You know what it is, you know what it be. Issa me.
Unlike the fake Bible, we keep ours updated. Just because I’m a powerful presence doesn’t mean you should believe everything I said once upon a time (two weeks ago when I wrote the Bible). Things change. Preseason matters, usage matters, nothing matters tbh.
After each preseason slate, we’re finna tuck our shirts in & drink our way through the most important things we saw that weekend.
In the first game of the weekend, we saw the Pats wipe the floor with the Eagles. The roles are starting to clearly define themselves for the Pats. Cam and the first team have been in for 29 snaps this preseason. Damien Harris has played 16 of them, and is starting running back for this team, no questions asked. If you’ve been taking Harris congrats, you’ve got yourself a 15-carry/game back with a crystal-clear path to 8+ touchdowns. James White continues to be James White – monopolizing 3rd downs and passing situations. Damien Harris owners can dream. But Sony Michel and Rhamondre Stevenson are out of the picture like a vampire. Jakobi Meyers continues to BALL – feeling good about having him in our undervalued/sleepers section and at this point debating moving him over to a must-draft candidate.
Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor both were in a route for 100% of the passing plays with the starters.
Meyers collected three targets, three receptions, 56 yards vs. a blank for Agholor.
Meyers route tree is diverse, Agholor 77.8% go routes.
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) August 20, 2021
Meyers is the best route runner on the team and the numbers are starting to follow suit. Meyers might be THE late-round target at WR in fantasy football this year.
Jalen Hurts was a last-minute scratch due to illness so there weren’t many takeaways from Philly’s side. It was fun to see DeVonta Smith on the field for the first time, he was fine, but it’s becoming more and more clear he’ll be the WR1 in Philly, for whatever that’s worth as Jalen Reagor continues to fade. Reagor’s falling behind Quez Watkins who is now an every-down receiver for Philly. Watkins needs to be on everyone’s radar as a late-round pick. (If you own Watkins in dynasty, try flipping for a 2nd-round rookie pick yesterday).
Reagor has been relegated to playing on 3WR sets exclusively. The training camp reports of him disappointing are showing themselves.
The number of times I was tagged in a Mecole Hardman post after the Chiefs game last night was borderline Supreme Court level of harassment. I say this at the beginning of every single video in regards to preseason games… I DONT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT PRESEASON BOX SCORES. The only thing I care about is usage. And you know who wasn’t used in the Chiefs vs. Cardinals game? Tyreek Hill. Do the math. If Hill is out, and Mecole Hardman is the WR3, what does that now make him? The WR2. Good job. He’s still bad at football and nothing about his 50% catch rate or 4.8 yards per target stat-line is changing that. After playing on all 6 of the Chiefs first 6 snaps, Clyde Edwards-Helaire shimmied his way off the field with a sight ankle sprain.
Chiefs’ RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire sprained his right ankle last night. “They got to check it (today), do what they do there,” said Andy Reid. “It’s tender now. It doesn’t look like a high-ankle sprain. That’s always a good thing. They’ll double-check it.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 21, 2021
Andy Reid says RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a slight ankle sprain. Says he will be furthered examine in KC on Saturday but it doesn't appear to be a high-ankle sprain.
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) August 21, 2021
This is big for a few reasons. CEH had been going at an awkward spot in drafts, middle-to-late 2nd round – where I didn’t feel great about drafting him to be honest. This ankle news should bop him down the ADP a tiny, tiny bit to the end of the 2nd, early 3rd round. Assuming the ankle sprain is indeed minor (awaiting further tests), the 3.5 weeks he has to recover from this is more than enough time. I now love drafting CEH where he’s going to be going. You’re going to be able to rattle off CMac-CEH-Waller or Cook-Metcalf-CEH starts to your draft and it’s going to be glorious.
Ons second thought, maybe sit on CEH news a bit longer:
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals offense looked post-14 keystone lights puke-worthy going 3-and-out like Snacks at the plate, but Chase Edmonds continues to look more and more like a workhorse in Arizona, and he’ll be coming off the all-fade list shortly. Rondale Moore is THE starting slot wide receiver for Arizona. He’s getting a lot of targets this preseason because DeAndre Hopkins continues to rest, but I’m still off Moore as a season-long pick. The targets are going to diminish when Hopkins steps onto the field and I think we’re going to see more 5-37-0 games from Moore, more often than not. Moore’s aDOT in this game was 1.8. It’s nice to see usage, but it’d be nice to see some usable usage. Ya dig. A.J. Green and Christian Kirk will battle for the starting receiver spot in 3WR sets.
