We are only a few weeks from opening up the NFL regular season! Teams are about to break training camp, every team has at least one preseason game under their belt, and general managers are getting a good idea of what their roster is going to look like come Week 1. It is about this time of year that headlines come out of each training camp of a certain player looking like an upcoming star or another one disappointing in the preseason. It’s time to take a closer look at some of the bigger headlines and determine whether you should take them into account when conducting your fantasy draft or not.
1. Sam Darnold starts Week 1
The New York Jets have quite a quarterback conundrum on their hands. And for the first time in a while, it’s actually a good problem in New York with three very capable quarterbacks who you can make a case for opening the season as the starter. You have the steady veteran leader in Josh McCown who helped lead the offense to surpass expectations last year. Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a major injury, but has played a lot of big time football and has shown the talent to be successful in the NFL. Then there is the rookie, Sam Darnold. He has the best all-around skill set of the three and represents the future of the franchise. He got a late start to training camp due to a short holdout, but has seemingly caught up quickly and will be getting first team reps this week. Sam Darnold is the most talented of the three and you can count on him starting at some point this season.
This headline started coming out right about the time Le’Veon Bell was trying to get a new contract. I’m here to tell you that was no coincidence. While Conner probably has looked good in camp, he is nowhere close to taking carries away from arguably the best all-around back in the league in Bell. While I’m sure Conner will get a decent share of carries throughout the season to spell Bell, do not expect it to effect Bell’s workload at all.
3. Michael Gallup becomes No. 1 WR for the Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott was quoted earlier this off-season as saying that he didn’t think having a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver was necessary. And he may be right to a degree. But every quarterback in every offense has a go-to wideout who they look to in critical moments. Prescott will be looking for a new go-to guy after losing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this off-season. Gallup definitely has the talent to be that guy eventually, but my bets are on the veterans Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams — for this season at least.
4. Jimmy Garoppolo will stay undefeated as a starter and win MVP
This headline isn’t so much a reflection on the San Francisco 49ers or Garoppolo himself as much as it shows just how much out of hand the hype train has gotten on him. Now don’t get me wrong, he was very impressive in the last five games he started last year in San Francisco and has the talent to quickly become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. But to expect MVP level play from him throughout all 2018 is a bit of a stretch. I mean he is still a young guy who has a grand total of seven career starts under his belt! I do expect Garoppolo to easily finish in the Top-15 of fantasy points scored among quarterbacks at the end of the season. But I also expect some more growing pains and some inconsistent weeks once defenses get more tape and can better prepare for him.
5. Dak Prescott will have a bounce back year
Let’s face it, expectations for Prescott have always been a little skewed since his breakout rookie season two years ago. He went from a fourth-round pick to a fantasy must-start to a fantasy disappoint all in a year basically. But to paraphrase the infamous words from Dennis Green: “he is who we thought he was.” Is he ever going to be an elite fantasy starter scoring 20 points each week? Probably not. But is he also going to be one of the worst fantasy starting quarterbacks on any given week? I also highly doubt it. He is a steady guy who will almost always get you double-digit points while occasionally having a huge week to carry your team to victory. Think Alex Smith before last year’s huge season. Expect Prescott to be way more consistent in 2018 and to me that is enough to count as a bounce back season for him.