Who impressed and who got embarrassed?
by Lead Fantasy writer Steve Cook | @SteveCook84 | Mail@3PSMag.com
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Preseason Week 1 is in the books! Everybody talking about these games includes the caveat that they don’t really matter. It’s like they think their readers/viewers will feel insulted if they don’t mention that. Let’s be honest. Everybody reading this article knows what NFL preseason means. Nobody needs it explained to them. The goal is for the top guys to get their reps in, the bottom guys to get a chance to make the team, and everybody to emerge in one piece. We all know this.
We also know that fantasy drafts are taking place throughout the preseason. My most important league drafts on Sunday night. I’ve got the 12th pick out of 14 because that’s how 2018’s been going for me. Doing a draft in the second/third week of preseason means that preseason injuries will come into play. It makes things more challenging.
With one week in the books, I thought it would be a fun idea to take a look at some players whose fantasy stock went up due to their limited action, and whose went down.
UP: David Njoku: 2 catches for 46 yards, 2 TDs, 2 targets
Njoku got a good amount of hype coming out of the University of Miami last year, getting picked in the first round. The main issue was that he got picked by the Cleveland Browns, and that usually doesn’t end well. He finished with 32 receptions for 386 yards & 4 touchdowns in his rookie season. It didn’t set the world on fire, but he was with the Browns. Cleveland’s QB situation looked decent on Thursday night with Tyrod Taylor doing well & Baker Mayfield impressing people with his athleticism. Njoku had two catches, both for touchdowns. Gotta love a potential red zone threat, especially at a tight end position that seems up for grabs.
UP: David Johnson: 2 carries for 28 yards
Too often, we get scared off of stud RBs coming off of years mostly missed due to injury. Johnson’s DRAFT ADP is at 4.00, and it could be tempting to skip over him for Alvin Kamara or Saquon Barkley or whoever. His two carries against the Chargers showed a man picking up right where he left off.
All situations are normal with David Johnson. Lock him up.
UP: Kelvin Benjamin: 4 catches for 59 yards, 1 TD, 4 targets
There aren’t many occasions where preseason games have storylines. The Carolina/Buffalo tilt did after Benjamin decided to blame Cam Newton for his issues in Carolina to the media. They had a little discussion before the game & nothing seemed to get solved. To his credit, Benjamin performed to the best of his ability, catching each pass that went his way & taking a trip to the end zone. His DRAFT ADP sits at 115.40, making him a sneaky middle round selection if Buffalo can decide on a QB. They actually looked good against Carolina, but who knows what that means. I just like it when a guy puts a target on his back & performs, even in a preseason game.
UP: Teddy Bridgewater: 7/8, 85 yards, 1 TD
Bridgewater theoretically has a chance to get the Jets gig, but realistically it’s a battle between Josh McCown & Sam Darnold. He needs a big preseason to get sent somewhere he can have a chance to at least be a backup, and he delivered against the Falcons. We don’t know whether he can be the Teddy Bridgewater we expected coming into the league, but Friday night was a good start.
DOWN: Case Keenum: 1/4, 5 yards, 2 series
Case Keenum had one really good season in Minnesota & cashed in with a big contract with the Denver Broncos. John Elway may end up having buyers’ remorse if that one season ends up being the highlight of Keenum’s career, and his two series against his old team showed that might be the case. Hopefully the Vikings just know his game too well.
DOWN: John Ross: 1 catch for 20 yards, 5 targets
Ross was barely used during his rookie season with the Bengals, and ineffective when he did see some playing time. He got some chances against the Bears, but failed to take advantage outside of one nice twenty-yard catch. His slipping & falling led to a pick-six for the Chicago defense, the one blemish in the Bengals first-team offense’s evening. He did himself no favors with his performance on Thursday night.
DOWN: Lamar Jackson: 7/18, 119 yards, 5 carries for 21 yards, 1 TD
Between Joe Flacco’s “best camp ever”, Robert Griffin III looking like a solid backup option & Jackson’s lack of efficiency in the passing game so far, I’m just not buying into Lamar seeing a whole lot of time in the Ravens’ offense as a wildcat option. People are trying to pitch the idea, and we all know how exciting Jackson is to watch, but it doesn’t look like he’s ready yet & the Ravens are typically a patient organization that doesn’t rush things. Lamar’s time will come, but I’m not sure it’ll be anytime this season. Unless you’re in a dynasty league I wouldn’t touch him.