Fantasy Football draft prep: The biggest winners and losers from the preseason plus an #AskFFT mailbag

This week within the Fantasy Soccer At the moment E-newsletter, we’ll begin waiting for Week 1, and I am going to have an early have a look at the highest gamers who could be obtainable on waivers proper now Tuesday. We’ll even be trying across the league to see what depth charts would possibly appear like after cuts are made tomorrow afternoon and issues settle in. However, for immediately, let’s take one final look again on the preseason and see what we realized. 

These of you continue to drafting should be sure you’re prepared, so you’ll be able to hold a watch out for the FFT group’s Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts this week as effectively, together with our walkthrough of learn how to draft from each spot. After which there was, you already know, a bunch of big news from the weekend, all of which you can read about here — along with my latest rankings based on that news

We’re juggling so much this week, in different phrases — together with our Fantasy Soccer At the moment Draft-A-Thon, extra about which later. Let’s begin with immediately’s Winners and Losers from the preseason, alongside along with your questions in a mailbag — as at all times, is the place you’ll be able to attain me, with the topic line “#AskFFT.” 

As we proceed to arrange for the beginning of the season, let’s compensate for the important thing storylines you should learn about from the preseason: 

Preseason Winners and Losers

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – AUGUST 29: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars seems to be for an open receivers towards the Dallas Cowboys within the first quarter of the NFL preseason sport at AT&T Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Photos)
Tom Pennington/Getty Photos

Greatest winners

  • The rookie quarterbacks — The vibes across the rookies are unusually good proper now. This does appear to be an unusually proficient rookie class — the highest three picks and 5 of the primary 15 will try this — however all of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones all acquitted themselves very effectively of their first style of (almost-real) NFL motion. From a Fantasy perspective, probably the most attention-grabbing of them have been Fields, Lance, and Lawrence, in that order, but it surely’s additionally price noting that I believed these three have been probably the most attention-grabbing for Fantasy earlier than they stepped foot on the sphere. The purpose is all 5 handed their first assessments. We must always see all 5 of them beginning in some unspecified time in the future this season, and whereas Wilson and (particularly) Jones (due to his restricted speeding potential) might not have as a lot instant Fantasy potential, all 5 could possibly be related by the season’s finish. To this point, so good. 

Oh, here is a pleasant reminder earlier than we transfer on: The Fantasy Football At the moment Draft-A-Thon is this Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports HQ and the FFT YouTube page. We’ll be stay all evening lengthy serving to you prep to your drafts, taking your questions, speaking to a number of the greatest analysts from the Fantasy business, and, in fact, elevating cash for St. Jude Kids’s Analysis Hospital. We have nonetheless acquired plenty of awesome items up for auction on EBay, and you’ll be part of our FFT Draft-A-Thon Poker Tournament TONIGHT at 7 p.m. ET, the place you will be enjoying for a spot in one in every of our podcast listener’s leagues and a non-public Zoom name with the FFT group. It is all for our buddies at St. Jude, so let’s play some poker! Alright, again to the largest winners!

