The NFL preseason might not provide the games football fans want to watch. However, the combination of all the games played in August may play a factor for fantasy owners as drafts are nearing.
I wrote about who stood out the most in the first week of the preseason, and here’s who you should keep in mind after Week 2:
Darrell Henderson (RB, Los Angeles Rams)
Darell Henderson didn’t make his name noticed in the first week of the preseason, which marked his NFL debut. But the third-round rookie finally showed exciting flashes of what he can bring to the table for the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend. More than rushing the football, the Univerity of Memphis alumnus also stood out in the passing game, something that all the fantasy owners should be aware of in the Sean McVay-orchestrated offense. With both Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown out against the Dallas Cowboys, Henderson had six carries for 16 yards, plus six catches for 38 yards, including a 26-yard reception on third down.
Cole Beasley (WR, Buffalo Bills)
The Buffalo Bills entered the 2019 offseason seeking new offensive weapons for Josh Allen, who didn’t have a receiver with more than 60 catches or 700 yards in his rookie year. Among several signings made by the team, veteran Cole Beasley might be the most impactful one as he displayed great timing with his quarterback during training camp.
In Week 2 of the preseason, Beasley proved that his connection with Allen can be an x-factor for the Bills this season as the former Cowboys caught five passes (five targets) for 44 yards against the Carolina Panthers. If Allen lives up to the hype in his second pro season, it’s hard to imagine Beasley not being a pivotal part of the process.
Josh Jacobs (RB, Oakland Raiders)
Josh Jacobs made his preseason debut in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. While the first-round running back didn’t have a lot of touches, he took advantage of the carries when given the opportunity. Jacobs had four carries (in the Oakland Raiders’ five first plays of the game) for 21 yards, gaining at least six yards on three consecutive carries. His best highlight — and his longest run of the night — was an eight-yard run in a wide-zone play.
Tony Pollard (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
No one really knows when Ezekiel Elliott is coming back, which makes the running back position a major talk point for both the Cowboys and fantasy owners. Elliott’s absence would have a significant impact in every fantasy draft as other running backs will have to step up filling in for the stud player.
In that regard, fourth-round rookie Tony Pollard may be a name to keep in mind. He posted five carries for 42 yards and a touchdown over the Rams, with several exciting plays. Pollard’s production on the field is something to keep an eye one as the season approaches and Elliott’s future continues to be uncertain.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Houston Texans)
It was a quick, but yet exciting, preseason debut for DeAndre Hopkins. The wide receiver, who started training camp on the PUP list, played only in the opening series against the Detroit Lions but showed glimpses of the player most of the fantasy community sees as the top WR in 2019. Hopkins caught two of three targets for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Besides that, Deshaun Watson also looked sharp in that first series, which also marked his debut, targeting Hopkins twice inside the 5-yard line.
Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens)
After two games in August so far, Lamar Jackson showed improvements as a passer. Against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2, he played in two drives, completing 6 of 10 passes for 58 yards and rushing twice for 14 yards. Of course, not including the impressive 18-yard run on a third-and-10 in the end zone, which was nullified by an illegal block. Still, if the quarterback improves passing the ball (his 3.5 TD% when attempting a pass was second-worst among starters in 2018), Jackson’s potential ability makes him a reliable option as he enters his second season in the league.
Delanie Walker (TE, Tennessee Titans)
Delanie Walker saw his first game action since a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1 of the 2018 season against the New England Patriots, and he already displayed his importance to the Tennessee Titans’ offense. The tight end was targeted twice, catching both passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. Even though the Titans’ offensive unit has been disappointing fantasy-wise in the past seasons, when Walker is on the field, he’s both the team’s best receiving weapon and Marcus Mariota’s favorite target.
For the record, Mariota totaled 6 of 9 passes for 63 yards and a TD against the Patriots after struggling in the first drives in preseason Week 1.
Darwin Thompson (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
For the second straight preseason game, Darwin Thompson impressed despite limited touches. He had four carries for 30 yards over the Pittsburgh Steelers after practicing with the first-team offense early on last week. The sixth-round rookie, who had already posted 51 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener, is still the Chiefs’ third running back, behind Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde. However, he should have an intriguing value as the season nears once he’s the fastest man on a depth-needed backfield.
James Washington (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Mike Tomlin said during the week that James Washington needed to have more consistency after a solid preseason Week 1 performance. And Washington did what the coach asked in Week 2 of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs, posting four catches for 78 yards.
For the second straight week, Washington looked primed for a significant step up entering his second year in the NFL. He’s battling for the WR2 spot in the Steelers’ offense with Donte Moncrief, who had just one reception for one yard against the Chiefs.
(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)