Pre-season stud: Robby Anderson led all
receivers with 264 yards during the pre-season of 2016.
Over the course of my career at giving out fantasy advice, I
have always preached that “preseason results mean absolutely
nothing.” That the only thing worthy of your attention from
July to the end of August is the health of players.
However, nothing is forever. The world changes. Just because
it’s been that way in the past, doesn’t mean it will
continue to be that way in perpetuity. We must adapt or die. Looking
back at the last 10 years of preseason football, I have noted
a slight exception to my rule.
Look at the two information boxes below you will note that while
only one quarterback and zero running backs from the preseason
leaders list has ever amounted to anything (Kirk Cousins), the
list of wide receivers has proven to be a better precursor to
a career. No, they may not be immediately viable (the exception
being Antonio Brown), but four of the 10 preseason receiving yards
leaders developed into viable fantasy options. Along with four-time
first team All-Pro Brown, Victor Cruz had two great seasons (2011-12),
Allen Hurns one (2015) and Robby Anderson last season (2017) became
useful fantasy wideouts the year after leading the league in preseason
The Jaguars did lose both “Allens” to free agency
– Allen Hurns (Dallas Cowboys) and Allen Robinson (Chicago
Bears), but Westbrook will still have to deal with mediocre quarterbacking
from Blake Bortles (315-of-523 for 3,687 yards 21 TDs and 13 INTs).
He also has to fight “target-hog” Marqise Lee and
up-and-coming Keelan Cole on a team that rushed the ball as many
times as it threw it last season (527). The Jaguars added top
free agent offensive lineman Andrew Norwell in the offseason,
so they clearly plan to continue the “ground and pound”
Can Hurns return to the form of 2015 when he posted 64-1031-10?
The move to Dallas can only help his chances. While his team change
went from a Leonard Fournette dominated offense to an Ezekiel Elliott dominated offense, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will
be desperate to find his 2018 “go-to receiver” after
tight end Jason Witten retired and free agent Dez Bryant wasn’t
brought back. Hurns only has to beat out Terrance Williams (broken
foot, off-the-field issue), slot man Cole Beasley and rookie Michael Gallup for targets and that seems eminently possible.
My favorite receiver from this list, beside Brown obviously,
is Anderson. The Jets receiver came into his own last season scoring
six times in a five-game span and nearly cracking the 1,000-yard
mark. Had New York not started the completely ineffective Bryce Petty over the final three games (0-3, 55.1 QG Rating), it would
have happened. This season Anderson will likely catch passes from
both Josh McCown and Sam Darnold. He had most of last year’s
success connecting with McCown and rookie Darnold is more talented,
though raw. The biggest issue facing Anderson is a possible, make
that probable, suspension after he pled “no contest”
to a reckless driving charge this spring.
Who will lead the preseason in passing and rushing for 2018?
I don’t know and it likely doesn’t matter.
However, the wideout who leads the league in preseason receiving
yardage, will have my attention … at least for my dynasty
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.