  • Terrace Marshall Jr. — In an extremely hyped rookie vast receiver class, Marshall went a bit ignored because the tenth vast receiver off the board at 59 total, however he left school with a really robust athletic profile and school observe file whereas being simply 20 when he was drafted. He is clearly locked up the No. 3 WR function for the Panthers and brings a component to the offense they did not have final season because of his dimension. He’ll possible work primarily out of the slot and will have a large function within the pink zone particularly, the place the Panthers struggled final season. He’ll in all probability be fourth within the hierarchy of a passing sport with Christian McCaffrey right here, however there may nonetheless be room for him to be related if Sam Darnold can take a leap. He is price a late-round decide in all leagues. 
  • Corey Davis — Davis performed 23 snaps in his two preseason video games. 10 of these snaps have been working performs. On the opposite 13, he was focused 10 occasions. Suppose he is the No. 1 receiver? Certain, we’ve not seen him play alongside Elijah Moore but, and the pattern dimension may be very small, however Davis could possibly be an excellent PPR possibility based mostly on what we have seen up to now. He is within the WR3 dialogue for me proper now, after being within the 45-50 vary a couple of weeks in the past. 
  • Jameis Winston — Admittedly, I believe Taysom Hill would have been a greater Fantasy possibility than Winston is prone to be, however Winston’s downfield heavy method makes him a high-upside Fantasy possibility if he can keep away from the miscues that in the end derailed him in Tampa. It additionally makes him a lot better for the remainder of the Saints offense. He does not have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw to this time, so I do not count on 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns like we acquired in 2019. However Winston is a wonderful No. 2 QB, whether or not you are in a two-QB league or simply on the lookout for somebody to pair with one of many high-upside rookies. 
  • Marquez Callaway — Do not overreact to his second preseason game, however do not overlook it both. Within the sport that cemented Winston because the starter, the 2 attached for 5 catches, 104 yards, and two touchdowns on 5 targets. It is only a reminder of what sort of upside Winston’s method can carry if Callaway can constantly get open down the sphere. He is been doing that within the preseason and all through coaching camp, and it is not out of the query Callaway may emerge as a top-30 WR till Michael Thomas is wholesome. He is a effective cube roll after decide 100. 
  • Jakobi Meyers — Meyers has fairly conclusively established himself because the No. 1 WR for the Patriots between his robust second half in 2020 after which his robust play this preseason regardless of the additions of Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith. In fact, accidents restricted these guys all through, however Meyers was fairly constantly enjoying a big function. He was focused eight occasions on his 25 routes run, catching 5 passes for 73 yards and a landing — a 2.92 yards per route run mark that might match Davante Adams 2020 mark. Meyers is not Adams, clearly, but it surely’s simply to indicate that he was fairly productive when given the chance this preseason. He is a WR5 on Draft Day who could possibly be a WR3 in your lineup. 
  • Damien Harris — The Patriots traded Harris’ solely actual competitors for early-down snaps after they despatched Sony Michel to the Rams this week, after which Harris each first and second down snap with the starters in Week 3 of the preseason, a superb signal that he is locked into the lead again function. I’ve issues about his upside (resulting from a scarcity of move catching potential) and his damage observe file, however Harris is a way more strong RB3 candidate than he was coming into camp. 
  • Kenneth Gainwell — I wrestled with whether or not I ought to embody Gainwell within the winners or Miles Sanders within the losers, however you already know I prefer to be optimistic, so let’s reward Gainwell. It wasn’t clear what sort of function the fifth-round decide would have, but it surely positive looks like he may have a job as a move catcher immediately. Sanders’ struggles catching the ball have continued in coaching camp, whereas Gainwell was focused 11 occasions in three video games, catching 9 for 66 yards. Gainwell nonetheless has to take care of Boston Scott for taking part in time, particularly in that third-down function, but when Sanders continues to wrestle in that function when the video games depend, Gainwell may see the sphere shortly. 

Underneath-the-radar winners

  • Ty’Son Williams — If Gus Edwards goes to be the J.K. Dobbins substitute, can Williams be the Edwards substitute? At this level, that looks like the obvious transfer for the Ravens, which may push Williams from the “Wait, are you able to say that title once more?” tier to the intriguing late-round decide tier. There’s at all times the possibility the Ravens exit and add a veteran — a commerce for Latavius Murray would make a ton of sense, truly — however till they do, Williams could possibly be in line for a 10-carry-per-game function in an offense that makes each working again look good. 
  • Michael Strachan — Strachan is a seventh-round pick of Charleston who’s seen as a prospect for the Colts, however he is additionally labored his method into the occasional first-team rep and has been the discuss of Colts camp going again to OTAs. He is huge at 6-foot-5, 226 kilos, which makes his 4.59 40-yard time look much more spectacular, and he put up 78 catches for 1,319 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019, so it is not onerous to be intrigued. Be certain that he is not out on waivers in your Dynasty leagues. 

