NOTES FROM PRE-SEASON: WEEK 2
1. Jimmy Garoppolo is a long way from 2017
When Jimmy Garoppolo went 5-0 to close the 2017 season he seemed to have the world at his feet. A 67% passer rating and a full preseason of hype had him ready to leap into the top tier of Quarterbacks in 2018. That meteoric rise was cut short by a devastating ACL tear in the week 3.
The 27-year-old signal caller returned to action this week and it’s fair to say his performance will have caused major concern in Bay Area. 1 of 6 for -1 yard and a 0.0% passer rating was a nightmare scenario for Jimmy G and the 49ers leadership.
It’s too early to read more into one bad performance than the headline alone but for the first time in Garoppolo’s career he’s under real pressure.
If you are relying on the Niners QB as your main fantasy option or have him in Superflex it’s time to look for alternative options.
2. Jacobs & Sanders will be their team’s lead back sooner than later
Last week it was the Bears’ David Montgommery. This week two more rookie running backs showed they were well placed to be significant contributors to their respective teams this season. Jacobs carried the ball 4 times for 22 yards showing all the explosion that made him a draft darling among the fantasy community. He played with the starters and was pulled after a successful first drive, making it very clear where he sits in the Raiders depth chart.
Head Coach Jon Gruden has a history of loading up his lead back making Jacobs a very attractive fantasy option going into week 1.
In Philadelphia, Eagles fans have been starved of an explosive running back since Chip Kelly inexplicably traded LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso. Second round draft pick Miles Sanders was picked to fill that hole and in Jacksonville last Thursday showed that he has the burst to succeed.
The Penn State alum had two impressive runs for 12 and 16 yards and moved a speed that looked like a different level from every Eagles back since McCoy. Jordan Howard still represents an obstacle to the kind of workhorse status Sanders owners would like but, athletically at least, there is a noticeable gap between the two. If Sanders continues to show up as he did on Thursday the Eagles will struggle to keep him off the field, no matter how keen on running a committee they are.
3. Pump the breaks on Kyler
Last week all looked well in Kyler Murray land. In his first start for the Cardinals he looked comfortable and pro-ready. His week two performance was the opposite. Pre-snap penalties, two sacks and total offence of 12 yards on four drives was certainly a wake-up call to anyone thinking Murray was simply going to transition to the NFL and to fantasy relevance without a few hiccups.
There is little doubt that the expectations game has gotten out of control on Murray over the past few months as he went from interesting outside bet to the second coming of Michael Vick – his second professional appearance should lead to a sensible tempering of expectations for the rookie.
4. The Jets are fantasy relevant
Name the last time you were excited about New York Jets you owned in a fantasy league? It’s been a while. For now, at least it looks like there is real reason for optimism about this year around the skill players on Gang Green. Sam Darnold shone again in week 2’s outing against the Falcons, completing 5 of his 7 passes for 46 yards. He was only denied a touchdown by a last gasp tackle on Robby Anderson before Ty Montgomery ran in the first score in a 22-10 victory over Atlanta.
With Darnold showing promise the grounds looks ripe for Anderson who caught 3 passes for 32 yards, as well as Jameson Crowder who didn’t feature. When tight end Chris Herndon completes his suspension, he’ll be a viable fantasy tight end and all of this promise comes before we’ve seen star running back Le’veon Bell take a single snap in green.
Now don’t get carried away, it’s still the Jets but for the first time in a long time that’s not disqualifying.
5. Jacoby Brissett is a Superflex buy
Andrew Luck can’t seem to catch a break. After a triumphant return from a nagging shoulder injury that cost him the entire 2018 season things were looking bright for Luck. Unfortunately, this offseason has seen him plagued with a mysterious leg injury that has fluctuated that has seemed to move from body part to body part with every passing week.
The team believe they have now diagnosed the issue correctly, but he faces a race to be ready for week 1. If Luck faces a lengthy spell out, then the Colts prospects as a genuine AFC and Superbowl contender look murky at best but if he only misses a game or two the Colts have a very capable contingency plan.
Jacoby Brissett looked sharp in the teams 21-18 loss to Cleveland completing 8 of 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. He passed the eye test with flying colours and with Luck’s questionable injury status (and recurring problems) is well worth picking up in Superflex leagues. Even in the event that Luck returns, Brissett seems destined to start somewhere at some point so is worth stashing in Dynasty as well.
6. Offensive lines are important
The preseason is rarely a triumph for offensive line play and this past weekend should serve as stark reminder of the risks that comes from lining up backups, backups to backups and guys that will be selling insurance forthwith to protect players who have a chance of starting over the next few months.
The Arizona o-line looked disastrous and no amount of convincing yourself that Kyler Murray will “get it out quick” will paper over those cracks. The Jets reduced Sam Darnold to a cameo role but even that was questionable as he lined up behind only two players likely to start week one and if the Houston Texans fired Brian Gaine for his inability to fix their o-line issues then nothing they seen this week will have them worrying unduly about his departure. It’s often overlooked by o-line quality is critical to fantasy success – ignore it at your peril.