Andy Dalton, CIN QB
Preseason play isn’t necessarily a determinant when predicting regular season outlook, but it’s impossible to ignore the eyeball test with Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense. On Sunday, Dalton torched an elite Buffalo secondary for 180 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions on just 16 attempts, and overall, he’s completed 22-of-31 passes for 324 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception this month. He is probably only worth drafting in two-quarterback leagues, but Dalton is trending up heading into the season.
Kenyan Drake, MIA RB
We didn’t get our first real look at Miami’s three-headed backfield last week because Frank Gore had to plead his case to even see the field (and received just one carry), while Kalen Ballage didn’t play with a concussion. However, Kenyan Drake handled four carries for 32 yards and added a 36-yard reception, and it doesn’t seem like consistently picking up chunk yardage last year was a fluke. Drake is the real deal.
Adrian Peterson, WAS RB
If his Redskins debut was any indication, Adrian Peterson is going to be fed in Washington. AD rushed 11 times for 56 yards, and while the top-level acceleration obviously wasn’t there, he still looked in great shape and could turn back the clock behind a strong offensive line. He’s suddenly gone from a late-round flier to a potential value in the middle of fantasy drafts.
Bilal Powell, NYJ RB
The Jets haven’t had a ton of success on the ground this summer, but with three starts in a row, Bilal Powell is the clear lead back ahead of Isaiah Crowell. Against the Giants, Powell didn’t leave the field on the first drive of the game, which he capped off with a ten-yard touchdown run, so this could finally be the year that the 29-year-old is featured. Currently going as the RB54, Powell is a much better value than Crowell as the RB34.
Donte Moncrief, JAX WR
Overall, the league didn’t have many preseason injuries, but unfortunately, Marqise Lee (knee) was one of the losses after signing a four-year, $34-million extension earlier this year. The Jaguars are still pretty deep at receiver, but Donte Moncrief seems to have gained the most fantasy value as the team’s clear top possession receiver. Dede Westbrook also gets a boost with Lee done for the year.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI QB
The Bears didn’t even play Mitchell Trubisky this week, but that’s the problem. The second-year quarterback has a whole new group of receivers to work with, and he barely had any game action to build chemistry with them. He could very well come out firing in the season opener, but I think the unknown could make Trubisky a riskier late-round option than fantasy owners would have liked.
Kerryon Johnson, DET RB
Speaking of unknown, I don’t think anyone knows what the heck is going on with Detroit’s running backs. It’s puzzling because Kerryon Johnson was a second-round pick and has looked like the team’s best runner, but the rookie barely saw any action with Matthew Stafford and the first unit. Earlier this year, there were whispers of a full-blown, matchup-based timeshare for 2018, and it looks like that could be the case.
Ty Montgomery, GB RB
In Green Bay, the running back situation appears to be sorted out with Jamaal Williams set as the starter after being rested for the team’s third preseason game along with Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb. That leaves Ty Montgomery, who hurt his foot against Oakland, as simply a change-of-pace option that probably needs to break a big play to be worth starting for fantasy owners.
Taywan Taylor, TEN WR
Last week, I said I don’t think people should be concerned at all with Rishard Matthews returning because Taywan Taylor has been the team’s best wideout, but it might be time to hit the breaks on the hype train if it’s not too late. In Tennessee’s game against the Pittsburgh, Taylor caught just one pass for nine yards and was playing deep with the reserves after Tajae Sharpe got the start ahead of him.
Sammy Watkins, KC WR
He was saved by touchdowns last year in Los Angeles, but Sammy Watkins never really developed chemistry with Jared Goff to put up big-time numbers. So far, it’s been the same story in Kansas City with just one reception through three preseason games, while Tyreek Hill caught eight passes for 88 yards in the dress rehearsal alone. He brings upside, but Watkins will struggle to reach his 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown potential if he and Patrick Mahomes aren’t on the same page.