Nonetheless have questions …

  • Antonio Gibson — By way of the primary two preseason video games — Gibson did not play within the third — he performed only one third-down snap. Washington acquired him concerned within the passing sport anyway, which was good to see, but when Gibson remains to be largely simply an early-down again, it could be powerful for him to really stay as much as our expectations. I am taking Gibson across the finish of the second spherical, which normally means I am not ending up with Gibson. Possibly I am going to remorse that, however I simply need extra ensures he’ll get the function he wants. 
  • Myles Gaskin Malcolm Brown began the primary preseason sport and brought about panic within the Fantasy business. Then Gaskin began the second and was typically used as anticipated with Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins did not use their starters within the third sport Sunday, which meant Gaskin, Brown, and Salvon Ahmed have been on the sidelines. They’ve vowed to make use of all three backs in a rotation, however the query is whether or not it is a “rotation” round Gaskin, or if it could be a real hot-hand method. Gaskin is a strong player, however his main enchantment was round projected quantity, and it is only a bit tougher to undertaking that because the begin of the preseason. 


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  • Bills working backs — I’ve tried to hammer this level dwelling this offseason, however the Payments are the worst offense for working backs in Fantasy. A minimum of, that is been the case over the past three seasons, as Payments backs have scored the fewest factors of any group. A player can keep away from that with an inordinately excessive share of the group’s manufacturing, and there was some hope that Zack Moss may work his method into one thing like that function. As a substitute, he is come off the bench for Devin Singeltary in every of the final two preseason video games and hasn’t seen many carries anyway. Singletary figures to see extra of a passing function on this cut up, which makes him the higher goal in my eyes. Moss has to hope for 13 carries and an opportunity at a landing each week — and Josh Allen is gonna steal a bunch of these touchdowns anyway. 
  • D’Andre Swift — We had some issues about Swift’s function at first of coaching camp, but it surely was nonetheless simple to speak your self into him as a result of he figured to be such a central a part of the passing sport. Now, it is not clear if he’ll be a central a part of the Lions offense at first of the season resulting from a groin damage that has lingered by way of a lot of camp and saved Swift out of motion for the entire preseason. Swift remains to be price taking a threat on within the third-round vary, however you would possibly really feel added stress to snag Jamaal Williams within the center rounds, and it might simply not be definitely worth the headache — particularly if Swift is energetic however restricted early on. 
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown — St. Brown fell to the fourth spherical following an honest profession at USC and a fairly mediocre Professional Day, however there was nonetheless a superb little bit of hype round him because of his touchdown spot on the WR-needy Lions. Nevertheless, St. Brown was restricted to only three- or four-wide receiver units all through preseason motion and wasn’t a fixture in starter snaps even in these 11 or 10 personnel packages. St. Brown in all probability wants a whole lot of quantity to be Fantasy related in what must be a fairly middling offense, and it does not appear like he’ll get that. He isn’t on my radar for a standard 12-team draft. 
  • David Johnson — Johnson appears locked right into a third-down and passing function, besides that Rex Burkhead additionally minimize into a few of these snaps within the third preseason sport. It is totally attainable Burkhead does not make the group, however both method, it seems to be like Johnson is slated for a distinct segment function in a nasty offense. Outdoors of the highest 100 (possibly high 120), he is a possible PPR contributor, however Johnson is now not somebody you need to be focusing on. 
  • Kenny Golladay — Golladay left observe on Aug. 3 with a hamstring damage that was given a 2-3 week timetable. Tuesday marks 4 weeks since that damage, and we’ve not seen him exterior of facet work throughout observe. Golladay figures to be the No. 1 possibility on this offense when wholesome, however between questions on Daniel Jones, Golladay switching groups, and now his well being, it is onerous to really feel assured about him. If you may get him as a lower-end RB3, Golladay remains to be a strong goal, however he is an enormous threat at this level. 
  • Michael Carter — Earlier than lengthy, all of us assume Carter will find yourself being the Jets main again, although I will be a little bit of a moist blanket by mentioning that, of 46 working backs drafted within the fourth spherical over the past decade, simply 12 have had greater than 100 carries in a season — and solely Andre Williams reached 200 carries. Fantasy gamers — analysts, too! — are likely to get simply distracted by new, shiny issues, however we additionally are likely to overstate the probabilities of third-day picks to make an influence at any level, not to mention as a rookie. Carter is working third proper now behind Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson, and given the observe file of fourth rounders, optimism just isn’t really useful. 
  • Dallas Goedert — Goedert may flip right into a winner in a short time if the Eagles can discover a commerce accomplice for Zach Ertz, however proper now, it seems to be like they’re content material to roll into the season with each of them. They will share the sphere loads, however Goedert’s upside is clearly capped by the presence of one other viable receiving possibility at tight finish. He is nonetheless a low-end top-12 TE for me, but it surely’s onerous to get enthusiastic about Goedert so long as Ertz is round. 
  • Tarik Cohen — Cohen is working his method again from a torn ACL, and apparently just isn’t going in addition to hoped. He has but to observe and appears prone to start the season on the Bodily Unable to Carry out checklist, which might sideline him for the primary six weeks of the season, so at this level, it looks like you’ll be able to safely ignore Cohen. That is good news for David Montgomery, who has averaged 19.1 factors per sport in 12 profession video games with out Cohen, and it is good news for Damien Williams, who’s price drafting late as the first backup to Montgomery. 
  • Latavius Murray — I discussed Murray as a attainable commerce goal for the Ravens, which could come as one thing of a shock if you happen to’ve assumed Murray is locked in because the complement to Alvin Kamara. Nevertheless, stories have surfaced suggesting Murray is on the roster bubble, and the play of Tony Jones within the preseason is placing much more stress on Murray. There’s worth right here for whoever is the No. 2 again behind and sometimes subsequent to Kamara, however Murray should not be a top-100 decide except we all know he is acquired that function locked in. We do not proper now. 

