Takeaways from Week 1 of the Preseason

Football season unofficially kicked off this past week. Welcome to hype season! Sometimes you have to buy into the hype. Other times you should be fading the noise (shout out Brad Evans). So what should we be buying and selling after Week 1 of the preseason? Let’s jump in.

1. Start the Justin Fields and Trey Lance hype trains

Both Justin Fields and Trey Lance flashed the goods in their first live game action. Let’s start with Lance, who went 5/14 for 128 yards and a TD. Yes, Lance’s completion percentage was atrocious, but his 80-yard TD pass was practically Mahomesian.

That being said, Lance is probably on the slow track here. Jimmy Garappolo is still in town and looks to be the Week 1 starter. Lance is gaining momentum and certainly looks the part. This feels like a Wally Pipp situation where Garappolo will inevitably get hurt, Lance will take over and he’ll never give back the job. When that is, we don’t know. But here’s guessing it won’t be Week 1. 

Meanwhile, Fields looked great in his first start for the Bears. The former Ohio State QB went 14/20 for 142 and a TD and also rushed for 33 yards and a TD on 5 carries. Fields is going to be fantasy gold once he takes over for Andy Dalton. Bears coach Matt Nagy is firmly of the belief that Fields will sit for awhile. I don’t foresee that happening. At some point in the first four weeks, Fields will be the QB.

2. The Other QB Battles

Colts

Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger got about the same amount of snaps for the Colts on Sunday versus the Panthers and both performed admirably. This QB “battle” will not matter if Carson Wentz is ready for Week 1, but don’t be surprised if Ehlinger is the guy the Colts roll with Week 1. He led the Colts on a game winning drive and reports are that the team loves his leadership abilities. 

Patriots

Cam Newton will start Week 1 for the Pats, but his throwing issues looked as prevalent as ever in game one. Mac Jones came in and looked like a seasoned pro from snap one. This will be Jones’ team by the quarter pole. 

Saints

This is probably the most interesting QB battle of the preseason. Taysom Hill got the nod to start in the first preseason game and was generally fine. Jameis Winston came in second and threw a couple of really nice passes. Winston is the upside pick here, but I would still lean Hill starting Week 1. I’m sure Sean Payton will start Winston in the second preseason game, with Hill following him.

Broncos

If one preseason game is any indication, this is Drew Lock’s job to lose. The Broncos clearly want the third-year QB to succeed and he was outstanding against the Vikings on Saturday, including uncorking a phenomenal deep touchdown to K.J. Hamler.

If Lock is able to solve his accuracy and turnover woes, the Broncos could be a playoff contender. 

3. Players to Fade based on Week 1

While you may have seen some of these players put up decent stats during Week 1, the fact that they’re even playing in the first week of the preseason means they’re likely backups or players who won’t get enough volume to be fantasy relevant in 2021. 

  • Parris Campbell - IND WR
  • Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III - LAC RBs
  • DeeJay Dallas - SEA RB
  • David Johnson - HOU RB
  • James Robinson - JAX RB
  • Denzel Mims - NYJ WR
  • Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones - TB RB
  • Myles Gaskin - MIA RB
  • Dallas Goedert - PHI TE
  • Anthony Firkser - TEN TE

4. Some Young Players To Keep Your Eyes On…..

There were some excellent first performances from some guys you may or may not have heard of before. Remember, this is preseason. A lot of these guys aren’t going to have much of an opportunity to play once we hit Week 1. That being said, if you’re playing in deep fantasy leagues or dynasty leagues, you may want to do some more research on these players and see if you might get some value by adding them now. 

  • Mike Strachan - Colts WR
  • Terrace Marshall - Panthers WR
  • Bryan Edwards - Raiders WR
  • Marquez Callaway - Saints WR
  • Devin Duvernay - Ravens WR
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones - CLE WR
  • K.J. Hamler - DEN WR
  • Rhamondre Stevenson - NE RB
  • Anthony McFarland - PIT RB
  • Pat Freiermuth - PIT TE
  • Kenneth Gainwell - PHI RB
  • Demetric Felton - CLE WR/RB