With the second week of preseason action underway, let's take a look at some of our early Risers and Fallers in the rankings.
It's our job at FFN to monitor the rankings of players from across multiple expert websites and to report back on our findings. This allows us to look at not just the rankings but the movement within those rankings. Our free Movers and Shakers tool will show you the player movement among the rankings over 7, 14, 21, and 30 days. Here are some of the key players that we're watching and their movements.
With Theo Riddick out of the picture, Kerryon Johnson sits atop the depth chart in Detroit. The starting gig has helped him in the rankings, but the Lions also signed free agent C.J. Anderson who figures to eat into some of those carries. Johnson averaged a solid 5.4 yards per carry and caught 32 balls in 10 games as a rookie ranking him 13th among RBs in PPR points during an 8-game stretch as Detroit's lead back. New OC Darrell Bevell has a nice history of producing strong fantasy seasons from his running backs. If Johnson can stay healthy - a concern given his history last year and in college - he has the potential to finish the season with high RB2 / low RB1 production.
The Seahawks ran the ball more than any other team last year. Even if Seattle doesn't run it as often, they'll still be a heavy run-offense. With Mike Davis departing for Chicago, 21% of those carries are up for grabs. Carson has been getting solid praise from the coaching staff this preseason including the recent news that the team would like him to see 50+ targets making him a bit more valuable in the passing game. Carson's current ADP finds him going as an RB3 but it's completely realistic to see him finish as an RB2. As long as his repaired knee holds up, he'll see plenty of action in one of the NFL's most prolific run offenses.
While there's still a good chance that Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys find common ground and get a deal locked up, Alfred Morris has seen his rankings rise considerably. Keep in mind that Morris already knows this offense and Jason Garrett's coaching style having rushed 115 times for 547 yards and a score just two years ago. Morris should fill in fine as the team's No. 2 runner ahead of Darius Jackson, but doesn't pose a danger to rookie Tony Pollard's passing-game usage.
Drake is unlikely to play the rest of the preseason after suffering a foot injury during Tuesday's practice, and he should be considered questionable for the regular season opener. Kalen Ballage stands to benefit the most from Drake's injury, though his absence could also lead to more opportunities for Mark Walton and perhaps even seventh-round rookie Myles Gaskin. If Drake is healthy, this will be some degree of a committee backfield. In the preseason opener (when both were healthy), Drake played on 9-of-13 first-team snaps while Ballage subbed in for four snaps.
While Luck is still technically in the Top 5 among QB rankings, if you're drafting now, you need to consider Luck a risky pick given that he still needs to return to practice and isn't even a lock for Week 1. NFL Media's Mike Garafolo said "unless Luck makes some miraculous recovery, we could be looking at Jacoby Brissett in Week 1." Apparently the injury is not just a calf issue or an ankle issue; it is an "accumulation over time." This seems to be the first real timetable on the Colts' decision for the start of the season, so the week of the team's third preseason game will be crucial. If Luck does not start practicing at some point next week, signs point to him missing the opener against the Chargers.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports holdout RB Melvin Gordon is prepared to sit out regular season games if he does not have a new deal before Week 1. Per Schefter, the sides have "not made progress." Contract-year Gordon has seemed to be the most serious of this summer's holdouts. Le'Veon Bell is still more the exception than the rule, but it would be silly not to be worried about Gordon's Week 1 status. There is a real chance he is still away from the team. Austin Ekeler would start and be spelled by Justin Jackson.
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