2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Five big questions after preseason Week 1
Our trio of experts breaks down five key questions at the start of preseason action.
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Sort of. We all know Week 3 is when the preseason games really start to matter, as teams try to avoid exposing their starters in the first few weeks. But that doesn't mean we can't learn anything from the first few weeks. We've still got position battles raging, and rookies looking to secure roles.
, and we're going to keep rolling right on through the start of the season to give you everything you need in your draft. Today, we've got Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings, and Dave Richard here to answer five big questions about the first round of preseason action.
1. Which player helped his Fantasy value the most after the first week of preseason games?
Jamey Eisenberg: Kerryon Johnson. I was already excited about him this year, and he just backed up my feelings on his talent and upside against the Raiders. His Average Draft Position will likely jump a round, which stinks for me, but I still plan to target him in all my leagues. He's a No. 2 running back coming into this season.
Dave Richard: Andrew Luck. He came, he saw, he threw with accuracy and confidence. At one point I was so lost in the moment that I forgot he had radical shoulder surgery and missed a whole season. Welcome back, Andrew. You're gonna throw 600 times this year and be a Fantasy hero.
Heath Cummings: Without a doubt the guy I moved up the most was Luck. I know he didn't throw the ball downfield yet but we saw him on the field, completing passes, taking shots, and getting back up. That was all I needed to project him as himself. I'm not saying he'll be "peak Andrew Luck" in Week 1 (or maybe all season), but I feel comfortable enough to bump him up to 7.4 Y/A and his career mark of 5.0 percent touchdown rate in my projections. With the high passing volume I expect in Indianapolis that makes him my No. 3 QB.
Jamey: Jones has to be considered more of a No. 3 running back than a starter, because not only will Barber be a contributor in this backfield, but Jones has reportedly struggled in the passing game. He could be a little frustrating in PPR. I'm still targeting Jones, but not before Round 6.
Dave: The same as before. Almost all of Jones' touches came with the backup O-line, which stunk against Miami's second-string defense. No one from Tampa ran well without the starters. Also, two of Jones' carries were inside the 3 (including his neat touchdown scat). The dropped pass? Yeah, that was bad. I'm not giving up hope in Jones being a very good Fantasy running back, but I'll admit the clock is ticking on him pushing Barber out of the picture.
Heath: I didn't change anything based on one preseason game but that's probably because I was already projecting this to be a committee-type situation. Jones is struggling in both pass protection and with catching the ball, so the expectation should be he's coming off the field for most third downs. I do expect he'll earn the early down work eventually but wouldn't be surprised at all if Peyton Barber is stealing touchdowns from him. Jones is a solid No. 3 running back with upside because of his speed and big-play ability.
3. Which three position battles are you focusing on most heavily over the next few weeks in the preseason?
Dave: I'm definitely going to keep my eyeballs on the Colts backfield. I'm really interested to see who steps up with Marlon Mack's hamstring hurting. The Seahawks, Redskins and Patriots backfields are also full of big sticky question marks. What about the Cowboys receiving corps? Or the Texans tight ends? Or the Bills quarterbacks (I liked watching Josh Allen)? Sorry, that's more than three. Sue me.
Heath: No. 1 is certainly the battle between Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. Perine beat Kelley out last year, but Kelley is currently atop the depth chart and there has been a lot of positive chatter about him this offseason.
No. 2 is the quarterback battle in New York. I'm not going to be drafting Josh McCown or Sam Darnold but the winner of that job could change the target distribution for the Jets. We know McCown loves Robby Anderson; will Darnold lean the same direction?
No. 3 is the battle for the starting running back job in Denver. Royce Freeman is going to take this job eventually, but if he clearly takes it in the preseason his ADP is going to skyrocket.
4. Which non-season-ending injuries are you most concerned about after Week 1?
Jamey: Marlon Mack. Given his track record, any missed time is troubling. His absence does open the door for one of my favorite sleepers in Jordan Wilkins to hopefully get more playing time.
Heath: Marlon Mack. The Colts clearly want him to lead this committee and Mack looked good before pulling a hamstring in the first game. He's already building an injury history in his short time in the league and that has to concern the Colts.
Jamey: Nope. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are entrenched as the starters, and the Packers are excited about Geronimo Allison, who has the chance to be a third-year breakout. The young guys are a year away from being Fantasy relevant, barring an injury.
Heath: Not yet. They're names to know (especially in Dynasty) but my expectation is still that Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham and Ty Montgomery are going to dominate targets. I also don't see any of these receivers challenging Geronimo Allison for his role. Not yet, at least.
So what sleepers should you snatch in your Fantasy Football draft? And which huge running backs do you need to jump all over? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
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