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NFL Preseason Recap: Week 1

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NFL Preseason News & Notes

Are you looking for the next dynasty hidden gem? Trying to find those late round steals in your redraft leagues? Watching every preseason game or combing through a sea of practice reports can be tiresome and frankly, most people don’t have time to do that.

Don’t worry – we’ve done it for you. Here is the most fantasy-relevant information for each NFL team from Preseason Week 1:

Arizona Cardinals

NFL Preseason News

Wide receiver John Brown has been recovering from a concussion that he suffered on July 31 and didn’t play in the team’s first preseason game. The Cardinals doesn’t seem overly concerned about the issue, and unless Brown doesn’t return for the Cardinals week three preseason game, he’s a safe pick at his ADP.

Atlanta Falcons

NFL Preseason News

Second-year RB Tevin Coleman suffered a minor foot injury in camp on August 2nd and missed a few days of practice, yet was able to suit up in the Falcons’ first preseason game. Coleman touched the ball just twice and despite the coaching staff’s comments earlier in the offseason about taking some of the load off of Devonta Freeman’s shoulders, Freeman has a high floor for fantasy owners with his heavy involvement in the passing game.

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Baltimore Ravens

NFL Preseason News

Is Terrance West really a thing? After drawing rave reviews from beat reporters and observers throughout the first two weeks of camp, West ran for two touchdowns on Thursday and effectively created an ADP for himself in fantasy drafts. Justin Forsett has flown under the radar at training camp as all the talk has been on West and rookie Kenneth Dixon, but that does not mean he has been disappointing. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Justin Forsett is “quietly having an excellent camp.”

Buffalo Bills

NFL Preseason News

After undergoing surgery in April for a broken foot, Sammy Watkins passed his physical on August 8th and returned to practice. The coaching staff believed he could have played in the first preseason game, but was held out as a precaution. We’re not out of the woods yet with a reconditioning injury, but Watkins is looking to be a high upside pick at his current ADP.

Carolina Panthers

NFL Preseason News

Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL just over a year ago but is practicing with the team and even played in the first preseason game. The Panthers will manage his workload throughout camp, but it looks like he should be fully recovered from his injury. Whether or not he can have a repeat of his rookie year stat line is an entirely different story, though.

Chicago Bears

NFL Preseason News

Zach Miller has missed most of Bears camp, including the first preseason game with a concussion, but finally returned to practice on Saturday. Keep an eye on his progress as he is an excellent late-round TE target.

Many folks believe that rookie RB Jordan Howard can eat into Jeremy Langford’s workload, but he was the fourth RB to hit the field in Chicago’s first preseason outing. He’ll have to make a serious move up the depth chart over the next three weeks before he becomes a justifiable fantasy draft pick.

Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Preseason News

Running back Jeremy Hill injured his hand in the first quarter of Friday’s preseason contest. He stayed on the sidelines without returning to the game. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious but watch reports over the coming days. If it somehow becomes a multi-week injury, Gio Bernard’s value would skyrocket.

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Cleveland Browns

NFL Preseason News

Isaiah Crowell only received one carry in Friday’s game before injuring his shoulder. Crowell underwent an X-ray after the game, but there is no indication that this is a significant injury. With beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot routinely projecting Crowell for 1,000-plus rush yards this season, Crowell is a major value at his current ADP. Watch for early week practice reports to ensure his shoulder is okay.

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Dallas Cowboys

NFL Preseason News

Ezekiel Elliott is nursing a sore hamstring and hasn’t practiced since August 3rd. While there is no significant damage to the muscle, the Cowboys are not looking to rush back their prized rookie. We may not see Elliott until the all-important third preseason game, making it even more difficult for fantasy owners to stomach spending a first round pick on a player who has never played an NFL down. But if Elliott returns and shows no ill-effects from the injury, his talent and situation justify his high price tag.

Denver Broncos

NFL Preseason News

The Broncos’ QB situation is as murky as ever after both Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian each played a quarter in the preseason opener. Sanchez impressively stood tall in the pocket on a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, but later threw an interception. Siemian also played well, leading to a dilemma for Coach Kubiak as to who will start the second preseason game. This QB battle will help determine the fantasy value of receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Detroit Lions

NFL Preseason News

The Lions had a major scare when TE Eric Ebron suffered an ankle injury in the team’s scrimmage last week. Initially feared to be an Achilles injury, which would have sidelined Ebron for the season, it turned out to just be a high ankle sprain. There’s a good chance we won’t see Ebron for the remainder of the preseason, dimming the light on his third-year breakout potential.

