Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers, and Sleepers - Roto Street Journal
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Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers, and Sleepers

“Preseason doesn’t matter!” – random Fantasy Sheep who’ll finish in 10th place yet again.

Indeed, overreacting to Preseason Play and Training Camp Puff is a sheepish move. Still, ignoring meaningful developments would be equally dumb. Fantasy Wolves must consider all possible evidence.

From rapport building, to role and usage developments, to overall team performances and glimpses at new schemes, plus every Penny Stock who emerges in-between, plenty of important notes can be gathered in the preseason.

Just ask Christian McCaffrey  last year.

Below, find out all the meaningful  Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers, Sleepers and Takeaways from Preseason Week 1.

Risers

1) David Montgomery Flashes Three-Down Traits and Fantasy Upside in Preseason Week 1

 

David Montgomery has been a Wolf Favorite since landing with the Bears. He showed exactly why in his NFL Debut.

Montgomery was the Bears offensive engine when on the field, racking up 41 of the team’s 49 yards on their first scoring drive.

In the process, he confirmed everything that had us drooling. First, he flashed his three-down abilities with a beautifully executed screen for 23 yards. Later, he capped off the drive with a gorgeous 7-yard scamper, displaying the tight-quarters elusiveness and contact balance that’s led to Kareem Hunt comparisons.

In short, Montgomery affirmed his workhorse potential within this explosive offense. He’s going to be a Day One stud.

For more, click here.

2) Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson Look Plenty Capable to Lead the Invaluable Chargers Backfield

Melvin Gordon’s holdout continues on, and owners must begin adjusting for life sans last year’s RB6. In our first look at a Gordon-less backfield, both Ekeler and Jackson shined. Ekeler in particular looked like the guy, playing 12/16 (75%) of snaps with the first team while notching the first two GL touches. Jackson also looked like a bully on his scoring run. If this holdout lingers, both guys will carve out serious value and must rise multiple rounds in preparation for the worst.

For more on these two, click here.

 

3) In only two minutes, the Browns and Baker Mayfield look completely unstoppable

I love what Freddie Kitchens did. 2 minute drill right off the bat, and boy did they look… dangerous (puke – I’ll be here all week).

Seriously, Baker Mayfield was on fire, and the offense generated space for pass-catchers all night. So much for the Kitchens-Monken funeral, this will be an aerial bonanza I want to be a part of.

Oh, and neither Odell Beckham or Jarvis Landry played. If this attack was already churning without them, imagine what we’ll see when these monsters return? Baker should be the no-brainer No.2 QB after Mahomes, with 5,000+ yard and 40+ TD upside, while this offense feels likely to threaten fo the NFL lead.

4) Jameis Winston and the Bucs look ready to be a bomb-show under Bruce Arians

Speaking of ascending offenses… holy hell did Bruce Arians’ No Risk It, No Biscuit” attack look deadly.

We hoped Arians’ could be the QB Whisperer Jameis Winston needed, and the marriage is off to a beautiful start. The offense churned out a 12-play, 81 yard scoring drive in their only action. Winston went 5/6 for 40 yards and a score to Chris Godwin (who promises to again be a Red Zone terror).

Though the Bucs will have a hard time matching the 5,125 total passing yards of last year (most in NFL history), Arians should help the drop off be minimal.

5) Poised, Accurate, and Unafraid… Kyler Murray looks like he belongs (and is going to be a monster in this offense).

 

The 47 yards may not pop off the box score. But in just one drive, backed up inside his own 10, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Air Raid flashed exactly what we hoped to see. He was poised. He delivered gorgeous throws on time, with touch and accuracy. Receivers were open at will.

Simply put: Murray belonged. The moment wasn’t too big. The confidence he exudes feels even more real. He was at home on the NFL field, rather than looking like a scared pipsqueak.

6) Latavius Murray flashes all the skills needed to be Mark Ingram 2.0 in New Orleans

Just like the previous Murray, Latavius’ box score won’t wow.

But, in his limited time, Murray flashed the receiving skills to prove he can be the perfect Mark Ingram replacement. Just two years ago, Ingram was the RB5 in fantasy alongside Kamara. Murray would offer a similar ceiling, carrying 10+ TD upside all-while serving as the most valuable handcuff in fantasy.

