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#184 How To Decode The SF & JAX Backfields

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, we recap the final action of the preseason, discuss Breshad Perriman getting cut, and get hyped on D.J. Moore and Mac Jones. It's 8/30. Take it away, Peter Overzet…


The preseason is finally over, so now it’s time to finalize our draft boards. We’ll be here everyday in your inbox to get you ready for your drafts and the start of the season, which is a week from Thursday.

Here are my takeaways from the final games of preseason...

* It was only one target, but boy did Kyle Pitts make the most of it yesterday, shedding tackles and rumbling for 27 yards. He only played two total snaps in the Falcons’ preseason finale, which tells you all you need to know about the teams’ big plans for him this year. 

* Donovan Peoples-Jones has all but locked up the WR3 job in Cleveland after Rashard Higgins tweaked his hamstring earlier this week. DPJ led the Browns WRs in snaps with the first team in yesterday’s game vs. the Falcons.

* Rhamondre Stevenson might be the preseason MVP (who am I to argue with Field), but Damien Harris has this job locked up for now. Harris and James White played all the snaps with the first team yesterday—a predictable split considering we know their respective roles. Stevenson did rush for another TD, though, and is a priority stash as we head into Week 1. 

* Evan Engram suffered a calf injury in the 2nd quarter and promptly left the game. It’s hard to get a read on the Giants pass catching usage with Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney having not played at all this preseason. 

* Both the Bengals and Dolphins primarily rested their starters in their final exhibition. WR Preston Williams started for the Dolphins while the other starters rested, which doesn’t bode well for his chances to be in the mix at the start of the year.

* 49ers RB Raheem Mostert played all ten snaps on the first drive with the starters before Trey Sermon eventually took over. I still like selecting both Mostert and Sermon in drafts because of Sermon’s late season surge potential and how much this offense will run, but Mostert will be the lead out of the gate. 

* Oh baby, my dude Laviska Shenault looked great yesterday vs. the Colts. Shenault had 3 receptions for 33 yards, including one sequence where he dragged multiple defenders toward the goal line and then finished off the drive with a catch in the back of the end zone on a fade route. Trevor Lawrence was also dialed in—throwing for 139 yards and 2TDs with only one incompletion.

* In the Jags backfield, James Robinson (10 snaps) and Carlos Hyde (8 snaps) split playing time with Lawrence and the starters. If you’re aggressively drafting Robinson post Travis Etienne-injury you are going to find yourself screaming at Hyde on your television a lot this fall. 


Do you have a live draft coming up?? Matthew’s Fantasy Life draft boards are available now and will ship in 2-3 days. Each kit includes a 58”x36” board and over 500 player labels, including all of the 2021 rookies. Use promo code DRAFT30 at checkout. 



* We saw this unfolding over the past week, but now we have confirmation—Lions WR Breshad Perriman was released this morning despite entering the offseason as the presumed top wideout in Detroit. Lions reporter Jeff Risdon said on Twitter that Kalif Raymond is “well ahead” of Quintez Cephus, which would seem to give us a three-wide set of Tyrell Williams, Raymond, and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot. Williams is the only fantasy relevant one of the three with this offense largely funneling through TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift

* Colts WR Zach Pascal will see the biggest boost in playing time with T.Y. Hilton on the shelf for multiple weeks with his neck injury. The Colts wide receiver sets will feature Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and Zach Pascal. 

* Kyle Shahan confirmed Jalen Hurd is one the team’s top WRs along with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Sherfield, and veteran Mohamed Sanu. Sherfield remains the most interesting dart throw to me after Samuel and Aiyuk. 

* Broncos rookie RB Javonte Williams was held out of the team’s final preseason game, but not because of injury. I’m working under the assumption that this will be a split backfield with Melvin Gordon out of the gate but Williams slowly taking over as the season progresses. 



Bill Belichick says he still isn’t ready to name his starting QB, but the writing is on the wall...

Last year D.J. Moore was pigeonholed into a downfield role with Robby Anderson working more underneath. Could the tides be turning?




- Pete Overzet


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