NFL Preseason Week 3 Recap: 9 Must-Know Facts
We’re almost there, guys and gals. It’s the height of fantasy draft time, but no one has the time nor the desire to watch all 16 preseason Week 3 contests. That's where I come in. Here's a position-by-position look at how the final preseason weekend went down, so you can plan and adjust accordingly for the onslaught of upcoming drafts.
Note: All player ADPs mentioned are courtesy of 4for4’s Underdog Tool.
Josh Allen is still really good: We got to see last year’s breakout QB suit up for the first time this season on Saturday and he looks locked and loaded for regular NFL action. Allen completed 20-of-26 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, easily hitting open receivers, while also showcasing his rushing prowess. Yes, he was facing the Packers' backup defenders, but Allen appeared very competent and efficient, certainly worthy of his current QB2 status.
Rookie Trevor Lawrence was near perfect with the first-team offense: Lawrence completed 11-of-12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in three drives with the ones on Sunday. It was a welcome change from the three total points this first-team offense had scored in their two prior preseason contests. The 21-year-old signal-caller is currently being drafted as the QB16 (135.5 overall).
Mac Jones isn’t giving up without a fight: The rookie QB hit 10-of-14 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, which included three scoring drives in his time on the field Sunday night. Bill Belichick, not surprisingly, hasn’t publicly made a decision on who the starter will be, but it’s expected to be Cam Newton for Week 1. Both New England QBs are falling way down draft boards and can be had in the 18th round.
J.K. Dobbins is sidelined for 2021: You’ve most likely heard this already but there are also many of you out there enjoying the last days of summer, so I figured I’d include this news bit in here. Dobbins was carted to the locker room after his knee bent awkwardly following a screen in Saturday's contest. That means Gus Edwards should assume lead-back duties with Justice Hill in the mix as well, especially in PPR leagues.
Please don’t ignore Damien Williams: The former Chief is probably my most drafted RB this year and I’m still pounding the table for him after the preseason has ended. Based on work distribution and the week-to-week recovery of Tarik Cohen, it’s clear Williams will open the season as the No. 2 RB behind David Montgomery, and could even vulture some passing-down work right away. Williams will see enough work to justify a bench spot in the later rounds (ADP 161.9) but could be a big value if anything were to happen to Montgomery at any point this season.
It looks like Raheem Mostert is good to go: In his first action of this preseason, Mostert carried the ball seven times for 53 yards, and that was all that was needed to show he’s ready. This backfield will most likely be some sort of committee with rookie Trey Sermon. Their ADPs are in the sixth and seventh rounds, with Sermon leaving boards first.
Terrace Marshall Jr. continues to shine: The 21-year-old picked up right where he left off last week by catching 3-of-4 targets for 43 yards and a score in Carolina’s final preseason game on Friday night. We’ve reached fever pitch in adoration for the rookie, but we also need to realize Marshall is still fourth in the pecking order of this offense behind D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. Don’t get too carried away in reaching to draft the Panther, but Marshall makes for a great option at his current 119.6 Underdog ADP, and an even better one in your home league where he’ll most likely be much cheaper.
Don’t put Gronk out to pasture yet: The 32-year-old Rob Gronkowski played almost every starting snap, with O.J Howard clearly behind him, and Cameron Brate only seeing the field with the second team. One knock on Gronk is they may rest him throughout the season for a potential repeat Super Bowl run, but he’s still a decent value at TE17 (157.0 overall), considering his potential to hook up with Tom Brady this season.
Fading Mark Andrews may not be optimal: Andrews has fallen out of favor for some this draft season, but he’s in a great spot to produce in 2021. He caught 2-of-2 targets on Saturday for 27 yards and was only in the game during Lamar Jackson’s one series. With the Ravens' offense experiencing a flurry of injuries during training camp and the preseason, Andrews is looking more and more like a target monster in this offense. He’s currently coming off boards as the TE5 in the late-fifth/early-sixth round but could end up among the top three at his position by the end of the season.
Irv Smith Jr. is out for “at least the start of the regular season”: The Minnesota TE will undergo surgery for a meniscus injury and won’t be available to start the 2021 season. Smith’s breakout will have to wait for now, but Tyler Conklin should be a nice streaming option for those who wait at the TE position.
Kickers (yes, kickers)
Carolina traded for Ryan Santoso on Thursday and he won the kicking job Friday night: Joey Slye struggled this preseason so the Panthers brought in some competition in the form of former Giants’ leg Santoso. One day removed from a joint practice with New England as a New Yorker, Santoso nailed both attempted field goals (52 and 27 yarders) plus three extra points, while Slye missed a 49-yarder, his third of the preseason. Carolina waived Slye on Saturday, so it appears the gig is Santoso’s.