It’s hard to get too excited about pre-season soccer games, especially when they take place on weekend nights during the last days of summer. The first week usually offers a series of first-team players, maybe two if we’re lucky. But fantasy players need some clarity before the bulk of crafting can begin, and that’s where I come in. Here’s a center-by-position look at how the first week went down, so coaches can plan and adjust according to the offense of the upcoming drafts.
Houston’s QB Job Might Still Be Up for grabs: Rookie CJ Stroud struggled just enough to open the door for a Davis Mills sneak. Stroud went 2-for-4 for 13 yards and an interception on 2 series, while Mills put up a streak of 9-99-1 in his time on field.
We might like, even like, drafting Jordan Love as QB2: It was just two series for Packers QB but the love was very encouraging in this small sample size. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, connecting with 5 different pass catchers, and was 4-for-5 for 28 yards on the play. Love’s ADP (128.1) is currently QB24 on Yahoo.
It’s still very cloudy behind Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa: Mike White earned the Dolphins’ start and played the entire first half. He led two failed drives to the red zone, one of which culminated in an end zone interception, the other being a fourth down conversion. Skylar Thompson didn’t quite shine either, throwing two picks with a missed fumble in his timeout to win the backup role.
This much-needed step forward for Kenny Pickett looks promisingIt was just one series of first-team offense, but Pickett seemed level-headed and composed as he advanced, going 6-to-7 for 70 yards and a touchdown. Deontay Johnson caught an 11-yard pass converting third-and-1 while George Pickens scored 33-yards on third-and-8. Keep shooting those Steelers in depressed ADPs.
It was a game without Baker Mayfield’s turnover: After throwing nine interceptions on 12 plays, the Bucs QB took care of Friday night football, completing 8 of 9 passes for 63 yards and a 10-yard touchdown.
Don’t let this HOF get in the way of Bryce Young yet: He had a rocky start in the NFL for the No. 1 pick as he produced a 4-21-0 streak against the Jets in three series. Young scored only one start off the New York defensive bench, but also got a little help from his offensive line as he was hit in three of his seven touchdowns.
Viking Ty Chandler wants an RB2 gig: after Failed to stand in the campThe sophomore capitalized on an extended look Thursday night as he rushed for 41 yards on 11 carries with an additional 29 yards on four catches in the first half.
It was a solid start to the NFL for Jahmir GibbsIn his first live action as a professional, Detroit’s top draft pick carried the ball six times for 19 yards with an additional 18-yard reception. Gibbs makes a solid early choice in the leagues that reward points for receptions with a current ADP of 39.8 as RB16 on Yahoo.
Deuce (Vaughn) can break free: Dallas’ sixth-round draft pick, Deuce Vaughn, looked stellar in his NFL debut. Because of his height (5-foot-5), he finished with 50 yards on eight carries with three receptions for six yards. It’s possible that Vaughn’s efforts have moved him closer to a backup role behind Tony Pollard this season and he’s basically free in the drafts at the moment.
Don’t sleep on Khalil Herbert: While the Bears RB room has been tough to navigate off-season, Herbert is here making big plays. On a pass offload from Justin Fields on third and long, the 25-year-old ran 56 yards down the sideline for a touchdown after a nice rough arm. Herbert is currently an 11th round pick in the 10-team leagues as the RB36.
If Josh Jacobs really holds up, the Raiders run game should be fine: Zamir White took first-team reps in practice and had a good outing, rushing for 43 yards and touchdowns on 13 carries. Hopefully we’ll know more as the preseason progresses but for now, he’s the No. 1 RB on the depth chart and holds 131.6 ADP.
It was a mixed bag for sophomore Leon Jameson Williams: As promised, last year’s 12th overall pick was given plenty of rep before a six-game ban for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Williams was targeted seven times, but only caught two balls for 18 yards, including a two-point conversion, but also dropped a long pass, while on the wrong lane on another deep play. Williams is currently in the thirteenth round with an ADP of 126.1.
Looks like the Jahan Dotson-Sam Howell connection we’ve been predicting will pay off: Howell was fit during his two-series performance, capping it off with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Dotson. The 23 year old WR is someone I wrote about in my country 15 sophomore players Article from July and in current ADP 107.1 has as much value as the WR37.
DJ Moore seems excited to be in Chicago: On a quick screen by Justin Fields, Moore walked past several Titans defenders for 62 yards to home. It was a pleasure to see both real and fake football stuff after the Bears sat dead in yards after the catch in 2022. Moore’s ADP got a little depressed in the WR20 but will likely correct that after its debut in Chicago.
Kicker, yes kicker
Evan McPherson is still really goodThe first leg kicked the third year with four field goals of 38, 51, 39, and 43 yards.
Justin Tucker is no surprise in mid-season form: It was just another routine 60-yard field goal for the man who holds the record for the longest run of 66 yards.
Rookie Blake Grupe had a fun night: While the battle with Will Lutz over starting work in New Orleans has been going on all summer, a new battle for recognition arose on Sunday. After kicking the game-winning field goal, Grupe was mistaken for a fan by security on his way out. He told the story on social media.
WR Elijah Moore left the field after Cleveland’s opening series with a rib injury but was x-rayed negative.
QB Tyler Huntley headed to the locker room with the team doctor early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring pinch.
RB Kendre Miller avoided major injury with what is referred to as a sprained knee.
A proud graduate of the UGA Grady School of Journalism, Jennifer Eakins has been in the sports industry for over a decade. She has had stints with CNN Sports, Atlanta Hawks, and Colorado Rockies. Her first fantasy football draft took place in 1996 where she selected Ricky Watters with the first overall pick, and she has been a runaway fantasy ever since.
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