Fallers

1) Damien Williams Committee-Trapped, and his backfield mates show well in his absence

Covered in more depth here, the Chiefs backfield appears headed for the dreaded committee. This is a steep departure from Andy Reid‘s usual workhorse roots.

Granted, this wouldn’t be totally concerning if the rest of the backfield was trash. This appeared to be the case entering camp. However, Carlos Hyde proved capable of a short-yardage / GL role with a 1 yard plunge. More concerningly, rookie RB Darwin Thompson looked like a genuine playmaker en route to 51 yards and a score.

Williams now faces an even steeper climb to securing a majority backfield share. He’s fully capable, but the risk increases with each solid showing from his backfield mates.

2) Dante Pettis told he needs to “earn” his starting role, proceeds to be outplayed by the rookie WRs

Though most 49ers starters didn’t play, Dante Pettis saw extensive minutes. HC Kyle Shanahan explained how he wanted Pettis to “earn his starting role.” Well, with 0 yards on 0 catches on 1 target… Pettis has some more earning to do.

Camp reports suggest the talented WR has struggled with consistency, opening the door for the two rookie additions to make waves. Covered below, both Deebo Samuels and Jalen Hurd did just that. Samuels led the team in receiving (2 rec, 61 yards) and would’ve scored had he not been criminally under thrown, while Hurd used his 6’4 frame to outmuscle defenders for 2 scores.

Already on shaky waters, Pettis did little to help his starting status, while the rookies around him shined.

3) SHOCKER: Keke Coutee is hurt… again

Keke Coutee has been a force when available. He set an NFL record with 11 catches in his first action (and had an 11 catch playoff contest). In fact, whenever he’s been on the field for at least 50% of the team’s snaps, he averaged 9.4 targets and 17.2 fantasy points per game. These paces are good for the WR13 in fantasy.

Of course, Coutee’s availability is the biggest issue. He’s only been available for 6 contests, and is again banged up to begin 2019. He suffered an ankle injury in his first game action, and now the team “isn’t expecting him back for a while.”

While the upside is palpable, Coutee is becoming little more than a late round dart throw and prayer.

Penny Stocks (Sleepers)

1) Tony Pollard Ready to “Carry Load” in Ezekiel Elliott’s absence

With Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout drama only thickening, Cowboys rookie RB Tony Pollard MUST enter your fantasy radar. Amidst Zeke’s absence, Pollard has soaked up first team reps and excelled as both a runner and receiver.

Encouragingly, he was the only back to play with Dak Prescott in Saturday’s preseason opener. In fact, after gaining 16 yards on 4 carries, Pollard was promptly removed alongside he rest of the starters — suggesting he’s earned an important role.

Many questioned if Pollard would be viewed as a true workhorse after he operated as Darrell Henderson‘s change of pace option at Memphis. Yet, those questions can be buried, at least in the Cowboys eyes. After Pollard’s impressive early camp, owner Jerry Jones has raved:

“He looks confident out there. We know he’s inordinately understanding what it is he does and what he can do,” Jones said “We’ve seen him do it. We know he’s capable, if he really needs to, carry the whole load.

Who knows if the holdout will last, but Pollard could be the 2019 “Conner” if so. The Cowboys offense isn’t as explosive as the Steelers, but they similarly offer a Top-Five offensive line and prefer riding a single horse. Pollard would offer similar sneaky-RB1 upside if Zeke remains absent and secures the workhorse role Jones hinted at.

2) Jamison Crowder shows why beats are labeling him a “100 catch” candidate and “reception animal”

If Jamison Crowder‘s early camp and Preseason Week 1 performance are any indication, he’s going to be a terror out of the slot in 2019. Or, as The Athletic’s Connor Hughes labels him: a “reception animal

Crowder has always possessed the necessary quicks, hands, and route savvy to thrive inside. With the Jets, he’s found the “Surrounding Talent” and “Coaching Scheme” to squeeze these skills for all their worth.

Most importantly, Crowder’s formed an immediate, strong rapport with Sam Darnold. The pair reportedly “found chemistry the moment they stepped on the field together.” In fact, the budding duo “sees plays the exact same way, which helps them connect when things break down.”

