Preseason Watchlist (NFC Edition)

Thursday, Aug 25, 2022 at 10:20 am ET

Howdy again, Folks!

Picking up where I left off! Let's recap what we will be looking at! I'm breaking down 6 players from each team in the following categories: Lock, Sleeper, Grab, Ignore, Defense, Defense Sleeper.

Lock means that regardless of the situation this (offense) player is my number 1 overall selection for that team.

Sleeper will be individuals that are either lower ranked or not currently on people's radars, that you should invest it.

Grab will be players that should be picked up in all formats, but are still seeing a fair share of not rostered (currently)

Ignore this refers to players completely off my fantasy radar that I do not recommend taking them at ADP.

For IDP Players

Defense will be my lock for defensive anchors

Def Sleeper are players, like offense sleeper, not quite on our minds but should be.

Let's get it started! We are kicking the NFC off in the East!

  Lock Sleeper Grab Ignore Defense  Defense Sleeper
Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott Jalen Tolbert Dalton Schultz Ezekiel Elliott Micah Parsons Jayron Kearse
Washington Commanders Antonio Gibson Jahan Dotson Brian Robinson Jr Carson Wentz Chase Young Kamren Curl
Philadelphia Eagles AJ Brown Kenneth Gainwell DeVonta Smith Miles Sanders Javon Hargrave Kyzir White
New York Giants Saquon Barkley Wan'Dale Robinson Matt Brieda Daniel Jones Leonard Williams Cor'Dale Flott


Dak Prescott
Prescott finds himself in quite a pecuilar situation. While doesn't have the same pressures as Lamar to get his money or Hurts to prove his worth to the team, as he's got both solidly squared away at this point. He's going to need to prove to the rest of the league that he is a top 5 QB, he's still going to be throwing the ball but he may need to force feed guys like Lamb and Schultz to keep his value. One thing that benefits Prescott from a fantasy perspective is near the goalline Dallas likes to draw up run plays for Dak to walk into the endzone. He's a lock for me in the top 10 fantasy QBs, and a candidate to break into the top 5 if he puts everything together.
Kenneth Gainwell
Gainwell lands on the sleeper list, as he falls into late rounds and occasionally undrafted in some formats. Gainwell will certainly have his role opened up a bit more with the ever injured Miles Sanders, he's a good cuff option and 0 RB candidate. Gainwell had a quick start last year, but ended up slowing down. It'd be a reasonable risk to take Gainwell in those late rounds for a potential league winner.
Matt Breida
With Barkley looking and feeling like his old self, I'm still cuffing Matt Brieda in the same breath. He's still been a reasonably good backup over the last few years. If Barkley were to go down without any other proven backs, and Booker not returning Brieda would be an easy plug-and-play option.
Carson Wentz
I'm probably disrespecting Wentz a bit, but I'm not having him rostered anywhere on my teams. Maybe as a backup in Superflex/2QB leagues, but that's the extent of where I'd go with this man. He certainly has a lot of talent around him, but he's not showed much drive, leadership or confidence in the last 2 years that would make me want to roster him. Just stay away, if you can.
Micah Parsons
Mr. Parson "11 from heaven" as they say. He took the league by storm and earned Defensive Rookie of the year honors last year. He's quickly becoming a household name and as big of a star as he wears on his helmet. They had Micah lining up as a LB, on the edge, dropping into coverage, rushing the quarterback and he just excelled. He's quite literally a special individual and has to be considered top 3 in his position for IDP leagues, he should be rostered where you have Defensive players.
Kyzir White
Kyzir White really talented, speedy individual. He's taking over for a departing Alex Singleton, ironically, in the same the Eagles used Singleton; the Chargers used White in a similar capacity. I'd expect to see White slide into Singleton's old role and get the same level of production. This would make him a must add and a deep sleeper. Eyes open y'all!

Next up, we will cover the NFC West!

