Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Fantasy: Takeaways from Thursday'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.

Grizzly Man

Since the end of last year, we all looked for reasons why Jeremy Langford wouldn’t be able to fill the shoes of former Bears starter Matt Forte. There are several good arguments, but through two preseason games Langford has not only worked as the clear-cut top back in Chicago, he’s also backed it up with strong play.

Langford rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown on eight carries against the Patriots on Thursday night, adding one catch for eight yards. The bulk of his yardage came on a well-blocked 34-yard run, during which he looked like someone who deserves to be atop the depth chart. All the talk of John Fox going with the hot hand might not mean much if no one challenges Langford.

Time to Take Notice

For the second straight week, Robert Griffin III and Terrelle Pryor connected on a deep ball, this time for a 50-yard score. If that wasn’t impressive enough for you, RG3 later found Gary Barnidge’s fingertips for a 29-yard touchdown. Both throws were perfect, landing in his receivers’ hands in stride.

Griffin was 6-of-8 for 96 yards and two touchdowns, with another 36 yards gained on the ground. It’s still the preseason, so we shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves, but the Browns’ offense might actually be exciting for fantasy owners this season. Griffin deserves to be on the QB2 radar, and his weapons are all worthy of consideration.

Instant Impressions

  • It’s time to officially announce the return of Eddie Lacy to the fantasy world. That doesn’t mean we’re forgiving him for last year’s embarrassing display, it simply means we’re willing to move on as long as he keeps playing like he did Thursday. Lacy rushed nine times for 45 yards and a touchdown, during a 14-play drive. With Lacy playing up to his capabilities, the Packers’ offense will be able to sustain drives and get back to the heights we’re used to seeing.
  • Marvin Jones is becoming more intriguing with every outing. Reports that Jones could challenge Golden Tate for the team lead in receiving have trickled out of camp on more than one occasion, and Jones has stoked the flames in both preseason contests. Jones had four catches for 65 yards against his former team, including a 32-yarder on the opening drive where he showed good body movement, spinning around and getting his feet down before falling out of bounds. On the very next play he jumped up and won a hand battle with Dre Kirkpatrick, hauling in the pass. Jones will continue to move up my rankings, with the Lions’ passing attack looking potent.
  • If you want proof that Tyler Lockett is on the verge of a breakout season, go back and watch Russell Wilson and him connect on a 31-yard pass in double coverage. The pair is definitely in-sync. It won’t be the last time we see Wilson threading the needle to find his second-year receiver, who will be a WR2 this season.

Notable Performances

Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
3 carries, 16 yards, TD; 1 reception, 1 yard
Hill failed to deliver on his first-round ADP in 2015, but a year later he’s going in the late fourth and could prove to be an excellent value. Hill capped off the first Bengals’ drive with a 9-yard TD run, and while the team searches for new receiving weapons, they may need to lean on Hill and their stellar offensive line.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
6 carries, 19 yards; 1 reception for -4 yards
​Murray continues to be unimpressive with his touches, unfortunately so do the rest of the rest of the Raiders’ rushers. An improved offensive line can only do so much. Will anyone step up and provide fantasy value in this backfield?

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots
11 carries, 69 yards, TD
There isn’t much that needs to be said here other than letting it serve as a reminder that Blount can still ball. He’ll be a touchdown-dependent RB3 this season.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
2 carries, 38 yards, TD
Boyd made an outstanding catch coming across the field and laying out to pull in an Andy Dalton pass. With Brandon LaFell sidelined due to a hand injury, Boyd is establishing himself as the Bengals’ No. 2 receiver, though he will primarily work in the slot.

Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks
10 carries, 55 yards; 1 reception, 9 yards
This is great to see from a player who just a year ago was bouncing around from roster to roster. Michael has turned his career around and deserves to have a role in Seattle’s backfield. Maybe Pete Carroll’s one-two punch suggestion isn’t that bad of an idea. Thomas Rawls must be doing everything he can to get back on the field.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Eagles
0 receptions, 2 targets
It was surprising to see Green-Beckham take the field already for the Eagles, but it wasn’t surprising to see him fail to make an impact. The young wideout needs a Christine Michael-style “awakening” to save his career.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons
3 receptions, 45 yards
Sanu might not be an every week starter in fantasy, but he’ll provide the Falcons’ receiving corps with a significant boost as a reliable second option.

Eli Rogers, WR, Steelers
4 receptions, 39 yards
Some players carry themselves on the field with a certain level of comfort and Rogers appears to be a part of that group. He’s a dynamic slot receiver, who constantly helps move the chains. Rogers’ path to snaps might not be an easy one, but if he continues to flash playmaking ability the Steelers will find a way to put it to use. If only Sammie Coates could do the same.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Eagles
6 carries, 41 yards, TD; 1 reception, 4 yards
Barner has been a player of note in the Eagles’ backfield, even though his preseason stats have come against third-stringers. Barner is going to be fantasy relevant eventually this season, but at the moment it seems like the best course of action might be to fade the entire Eagles offense.

Injury Ward

Jake Fisher, LT, Bengals
Fisher is part of a Bengals line that sets the tone for their offense. The second-year tackle came out of the game and was carted to the locker room with what Marvin Lewis later called a sprained ankle.

Caleb Sturgis, K, Eagles
Sturgis is competing with Cody Parkey for the Eagles’ kicker job, but a concussion suffered during warmups sidelined him for Thursday’s game.

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