2018 Fantasy Football: Preseason Fantasy Stock - Week 1
With preseason underway, there will be updates daily to this 2018 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock page. Games will be added as I watch them. Adjustments will be made on my 2018 Fantasy Football Rankings accordingly. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Melvin Gordon looked good in his 2018 debut. He gained 16 yards on five carries, but ran with great speed. On one instance, he showed tremendous balance when he spun away from a defender after catching a screen pass. Gordon should have a strong season.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
We only saw one drive from the Minnesota offense, but it looked like Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs were on the same page in the preseason opener. Diggs caught all three of the passes thrown to him, including a 28-yarder where he made a ridiculous catch. I like Diggs more than Adam Thielen this year; Diggs is more talented, and Cousins and Thielen may not have the same chemistry that Case Keenum and Thielen possessed.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
Kerryon Johnson was spectacular in his preseason debut. He broke countess tackles throughout the evening, gaining 34 yards on seven carries, all while catching four passes for 33 receiving yards. Not included in those numbers is a 57-yard run in the third quarter that was negated by a very questionable holding call by rookie lineman Tyrell Crosby. Had the play stood, Johnson would've accumulated 124 total yards on just 12 touches. If you're looking for the next Alvin Kamara, it could easily be the talented Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson's ADP isn't nearly as low as Kamara's was last year; his ADP is currently at 6.08, and it'll soar after this performance.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders
Marshawn Lynch exploded for a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the preseason opener. He burst through the hole and showed great acceleration. It didn't count, however, because rookie left tackle Kolton Miller was called for a hold. The penalty was legitimate, but Lynch still would've had the gain regardless; the hold was completely unnecessary. Still, the take-away is that Lynch has plenty of explosion and seems like a relatively safe bet to be productive this year.
Neal Sterling, TE, Jets
The Jets announcers spent lots of time talking up tight end Neal Sterling during the preseason opener. A 2015 seventh-round pick, Sterling was described as a "matchup nightmare." Sterling certainly looked good, as he caught four of his five targets for 38 yards. With Austin Seferian-Jenkins gone, Sterling definitely has some upside, and you could find worse options in the late rounds of your fantasy draft if you want a backup tight end with upside.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles
Dallas Goedert had some nice moments in his NFL debut, catching four of five targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. His first reception was off a play-action bootleg, as he was able to get wide open for a gain of 26 yards. Goedert made his lone mistake of the night after that, dropping a routine 5-yard reception because he turned his head too soon to begin running. However, Goedert made up for it afterward, scoring a touchdown on a nice adjustment when Nate Sudfeld began scrambling. If Zach Ertz were ever to get injured, the impressive Goedert would likely post TE1-caliber numbers.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Andrew Luck threw the ball in live action for the first time since December 2016 in his preseason debut at Seattle. Luck led the Colts on a scoring drive that culminated in a field goal to start the game. He went 6-of-9 for 64 yards. However, Luck threw mostly short passes and didn't put himself in a position where he needed to use his arm strength; even his fourth-down conversion was a short toss to Robert Turbin. There was one exception where Luck tried to complete a pass that needed velocity, but cornerback Justin Coleman broke up a possible completion. I wouldn't hit the panic button on Luck yet, as he may have been just taking it easy in his first return to live action, but I need to see his arm strength at some point this August before I invest a fantasy pick on him in the first eight rounds. It's worth noting, however, that Luck took a hit to the shoulder on a third-down scramble on his second of two possessions, but got up and didn't look like he was in pain at all.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Chris Carson was the starting running back for the Seahawks in the preseason opener, but Rashaad Penny was mixed in throughout the evening, including the opening drive. Carson looked like the better runner, gaining 26 yards on just four carries, while Penny mustered 16 yards on eight tries. Penny is currently being overdrafted at his 5.01 ADP. He could eventually overtake Carson as the starter, but it's Carson's job for now.
Nick Vannett, TE, Seahawks
With Doug Baldwin out, Russell Wilson targeted tight end Nick Vannett thrice on one drive in Seattle's initial preseason game, connecting twice for 20 yards and a touchdown. Vannett is a good blocker, and now he's showing that he can be a factor in the passing game. If you're looking for a TE2 with upside in the late rounds, definitely consider Vannett.
Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers
Peyton Barber started at running back over Ronald Jones in the exhibition opener. Barber was better, rushing for 21 yards and a touchdown on just four attempts. Ronald Jones was mixed in, but mustered just nine yards on eight runs. He scored a touchdown, but couldn't do much because of poor blocking. There was one occasion in which he spun out of a Jerome Baker tackle, just to get back to the line of scrimmage. It seems clear that Barber is Tampa's starting running back, though that could change.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
Running back Kenyan Drake saw most of the first-team work, and he only left the field to take a breather. Drake looked good, rushing for 16 yards on just three carries. His longest gain, a 10-yarder, featured a nice cut on a third-and-11 draw. He followed that up by converting a fourth-and-1 try. Drake seems like a quality pick in Rounds 4-5 of 12-team leagues.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
If DeVante Parker wasn't announced as a starter by the Dolphins' television network, I wouldn't have known he was even on the field. Tannehill didn't target him at all in the preseason debut. It seemed as though Tannehill preferred to throw to Danny Amendola and Kenny Stills instead. I expect Parker to disappoint once again this year.
Alex Collins, RB, Ravens
The Baltimore announcing team hyped up Alex Collins because of Collins' high Pro Football Focus rating, and he didn't disappoint them in his preseason debut. Collins finished with 26 yards on two carries, but had an 8-yard burst negated by a chop block. His big run, a 23-yarder, was aided by nice downfield blocking by rookie tight end Hayden Hurst. Collins' production will see a boost because of Hayden's blocking, so he could be in for a nice season.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Ravens
Michael Crabtree led the Ravens starters with three targets in his Baltimore debut, though he caught just one pass for 30 yards. He dropped a ball as well. Still, it's nice for Crabtree's fantasy outlook that Joe Flacco is targeting him more than anyone else.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Third-round rookie receiver Michael Gallup has a huge opportunity to make a big splash this year, given the dearth of receiving talent the Cowboys have on their roster. Gallup saw three targets in his preseason debut, though just one from Dak Prescott on the starting quarterback's lone drive. Gallup snatched that target for what turned out to be a 30-yard touchdown. Gallup is worth it at his 13.08 ADP because he could be Dallas' No. 1 receiver.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers
Jerick McKinnon didn't have a very encouraging preseason debut for the 49ers. He was on the field for one drive, but had absolutely no running room. McKinnon was given three carries, but lost four yards in the process. His one positive play was a 7-yard reception on what was Jimmy Garoppolo's final throw. McKinnon is being overdrafted in the second round.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
Joe Mixon played just one drive in his 2018 debut, but he made it count. Mixon caught a pass, stiff-armed the first defender, spun away from the second and then ran into the end zone for a 24-yard receiving touchdown. Mixon otherwise rushed for nine yards on three carries. Mixon, who is in great shape, should have a huge year behind an improved offensive line.
Kevin White, WR, Bears
Kevin White had a rough 2018 debut. He dropped a ball, but was bailed out by a roughing-the-passer penalty, so it technically didn't count. Mitchell Trubisky fired passes thrice in White's direction, but White couldn't come up with a single reception.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Bills
Kelvin Benjamin made some nice plays in his preseason debut. He hauled in a diving catch to convert a third-and-5 when Nathan Peterman rolled out of the pocket, under pressure. He then hauled in a deep fade pass for a touchdown. Benjamin caught all four of his targets for 59 yards and the score. Despite some sketchy quarterbacking, Benjamin looks like he's going to have a strong season.
D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
First-round rookie receiver D.J. Moore played the entire game in his preseason debut. He saw targets from both Cam Newton and the third-string quarterback. Newton threw a pass his way on the opening drive, but Shaq Lawson batted the ball down. Moore then caught an 8-yard pass from Newton, but that was negated by a Devin Funchess hold. Moore made up for it by dodging defenders on a 32-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Moore finished with four catches for 75 yards.
Antonio Callaway, WR, Browns
Fourth-round rookie Antonio Callaway had a nice second-half performance in the exhibition opener. He struggled early, but things turned around for him when he made a great diving catch for a 24-yard gain, which featured him impressively tapping his feet inbounds as he fell out of play. Callaway then scored on a 54-yard slant, breaking away from his defender quite easily. Callaway finished with three catches for 87 yards and a score. Unfortunately, a dark marijuana cloud hangs over him, as he could be suspended because that drug was found in his car.
Rashard Higgins, WR, Browns
Rashard Higgins created a buzz in training camp, but I wanted to see him translate that to live action. That certainly happened, as Higgins caught four passes for 66 yards in his preseason debut. He saw two targets from Tyrod Taylor, so half of his catches came from each quarterback. The announcers of the Browns-Giants game called Higgins the "master of the back-shoulder throw," as he made multiple such catches. On one instance, Higgins turned Giants cornerback Eli Apple around and caught a back-shoulder pass for a big gain. Higgins may have entered late-round sleeper range, especially in the wake of Josh Gordon's absence.