Fantasy Football Today: Biggest questions for Preseason Week 1 plus wide receiver rankings updates – CBS Sports

  • September 8, 2022

Play Now
Football Pick’em
Play Now
College Football Pick’em
Buy or Sell
Talking the business of sports
Based on the reaction on Twitter last night, don’t expect to see Kenny Golladay’s draft price increase following his preseason debut. The Giants were the only team to play their starters extensively among the two games Thursday, and Golladay did not impress, catching one of three passes for 6 yards, including a pretty lackluster effort on a target inside of the 5-yard line.
We didn’t see enough from the Giants first-team offense to really register much of an opinion on how Brian Daboll’s new offense is going to impact Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Plus, breakout candidate Kadarius Toney didn’t play due to an injury while rookie camp standout Wan’Dale Robinson didn’t register a stat. 
Hey, that’s how it goes in the first preseason game. Most teams treat it like the Patriots did, with starters barely seeing the field, if they do at all. There’s only so much you can learn from situations like that, though I will note that Titans rookie Malik Willis showed off an intriguing skill set with his 38 rushing yards plus a touchdown, while Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely showed some nice skills for a fourth-rounder – and inspired one of my most cringe-worthy jokes of all time on Twitter
You’re looking for deep sleepers who pop and you’re looking for relevant depth chart-related events in the first week of preseason, and in today’s newsletter, I’m focusing on what we’re going to be looking out for in this weekend’s preseason action. In Monday’s newsletter, we’ll have the biggest winners and losers from the weekend as we try to sort through what does and doesn’t matter. 
But we’re not quite done with our wide receiver preview just yet. At the bottom of this newsletter, I have my updated wide receiver rankings heading into the weekend, and if you missed anything from this week, you can find it all here:
And now here are the biggest questions heading into Preseason Week 1:
It’s worth noting, we may not actually get answers to some of these questions this weekend. It’s hard to track down exactly which teams will and won’t be giving some of their starters an opportunity, so we don’t really know who will be playing. Next week will be a bit more predictable, but here’s what I’ll have my eye on this weekend:
Brady has been away from the team since last week and will be gone until after the team’s Aug. 20 preseason game as he tends to a personal matter. According to Bucs coach Todd Bowles, Brady’s absence was planned before training camp started, though there was one quote that stood out to me: Bowles said he has “a pretty high level of confidence” that Brady will be the starting quarterback for Week 1 against the Cowboys. That makes it sound like it isn’t 100% certain, which is strange if the absence was planned before training camp. This is probably nothing, but I’ll just note that it’s certainly a strange circumstance and one that at least bears watching. 

