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Fantasy football takeaways from preseason Week 2

NFL Fantasy

With Week 2 of the NFL preseason all but over, it’s time to take a look at some of the fantasy football takeaways. The Week 2 preseason schedule comes to an end Monday night in New Orleans as the Saints host the Jacksonville Jaguars. There are few things to keep an eye on between the Jags and Saints Monday night — such as the QB battle between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill and the play of rookie Trevor Lawrence.

(Check out Derek Brown’s full rundown of the Monday night preseason DFS slate.)

The rookie quarterbacks stole the show in Week 1, and they were front and center in Week 2 as well. That’ll be the case all season as Trey Lance and Justin Fields continue to rise up draft boards. They should be on your draft radar regardless of if they start in Week 1. Zach Wilson had another strong showing and Mac Jones leads all rookie quarterbacks in completion and yards through two weeks. 

Below you’ll see a few of my fantasy football takeaways from Week 2 of the NFL preseason. It’s easy to overreact at this time of the year and even more so this season than last as we didn’t have any preseason games to take in. Below are several names who I think the fantasy community will move up and down their ranks based on Week 2.

The positives

Corey Davis could be headed for a massive target share with the New York Jets

Corey Davis racked up six more targets in Week 2 and he reeled in four of them for 70 yards. The former Titan was targeted on New York’s first four throws in Week 1, and it’s clear Zach Wilson has a lot of faith in Davis. 

Davis has 10 targets, 6 catches and 88 yards in two quarters with the Jets. Denzel Mims has taken a backseat and Elijah Moore remains on the sidelines, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see this kind of usage. Make no mistake, Moore will be a factor once he’s on the field, and I do believe he’ll overtake Jamison Crowder in the slot, but Davis is a lock to surpass his 92 targets from last season and perhaps pass his career-best 112 from 2018. He’s a very strong target in the ninth round (WR 51/ADP 118 at NFFC) and he’s my 36th-ranked wideout in PPR formats.

Rondale Moore continues to trend up

I listed Rondale Moore fourth on Arizona’s depth chart after Week 1 with room to move up the ranks should something happen to A.J. Green or Christian Kirk. Well, it’s possible his role grows quicker than I anticipated. Moore caught three more passes in Week 2 to give him six catches on nine targets to go along with three carries. Moore operated out of the slot again, which was expected to be Kirk’s role this season. Green suited up, but it remains to be seen how much he has to offer. Don’t expect Moore to be a big yardage guy as he’ll come with a low aDOT, but he’s explosive after the catch and the Cardinals have made a point in getting him the ball. It’s likely we’re talking about Moore as Kyler Murray’s second favorite target at some point in 2021. Kirk’s stock has dropped while Moore’s has climbed and it’s possible Kirk will be the odd man if Green shows us anything at all.

Mecole Hardman is the No. 2 wideout in KC

Mecole Hardman should have erased any possible doubts people may have had on who the No. 2 wide receiver is in Kansas City behind Tyreek Hill. Hardman played over Byron Pringle and played in every formation after being limited to 11 personnel only in Week 1. The Chiefs play a lot of three-wide, which is good for Hardman’s outlook, but it was also great to see him play in two wide-receiver sets in Week 2, just as Sammy Watkins did before his departure. WR50 is a more than fair price to pay when it comes to Hardman, considering he’s linked to Patrick Mahomes. Marvin Jones, Corey Davis and Darnell Mooney are three players I’d rather have, though.

Have exposure to Josh Palmer in deeper formats 

Josh Palmer wasn’t as active in Week 2 as he was in Week 1 when he received seven targets, but he scored a touchdown on the only pass thrown his way. Palmer played behind Jalen Guyton for the second straight week, but he clearly has an edge over Tyron Johnson. I like the idea of having a cheap piece of Justin Herbert’s passing attack and if Mike Williams can’t stay healthy, Palmer’s role will grow significantly. It was encouraging to see the rookie play in two-wide receiver sets in Week 2. He’s the 137th wideout taken on average over the last two weeks in NFFC drafts.

Jake Funk may be the handcuff you want in Los Angeles

Xavier Jones looked like the favorite to be Darrell Henderson’s backup running back after his usage in Week 1 but the job is still up for grabs. Jones received nearly all the work in the Rams’ first drive before eventually splitting touches with rookie Jake Funk. Xavier had two targets in Week 1 and he had one in Week 2 which he turned into a 10-yard gain. It’s clear he has an edge on Funk when it comes to the third-down role, but he lost some of his first and second-down reps to Funk in Week 2.

Funk received early-down work in the Rams’ second preseason game and he came away with 56 rushing yards. He had 37 yards in the first half before exploding for a team-high 19-yard run on his seventh and final carry of the game. He showed vision, power and explosiveness on other runs which resulted in 12 and 14-yard gains.

Funk isn’t a lock to be the handcuff to Henderson but neither is Jones. I believe the Rams like what they have in both, which is why they haven’t brought anyone in since losing Cam Akers for the season. Let’s keep an eye on Los Angeles’ third preseason game and while this may seem like a meaningless battle, first and second-down reps are very important and Henderson doesn’t have the cleanest track record when it comes to health. After all, head coach Sean McVay felt him some Funk in Week 2 and that’s more than enough reason to keep close tabs.

The negatives 

Should you be worried about Ja’Marr Chase?

Ja’Marr Chase dropped three more passes in Week 2 and followed it up with two more drops in the red zone at practice Sunday, one of which led to an interception, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. It’s a trend Dehner says has plagued the rookie wideout throughout most of his first NFL camp. It’s only practice, and he hasn’t played any games with Joe Burrow, so I’m not sure we should overreact as Chase never had an issue with drops at LSU.

That said, it’s a trend that may continue over the first part of Chase’s NFL career as he hasn’t played competitive football in 18 months. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are two other very solid options for Burrow in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Chase opened up as WR20 in NFFC leagues after the NFL draft, which was a steep price considering the time off and other options in the passing game. He’s since moved to WR26 on average over the last two weeks and he could continue to fall if he can’t clean up the drops. I’m not worried about Chase the player, I believe in his talent, and I think he’ll turn the corner, but I’m not interested in him as my second wideout fantasy. Is it possible to buy low this early in a dynasty league? I’d check in on the manager. I’d also pass on Chase for DeVonta Smith in redraft leagues. Smith should be in line for more targets and he’s going 30 picks later.

Michael Carter may be third on the depth chart, but he could be a league-winner

It’s back-to-back showings in the negative section of my preseason takeaways for Michael Carter, as the Jets’ rookie only touched the field in Week 2 after Zach Wilson was removed. Newly signed Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson split first- and second-down reps with the first-team offense, while Carter took a back seat. It was Johnson who received the passing down work in Week 1 so it may take some time for Carter to overtake the Jets’ backfield. Coleman and Johnson are decent late round targets, but Carter could follow in a similar path as Cam Akers did last season. I believe in Carter’s talent and the offensive line in New York. I’m not sold on Coleman. Our very own Derek Brown expressed his love for Johnson back in June

Damien Harris will be the latest back in New England to burn you in fantasy 

Damien Harris has seen his minimum pick in NFFC drafts fall to 43 and his ADP has moved to 86 as he’s now going outside the top 30 at RB (32). I can’t say I blame drafters, as Rhamondre Stevenson has looked promising in his two preseason games and Sony Michel looked strong while playing with the first-team offense in Week 2. He surprisingly caught four passes against the Eagles. No, I’m not into Michel but he’s just another body in this offense to go along with James White and Cam Newton who likes to call his own number in the red zone. It’s a crowded backfield and it always has been. I don’t know about you, but I dislike headaches. 

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