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#182 6 Preseason Takeaways From Last Night

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, we recap last night’s preseason games, comp DeVonta Smith to a star, and marvel at Matthew’s fantasy leaguemates. It's 8/28. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

We’re now entering the part of preseason where it’s tricky to untangle whether playing time is a good thing or a bad thing.

It’s easy to spin playing time as a positive—Hey, look at my guy making plays out there!

But you can also spin it the other way—The team is resting my guy for when it matters!

The answer, as always, is highly contextual and specific to each situation. Here are 6 takeaways from last night's games that I think might be useful for your drafts this weekend...

  1. A battle for WR3 in Detroit. We mentioned the other day that Breshad Perriman might be on the roster bubble, but he led the team in snaps last night with 26. Quintez Cephus played well too, turning 3 receptions into 35 yards and 1TD. Things don’t look great for rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown who is only playing in limited personnel groupings. Neither Tyrell Williams nor Kalif Raymond played, so there’s still some guess work here on the pecking order, but all of these guys are dart throws after Williams. 
  1. The best late-round RB stash. I continue to like what I see from Eagles rookie RB Kenneth Gainwell. He carried the ball 5 times for 32 yards and 1 TD, but more importantly pitched in 4 receptions for 27 yards. The RBs available late in drafts almost always need an injury in front of them to see a value boost, but Gainwell has a path to carving out a big role solely through his play. Boston Scott, who only played one drive, will also be involved in this backfield, but I prefer Gainwell as the upside play. 
  1. Pump the brakes on Quez Watkins? Watkins has been playing lights out during training camp and the preseason, but second-year WR Jalen Reagor played all of the snaps with the first team during the opening drive and then sat, which is generally the late preseason usage of an entrenched starter. With Travis Fulgham falling down the depth chart, all three of Watkins, Reagor, and rookie DeVonta Smith should have value this season.
  1. Terrace Marshall Jr. does it again. The Panthers rookie WR was already rocketing up draft boards and it doesn’t look like that will slow down anytime soon after he scored a TD last night and turned 4 targets into 43 yards.
  1. It might really be happening for Mecole Hardman. We’ve been cautiously optimistic on Hardman all preseason—you can only get burned so many times—but things do really seem different for him this year. Last night he played ahead of Demarcus Robinson in two-wide sets and to me that points to a role change for Hardman in this offense. Btw, in case you forgot: Tyreek Hill is so damn fast. Goodness
  1. Who is the WR3 in Minnesota? The spot is up for grabs between K.J. Osborn, rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette and veteran Chad Beebe with Beebe likely the favorite as a slot WR. There’s likely little fantasy value here after Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Irv Smith. The latter is likely the answer to the initial question and continues to impress in the preseason—Smith turned his 2 targets into 2 catches for 39 yards.


* Eagles coach Nick Sirianni on rookie DeVonta Smith: ““He is such a polished young WR. I haven’t seen a young receiver this precise since being with Keenan Allen in 2013.” I hadn’t been drafting a ton of Smith early because he was so pricey out of the gate, but his quiet training camp has led to some nice buy low opportunities in drafts of late. 


* 2021 Zero RB Candidates Countdown: No. 10 to No. 6 by Shawn Siegele. Shawn continues his Zero RB target list countdown with a blend of rookies, handcuffs, and veterans on explosive offenses. Get access to the selections at Rotoviz, as well as the forthcoming Top 5, with a Rotopass sub


* 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk is dealing with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss this weekend’s preseason game. The team also just lost WR/KR Richie James, who needs knee surgery, for at least 6 weeks. Trent Sherfield should probably get a late round look in light of these pieces of news. 


What a flex. Matthew just casually hanging out with Jay Z, Chris Paul, and the rest of the Guts fantasy league crew. 


Enjoy your weekend.

- Pete Overzet


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