Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Fantasy: Takeaways from Friday's preseason games

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Get ready for your season with theScore’s 2016 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

Every game night during the preseason, theScore’s Justin Boone will provide his fantasy observations from around the league.

From Bad to Worse

The Redskins’ running game hasn’t looked good in the preseason and their struggles are going to be amplified if their starting running back misses time. Matt Jones left Friday’s game against the Jets after landing awkwardly on his shoulder while being tackled out of bounds. He was taken for X-rays and later diagnosed with an AC joint sprain.

After the game, head coach Jay Gruden said he doesn’t expect it to be a long injury, which hopefully proves to be true because Washington’s depth chart isn’t prepared for life without Jones. Chris Thompson would be the player to target, however his main contributions come in the receiving game. Robert Kelley and Keith Marshall have been battling for third spot, but neither has done anything to suggest they are ready to step into the lineup. If Jones is sidelined into the regular season, the Redskins will have to sign a veteran to compete for snaps.

Jones began the night by fumbling a handoff with Colt McCoy. The Redskins backup QB was charged with the error, but it’s notable for Jones who dealt with ball security issues last season, putting it on the ground five times and losing four of them. Jones eventually settled in and had a couple nice runs, totaling 31 yards on seven carries before leaving the game.

Bigger in Texas

On a night where Jones was hurt for Washington, the Redskins’ former starter Alfred Morris was dominating in Dallas.

The Cowboys’ offensive line creates craters for their running backs to move through and Morris took full advantage, racking up 100 yards on 14 touches, including a 15-yard run where he broke free and found the end zone.

While we haven’t seen Ezekiel Elliott in game action yet, this should only increase the excitement over the rookie, who is a far more talented back than Morris. Once Elliott and Darren McFadden are fully healthy, there’s a strong chance the Cowboys move Morris or McFadden in a trade.

Instant Impressions

  • Friday was a bad night for Carson Palmer, who underthrew Michael Floyd on a potential deep score on the opening drive. Later, Palmer gift-wrapped a pick-6 for the Chargers’ defense, and then almost tossed another on the next drive, only to have it dropped by the defender. It’s Week 2 of the preseason, so we aren’t going to sound the alarm yet, but it was a discouraging outing for what should be one of the better pass offenses in the league this season.
  • The Dolphins’ running game is still a work in progress, but we saw signs of life from Ryan Tannehill and their passing attack in the second exhibition contest. Tannehill made use of all his receiving weapons, completing 12-of-20 passes for 162 yards and a pair of scores. He also added 16 rushing yards, which is an underrated part of his fantasy appeal. Under Adam Gase’s tutelage, there might be hope for career advancement from the young quarterback, making him an intriguing QB2.
  • Dak Prescott continued his impressive preseason with a four-touchdown night on Friday, throwing for two and running for two more. The transition to the pros is a little easier when the Cowboys’ line is giving you clean pockets, but the team may have found something in its fourth-round pick. Even when he tossed an interception, the football Gods smiled on him, negating the play with a roughing-the-passer penalty. Tony Romo was excellent in his short appearance as well, so it’s not exactly a QB controversy, but we might not have to worry about the offense crumbling if Romo misses time this year.

Notable Performances

Arian Foster, RB, Dolphins
2 carries, -5 yards
Foster failed to get back to the line of scrimmage on his first two carries as a member of the Dolphins. It’s tough to decipher usage in the preseason, but he was also out-touched 6-2 by Jay Ajayi, who was seeing the bulk of the snaps with Foster sprinkling in. The Dolphins’ offensive line might be the biggest issue here.

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
2 receptions, 41 yards
Allen is going off the board in the second round, but if he can rekindle the numbers he posted in the first half of 2015 prior to his season-ending injury, he’ll return WR1 production for fantasy owners.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins
3 receptions, 71 yards, 2 TDs
Stills has been a forgotten man in the Dolphins’ passing corps, playing alongside target hog Jarvis Landry and promising sophomore DeVante Parker. On Friday, Stills pulled the spotlight onto himself getting behind the defense for a 55-yard gain, then hauling in two touchdowns. He’s on the radar as a late-round sleeper.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
3 carries, 23 yards
Powell was the lone bright spot for the Jets’ offense. He pulled off a nice stiff arm and showed why he’ll be splitting the backfield with Matt Forte this season.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers
4 receptions, 47 yards
Williams would be my choice to play in San Diego’s three-receiver sets with Stevie Johnson out for the season. This performance could help him lock down that role.

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
2 receptions, 24 yards
This is just a public service announcement for older tight ends, who are often written off in fantasy. Antonio Gates and Witten are still starting options this year in fantasy and both can be had in the later rounds of your draft.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins
3 receptions, 38 yards
​After a strong rookie season, Crowder’s fantasy value seemed to be in trouble when the team drafted Josh Doctson in the first round. Doctson is still sidelined with an injury, and is likely more of a threat to veteran Pierre Garcon’s snaps than he is to Crowder who will work primarily in the slot. This isn’t a call to draft Crowder, simply a suggestion to put him on your watch list.

Injury Ward

Matt Jones, RB, Redskins
Hopefully the AC sprain turns out to be a minor injury and Jones is back in time for Week 1.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets
The Jets’ third receiver is in concussion protocol after being forced from Friday’s game.

Dontrelle Inman, WR, Chargers
Inman went to the locker room with trainers following a huge hit that knocked his helmet off. He didn’t return to the game, but he did pass concussion protocol. Inman is in the running for the Chargers’ third receiver job.

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