Preseason Week 1 Risers and Fallers

published 08/13/19 11:03:14 AM EDT
by Tom Brolley

With the first week of the preseason in the books, we’re one week closer to the start of the regular season. If you’re looking for a quick refresher from last weekend, I’ve compiled notes from every game. Joe and I do the site’s rankings together, and I pay special attention to the wide receivers and tight ends.I decided to compile the biggest risers and fallers at those positions from the first week of preseason action.

Wide Receivers

James Washington (riser, WR50) — Washington made the most significant noise in the fantasy community last weekend, posting 4/84/1 receiving against the Buccaneers. He caught a 43-yard bomb on Pittsburgh’s first play of the game before catching a back-shoulder TD pass in the red zone a couple drives later. Washington had been having an uneven camp and I actually knocked him down a few pegs last week with rookie Diontae Johnson practicing well. Washington is now up higher than he previously was in our rankings and there’s a solid chance he could jump Donte Moncrief (WR44) if he has another big preseason game or two.

John Brown (riser, WR47) and Robert Foster (faller, WR96) — Foster didn’t play a single snap with Josh Allen while Brown played all but one snap with their starting QB (per Adam Levitan). Foster has been on a free fall since training camp started and it appears he’s in a fight for a roster spot. Meanwhile, Brown has been on a steady climb this summer because his main competition for deep targets now appears to be out of the picture. Zay Jones and Cole Beasley also got small bumps up since they now look locked in as the starters next to Brown.

Dante Pettis (faller, WR39), Deebo Samuel (riser, WR61), and Jalen Hurd (riser, WR95) — Pettis has had a rough training camp so far, and it’s become so bad that HC Kyle Shanahan said that Pettis needs to “compete” for his starting job. Meanwhile, both Samuel (2/61 receiving) and Hurd (3/31/2) had strong professional debuts, and the 49ers WR depth chart took a hit with Trent Taylor breaking his foot. The 49ers drafted Samuel (36th) and Hurd (67th) in the first three rounds this spring and it’s starting to look like could make impacts right away.

Jamison Crowder (riser, WR58) — I’ve been lower on Crowder than many but I had to move him up a few spots after his impressive start with Sam Darnold in their first action together. Crowder, Robby Anderson, and Quincy Enunwa each played all seven snaps with Darnold in the preseason opener. Crowder could be quite active out of the slot while TE Chris Herndon serves his four-game suspension to start the season.

Preston Williams (riser, WR89) — Williams has been turning heads in South Florida all summer long, and he started turning heads across the nation in the first preseason game. He posted 4/97 receiving and he showed a great connection with Josh Rosen, which is something to file away for later this year when Rosen is starting games. Williams is massive (6’5”, 218 pounds) and a former five-star recruit who had his college career derailed by failed drug tests and a 2017 domestic violence charge.

Rashard Higgins (riser, WR80) and Antonio Callaway (faller, WR100) — Callaway continues to be his biggest opponent. After a troubled college career that knocked him into the fourth round, Callaway got popped for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He’ll now miss the first four games of the season and, to add injury to insult, he also picked up a high ankle sprain during their first preseason game. Meanwhile, Higgins continues to slowly ascend entering his fourth season. He averaged 3.6/51.4/.4 receiving in the final month of last season before posting 5/98/1 in the first preseason game. He’s locked in as the #3 WR behind Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry heading into the season.

Marquise Brown (faller, WR68) and Miles Boykin (riser, WR74) — Brown’s glacial recovery from his Lisfranc surgery is opening the door for fellow rookie Boykin to have bigger role at the beginning of the season. Brown still isn’t at 100% in the middle of August and it’s looking like he could be slow out of the gate in September. Chris Moore and Seth Roberts started ahead of Boykin in the preseason opener, but Boykin did see two targets playing with Lamar Jackson. He also played well against the Jaguars backups and had an impressive red-zone TD wiped off the board by a Ravens penalty.

Maurice Harris (riser, WR79) and Jakobi Meyers (riser, WR98) — These Patriots’ camp stars took their hot play from the practice field to the gamefield in the first week of preseason action, combining for three touchdowns against the Lions. The Patriots’ WR and TE depth charts are complete wastelands behind Julian Edelman. The longer these guys hang around this preseason the more likely it is they’ll be contributors playing with Tom Brady this season. This receiving corps is still evolving but Harris and Meyers could have some staying power.

Tight Ends

Matt LaCosse (faller, TE41) and Eric Saubert (riser, TE47) — There wasn’t a whole lot to take away from the first week of the preseason at the end position. On the low end, LaCosse suffered suffered an ankle injury against the Lions. It looks like it could be of the high ankle sprain variety because the Patriots traded a conditional seventh-round pick for Saubert Monday morning. With LaCosse potentially out for the next month and with Ben Watson serving a four-game suspension, Saubert could be the Week 1 starter in New England.

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Tom Brolley
Tom Brolley


Tom Brolley is the better half of The Fantasy Free Agents Podcast with his partner Joe Dolan. Brolley owned a 53.8% winning percentage picking every game against the spread for his old site over the last two seasons.