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Preseason fantasy football watch guide

What to watch for from a fantasy perspective during the NFL preseason

August 08, 2019 - 12:52 am
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Louie DiBiase
Twitter: @DiBiaseLOE

 

The NFL preseason kicks off Thursday night with 11 games on the docket.

While Buffalo Bills fans will be occupied as the team takes on the Indianapolis Colts, the exisistence of NFL Game Pass will provide time to take a look around the league. Not to mention the five games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

What teams and players should fantasy owners take a closer look at this week? Could anyone actually affect their fantasy value based on preseason performances? 

Here is your fantasy guide to the 2019 NFL preseason: 

 

  • Will the Dolphins stick to Kalen Ballage over Kenyan Drake as RB1 against Atlanta? 

Despite his efficient play over the last two seasons, Kenyan Drake was not a favorite of former head coach Adam Gase. Now, he finds himself behind second-year running back Kalen Ballage early on in the Brian Flores era of Miami Dolphins football. 

Will that remain the case against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night? If it does, continue to proceed with extreme caution when determing the right round to take a chance on Drake's talent. 

 

  • Has Lamar Jackson improved as a passer? 

If the electrifying signal caller suits up for the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will be interesting to see if his accuracy has improved. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is the most dangerous running quarterback in the NFL. If he can show progress from an inconsistent rookie season as an accurate passer, he could go from someone owners take late after waiting on quarterback, to a top-tier fantasy quarterback. 

Even for a series or two, it will be a good test going up against Jacksonville's defense to start off the year. As the preseason goes on, his playing time will increase. 

 

  • Geronimo Allison vs. Marquez Valdes-Scantling for Green Bay's WR2 job 

Neither Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling are household names. However, the two young receivers will contine their battle for the second wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers on Thursday against the Houston Texans. 

Both will likely see a sizeable workload in 2019 but gaining a rapport in the preseason with Rodgers will give either target the upper-hand to finish second in targets behind Davante Adams.  

If Rodgers has a Comeback Player of the Year caliber season, one of these two receivers could be the steal of your draft.

Keep a close eye on this battle Thursday night. 

 

Rookies to watch:

Preseason takeaways for starters should always be taken with a grain of salt. The more signifcant stock to place on the preseason is the evaluation process of the rookies. 

Three rookies could set themselves up for big roles in the regular season with strong showings in August:
 

  • D.K. Metcalf - Wide Receiver - Seattle Seahawks

Metcalf was the consensus top wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft by most media outlets, but the NFL didn't agree. Metcalf fell to Seattle at the bottom of the second round, and the fit could not be better. Both quarterback Russell Wilson and Metcalf thrive on the deep ball. 

If the Ole Miss product can make those splash plays this preseason, expect the rookie to be a big part of Seattle's offense this year. 
 

  • Darwin Thompson - Running Back - Kansas City Chiefs

Thompson has a real path to eventually becoming the starting running back for the Chiefs.

The sixth round pick was one of the best running backs at breaking tackles in college football last year. His ability as a receiver makes him an enticing player in Andy Reid's offense. 

Damien Williams will be a high draft pick in fantasy this year, but the veteran hasn't proven to an undisputed featured running back by any stretch. If Thompson flashes in the preseason, he should be the top handcuff over Carlos Hyde with starter potential.
 

  • Bruce Anderson - Running Back - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Anderson's opportunity in Tampa Bay is there for the taking. He isn't a known commodity coming out of North Dakota State by any stretch. However, a scout at the Senior Bowl compared Anderson's style to that of Bills legend Thurman Thomas. 

Peyton Barber is as vanilla as starting running backs come. Ronald Jones had as bad a start to an NFL career as one could have.

The undrafted running back might be one of the waiver wire pickups of the year if he can beat those two out. 

 

With a majority of drafts fast approaching, the gang from Breakfast with the Bills - Fantasy Style would be happy to help with your fantasy questions! You can reach all of us on Twitter:

Derek Kramer: @DerekKramer49
Louie DiBiase: @DiBiaseLOE
Mike Jafari: @MJafariWGR
Joe DiBiase: @SneakyJoeWGR

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