NFL preseason Week 1: Top-10 fantasy football performances

NFL preseason Week 1: Top-10 fantasy football performances

Game Analysis

NFL preseason Week 1: Top-10 fantasy football performances

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(Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports)

While the second and third weeks of preseason play are the most meaningful for fantasy football purposes, we still found noteworthy data to highlight from the opening week of action.

Honorable mentions: Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman (2-31-1), San Francisco 49ers WR Jalen Hurd (3-31-2), New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (2-31-1)

10)

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Ameer Abdullah
MIN
RB
4
63
15.8
0
42
1

The once-promising veteran is in a battle with rookie Alexander Mattison for the No. 2 job behind Dalvin Cook. This warrants attention, simply because of Cook’s durability questions. In 2019 drafts, Mattison is the one being chosen as the projected handcuff. Abdullah may have improved his chances a little with an explosive game, but fumbling didn’t help. Mattison, for the record, ran for 30 yards on nine totes (3.3 YPC) but caught a 1-yard touchdown pass. Continue to favor the rook, even if his role isn’t necessarily a lock just yet.

9)

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Damarea Crockett
HOU
RB
6
24
4.0
1
12
0

After releasing D’Onta Foreman, Houston has an opening behind Lamar Miller, and Crockett made enough noise to get a look, even with the acquisition of Duke Johnson. Crockett would be the most likely replacement for Miller in obvious running situations, since Johnson is almost exclusively a third-down back. For now, tuck away Crockett’s name and watch how this one plays out.

8)

Player
Team
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
Preston Williams
MIA
WR
4
97
24.3
36
0
0

Do not discount any player from a receiving corps this desperate for anyone to stand out. Williams brings a 6-foot-4, 211-pound frame to the mix, and he has all of the physical tools to make an impact. He’s a long-ball hitter and can make things happen after the catch, but drops were an issue for him at Colorado State. While he has drawn praise from teammates this summer, Williams remains on the periphery of fantasy draftability — for now.

7)

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Brian Hill
ATL
RB
8
23
2.9
1
9
0

The heated competition for RB2 chores in the A-T-L comes down to an uninspiring Ito Smith, whose game has been atrocious so far in two preseason contests (7-13-1), vs. Brian Hill and rookie Qadree Ollison. Smith offers more wiggle than the slashing and power styles of Hill and Ollison. But the explosive plays just haven’t been there. Given Devonta Freeman’s allergy to staying on the field, there is a wealth of potential here. For now, treat Hill as the preferred target. He has draw strong endorsements in camp and has looked the part through two preseason games (19-80-1, 1 receiving TD).

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Qadree Ollison
ATL
RB
8
41
5.1
1
15T
0

His rookie debut in the Hall of Fame Game didn’t exactly instill confidence in anyone, finishing with six carries for two yards. Ollison rebounded nicely in his second outing, as seen above in the table, and his bruising style could lead to the coaching staff finding ways to utilize him. For now, Ollison is a “watch list” player in fantasy. Another lively preseason showing will thrust him up draft boards, and rightfully so.

6)

Player
Team
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
Rashard Higgins
CLE
WR
5
98
19.6
38
1
0

The four-game suspension of Antonio Callaway moves Higgins into the No. 3 receiver spot. It probably doesn’t matter to the casual observer, since Cleveland has so many mouths to feed before Higgins gets some love. However, he and Baker Mayfield have crazy chemistry, which could make Higgins a worthwhile flex play with the right matchup. He’s probably more of a deep flier in DFS for now, however. The talent certainly is present, now only if the opportunity will be….

5)

Player
Team
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
James Washington
PIT
WR
4
84
21.0
43
1
0

He became leaner in the offseason to help improve his speed, and a fine showing in his first 2019 game suggests it paid off. There is room for three receivers to enjoy success in this offense without Antonio Brown. Expect inconsistent gains for fantasy purposes, so tread carefully, but there upside is immense. Washington is a nifty flier late in drafts.

4)

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Royce Freeman
DEN
RB
3
49
16.3
0
50
0

Freeman showed explosiveness and then a couple of duds. The sample size is awfully small, so make of it what you will. The inclusion and lofty placement in this list is to help illustrate he will get more chances than fantasy owners are expecting. It’s not outlandish to believe Freeman will steal the show one way or another from Phillip Lindsay.

3)

Player
Team
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
T.J. Jones
NYG
WR
6
72
12.0
31T
1
0

As someone who has seen more Detroit Lions football than any human probably should admit to watching, Jones isn’t very good. Why is he this high on the list? Opportunity. Golden Tate is likely on the shelf for the first month, and there’s a notable role at the WR3 spot Jonesing for someone to assume. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones’ performance should make owners feel slightly better about investing in this position. Jones isn’t worthy of a pick just yet, but another game with this kind of work will make him a draft-worthy commodity.

2)

Player
Team
Pos
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Lng
FUM
Austin Ekeler
LAC
RB
5
40
8.0
0
19
1

Melvin Gordon, who? OK, that’s admittedly me trolling. But you can at least see why, I hope. The holdout star is undoubtedly a more gifted player than Ekeler, and the Chargers will miss him. That is not to say Ekeler and Justin Jackson cannot fill in admirably. We saw it last year before an injury interfered with Ekeler’s production, and this team is built to give him an assist. There is no more important handcuff at running back right this minute.

1)

Player
Team
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
Jakobi Meyers
NE
WR
6
69
11.5
26
2
0

I know what you may be thinking … Tom Brady didn’t throw either of those touchdown passes, and it was against the Detroit Lions in a shellacking of a Pats win. True. The deeper takeaway here is Meyers proved it on the field. He has been dominant in training camp and has outplayed first-round pick N’Keal Harry … now we’re seeing it translate to the field. Furthermore, Harry left the game with a tweaked hammy. Gamers cannot possibly ask for more than Meyers’ showing out of a late-round fantasy flier. There are opportunities to be had in New England’s passing game, and Meyers is stepping up to the plate. Take advantage of it.

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