The 2019 NFL season is right around the corner! We are knee deep in the preseason as teams are determining who will make the final roster. Every year there are players who come out of nowhere to make the team. To the average NFL fan, the preseason might be boring, but to dynasty fantasy football players, this is the time of the year to evaluate your deep bench. To help with that, the Scorecrow family has put together a mini-series with a handful of writers giving you their opinions on five questions. Be sure to follow all of the writers on twitter and ask any questions you may have regarding their answers. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Best bench stash?
Mike Fanelli: Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
This may seem like a “no duh” answer but the reality is Meyers is tied for the league lead among wide receivers with 14 targets so far in the preseason, catching 12 of them. Meyers also has two touchdowns in two games so far and has all but locked up his roster spot. The only question left is, how high up the depth chart can he climb? With Josh Gordon returning, his ceiling takes a hit, but Gordon has played in just 22 games since 2013. This means Meyers could work his way all the way up to a starting role opposite of Julian Edelman if he continues to impress the coaching staff.
Joshua Abbe: Jazz Ferguson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Ferguson comes in as a UDFA with the potential to shine as their “X” receiver on the opposite side of Tyler Lockett and lined up in the slot at times too. Though the Seahawks drafted D.K. Metcalf, he is already battling knee issues and will miss some time with undergoing surgery. If he misses regular-season games, look to Ferguson to take advantage of the opportunity. He’s had a great preseason so far looking to solidify a roster spot. His college antics at LSU kept him from being a top draft pick but after putting up 1,117 yards and 13 touchdowns during the 2018 season at Northwestern State-Louisiana, Ferguson should have a fair chance to make an impact.
Mason Thompson: Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Mattison will take the role that Latavius Murray held last year. Murray took a lot of red zone opportunities away from Dalvin Cook last year which Mattison could do this year. He was drafted in the third round meaning that the Vikings plan to use him in some way other than the handcuff to Cook. Mattison averaged 11 touchdowns on the ground each year of his three years at Boise State, while Cook only had two touchdowns on the year last year. Overall, Mattison should get a big workload at the goal-line and will be a top waiver add if Cook were to miss time.
Devin Davis: Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins
The undrafted free agent receiver has done nothing but turn heads during training camp thus far. He has been gaining all kinds of attention as he continues to move his way up an underwhelming Dolphins’ wide receiver depth chart. The rookie receiver is available in most leagues and it’s time to get your hands on him before the rest of your league mates see him burst onto the scene.
Connor Neal: Ryquell Armstead, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
With Leonard Fournette’s injury history, stashing his backup who is certain to start a couple of games is a smart choice. Fournette has shown that he can’t stay healthy and shouldn’t be fully trusted with a starting position. Armstead has shown promise throughout training camp and should make his way to the RB2 spot on the depth chart at some point this season. When Fournette does go down with an injury, Armstead will pick up most of the carries in the Jacksonville backfield.
Most impressive rookie?
Mike: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
I will go on the record now, this time next year Montgomery will be a top 24 startup dynasty pick. He impressed the Bears enough during the first preseason game that they sat him in week two to avoid any injury risk, suggesting he is going to have a huge role in this offense. While Montgomery’s rushing stats weren’t very impressive (three carries for 16 yards), he did score a touchdown but more importantly, he caught all three of his targets for 30 yards. According to FantasyFootballCalculator, Montgomery’s redraft ADP is 3.09 and by the time the season starts, it could end up inside the top 30 picks.
Joshua: Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
I looked a little deeper than the normal David Montgomery and Kyler Murray options out there. Meyers has come into camp in the shadow of the first-round pick N’Keal Harry but continues to outshine him and make a name for himself. In his first preseason game, he had six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to get praise for his ability to go up and fight for the ball with defensive backs with his 6’2” and 200-pound figure. With Rob Gronkowski gone, the target share should be there and even though Josh Gordon returns, injuries are always a factor of the game and someone missing time could pay dividends for Meyers.
Mason: Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
The second-round pick out of South Carolina has impressed thus far. The 49ers have a ton of young potential with Samuel, Jalen Hurd, and Dante Pettis. Hurd and Samuel have been the most impressive. While everyone is falling in love with Pettis this year for fantasy, I don’t think he’ll even be the top-scoring fantasy receiver for the 49ers this year, and for years to come. Samuel can play outside or in the slot and could become a favorite of Jimmy Garoppolo’s this year and into the future.