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  • Drew: I used to be questioning precisely what medication you have been on once you made your top-200 checklist and had Derrick Henry because the No. 10 working again?

It is referred to as “math,” Drew, and it will increase your thoughts, man. 

In relation to PPR rankings particularly, Henry is dealing with a math downside — and so are Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, Gus Edwards, Damien Harris, Zack Moss, and so forth down the checklist — as a result of he does not catch passes. Clearly, it is not an insurmountable downside — Henry has reached near the summit of the place two years in a row. Nevertheless, he had the fourth-most speeding yards ever in 2020 and the fifth-most speeding touchdowns since 2011 and nonetheless had simply the Thirty second-best RB season in that span in factors per sport. That is superb — he was superb — however he had a fairly typical nice season for Fantasy regardless of a historic season as a rusher. 

I’ve acquired Henry projected for 1,548 speeding yards and 15.1 whole touchdowns en path to that No. 10 rankings. Can you actually argue I am promoting him quick there? However you might be proper about one factor: I should not have had Najee Harris ranked forward of Henry. That was foolish. My dangerous. 

  • Ricco: I am drafting from the No. 1 place and I consider I’ve heard you say this place has the very best successful proportion of any draft slot. As I am doing mock drafts, I am discovering that is the toughest slot I’ve had as a result of you must wait so lengthy between picks, and also you usually have to achieve to get gamers or you find yourself lacking any runs which will happen. How do you navigate the necessity to attain vs worth in a state of affairs like this? Do you say you’d attain greater than a spherical? If somebody like Javonte Williams has an ADP of 60, would you’re taking him on the 48/49 flip as a result of you already know you will not get him at 72?

This anxiousness is pure, however I believe you must have a look at it as a function, not a bug. You have already locked in Christian McCaffrey, the player with the very best ceiling in Fantasy, and doubtless the very best wholesome ground. Your margin for error is so much wider than most. After which it is best to have a look at it like this: You get to select one of the best two gamers each time you might be drafting, which is a bonus in and of itself! For those who suppose that’s Williams once you get to select, take him! One factor I might advise is to suppose much less about positions from this spot within the draft, or at the least, do not move on an clearly higher player as a result of you should fill a place. You are not drafting a group only for Week 1, and if you happen to go into the season with McCaffrey, a stacked WR corps, an excellent TE, however a weak point at RB2, that is completely effective. McCaffrey may be very a lot a cheat code in that method. That philosophy applies to each spot within the draft, but it surely’s very true on the ends of the draft, the place you should maximize the influence of every flip. 

