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This week was supposed to be the most exciting Believe It or Not yet because we finally had a full slate of games. And don't get me wrong, there were definitely things that came out of those games to digest. But those games were completely overshadowed by the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott and trades of Sammy Watkins and Jordan Matthews.
Games give us more reason to speculate on sleepers, but these were actual Fantasy assets changing hands. Needless to say, I'll try to cover both the games and the news in this installment. Let's start with arguably the biggest mover of preseason Week 1.
"Kenny Golladay is going to lead Lions' pass catchers in touchdowns"
Golladay wasn't the first receiver taken in this year's NFL Draft. Actually, he wasn't even drafted in the first two rounds. But he was the first to score two touchdowns in a preseason game.
And the @Lions are on the scoreboard first!— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2017
Rookie WR Kenny Golladay adjusts and makes a BEAUTIFUL catch for a TD. #DETvsIND pic.twitter.com/NdPSVnE5DJ
In his first NFL action Golladay looked like far more than a Round 3 draft pick. He looked like a serious candidate to take over Anquan Boldin's role as the team's primary red zone target.
Yes, Golden Tate will stay ahead of him in the pecking order, but he's scored more than five touchdowns just once in the past four seasons. Marvin Jones looked like a bust when the team tried to feature him in the offense. Eric Ebron is a Zach Ertz clone when he's healthy, compiling catches and yards but not scores.
That is why Boldin was so important to this offense and why Golladay is quickly emerging. Matthew Stafford needs a red zone threat and Golladay has the size and ball skills to be that guy. He's still a deep sleeper, but his ADP should be skyrocketing.
Verdict: Don't believe it
It was one preseason game. Against the Colts backups.
Golladay has made waves in camp, but he's still not working consistently with the first team and there may not be a clear path to regular snaps. They aren't giving up on Marvin Jones as the No. 2 receiver, and there has been a lot of talk about more two-tight end sets in Detroit this year.
But what if I'm wrong? What if Golladay is just as good as Boldin in this role?
Then you're missing out on the No. 47 WR in Fantasy, because that's what Boldin was last year. The fact is Boldin was far more valuable to Stafford than he was to Fantasy owners, and if Golladay has an impact the same will be true for him.
"Zach Ertz will be a high-volume receiver with Jordan Matthews gone"
So Sammy Watkins gets traded, Jordan Matthews gets traded and I'm talking about Zach Ertz? Well, actually Zach Berman is.
My opinion -- biggest on-field beneficiary of Matthews trade will be Zach Ertz, not Agholor. Will be a high-volume receiver.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 14, 2017
It's not hard to find evidence in support of Berman's opinion. Matthews missed two games in 2016 and Ertz was an absolute monster in those two games. The Eagles' tight end caught 22 passes (on 31 targets) for 218 yards and three touchdowns.
I wouldn't expect Ertz (or any mortal tight end) to match numbers like that on a regular basis, but I would expect him to see all the targets he can handle. I moved Ertz up to sixth in my PPR rankings with this news, and he has top-three potential with a little better touchdown luck.
Verdict: Believe it
To be clear, Ertz was already a high-volume tight end. Over the past three seasons only Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker had more targets than Ertz. Travis Kelce had exactly the same. The concern was, with the addition of Alshon jeffery and Torrey Smith, Ertz could see a drastic reduction. That's no longer a worry.
The difference between Ertz and the other three is touchdowns. Olsen, Kelce and Walker all scored between 14 and 17 touchdowns over that time frame. Ertz scored nine. Considering that Olsen and Kelce are known for having low touchdown totals as compared to their receptions and yardage, that seems pretty damning.
While I don't expect Ertz will ever be a league leader in touchdowns a more modest total like Kelce's or Olsen's is well within reach. Touchdowns are one of the hardest things to predict on a year-to-year and I'm more than happy to bet on Ertz's volume in the mid rounds of my draft.
"Darren McFadden is worth a seventh- or eighth-round pick with Ezekiel Elliott suspended"
While the news of Elliot's suspension is in no way good news, the silver lining is that the Cowboys have an adequate bridge to Elliott over the first six games. Darren McFadden has run for 1,176 yards over the past two seasons (4.5 YPC) and caught 43 passes for 385 yards in 19 games.
As good as that offensive line is, any running back will be valuable, but McFadden has the added benefit of volume. He was in for every single play with the first team offense in their first preseason game and looks unchallenged as the starter. Expect 15-20 touches a week and solid top-25 performances week in and week out in an extended version of what DeAngelo Williams gave us last year.
I disagree with every aspect of this theory. Spending a seventh- or eighth-round pick on a 30 year-old backup running back you'll use for six weeks at most is insane. There are actual starting running backs going after that. Several of them.
McFadden starts his season with the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals and Rams. He has a bye in Week 6. That's a terrible opening schedule. Those are the types of matchups that you sit borderline No. 2 running backs, and I doubt that McFadden will be that good this year.
This is not to say I wouldn't draft Elliott and wait, I just wouldn't try to bridge the gap with McFadden unless he falls into the double-digit rounds.
"Mitchell Trubisky is already the Bears' best quarterback"
Mike Glennon's preseason got off to a disastrous start. He completed just two of eight passes for 20 yards. The second pass he threw was returned for a pick six by Chris Harris.
It's probably not the start the Bears envisioned when they gave him $18 million guaranteed over the summer. But that wasn't enough to start a quarterback controversy. What Mitchell Trubisky did later in the night was.
Trubisky entered with 1:55 left in the first half and immediately drove the Bears 50 yards in the two-minute drill for their first touchdown of the night. When the team got the ball to start the second half, he promptly drove 75 yards for another score. Trubisky finished the night 18 for 25 for 166 yards and a touchdown. He even ran for 38 yards on three attempts.
Trubisky may not be ready to be a great Fantasy quarterback, but he's pretty clearly the best quarterback in Chicago.
Verdict: Don't believe it
Trubisky was the third quarterback to enter the game. He entered long after the best secondary in football had finished its night. You cannot fairly judge Mike Glennon against that secondary and then judge Trubisky on a field full of second- and third-string players. Well, you can, but John Fox won't.
I feel confident Trubisky will have a better NFL career than Glennon. He may even take the job over at some point this season. But it's still highly likely that Mike Glennon is going to start Week 1 and several weeks after. Trubisky should only be drafted in dynasty leagues or as a backup in a two quarterback league.
"Thomas Rawls is winning the starting job in Seattle over Eddie Lacy"
First came the reports that Rawls was getting the majority of the first team reps. Then came Pete Carroll saying Rawls has looked "fantastic" in the first 11 days of camp. But we've heard glowing reports from Carroll before, so that was easy enough to shake off. But when Rawls was the only running back to work with Russell Wilson and the first team, it got a little bit harder to shake. It sure looks like Thomas Rawls is ahead in the battle to be the Seahawks No. 1 back.
Verdict: Believe it
The only reason I can think of that we would hold onto our feeling that Lacy is going to the job is our own past feelings. That's a really bad reason.
Rawls was terrible in 2016, but that comes with a few caveats. He was playing injured for most of the year and he was running behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. He's 100 percent healthy now and there's at least some reason to believe the line will be better. More importantly, there's no real reason to presume Lacy would be better behind a bad offensive line.
We saw Rawls look like the heir apparent to Beast Mode in 2015 with 830 yards and four touchdowns on just 147 carries. He's got top-20 potential and an ADP in the double-digit rounds making him an easy buy.