Devin: Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
Another rookie wide receiver that is turning heads in early preseason action. The Patriots found a diamond in the rough and have developed the former quarterback into a surprising rookie wide receiver. In preseason week one, Meyers turned heads by posting six receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He followed it up with another impressive outing for six catches for 82 yards in week two. Go add him as he continues to perform for the rest of the preseason.
Connor: Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
With week two of preseason wrapped up, the most impressive rookie thus far has been Thompson. He has rushed 52 yards on nine carries, averaging just under six yards per carry, while scoring a receiving touchdown as well. Thompson can create long runs and catch the ball out of the backfield. With the Chiefs backfield being led by a 27-year-old with zero starting seasons under his belt, it’s likely the Chiefs will utilize a committee style backfield.
Favorite buy low player from the 2018 draft class?
Mike: Deon Cain, WR, Indianapolis Colts
After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Cain has impressed in training camp and the preseason. He leads the team with 13 targets, catching nine of them for 95 yards. While those numbers aren’t eye-popping, his roster spot is secure now with Daurice Fountain suffering a season-ending injury. T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, and likely Parris Campbell are all ahead of Cain on the depth chart, but he is just one injury away from a starting role with Andrew Luck throwing to him. Hilton dealt with nagging injuries last year and should he miss time, Cain would be first in line to take his snaps. For more on Cain and the Colts, check out the Colts’ 2019 team preview.
Joshua: Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The door is closing to grab Tate before his value continues to grow with the limited options the Bengals have in the depth chart at wide receiver. With A.J. Green and John Ross missing time with injuries, Tate is taking full advantage to shine, including scoring a touchdown in the Bengals second preseason game. He is getting reps with the first and second-team offenses at camp while opening up the possibility for a bigger role on the team. With defenses loading the box on Joe Mixon or doubling Tyler Boyd, there should be enough target share going to Tate to make him a valuable buy low guy.
Mason: Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Goedert is the second tight end on the Eagles depth chart which may lead the usual fantasy player to steer clear of him. While this may be true, he is on one of the league’s most explosive offenses in the league that also happens to use multiple tight ends on the field at once. As the second tight end, he finished with 33 receptions for 334 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie year. With another year to learn the playbook and another offseason spent with Carson Wentz, he could be in for a much larger workload even with Zach Ertz still getting his usual targets.
Devin: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
A former first-round pick in 2018 that underperformed in his rookie campaign is the recipe for a perfect buy low. After being stuck in a crowded backfield last year, the opportunity is there for Penny to fulfill his potential and obtain a lion share of the workload heading into 2019. The Seahawks ran the ball a total of 534 times last year which ranked second in the NFL. The potential workload and lack of return on investment last year opens the door for fantasy owners to acquire a steady contributor with potential at a discounted cost.
Connor: Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers
When Thomas got his chance to start after Greg Olsen went down with injury he showed promise to be the predecessor to Olsen. With Olsen’s career winding down, this might be his last or second to last season. Thomas will begin to take snaps away from Olsen this season and eventually take over the starting spot once Olsen moves on from player. Even while Olsen is around, he has missed 16 games over the last two years because of a foot injury, opening up more starts for Thomas.
Which current backup quarterback has the best chance to develop into a starter (not including rookies)?
Mike: Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
Entering the 2018 draft, many thought Rudolph was overrated and the truth is the jury is still out on him. However, he has drastically improved from last season. During the preseason last year, Rudolph completed just 54.5% of his passes, by comparison, he is completing 65.2% of his passes so far this preseason. He will likely win the backup job to Ben Roethlisberger; as he should. Big Ben’s deal has an easy out after the 2020 season, which would allow Rudolph a year to prove his value as a starter before becoming a free agent himself in 2021. For dynasty league owners with deep benches, Rudolph is a guy you need to add now on the cheap as Roethlisberger has plenty of injury history.