  • Jeremy: I’ve the eighth decide in a .5 PPR league.  I count on to be selecting between Antonio Gibson and Najee Harris.  Who would you go together with?  If Travis Kelce is there, would you go together with him over the working backs?

I am on Harris’ facet over Gibson — my Gibson skepticism exhibits up elsewhere on this publication — however I am Kelce over Harris in any league the place catches depend. Even in .5-PPR (and non-PPR), Kelce is the largest edge you may get in your competitors at any place exterior of the highest handful of working backs. 

  • Kyle: I am in a 10-team non-PPR, two-keeper league. I am already retaining Lamar Jackson at decide 52. Have to resolve between Damian Harris at decide 112 or Terry McLaurin at decide 29.  Primarily based on the worth this must be simple proper by going with Harris? Nevertheless, I’ve very, very excessive expectations for McLaurin and suppose there isn’t any shot he lasts to 29 in my league. Harris in a 10-team league might by no means even want to begin for me, although now with Sony Michel gone, I believe I’ve to go together with Harris and hope Cam Newton does not steal all of the purpose line work. Agree?

I believe you take a whole lot of necessary variables into consideration, however I view issues very merely in a 10-team league: You need to be all about upside. I do know, I do know — I say that so much for 12-team leagues, too. Nevertheless, once you’re speaking about shallow leagues, the bar is increased for every lineup spot, which implies you undoubtedly have to be on the lookout for influence gamers from each place. I’ve acquired Harris ranked as RB31 in non-PPR leagues, and it is not onerous to see how somebody ranked behind him like A.J. Dillon or Jamaal Williams may make extra of an influence than Harris if issues go proper. Which is to say: You are proper in pondering Harris in all probability would not even be a starter for you, however McLaurin undoubtedly will probably be. He is a authentic influence player, so the keeper price hole does not actually matter to me. You can discover helpful gamers each week on waivers in a 10-team league. 

  • Alex: Let me begin off by saying Fantasy Soccer At the moment is my No. 1 podcast and I take heed to your episodes day by day. However I’m not listening to you guys have trustworthy conversations a couple of small group of very loud, unvaccinated gamers. For me, I’ve highlighted a handful of those gamers on my rankings checklist and lowered them out of your draft positions. How can I have a look at a player who hasn’t gotten vaccinated and there’s a extremely possible likelihood he’ll find yourself lacking video games even when it is simply associated to contract tracing. The rules are clear on this. 

That is, for apparent causes, an uncomfortable subject for Fantasy analysts to speak about — at the beginning as a result of the pandemic remains to be ongoing and that is in the end extra necessary than Fantasy sports activities. I do not need to seem to be I am simply punting on the query or that I am downplaying the problems surrounding COVID-19 at giant, right here. It is an actual issue for this season, given the extra stringent isolation protocols for non-vaccinated personnel this season, and we will not simply ignore that. However the reality is, it is only one issue amongst dozens that might influence gamers. I can not inform you you should not downgrade such gamers, but it surely’s necessary to maintain perspective that, whereas they’re extra prone to should miss time associated to protocols, it is not essentially possible that any of them will. It is an added threat, and it is not unreasonable to make it a tiebreaker when you find yourself drafting, but it surely’s additionally a form of unknowable threat, as a result of we additionally will not essentially discover out if a player’s standing adjustments. It simply is not the form of scenario we may give across-the-board recommendation on learn how to deal with. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts must you goal and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five efficiency? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen’s huge season, and discover out. | Fantasy Soccer draft prep: The most important winners and losers from the preseason plus an #AskFFT mailbag


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