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Halfway through the pre-season and we are one week closer to real football! Well, hopefully, it’s real football. Many fans, analysts, and even players have a nervous feeling about the product we will see on the field this season thanks to rule changes and safety precautions.

My thoughts? Let’s just be thankful we have football to watch. With a collective bargaining agreement that needs to be renegotiated soon, I just want to take a moment to remind all fans (because we are all fans at heart) that we could see a time when players don’t take the field for Week 1.

Alright, enough of the doom and gloom and on to some football talk. We have made it through Week 2 of the pre-season so it’s time for another edition of #TrendingNow. Four more dynasty risers and fallers who are seeing their value fluctuate right now and what you should be doing with them. It may be time to start fixing that watch list or making moves in deeper leagues.

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#TrendingUp

Chris Warren III (RB, OAK)

I must give a shout out to my guy Travis Rasmussen (@TravisNFL) who has been a truther since the very beginning. I didn’t love the landing spot to begin with because the Raiders have four running backs on the roster already, but Warren seems to be using that as motivation. Through the first two weeks of the pre-season, Warren leads the league in rushing with 196 yards. The yards have included everything from big runs to tough runs, showcasing Warren’s full abilities.

Even though the depth chart seems full, Warren could easily steal some touches this year and set himself up for a larger role in 2019. Marshawn Lynch won’t last forever, Doug Martin has been far too inconsistent and injury-riddled in his career and the combination of Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington haven’t done anything to win playing time. Warren has drawn some comparisons to Lynch for his hard-nosed running style but also has enough wiggle to make players miss in space and could offer some production in the passing game. Don’t pay attention to his production at Texas as he was stuck behind a loaded depth chart and moved around his junior year. This is a guy that needs to be on all deep dynasty rosters.

Taywan Taylor (WR, TEN)

It appears to officially be Taywan Taylor season after his Week 2 performance against Tampa Bay which included four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. The big play came on a 47-yard screen pass in the first quarter which Taylor took to the house. For any Titans owners, this is excellent to see instead of the bland, uninventive offense from last season. It appears the Titans coaching staff will be putting their players in the best position to succeed.

Taylor is not only #TrendingUp because of his performance, but the fact that Rishard Matthews continues to miss time with an undisclosed injury bodes well for Taylor to offer a bigger presence in the passing game. Even if/when Matthews returns, Taylor could move into the slot to offer a nice mismatch. Either way, Taylor is trending towards being a nice tandem with Corey Davis for Marcus Mariota.

 

#TrendingDown

Ted Ginn (WR, NO)

Ted Ginn continues to sit atop the depth chart for the Saints, but with rookie Tre’Quan Smith looming behind him, it’s only a matter of time before he unseats the veteran. Ginn had been a nice stash for owners who needed depth and maybe a weekly play for bye weeks or injuries. Over the last three seasons, Ginn has averaged a WR38 finish, which is great for some flex appeal with big play upside. Even though he has offered that value to owners, he hasn’t done anything spectacular to really cement a place in the starting lineup.

Smith already looks adjusted to the offense and has 108 receiving yards on seven catches. Ginn will still see some time on the field although it won’t be as much as he is used to. Before too long we will see Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith, and Smith on the field while Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram still steal targets. Not only will Ginn see a lack of playing time but a lack of production even when he is on the field.

Joe Williams (RB, SF)

Do you remember the stories from 49ers training camp last season? It was a textbook case as to why you do not pay attention to everything you hear out of camp. Kyle Shanahan was adamant the 49ers take Joe Williams in the 2017 draft and during training camp, reports said Williams could unseat Carlos Hyde as the team’s starter and eventually lead to a trade of Hyde. We all know how that worked out though. Williams spent the entire season on IR and Hyde finished the year as RB8 in PPR leagues.

Now with Hyde off to Cleveland and questions surrounding Jerick McKinnon’s ability to hold up in a more featured role than he is used to, it seemed possible that Williams could have carved out a role this season. Unfortunately, it’s back to the shelf as he is now nursing broken ribs. With a timetable of 2-4 weeks, that would seem a bit aggressive to get him back and rolling again. Ty Montgomery suffered broken ribs last season and never was able to truly bounce back. The 49ers seem set with depth though as Jeremy McNichols is having a good pre-season and the signing of Alfred Morris, who ran for back to back 1,000-yard seasons when he was with Shanahan in Washington, gives the team veteran presence. You also can’t forget Matt Brieda who is currently nursing an injury but should be back for Week 1. Williams has probably run out of opportunities in San Francisco.

 

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