touchdown on just ten touches. This backfield will be impossible to predict moving forward but this was a nice effort from Burkhead. If you think you have the backfield figured out, you’re likely the sucker at the poker table.
Bears 24, Cardinals 17
Jordan Howard didn’t play and should be one of the better players in dynasty leagues this year. However, Tarik Cohen is making his case to get real playing time this year after he posted 77 yards on just 11 carries as the starter tonight. Cohen has been nothing but impressive from the time he showed up in camp and this looks like the cherry on top. He should be owned in virtually all dynasty leagues and has been one of the bigger surprises of the off-season. Mitchell Trubisky was decent again after he completed 6-of-8 passes for 60 yards and a score but he also played behind Mark Sanchez. Unfortunately for Trubisky, Mike Glennon didn’t totally faceplant like he did last week (though he wasn’t overly impressive, either).
The Cardinals played it pretty safe tonight as David Johnson only had three touches. Carson Palmer completed 9-of-14 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown to Jermaine Gresham. Arizona was pretty anemic offensively in general. In fact, they didn’t quite generate 300 total yards in the game.
Broncos 33, 49ers 14
The Broncos quarterback battle should really be over as Paxton Lynch looked anything but sharp tonight as he went 9-for-13 for just 39 yards. Lynch just doesn’t look close to ready and while Trevor Siemian isn’t going to make anyone in Denver forget about John Elway, he simply gives this team this best chance to win. De’Angelo Henderson looked good again with 30 yards on six carries and even added two catches for 20 yards.
Going into the night, most dynasty owners were hoping to see what Joe Williams could do this week. Unfortunately, he posted just one carry for one yard. The 49ers offense wasn’t good at all but quarterback CJ Beathard is making a strong case for an actual roster spot, though he’s far away from dynasty roster consideration.
Rams 24, Raiders 21
In what was once the battle of LA, then the battle of St. Louis and Oakland, now the battle of LA and Oakland and soon to be the battle between LA and Las Vegas, Jared Goff actually looked good. Goff completed 16-of-20 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. Goff looked as poised as we’ve seen thus far and this looked like a huge non-Hackenbergian step forward for him. Sammy Watkins had a deep pass batted away at the last second but caught two passes for eight yards in his Rams debut. If Goff can really improve this year, it’s good news for owners of Watkins and Todd Gurley (eight carries for 38 yards and a touchdown). Meanwhile, Cooper Kupp continues to impress as he caught six passes for 70 yards and the early touchdown from Goff.
The Raiders had Marshawn Lynch (two carries for 10 yards), Derek Carr (7-of-9 for 100 yards, two touchdowns and one interception), Amari Cooper (three catches for 46 yards) and Michael Crabtree (one catch for 13 yards and a score) on the field for the first time together. This offense could be scary once everything starts clicking. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are simply not going to be able to separate from each other and that’s certainly frustrating in dynasty leagues.
We’ll be back to cover the last three games at their conclusion tomorrow.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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