Hall of Fame Game Fantasy Recap

The key takeaway from Thursday night is that football has finally returned! The preseason opened up with a contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. The fantasy implications of the very first preseason game are usually few are far between, but here are some things that stood out to me:

Dallas Cowboys

- The “star” of the offense in the game was RB Rico Dowdle. The 3rd string RB showed some quickness and vision, as well as some receiving chops totaling 59 yards from scrimmage. It will take several injuries to give Dowdle enough game time to be fantasy relevant, but he is a name to keep an eye on for the rest of the preseason.

- Everyone saw what happened when a couple starters went down along the offensive line last year. There was hope that some game time helped the backups improve, but if the second string unit in this game was any indication, the Cowboys would again be in trouble if anyone got hurt. Ty Nsehke started out at left tackle and was a turnstile. Rookie Matt Farniok had a couple snaps that went awry. Guards Isaac Alarcon and Braylon Jones didn’t inspire much confidence at any point in the game either. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

- All eyes were on first-round rookie Najee Harris. He averaged only 3.1 yards per carry on the day. He didn’t have much wiggle room, and the hope is that the offensive line can improve enough to give Harris the holes he needs to succeed. No cause for alarm……yet.

- Chase Claypool made some great catches all game, including a 45-yard bomb down the sideline that ended his night. Claypool seems to be in line to be the WR1 on the outside for Pittsburgh. He has been overshadowed a bit by Diontae Johnson in the offseason, but he could turn into the best fantasy value coming out of the Steel City.

- Receiver Ray-Ray McCloud had himself a solid game, as he was worked in on some jet sweeps, had a couple good catches, and even blocked well. He has a huge mountain to climb with Claypool, Johnson, and Smith-Schuster in front of him, but look to see how he does the rest of the preseason.

- The clear star of Thursday night was punter Pressley Harvin III, who boomed a punt that dropped in at the 1-yard line.

Overall, there were a couple things that stood out, but the main takeaway is to see if these players can stack these performances together on the road to some fantasy football relevance in the regular season.