There’s a large contingent of football fans that staunchly believe preseason games are completely inconsequential. To these naysayers, they’re nothing more than an evaluation phase for head coaches looking to comprise the best 53-man roster. However, most fanatics would vehemently disagree. Exhibition action gives owners the opportunity to gain invaluable insight into potential sleepers and busts. In an attempt to decipher the meaningful from the meaningless, here are my top Lames from Preseason Week 2 (Updated throughout the weekend).
Allen Robinson, Jax, WR (34.1, WR16) – Fantasy owners may need a liquor I.V. drip to cope with Robinson’s association to Blake Bortles, or possibly Chad Henne. “Dumpster Fire” isn’t a harsh enough criticism of Jacksonville’s QB problem. Draft Robinson, and you might as well stare directly at the solar eclipse. Seriously, why have functional eyes to watch the disaster?
Against the Buccaneers, Bortles tossed one errant pass after another. The most egregious misfire: He underthrew a WIDE OPEN Robinson on a simple streak route. Not even Stretch Armstrong could’ve reached back and caught the sputtering duck.
It looks as though the same depressing story from 2016 transpires for the once cherished wideout. Recall last year, Robinson finished WR33 in fantasy points per game and ranked outside the top-90 in catch percentage (48.7) and yards per target (5.9). And he enticed 24.1 percent of the targets share (150 total looks). Another force-feeding is plausible, but if Bortles or Henne, who isn’t exactly a modern day Mark Brunell, can’t exhibit even average competency, Robinson will leave investors destitute at his WR16 price. Volume speaks, but wretched QB play isn’t worth tolerating. Let someone else drown his or her sorrows.
Eddie Lacy, Sea, RB (82.9, RB32) – When the now svelte RB’s fantasy obituary is written it will read “Eddie Lacy, once a rotund tackle-breaking beast who suddenly and stunningly morphed into Trent Richardson 2.0.” It’s an appropriate description. The ‘Hawk is inching toward obscurity. Outside one nine-yard scamper, he looked terribly sluggish against the Vikings. Stonewalled repeatedly at the line of scrimmage for the second consecutive week, he managed minimal gains and was largely outperformed by seventh-round rookie Chris Carson who functioned as the No. 2 with Thomas Rawls sidelined. On six carries Lacy finished with 20 yards (3.3 ypc).
Seattle’s backfield is a convoluted mess, to say the least. Lacy, for now, is likely to head up a full-blown RBBC, but precisely how many touches he’ll receive is anyone’s best guess. Carson, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise all enter into the equation. Best guess: Lacy nets 11-13 grips per game max. However, if he flounders early, that projected timeshare will quickly deviate. And then there’s Seattle’s turnstile offensive line. It ranked No. 26 in run-blocking last year according to Football Outsiders, looks generally atrocious and just lost its starting left tackle, George Fant , to a shredded ACL. Suffice it to say, its a hellish situation. Even at his slashed ADP, he’s worth dodging. Rawls (122.7 ADP, RB43) and Prosise (108.7, RB39), substantially cheaper options, are the only ‘Hawks RBs to entertain.
Rob Kelley, Was, RB (100.8, RB35) – Unpolished. Broken. Discomposed. Washington’s first-string offense through a pair of Preseason games is completely cattywampus. For those of us who laid cash money on the ‘Skins to take the NFC crown at 25:1, it’s an inauspicious start. Kirk Cousins and Co. were painfully inept at times on their first five drives against the Packers, particularly on the ground. Kelley looked pedestrian in every sense of the word, finding few creases while tallying marginal gains. On 10 total touches (one catch) he shook the world with 14 combined yards. Barf.
Samaje Perine, who cleaned up against backups after halftime, proved more effective. Bulling his way through arm tackles he totaled 74 yards on nine touches. His 29-yard catch on a wheel route showcased his underrated versatility. Most importantly, he secured the football, a problem throughout training camp, and was adequate in pass protection. The reported gap between the rushers could be closing.
