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Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL PRESEASON WEEK 1 WRAPUP: THURSDAY

-Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor put a big scare into his team early in his preseason debut Thursday night by limping off the field with some sort of leg injury.  While Taylor did get looked at one the sidelines, he came back into the game and seemed none the worse for wear.   A clear running passer who comes up short numbers-wise throwing the football, Taylor is ideally a backup in single-passer leagues and a decent number 2 in two QB formats.

-More glimpses of greatness from Bills wideout Sammy Watkins who caught four balls for 39 yards in the team's preseason opener.  Of course it is always the same story with Watkins which is that as great an athlete and burgeoning star WR 1 that he can be, the guy simply can't stay healthy.  Also throw in the limitations of Tyrod Taylor under center and Watkins once again carries too much risk for my taste outside of snagging him as a WR 3.

-Dalvin Cook played the every down back role early in the Minnesota Vikings' preseason opener and this firmly cements the team's expected plans going into the season.  Cook showed off his impressive PPR upside as he caught four balls for 30 yards and he also picked up 13 yards on the ground on 5 carries.  Now the Vikings' offensive line looks like one of the worst units in the league which could cap the rushing numbers a bit from Cook but he is a tremendous receiver who can easily be a RB 2 in all leagues.  Move him up firmly.

-Rob Kelley rushed for 2 yards on 3 carries and even caught one pass for another 5 yards in his preseason debut for the Washington Redskins.  Chris Thompson once again came on third downs like he did in place of Kelley in 2016 and that looks to be the setup for now.  That means rookie Samaje Perine should be treated as nothing more than a RB 4/5 in terms of fantasy football given the setup.

-In our 2017 NFL Draft Guide, I wrote about how I thought Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky was going to be the next Matt Ryan as a silky-smooth and highly accurate passer who can expertly read defenses.  Well so far so good on that prediction as Trubisky was tremendous in his NFL debut in completing 18-of-25 throws for 166 yards and a score.  Yes it came against the Denver Broncos' second-and-third-string defenses but this is who Dak Prescott started last season and we know how that turned out.  Mike Glennon is the clear starter from Week 1 but if Trubisky continues to play this well this summer, he could get the call quicker than anticipated.

-DeShon Kizer did well himself in his NFL debut for the Cleveland Browns in completing 11-for-18 for 184 yards and a score.  He also added 13 yards on the ground on 2 carries.  Kizer doesn't have the mechanics and accurate of Trubisky but he is already the best option the Browns have as both the woeful Brock Osweiler (6-of-14 for 42 yards) and Cody Kessler were bad Thursday.  There will be growing pains here but the Browns have nothing to lose in terms of this Cam Newton-type QB getting a chance early.

-Terrance West rushed for 23 yards and a score on just 5 carries as he looks to take on the starting running back role for the Baltimore Ravens in place of the out-for-the-year Kenneth Dixon.  West has been good in short bursts in the past and he figures to gain RB 3 value in standard formats while Danny Woodhead goes to a RB 2 in PPR with Dixon out.

-It was a jittery debut for Washington Redskins rookie back Samaje Perine who lost a fumble and picked up just 15 yards on 6 carries.  Perine also dropped a pass as he clearly worked behind starter Rob Kelley and third-down back Chris Thompson.  It looked like Perine would be a prime fantasy football sleeper when he was first drafted but it doesn't look like he will be much of a factor early on in the season.


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