  Lock Sleeper Grab Ignore Defense  Defense Sleeper
Los Angeles Rams Kupp/Stafford Van Jefferson Allen Robinson Cam Akers Aaron Donald Taylor Rapp
Arizona Cardinals James Conner Antoine Wesley Zach Ertz Marquise Brown Budda Baker Zach Allen
Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf Noah Fant Drew Lock Geno Smith Jordyn Brooks Tyreke Smith
San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel Trey Lance Eli Mitchell Any other WR Fred Warner Drake Jackson


Deebo Samuel
Originally, I had Kittle my lock for the 49ers team. That was before Deebo was able to get the extension he desired from the 49ers. While I'm not as confident that Deebo will continue the same role he had last year where you saw him in the backfield, we should see a sprinkle of that and more of his damage done after catch. There's no denying his skills, I certainly cannot wait to see what Deebo does with Trey Lance under center.
Noah Fant
This is actually a favorite sleeper of mine because unless I pick Mandrews or Kelce, I'm not looking for a TE until at least round 11 and in comes Noah Fant. Now with Seattle, Fant who was traded with Drew Lock in the blockbuster trade to acquire Russel Wilson hasn't lost a step and is staying with the Quarterback that helped him catch people's eyes. Of course, that was more due to Fant's incredible athleticism showing us what OJ Howard should have been doing all this time - he's one of my favorite late round TEs that'll hold value, whether it's sustainable we shall find out.
Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson is a player that you should be scooping up in the 5th round. He's got tremendous upside and certainly looking to bounce back in a new situation. The Rams haven't signed OBJ, who still isn't due back until November, Van Jefferson still having knee issues, TuTu Atwell seems to be a bust and some training camp/preseason hype from a few other players, ARob is in an excellent position as WR2 on this team.
Marquise Brown
Hollywood Brown lands on my ignore list. His limited route tree and one trick pony wreckless abandon won't fit the scheme of Arizona and Kyler Murray. He may gain some value when Nuk returns from his suspension but right now, I'm not risking drafting him at the moment and leaving his value to be judged by others.
Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald could go down as the greatest defensive player of all time, putting him above Lawrence Taylor potentially. Naturally, he will be my lock on the defensive side. He's 3 years removed from his 20 sack performance, but he's still making plays and still in double digit sack performance in the last 7 years with no signs of slowing down - outside of potential retirement - he should be a no brainer selection your IDP teams.
Drake Jackson
Here's a great individual to keep an eye on, Drake Jackson. I had him as my #4 DE in this year's draft behind: Walker, Hutchinson and Thib, but he managed to slide all the way to day 2 at the end of the 2nd round. That said, he landed in a pretty great spot with the 49ers who bolster a stack front four that gave offensive lines nightmares considering they all were immensely talented and drew single blockers leaving someone mismatched at some point. He did have a small injury scare in his first preseason game but has since returned to practice. I can defintely see him making the starting lineup sooner rather than later and lining up the other side of Bosa.

Let's head on over to the NFC South!

  Lock Sleeper Grab Ignore Defense  Defense Sleeper
Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey Matt Corral Tommy Tremble Robbie Anderson Jeremy Chinn Jaycee Horn
Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts Desmond Ridder / Tyler Allgeier Drake London Bryan Edwards AJ Terrell Troy Anderson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady Russell Gage Leonard Fournette Julio Jones / Kyle Rudolph Devin White Keanu Neal
New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara Chris Olave Jameis Winston Jarvis Landry David Onyemata Alontae Taylor


Kyle Pitts
Kyle Pitts - our exciting young prospect that jumped to, as high as, TE5 in preseason rankings last year without playing a down and took Twitter by storm. There's no denying his skills and overall talent, but he's certainly going to need some help to take focus away from him. He did still manage to get over 1k yards on 68 catches but only scored a single receiving touchdown. Hopefully with addition of 1st round pick Drake London and acquisition of Bryan Edwards this will slowly open up more targets and opportunities for Pitts.
Chris Olave
Chris Olave comes to us from THE Ohio St and is an excellent sleeper to consider in your drafts. He's been under rader quite a bit in redraft leagues, despite not having much immediate competition outside of Michael Thomas. He's certainly favored to line up opposite of Thomas and we can expect special things from him. Olave stayed back his senior and was a part of a dynamic trio with: Garrett Wilson and JSN then went on to have an excellent combine where, again, he and Wilson dazzled the crowd with their 40 yard dash. Be sure you grab Olave in those double digit rounds, if you like to load heavy on RBs.
Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette is still needed to be picked up. He should still be one of the top 10 RBs. Concerns arose due to him coming in overweight for training camp. I believe that he's still the RB1 in this backfield and will likely have the majority of snaps and opportunties without any immediate competition (for now). If you're third to last through the last pick, he can likely make it back to you in the 3rd allowing you the opportunity to take Kelce and a top WR in the first couple rounds.
Robby Anderson
Robby Anderson is another player I'm all the way out on. Now there's the entire carousel with QB, will it be Baker? Will it be Darnold? Could it be Corral? Either way, Robby isn't a player I'm purposely adding to my roster - the only way he makes it on my roster in any capacity is through a fat finger selection or auto-pick. Stay away!
A.J. Terrell
AJ Terrell is my lock in this otherwise putrid defense. Terrell may not be a ballhawk, but he certainly flies around the field. Terrell averages above 70 tackles per season and last year earned All-Pro distinction due to his excellent play. He's continuing to ascend his play, should be considered at least top 10 in corners for your IDP league consideration.
Alontae Taylor
We have an interesting young raw prospect in Alontae Taylor, he has blazing speed and an incredible vertical and broad jump as per his combine and pro days showed. He's joining a pretty loaded Saints defensive secondary, but could carve a role opposite of Lattimore or even their slot corner. Since he doesn't have a defined role just yet, he'll be a decent stash for now.