Perine, a rolling boulder between the tackles, is a superior in talent to his compatriot. It seems likely eventually he overtakes Kelley. The situation as a whole remains cloudy, but drafters should take advantage of the recent negative press about the youngster. His ADP value has dropped measurably sliding from 90.4 to 125.4 (-35.0) in drafts conducted since July 23. Kelly’s perceived worth during that span, meanwhile, is up nearly 32 picks, peaking at 100.8. Next week’s tilt against Cincinnati is critical for both rushers. Watch the battle closely.
Lamar Miller, Hou, RB (33.3, RB13) – Encased in stone on my “All-Avoid” list , Miller has potential investors second-guessing. Woefully inefficient last year despite an attractive volume (21.3 touches per game), he ranked outside the position’s top-50 in multiple categories including juke rate (RB73) and yards after contact per touch (RB69). Basically, Miller is the the AFC’s version of Todd Gurley, a perceived workhorse with one hoof in the glue factory.
Picking up where he left off in 2016, Miller was feckless against the Patriots. On seven carries he totaled 18 boring yards. Outplayed by backups Alfred Blue and D’Onte Foreman for the second-straight week, the widely drafted RB2 has the appearance of a committee back.
As stated before, Foreman poses a significant threat. His development and on-field performance have gained praise from notorious rookie humbler Bill O’Brien. Though technically still buried on the depth chart, it’s only a matter of time before he wrests away touches from Miller, possibly at the goal-line. He’s a unique blend of lateral agility, power, versatility and endurance (This play is visual proof). By midseason, a 60-40 timeshare in favor of Miller could surface.
LeGarrette Blount, Phi, RB (94.2 ADP, RB33) – One of the most dominant and consistent forces in the fantasy football universe a season ago, Blount could soon wind up in the unemployment line according to a report. The rumors are understandable. In his first two games with Philly, he moved with the agility of a one-legged bovine combining for 17 yards on nine carries. Against Buffalo, he also coughed up the rock. If he doesn’t rediscover his 2016 mojo quickly, Blount could find himself on the outside looking in.
Philadelphia signed the veteran to remedy its red-zone woes. The Eagles recorded the sixth-most plays inside the 20 last year but converted on just 49.1 percent of those opportunities. If Blount is expended, Corey Clement, who served as Philly’s No. 2 back Thursday, could open the season as the primary early-down option. Beat writers believe Wendall Smallwood’s head is also on the chopping block and Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey are locked in as pass-down options.
Behind what should be an elite offensive line, someone in Philly is going to produce. However, Blount, once thought to be at least an 850-9 contributor this season, may soon see his roster spot go up in smoke. As of now, he’s a very risky pick in the middle rounds.
Quick Hitters: The population of Jordan Howard detractors is bound to grow. Scurrying rookie Tarik Cohen jetted through Arizona’s defensive line showing excellent vision, quickness and surprising brawn. On 11 carries he tallied 77 yards. No doubt, Cohen’s efforts impressed but Howard, who ranked top-10 in several RB vitals such as yards after contact per touch, total evaded tackles and breakaway runs last year, is not surrendering the Bears’ starting gig any time soon. If anything, Cohen relieves Howard 6-8 times per game in a change of pace role. Continue to steal the incumbent in Round 2 … The good for Darren McFadden: He averaged 6.6 yards per carry against Indy. The bad: Alfred Morris was equally effective and DMC put the ball on the ground. If Zeke Elliott’s suspension is served at any point this year, you don’t want your fantasy season riding on McFadden. After a 60-pick spike in ADP the past month (112.1 peak), he’s circumventable. Keep in mind, Dallas’ opening schedule is the toughest for fantasy RBs …
Marlon Mack’s breakout performance against the Cowboys has Frank Gore on notice. The South Florida product exhibited some sizzle tallying 59 total yards on seven touches. Granted his time logged came against Dallas reserves, but with a high-odometer 34-year-old and an uninspiring Robert Turbin ahead of him on the depth chart, it’s reasonable to surmise the rookie nets 2-4 starts at some juncture this season. Mack (164.8 ADP, RB57), like Denver’s De’Angelo Henderson, is worth acquiring late.
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