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Fantasy: Biggest takeaways from Week 2 of NFL preseason


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*If anything noteworthy happens in the Monday night matchup between the Ravens and Commanders, we'll add it below.

Giants' offense has serious potential

With Saquon Barkley not suiting up, the Giants didn't bother calling run plays while Daniel Jones was on the field. Instead, they attempted to throw on each of those downs, and the results were extremely positive.

Jones completed eight of nine passes for 69 yards and a score, scrambling for another six yards on the ground.

Just as the beat writers noted all offseason, tight end Darren Waller was the focal point of the attack - drawing four targets and catching three of them for 30 yards. Parris Campbell also had two grabs for 18 yards on the drive, while Jones targeted Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt each once.

As it stands, Campbell, Hodgins, and Darius Slayton are positioned to start in three-receiver sets. But Hyatt is making a strong case for playing time. The rookie's deep speed adds a dangerous element to this offense and was on display during a 33-yard score from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

It remains to be seen whether the four Giants wideouts can emerge with enough volume to be fantasy stars, but they deserve to be drafted in fantasy given their late-round price tags. Slayton and Campbell have the most value, with Hodgins and Hyatt offering more upside than other players taken in their range.

If Waller can stay healthy, he might be on the verge of returning to the elite ranks at tight end. He's a must-target in the fifth or sixth round.

And after being a top-10 fantasy quarterback last season, Jones has an excellent chance to finish there again. He has incredible value at his current ADP as the QB15 in the 10th round.

Instant impressions

Robinson is ready - Bijan Robinson looking like a difference-maker in his first preseason action shouldn't surprise anyone who followed his college career or scouted him entering the pros. There's a reason he was a top-10 pick in this year's draft and why he should go in a similar range in fantasy drafts. The 21-year-old effortlessly avoided defenders to pick up extra yards on his first carry and later flashed good hands on a poorly thrown ball. His 26 yards from scrimmage on one drive is a sign of things to come. He's the third RB in my 2023 rankings and the most valuable dynasty back by far.

Pitts plays, but not enough - Seeing Kyle Pitts on the field and making a reception helps ease fears about his recovery from the MCL injury. Now the concerns shift to his usage after he only took the field for nine of the 17 snaps with the Falcons' first-team offense and ran a route on five of 10 Desmond Ridder dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. We could normally chalk this up to the team easing him back if we hadn't witnessed a similar scenario early last season before he got hurt. But we're not overreacting to this one - and Pitts is still on the short list of tight ends with elite upside. It's worth monitoring, though.

Sorting out the Dolphins' backfield - Raheem Mostert got the start Saturday and quickly collected 30 yards on six carries. Jeff Wilson has missed some practice time each of the last two weeks, so we've yet to see him this preseason. Exciting rookie De'Von Achane again operated way down the depth chart and looked good against weaker competition before suffering a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, Salvon Ahmed stole the show with 131 yards and a touchdown, in the same fashion Myles Gaskin (who was held out) did a week ago. That's a good reminder of how productive Miami's rushing attack can be. With Dalvin Cook no longer available to play spoiler, the trio of Mostert, Wilson, and Achane are all worth drafting in fantasy. Mostert gets the edge over Wilson due to his speed and explosive playmaking ability. Achane's stock will likely drop with his Week 1 availability now in doubt, which might cause him to be more of a mid-to-late-season riser for fantasy.

Eagles' backfield update - After veterans Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott got the night off last week, it was D'Andre Swift's turn to watch from the sidelines. Gainwell played over Rashaad Penny last week, and he appears to be no worse than second on the depth chart. Swift remains the most talented back in this group and should be the first one drafted based on his potential upside. Unfortunately, the most likely outcome remains a committee approach involving Gainwell and Penny. We moved Gainwell ahead of Penny as the second most valuable fantasy RB in Philly.

Pierce not leaving the field - Dameon Pierce's limited role as a pass-catcher last season was one worry holding back his fantasy projections. If usage this week is a sign of things to come, he needs to move up my rankings. Pierce was on the field for all 14 of C.J. Stroud's snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. While he didn't catch a pass and his rushing numbers were kind of muted, this would be a huge development for his breakout potential.

Seahawks' rookies shining - First-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba flashed his star power with three receptions for 58 yards, including a 48-yarder on a beautiful ball from Drew Lock. JSN will be an excellent NFL receiver for a long time - the only question is how high he can rise when sharing the field with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in 2023. Charbonnet is in a similar spot behind Kenneth Walker on the RB depth chart in Seattle. But the rookie back is doing everything he can to win over the coaching staff. Saturday's highlight was a well-blocked 29-yard run that nearly turned into a trip to the end zone if he had kept his balance along the sidelines. It feels like both rookies will be fantasy starters at some point this season.

Javonte Williams returns - Regardless of how the season plays out for him in Denver, the fact Williams has returned to the field so quickly following a serious ACL tear is impressive. In his first game action since the injury, Williams ran three times for 12 yards and caught four passes for 18 yards. Williams' receiving stats were encouraging, but as I mentioned in my 2023 bust candidates column, Samaje Perine will have a role in this backfield. That was the case Saturday, with Perine playing 48% of the snaps with the starting group and featuring heavily on third downs, according to PFF. While we'll continue to watch this situation closely, Williams still carries plenty of fantasy risk.

