Lovi's League Winners: Aug. 16, 2021

Preseason Week 1 recap: players on the rise/decline, Daily draft sleeper

Football is officially back!

The first week of preseason games is in the books, and while I recommend not to take too much stock in what you see in the preseason, there are things to look out for with certain players.

How many snaps did they have with the first team? Which players made the most of their opportunity with starters not playing? How did the rookies play?

While my overall rankings didn’t undergo any major shakeups, I did have a few players rise up my draft board and a few players go down, as well as one tight end I am now avoiding in drafts.

On the Rise

Terrace Marshall Jr. - WR - Carolina Panthers

An exciting rookie prospect, Marshall Jr. was already receiving a ton of hype in training camp, and he showed why on Sunday night.

The second-round pick caught three passes for 86 yards, including a 60-yard catch, and also saw two end zone targets.

While I was hesitant to draft Marshall Jr. because of the weapons in front of him, which include D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey, I’m starting to think about grabbing him with one of my late-round picks. He’d make for a great dynasty pick as well for those looking to make a splash down the road.

On the Decline

Travis Etienne - RB - Jacksonville Jaguars

Don’t get me wrong, Etienne is a talented player and the Jaguars are going to use him in the passing game, but I’m nervous about the running back rotation.

The rookie received just one carry in the team’s first preseason game, and James Robinson and Carlos Hyde also saw snaps with the first team.

While he’s not a household name, don’t forget Robinson rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and caught 49 passes. Etienne is not taking over his job. This will be a committee, and while at first I believed it would be split between just those two players, I now think Hyde is going to get some run as well, making this an even less appealing backfield.

I’m not taking Etienne off my draft board, but I’m not drafting him at his 5th round ADP either.

On the Rise

Marvin Jones Jr. - WR - Jacksonville Jaguars

Same team, different situation.

Jones Jr. has always been a big-play WR, from his time back in Cincinnati to Detroit and now he looks to continue that big-play ability in Jacksonville.

It’s only one game, but Jones Jr. looked to have the strongest connection with rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. Laviska Shenault Jr. has been getting a lot of hype but he didn’t look particularly great, and while I think D.J. Chark is the most talented WR on this team, he’s already dealing with injuries including a broken finger.

Jones Jr. was going undrafted in recent mocks, but I have a feeling he’ll be moving up draft boards quickly, and I’m more than confident taking him with a late-round pick.

On the Decline

Myles Gaskin - RB - Miami Dolphins

I was all aboard the Gaskin train this offseason, even when the Dolphins brought in veteran RB Malcolm Brown.

In early mock drafts, I was taking Gaskin in the early 5th round, sometimes even reaching for him in the late 4th round as my RB2. Needless to say, that has changed after this weekend.

Brown received the bulk of the carries with the first-team offense and Gaskin didn’t look particularly great. A new offensive coordinator in town means changes are coming and this will be much more of a committee than I initially thought.

I’m not taking Gaskin off my board entirely, but there is no chance I am taking him before the 7th round now. And I’m more likely to pass on him and snag Brown with one of my last picks instead.

On the Rise

Marquez Callaway - WR - New Orleans Saints

The Saints wide receiver situation is murky at best, but someone has to catch the ball, right? Sure the Saints can always lean on Alvin Kamara, but a wideout has to see a pass every now and again.

Enter Callaway, who took every snap with the starters in his first preseason action of the year and looked to have the best connection with QB Taysom Hill.

With Michael Thomas out for the foreseeable future and Tre’Quan Smith also dealing with an injury, Callaway is pretty much the last healthy WR. And he’s pretty good, too.

On the Decline

Dallas Goedert - TE - Philadelphia Eagles

That was a pretty sweet 34-yard reception on a pass from Jalen Hurts to Goedert, wasn’t it?

That was pretty much the only thing that was sweet for Goedert on Thursday night, as the looming presence of Zach Ertz and the sluggish Eagles offense makes Goedert an extremely risky fantasy pick.

Goedert is currently being drafted as the 7th tight end off the board, and while I was looking at him in early mock drafts around the 7th-8th round, I’m pretty much terrified to draft him.

Unless the Eagles are showcasing Ertz to trade him (he played more snaps with the starters), the veteran TE will continue to hinder Goedert’s value.

Finding a tight end who is a viable weekly starter is difficult in fantasy football, so there’s no way I want any piece of a tight end committee! Until Ertz is no longer in Philly, Goedert is one of the few players on my won’t draft list.

With the majority of fantasy drafts firing up at the end of this month, each of my columns for the month will include a Daily Draft Sleeper.

To qualify as one of my draft sleepers, a player’s ADP (average draft position) must be later than Round 10. That’s it!

Las Vegas Raiders WR: Bryan Edwards

The second-year WR didn’t play in the first preseason game, which is a good sign!

Raiders coach Jon Gruden sat all his starters including Edwards, which means…you guessed it…he’s a starter!

I was on the Edwards bandwagon last season and actually drafted him with my last pick, but he didn’t quite pan out. But this is a new year and it’s all about redemption for the 6-foot-3 target.

Gruden even recently compared Edwards to Hall-of-Fame WR Terrell Owens!

While that’s extremely high praise and he’s got a long way to go (he still has to beat out Henry Ruggs III as the Raiders No. 1 WR), I’m keeping the Edwards stock I bought last year.

While Ruggs III is the first Las Vegas wideout going off the board (usually around the 10th round which also is solid value), I’m holding to snag Edwards with my last pick one more time. Hopefully, it’ll pay off this year.