Green Bay Packers

NFL Preseason News

Just when it looked like Green Bay’s passing attack was going to return to greatness in 2016, Jordy Nelson has yet to practice with a compensatory injury after last year’s ACL tear and last year’s playoff hero Jeff Janis fractured his hand in the first preseason game, sidelining him indefinitely. Nelson is the cog that makes this passing machine run, making his absence of greater importance. There’s no timeline for Nelson to be activated from the PUP list, but the hope is for him to return this upcoming week. His ADP will continue to fall until he proves he’s healthy.

Houston Texans

NFL Preseason News

Second-year wide receiver Jaelen Strong came into camp in optimal shape and shed some pounds, a complete 180 from where he stood a year ago. He’s impressed the coaching staff over the last few weeks, and it is Strong, not rookie Will Fuller, listed as the starting receiver across from DeAndre Hopkins. After pacing the Texans’ receivers on Sunday night with two receptions for 20 yards in the first half, he’s an overlooked fantasy asset late in drafts on one of the fastest paced offenses in the league.

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Indianapolis Colts

NFL Preseason News

Fantasy owners are betting on a big bounceback season from Andrew Luck, as his ADP – as well as the ADP of his top two pass catchers in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief – is pricey. Luck didn’t play in the preseason opener, but reports of his up-and-down play throughout training camp are concerning. Perhaps he is just knocking off the rust after missing most of last season, but a non-elite season from Luck would have a major effect on the fantasy output of his playmakers.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Preseason News

Fantasy owners are unsure how the Jags’ backfield will play out with the off-season addition of Chris Ivory. The first preseason game looked like this (credit to Adam Levitan):

Snaps: Ivory 9, Yeldon 9
Red Zone: Ivory 4, Yeldon 3
Goal Line: Ivory 2, Yeldon 0

If the passing game regression and defensive improvement happen as expected, both RBs will be fantasy values this season with major injury upside.

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Preseason News

Spencer Ware is the definitive handcuff for Jamaal Charles this season. Ware got all of the first-team reps in the preseason game, carrying the ball five times for 24 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, starter Jamaal Charles has yet to be activated from the PUP list after tearing his ACL last season. With Jamaal Charles in his age-30 season and coming off a major injury, Ware is well worth a standalone pick in the back half of fantasy drafts.

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Los Angeles Rams

NFL Preseason News

Number one overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff attempted just nine passes in his preseason debut before exiting with a minor injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He’s clearly behind Case Keenum at this point and doesn’t look likely to open the season as the starter. While this development shouldn’t affect his dynasty stock, it makes him undraftable in most redraft leagues.

Miami Dolphins

NFL Preseason News

Newly signed Arian Foster didn’t suit up for the Dolphins on Friday, but by all accounts looks fantastic in practice and fully recovered from his Achilles injury last year. The term injury-prone can be hotly debated, but Foster’s age and history of soft-tissue injuries make it unlikely he’ll play 16 games this year. Jay Ajayi has missed time in his own right with a bruised knee during training camp and was unimpressive on Friday night. With the talent level of both backs, this is a situation to monitor all season.

Minnesota Vikings

NFL Preseason News

Rookie wideout Laquon Treadwell still isn’t running with the starters in training camp, but we shouldn’t expect that to last for long. He didn’t play much with Teddy Bridgewater in Friday’s game, totaling just three snaps while Bridgewater was on the field. If Treadwell isn’t a central piece in the passing game by the third preseason game, then it would be time to drop him down your redraft boards. But for now, hold tight.

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New England Patriots

NFL Preseason News

Malcolm Mitchell, a favorite of former Gridiron Experts writer Matt Harmon, was performing well in the team’s first preseason game before exiting with a dislocated elbow. There was no additional damage, so Mitchell should be back in four weeks. While not ideal, it doesn’t completely ruin his rookie season.

Dion Lewis was a great surprise in PPR leagues last year but has yet to be activated from the PUP list as he recovers from an ACL tear. The season opener shouldn’t be in jeopardy, but monitor practice reports this week.

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New Orleans Saints

NFL Preseason News

It seems like every single day of camp produces a new Vine of rookie WR Michael Thomas dominating defensive backs. That dominance continued into the Saints’ preseason opener on Thursday, as Thomas hauled in four receptions for 67 yards. This offense will have the firepower to support multiple fantasy options, and it’s not out of the question that Thomas is 2016’s top rookie fantasy receiver. His ADP is sure to rise before the start of the season.

