With NFL and fantasy football fans alike having craved football for six months, the preseason brings a rollercoaster ride of emotions when oft-discussed players finally see the field. Player usage and snaps are tracked, and flashy highlight-reel plays or box scores instantly vault players up or down in dynasty value. It’s important to react to what we see in the preseason, but at the same time, it’s important to temper preseason overreactions. Here are a few players to buy low or sell high based on their preseason performance.
2022 Preseason Overreactions
Following a fumble in the first preseason game and subsequent usage on special teams, dynasty GMs are panic selling on Antonio Gibson. Brian Robinson figures to have a prominent role in Washington’s offense even as a rookie, maybe even the lead role. However, with J.D. McKissic nursing a groin injury, Gibson saw some snaps on passing downs against the Chiefs in Week 2 of the preseason and looked explosive in space. That should come as no surprise, as he was listed as a wide receiver at Memphis and logged more receptions than carries in his final college season.
Robinson may well lead the Commanders in rushing attempts in 2022, but if McKissic were to miss time, Gibson could actually see a more valuable fantasy role with receiving usage. Recent trades include Gibson for James Robinson and a fourth-round rookie pick, Gibson for Noah Fant straight up, and Gibson for Matthew Stafford straight up in a 1QB format. At the going rate, Gibson is worth exploring as a buy low. Even if he relinquishes the early-down role to Robinson, Gibson still has a high fantasy ceiling considering his combine results were similar to those of Jonathan Taylor. Gibson should be downgraded in dynasty, but some of these recent clearance prices are definite preseason overreactions.
The excitement for Romeo Doubs is understandable given that fantasy GMs are always clamoring for wide receivers tied to top quarterbacks, especially with the recent report that Doubs and Aaron Rodgers have been eating lunch together. However, it would be prudent to temper expectations. Despite his success in training camp and preseason performances, Doubs was a late breakout in college and tested poorly at the combine. Wide receivers with these metrics along with Day 3 NFL Draft capital generally don’t experience much success.
Many are trying to predict which Green Bay wide receiver will fill Davante Adams‘s shoes in 2022 following his departure to Las Vegas, but the answer to that question is probably no one. Instead, both Packers running backs are likely to see more targets with the rest distributed among Doubs, Allen Lazard, and even Robert Tonyan if healthy. Recent trades show Doubs for James Conner straight up as well as various trades of Doubs for second-round rookie picks in 2023. Considering the strength of next year’s draft class and his prospect profile, Doubs should be sold for any second-round rookie pick or player equivalent. Any comparison to Adams, however remote, are preseason overreactions.
There’s a reason James Proche and Tylan Wallace hadn’t garnered much fantasy discussion even prior to Likely’s 100-yard performance in Week 2 of the preseason against the Cardinals. The Ravens have utilized a very run-heavy offensive scheme in recent years, which restricts target volume and fantasy upside for their receivers. Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman project as the top targets in Baltimore, leaving few targets left over to be distributed among the rest of the pass-catchers even if Likely were to eventually seize the no. 3 receiving role.
Additionally, we saw while Tyler Huntley filled in for Lamar Jackson that his tendency to throw shorter passes resulted in high target volume for tight ends, which led Andrews’s career year in 2021. The same tendency led to Likely’s big game against Arizona. By contrast, Jackson ranked second in average intended air yards (IAY) last year compared to 20th for Huntley. Recent trades include Likely and Trey Sermon for Greg Dulcich as well as Likely and a third-round rookie pick for a second-round rookie pick. If possible, use Likely as a piece to move up in next year’s rookie draft or as a throw-in as part of a larger deal. His value shouldn’t be much different from other upside backup tight ends like Foster Moreau, and the current bump in value is as a result of preseason overreactions.
For more fantasy football and NFL content, follow me on Twitter @FFA_Meng.