We have a far smaller “main” pre-season slate on Thursday, just three games. There are some heavy-hitters in play, including a Super Bowl re-match (kind of) between the Eagles and Patriots. In addition to these top plays, I will be updating this piece with a cheat sheet for the Saturday slate.
Let’s get to it.
Sam Darnold, Jets
Perhaps the most impressive rookie in the league for Week 1 of pre-season was Darnold, who played 65 percent of snaps and completed 13 of 18 attempts for 96 yards and a TD. Darnold is expected to start the Week 2 game, and Josh McCown is not expected to make an appearance. The rookie should play at least a full half, and potentially three quarters.
Josh Dobbs, Steelers
Head coach Mike Tomlin has already said that Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones will sit out this game, leaving Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph to split the QB reps. Rudolph is the better passer, but Dobbs is the preferred fantasy option due to his rushing ability. He ran for over 2,000 yards at Tennessee, and had 19 yards rushing last week. Each QB should receive about a half.
Colt McCoy, Redskins
Jay Gruden has not yet decided if Alex Smith will suit up or not in this game. If he doesn’t, just McCoy and Kevin Hogan will be the available QBs against the Jets. McCoy played 60 percent of the snaps in Week 1, and should see the majority of snaps again if Smith sits out. Be sure to follow some Redskin beat writers as we approach lock if you plan on using McCoy.
Wendell Smallwood and Matt Jones, Eagles
The Eagles have a short RB rotation this week, with Smallwood and Jones carrying most of the load. Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Donnell Pumphery are all injured. Jay Ajayi is the starter, and Darren Sproles does not need to prove anything in pre-season. I prefer Smallwood, but on a three game slate, both RBs are in play. I would probably play both Smallwood and Jones together in cash games.
Ralph Webb, Patriots
Webb was great for fantasy owners in Week 1, and should see another decent workload in this contest. Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and Jeremy Hill are all injured, and James White is a proven player and lock to make the roster. Brandon Bolden is more of a special teamer, and recorded no carries in the first pre-season game. That leaves just Webb and Mike Gillislee left to carry the rock. I’ll take the undrafted rookie, since he out-snapped Gillislee in the opener.
George Atkinson, Jets
Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire are both injured and will not play. Trenton Cannon missed practice Tuesday and it looks like he may not play either. If he sits, it leaves just Thomas Rawls and Atkinson in the backfield past veteran Bilal Powell. I would bank on Atkinson getting the most run here, given that Rawls is coming off of an injury himself.
James Washington and Damoun Patterson, Steelers
Both Steeler wideouts saw a TON of playing time in Week 1, coming in over 70 percent of snaps. Patterson had the bigger game in the opener, seeing 10 targets, but Washington had a huge catch, and is a very talented player. Something I found interesting looking at the play-by-play is that Patterson saw more time with Rudolph, while Washington saw more time with Dobbs. Pittsburgh may want to get a look at Washington without the QB he’s played with over the past few seasons. Especially since Dobbs is a preferred QB play, I like Washingon as his primary stacking partner.
Maurice Harris, Redskins
Harris played 65 percent of the snaps for Washington in the opener, and saw five targets. All five were from McCoy, who may be forming yet another bond with a pre-season target (shouts to Rashad Ross). Harris is definitely the primary stacking target with McCoy, but is also a tremendous option on his own.
Equanimeous St. Brown, J’Mon Moore, and Jake Kumerow, Packers
All three of these WRs saw over 40 percent of snaps in Week 1, and should see plenty of playing time again here in Week 2. The first two players are promising young rookies just drafted by Green Bay, while Kumerow has received a ton of praise in Packers camp, including from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers should play in this game, and all three of these players have a shot to snag a couple of snaps with him with Trevor Davis out. I like ESB the most right now since he played the most of this crew the first week, but I think they are all in play.
Jordan Leggett, Jets
The TE Super-Smash Bros. Lock of the Week™ is Leggett, who should see the most snaps at the position on the week. Neal Sterling, Chris Herndon, and Clive Walford are all injured and not expected to play. That leaves just Leggett and starter Eric Tomlinson on the depth chart. The Jets are expected to be taking a long look at Leggett after missing him last week due to injury.
Jacob Hollister, Patriots
Hollister has received a ton of buzz this week, including from QB Tom Brady. Brady is expected to play a little bit in this game, and could play as much as a half based on the beat reports. Rob Gronkowski will probably play a little bit, but should mostly be in bubble wrap this pre-season. Dwayne Allen is injured, meaning Hollister should see snaps with Brady, and for a little bit after with Brian Hoyer. Ryan Izzo probably sees more snaps, but I think Hollister has pretty good TD odds.