Preseason News and Notes: Week 1

Tue Aug 13 1:47pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Daniel Jones has great debut


Fantasy football season is quickly approaching. We have already had our first week of preseason action. Each week we will give a recap of the preseason games, giving you a look at some of the most important fantasy notes coming from the action. So without further ado, here is our look at this past week. . . . . . 

The big news from camp this week is all the drama surround Raiders receiver Antonio Brown. He is still dealing with his nasty foot injury and is yet to return to practice. But the other news is Brown is bent out of shape over not being able to use his old helmet. He actually threatened retirement over the issue, but has since recanted after losing his appeal. Either way, you have to worry about all the craziness surrounding Brown. Is he worth a high draft pick? He could end up being a boom or bust pick for fantasy teams. 

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had a great debut in New York, causing quite the buzz. He was a perfect 5-of-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown. Jones showed why the Giants used a first-round pick on him, hoping to have found their quarterback of the future. Sure, this was just one preseason game, but it was an encouraging performance from a pick that was really questioned on draft day. Jones could be moving closer to unseating Eli Manning as the starter. 

The Browns got great results from their first-team offense, seeing Baker Mayfield easily move the team down the field. Mayfield was 5-of-6 for 77 yards and a touchdown. He looked great and ready to take the big step forward many hope he will this season. Mayfield is getting a lot of fantasy love in early drafts and this showing could boost his stock even more. Mayfield looks ready to explode.  

It is looking more and more like a true timeshare in Denver this year. Second-year back Royce Freeman has looked very good camp and carried that over to his first preseason game, rushing three times for 49 yards. Phillip Lindsay had a breakout rookie year but don’t discount Freeman to get a lot of work this season. He is ready to take a big step forward in year two, splitting work with Lindsay at the running back spot. 

Rookie running back Devin Singletary had nine carries for 27 yards and three receptions for 21 yards in his first preseason action. The Bills are getting the rookie back a lot of early looks in the running and passing game. He has a chance to play a big role this season, especially if the veteran backs ahead of him show any signs of slowing down. It would not be a surprise to see Singletary starting at some point this season for the Bills. 

There are reports in Steelers camp that receiver James Washington is falling behind Donte Moncrief in the race for the starter’s job in Pittsburgh. Washington had a great showing in the first preseason game, though, catching four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. We would not count Washington out to start just yet. He is the younger option of the two with more longterm potential. Keep him on your radar the rest of camp and preseason action. This is a position battle to watch for fantasy teams. 

The rookie receiver that is supposed to be the difference maker for the Seahawks this year is D.K. Metcalf. But for now, undrafted rookie Jazz Ferguson is the rookie making waves for Seattle. He had four receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener. Ferguson is a huge target with plus speed. He has a chance to not only make the roster but be the most productive rookie receiver for the Seahawks if he keeps progressing. 

Another undrafted rookie receiver that is playing well is Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers. He is actually outplaying N’Keal Harry at the moment, performing better than the first-round pick in camp and preseason action. Meyers was the top receiver for the Patriots in their first game, catching six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. You never know with Patriots receivers but Meyers could be playing his way into a role with the Patriots this season. Put him on your radar for a late-round pick.

Don’t forget about Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert come draft day. He might be No. 2 on the depth chart but he is going to get his chances and if Zach Ertz were to get hurt, Goedert’s fantasy value would skyrocket. He had three receptions for 50 yards in the Eagles first preseason game. Goedert just makes plays. He has value as a backup tight end for fantasy teams.  

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
John Ross Aug 12 12:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III has left camp to be with his son after both his son and his son's mother tested positive for COVID-19. Ross missed Tuesday's practice and has no timetable for a return. The speedy wideout is clearly prioritizing his family over football, rightfully so, at this point of the preseason. Ross will be placed on the Reserve/COVID list while he is away from the team.

From RotoBaller

Tavon Austin Aug 12 12:20pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers are bringing free-agent wide receiver Tavon Austin in for a workout. The team is hoping to sign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver if the workout goes well. San Francisco is looking to bolster their pass-catching corps after speedy wideout Travis Benjamin opted out of the 2020 season last week. Austin caught 13 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in 14 games with the Cowboys last season.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Gibson Aug 12 12:10pm ET

Washington running back Antonio Gibson has been doing all he can to learn an NFL playbook amid the coronavirus pandemic, which includes sitting in on wide receiver meetings in the early part of camp. Gibson played receiver in college, but also had 33 carries and is expected to primarily be a running back in the NFL, especially with the team releasing Derrius Guice following his arrest. Last season at Memphis, Gibson scored eight receiving touchdowns and added four on the ground so the "Swiss Army Knife" player will be a matchup nightmare for defenses. It will take Gibson time to learn everything about the RB position, but he is electric with the ball in his hands so expect Washington to get creative finding ways to get him involved. Gibson is a high-upside sleeper to target late in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Aug 12 11:40am ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will look to take a step forward in his second NFL season, and will be doing so with a new offensive coordinator in former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. In his first public comments since being hired in January, Garrett raved about the sophomore-signal caller's work ethic and the work Jones put in to learn the offense without the two being able to meet face-to-face due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jones showed huge upside last season with five-300 yard passing games and three games with four-plus touchdowns. His main issue was turnovers as he threw 12 picks and fumbled a league-leading 18 times. Garrett had great success with Dak Prescott, so expect him to help Jones improve in year two making him a good QB to target if waiting on the position in drafts.

