New Reality No.109: NFL Preseason Week 1 Watch Players - Footballguys

Outlining the key watch players in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL preseason

With the Hall of Fame game in the rearview mirror, the full slate of preseason action begins this week. Here are the key depth charts and players to watch for dynasty owners:


Bills Depth Chart

Josh Allen has not been running with the first team, but A.J. McCarron has to keep his poll position through the preseason. This is not a projected strong offense or passing game, but the early starter has premium format value.

Jets Depth Chart

Sam Darnold is signed and now pushing for the Week 1 job against incumbent stopgap Josh McCown. Also, Teddy Bridgewater could be moved in August if another team is interested or an injury strikes.

Chad Kelly, Broncos

Now healthy, Kelly can win the No. 2 spot in Denver plus prove to be worthy of future opportunities (in Denver or elsewhere) with a strong preseason.

Running Backs

Ryan Nall, Bears

The incoming rookie has an appealing combination of size and movement but did not flash much with poor offensive line play and missing a cutback lane or two in the preseason opener. Nall can turn into a dynasty cut for those who drafted him in Round 4/5 without upward depth chart movement in the next couple games.

James Conner, Steelers

Le'Veon Bell will not be in the preseason mix, so Conner needs to cement his RB2 status, a valuable upside position on the depth chart in the next few weeks. Potential challengers are Jaylen Samuels, Stevan Ridley, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Jarvion Franklin.

Malcolm Brown vs. John Kelly

The two young backs battle for the primary backup role to Todd Gurley. Brown is the incumbent while Kelly was drafted on Day 3 this offseason.

Colts Running Backs

Marlon Mack is in light pencil as the starter, but Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are notable rookies with strong reports thus far. With the upside of Andrew Luck back to raise the tide of the Colts offense, this is a backfield to monitor closely.

Cardinals Running Backs

David Johnson is the starter, but the No. 2 job is wide open between rookie Chase Edmonds, second-year back T.J. Logan, and veteran D.J. Foster. Edmonds was a small school workhorse despite being sub-sized, Logan has the best athletic profile, and Foster sports a strong receiving profile.

Phillip Lindsay, Broncos

Lindsay has garnered quality training camp notes and battles De'Angelo Henderson and David Williams for the No.3 role to open the season.

Wide Receivers

Anthony Miller, Bears

The buzz-filled receiver from training camp needs to translate the practice blurbs to the game field in order to maintain his rising stock, now into late Round 1 of rookie drafts. The No. 2 depth chart spot is possible for Miller early in the season, but he likely starts as the WR3.

John Ross, Bengals

Brandon LaFell has been cut and the No. 2 job is wide open for the redshirted rookie from 2017. Ross has elite speed, but has shown nothing to-date in NFL games. This is a golden opportunity to seize the No. 2 position and flash in the preseason.

Antonio Callaway, Browns

With Josh Gordon not present and Corey Coleman recently traded to Buffalo, Callaway is the name to monitor in the preseason. Callaway has Round 1 skills but dropped to Day 3 for off-field issues. Callaway could see a glut of snaps the next few weeks.

Cody Latimer, Giants

The former Round 2 pick is running out of chances in the NFL but has WR3 chances on the Giants depth chart beyond Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard.

Tre'Quan Smith, Saints

Smith has performed well in camp and could emerge as the WR2 for the Saints this season. Smith will battle Ted Ginn Jr and Cameron Meredith for opportunities beyond Michael Thomas.

Jaguars Wide Receivers

One of the least-settled wide receiver depth charts in the NFL is Jacksonville. They are a run-centric team, but between Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, and D.J. Chark Jr, their depth chart could be shuffled on a week-to-week. For fantasy purposes, this bunch is unlikely to produce more than a low-WR2, but emerging as a high-snap starter from this group gets them on the radar. The WR3 through WR5 guys, not so much.

Eric Decker, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt, Patriots

Jordan Matthews is hurt, Julian Edelman is suspended for a month, and early-season targets are available in the Patriots offense. Within two weeks, the leader of this group could be a top-150 redraft selection.

Packers Wide Receivers

Randall Cobb is dinged up and snaps are widely available in the preseason among a host of rookies (J'Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Jake Kumerow) and veteran incumbent Geronimo Allison.

49ers Slot Receivers

All signs point to Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin on the outside for San Francisco. Trent Taylor has been getting the buzz as the likely slot option, but Dante Pettis was a second-round pick with more overt athleticism to compete for the role.

Jets Wide Receivers

Much like the Jaguars and Patriots, the Jets wide receivers are fighting for a variety of depth chart spots this preseason. Robby Anderson is the incumbent, Quincy Enunwa returns from injury, Terrelle Pryor has the most enviable physical tools plus a 1,00-yard season in his history, and Jermaine Kearse has been underrated throughout his career.

Mike Williams, Chargers

The former top-10 pick did little through injuries as a rookie. The depth chart is wide open for Williams to surge to the No. 2 position with fantasy upside considering the lack of tight end presence.

Cowboys Wide Receivers

Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley are the most sturdy roles heading into the preseason, but rookie Michael Gallup, Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams, and Deonte Thompson are all in the mix. Considering the targets available and lack of tight end presence, this is one of the more intriguing preseason watch depth charts at wide receiver.

Tight Ends

Texans Tight Ends

Ryan Griffin is the older veteran but has battled concussions in his career. Stephen Anderson has flashed at times and is mid-career. Jordan Akins is the older rookie with some seam-stretching athleticism to note in this battle for targets.

Luke Willson vs. Michael Roberts, Lions

They have different skill sets, but both are fighting for the lead role in Detroit. Willson, formerly with the Seahawks, has more vertical ability, while Roberts has a hulking frame for blocking and red zone acumen.

Erik Swoope, Colts

Swoope returns from injury and Eric Ebron has drawn strong training camp reports. Jack Doyle is the incumbent starter but lacks dynasty appeal without strong physical traits or previous pedigree. This is a critical preseason for Swoope with the added competition from Ebron.

Braedon Bowman, Chargers

The depth chart is wide open with Hunter Henry's injury (and Antonio Gates rumored, but yet to sign back with the team). Bowman has physical upside and is one of the deep tight end names for dynasty players to monitor this preseason.

Broncos Tight Ends

Another open chart is in Denver with Jeff Heuerman, Austin Traylor, Jake Butt, and Troy Fumagalli battling for snaps. There is limited fantasy appeal here outside of premium formats.

Cowboys Tight Ends

The veterans are unspectacular in Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin. Dalton Schultz is the added rookie with Rico Gathers the preseason darling from last season returning from injury.

Dallas Goedert, Eagles

More than a camp battle, Zach Ertz's recent string of missed practices makes Goedert a potential preseason star in terms of opportunities with the first team. Goedert's training camp reports read like a highlight reel and yet another weapon for the Eagles high-level offense.