Lovi's League Winners: Aug. 20, 2021

Preseason Week 2: Players to monitor

The second week of the NFL preseason is upon us and it’s important to stay up to date with what happens over the weekend.

The Patriots and Eagles played Thursday night, but the other 30 teams will be taking the field. I’ve focused in on one key player from each matchup to monitor, and what that could entail for fantasy football purposes.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Washington Football Team

Ja’Marr Chase - WR - Bengals

One of the biggest questions going into fantasy drafts is what to make of the trio of WRs for the Bengals. Tee Higgins is expected to be the first of the bunch drafted, followed closely by Chase and Tyler Boyd is going later in the 7th-8th round.

Even though Joe Burrow isn’t playing in this game, I’m going to be focused on Chase. I want to get a glimpse of how he looks health-wise, his ability to run precise routes and create spereation. His 5th round ADP is a bit high for an unknown rookie, so I’m looking to garner as much information as possible from Friday night’s game.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Arizona Cardinals

Rondale Moore - WR - Cardinals

The Cardinals will be a high-volume offense this season, and that always equates to fantasy points! With DeAndre Hopkins solidified as the team’s WR1 and the unknown of A.J. Green’s health, Moore could be a sneaky option who gets a lot of playing time in the slot along with Christian Kirk.

Moore saw four targets in his first preseason action and also got two carries, so he is someone to look out for who could be used heavily in this offense, especially if the guys in front of him can’t stay on the field.

Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears

Justin Fields - QB - Bears

After a breakout performance in his first NFL action, we can’t keep our eyes off the rookie quarterback. Like I mentioned in my Wednesday column, I believe Fields can take over the starting job after the first few games of the season and could be a viable option for your fantasy team.

I’m excited to see if he can put on a repeat performance this week.

New York Jets vs Green Bay Packers

Michael Carter - RB - Jets

Carter is moving up draft boards quickly, usually going as early as the 6th round in mocks. Word out of camp is he will be the main guy in what is forecasted as an RB committee approach, so I’m hesitant to grab a rookie RB in a bad offense with potentially three other backs getting touches.

I need to see more from the rookie before I invest a mid-round pick on him, so I’ll be looking at his pass-catching ability and his blocking to see if he’ll be able to stay on the field in third-down situations.

Baltimore Ravens vs Carolina Panthers

Terrace Marshall Jr. - WR - Panthers

Already listed as one of my Daily Draft Sleepers, I’m excited to see Marshall Jr. continue to develop in this Panthers offense.

This week both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson were banged up in practice. Though they are not expected to miss Week 1, if they are already getting bumps and bruises in camp, Marshall Jr. could have a golden opportunity to shine this season.

Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins

Myles Gaskin - RB - Dolphins

I’m worried about Gaskin’s role in this offense. I was extremely high on him during the offseason, targeting him in the 5th round often in mock drafts. Based on what I saw last week, I have moved him down significantly on my draft board.

I want to see how Gaskin is used this weekend, how much of Salvon Ahmed we will see and if Malcolm Brown gets touches (or sits out entirely, meaning he’d be the de facto starter).

Tennessee Titans vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ke’Shawn Vaughn - RB - Buccaneers

I picked up Vaughn in the middle of the season last year with the expectation that he’d get a lot more playing time. He missed some time due to injury and then Leonard Fournette was signed, so it didn’t quite pan out for Vaughn last year.

I’m interested in seeing how he will be utilized this year and whether newly-signed RB Giovani Bernard will completely take over his role.

Detroit Lions vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Jamaal Williams - RB - Lions

Williams saw a lot of work with the Packers last year, almost splitting time with Aaron Jones. I think the workload is going to be more split in Detroit with De’Andre Swift than initially expected.

Swift is also still dealing with an injury that has cut short his practice time, so Williams could be a value pick in the later rounds. I’m interested to see how he plays this weekend.

Indianapolis Colts vs Minnesota Vikings

Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger - QB - Colts

All eyes are on the QB battle between Eason and rookie Sam Ehlinger because presumed started Carson Wentz could miss the start of the season.

Ehlinger looked better in last week’s game, so I’m curious to see if Eason can step up and outperform the rookie this week. I’m not drafting either of these guys, but it would make me feel better about drafting other Colts skill players if Eason or Ehlinger looks competent.

Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys

Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson - RB - Texans

This backfield, and this offense as a whole, absolutely terrifies me. I think there is fantasy value to be had on this team (thinking WR Brandin Cooks), but if either Lindsay or David Johnson is shown to be the clear starting RB, I don’t mind a very late-round pick on either of them.

My gut says Lindsay is going to be the starter, with DJ serving in a complementary role.

Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Rams

Xavier Jones - RB - Rams

The Cam Akers season-ending injury was devastating, as he was slated to be a late first-round pick this year. Enter Darrell Henderson, who I believe can be a reliable RB2 on fantasy teams. The issue is, he is also injury-prone.

With Henderson’s injury history, I think the backup RB in LA could spark some interest, and I’m keying in on Jones as that player. If Henderson were to go down, Jones could provide flex or perhaps even RB2 numbers.

Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks

K.J. Hamler - WR - Broncos

While I’m also interested in the QB battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, I’m intrigued by Hamler and the Broncos’ WR corps as a whole.

Hamler had one of the top highlights of the first week of the preseason, hauling in an 80-yard touchdown. I’m interested to see how he plays alongside Jerry Jeudy, especially with Courtland Sutton out. And people forget about Tim Patrick, but he had some big games last year.

I’m very curious to see how the WR situation in Denver plays out with so many different possible outcomes.

New York Giants vs Cleveland Browns

Corey Clement and Devontae Booker - RB - Giants

The key question in New York is who will be the primary backup to Saquon Barkley? Barkley is expected to play in Week 1, but I’m nervous about him staying healthy and playing a full 17-game schedule.

Whether it’s Booker or Clement who will be the second RB for the Giants, I like them to be a valuable handcuff this year.

San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Chargers

Trey Lance - QB - 49ers

Like Fields, I think Lance can eventually take over the starting job in San Francisco and be a key contributor in fantasy football.

Lance had some big plays last week but also some obvious blunders, so I’m interested to see how he plays this week. If he shines, will he force the coaching staff to consider him as the Week 1 starter?

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New Orleans Saints

Marquez Callaway - WR - Saints

I like Callaway as a sleeper pick this year late in drafts, as the Saints have very little to offer at the WR position. Tre’Quan Smith is back in practice, but the chance of re-injury is a real possibility. We don’t know when Michael Thomas will be back, so Callaway really has a chance to be a highly-targeted wideout.

Which QB will be the guy who looks for Callaway is another interesting question…Make sure to monitor Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston as well, though my inkling is Hill will get the first chance to start.