The other game on Friday night featured Washington and Cincinnati. Nothing juicy to report from the Bengals side with Joe Burrow still recovering, but Mixon looks good and continues to operate as bellcow he’s been rumored to be. He remains a super strong 2nd round fantasy pick. On the capital’s side, we have some interesting takeaways here.
Washington’s offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick has encountered 9 3rd downs during the preseason. RB snaps in those situations:
J.D. McKissic 7
Antonio Gibson 1 (3rd-and-1)
Peyton Barber 1
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) August 21, 2021
You just absolutely hate to see this. Antonio Gibson will never hit C-Mac level of upside in fantasy if he’s being ripped off of the field on third down. That being said, his involvement on early downs is alarmingly high, in the best way possible. I mean this dude had 9 touches in the first quarter of a preseason game last night. Missing a few third downs might not kill him.
I admit that I might be too low on Logan Thomas. He’s playing on every snap, as he did last year. The reason I don’t like him revolves around the fact that he ranked outside of the top-25 tight ends in nearly every single per target or per reception efficiency metric in 2020 – I’m coming around to the fact that it might be more Alex Smith aDOT related than Thomas as a player. I’m not necessarily targeting him in drafts right now, but he’s no longer making the all-fade team for yours truly.
Well, Matt Nagy is not backing off his twisted pride fueling the 3 starts Andy Dalton will get over Justin Fields during the regular season.
Zach Wilson has the big apple running like Usain Bolt on Saturday. The kid looked great and I hope he takes a shit directly in the mouths of everyone on Twitter that wrote him off in April. The apple of his eye seems to be Corey Davis, the McIntosh of apples. There was no Elijah Moore in this one as he recovers from a lil quad thing, but listen to this: Corey Davis has been targeted on 50% of Zach Wilson’s attempts this preseason…… We’re undervaluing Davis and the volume he’s going to see in 2021 – start considering the Jets WR1 a fantasy WR3. In the backfield, it was more of the same, the buzzed rookie Michael Carter moved even further down the depth chart in this one with Tevin Coleman back in the lineup. Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson split first-team snaps dead-even. Michael Carter didn’t get onto the field until Zach Wilson and the starter’s day was done. Tough scene for y’all. This doesn’t make me want to draft any Jets running back whose name starts with T, just makes Carter an easy fade.
Speaking of tough scene – ok I might have been a little bit premature on leaving Myles Gaskin for dead last week, huh. I was never arguing against his talent, or that Malcolm Brown was better than him, simply that Brian Flores was going to annoyingly use Brown in key situations. You didn’t hear me arguing that Malcolm Brown was better than Darrell Henderson or Cam Akers last year, but low and behold, Brown led the Rams backfield in GL carries, targets and receptions. Fantasy is not real life. And while Gaskin looked phenomenal yesterday, I want to echo loudly, that this is still a timeshare:
Dolphins 1st half HB snap count all with Tua at QB
Myles Gaskin 19
Salvon Ahmed 13
Malcolm Brown 5
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 22, 2021
Don’t let preseason box scores deter you from the fact that the Dolphins were playing against the Falcon’s ratched defense, and mainly 2nd string defense.
Again it’s why I say look at usage in the preseason, we don’t care at all about statistics. Take away Gaskin’s box score, and you’re looking at a 51% snap guy, splitting time with two other running backs. This is a real time-share. Gaskin will get a lot of pass-catching work for sure (worth noting that DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Preston Williams all didn’t play). He’s the best pass-catcher out of the backfield in Miami, no one argued the contrary. In all honesty, I think the pendulum is going to swing too far the other way on the Gaskin love after this game. He saw just over 50% of the first-team snaps (and no he didn’t get taken out after the first two drives, he was in on the final play of the first half).
Panthers rookie Chuba Hubbard has moved into the elusive handcuff tier of running backs along with A.J. Dillon and Tony Pollard. If you invest a 1st round pick into Aaron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott or C-Mac, you should invest a later-round into their backup.
Ngl, Big Ben looked dynamite. Dropping absolute dimes into Diontae Johnson‘s fingertips downfield, and remains my favorite WR getting drafted in the 5th round. I’m starting to consider Ben as a decent QB2 option for Superflex leagues. Najee Harris looked explosive on Saturday night, especially in the receiving game. He once again dominated first-string touches – playing on 15-of-16 Big Ben snaps, putting him at an 88% snap rate with the starters. No running back eclipsed a 71% snap share in 2020. There isn’t something more obvious than Harris getting bellcow usage in 2021 fantasy football. Please don’t fade this man. FOR THE 90TH TIME, don’t get wrapped up in preseason stats. It was cool to see rookie TE Pat Freiermuth catch two touchdown passes, but be well aware that he’s not playing ahead of Eric Ebron in real game action. The Steelers mainly operated in 11 personnel (3WR-1TE-1RB), and Patty didn’t play much. With the trio of Diontae, Claypool and JuJu, I expect that to be the norm. Ebron more than doubled (9-4) the rookie’s snap count on Saturday.
