The second week of the preseason has now come and gone and while we’ll learn the most during the upcoming third week “dress rehearsal,” there was still a lot to take from week two. Let’s run through each game and see who may have gained or lost fantasy value during this week’s preseason action.
Bears 27, Seahawks 11
Justin Fields was again limited for the Bears, as he completed 5-of-7 passes for 39 yards. Cole Kmet showed well again with two catches for 31 yards. For those looking for a cheaper option at tight end, this could be your ticket. The two of them are going to be the key for any kind of success for the Bears in fantasy or reality. This upcoming week will be critical for Fields, who needs to take another step forward, despite a massive lack of talent surrounding him.
As for Seattle, there just doesn’t seem to be much to get excited about. With Drew Lock sidelined with COVID, Geno Smith did what Geno Smith does – check the ball down and attempt to stay ahead of the chains. He was fine, but his ceiling is incredibly low if he wins the job. On the plus side, Travis Homer could have some sneaky value as he again performed well as the passing down back. With injuries to Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker, Homer has taken advantage of his chances.
Patriots 20, Panthers 10
The Panthers didn’t play Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold and instead let PJ Walker run the show. We found out Monday the Panthers will roll with Baker Mayfield as their starter. However, expect him to be on a very short leash as this looks like a make or break year for Head Coach Matt Rhule and Baker himself. As for Darnold, there just isn’t any dynasty value left in him.
We didn’t learn too much about the Patriots in this one. The third preseason game will be very important in determining the pecking order in the running back corps, though. Whoever wins the job as the replacement for James White is nearly destined to have value in PPR leagues this season. Still, this is one of the most historically unpredictable backfields, so buyer beware.
Packers 20, Saints 10
Another game, another touchdown for rookie standout Romeo Doubs, who has done nothing but impress this entire off-season. If you haven’t pounced on him, it’s likely too late. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon didn’t play and comments from the coaching staff indicate this is looking like a 50/50 split this season for these two. If that’s the case, Jones is being overvalued and the window to buy AJ Dillon is closing rapidly.
Texans 24, Rams 20
The biggest Texans news has nothing to do with anyone who played, but more with someone who didn’t – Dameon Pierce. Marlon Mack, Royce Freeman and Rex Burkhead all played while Pierce was kept out. It looks as if Houston has decided Pierce is going to be their starter already and he looks like a tremendous value in early rookie drafts.
The Rams again played mostly their backups, but quarterback Bryce Perkins is clearly pushing John Wolford to earn a spot on the roster as Matthew Stafford‘s backup. Perkins has been fantastic this preseason and could be an intriguing back-of-the-roster stash for managers in super-deep dynasty leagues.
Bills 42, Broncos 15
The story for the Bills continues to be the usage of their running backs. At this point, it seems the Bills are more than willing to use a three-headed committee consisting of Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and James Cook. With Josh Allen siphoning a lot of touchdowns on his own, this is looking like a tragedy for dynasty managers. Let’s see what happens in week three, but this is seriously concerning.
The Broncos are really holding back and it will be very interesting to see Russell Wilson this week as he’s scheduled to make his Broncos debut this week. The Denver offense is really a mystery at this point and it would be a nice confidence booster if we saw some real fireworks from Wilson and Co. this week.
Lions 27, Colts 26
For the Lions, Craig Reynolds (37 yards on seven carries) continues to impress every time he plays. However, he’s buried behind D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams and can only be rostered in the deepest of leagues. Former Charger Justin Jackson (54 yards on seven carries) was also impressive and that muddies the waters even more for Reynolds.
As for the Colts, they sat most of their key players. However, Sam Ehlinger completed 9-of-11 passing for 136 yards and two scores. With Nick Foles continuing to struggle, it’s fair to wonder if Ehlinger could be one Matt Ryan injury away from playing time. Last year’s sleeper Mike Strachan (three catches for 45 yards) is also having another good preseason. He’s not quite worth a roster spot yet, but clearly should be put on watch lists.
Chiefs 24, Commanders 14
The biggest storyline on the Commanders side (and possibly in fantasy football) is the apparent demotion of Antonio Gibson, who played special teams and saw Brian Robinson play as the first string running back. If this continues, Robinson looks like a bargain and Gibson clearly looks like a bust. This is a monster storyline developing quickly.
For the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes (12-of-19 for 162 yards and two touchdowns) looks to be in mid-season form. We were hoping to see a little more from rookie Isiah Pacheco (eight yards rushing), but he has certainly looked the part thus far. Meanwhile, Justin Watson (two catches for 53 yards) continues to have a solid preseason and could be worth a speculative add in deep leagues.
Titans 13, Bucs 3
The Bucs have also kept most of their starters on ice this preseason, though we would have liked to see more from Rachaad White (19 yards on six carries), who can’t seem to shake Ke’Shawn Vaughn thus far.
