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NFL Preseason Week 2 Review - Fantasy Impact


As teams have now played two exhibition games, things are starting to get more clear. You'll hear a lot of overreaction from other sites, but we're here to tell you what really matters this early in the exhibition season.

There are two things that really matter this early in the preseason: injuries and player roles. Ignore noise like big-splash plays, or long runs against third stringers, and look deeper to see how the coaching staff appears to view players in accordance with the depth chart.

In case you missed the games, we are here to give you a rundown on the big news that affects fantasy owners and take note of whose stock rose or fell.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Injuries

A.J. McCarron fractures shoulder, then doesn’t

Initial reports after the Bills second preseason game was that A.J. McCarron had a hairline fracture in his throwing shoulder. However, after a second opinion, it was deemed that there was no fracture. Still, it appears the Bills are ready to give their seventh overall pick Josh Allen the reigns regardless if McCarron is healthy or not.

Rex Burkhead tears knee

Bill Belichick always keeps injuries as under-reported as he can, but apparently, Rex Burkhead has a “slight” tear in his knee. Allegedly he could have played in the team’s second preseason game if it mattered, but considering he was gaining steam with rookie Sony Michel’s own knee injury, drafters have to be a bit worried. For now, everything seems to be OK, but Burkhead is likely not one you want to reach for without more clarity.

Adrian Peterson signs with Washington

While not technically an injury, injuries led to this signing. First Derrius Guice tore his ACL, then Samaje Perine limped off the field after his opening carry with an ankle injury. If that wasn’t enough, Byron Marshall also got hurt. So Washington went out and signed future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately, it’s not 2012, and this is not a hall of fame caliber player anymore. Rob Kelley was clearly the preferred option over Perine, but now we have to wonder what Peterson’s role will be. As I said last week, I either want Chris Thompson or no one in this backfield.

 

Stock Up, Stock Down

Christian McCaffrey - Stock Even Higher?

Ignore the 71-yard touchdown run that almost broke Twitter, Christian McCaffrey appears to be locked in as a workhorse back in Carolina. After playing all 15 snaps with the starters in the first preseason game, he played the first 17 in the second before giving way to C.J. Anderson for the night. McCaffrey had 117 carries a year ago, and Jonathan Stewart vacated roughly 200 more. If McCaffrey gets half of those and pushes over 200 carries, he will be an easy top-10 RB in PPR formats.

Trey Burton - Stock Up

Yes, Adam Shaheen hurt his ankle (not serious thankfully) but even before that Trey Burton was lighting it up. Through the first two preseason games, Burton has played 92% of snaps with starters, has been targeted on 33% of Mitch Trubisky’s throws, and has run 47% of his routes from the slot. Much like Travis Kelce who ran 50% of his routes from the slot a year ago under coach Matt Nagy, Burton looks like he will be a focal point of this offense.

Carlos Hyde Stock Up, Nick Chubb Stock Down

If it wasn’t obvious in the first preseason game that Carlos Hyde is the Browns starter, it is now. The starters played four series and Hyde was in on all of them. In total, he played 17 of 23 snaps with the starters, with Duke Johnson getting the other six. As for rookie Nick Chubb, it does not look good. Thus far the Browns starters have played 32 snaps and he has been in for zero of them. It doesn’t seem likely that Chubb will contribute early.

Royce Freeman - Stock Down

This one pains me, as I am one of the biggest Royce Freeman supporters out there. There is a lot of hype around Freeman right now, and I don't totally understand it. Through the first two preseason games, he and Devontae Booker have split the starter snaps dead evenly. In fact, Booker has started both games. Yet fantasy drafters are treating Freeman like he is locked into a starting role. Do I think it will happen eventually? Yes. But it may not be right away. Even if he does eventually get the starter gig, Booker and Phillip Lindsay will negatively impact his receiving ceiling. While I like Freeman to contribute this year, it may be time to slow down a bit.

John Brown - Stock Up

John Brown has been getting a lot of positive talk in Ravens camp this year, and he did not disappoint Monday night. Playing just about every snap with Joe Flacco, Brown was targeted twice on nine throws, including a red-zone target that resulted in a seven-yard touchdown. Brown appears to be the clear number two receiver and could become more of a 1B to Michael Crabtree's 1A. Still basically free in most drafts, Brown is becoming a must-draft late round pick.

Phillip Dorsett - Stock Up

For the second straight week, Phillip Dorsett started for the Patriots. Tom Brady and the starters played 35 snaps, and Dorsett was on the field for 27 of them - the same number as Julian Edelman and just two less than Chris Hogan. With Edelman suspended four games, Dorsett could have sneaky early season value. And if Edelman or Hogan go down, he can become a waiver wire hero.

Keelan Cole - Stock Up

After missing the first preseason game, Keelan Cole showed that he is the other wide receiver to own in Jacksonville along with Marqise Lee. Cole led all receivers with 22 starter snaps. Reports out of camp is that Cole and Lee have been receiving the majority of starter reps, and this usage confirmed it.

Ricky Seals-Jones - Stock Up

A popular “sleeper” pick at tight end, Ricky Seals-Jones has played 18-of-22 snaps with starter Sam Bradford. This is great news for Seals-Jones owners, as Bradford has historically targeted his tight end plenty. Seals-Jones was very good in limited playing time a year ago, and could be in for a nice season if he is going to be on the field this much.

Michael Gallup - Stock Up

Rookie Michael Gallup has been on the field for 33-of -39 snaps with Dak Prescott, and appears to be in Dez Bryant’s old X-receiver role. Gallup has six targets through the first two games, and had three of them on Prescott’s 15 throws in game two. Gallup has a chance to make an immediate impact as a rookie on a team that is relatively weak at wide receiver.

Courtland Sutton - Stock Up

When Courtland Sutton was drafted by Denver, many had him pegged as a Demaryius Thomas replacement down the road. But his role in this offense may already be here. He has primarily been the outside receiver opposite Thomas in three-receiver sets, with Emmanuel Sanders moving into the slot. If Thomas misses any time, Sutton will likely see an increased role. For dynasty owners, it’s nice to see that Sutton has already earned a role.

 

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