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.
The third week is always the most important in the preseason. After all, this is where we get to see the “dress rehearsal” from just about every team. In addition, all the speculation about some of the rookies and younger players actually getting meaningful playing time in the regular season comes to light a little more as we see if they’re mixed in with the starters this week. We’re breaking this out into several parts this week so you can stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings. We started with all the early action in Dynasty Fantasy Football Preseason Notebook: Week Three, Part One and Dynasty Fantasy Football Preseason Notebook: Week Three, Part Two.
Let’s review Saturday’s action.
Giants 32, Jets 31
The Giants have been looking for Paul Perkins to do something positive to give them some faith in him moving forward and he took a nice step forward with 33 yards on six carries. Perkins looked by far the best he has all preseason and has seemingly held off Orleans Darkwa (21 yards on seven carries), Wayne Gallman (43 yards on 12 carries) and anyone else for the starting job. However, don’t expect him to be a true bellcow at the beginning of the year. Elsewhere, Evan Engram continues to improve each week and had two early catches for 32 yards. The Giants let Odell Beckham (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (shoulder) wisely have the night off. If either of those two miss the beginning of the season, Sterling Shepard (47 yards on two catches) clearly looks like a top option in the passing game. Shepard makes for a nice buy low candidate in dynasty leagues at the moment. He’s almost assuredly going to take a step back statistically this season but still has a bright future.
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You have to feel for the Jets. They started the ghost of Christian Hackenberg and he responded by going 12-of-21 for 126 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Don’t let the numbers fool you – Hackenberg actually threw three touchdown passes with two of them going to the Giants and his lone Jets score coming in garbage time. It really wasn’t pretty. To make things worse, Bryce Petty entered the game and gave the Jets a glimmer hope as he went 15-of-18 for 250 yards and threw three touchdown passes after Hackenberg was done – that hope was quickly extinguished as he later injured his knee. Petty was making a strong case to be considered for the starting job but it looks like he may be lost for some time now. The Jets will have an offense that features Bilal Powell, Matt Forte and little else this season.
Cardinals 24, Falcons 14
There’s been a lot of talk about John Brown and his list of ailments starting to frustrate the Cardinals. Still, he sure is talented and reminded everyone of that fact as he posted two catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona really played it safe as Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson and a few others hardly played. Carson Palmer had a nice night as he went 8-for-13 for 86 yards and a touchdown. For all the talk about Jaron Brown seizing the WR2 job, he hasn’t done enough to warrant a lot of confidence in dynasty owners this preseason.
The Falcons held Devonta Freeman out again and also didn’t play their starters a ton. Matt Ryan went 4-of-11 for 36 yards and threw an interception. It’s not the way he wanted to finish the preseason but it’s hardly worth worrying about. Brian Hill was a popular deep sleeper pick but he hasn’t done much this preseason as he’s logged 26 carries for a total of 41 yards. The last game for him may be a big one as he’s certainly behind Freeman and Tevin Coleman but also likely behind Terron Ward as well. He could conceivably be on the roster bubble.
Ravens 13, Bills 9
Tyrod Taylor’s awful preseason came to a close in a way he certainly didn’t want. Taylor went 1-for-3 for one yard, then left with a concussion. He’ll likely be cleared before week one but the grip he has on the job is tenuous at best. Nathan Peterman wasn’t great in his place as he completed just 11-of-23 passes for 93 yards. It could be a long year for LeSean McCoy and the rest of the offense. Zay Jones had three catches for 28 yards but was at least targeted a whopping eight times.
For the Ravens, it’s like beating a dead horse with Ryan Mallett, so we’ll just pass there. This offense is simply anemic without Joe Flacco and nobody really stood out, other than Taquan Mizzell. The undrafted free agent running back had just 14 rushing yards but caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a player to watch in week four.
Colts 19, Steelers 15
We were able to get a quick look at Ben Roethlisberger who went 6-for-9 for 73 yards. Eli Rogers also had a nice night with five catches for 58 yards. The battle for running back snaps behind Le’Veon Bell isn’t clear at all. James Conner (26 yards on four carries), Knile Davis (21 yards on seven carries) and Fitzgerald Toussaint (one catch for three yards) and even Terrell Watson (40 yards on eight carries) all seem to be in the mix. Conner is certainly the best dynasty asset but his early camp injury has likely stopped him from truly seizing the backup job.
As for the Colts, Phillip Dorsett needed a big night and finally posted one as he had three catches for 60 yards. The ageless Frank Gore had a solid night with 23 yards and a one-yard touchdown plunge on just five carries. For all the hype surrounding Marlon Mack (18 yards on seven carries, one catch for 17 yards), Gore is going to be featured early and often for this team.
Browns 13, Buccaneers 9
This was a big night for young DeShone Kizer and it really wasn’t a great one. Kizer went 6-for-18 for 93 yards an had one interception. Still, he’s shown enough this preseason to give the Browns some hope and that’s saying something for a franchise still searching for a long-term answer at the position. Kizer is in line to start the regular season opener and will surely have his ups and downs this year as long as the Browns don’t just get obliterated and have their opponents shatter his confidence. Even in performances that aren’t pretty on the stat sheet, you can really see his arm talent. On the plus side, Corey Coleman had another good game with four catches for 66 yards. If Coleman can stay healthy, he has sneaky dynasty value. It’s easy to forget he was a first round rookie pick just last year.