Anthony Firsker is going to plummet down my next ranking update. He’s in a clear timeshare with like 3 tight ends. It’s ugly there. A.J. Brown and Julio are going to see no less than a zillion targets apiece.
All three Cowboys starting receivers were available in a preseason game for the first time. CeeDee Lamb played 75% of the snaps out of 12 personnel after only playing 6 of 79 snaps in the formation in 2020. Dak’s recovery is the biggest concern for all three wideouts at this point – but all 3 can return value on their ADP if their QB is healthy.
Once again we saw the Texans backfield give early-down work to not only Philip Lindsay, but Uncle Mark Ingram this time around. David Johnson played on third downs, but this just confirms it’s a backfield to avoid altogether.
Melvin Gordon continues to sit out the Broncos preseason games, but even in his absence, rookie Javonte Williams is splitting snaps evenly with Royce Freeman. Williams continues to be a puzzling 6th round pick. We’re projecting an opportunity share that’s Everclearly just not there. He’s splitting snaps with Royce Freeman, what do you think happens when Melvin Gordon is actually playing?
The bigger storyline in Denver is the QB battle. Based on yesterday’s game, any normal human would presume it’s Teddy Bs job to lose at this point, but they haven’t made any official announcement yet. Jerry Jeudy has looked great and with the battle leaning in favor of Bridgewater, Jeudy remains one of my favorite middle-round WR targets in fantasy drafts.
Devontae Booker seems to be the clear handcuff to Saquon Barkley at this point – seeing 16-of-16 snaps with the “starters” against Cleveland.
Trey Lance continues to show out as Kyle Shanahan refuses to name a Week 1 starter lol. Lance continues to bring a dynamic to this offense that leaves defenders’ heads spinning. The most recent odds I’ve been able to find for the 49ers Week 1 starter have Trey Lance at (+250) to start Week 1 – so he’s still the underdog, but Shanahan continues to give him extendedddddd work with the starters in these preseason games, and it’s for a reason. Continue to draft Trey Lance.
Listen, I ain’t pry and chipper about Travis Etienne‘s foot injury, but this injury saved a whole lot of you, a whole lot of heart break. Well, probably not most of YOU in particular since he’s been on our all-fade list. He continued the trend of 3rd string snaps on Monday night, before exiting after 3 snaps. And this injury is WILDLY concerning. It’s the dreaded Lisfranc (mid-foot) sprain. Even best case scenario here STINKS
Not good news for RB Travis Etienne. Even though X-Rays are negative he can still need surgery & get screws. Minimum RTP 2-4 weeks but not effective. Think Cam Newton a couple of years. Pending severity research shows RTP for non-operative cases 6.2 months, surgery 11.1 months. https://t.co/FyXYzzbPOO
— Mario Pilato (@PFF_Mario) August 24, 2021
Worst case scenario is surgery and he’s out forever. If Etienne wasn’t off your board before, he now is, ENTIRELY. This obviously skyrockets James Robinson up our rankings, he’s an easy top-20 back, in that Carson, Montgomery tier. I think Hyde will take some work, and Etienne will eventually be back, so Robinson won’t repeat his 2020 magical movement, but you’ve gotta feel great if you’re rostering him after Monday night. The other big injury in Jacksonville was Marvin Jones. He walked off the field at one point with a limp arm and it’s looking like a shoulder injury that we don’t yet know the extent of. If it winds up being serious, we’ve got to move Laviska Shenault (who still isn’t playing in 12 personnel) up the rankings a bit and makes D.J. Chark‘s return from hand surgery a bit more intriguing. Stay tuned for more news on Jones. Overall, however, this Jaguars offense looks like a fucking mess, and Trevor Lawrence’s fantasy value is going to suffer because of it.
Marquez Callaway BALLED OUT and his ADP can’t reach a point where it’s too high for me to draft him. He’s been on our sleeper/undervalued list, but he’s getting dangerously close to a must draft player at ADP. With Adam Trautman being taken off on a cart, there is literally no target competition for Callaway in New Orleans. I’d put significant money that Callaway is a bonafide fantasy WR2 for the entirety of Michael Thomas’ absence. We’re still awaiting x-rays on Trautman’s injury, but it could also be a Lisfranc. Adam Levitan said it best
Adam Trautman foot injury also a bad beat for people grinding hard. He didn’t even have the passing-down role. Now everyone will know to avoid him because he’s hurt.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 24, 2021
Another one on our All-Fade list that people are lucking into avoiding. Sad !