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New York Giants

NFL Preseason News

Early in camp, Giants’ RB coach Craig Johnson declared Rashad Jennings as the team’s lead back, dispelling any notion that the team would use a four-man rotation at the position again this year. This means two things: 1) Jennings is an absolute steal at his current ADP and 2) rookie Paul Perkins has no redraft value, as he’s still (somehow) running behind Andre Williams.

New York Jets

NFL Preseason News

Free agent acquisition Matt Forte injured his hamstring early in camp and hadn’t practiced in nearly two weeks. He missed the first preseason game, yet the coaching staff is insisting his week one availability isn’t in question despite the lack of a timetable for his return. Meanwhile, Bilal Powell is already destined for a near-even split in carries and has major upside should Forte remain sidelined. Powell perhaps has the most perplexing ADP of any player this season.

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Oakland Raiders

NFL Preseason News

Everyone’s favorite RB sleeper DeAndre Washington looked outstanding in the Raiders’ first preseason game, totaling 75 yards on just nine touches. Many analysts are penciling Washington into an immediate third down role, but starter Latavius Murray was in for all ten starter snaps on Friday, including three third downs. This backfield will remain fluid throughout training camp and into the season, but Oakland potentially has the best offensive line in the league, and Murray could be a three-down back behind them.

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Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Preseason News

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews injured his knee and is expected to miss two to four weeks with a bone bruise, likely eliminating him from any preseason action. Fortunately, he will be working with last year’s starter Sam Bradford and won’t need this training camp to develop a rapport with a new quarterback. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is slated to be the third-string QB this year, especially after suffering a hairline fracture in his ribs after a hard shot in Thursday’s game.

Suggested Read

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Preseason News

A scary situation is developing for Steelers’ free agent pickup Ladarius Green, who has been reporting headaches since early this offseason. There have been conflicting reports on whether these headaches stem from the multiple concussions Green sustained last year or a sinus issue, but Green’s status for 2016 is unknown. At this point, he’s tough to draft as nothing more than a late-round flier until he’s cleared for contact.

San Diego Chargers

NFL Preseason News

Chargers’ slot WR Stevie Johnson tore his meniscus early in camp and recently underwent surgery that will sideline him for the entire 2016 season. The team signed veteran retread James Jones, but second-year size-speed freak Tyrell Williams is the receiver you should have your eyes on. Williams has impressed in camp and currently has the lead on the number three wideout job in San Diego. With his athletic ability, he’s one injury ahead of him away from being a fantasy factor with a great quarterback.

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Preseason News

Fantasy analyst Sigmund Bloom recently noted that it’s a bad sign for Colin Kaepernick’s career when being even in a quarterback race with Blaine Gabbert is a good sign for his prospects. Gabbert is currently in the lead, but whoever wins this competition will have value in two-QB formats because of the pace of Chip Kelly’s offense.

Slot receiver Bruce Ellington was uncoverable in joint practices with the Texans this week, and he remains undervalued as a sneaky bet to top 80 receptions this season.

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Preseason News

Just when you thought you could quit Christine Michael, he’s come roaring back potentially to force a split in the Seahawks’ backfield. According to everyone close to the team, the light switch has flipped on for Michael and he’s currently ahead of the three rookie RBs Seattle drafted in April. He was explosive in Saturday’s preseason game while last year’s surprise Thomas Rawls was just recently activated off the PUP list. At the very least, Michael has earned the right to be a late round flier in redraft leagues.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Preseason News

After uber-talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was kicked out of practice over the summer, many assumed he would get his head straight and regain the starting job in training camp – but that’s not the case. Cameron Brate was named the starter last week and has an excellent opportunity to be a fantasy factor with the rapport he developed with Jameis Winston late last year. He’s a fine choice late in tight end premium leagues or as part of a late-round tight end committee.

Tennessee Titans

NFL Preseason News

This wide receiver corps is going to cause headaches for fantasy owners all season. Dorial Green-Beckham currently owns the highest ADP of any Titans’ wideout, but all signs are pointing to that being totally wrong. DGB has the most physical talent, but he was inconsistent in the preseason opener and is running behind rookie Tajae Sharpe (among many others). It would take a major reversal in his practice and game performances before Green-Beckham lives up to expectations.

Washington Redskins

NFL Preseason News

The big storyline for Redskins’ camp has been the Achilles injury for rookie WR Josh Doctson. Struggling with the injury since minicamp, Doctson still reportedly has another week or two before he returns and may not play in the preseason. With a crowded depth chart and lack of preseason work, it’s unlikely he makes an early-season impact. But like Odell Beckham in his rookie year, don’t let his injury cloud your view of his long-term outlook in dynasty leagues.

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About the author

Brian Jester

Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

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