Joshua: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts
Brissett has flashed signs of being a starting quarterback in the NFL before. Battling with a struggling offense in 2017, the Colts have revamped their offense since and probably have the best pass protecting line in the league. Reportedly several teams tried to trade for him this offseason but the Colts refused to listen given Andrew Luck‘s injury history. In 2017 Brissett completed 59% of his passes for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns. As his rookie contract comes to an end, Brissett could improve those numbers if Luck misses time and become a hot commodity in free agency this spring.
Mason: Logan Woodside, Tennessee Titans
I tried making this player one who isn’t an obvious candidate so I selected Woodside. I highlighted him in the Players on the Roster Bubble that have Impressed for his performance against the Eagles. Woodside is a second-year player who has bounced from the Bengals to the AAF, to now the Titans. With Marcus Mariota’s future with the team in doubt, the team could be forced to look elsewhere. Ryan Tannehill was acquired during the offseason for insurance if Mariota got hurt or struggled again this year. Woodside could find himself on the field if both Mariota and Tannehill struggled in front of him and could show some intrigue for not only the Titans but other teams around the league.
Devin: Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rudolph is a deep target for dynasty leagues in an attempt to grab a potential starter with legitimate upside. The third-round pick from 2018 has impressed this preseason and is on the path to secure the starting job behind Ben Roethlisberger and supplant Joshua Dobbs. Big Ben is entering his age 37 season and is nearing retirement. If you need a potential starter with immense upside, grab the former Oklahoma State stud.
Connor: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts
Brissett took over for the Colts in 2017 when Andrew Luck was injured and showed that he has the talent to be a starting quarterback in the league. During that season, Brissett threw for 3,098 yards while his touchdown to interception ratio was pretty bad, he showed amazing potential during his 17 career starts. Brissett is a free agent after this season and if a team wants a veteran over a rookie quarterback, he should be their top target.
Sleeper rookie wide receiver that could have fantasy value in 2020?
Mike: Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears
Before the NFL draft, I was on record saying Ridley could make an impact as a rookie if he landed in the right spot. Unfortunately, the Bears have three wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart they really like, limiting Ridley’s role for this season. However, both Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel have easy outs in their contracts after this season. The Bears can save $13 million dollars by releasing Robinson and $4.5 million dollars by releasing Gabriel. With a massive Mitchell Trubisky extension coming soon, the Bears will need to cut some salary. If Robinson or Taylor are released this coming spring, Ridley would be first in line for a starting role in 2020.
Joshua: Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
A crowded depth chart makes the 2019 value of Isabella seeming meaningless for now. With the returning Larry Fitzgerald as the WR1 and Christian Kirk as the WR2, Isabella could become the WR3 at best this season, but he will face competition from the other rookie wide receivers as well as David Johnson. However, Isabella stands out because of his speed and separation he can get from defenders. During the 2019 season, he will have to fight for his snaps while learning the offense. However, next year Isabella could turn into the WR1 role for Kliff Kingsbury and his explosive offensive.
Mason: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles
Arcega-Whiteside won’t serve much fantasy relevance this season because the Eagles already have Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor ahead of him. Agholor is coming into a contract year which could be the reason why the Eagles picked Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of April’s draft. If the team doesn’t retain Agholor after this year, Arcega-Whiteside could have a big role in one of the league’s premier offenses.
Devin: KeeSean Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson is currently the third of three rookie wide receivers for the Cardinals. This, along with Larry Fitzgerald, is going to limit his production in 2019. However, as Johnson continues to develop as a rookie, he has the potential to become the new WR1 for the Cardinals at the end of the Fitzgerald era. The day three receiver should be on your radar as a 2020 fixture in your lineup.
Connor: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles
After drafting Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of the NFL draft, many were disappointed with his fantasy outlook for 2019. However, in 2020, he could end up the team’s number one wide receiver. Nelson Agholor is a free agent after the season and isn’t likely to be re-signed, while the Eagles can save $9 million dollars by releasing Alshon Jeffery. With Carson Wentz‘s big extension kicking in soon, the Eagles will need to open up cap space. Arcega-Whiteside is a similar player to Jeffery and could end up replacing him as the WR1 in 2020.
Unlike in previous roundtables, our writers didn’t agree on most questions. However, the writers believe Rudolph and Brissett are the top two backup quarterbacks that should be on fantasy rosters. Hopefully, this helps you with your dynasty teams this year and years to come. Be on the lookout for the next set of roundtable questions that should be out early in the season.
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