From RotoBaller

Kenjon Barner Aug 12 11:03am ET

Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) agreed to an undisclosed deal with the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday, Aug. 12.

From TheHuddle

Nick Chubb Aug 12 11:00am ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb told reporters during a Zoom session on Tuesday that he is "ready to share work with (Kareem) Hunt and play alongside him in the same backfield." Chubb and Hunt played eight games together in 2019 after Hunt served an eight-game suspension to begin the season. Chubb told reporters, "Last year, it was just half a season (with Hunt), and this year, he's here and ready. I look forward to it." While Hunt's presence in the backfield will affect Chubb in the passing game, the Browns figure to skew run-heavy under first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski. That, along with a revamped offensive line, should lead to more than enough fantasy production for both Chubb and Hunt in 2020. Draft Chubb as a low-end RB1 in all formats this season.

From RotoBaller

Vic Beasley Aug 12 10:53am ET

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) failed his physical and was placed on the Non-Football Injury list.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Aug 12 9:33am ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 12, and was activated from the active/Non-Football Injury list.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton has been plagued by soft-tissue injuries, and this hamstring injury adds more trepidation. He's a WR3 that you need a backup plan for, but he has upside there as well.

From TheHuddle

Matthew Stafford Aug 12 12:30am ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play football after a COVID-19 test resulted in a false positive. Stafford commented, "I want to play football. I want to be out there", in addressing a situation he referred to as "scary". The veteran quarterback was on his way to one of the best seasons of his professional career last year, passing for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in only eight games. But a fractured back ended his season Stafford and his fantasy value will be weighed down by the specter of that injury heading into fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Equanimeous St. Brown Aug 11 11:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle) will be ready for the first practice Saturday, Aug. 15, according to general manager Brian Gutekunst.

From TheHuddle

Evan Engram Aug 11 11:13pm ET

New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) said he is ready for training camp thanks to 'a very strong and aggressive rehab' this offseason.

Fantasy Spin: Engram has delivered TE1 production when on the field, but he has played just 19 games over the past two seasons because of various injuries. He could be a Top 5 player at his position, but you need to have a quality backup plan in place.

From TheHuddle

Boston Scott Aug 11 11:03pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles RB Boston Scott is 'positioned to be the No. 2 running back' in 2020, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic, and Berman said he expects Scott to have a Darren Sproles-like role in the backfield.

Fantasy Spin: Scott flashed his upside late last season, piling up 151 rushing yards, 199 receiving yards and scoring four times over the final four games. Miles Sanders is the lead back in Philadelphia, but his owners may want to grab Scott as a handcuff.

From TheHuddle

Malik Turner Aug 11 11:00pm ET

For the second day in a row, the Green Bay Packers have added a wide receiver. This time, it's former Seahawks wideout Malik Turner, who had 15 catches for 245 yards last season. Turner's much more likely to play a role on this team than the other addition, Travis Fulgham, but he still faces an uphill battle to be a fantasy-relevant part of this roster in 2020. Still, Green Bay is fairly shallow at receiver, so Turner could end up as the team's No. 3 wide receiver by the time the regular season rolls around.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 11 9:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer wearing a knee brace in practice this year.

Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo had previously said his knee is back to 100 percent following his 2018 injury, and shedding the brace is further confirmation. A more mobile Garoppolo could lead to a few more big plays, but he should probably still be viewed as more of a high-end QB2 than a every-week fantasy starter.

From TheHuddle

Mike Daniels Aug 11 8:03pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $2.7 million with the Cincinnati Bengals Tuesday, Aug. 11, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Aug 11 7:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent CB Ross Cockrell (Panthers) will remain a free agent after failing to come to terms on a contract with the New York Giants.

From TheHuddle

Aug 11 6:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Darius Kilgo (Lions) signed with the New England Patriots Tuesday, Aug. 11. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

From TheHuddle

P.J. Hall Aug 11 6:13pm ET

Free-agent DT P.J. Hall (Raiders) visited the Houston Texans Tuesday, Aug. 11.

From TheHuddle

Xavien Howard Aug 11 4:23pm ET

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 11.

From TheHuddle

Vic Beasley Aug 11 4:13pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, Aug. 11. LB Reggie Gilbert was waived.

From TheHuddle