As for Tampa, Chris Godwin posted a good game with 56 yards on four catches. He started slowly in camp but has really come on as of late. Jameis Winston finished the night going 17-of-27 for 200 yards and threw an interception. The stat line for Winston isn’t great but he should be just fine when he has all his weapons playing around him. If the Bucs can hold on the first couple of weeks, then plug in a fresh Doug Martin, this should be an explosive offense. Jacquizz Rodgers (34 yards on ten carries) looks to be back of choice until Martin returns. Meanwhile, Jeremy McNichols (one carry for -1 yards) may be on the chopping block and needs a big week four to secure a roster spot.
Cowboys 24, Raiders 20
For Dallas, Dak Prescott looked to be in mid-season form as he finished with 113 yards and a touchdown after completing 11-of-14 passes. Alfred Morris posted 56 yards on just nine carries. It’s really unfortunate the Cowboys are likely going to be without Ezekiel Elliott as he serves his suspension. Dallas is going to have to keep Morris and that’s going to zap his short-term value. Morris is good enough to get playing time elsewhere. Unfortunately, he’s going to get some time behind Darren McFadden (21 yards on two carries) while Elliott is out, then get put right back in mothballs. Jason Witten also had a good game with six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders also have a quarterback who looks ready for the regular season as Derek Carr completed 13-of-17 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Amari Cooper helped the cause with four catches for 78 yards and a score. Marshawn Lynch (six yards on two carries) played very sparingly. The depth chart behind him is a mess and could get even murkier now that Elijah Hood (20 yards on three carries) has shown he also has some talent. If Lynch was to get hurt, this would likely be a crew to avoid.
Chargers 21, Rams 19
We hadn’t seen Philip Rivers this preseason and we only saw him for six passes on Saturday. Well, that was enough as he went 6-for-6 for 85 yards and a touchdown in what turned out to be a quick tune-up. It’s really unfortunate he’s without Mike Williams right now but he has more than enough weapons to do a lot of damage. It was nice to see Keenan Allen look like he’s back to form as he posted a fast five catches for 45 yards. Travis Benjamin also caught a 45-yard touchdown pass. Melvin Gordon looked good as well with 36 yards on eight carries. The Chargers really don’t have too many positions up for grabs for sleepers or young players.
As for the Rams, Jared Goff took a step back in this game as he finished the night going 5-of-8 for 56 yards and lost a fumble that was returned for a score. It’s still hard to say just how far Goff has really come. This game wasn’t great but he’s certainly looked a lot better than he did at any point last season and that’s a start. Elsewhere, Malcolm Brown started in place of Todd Gurley and posted 44 yards on nine carries and also caught a 22-yard pass. Brown has secured the backup job behind Gurley and would have immediate value should Gurley get hurt.
Saints 13, Texans o
New Orleans didn’t get much going offensively at all. Drew Brees was efficient as he went 11-of-15 but for only 76 passing yards. We also got our first look at what the Saints may do at running back and it was a bit of a mess. Mark Ingram had nine yards on four carries and Adrian Peterson rushed for 15 yards on six carries. Alvin Kamara was given the night off. All in all, this group looks pretty unpredictable from a fantasy perspective and it may be a few weeks before we can really determine who should and shouldn’t be in a fantasy lineup – most of that will be determined by just which Peterson we see this year.
For the Texans, this really wasn’t pretty. You can’t put too much stock into things because Lamar Miller (three carries for 14 yards) hardly played and DeAndre Hopkins didn’t play at all. Still, Tom Savage only completed ten passes for 79 yards and hasn’t looked like a quarterback ready to carry an offense. Deshaun Watson went 11-for-21 for 116 yards and also threw an interception. The Texans have a great defense and need an offense just “good enough” in order to compete. Time will tell if they can put it together but they’re going to need better quarterback play and a big season from Miller to get that done.
Denver 20, Green Bay 17
We were finally able to see Jamaal Charles in a Denver uniform and he he looked just fine as he finished with 27 yards on four carries and also caught two passes for 15 yards. He likely locked himself into a roster spot and an early down role rotating with CJ Anderson. DeAngelo Henderson had a rough night as he rushed for just 34 yards and had two fumbles, so that helped Charles as well. Demaryius Thomas left early with a groin injury but early reports indicate it’s nothing too serious.
The Packers joined the long list of teams who really didn’t treat this week as a true tune-up. In fact, Aaron Rodgers and many of the starters only played two series. The real takeaway here is the fact Ty Montgomery has indeed won the lead role in the backfield. He hasn’t been superb this preseason but the likes of Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays really haven’t done enough to take the job away from him. Meanwhile, Brett Hundley had another solid game with 186 yards on 20-of-30 passing. Hundley is no Aaron Rodgers but there’s going to be a time where he competes for a starting job somewhere.
We’ll be back tomorrow to cover the rest of the action.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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