ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: Which player has stood out for you the most (good or bad) this preseason?
Antonio Gibson had the 4th-most touches in the NFL last year behind Najee Harris, Jonathan Taylor, and Joe Mixon, but he came into the season with a cloud because of a propensity to put the ball on the turf. When the Commanders drafted Brian Robinson in April, most saw it as a depth addition more likely to knock Jaret Patterson off the roster than threaten for 2022 playing time. But Robinson has been stellar this spring while Gibson has struggled, including fumbling in practice and early preseason game action. At this point, Robinson looks like the possible starter on first and second downs leaving Gibson to fight for third-down snaps against J.D. McKissic.
Wood is Senior Editor at Footballguys.com and has been with the company since its start in 2000. For more than 20 years, Footballguys has provided rankings, projections, and analysis to help fantasy managers dominate their leagues.
In the preseason, I'm looking for players who wow me with obvious talent, no matter the caliber of the opposing defense. Baltimore's rookie tight end Isaiah Likely looks incredibly polished, posting 144 yards in two preseason games, mostly against first-team defenses. Sure, he's jammed up behind Mark Andrews, but he may not be a traditional tight end. Possibly, the receiver-needy Ravens will line him up wide, much like the Falcons did with Kyle Pitts last year. We've seen Likely pull down contested catches, make defenders miss, and break tackles. It's early, but he could be a unique talent.
Charchian is the CEO at GuillotineLeagues.com. Guillotine Leagues are a new way to play in which the lowest-scoring team each week gets chopped from the league, and all the players go to the waiver wire. Charchian was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Antonio Gibson is stinking up the joint in Washington. An early preseason fumble led to the Commanders doghouse and now Gibson is doing special teams while rookie Brian Robinson started the second game this week. It is looking like this is either a demotion for Gibson or a very high-profile lesson in humility to try and get him focused on what Ron Rivera wants from his starting running back. Downgrade Gibson because the best he will see is a crowded RBBC and worst is a benching.
Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 30-year fantasy football veteran who participated in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.
I sure like the look of Isaiah Likely. They’ve thrown him 12 passes, and he’s caught all of them. He’s caught them from the traditional tight end position, and he’s caught them after lining up in the slot. He’s been able to generate yards after the catch. I understand that the Ravens have Mark Andrews, who’s one of the top few tight ends in the league. But I think Likely could be a factor anyway. That team doesn’t have much in terms of wide receivers, so I think Likely is going to be on the field plenty. You look at some of the tight ends being selected outside the top 10 — Irv Smith, Tyler Higbee, Evan Engram, Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki — and I think it’s very reasonable to consider selecting Likely before those guys.
Allan co-founded Fantasy Football Index in 1987. He and fellow journalism student Bruce Taylor launched the first newsstand fantasy football magazine as a class project at the University of Washington. For more than three decades, Allan has written and edited most of the content published in the magazines, newsletters and at www.fantasyindex.com. An exhaustive researcher, he may be the only person in the country who has watched at least some of every preseason football game played since the early 1990s. Allan is a member of the FSTA Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
The preseason is so hard to judge since the last two years, it is entirely different than it was. Teams don't much use preseason games for more than assessing what players they are going to keep or cut. So the most interesting area is rookies with no NFL experience and what they do, running backs in particular. Most recently, the most interesting to me has been Brian Robinson with the Commanders. They want to run in Washington and Antonio Gibson has fallen from favor. He was left to return kicks in the Week 2 loss to the Chiefs - never a good sign. The ex-Alabama running back was a monster in his final season there, with 1,639 total yards and 16 touchdowns. He's 6-2, 225 pounds and plays like an every-down back. It is easy to overstate the future role of a third-round rookie, but I am watching this one with interest since the Commanders have a light schedule and a willingness to explore their options.
Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.
While most running backs piling up the preseason yards are fill-ins to save the legs of the established starters, there's a couple of rookies I've been focused on that may have some impact. Zamir White has a little bigger spotlight on him now with Kenyan Drake getting cut and Josh Jacobs in his walk year. He's looked good, scored a receiving TD, and is definitely in line to contribute this season. The Browns are 5-6 deep at RB, but Kareem Hunt is in his walk year. D'Ernest Johnson has a tenuous hold on RB3. Can't blame him for looking over his shoulder as the University of Cincinnati's Jerome Ford has flashed in both games. He's scored both a rushing and a receiving TD, has broken a long run, and has shown good hands in the pass game. Changes ahead for the Cleveland running back room.
With 2 perfect seasons and multiple league championships to his credit, Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, featuring LIVE Talk & Text Advice. He is a 3-time Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Auction League, as well as a previous Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll.
Dameon Pierce has certainly taken the ball and run with it in Houston. The Texans' ridiculous four-back committee of marginal veterans a year ago lulled some of us into thinking that they'd again favor veterans on their last legs like Mack and Burkhead, giving little chance to Pierce to be featured. Instead, it looks like he's going to start right away, and he in his limited action looks like the game won't be too big for him. Similarly, I have to mention Isiah Pacheco. I think he's going to open as the No. 3 in Kansas City, behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon, but a less imposing duo to work past has seldom been seen. Tricky question of where to draft him exactly, but he's a guy I'd kind of like to roster, just in case he emerges as a lead back by midseason, which seems quite possible.
Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.