Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Matt De Lima

NFL Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Takeaways

The best thing about the preseason is when it ends. Yes, my friends, the preseason is over. We are now a long 10 days away from the first regular-season game of the 2022 NFL season as the Rams will host the Bills on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET. Before that kickoff arrives, let's ensure our fantasy ducks are in a row with a recap of the comings and goings of preseason Week 3.

Steelers injury update
Diontae Johnson (shoulder) and T.J. Watt (knee) both left the Steelers’ Week 3 win over the Lions. It was also revealed recently that Najee Harris has been dealing with a sprained Lisfranc injury, which typically requires four to six weeks of recovery. Harris made his first preseason appearance in this game and produced 10 yards on four carries plus three catches for 11 yards. 

Marquee NFL players have been blessed to avoid serious injury—music to every fantasy manager's ears—so within the context of the preseason, this is big news. The injury occurred about four weeks ago, so Harris should be O.K. for Week 1. All this said, head coach Mike Tomlin said at the time of Harris's injury that "it shouldn't be a major deal." He described Johnson and Watt's injuries in the same way. Maybe everything is copacetic, but it's all worth a second thought if Tomlin downplays injuries.

View the original article to see embedded media.

Pump the Khalil Herbert brakes
Bears RB David Montgomery finally saw preseason action and got the majority of first-team snaps. Vaunted backup Khalil Herbert was mixed in and played a bit into the second half, but only after Montgomery sat for the evening. While I remain high on Herbert, we can only live in the moment in this game. Montgomery is the man now and I'm predicting Herbert deepens his role as the season progresses. If you're counting on Herbert as a Week 1 fantasy starter, you may be overextended—exercise patience with the second-year back.

Deebo Samuel misses practice, Elijah Mitchell returns
Samuel, jack of all trades, did not practice on Sunday because of a knee bruise. He will take some practice days off ahead of Week 1. Mitchell has been missing time for over two weeks (hamstring). While we all enjoyed his breakout season, we should know better than to trust head coach Kyle Shanahan to allow this to play out without fantasy controversy. Of the 49ers’ backup RBs, I have my eye on Jeff Wilson.

Cam Akers update
Among the fourthish tier of running backs up to this point (Ezekiel Elliott, Breece Hall, AJ Dillon, J.K. Dobbins, David Montgomery, etc.), Akers is one of my favorites. But I am getting a little nervous that the third-year back has yet to resume full-speed practices as he continues to recover from an undisclosed "soft-tissue" injury. It also doesn't ease my mind that the injury is undisclosed.

View the original article to see embedded media.

Brian Robinson update
The Commanders rookie was shot twice "to his lower extremities" during an attempted robbery, according to Dustin Sternbeck, director of communications for the Metro Police in Washington, DC. There are no fantasy-relevant updates to Robinson's situation. I wish him well and look forward to seeing him play soon.

Final thoughts
In a battle between milquetoast and namby-pamby, Jets backup quarterbacks Mike White and Joe Flacco dueled to underwhelm what had to be a captive audience. Flacco completed 7 of 12 for 76 yards with an interception while White completed 10 of 13 for 143 yards and two touchdowns. With Zach Wilson still injured, Flacco appears to be the Week 1 starter, although we may have a QB controversy on our hands! Fingers crossed!

Jets WR Denzel Mims requested a trade a few days ago and one-upped that request by posting seven receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps he wanted to put something good on tape to draw interest should he not make New York's final 53.

The Saints lost LT Trevor Penning to a "bad case of turf toe” and will require surgery. He is out indefinitely. For a team that's going to rely heavily on Alvin Kamara and a ball control offense, this one hurts all of New Orleans' playmakers.

In a recent 10-team mock draft review, I extolled the virtues of Dolphins RB Chase Edmonds, but I also like his primary backup Raheem Mostert as a late-round handcuff. He saw lots of first-team action against the Eagles in Week 3 and I expect him to spell Edmonds with Myles Gaskin becoming an afterthought in Miami. Both Edmonds and Mostert have a notable injury history so all the more reason to handcuff them to each other.

The Colts had been giving Alec Pierce a little more love than the incumbent Parris Campbell in the preseason. That split broke the other way in Week 3 against the Bucs. This battle may be closer than we think and I worry now that both players will negate the fantasy effectiveness of the other, especially if TE Mo Alie-Cox is given a more defined TE1 role.

Mike Gesicki is a popular sleeper, but he was last year, too. Backup Durham Smythe played the most snaps between the two in Week 3. New head coach Mike McDaniel is also using Gesicki more often as an in-line tight end through the preseason, something he did very little of a year ago. 

Eno Benjamin has emerged as the top backup RB in Arizona after seeing a lot of playing time in the first two games and starting Week 3. Darrel Williams looks like the third option behind Benjamin and James Conner. Speaking of whom, Conner has missed a handful of games in every one of his five seasons in the league, so Benjamin will be fantasy-relevant eventually.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.