Preparing for the 2022 Fantasy Football Draft: Biggest winners from pre-season week 1 include George Pickens, Travis Etienne

When watching pre-season games to determine if I should make any changes to my rating, I usually don’t care too much about a player’s performance, and that’s especially true in the first game of pre-season. . So many teams barely play their starters, if at all, that you just can’t get much out of the highlights, no matter how impressive.

Of course, that’s not to say it doesn’t matter when a player provides a spark during pre-season. It’s mostly important because coaches use these games to help decide positional battles, so a player who shines in Week 1 can have an extended look with the starters in Week 2. That’s what we’re hoping for. Dameon Pierce won with his impressive game on Saturday against the Saints.

Pierce led the Texas with 49 yards on five carries, but he didn’t appear in the game until the second quarter, after Davis Mills had already left the game, by Marlon Mac took the start and, predictably, didn’t do much, rushing 6 yards in three runs, while Rex Burkhead was inactive. Neither Pierce nor Mack had many chances, but Pierce was impressive enough that you could hope he did enough to get a longer look.

I’m not necessarily pushing Pierce up my rankings because of five carries, but that’s mostly because he was already the highest-ranked Texans running back — and I don’t think there’s a lot of that. advantages in this attack anyway. But if he gets more first-team reps in training and appears in Week 2 of the pre-season, he apparently has a chance to lock in an important role, and he will definitely start to climb into the top 100. draft picks in the final weeks before the season begins.

Here are a few players whose stock is definitely pointing up after a week of preseason games.

George Pickens

I know I said we don’t want to focus too much on performance, but given the buzz Pickens is bringing to camp, you can’t ignore the impressive catches Pickens made on his pre-season debut. He was there for each of the first 16 shots of the Steelers in attack, and even if it was with both Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool inactive, Pickens ran with the first team in training with the two as well, so it looks like he’s pretty much locked in a starting spot at this point. Pickens had just five catches for 107 yards in four games last season, but that came from a torn ACL, and it looks like the Steelers may have gotten a steal with their second-round pick. This offense might struggle – it has at times in camp – so you don’t want to go too far moving Pickens, but I suspect we’ll start to see him grow in the first 10 rounds of drafts, maybe even eclipsing Chase Claypool. I’m not ready to go yet, but he’s definitely on the radar. As Dave Richard wrote for, the secret is out on Pickens.

Travis Etienne

The jaguars threw Etienne straight into the fire, as he played 22 of 25 snaps in his opener after missing his entire rookie season with a foot injury. They gave him a chance on all three tries, and although he had a crucial fall on a third down that would have given the Jaguars a first and a goal, you have to settle for nine runs and three targets. I don’t think he’ll be able to sustain something like that kind of instant sharing when james robinson is active, but Etienne is clearly going to play an important role in this attack – and, given that Robinson is coming off an injury that few ball carriers ever come back from at full speed, he could end up dominating the touches here.

Jahan Dotson

Carson Wentz played 22 snaps on Saturday and Dotson was there for all of them, so they’re not making the 16th overall pick any easier. He played mostly on the outside and was there for every two-receiver set, a good sign for his immediate role. Dotson hasn’t had the kind of hype in fantasy circles like some of his rookie peers – his 151.91 ADP is behind Christian Watsonwho pursued him NFL Draft and who has not yet practiced! — but he might have as clear a path to a full role as anyone in Week 1. I’m not saying Dotson needs to be drafted in the eighth round like Drake Londonbut he should be drafted in the 12-team leagues.

Isaiah McKenzie

Maybe Jamison Crowder just needed reps after missing time at camp, but it was surprising to see McKenzie join Stefan Diggs and Gabriel Davis outside the opener. That seems like a clear indicator that McKenzie is in the lead for the slot role, and it’s been a valuable part of this offense. Davis has all the hype, but McKenzie is an intriguing late sleeper.

Alec Pierce

The Foals played 19 snaps to their starters, and Pierce was there for 13 of them. Paris-Campbell was on the court for two wide sets alongside Michael Pitmanand he’s a viable late-round target, but Pierce is tall (6-foot-3) and quick (4.41 40-yard dash) and deserves his own late-round love.

David Njoku

The Browns frequently use their tight ends, and Njoku is the best option with the off-season trade of austin hooperas he showed by playing the nine shots with Deshaun Watson at QB. Njoku stayed healthy last season and averaged 9.0 yards per target while showing that he still has exceptional athleticism despite a few injuries, so if he can play a bigger role while maintaining that efficiency, he could absolutely be a tight-end starting caliber option, even with Watson facing a lengthy suspension.

Marcus Mariota

I have no idea if Mariota will stay as the Falcons’ starter all season or if they’ll end up handing things over to Desmond Ridder to see if he can be the future of the job. However, Mariota reminded us in the preseason opener that he still has a viable skill set for Fantasy as he rushed for 23 yards and a touchdown in his only practice. Mariota has barely played the past two seasons as a backup to Derek Carr, but he had one game where he played 86% of the snaps, and he had 226 passing yards with a touchdown plus 88 rushing yards and an extra score – a 27.8-point effort in league touchdowns at six points per pass. I’m not saying Mariota is likely to make it as a full-time starter or anything, but he’s probably been better in his career than you remember – 7.5 yards per attempt, 4.3 Touchdown percentage, 6.0 yards per carry. His mobility is a real asset and could make him a viable streamer or especially a good No. 2 Fantasy QB this season. Do not forget it.

Khalil Herbert

With David Montgomery out, Herbert has played every snap with the first-team attack, so there doesn’t seem to be any question about who Montgomery’s replacement is. Not that there necessarily were. The Bear have given Montgomery some pretty massive market share over the past few years, and I don’t expect Herbert to matter much if Montgomery is healthy. But he apparently has a clear and valuable role should anything happen to Montgomery, making him one of the more obvious handcuffs.

Isiah Pacheco

The training camp hype is real as Pacheco was the second back on the pitch for the Chiefsplaying three shots out of 11 with Patrick Mahomes. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is still the return to the roster here and his role seems secure, but Pacheco seems to have climbed to second place on the depth chart, and there have been opportunities for that place on the depth chart to have an impact over the course of of the last seasons – remember , Darrel Williams averaged 17.5 PPR points in seven starts for Edwards-Helaire last season. Pacheco’s production at Rutgers left a lot to be desired – 3.9 yards per carry as a senior is pretty bad, although the line surely didn’t help him much – he has the size and the athleticism (4.37 dash 40 yards) and could be one injury away from leading an elite offense.

Zamir white

White wasn’t as impressive in Game 2 as he was in Game 1, but he got the start with Josh Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah inactive. It looks like the battle for the No. 3 spot is between White and Drake, and White actually started and had more races and rode more roads with Jarrett Stidham riding the first team. Drake’s place on the roster appears to be in jeopardy, and with Jacobs on an expiring deal the Raiders have no long-term commitment to him, there is a path for White to emerge as a factor for the Raiders. You’ll have to be patient, but it’s well worth a late game throw of darts.

Leave a Comment