NFL training camps are well under way and Preseason Week 1 is in the books. Through all the reports and rumors, what players are seeing their stock rise and what players are seeing it fall? Here is our NFL preseason trends roundup.
This stock up/stock down preseason report lists eight players who are on the move.
NFL Preseason Trends: Stock Up
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
When news broke that both Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson were going to miss time, there was a fire sale on Jonathan Taylor stock. However, the latest report from ESPN’s Chris Mortenson says Wentz is “trending” towards playing Week 1. While the appraisal is optimistic, a sooner return for Wentz only spells good news for Taylor.
The other factor to this news is that Taylor should see a huge workload should the Colts want to ease Wentz back into action. Increased opportunity is excellent news for fantasy owners and prop bettors on Taylor. This offseason, Taylor’s rushing totals were set at 1,199.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook. That number has dropped slightly to .
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
After a slow start, Justin Fields had a stretch where he completed 12 of 14 passes and scored two touchdowns. Fields looked comfortable and moved the offense well despite running against twos. Fields scored on an eight-yard scramble and a 30-yard throwback against the Dolphins on Saturday.
Bears coach Matt Nagy has repeatedly denied that Fields has a chance to start Week 1. However, the offense failed to pick up a first down under Andy Dalton in the game. Should Dalton continue to run a stagnant offense, Fields could take the first snap of 2021. Current odds for that are set at +190 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
Dolphins rookie Jaylen Waddle didn’t record a catch against the Bears, but he turned heads in the return game. His first– and only– punt return went for 24 yards but he forced several missed tackles and showed lateral explosiveness. Waddle didn’t see many snaps, but what snaps he did see were with the first team.
With Will Fuller out due to a combination of an injury and suspension, Waddle is seeing more work at camp. Waddle is listed with longshot odds for Offensive Rookie of the Year and is slated for receiving touchdowns this season. Past chemistry with Tua Tagovailoa could help Waddle be targeted early this season.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos
The rookie isn’t listed as a starter, but after his showing against the Vikings, that could change. Ahead of Surtain are All-Pro Kyle Fuller and star Ronald Darby, both of which were acquired this offseason. Bryce Callahan also had a strong showing for Denver last season.
Surtain II had two pass breakups and a pick-six in the Broncos’ first preseason game Saturday. He and the Denver second-team defense held the Vikings to 3.2 yards per completion and no touchdowns. In a division filled with lethal passing offenses like the Chiefs and Chargers, Surtain II will see plenty of action. He is listed at +1400 for Defensive Rookie of the Year at DraftKings Sportsbook.
NFL Preseason Trends: Stock Down
David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
David Johnson recorded 239 rushing yards, 153 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns over the Texans’ last three games of the 2020 season. It was presumed that Houston would roll into 2021 with him as the starter, and his fantasy football stock was reflective of that. However, when the Texans’ first unofficial depth chart was released, Johnson was listed third.
Free-agent signings Philip Lindsay and Mark Ingram are both listed ahead of Johnson. Ingram was speculated to be a fringe player to even make the final 53-man roster. In Houston’s first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Johnson saw just one carry for a one-yard loss. Sportsbooks are beginning to pull Johnson’s rushing totals in response.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
With Zach Ertz on the trading block this offseason, Dallas Goedert was presumed to take over the TE1 role with the Eagles. Instead, Ertz remains on the roster and Goedert is relegated to his co-starter role. He recorded a long 34-yard reception against the Steelers in limited action, but Ertz still caught two passes.
DraftKings Sportsbook lists Goedert for receiving yards and touchdowns. In fantasy football and daily fantasy sports, he is being priced as if he is the starter. With so few receiving options in Philadelphia, Goedert should see plenty of targets, but with Ertz still on the roster and starting, temper the expectations.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
The latest reports on Dak Prescott’s shoulder injury are positive. Why does he land under stock down? Generally, players that develop soft tissue injuries late in camp carry those injuries into the season; injuries that could be nagging. The Cowboys’ now-infamous tweet regarding Dak did just the opposite of its intention and incited panic among fans.
From the looks in on Hard Knocks to every report being a reassuring spin on an injured Dak Prescott, the early season may be time to fade the quarterback. Prescott is listed for passing touchdowns (sixth-most) and passing yards (second-most).
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Being the second receiver in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense should lead to a pretty productive player, right? In the case of Mecole Hardman, not always. First-team playing time and usage rate are important to watch in NFL preseason trends.
Hardman is an explosive player that is capable of taking the top off the defense. However, he struggles with catching the ball (he recorded a 65% catch rate in his career) and that was on display in the Chiefs’ first preseason game. Hardman was targeted once, where he dropped the pass.
With players like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce acting as serious target hogs, Hardman is left with the scraps. To make matters worse, Clyde Edwards-Helaire presents a receiving threat out of the backfield. This season, Hardman is projected for receiving yards and touchdowns.