The story for the Titans continues to be the play of Malik Willis, who is pushing Logan Woodside to be the backup to Ryan Tannehill. Willis had 80 yards passing, 42 yards rushing and one more touchdown this week. If Tannehill falls flat, it’s fair to wonder if Willis wouldn’t get the nod. While he’s a long-term project at the moment, he’s shown some solid upside thus far. Meanwhile, neither Hassan Haskins and Julius Chestnut really distanced themselves in the race to be Derrick Henry‘s backup.
Raiders 15, Dolphins 13
The biggest takeaway from this game was the fact Kenyan Drake played, which we later found out was a major indicator he wasn’t in the plans for Raiders this year. We then found out he’s likely going to be cut. Drake’s future value will hinge on where he ends up and it seems Ameer Abdullah it the biggest winner when Drake gets cut.
For the Dolphins, rookie Erik Ezukanma was solid with six catches and 114 receiving yards. We’ll see if he can carve out a role and if he gets meaningful snaps in the dress rehearsal this week. As it stands, he makes for a decent last round sleeper in rookie leagues.
49ers 17, Vikings 7
The Vikings were clearly not happy with the development of Kellen Mond (82 yards and two interceptions) and Sean Mannion (65 yards), leading them to trade for Nick Mullens. Those holding on to Mond in hopes he was the future replacement for Kirk Cousins can cut bait now. Minnesota also cut Albert Wilson, leaving the door open for Bisi Johnson or Ihmir Smith-Marsette to make some noise this season.
San Francisco played it safe this week, though it appears Tyrion Davis-Price (41 yards) is ahead of Trey Sermon (eight yards) in the pecking order. It’s going to be tough for dynasty managers to keep holding out hope for Sermon, but you can bet a lot of dynasty managers are going to find it tough to swallow after possibly using a first round pick on him last year.
Steelers 16, Jaguars 15
Mitch Trubisky has been solid enough through the first two weeks to hold off Kenny Pickett, but his margin for error seems pretty thin as Pickett was solid again this week. Meanwhile rookie phenom Jaylen Warren disappointed with just three yards on three carries, though he did catch three balls for 24 yards. Managers of Najee Harris should look hard at handcuffing him with Warren.
On the Jags front, the stat that stands out most is the number eight – that’s how many targets Christian Kirk received in the game. When you consider he only played a limited amount, that’s pretty significant. While it would take quite the season for the Jags to get their money back out of him, it seems they’ll do their best to try. Travis Etienne had eight carries in this one but only produced 29 yards. We’ll see what he does this week, but we’ve yet to see the big play from him thus far.
Cowboys 32, Chargers 18
The teams played mostly backups in this one, but it’s noteworthy to see Joshua Palmer have three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. It’s obvious he can play and is in store for a rise in ADP during the season. If you can get him on the cheap, it could benefit you greatly down the road.
Eagles 21, Browns 20
The Eagles gave Jalen Hurts and many of the starters the night off. The star of the night for them was Kenneth Gainwell, who rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown. Much like Buffalo, this backfield could be shaking out to be a frustrating one for fantasy leagues. Gardner Minshew traded his jorts for his helmet and played well. Philly is going to give Hurts every chance to be successful, but Minshew is a very capable backup.
As for the Browns, D’Ernest Johnson and Jerome Ford both continue to look solid. If the Browns try to sneak Ford on their practice squad, it’s highly possible a running back needy team would pounce on him. Meanwhile, Johnson just needs playing time – we know he can produce, but he’s buried behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Giants 25, Bengals 22
Daniel Jones got some extended run this week and completed 14-of-16 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Alex Bachman made a case to stay on the roster with a massive 11/122/2 line, albeit against some deep reserves of the Bengals. The Giants receiving corps is still a mystery and the Kenny Golladay experiment just looks like a disaster.
Ravens 24, Cardinals 17
The story for the Ravens was again the play of Tyler Huntley, who completed 13-of-14 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. In two preseason starts, Huntley has now completed 29-of-32 passes for a completion percentage of 91%. Ninety. One. There is no doubt Lamar Jackson is the past, present, and future for the Ravens, but Huntley has looked the part yet again and seems to be improving every off-season. The other meaningful nugget of note was the play of young tight end Isaiah Likely, who had eight catches for 100 yards and a score in the first half alone. The Ravens love to run the ball, but Likely looks like he’s, well, likely going to get a lot of playing time this year.
Jets 24, Falcons 17
Desmond Ridder was solid in this one, but Marcus Mariota has looked very sharp this preseason, eliminating much of a chance for Ridder to win the starting job. The Falcons running back depth chart is also a mess at this point. While most dynasty managers expect Tyler Allgeier to be the lead back, the Falcons have mixed and matched Damien Williams and Qadree Ollison with him all preseason. The starter in the third game will be of some real importance.
As for the Jets, we verified they are, in fact, still in the league. In all seriousness, there really wasn’t much learned from New York this week.
On to the all-important week three.
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