Rashaad Penny will have surgery to fix a broken finger and will miss 3-4 weeks according to reports. It’s a massive blow to the rookies’ chances to contribute to the box score early in the season. It looks as though the backfield belongs to Chris Carson full time. Carson showed some life in the Seattle running game averaging 6.5 yards per carry in week 1 of 2017 then following that up with a 100 yard from scrimmage game against San Francisco. He went on to injure himself midway through the week 4 game and spent the offseason recovering from ankle surgery. He certainly should be moved up the board in Best Ball drafts and looks much more secure for DFS duties in week 1 when Seattle takes on Denver.
Devante Parker is week to week with a hand injury that is rendering him unable to catch passes right now. Parker played all of the 11 snaps that Ryan Tannehill played in the preseason opener. Kenny Stills also played all 11 snaps and Danny Amendola played 9. This could be the opportunity for Albert Wilson to get his foot in the door. Wilson signed a 3 year, $24 million deal in the offseason after playing 4 seasons with the Chiefs. Wilson is a bit of an unknown, as he has never really been given a consistent opportunity to be a playmaker in the NFL. He was able to put up a monster 10 reception, 147 yard game in week 17 against Denver last year, so there is a skill that could pay dividends. He sits at a mere $3,700 in a week 1 matchup against Tennessee.
Peyton Barber started and took the first 13 snaps of the game for Tampa Bay in their preseason opener Thursday night. With much talk about 2nd round pick Ronald Jones being a potential bell-cow back, it is Barber who may be in line for early season work if the rookie cannot improve his pass protection skills. Barber has played sparingly his first 2 seasons in the NFL. He did get in the end zone on a 4 yard carry in that preseason start. He could be a source of late value in best ball drafts in case Jones never gets it together. It is also a situation to monitor for DFS purposes as Barber’s $4,100 salary would come in handy when building rosters week 1.
New York Giants rookie sensation, Saquon Barkley, has a mild hamstring strain that could cause him to miss practice time. He could also miss the Giants second preseason game Friday night against Detroit. The Penn State product hit the line and showed that classic burst by getting to the 2nd level en route to a 39 yard run in his preseason debut last week. It’s the type of skills that has the rookie being drafted in the top 5 in best ball leagues. He will need to be 100% when he takes on the tough Jaguars defense on kickoff Sunday, week 1 of the NFL season.
Redskins RB Derrius Guice tore his ACL in Thursday’s preseason opener. Guice was penciled in as the starting RB for Washington and had first dibs on goal line work. Now Washington will have to turn to plan B. Chris Thompson is still on the mend from a significant leg injury so the load may fall back on Rob Kelley. Samaje Perine appears to be buried on the depth chart so Kelley may be the next man up. He looked terrible last season, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. He’s shown a lack of burst which shouldn’t be surprising given his rock bottom workout metric numbers across the board. He has spent the offseason revamping his body and is said to be down in the 221 weight range, a significant drop from the last few seasons. Regardless, any running back who gets 1st down, 2nd down and goal line snaps should be on our radar in best ball drafts and considered in the right matchup for DFS.
David Njoku hauled in 2 passes for 2 TD’s in Thursday’s preseason opener. The first touchdown came on a 36 yard, well placed ball, from Tyrod Taylor. The next score came closer to the goal line, a 10 yard strike from Baker Mayfield. The Browns failed to capitalize on Njoku’s extreme athleticism last season only targeting him 60 times which led to 4 TD’s. With solid QB play this season, weapons around him and a renewed emphasis on getting him the ball more, Njoku could be a prime candidate to break out from the Tight End position. Njoku is a name to monitor in best ball leagues with immense week to week upside and a player to consider in GPP’s every Sunday for DFS purposes.
Joe Mixon showed off some of that elusive running ability in Thursday night’s preseason game as he hauled in a short pass near the sidelines then proceeded to break two tackles before darting to the end zone for the 24 yard score. Cincinnati never felt comfortable turning him loose last year and it resulted in limited touches for Mixon. However he sits atop the running back depth chart and appears to be the goal line back of choice at the moment. Despite the limited playing time, Mixon topped 97 total yards in 4 of the 14 games his rookie season. With a full dose of touches Mixon is a borderline RB1 against Indianapolis to kick off the regular season.
