Risers & Fallers

Preseason Winners and Losers

By Jared Smola 10:08am EDT 8/28/18


It can be dangerous to overreact to the preseason. But it can be just as dangerous to underreact.

We get to see rookies against NFLers for the 1st time. We get a glimpse at guys returning from injury. (Looking at you, Andrew Luck.) And, most importantly, we find out who’s getting on the field with every team’s 1st-team offense.

We’ve adjusted our rankings throughout the first 3 weeks of the preseason. And if you’re not at least tweaking your thoughts about certain guys, you’re doing it wrong.

With that said, here are the biggest fantasy winners and losers of the preseason:


Winners


Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

No one else deserves to lead the list of winners.

After the Panthers talked up a bigger workload for McCaffrey all offseason, they followed through this preseason. In a big way.

McCaffrey played 89% of Carolina’s 1st-team snaps in the first 3 exhibitions. To put that in perspective, Le’Veon Bell led all RBs last year with an 85.3% snap rate. No other RB topped 76.4%. McCaffrey played 70%.

Frankly, we’re hoping the Panthers bring that 89% down a bit this season — or else he’ll be at an elevated injury risk. But it’s clear at this point that he’s going to be on the field more than he was last year. That’s good news for his fantasy production.

Oh — McCaffrey was also super efficient with his touches this preseason, averaging 7.2 yards on 21 carries and 9.1 yards on 8 receptions.


Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

His 69-yard bomb from QB Patrick Mahomes got all the pub. But we’re more encouraged by Hill’s volume this preseason.

He led the Chiefs with 14 targets from Mahomes — a 32.6% target share. That’s way up from the 19.3% share Hill finished at last year.

Don’t expect him to see over 30% of the targets over the course of the regular season. But it sure looks like Mahomes and Hill have something cookin’. And there’s certainly room for Hill to expand on last year’s 105 targets.


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