Roll the dice on Chiefs' WRs - Aside from Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who consistently runs the most routes but lacks fantasy upside, Kansas City's receiving corps is still very open-ended regarding playing time. Skyy Moore appears to be creating separation from the rest of the pack and is the highest-ranked Chiefs wideout in my 2023 projections. After that, we're dealing with a heavy rotation from which any number of players could emerge. Rookie Rashee Rice has looked the part in his opportunities and finished with eight catches for 94 yards Saturday. The injured Kadarius Toney should be back early in the season and could have a significant ceiling if he stays healthy. There's also longer shots like Justyn Ross and Richie James to consider. Bottom line, keep drafting the Chiefs' WRs at their ADPs.

Jaylen Warren making a strong case - Despite playing just two snaps with the Steelers' offense, Warren made his presence felt with a 62-yard touchdown run. One preseason highlight shouldn't move a player's fantasy value, but the drumbeat around Warren has been steady throughout the offseason. He'll be a weekly fantasy flex option with the potential for so much more if Najee Harris struggles or gets injured.

Keaontay Ingram is back - After missing time with an injury, Ingram returned to record 48 yards from scrimmage and a score on nine touches. More importantly, he served as the clear No. 2 back behind James Conner - a role that could be especially valuable given Conner's age and previous durability issues. Keep Ingram in mind as a key late-round selection in fantasy drafts.

Spears stands out again - Even with the great and powerful Derrick Henry as the star of Tennessee's attack, it'll be hard for the Titans to keep Tyjae Spears off the field this year. The third-round rookie earned a lot of praise in offseason practices, and that's translated to strong preseason performances, including the 60 yards he posted Saturday. He now has 96 yards and a score on 15 touches over his first two outings. If the 29-year-old Henry breaks down at any point, Spears will swing fantasy leagues.

Bigsby continues strong play - Tank Bigsby got a significant workload in his second preseason game, earning 14 touches for 68 yards. Despite his one reception going for minus-2 yards, it's great to see him run 10 routes, something he wasn't asked to do a week ago. While the rookie could be a fantasy flex play right out of the gate, his real value will only be unlocked if Travis Etienne misses time at some point. In that situation, Bigsby would have week-winning upside.

Kincaid hype continues - Dawson Knox sat out with a finger injury. Still, his role in the Bills' offense might not have much of an impact on Dalton Kincaid's rise to prominence in Buffalo since the two are almost playing different positions. The rookie was a near full-time player with the starting unit Saturday, catching one pass from Josh Allen and finishing the day with three receptions for 45 yards. If you're going with a late-round tight end approach, Kincaid should be at the top of that list.

Mingo will be a factor in Year 1 - The second-rounder getting starter snaps for the second straight week is very encouraging for his rookie season fantasy outlook. Jonathan Mingo appears to be behind veterans D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen when the team goes to two-tight end sets, but Mingo has the highest ceiling of that trio. The 22-year-old should only see his target share grow as the season progresses and his chemistry with fellow rookie Bryce Young develops. He's an intriguing late-round stash.

Bengals' No. 2 RB battle - Though none of the Bengals' backup running backs have looked particularly impressive in the preseason, it seems like Chris Evans is ahead of rookie Chase Brown on the depth chart. Beat writers have indicated this has been the case in practice, with some suggesting Evans could have a passing-down role alongside Joe Mixon to start the season. Unless Trayveon Williams can return from his mid-ankle sprain and retake that spot or the team signs a veteran free agent before Week 1, Evans will be a sneaky stash in deep leagues.

Wilson earns starting job - Third-round rookie Michael Wilson is firmly entrenched as a starting receiver in Arizona across from Marquise Brown. That's great news for the first-year wideout, but it's safe to question how many pass-catchers will be effective with Kyler Murray sidelined for the opening month or two. Rondale Moore appears to have won the slot role and could outproduce Wilson as more of a short to intermediate target.

Dulcich concerns growing - After playing behind Adam Trautman in the first preseason game, Greg Dulcich continued to operate in that role the following week. It's possible Dulcich can have fantasy production from that spot, but it's a major hit to his breakout potential. He'll move down my rankings in the next update.

New injuries to monitor - Commanders WR Terry McLaurin, Dolphins RB De'Von Achane, Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard, Jets RB Israel Abanikanda, Titans WR Kyle Philips, 49ers WR Danny Gray, Dolphins QB Skyler Thompson, Buccaneers QB John Wolford

Other preseason standouts who caught my eye this week - Falcons WR Drake London, Commanders WR Jahan Dotson, Commanders QB Sam Howell, Ravens WR Zay Flowers, Texans WR Nico Collins, Bears RB Roschon Johnson, 49ers QB Brock Purdy, Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Deeper rookie standouts who caught my eye this week - Buccaneers RB Sean Tucker, Buccaneers WR Trey Palmer, Browns WR Cedric Tillman, Bengals WR Andrei Iosivas, Giants RB Eric Gray, 49ers WR Ronnie Bell, Browns QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Raiders QB Aidan O'Connell, Eagles QB Tanner McKee, Bills WR Justin Shorter, Buccaneers WR Rakim Jarrett, Packers RB Emanuel Wilson, Dolphins RB Chris Brooks

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