Each week, our staff here at QB List will be previewing all the fantasy-relevant things you should be on the lookout for in this week’s games. Today, we preview all the upcoming action in Week 4 of the Preseason.
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Colts at Bengals
Kickoff: Thursday, August 29th at 7:00 pm ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH
Betting Odds: CIN -4 via Oddsshark
Network: WKRC, WXIN
Out of Luck
Andrew Luck shocked to football world on Saturday when he abruptly retired from the NFL. He had been battling multiple injuries during the offseason and ultimately decided that it just wasn’t worth it anymore. The decision will force Jacoby Brissett into the starting QB role and will change where we view a lot of other Colts in terms of fantasy projections. From a fantasy perspective, Brissett is no Luck, not even close, but he is a serviceable quarterback and I don’t believe that the other players will suffer as much as some seem to believe. The team still has one of the best offensive lines in the league and I still expect a lot of production from T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron (or Jack Doyle or Mo Alie-Cox), and Marlon Mack. We would have almost certainly seen a lot of Brissett in this game, but he will likely sit this one out following Luck’s retirement.
Who is on the Bubble?
There are a couple of position battles to watch in this game as we approach to cut to 53 players. I already mentioned the 3 solidified tight ends on the roster but three others are currently on the roster and fighting for one roster spot. Those include Hale Hentges, Gabe Holmes, Ross Travis. Hentges has arguably had the best preseason so far but all 3 could still have a chance with a good showing in this game.
It will also be interesting to see how the team handles the quarterback position now that luck is gone. Brissett will make the team and I expect that Chad Kelly will as well, but will the team stick with those two or keep a third as well? Phillip Walker is currently on the roster and will try to make his case to stick around in this game. Whether it is Walker or a player of another position, someone will now make the team that would have been on the outside looking in before Luck’s surprise announcement.
Green and Boyd and Then Who?
The Bengal’s were fairly thin at wide receiver coming into the year and got even thinner when A.J. Green went down with an ankle injury in training camp. Tyler Boyd is sure to see an increase in playing time while Green is out, but the team will need more than two wide receivers once Green returns. John Ross has been battling injuries and it remains to be seen whether he will play meaningful minutes at the beginning of the year. The team made a surprising announcement on Sunday naming undrafted rookie Damion Willis as a starter/placeholder for Green to begin the season. Willis has led the team in receiving yards this preseason and added a touchdown last week against the Giants. All other wide receivers on the roster, names like Cody Core, Alex Erickson, and Auden Tate, will continue to battle it out in this game in an attempt to earn playing time and possibly just a roster spot.
Who Could be Clawed From the Roster?
One of the biggest possible cuts, when the team trims to 53 players, is quarterback Jeff Driskel. He has been on the team since 2016 but recently fell to number three on the depth chart behind Ryan Finley. Driskel has been battling a hamstring injury and the team’s current fourth-string QB, Jake Dolegala has impressed this preseason as well making it very likely that even if the team kept three quarterbacks, Driskel may not be one of them.
Other players that could be cut are tight ends Cethan Carter and Mason Schreck as well as wide receivers Stanley Morgan and josh Malone. The team can only keep so many pass catchers but I expect them to pass a lot this season and a couple of big performances out of the guys in this week’s game could lead to some surprise cuts elsewhere on the roster.