Now every team has had at least one preseason under their belt and football is starting to feel like it is fully back now. Some top headlines for this week are Darren Waller is finally back with the Raiders, Odell Beckham Jr. may not be a top receiver anymore and the Broncos offense looks to be a fantasy goldmine.
Let’s get into it.
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AFC Training Camp Updates
For the first preseason game against the Falcons, the Titans held out all their fantasy stars in Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Ryan Tannehill. Even after the game against the Falcons Brown and Jones still hasn’t practiced in team drills. Including their joint practice with the Buccaneers.
This could be frustrating but trust me, it is much better to see these star players sit out team drills and preseason games rather than getting injured. And injuries could have happened as five fights broke out during Thursday’s joint practice.
In other news, the kicker position isn’t talked about much in fantasy. But, kickers still put up points. Sam Ficken is now 48 of 53 in field goals since joining the team. In Thursday’s practice, he went seven of eight including hitting 40, 42, 45, and 54 yards.
Ficken can be a solid last pick for a kicker as I see the Titans putting up a lot of points on offense this season.
Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason went at it in their first preseason game against the Panthers but there was no clear winner still. Eason went 15 of 21 for 183 yards and Ehlinger went 10 of 15 for 155 yards and one interception.
Nothing special from the two, but both quarterbacks were efficient. But Ehlinger did lead the team in rushing yards with 30 yards.
Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins both played but nothing special. Wilkins did score a touchdown on 25 yards and 10 carries. The rushing attack was subpar to say and that could be the factor of Quenton Nelson being out.
Colts fantasy stars will be difficult to sort out with all the injuries, but all I can say is the defense looks nice.
Trevor Lawrence made his preseason debut on Saturday and had an efficient day. He went six of nine for 71 yards. Not too bad for the number of snaps the number one pick got. On the downside, Travis Etienne didn’t have the best debut. He only had one rushing attempt for two yards and no catches.
However, even though Lawrence did have an efficient day, there is still no clear-cut winner who will be the starting quarterback come week one. Gardner Minshew is still spitting reps in half with Lawrence in practice.
This could be a coaching tactic to get Lawrence on his game, as I see Lawrence being the starting quarterback this season.
As for the first day of cuts, Tim Tebow will no longer be on the team at tight end. It was a long shot for Tebow to play at tight end and also was a long shot in terms of getting drafted on a fantasy team.
My fantasy breakout on the Texans will be Nico Collins. Don’t let his one catch for 24 yards in their preseason win over the Packers get you down. Tyrod Taylor only threw the ball four times.
There is still no knowing if Deshaun Watson is going to play for the Texans, but Tyrod Taylor has been consistent throughout training camp. He has continued to look comfortable in the offense and that means big plays from the receivers and running backs.
Taylor continues to connect with Brandin Cooks in practice. I still see Cooks as a deep sleeper who could end up as a top 15 receiver this season. Cooks just doesn’t have the competition he did with Will Fuller on the team.
The top Bills offensive players in Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen, and Zack Moss did not see the field. But, running back Devin Singletary did rack up some stats in week one of the preseason.
Singletary went eight for 42 yards and caught a six-yard reception for a touchdown. Moss has shown he is getting healthy, but Singletary looked nice against the Lions. Earlier in camp, I had Moss as the clear back to draft, but at this moment it is 50/50. We’ll have to see how the rest of the camp rolls out.
Another player to keep a lookout for is Jake Kumerow. Reports show he is one of Allen’s favorite options to throw to in training camp. It is unlikely he gets starting reps during the season as he is behind Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley. But, he could be a solid option if one of those receivers goes down.
The running back battle will be the one to look at in the Dolphins offense. In their first preseason game, Myles Gaskin went four for 19 yards and Salvon Ahmed went six for 40 yards. I still see Gaskin being the top back for the Dolphins this season but Ahmed could be a great handcuff.
Jaylen Waddle has continued to build chemistry with Tua Tagovailoa in training camp but didn’t play much in the preseason game against the Bears. But, he did see some time as a punt returner. This brings his upside even higher in terms of fantasy as not only will Waddle come down with receiving touchdowns, but maybe some punt returns as well.
New England Patriots
The Patriots had a plethora of injuries this week including Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, and N’Keal Harry. However, Harry did play in their second preseason game against the Eagles and caught one pass for 19 yards.
But the big eyes are on the quarterbacks for this team. In their second preseason game, Mac Jones completed 13 passes for 146 yards and Cam Newton completed eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Newton had the more impressive day, and at this point I see Newton being the starter for the Patriots this season. But, you never know when Bill Belichick is the coach.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson is another rookie who made his preseason debut this week and went six of nine for 63 yards. Not an impressive day, but Wilson still has a lot of upside. Another rookie who has a lot of upside is Michael Carter.
