The New Reality No.129: Preseason Lessons, Rookie Landscape

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of dynasty fantasy football

The NFL preseason is an avalanche of new information. We have been in our caves of slumber since the NFL Draft for major player value movement. Now, we get breadcrumbs of data from NFL teams - hints of players, depth charts, and playing time to start the season:


Heading into Week 1 here is the landscape of rookie quarterbacks:

Kyler Murray, the 1.01 NFL Draft pick (and commonly so in superflex rookie drafts as well) is the lone Week 1 starter. Murray's electric athleticism and overt arm talent should buoy his fantasy production even if the Arizona offensive line struggles, which dismantled any chance Josh Rosen had a year ago. Murray is a mid-QB2 at worst for fantasy terms and easily-projectable into the top-12 with his (likely) elite rushing numbers and decent passing marks.

Will Grier has been one of the bigger disappointments dating back to the early NFL Draft process. He was discussed in Round 1 regularly for NFL Draft purposes. Since Grier fell almost out of Day 2 of the draft and made little headway in the preseason to look the part of a clear NFL backup or push ho-hum veteran Kyle Allen for the QB2 job in Carolina. Grier is only a superflex hold in leagues where 10-15 NFL backups are already rostered or three quarterbacks (triple flex) can be in weekly lineups.

Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones both showed well in the preseason (Jones more than Haskins) but both are set to 'simmer' for starting purposes behind placeholder veterans Eli Manning and Case Keenum. Manning and Keenum (more Manning here) are serviceable stopgap options in superflex leagues until they give way to the rookies, presumably by midseason. With Haskins, this year is a rough projectable considering Washington's weakness at offensive line and their dearth of weapons, especially if Jordan Reed misses time as has been the consistent trend in his career.

Ryan Finley, Gardner Minshew, and Jarrett Stidham emerged as primary backups around the NFL landscape. Stidham has the buzz with the New England factor (and pushed Brian Hoyer out of the depth chart), but Finley has the most 'may see starts in 2019' potential. Andy Dalton is the shakiest of the veteran starters on said depth charts and Finley showed well in the preseason despite falling in the draft after having some Round 1 buzz during his collegiate career. Finley is one of the better superflex stash options for later in 2019 or into 2020.

rookie running backs

The analytics pointed to a tepid rookie crop of running backs and the early opportunities are rather limited for clear starting roles for said players. However, the 2019 class litters RB2/3 roles on NFL depth charts, primed to benefit from injuries during the season. Here are the cliff notes for the notable rookie running backs heading into Week 1:

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