What We Learned: 2021 Preseason
Check back here every week to listen to Tim: analyze what we saw, discuss who's trending up or down, and jump to some wild conclusions.
Is it too early to put Josh Jacobs in RB1 territory? Maybe so, but it’s worth noting he played the role of a feature back on Monday Night Football. Jacobs finished with 24 touches for 114 total yards and two TD’s. He played over 75 percent of Raiders snaps and looked like a good fit for a workhorse role. After a performance that puts him in company with Ladanian Tomlinson as one of the only two rookies to have over 100 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in his NFL debut, Jacobs looks like he’ll be a fantasy owners best friend for years to come. Phillip Lindsay, on the other hand, did not fare so well.
After a top-12 fantasy campaign in his rookie season, many were excited to see how Lindsay would follow it up. After all was said and done in week one, Lindsay finished with 15 touches for just 66 total yards and zero TD’s. I was a big Lindsay fan heading into the season, but I did not like what I saw on Monday Night Football.
Royce Freeman got almost as many carries as Lindsay in this game (10, Lindsay: 11) and was more efficient (56 yards rushing). While Lindsay drew five more targets than Freeman in this contest, and is still the superior PPR option, his stock took a hit this week.
If Freeman continues to be involved and keeps up his efficiency, this Broncos backfield is going to be a full-blown committee, which limits Lindsay and Freeman’s ceiling.
The Saints looked just about how we expected them to. Drew Brees is still one of the leagues deadliest quarterbacks, and one of the last people you want to give the ball to with any amount of time on the clock. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are still numbers machines and fantasy studs. The most interesting Saints player for me, however, is Latavius Murray.
I’ve made sure to scoop Murray up in the later rounds of a number of drafts because, as I suspected, he will fill in the Mark Ingram role. Murray finished the game with eight touches for 47 total yards and one TD. Kamara will still be the first RB to eat in this New Orleans offense, but there will plenty of opportunities for Murray (just like there was for Ingram) going forward. If the past is any indicator, there's no reason not to believe the Saints can support two fantasy relevant RB’s every week. The Saints offense is so potent, I might even go as far as ranking Murray above a few of the leagues starting RB’s.
The Texans offense looked about how we expected them to as well. Hopkins and Watson are still real-life and fantasy studs. Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde just can’t seem to escape their roles no matter where they go. The two RB’s received a relatively even split, and it look’s like we’ve got another comitee approach on our hands. Hyde was more efficient as a rusher (10 carries, 83 yards), but Johnson was more of a factor in the pass game (4 receptions on five targets). This backfield will be hard to predict, the split was so even in week one because both backs appeared to have the hot-hand. I’d personally rather have Johnson, especially in PPR leagues; he’s a solid flex for me. Hyde will undoubtedly have his moments, but I see him as less important to this Houston offense than Johnson will be. Hyde will likely score more goal-line touchdowns, while Johnson will likely catch the ball much more.
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 9: Oakland Raiders’ Josh Jacobs (28) celebrates his 4-yard touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter of their NFL game at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Tim Brosnan, Fantasy Sports Analyst/Freelance Journalist
Tim Brosnan is a college-educated sports journalist from the New Haven, Connecticut area.
Brosnan earned his Bachelor's Degree from Castleton University where he majored in Media & Communication, with a focus in Journalism.
During his tenure as the sports editor of the Castleton Spartan newspaper, Brosnan created the segment 'Tim's Fantasy Tips'. It began as a simple weekly start/sit column, but since then, the idea has grown into so much more.
Brosnan has taken his experience/passion for fantasy football and combined it with his journalistic know-how in order to bring you a completely original, well-informed, multi-layered fantasy football advice experience.
We hope you enjoy.