The astute fantasy football manager neither overreacts nor disregards
what takes place on the field during the month of August. That is
my only preface as we move into a quick review of what is most fantasy-relevant
from this past Thursday through Sunday night. Week 1 of the preseason
is often just a light appetizer in terms of actual minutes played
by relevant fantasy performers; nevertheless, there were some things
A sign of things to come: The Titans ran
the ball 33 times while attempting just 20 passes against
1. The Broncos looked good on both
sides of the ball.
Latimer caught 7 passes for 82 yards and Mark
Sanchez staked his claim on the starting job by completing
10-of-13 passes for nearly a century of yards. Latimer’s emergence
is probably not just a one-time thing as the Broncos lack a TE
presence and will thus be targeting receivers in the slot this
year. Latimer is worth a late-round flier. Defense was also noted
in the opening sentence and even though it’s preseason, a shut-out
is a shut-out. Denver’s D is going to make life miserable for
many skill position players just as they did for Cam
Newton back in February. You might want to start planning
to sit Newton in Week 1 if you’re an owner.
2. Act One of the new-look Tennessee
Titans was a success.
The Titans, as you know, went out and traded for DeMarco
Murray this off-season and then selected Derrick
Henry as their running back of the future early on day two
of the NFL Draft. Combined with Bishop
Sankey (don’t get excited about him) and Antonio
Andrews, the Titans’ RBs netted a whopping 288 yards on the
ground vs. San Diego. Is that a sign of things to come? In terms
of results, it’s too early to say. It’s safe to assume that Tennessee
is going to make every effort this year to run, run, and run some
3. If your first initial is “A” and
your last name is “Robinson”, you might be a Week 1 preseason
First things first, Allen
Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars caught 3 passes for 80
yards on just two series this weekend, signifying that his rapport
with QB Blake
Bortles is set to pick up right where it left off. Robinson
belongs in the same tier as Dez
Bryant and A.J.
Green on draft day and might even be a safer pick than DeAndre
Hopkins given that Houston’s passing offense is currently
in a state of flux. Elsewhere, Aldrick
Robinson went wild for the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of
118 yards receiving on three lengthy catches. Julio
Jones will be top dog in Atlanta this season of course, but
Aldrick could be a significant asset to keep in mind for Jones
owners. He would fulfill the “stretch the field” role should Julio
4. The Baltimore backfield remains
a mess with little fantasy football clarity.
All three of the backs not named Forsett contributed over the
weekend with Terrance
West running for 2 TDs, Kenneth
Dixon putting up the best YPC of the group, and Javorius
Allen taking a screen pass to the house from 19 yards out.
Of all the positional situations in the league, the Ravens’ backfield
might be the most difficult to predict. The good news is that
all three backs were effective and with limited talent present
at wide receiver, this is going to be a running team. Perhaps
a RB pecking order will become clear as camp rolls on.
5. There were some encouraging signs
from this season’s rookie crop of receivers.
We’re never going to see a year like 2014 for rookie wide receivers,
but Both Michael
Thomas (New Orleans) and Laquon
Treadwell (Minnesota) caught four passes apiece and demonstrated
their abilities to be impact players in their first season. With
Thomas emerging, Coby
Fleener now onboard, and Willie
Snead maturing, the Saints offense is shaping up to be a thing
of beauty for fantasy owners. I like both rookies to exceed their
current draft positions, particularly Thomas (WR54, 11th Rd) as
he’s in a much better passing offense.
6. Speaking of young receivers, it
might be time to cool the jets on Sammie Coates.
Wheaton (quad) battling injuries since training camp opened,
Coates’ ADP has been on the rise in anticipation of him becoming
Brown’s right-hand-man once fall rolls around. But, Coates
fumbled the ball twice on Friday night, losing one. Coaches typically
take note of stuff like that. So should you.
7. Did you catch the play of young
Dak Prescott for Dallas against St. Louis?
Prescott was very sharp and that sharpness included a scoring
strike to Dez Bryant in addition to another TD pass to Terrance
Williams. With Tony
Romo’s brittle health on the minds of all Dez Bryant owners,
it was nice to see that the offense may not collapse this time
if Romo does go down. In the same game, on the opposite side of
the ball, rookie Jared
Goff struggled, completing less than half his passes and tossing
an interception to boot. Goff appears to be a ways off from being
ready to primetime and as such, should not be on anyone’s redraft
radar. He’s dynasty material only.
8. Carries converted into touchdowns
inside the five-yard-line are one of the biggest things to watch
for in preseason games.
Teams are looking for their go-to goal line guy in August and
a couple of positive signs this weekend came in the form of Ryan
Mathews punching it in for Philadelphia and Chris
Ivory getting across the goal line for Jacksonville. Anyone
who owned T.J.
Yeldon last season can tell you how frustrating it was to
watch Yeldon score only two rushing TDs despite numerous opportunities.
Ivory’s TD cements him as the main option for the Jags inside
the 5-yard line, as we’ve anticipated since he was acquired this
off-season. As for Mathews, imagine what he could do with 16 games
and goal line duties. The 16 games part is the biggest issue holding
him back. For now, let’s just say his red zone score was “encouraging”.
9. When the cat is away, the mice
will play. Or so they say.
Such is the case right now with Christine
Michael, getting work in Seattle with Thomas
Rawls being brought along slowly due to injury. Reports out
of training camp have suggested for weeks now that the light bulb
has finally brightened and this weekend, he averaged more than
six yards a pop on 7 carries, including several impressive runs
against the Chiefs first-team defense. We’ve seen this before
from Michael, but we’re going to observe his remaining preseason
closely as Rawls won’t be handed the job unconditionally when
he does return. Stay tuned.
10. This week’s Zach Zenner award.
This award goes to a player you never heard until they bust loose
in a preseason game in August. This week’s winner is George
Atkinson, running back of the Oakland Raiders. Atkinson only
touched the ball five times Friday night, but he made the most
of it with 97 yards and 2 TDs. Latavius
Murray and DeAndre
Washington remain the RBs to target for those drafting this
upcoming weekend, but Atkinson’s performance is something to tuck
away in the deep recesses of the mind for now.
Week Two normally brings the more prominent fantasy stars to the
forefront. Let’s hope that doesn’t mean an increase in notable
injuries. Whatever the case, we’ll be here to tell you about next
Monday in our review of preseason action, Week 2. Until then…