The NFL season is officially upon us. We are going to give you a rundown of the biggest storylines coming out of NFL training camps and the preseason and what the fantasy implications are. Be sure to check back each week for our weekly NFL Preseason Fantasy Football Impacts updates.

1. Christian McCaffrey is going to be used like a bell-cow running back

Fantasy Impact: Last year we saw McCaffrey be used as a pass catching back heavily on the Panthers with Jonathan Stewart getting a significant amount of carries. During the offseason, Stewart left, but the Panthers brought in C.J. Anderson who is a much better back than Stewart. Heading into 2018 everyone assumed Anderson would get significant carries in this offense. However, it seems OC Norv Turner has other plans. McCaffrey played 59 of 66 first-team snaps during the preseason and had every inside the 10 red zone snap.

2. Marqise Lee was placed on IR opening up targets for other Jaguars WRs.

Fantasy Impact: Lee was projected to enter the season as the Jaguars number one wideout. His target share is now up for grabs among Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, and D.J. Chark. Cole and Westbrook seem like the biggest beneficiaries based on camp reports. Moncrief could start the season as the WR3 moving Westbrook into the slot in three wide receiver formations. The Jaguars are not projected to be a pass heavy team with their great defense keeping games close.

3. Old veterans Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris have new opportunities.

Fantasy Impact: Peterson signed with the Redskins last week following the Derrius Guice injury. He looked good in his first action in a Redskins uniform and the team seems to plan to use him as their lead back. I would still expect Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine to also get carries making Peterson a late-round pick. Morris got his shot with his old coach Kyle Shanahan due to the 49ers multitude of injuries at the running back position. Morris may not have much value come Week 1 if both Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida are healthy by then.

4. Hayden Hurst will be 3-4 weeks with a foot injury.

Fantasy Impact: Hurst looked promising in his early preseason action. Flacco has a history of feeding his tight ends targets and the only competition for Hurst was Nick Boyle and fellow rookie Mark Andrews. Tight ends have a history of not breaking out in their rookie year, and this injury will certainly limit his development early in the season. Hurst remains undraftable, but keep an eye on him on waivers later in the season.

5. DeVante Parker still can’t catch a football

Fantasy Impact: While we have seen Parker fail to catch a football for non-injury reasons in the past, this year he physically can’t catch because of a hand injury. Head coach Adam Gase said his Week 1 availability is still up in the air. Wide receivers shouldn’t take this long to breakout in their career, and this injury may be the final nail in the coffin for Parker. The Dolphins brought in both Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson during free agency and both make better picks than Parker at this point.

6. Rookie Jordan Wilkins gets the start with the Colts first team offense.

Fantasy Impact: Last week I wrote about how Christine Michael could open the season as the Colts starting running back. Well in the Colts third preseason game they went with Wilkins as the perceived starter. What this tells me is the Colts know who their starting running back is about as much as we do and that equals bad fantasy production. Someone will likely be the “lead back”, but that may not mean much if multiple guys are being worked in.

7. Evan Engram suffers a concussion in the Giants’ third preseason game.

Fantasy Impact: Engram left the game early on Friday night due to a concussion. He is now in the concussion protocol, but he did light work in practice on Sunday and Monday following the game. This is a good sign that he is working through the protocol and projects to be ready for Week 1.

8. Ty Montgomery suffers a foot injury during the Packers’ third preseason game.

Fantasy Impact: Montgomery just can’t seem to stay healthy. This was the concern when he switched to running back because he doesn’t have the typical build of someone who plays the position. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious but will need to be monitored heading into the season. Jamaal Williams could have a massive workload if both Montgomery and Aaron Jones are out Week 1 against the Bears. Jones is serving a two-game suspension and has also been banged up.

9. The Cowboys offensive line is getting shaky.

Fantasy Impact: We all saw what happened to the Cowboys offense when LT Tyron Smith got injured last year. Heading into 2018 the line was perceived to be back to full strength, but that is no longer the case. Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and he is out with no timetable to return. LG Zack Martin has also been banged up this preseason, but he is expected to be fine for Week 1. With how different Dak Prescott played with a bad line last year this is something to be wary of when drafting both Dak and Ezekial Elliott. 

10. Jonathan Williams looks to have the RB2 role locked down in New Orleans during Mark Ingram’s absence.

Fantasy Impact: The Saints produced two RB1s for fantasy last year in Ingram and Alvin Kamara. With Ingram suspended for four weeks Kamara’s usage will likely go up, but the Saints will work someone else in as well. Williams has looked great in camp and seems to be the guy over rookie Boston Scott. Williams is worth a late-round flier especially for the zero RB strategy as a fill-in RB2 until Ingram returns.

11. Bilal Powell continues to play as the Jets starting running back.

Fantasy Impact: When the Jets signed Isaiah Crowell in free agency this year, many thought that meant Powell would once again be stuck in a timeshare. Well during the preseason it has been anything but that. Powell as opened the last two preseason games as the starter and stayed on the field for the entire opening drive. While Crowell will get work during the season Powell is an incredible value in fantasy considering he is the starter and being drafted after Crowell. 

12. Eric Ebron may have scored, but Jack Doyle played the majority of snaps with Andrew Luck

Fantasy Impact: Luck being on the field elevates all of the receiving options on the Colts. We have seen Luck create great fantasy tight ends in the past like Coby Fleener so being the starter matters on this team. Head Coach Frank Reich also comes from the Eagles who just produced a top-three fantasy tight end in Zach Ertz. Doyle played 21 of Luck’s 23 snaps compared to Ebron’s five. Expect Doyle to be a great value late in drafts this year.

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