New Reality No.110: NFL Preseason Week 1 Takeaways - Footballguys

Distilling Week 1 of the 2018 NFL preseason down into key dynasty information

Football has finally arrived and the takeaways from Week 1 of the preseason are vast for dynasty owners. Here are the highlights by skill position:


Lamar Jackson: The rookie showed improvement from the Hall of Fame game last week. Jackson was impressive on a down-the-seam pass to a contested Chris Moore and eluding multiple defenders en route to a red zone rushing touchdown. While Jackson is still set to 'simmer' behind Joe Flacco, he has made strides from game to game thus far.

Josh Allen: The up-and-down play was present for Allen, but the biggest takeaway was Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron both playing ahead of Allen and the rookie did not see time until the second half.

Chad Kelly: The former Round 7 pick saw his NFL debut with positive results. Kelly exhibited a live arm, mobility, and a highlight moment of a touchdown throw with a defender bearing down on him in the pocket. On an ancillary note, Paxton Lynch continues to struggle as a passer with accuracy and working through progressions. Kelly is making his case for the QB2 spot in Denver.

Matt Cassel: While not an exciting fantasy option for upside, Cassel appears to have the QB2 role in Detroit locked down. Jake Rudock, like Paxton Lynch, had one of the forgettable performances of the week at the position and did not build on the modest promise he showed last preseason.

Running Backs

Cardinals: Chase Edmonds was the clear No. 2 back and flashed at times. Despite his sub-sized frame, Edmonds exhibited strong balance and drive on an impressive goal line touchdown. T.J. Logan and D.J. Foster are fighting for the RB3 spot as Edmonds is the clear leader for the primary backup.

Ravens: Without Kenneth Dixon in the lineup, Javorius Allen was the RB2 behind starter Alex Collins. Gus Edwards and Mark Thompson have been promising but clearly behind Allen as an incumbent veteran through two preseason games. Monitor Edwards and Thompson to see if they stick as the final running back (or on the practice squad) but at least one looks poised to be cut in the coming weeks with a deep depth chart for the Ravens.

Cowboys: Bo Scarbrough showed some second-level juice and broke a tackle, but was generally non-descript in his debut. Also, Rod Smith showed well and was the clear RB2. Scarbrough owners need to worry more about Darius Jackson (who looked better than Scarbrough) in the fight for the RB3 spot than challenging incumbent Smith for RB2 at this point.

Lions: It may have been a showcase performance for another team down the line, but Ameer Abdullah put together some of his best tape in the NFL. Abdullah entered the game behind LeGarrette Blount as RB2. Kerryon Johnson is the future for Detroit and was still the most impressive back in the game, but Abdullah is the classic rebound candidate if he resurfaces elsewhere.

Colts: This may be the most up-in-the-air backfield from top to bottom in the NFL. Marlon Mack is now nursing a hamstring injury. Robert Turbin looked resurrected and better than the past few years. Christine Michael was functional and Nyheim Hines was pedestrian at best in his debut. Jordan Wilkins was also impressive later in the game. Adding to the ambiguity, the Colts signed Branden Oliver since the game.

Chiefs: Without Spencer Ware active, Damien Williams was impressive in the RB2 role, exhibiting nice balance post-contact.

Dolphins: Frank Gore did not play, offering more playing time for Kalen Ballage. The oozing potential was obvious with Ballage's combination of size and movement. However, Ballage also contributed negative plays with a lost fumble after hurdling a defender and struggling in pass protection and drawing the ire from Ryan Tannehill in practice on Sunday.

Patriots: Jeremy Hill is the watch player on New England's depth chart. He showed well with some of his early-career Cincinnati days. The biggest appeal for Hill as a must-roster dynasty player is he can earn the power back role for the Patriots without an injury...or the downside is Hill does not make the final roster. High variance is not a bad spectrum of outcomes for final roster players in dynasty as at least there is clarity in the coming weeks.

Raiders: Like Baltimore, the Raiders have plenty of quality depth at running back. There will be an odd man out and DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, and Chris Warren are fighting for two spots at most on the active squad. Warren was impressive, exhibiting lead back traits later in the game as RB5. Washington ran hard inside, a necessary trait for a smaller back. Richard is more suited for playing in space and as a receiver. This is an interesting depth to track for practice squad and cut designations who can resurface elsewhere.

Steelers: James Conner looks entrenched as the RB2 and fully recovered from his late-season injury. Rookie Jaylen Samuels was buried as the RB5 into the game.

Seahawks: It was a slow start for Rashaad Penny, whose production came in the second half of note and playing behind Chris Carson and Mike Davis.

49ers: In addition to getting dinged up, Jerick McKinnon looked sluggish with his reps and easily contained by the Dallas defense. Matt Breida, who also sustained a minor injury, flashed more athleticism in his time.

Buccaneers: Like Rashaad Penny, Ronald Jones II had a lackluster NFL debut. Jones' build is thin, especially on the lower half and he added a drop in the passing game, aligning with training camp reports of his receiving struggles out of the gate. Peyton Barber is gaining a stronghold to be the starter to open the season.

Redskins: Derrius Guice is the big news with a torn ACL. Rob Kelley was in over Samaje Perine early in the game. Kelley, dropped in a decent number of dynasty leagues this offseason, is one of the bigger pickups of the week on the prospect of landing a lead running back.

Wide Receivers

Panthers: Jarius Wright and Curtis Samuel both saw significant first-team reps this week. While neither has strong standalone value or upside, their presence can sap targets away from Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess, and D.J. Moore enough to soften their output by a couple points-per-game.

Bears: Kevin White saw first-team reps, which should not be a big surprise for a former top-10 draft pick. However, Anthony Miller needs to get to the WR2 role on the offense to have much fantasy potential. Health has been White's biggest roadblock to-date and he is healthy heading into a critical season.

Bengals: John Ross is a big watch player for Cincinnati. After a virtual redshirt rookie season, Ross is healthy and the WR2 role is wide open after the release of Brandon LaFell. Ross flashed his elite athleticism on a short reception where he burst past a defender for a long gain. Like Tyreek Hill and a few others in the NFL, John Ross is a 'hold your breath' athlete who can take any touch to the end zone.

Browns: Antonio Callaway is one of the white-hot dynasty names. However, Callaway logged two drops this week and his production did not come until the second half. Like Anthony Miller, Callaway will need to earn his market share as it is not assumed at present.

Packers: The contenders for the WR3 role (and roster spots in general) are vast in Green Bay. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was the notable flash this week with a contested highlight touchdown and a deep high-point reception. J'Mon Moore logged a long drop and Equanimeous St.Brown did not make a positive impact. Jake Kumerow, a buzz player from training camp, had his highlight moment buried in the final minutes with a long touchdown. Kumerow will need to rise up with snaps earlier in the game before being a serious threat to the WR3 spot.

Tight Ends

Cowboys: Geoff Swaim was the preferred TE1 with the first-team offense. Swaim is a more lumbering mover than Blake Jarwin, but showed better as a blocker and dominated snaps early in the game. Jarwin played late into the game as well. Consider Swaim the Week 1 starter until further notice.

Broncos: Jake Butt is the preferred dynasty option of the depth chart. It was a positive sign to see Butt active for the opening game of the preseason and received some first-team reps.

Texans: Stephen Anderson was a promising player in 2017, but appears to be lapped by rookies Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas in pecking order snaps.

Jets: On an uncertain depth chart, Neal Sterling was the clear preferred pass-catcher on the first team, while Eric Tomlinson was mixed in as a blocking-centric option. Sterling is very intriguing for tight end-premium dynasty owners in deeper leagues.