Fantasy 5: Blake Bortles leaving a lot to be desired
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
I absolutely adore preseason football. After months of waiting, we finally get to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching our beloved sport. What makes preseason so great is that not only are we watching some of the big names, but we’re seeing all the other guys that make up the current 90-man rosters. A good number of these guys are players that we’ve grown to love through metrics analysis, college tape, or simply selfish reasons in that we own them on a dynasty roster.
Last night kicked off the second week of preseason and it didn’t fail to disappoint. Let’s take a look at the Friday Fantasy 5:
1. Blake Bortles has regressed… signficantly
Last night’s game was a tough one for Jaguars fans, as Bortles, their $21 million quarterback, struggled for much of the night. Bortles completed 8 of 13 attempts for 65 yards, but he was routinely missing big-play opportunities with Allen Robinson. Bortles and the first-team offense have now played six offensive drives in the preseason, culminating in just three points. His numbers have fared quite poorly, despite him playing with the starting unit:
|Quarterback||Att||Comp||Yds||Yds/Att||TD||Int||Sk||NFL QB Rating||Comp %|
Short passes aren’t going to keep Bortles in the driver’s seat for very long. His 4.5 yards per attempt doesn’t paint his offseason of “refining work on his mechanics” in a positive light, especially after going 14-of-68 on deep passes (20-plus yards) last year with the worst passer rating among last year’s starters. Doug Marrone refrained to commit to a quarterback as his starter after the game.
2. Is the DeVante Parker breakout imminent?
Parker looks like one of Jay Cutler’s favorite targets after last night’s Dolphins game. In Cutler’s preseason debut, he targeted Parker on four attempts, completing two for 21 yards. He had another big play wiped out by penalty, but champagne bottles were out for Parker truthers to see him given the opportunity for some significant volume. Cutler was quoted after the game referring to Parker as, “a faster Alshon,” an encouraging sign for the former first-rounder entering his third season. Cutler threw 1,000-plus yards to Alshon Jeffery in back-to-back campaigns. While it may just be hyperbole, it’s an encouraging sign for fantasy owners that are invested in Parker.
3. Dede Westbrook turning heads this preseason
Fourth-round rookie WR Westbrook has been having glowing reports coming out of camp and we’re starting to see it come to fruition on the gridiron. Last week Westbrook caught his lone target – a 42-yard strike – for a touchdown, showcasing his big-play potential. Westbrook’s scouting report out of Oklahoma highlighted him a big-play receiver in several ways. He ranked second among all wide receivers with 4.08 yards per route run (min. 100 targets), has incredible speed (ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at his Pro Day) with impeccable acceleration, and he finished his final collegiate season with an 80-1,518-17 stat line. Westbrook is currently fourth on the depth chart behind Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee, but with an injury to Lee (high-ankle sprain), don’t be surprised if we see Westbrook contend for snaps among the first team unit moving forward.
4. Clarity on the Buccaneers running back situation?
The Buccaneers’ first preseason game provided more questions than answers for what we should be doing with the Tampa Bay backfield from a fantasy perspective. Six running backs played nine or more snaps in their first game, with only Charles Sims standing out thanks to two of his three runs going for 12 and 8 yards. Week 2 provided a bit more clarity, with Doug Martin seeing plenty of snaps with the first-team unit, carrying the ball five times for 30 yards and a score. He also picked up two receptions in the process and could be an intriguing stash during his three-game suspension. Jeremy McNichols and Peyton Barber both saw significant run in the second half, and that remains one of my favorite battles to watch this preseason. Martin may have the early nod, but there’s still plenty to be worked out regarding this backfield over the remainder of the preseason.
5. Injury roundup
- Ty Montgomery is currently suffering from lower leg injury that’s kept him off the field this week. He doesn’t look like he’s going to be playing in the Packers’ second preseason game, opening the door for rookie Jamaal Williams with an opportunity. “It was just something on and off, something I’m dealing with,” Montgomery said after watching practice. “Nothing in particular that happened, nothing major, nothing to worry about.” Fantasy owners will want to keep a close eye on this consider Montgomery’s ADP has blossomed to RB16 into the early fourth round.
- Cleveland’s Danny Shelton could possibly be sidelined for 3-6 weeks with a knee injury suffered in practice this week. Shelton ranked top-10 among all interior defenders in our run-defense grades. He’ll be a massive blow to this defense if unable to suit up Week 1 against Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers.
- After having a terrific camp, it was sad to see Buffalo’s Rod Streater being carted off the field Thurdsay night. Streater was having a great camp and was in contention for a roster spot heading into the year. He caught two passes for 40 yards against the Eagles prior to being carted off.
- Miami’s Tony Lippett tore his Achilles tendon and will have season-ending surgery. Lippett was battling to be a starter again for the Dolphins this year after starting for them in 13 games last year. He recorded a team-high four interceptions last year, but graded as our 80th-ranked cornerback on the season. His injury is a big blow to the depth of the secondary.