NFL preseason Week 3: Top-10 fantasy football performances

NFL preseason Week 3: Top-10 fantasy football performances

Game Analysis

NFL preseason Week 3: Top-10 fantasy football performances

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Pretty well any item of note from what is usually the true attention-grabbing week of the preseason was overshadowed by Saturday’s stunning retirement of Andrew Luck.

Another factor working against this week’s preseason is an increasing number of starters being held out, something Houston probably wishes it did with Lamar Miller.

The Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders traveled north of the border only to play on an 80-yard-long field that was shortened due to safety concerns over the turf. Both teams largely benched their starters.

Nevertheless, we identified the most important performances for fantasy football purposes.

Note: We will not publish this analysis after Week 4 contests, since most teams don’t play starters.

10) Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki

Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
3
59
19.7
29
0

While the stats weren’t all too impressive, any signs of life from the promising, second-year tight end are welcomed after a completely nondescript rookie year. He isn’t quite draftable in standard-sized leagues, although there is reason to take a flier on Gesicki in best-ball setups. He could amount to a worthy add off of the waiver wire in 2019.

9) New England Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers

Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
7
74
10.6
19
0

Three preseason games, three appearances in this report. He’s the only player to earn the distinction. After scoring a pair of TDs in the opening week, he has been a PPR possession machine since. The Patriots will have Josh Gordon back for Week 1, ultimately capping Meyers’ target count, but there is no way the Patriots don’t get him involved. There’s also a low chance Gordon plays all 16 games. Meyers isn’t a must-draft commodity because of Gordon, yet he should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds in best-ball and on waivers.

8) Detroit Lions TE T.J. Hockenson

Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
3
52
17.3
32
0

Following a summer of positive reviews out of Motown, the first-round rookie showed up in a strong way. Detroit put Hockenson into isolated coverage situations and moved him across the field to create mismatches in coverage. There is a reasonable chance the Lions offense exceeds expectations, and Hockenson will be a big part of it it, should such a thing occur. He has pushed his way into the top-10 tight ends in fantasy, partly due to it being a weak year.

7) San Francisco 49ers RB Matt Breida

Att
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
7
44
6.3
13 0
2
31
15.5
20T
1

Breida reminded everyone of his explosive ability and put in a claim for more work once the meaningful games kick off. The dynamic back comes with injury concerns, and Kyle Shanahan’s offense loves to share the workload in the backfield. This actually could keep him fresh, and Breida profiles as a possibly weekly fantasy flex play. Few backs in the NFL can do as much damage with as little involvement.

6) New York Jets QB Sam Darnold

Comp
Att
Pct
Yds
Avg
TD
Int
Sck
SckY
Rate
8
13
61.5
97
7.5
1
0
0
0
110.1

Perhaps this is a tinge too high on the list. The reasoning he climbed to sixth is what his obvious maturation does for the rest of the offense. It will keep defenses out of Le’Veon Bell’s grill on every snaps, and Robby Anderson should be solidified as no worse than a No. 3 receiver who rarely leaves fantasy lineups. Darnold’s progress is visible, passing the eye test in every regard. He still has room to improve, of course, so bumps will come along the way. The second-year pro has firmly placed himself into the QB2 conversation.

5) Philadelphia Eagles WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
8
104
13
35
1

Alshon Jeffery gets hurt at every turn. DeSean Jackson isn’t far off in that area. Who knows if Nelson Agholor will remain with the team throughout the year. This is an offense in love with the pass, and there aren’t too many rookie receivers in such a fine position for late-season contributions. In leagues with enough depth to stash him, Arcega-Whiteside is worth drafting late. He’s about as polished of a rookie as one will find in 2019, so expectations should be high if there’s matching opportunity.

4) Washington Redskins RB Derrius Guice

Att
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
11
44
4
12
0
1
4
4
4
0

In any other situation, this probably wouldn’t even make the list. Guice isn’t in any other situation. He made his 2019 debut and looked the part of last year’s billing before the knee injury took him out. Washington’s offensive line needs some work, and the passing game won’t scare defenders, so consider his 4.0 yards-per-carry average to be a win most weeks. Nevertheless, seeing it happen on the field is important and encouraging.

3) 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Comp
Att
Pct
Yds
Avg
TD
Int
Sck
SckY
Rate
14
20
70
188
9.4
1
0
1
7
116.2

After his dreadful Week 2 preseason showing, Jimmy G. shook off a sluggish start to this game and came to life. He drove the ball down the field and made the type of plays that we expect from him. San Fran has a potentially dangerous rushing attack, which helps a great deal, and the receiving corps offers some hope. That said, Garoppolo will be inconsistent in 2019, and he remains on the outside looking in as far as weekly starting fantasy football quarterbacks go.

2) Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

Att
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
2
88
44
85T
1

Cook is a perfect illustration as to why pros are pros and don’t need the preseason. On a 1st-and-10 carry, he went for a respectable four yards before the play was called back due to offensive holding. On the replay of the down, now 1st-and-20, Cook burst through the line, regained his balance and was off to the races for an 85-yard touchdown jaunt. He’s back, folks.

1) Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams

Att
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
Lng
TD
FUM
1
2
2
2
0
3
74
24.7
62T
1

Truthfully, my struggle of whether this spot should go to Williams or Cook was a lengthy battle. I hemmed and hawed, paced and dwelled. Finally, the idea of ranking Williams No. 1 persuaded me — not so much by what he had done but more so from his situation. For the past, what, four weeks or so, we’ve steadily seen his ADP decline as chatter suggested Carlos Hyde would have a substantial role, and rookie Darwin Thompson was going to get involved. Williams reminded his doubters (including me) why he scored 10 times in the final six games of 2018. While injury concerns will remain, he belongs among the top-20 backs in fantasy drafts. Hyde may not even make the team now, so thinning out the competition only further increases my confidence in Williams.

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