Much has been made of some speculation by reporters that rookie Brian Robinson would have a role from Day 1, potentially as a goal-line back, so let’s see if there’s any fire with that smoke. Gibson missed some time early in camp with an injury, but he’s been back over the past week and talk of Robinson running with the first team hasn’t been as prevalent since. Hopefully, we’ll get a glimpse of how the Commanders want to use their backs, because if Robinson really does have a role in the offense – especially near the goal line – that probably makes Gibson an RB3 at best. 
Probably not. Kyle Pitts was listed as a backup on the first official depth chart last season, which is coach Arthur Smith’s way of saying that rookies need to earn their spot. Drake London was listed as the No. 5 WR in the same unofficial depth chart, and I feel pretty confident in saying that he won’t be coming off the field for KhaDarel Hodge and Damiere Byrd. So, I don’t take much from Allgeier being listed eighth on the depth chart. The question is, is he second, third, fourth? Is he first? Cordarrelle Patterson is the only sure thing here, but if Allgeier looks like he has a shot to be the complement to Patterson, he’ll jump into the top-100 picks pretty quickly. 
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has had a lot of positive things to say about Eno Benjamin this offseason, a big change from how he’s talked about the third-year back in the past. We know the Cardinals like to use multiple backs, and while I like James Conner quite a bit with Chase Edmonds out of the picture, Benjamin earning a consistent role would make that a little harder to buy. I’m not expecting Benjamin to step into Edmonds’ place as the primary passing downs back, which helps keep my Conner enthusiasm alive, but Benjamin has a chance to get on the field and make an impact, which wasn’t clear at the start of camp. 
Doubs has earned a ton of praise for his work in camp, but Fantasy players should be skeptical – Amon-Ra St. Brown in 2021 was just the fourth fourth-round rookie to have 800-plus yards ever. There’s no doubt Doubs has the opportunity to earn a valuable role in the Green Bay offense, but we’ll want to see him running with the first team and preferably producing before we really start buying in. For now, he’s just a late-round flier in redraft leagues. 
It’s not clear how much the Jets starters will be out there for the opener, but we do expect to see them, which will give us our first glimpse of rookie running back Breece Hall. Hall is an extremely talented player, but the Jets offense has a lot of question marks, so if he’s splitting work, it might be hard for him to be much more than a fringe starting option for Fantasy. So, I’d love to see him out there for a couple of drives dominating snaps – especially on third down and in obvious passing situations. The outcome we don’t want to see is Hall splitting with Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman, especially if he’s coming off the field in valuable passing downs. 
Miles Sanders is the presumptive No. 1, but that also comes with the presumption that his hold on that role is probably pretty tenuous. Fantasy players have been assuming the next man up will be Kenneth Gainwell, the second-year back, but Boston Scott has still been seeing work with the first team in practice, so that’s no guarantee. We’re operating under the assumption that Gainwell is the higher ceiling option of the two based on youth, but he has to actually win a higher spot on the depth chart, something he hasn’t done in two years. Being the next man up for a guy like Sanders, who may not have much job security, is a valuable spot to be in, but we’re just not actually sure Gainwell has that spot. 
Elijah Mitchell is the No. 1, but that may not be set in stone with Kyle Shanahan, who is more than happy to reward strong play by going with the hot hand. Mitchell’s struggles staying healthy last season were noted by Shanahan in recent days, and he has had a lot more positive things to say about Trey Sermon than he did last year at this time. Let’s see if Sermon can push for a meaningful role.
We’ll see both quarterbacks on the field for the Panthers in the preseason opener, and coach Matt Rhule continues to talk about it like a real battle, but I’ve been assuming this is Baker Mayfield‘s job to lose, not Sam Darnold‘s to win. Darnold just hasn’t been nearly as good as Mayfield throughout their careers, so it wouldn’t be a great sign for Mayfield (or this offense) if he wasn’t able to resoundingly beat Darnold out. I expect he will. 
It doesn’t sound like any of the leading contenders here have been particularly impressive in either situation, so it’s possible it just doesn’t matter all that much. It’s not like I’m going to feel substantially better about the Seahawks offense if Geno Smith is starting rather than Drew Lock. Still, you’d prefer to see a situation where a player runs away with a job rather than wins it by default, and the latter sounds like what is happening in both spots. That doesn’t inspire confidence. 
We rarely learn much of anything from Dolphins training camp reports, so right now, the pre-camp assumption that Chase Edmonds is the lead back reigns. However, the Dolphins have surprised us several times in recent years, so I want to see who is active and who seems to be actually fighting for first-team reps between Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin. This could potentially be a very valuable backfield, so hopefully we get a glimpse of it. 
There have been mixed reports, but it sounds like Joshua Kelley is the leader right now for what could be a very valuable role. We’ve seen enough of Kelley that the prospect isn’t a particularly appealing one unless he’s taken a step forward, so we’re hoping rookie Isaiah Spiller can start to push him. He has the opportunity, but he needs to make up ground. 
Jacobs getting extended run in the Hall of Fame game was one of the only noteworthy things to come out of that first exhibition game. The team downplayed the significance of that, but I think it would be foolish to ignore it. The Raiders are expected to follow a similar pattern in terms of their personnel usage from the preseason opener, so it’ll be interesting to watch how they deploy their running backs. Jacobs got more run with the starters than any other back, but if Zamir White cuts into that, this could turn into a real competition. I’m not sure either would be much more than a low-end RB2, but that would still make White a serious value if he can earn the role. 
*End of a tier
Make picks for your chance to win guaranteed weekly and season prizes, plus the $100K jackpot.
© 2004-2022 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.
Images by Getty Images and US Presswire

source

dgdgfdeeewasa dgdgfdeeewasa dgdgfdeeewasa