Carter went for 22 yards on seven carries in his debut preseason game. Carter averaged 3.1 yards per carry, which is solid for a rookie.
Aside from the rookies on the team, the defense took a huge loss in losing Carl Lawson, who ruptured his Achilles and will miss the season. Why bring this up in terms of fantasy? The Jets defense just got a lot weaker on the line. So that means if you have a running back playing the Jets, that is a no-brainer start.
Most of the starters did not play or played a few snaps for the Steelers’ second preseason game. That means two things, the Steelers don’t want to risk injury and the team already knows who has won the position battles.
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t played either preseason game but we all know he will be the starter. Najee Harris only had two carries in his second preseason game. With Harris being a rookie and only getting two carries just shows he has already shown up in camp as being the starting back.
Harris is still a top draft pick and I would even take him at the end of the first round. Don’t expect him to play much more in the preseason.
The good news for fantasy owners and the Ravens is that Lamar Jackson is back from the COVID-19 list and has been showing off his accuracy in practice. The only downside of drafting Jackson is this is his second time getting COVID-19, so maybe expect him to miss time again if he runs his luck for a third time.
On the running back side, I still love J.K. Dobbins as a running back two even though in their first preseason game he has three carries for zero yards. Don’t let one preseason game get your anxiety up about drafting a player.
The Ravens have focused on the passing game during the offseason so it is no wonder why the running game has been on the downside. Given that, aside from Jackson running his read options, Dobbins will be the lead back for the team.
Let’s not even talk about the Browns’ first preseason game. No Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., or Jarvis Landry. And that is preseason for you, the top players don’t need to play. Though I did want to see Beckham out there after coming off his injury,
This is a little worrisome as I think Beckham Jr. should be out there in the preseason to get the rust off. But, he did have his chance to go against his old team in the Giants on Thursday in a joint practice. But it was Landry and David Njoku who showed up in the practice.
Even Rashard Higgins got in on the action with a touchdown pass from Mayfield. All these signs point to Beckham not being a solid pick as everyone thinks he will be.
Remember it isn’t about how big the name is, and maybe Beckham isn’t going to look the same after this injury. Only time will tell but I see Beckham as a huge risk in fantasy.
Ja’Marr Chase made his rookie debut this week as well but only had one catch for 16 yards. But, Joe Burrow did not play in this game, so it is hard to judge this game.
It will also be the same outcome for their second game on Friday as Burrow will not play in that game either. Burrow has been out of practice during the week as precautions as well. Burrow is coming off a major injury, but this could be trouble in terms of fantasy if he isn’t ready for the season.
If Burrow is out, it affects the receiving core and when the receivers can’t get going then the run game won’t either. But, given Joe Mixon is a seasoned veteran it could be a great fantasy season for him.
Kansas City Chiefs
Aside from the other teams holding out their star players, the Chiefs went against that. Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Tyreek Hill saw limited time. But, it is great to see them play a small number of snaps to show off their durability.
Wednesday was the last day of training camp for the Chiefs and there isn’t much to report on that we already knew.
Some takeaways are they were one of the lucky teams to not suffer any injuries and will be the firepower team they were last year. They did make huge improvements on the offensive line so expect the running game to get going this season.
Draft Edwards-Helaire early.
This quarterback battle is going to be insane to call. In the team’s first preseason game, Drew Lock went five of seven for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Teddy Bridgewater went seven of eight for 74 yards and one touchdown.
KJ Hamler had the big day with 105 yards on two receptions and one touchdown. Jerry Jeudy also had one huge catch for 33 yards. This was just a great game in terms of looking into fantasy options.
The final practice for the Broncos was on Thursday, so we’ll just have the preseason to watch to see who takes the starting role at quarterback. But, at the looks of it, either option will be great for drafting receivers like Courtland Sutton or Jeudy.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers held their first joint practice against the 49ers on Thursday. But, just like a preseason game most of the starters were held out like Kennan Allen.
This is not a huge deal as Justin Herbert has continued to deal in training camp and has yet to see the preseason field. The Chargers just don’t want to be another team to lose a major piece of their offense in training camp.
Las Vegas Raiders
Darren Waller is finally back for the Raiders. This is huge for drafting tight ends as Waller has missed the last few weeks, but has come back and hasn’t missed a beat.
The Raiders held their second joint practice with the Rams and Derek Carr completed 75 percent of his passes on one of the top defenses. This is all great news as the Raiders are another team that has a lot of fantasy upside in a player like Henry Ruggs and Josh Jacobs.
For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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