Preseason Week 3 Risers and Fallers

published 08/26/19 9:16:55 AM EDT
by Tom Brolley

With the third 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 second week of preseason action.

Andrew Luck Fallout

T.Y. Hilton (FALLER, WR21), Devin Funchess (FALLER, WR61), Parris Campbell (FALLER, WR76), Eric Ebron (FALLER, TE16), and Jack Doyle (FALLER, TE26) — WOW. What a stunning development. The ceiling of this passing game and this offense in general is significantly lower now that Andrew Luck has retired from the NFL. Jacoby Brissett is one of the better backup QBs in the league but he’ll now be thrust into a starting role and he’s certainly no Andrew Luck. These receivers will go from having one of the elite passers in the league to a near-bottom rung starter, so each of these receivers obviously have to tumble down our rankings. Brissett averaged just 6.6 YPA and completed just 58.8% of his passes as the team’s starter back in 2017 when Luck missed the entire season with his shoulder injury. He also threw for just 13 TDs with 7 INTs despite starting 15 games, but at least the current Colts coaching staff led by Frank Reich is much more competent than Chuck Pagano and Rob Chudzinski. Brissett also came over to the Colts just days before the start of the season so he was in an extremely difficult spot. Still, anyway you slice this situation, going from Luck to Brissett is a major downgrade for these Colts receiver and I wouldn’t be actively targeting any of them.

Wide Receivers

Dede Westbrook (RISER, WR33) — Nick Foles and Westbrook carried their training camp love fest over to their first game action. The pair connected four times on seven targets for 29 yards and a TD against the Eagles. During the FOX broadcast, Troy Aikman said that Jags OC John DeFilippo called Westbrook the best route runner he’s worked with during his career, and he’s worked with the likes of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Zach Ertz recently. This Jags offense could be much better compared to last year’s disaster and both Westbrook and Leonard Fournette have been undervalued for much of the summer.

Amari Cooper (FALLER, WR14) — Coop is dealing with a foot strain and while the Cowboys and Cooper have shown little concern about the injury. I’m still a little concerned, though, because of his weekly volatility when he’s been completely healthy. I slid him down below the Vikings WRs for now and I would slide Michael Gallup even more, but we’re higher on him than anyone else in the industry already.

Marquise Brown (RISER, WR60) — Brown has been a yo-yo in our rankings for the last couple weeks. We’ve heard nothing but doom and gloom coming out of Ravens training camp about Brown’s health coming off Lisfranc surgery. Much to my surprise, he played in the dress rehearsal contest and the Ravens went out of their way to get him some work. He caught all three of his targets for 17 yards and he added a carry that went for negative yards. Brown’s blazing speed got him drafted in the first round this spring and he’s been slept on all summer long in the fantasy community. He’s a great player to target in the final round of your drafts.

Marquise Goodwin (RISER, WR57) — I featured Goodwin in my Post-Hype WRs article earlier this summer, and he truly is a player everyone has been sleeping on all summer. Goodwin has a path to being the top WR in this 49ers offense because of Dante Pettis’ struggles in training camp. HC Kyle Shanahan played both Pettis and Deebo Samuel well into the second half of their dress rehearsal while Goodwin got the starter’s treatment, playing just 12 snaps before getting the early hook.

James Washington (FALLER, WR51) — Ben Roethlisberger started in the dress rehearsal game and, unfortunately, Washington was once again nowhere to be seen with the first-team unit. The Steelers appear ready to roll into the regular season with Donte Moncrief locked in next to JuJu Smith-Schuster while rotating Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers in the #3 WR spot. Of course, Washington tore it up again once he got onto the field, catching a 41-yard bomb from backup QB Mason Rudolph. The Steelers are making Washington earn his way onto the field and it’s looking like he could get off to a slow start since he’s down the depth chart. If he’s dropped in your league early in the season, make sure to pick him up off of waiver wires.

KeeSean Johnson (RISER, WR73) — Johnson is pushing for the #3 WR role in the Cardinals offense, and he strengthened his case in the dress rehearsal game. He caught passes of 19 and 29 yards from starting QB Kyler Murray on his way to catching all seven of his targets for 85 yards. Johnson is sneaky pick in the final rounds of your draft.

Phillip Dorsett (RISER, WR85) and N’Keal Harry (FALLER, WR70) — Dorsett has been the forgotten man in the New England receivers room between the Josh Gordon drama, the rise of Jakobi Meyers and Maurice Harris, and the return of Demaryius Thomas. Dorsett led the team with five targets from Tom Brady in the third preseason game, and he finished with 7/47 receiving overall. He’s still the leader to be the #3 WR beside Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon to start the season. Meanwhile, Harry keeps taking body blow after body blow this summer, and he’s now undraftable in shallower formats.

David Moore (FALLER, WR96), D.K. Metcalf (FALLER, WR66), Jaron Brown (RISER, WR87) — Moore suffered a major shoulder injury in practice on Thursday and HC Pete Carroll has already ruled him out for the season opener. We’re more than two weeks away from Week 1 so it sounds like Moore could be in jeopardy of missing multiple games because of this issue, and he’s going to be a candidate to start the year on the IR. Metcalf needed a knee scope earlier in the week and he’ll be in a race to be ready for the season opener, as well. We already have Tyler Lockett at WR18 in our rankings or we’d move him up even more. Meanwhile, we just added Brown to our rankings and it looks like he could be #2 WR to start the year.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (RISER, WR89) — I had a tough time moving JJAW up too much because he is buried a bit on the Eagles’ depth chart, but it looks like he could be a low-end fantasy impact player if he gets the chance to play this season. Arcega-Whiteside lit it up with new backup QB Josh McCown in the third preseason game, posting 8/104/1 receiving that included a red-zone TD. At the very least, JJAW could be a situational player in the red zone because of his elite contested-catch ability, which would drive fantasy owners nuts this year.

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed (FALLER, TE18) and Vernon Davis (RISER, TE34) — Reed, unfortunately, suffered the seventh documented concussion of his career in the third preseason game, which puts him in jeopardy of missing the start of the regular season. The good news is that Reed has 17 days to get ready for Week 1 but he’s hardly guaranteed to have a quick recovery because of his past issues. Reed actually had some momentum coming into the season because he’s actually been healthy, but he’s back to being a huge injury risk with little upside in this terrible offense. Vernon is the next man up if Reed misses time, and he’s shown some chemistry working with Case Keenum in the preseason. He could be a streaming option early in the year if Reed misses time.

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Tom Brolley
Tom Brolley

@TomBrolley

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.