Though only one preseason drive, the Darnold-Crowder connection was apparent. Crowder led the Jets first-team with two targets, which he turned into 31 yards and a score. Their feel for the zone coverage was in-sync on their first connection, allowing Crowder to rip up the field for 28 yards. Crowder then hauled in a perfectly placed ball on his three yard out for the team’s first 2019 TD.

For more on Crowder, click here.

3) Devin Singletary shows his workhorse potential as the Bills’ offensive engine

Though the Bills’ backfield looks like a three or even four-headed fantasy nightmare to avoid, rookie Devin Singletary is providing glimpses of hope and upside. A week after earning a “steady amount of opportunities” with the fist team, Singletary highly impressed in his NFL debut.

He was the centerpiece for the teams’ first scoring drive of 2019, accounting for 37 of the Bills’ 46 yards as both a runner and receiver. At one point, he touched the ball on seven of eight plays, racking up 16 rushing yards (4.0 YPC) and 21 receiving yards across the drive. He was a chain-mover throughout, converting three first downs with strong vision, decision-making, and the ability to both find creases or create on his own when none exist.

Singletary’s strong performance came on the heels of a standout training camp thus far. According to The Athletic, Singletary has displayed strong “vision in reading block set-up,” “flashed as a pass-catcher,” “has a habit for the big play,” and has made “good defenders look foolish in the open field” while racking up chunk yardage. He’s well worth his 120+ value.

4) Jakobi Meyers shows his hype as “Brady’s Favorite Target” was fully warranted

There’s a rookie wide receiver making waves in New England and it’s not the first round pick — albeit N’Keal Harry made two fantastic catches vs the Lions. It’s undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers who is getting peppered in practice by Tom Brady and making legitimate noise with the “starters” during their preseason slaughter of the Lions — recording six receptions, 69 yards and two touchdowns on an efficient eight targets.

Not only did he dominate the game, but he also sat out the second half with the “starters” and was even on the podium after the game — something Bill Belichick does not grant to young, undrafted rookies. We’re known to buy into camp hype, but it looks like this kid is the real deal.

5) Darwin Thompson most impressive member of Chiefs’ backfield committee

 

Darwin Thompson was a highlight reel and the most impressive Chiefs RB in their first preseason action. Whether he was juking, hurdling, or barreling defenders, Thompson flashed it all. He consistently exploded through the line, and flashed his pass-catching prowess on a 29-yard score.

He still has some depth chart climbing ahead of him, but Thompson reportedly earned some first-team reps in Tuesday’s practice (while Carlos Hyde worked with the twos). Thompson also caught Patrick Mahomes‘ eye, who called his “explosiveness special.”

With the Chiefs turning to a committee approach, perhaps Thompson can earn a serious role in the league’s highest-powered attack.

6) Preston Williams shows why many believe he can be the Dolphins WR1 despite being undrafted

Talent has never been the question with Preston Williams, the former five-star recruit. Questionable off-field decisions led to Williams going undrafted, but the Dolphins took a stab and it looks like it may payoff big.

Williams has a long frame and uses his body very well. This was fully on display as he shredded the Falcons defense, leading to star CB Xavien Howard to gush: “That guy can be special… he’s going to be a No.1 receiver one day.”

Considering the Dolphins weak depth chart, that day could be as early as 2019. Keep tabs on Williams this summer.

 

7) Jaylen Samuels and James Washington show why they deserve love in the vastly open Steelers offense

Everyone is well-aware of the Steelers’ makeover in 2019. Despite the talent turnover, this team should still be a Top-15 offense under Future HOFer Ben Roethlisberger, who’s fresh off leading the NFL in passing.

The question becomes, where does all the vacated volume go?

Early on, Jaylen Samuels and James Washington made strong cases. Samuels, who’s been a fixture at training camp while carving out a standalone pass-catching, looked plenty powerful in racking up 30 yards on just 3 touches. Meanwhile, while Donte Moncrief is an RSJ favorite and the current No.2, Washington isn’t going to go quietly into the night. He made leaping grabs and continually blazed through the defense en route to his strong stat-line.

The Steelers opened up the third most passing yards (2485, 47%) from last year. Both Samuels and Washington are making strong cases to be fed plenty here.

 

8) 49ers Rookie WRs Deebo Samuels and Jalen Hurd both rise to the massive opportunity in front of them

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