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What We Learned From Week 1 of Preseason (2018 Fantasy Football)

by Joey Korman | Featured Writer
Aug 14, 2018

Well, football is officially back. Sure, the Hall of Fame game officially marks the return of actual football action, but in terms of seeing actual projected starters playing — albeit briefly — Week 1 of the preseason gives you that. Here’s a quick rundown of the big implications from Week 1 of the preseason.

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Nathan Peterman got the start for the Bills and threw only one interception instead of five. In fact, he was impressive completing nine of his 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin. It will likely be either him or A.J. McCarron starting for the Bills Week 1, but you shouldn’t be concerned with either unless you’re in a two-quarterback league… Baker Mayfield made his much-anticipated debut for the Browns, playing with a mix of starters and backups. Tyrod Taylor started the game, finishing a perfect 5-for-5 with 99 yards, but Mayfield put up the goods with 212 yards and two touchdowns. He looked rather poised and displayed his athleticism, but only two of his seven drives in the game proved to be efficient. For now, it appears Hue Jackson and company are set on starting Tyrod Taylor in Week 1, but it’s obviously a situation to monitor… Lamar Jackson is an exciting prospect for the Ravens, especially considering what Deshaun Watson did last year for the Texans, but he has a ways to go before he passes up Joe Flacco or Robert Griffin III on the depth chart. Following a rocky performance in the Hall of Fame game last week, Jackson connected on only 7-of-18 passes for 119 yards, but he did rush for a touchdown… Deshaun Watson made his return for the Texans, playing only one series and completing one pass for four yards. Nonetheless, it’s good to see him back on the field following his torn ACL in Novemeber. Also, Brandon Weeden still exists on an NFL roster which is news to me… Speaking of returns, Andrew Luck did just that and looked like his normal Andrew Luck self. Expect his ADP to continue rising as the season nears… The Vikings offense is going to be scary efficient. Kirk Cousins was perfect in his Vikings debut against the Broncos going 4-for-4 with a touchdown to Stefon Diggs. Cousins was held back by the Redskins inefficiencies and is now entering an offense that made Case Keenum look like a Pro Bowler. Watch out… Speaking of Case Keenum, he made his Broncos debut on the other side and went 1-for-4 for five yards. He’s a backup-quality quarterback that played in a Vikings offense last season that could’ve made almost any signal caller look above average. Paxton Lynch was no better going 6-for-11 for 24 yards and an interception. He’s shaping up to be a massive bust. I’m fully expecting this Broncos offense to be one of the worst in football and won’t be going out of my way to draft any Broncos offensive players… I love me some ‘Downtown’ Josh McCown, but the Jets didn’t draft Sam Darnold in the first round to sit on the bench all season. It’s only a matter of time before he’s in there and his preseason debut did not disappoint as he went 9-for-11 for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Running Backs

Jerick McKinnon carried the ball three times for -4 yards in his 49ers debut and suffered a “strained muscle.” The 49ers made a mistake making McKinnon the league’s fifth-highest paid running back following a big season with the Vikings last year. McKinnon is a mediocre talent who — like Keenum — was simply a product of the Vikings extremely efficient offense. Avoid… Saquon Barkley looked like he was playing in Tecmo Bowl on his first carry, turning nothing into a 39-yard gain. The Giants run-blocking is still a concern, but it may not matter. This guy is a special talent… Dalvin Cook didn’t play for the Vikings, but Latavius Murray did, shredding the Broncos defense for 43 yards on four carries. I’m all-in on the Vikings this year and can’t wait to draft Dalvin Cook in all leagues… The first big blow to a popular fantasy target came early in the preseason as Redskins rookie Derrius Guice tore his ACL. It will be Samaje Perine and/or Rob Kelley carrying the load which shouldn’t excite anybody… Jim Irsay’s “1,500-yard man” Marlon Mack left the preseason opener against Seattle with a hamstring strain and will miss several weeks. Neither of the Colts rookies, Nyheim Hines or Jordan Wilkins, were impressive in his place. If healthy, Mack should still be the leader of the backfield, especially with Robert Turbin set to serve a four-game suspension to open the season, but it’s a muddled situation, to say the least.

Wide Receivers

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m really all-in on the Vikings this season. Stefon Diggs and Cousins hooked up for a score. Diggs has shown flashes of potentially being one of the league’s best wideouts but still hasn’t put together a complete season. In fact, he still has yet to go for 1,000 yards in a season. This could be the one… A.J. Green caught two passes for 48 yards which gives me reason to talk about how NOBODY is talking about this guy. Green’s ADP has fallen to the mid-second round behind Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, and Michael Thomas. A.J. Green has been a Pro Bowler for seven straight seasons now. Expect a dramatic improvement on his career-low 52.4% catch percentage last season… Browns rookie Antonio Callaway had a tumultuous week off the field, but a productive one on it as Baker Mayfield’s favorite target. With Josh Gordon currently MIA, Callaway is a name to keep an eye on as his talent has never been in question… JuJu Smith-Schuster made his presence felt with his lone reception going for a 71-yard touchdown from backup Landry Jones. He’s got big play ability and is projected to see over 100 targets this season… And finally, Kelvin Benjamin had some mincing words about his time with the Panthers earlier this week. Of course, the Bills were taking on the Panthers and Kelvin Benjamin delivered against his former team with 54 yards and a touchdown catch from Nate Peterman. He’s the undisputed No. 1 there and has sunk on draft boards. The Bills offense isn’t the most exciting, but passes will need to be caught. Give him a look in the later rounds.

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Joey Korman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joey, check out his archive and follow him @leaveit2divac.

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