As we approach Week 4 of the preseason, information continues to move quickly. Here are a few ideas from this week’s games and some changes that have been made to the regular season projections and rankings:
I mentioned in the Twitter-verse this weekend that Curtis Samuel may end up being the best handcuff to Christian McCaffery in the Panther’s passing game at RB. I know he qualifies at WR in 2018, but Samuel has experience running and catching the ball out of the backfield highlighted by his great 2016 season at Ohio State. He finished with 1,636 combined yards with 15 TDs and 74 catches while running the ball 97 times. Over the first three games of the preseason, Samuel has nine catches for 166 yards. His success is another sign of his talent, and he is on the path to push for my playing time out of the gate at WR. Winning in Fantasy sport is about acquiring talent, which is what Samuel has. Keep an open mind here plus your eye on the ball as a lost 2017 season has led to him being a hidden diamond in the rough if he stays healthy and gains a winning opportunity.
John Ross flashed in the third preseason game for the Bengals. He caught two passes for 66 yards and one TD highlighted by his 57-yard TD. I gave him a slight bump in the projections this week, but he still may not have enough of an opportunity in targets to be a viable WR4 in the season-long Fantasy games. Keep Ross on your radar as six to seven targets per game is enough to make him Fantasy relevant in 2018.
With Josh Gordon now in the fold in Cleveland and moving in the direction with his life decisions, a Fantasy owner now needs to put up or shut up when determining his 2018 draft value. He has top-five WR talent with the look and feel to be an impact player while having a favorable price point. The Browns announced that he wouldn’t start in Week 1 while getting into game action. This news may be just enough to create an even better buying opportunity. Sometimes a Fantasy owner has to believe in the story, which is all about the rise of the Browns in 2018. Get on the bus as it’s Josh Gordon no matter what in the Fantasy world. If you want to know his upgraded value, you will need to be a subscriber at ScoutFantasySports.com.
In May, we gave Royce Freeman of respect in his outlook with follow through in his projections in early July. Unfortunately, the Broncos could keep him under wraps in the preseason to create a nice draft overlay. Over three games in the preseason, Freeman has 15 rushes for 84 yards and three TDs plus one catch for six yards. He runs with power while showing the ability to break tackles while creating space in the open field. I’m not going to raise his opportunity this week as I believe we have him priced right. I am going to add a couple of TDs due to the directions of the Broncos’ offense.
The Broncos’ WRs are going to be tough to defend as well in 2018. Both Emmanuel Sanders (7/88) and Courtland Sutton (5/64) have looked good in the preseason. When you add in a flashing new toy at RB and Demaryius Thomas, all options should enjoy a slight uptick in chances and scoring ability. Sutton should be a lockdown handcuff to Thomas and Sanders owners.
The Jaguars lost Marqise Lee for the season over the weekend, which even furthers a cloudy WR situation. From a starting perspective in three WR sets, this best structure would include a WR with size, a big play WR, and one WR with possession type ability. The best big play WR is Dede Westbrook while Keelan Cole is more of a hybrid of the second two options I described (big play and possession). Jacksonville will now lean on Donte Moncrief as the replacement to Lee while D.J. Chark is waiting in the wings if he fails. Cole is now the top WR in this offense for me while each other options falls short of being a viable week-to-week start in the season-long games. Both Westbrook and Moncrief will shine at times during the year giving them bye week cover value.
Adrian Peterson looked good in the Redskins’ third preseason game, which puts him on track to be the lead runner out of the gate. Fantasy owners won’t have a clear indication of the health of Chris Thompson until next week. He remains overrated if he’s going to miss some time in September. I’ll continue to rank Samaje Perine as the best option on early downs until Rob Kelley shows more promise on the field.