Kelvin Benjamin put together a 4/59/1 stat line in Thursday’s preseason opener for the Buffalo Bills. It was encouraging to see Benjamin making plays in the opening minutes of that game. Nathan Peterman may end up being the starting quarterback on this team week one and Benjamin caught a 28 yard strike from him to kick off the scoring in this game. Corey Coleman is a speed guy who has had issues with drops early in his brief career, so Benjamin’s size and skill set may prove to be more beneficial to these quarterbacks than Coleman. Any WR1 on an NFL team deserves our attention in DFS.
The Cleveland Browns QB position could have interesting appeal when week 1 kicks off. Jarvis Landry is snatching everything out of the air at camp (with 1 hand) and Josh Gordon should eventually return from his hiatus. With these guys intact, combined with playmaker Duke Johnson, Tyrod Taylor is flying under the radar of best ball leagues as well as DFS. That’s a solid group of pass catchers and big play guys for any QB. Hue Jackson has repeatedly reiterated that Taylor will be the week 1 starter. He will make for an interesting option at home, week 1 against the Steelers high powered offense.
Tampa Bay is shuffling its starting WR corps and inserting Chris Godwin outside, opposite of Mike Evans. It looks like DeSean Jackson is headed for the slot. This would be major confirmation in the confidence the Bucs have in Godwin’s ability. He was extremely productive in college and had great workout metrics. He was already a fantasy sleeper before this news broke. In the only 3 games last season where Godwin played at least 77% of the snaps, he racked up an average stat line of 5 receptions and 92.3 yards per game. He’s has big play upside every week in DFS. This also boosts the appeal of Jameis Winston up his return.
Brandon Coleman has been cut by the Saints thus paving the way for another WR to flourish in New Orleans. Coleman played 62.8% of the snaps last season for the Saints so there is ample playing time to spread around. This decision could have been made because the Saints are confident in Cam Meredith returning from injury and returning to the form showed 2 seasons ago with the Bears. It could also mean that rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith is ready to contribute. Smith was a playmaker at UCF averaging 19.8 yards per reception his final season. It may take a couple of preseason games to find out what the Saints intend to do with the extra snaps, but the beneficiary of this Coleman cut could be a great source of value late in best ball leagues and a weekly boom or bust play in DFS.
Sony Michel is out for a stretch of time with a knee injury that will require a procedure. This is a huge blow to the rookie for early season work and now Rex Burkhead appears to be the clear favorite for fantasy purposes in New England. Burkhead established himself as the goal line RB by the end of 2017 and ended the year with 9 carries inside the opponent’s 10 yard line, which he converted to 4 TD’s. There’s an overwhelming feeling he is in line to be the goal line back again and with Michel down he could add 1st and 2nd back to that workload. He is shaping up to be a nice mid-round best ball value and a week 1 cash game option against Houston in DFS.
Anthony Miller did not participate in the Hall of Fame game on Thursday night. This is a fantastic sign that the Bears are viewing Miller as a potential starter and essential player. Starters and key players usually don’t see any snaps in that first preseason game. It was reported last week that Miller is “building a case to be the Bears starting slot receiver for Week 1”. This could be a solid late round flyer in best ball drafts and a high upside DFS option from week to week. Miller was a beast in college posting 191 receptions, 2,896 receiving yards and 32 receiving touchdowns his final 2 seasons at Memphis. He boasts an 85th percentile burst score in his workouts, a significant metric in evaluating slot WR’s.
Word on the street in that new Kansas City starting QB Patrick Mahomes has thrown a litany of interceptions at camp. Blessed with good mobility and a rocket of an arm, expect some bad plays mixed in with the spectacular for Mahomes this season. Mahomes is being drafted in best ball leagues as a late round pick and there is massive upside. In DFS he will be in play based on matchup and salary. The people who jump to judge training camp interceptions are running some serious tortious interference.
Jordan Matthews has been released from the Patriots, proving not all that comes out of Vanderbilt is pure gold. NFL guru Evan Silva speculates that Kenny Britt could open the season starting across from Chris Hogan. With Julian Edelman suspended the first 4 games of the season, we could be seeing some value open up already. Week 1 gives us a 2017 rematch of the Houston at New England shootout that saw Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan combine for 199 yards and 4 TD’s. With Edelman out and Cooks playing with the Rams now, this is a depth chart battle to monitor this preseason.