..and finally, we wrap everything by looking to the NFC North!

  Lock Sleeper Grab Ignore Defense  Defense Sleeper
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers Romeo Doubs Christian Watson Aaron Jones De'Vondre Campbell Quay Walker
Minnesota Vikings Justin Jefferson Irv Smith Jr Alexander Mattison KJ Osborn Za'Darius Smith Brian Asamoah
Chicago Bears David Montgomery Velus Jones Jr. Justin Fields Byron Pringle Roquan Smith Jaquan Brisker
Detroit Lions D'Andre Swift Jared Goff TJ Hockenson DJ Chark Aidan Hutchinson Ifeatu Melifonwu


Justin Jefferson
Of course I'm going to lock Justin Jefferson. He was top 4 at the end of the year for WRs behind only Deebo, Adams and Kupp. With Adams no longer in Green Bay, Deebo presumably getting away from RB duties and Kupp possibly regressing a bit, Justin Jefferson has a strong possibility at being WR1 this year. That itself is not, but with having WR1 upside it's really no shock he's a lock!
Jared Goff
I have Jared Goff as a sleeper this year with everyone down on him and expecting him to fail. I do believe the Lions will make a push to acquire CJ Stroud in the draft, no matter the outcome (besides Super Bowl). That said, having TJ Hockenson, an emerging Amon-Ra St Brown, newly acquired DJ Chark and capable backs in D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, Goff certainly has the committee to put together a respectable season. He'd be an excellent QB2 or Superflex option, I don't think he'll have phenonmal games throughout the year but it should be respectable enough to keep him the mid QB2 range.
Justin Fields
Justin Fields will need to take a step forward this year, much like Trevor Lawrence, while he didn't get much help as Lawrence did he must make do with what he has. It's likely they are going to utilize Fields mobility as they acquire speedster Velus Jones in the draft to pair with fellow speedster Mooney, this dashing duo along with an athletic Kmet make for an interesting core of receivers. I'd definitely welcome some new changes that better fit Fields, hopefully new Bears head coach Matt Eberflus agrees.
Aaron Jones
I know, I'm crazy. I'm ignoring Aaron Jones yes he's still a plenty capable back but the clear star and true RB1 of this backfield is AJ Dillon. Last year nearly split time 50/50 and had identical stats. Jones is holding onto the starting gig for now by a thread. Best to look at other options and let him be someone else's headache.
DeVondre Campbell
De'Vondre Campbellhas certainly earned my lock on the defense. He's coming off an All-Pro season, ranked by Pro Football Focus only behind Micah Parsons. I expect more of the same from him this year and he should continue to run roughshod and be an anchor for this defense.
Jaquan Brisker
Jaquan Brisker was a favorite of mine at Penn State, he was a tackling machine racking up 153 tackles, 86 of which were solo. He was 5th year senior and certainly took advantage of the opportunity becoming one of the best Safeties in this class as it helped become the 5th safety off the board and mid-2nd round pick. He'll be lining up with Eddie Jackson, another previously highly touted prospect, they should make for a dangerously hard hitting duo with ability to take the ball away from defenders!

That'll wrap things up for my Watchlist!

I hope you enjoyed both editions! I certainly enjoyed taking a deep dive into these teams!

Hope to see y'all soon!
-- KP

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