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Preseason Stock Watch: Three Players to Buy in Dynasty Football

Tick, tick, tick. We’re all watching the clock as the season gets closer and closer to being underway. Sure, there’s preseason football to watch. But lasting more than one quarter watching a bunch of going nowhere players is a tall order.

Luckily for us, there are hard-working professionals out there providing reports to sift through so we don’t have to watch every snap. And boy, are there some juicy tidbits to extrapolate into headstrong predictions.

That’s right, we’re in overreaction land as preseason stocks are moving up and down the board. While it’s important to take most of what you hear from camp with a grain of salt, there are still strong developments. Check to see if your fellow managers are paying attention, as there might be opportunity to pounce on their ignorance.

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Three Players to Buy After Preseason Week 1

Khalil Herbert, RB, CHI

Freeing Khalil Herbert might be the most overlooked fantasy storyline of the offseason. He may not be as exciting as Aaron Jones when he was finally freed in Green Bay. That’s largely due to the lack of receiving potential, having only hauled in 23 catches these past two seasons.

But we’re still talking about a player who averaged 5.7 yards per attempt on the ground last year. Herbert also demonstrated his elusiveness, collecting 3.7 yards after contact per attempt in 2022, good for 3rd in the league. Tacking on a top-10 missed tackle rate, Herbert has more than enough talent on the ground to make up for his lack of production through the air.

While his fill-in work last year for David Montgomery certainly turned heads (Herbert averaged 123 yards, 1 TD in games where he received 15+ touches), the Bears’ additions to the backfield may have obscured the opportunity.

Well, fret no longer. Herbert received all of the first-team work when Justin Fields was leading the huddle. Meanwhile, free agent acquisition D’Onta Foreman looks to be the clear backup coming in 2nd. That would align with his $3M one-year contract, even as many speculated what his role may be considering his strong production in Carolina last year.

Coming 3rd off the bench? It wasn’t Roschon Johnson, who many believe may be the most talented back in the room. Instead, it was Trestan Ebner. In other words, it looks like Johnson has a climb ahead of him, which secures Herbert’s clear-cut role as the no. 1. And considering that Fields doesn’t really pass to running backs anyway, expect Herbert to be the best fantasy back available in Chicago.

Sam Laporta, TE, DET

Generally, you’ll find me in the camp of waiting on tight ends. It’s a well-traveled adage at this point that tight ends take notoriously long to develop. Buying one as they’re busy navigating the waters of playing multiple roles at the NFL level can lead to serious remorse.

But that’s not because these guys aren’t valuable to own and develop. A high-end tight end, particularly in TE Premium leagues, can be a league-winner. They just might be easier to acquire after a developmental season rather than buying them on their initial potential. Even Kyle Pitts is a bit cheaper now than his preseason stock last year.

So if there’s a chance that someone can hit their potential early, in spite of what we know about tight end learning curves, it’s going to catch a lot of eyes.

Sam Laporta has been extremely active during training camp with the first team. Listed as no.1 on the depth chart, he received 100% of snaps in Detroit’s first three drives of the preseason. T.J. Hockensen was the second most targeted tight end in fantasy last year, even more so than Mark Andrews. Hockensen of course will be the man that Laporta is replacing.

QBs tend to stick to certain tendencies when it comes to targeting the TE. Tyler Higbee stands out as a favorite target of Goff’s back in his Los Angeles days. Much like Matt Ryan was able to feed average tight ends like Austin Hooper, Hayden Hurst, and an aging Tony Gonzalez, expect Goff to be able to elevate his tight end’s production.

Tank Bigsby, RB, JAX

Count me among those less-than-impressed with Travis Etienne’s prospects for next season. While he has seemed to revive his dynasty football value with a breakout season, there are still major concerns.

Chief among them is questionable ability in the passing game having graded out as a bottom-4 receiver by PFF grades. Expected out of college to be a home run threat through the air, he has yet to produce a receiving TD.

In fact, Etienne only has five touchdowns to his name. A decidedly poor option at the goal line, he was unable to produce scores regularly within five yards.

Enter Tank. Already given a first-team carry at the goal line, Bigsby has been the talk of camp and a favorite of new head coach Doug Pederson. In a similar situation as Brian Robinson last year coming out with third-round draft capital, Bigsby could end up tanking Etienne like how Robinson tore up Antonio Gibson’s value.

With Etienne’s preseason stock still soaring high, there’s an opportunity to undercut that with a discount on Bigsby. In an ideal situation with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, Bigsby will be a goal-line producer while carrying high value as a handcuff. And if Etienne misses time for one reason or another, there’s a possibility with Tank’s receiving chops that he takes the job and never gives it back.

For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!

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