Preseason Playbook: Breakout WRs and sleeper QBs
Plus: Training camp risers and fallers, updated rankings, and more.
We’re now entering prime fantasy football draft season. Personally, I like to wait until Labor Day weekend in case any key players get hurt the last week of the preseason, but if you are drafting this weekend, I’m sharing here analysis of six key players to keep in your queue.
I also have updates on players trending up and down based on the latest reports from camp, fresh rankings updates, and more links to help you prepare for the season.
Lastly, just a note about passwords. I received some feedback (OK, it was just one person) that it’s super annoying have to enter passwords for each premium item that paid subscribers get access to. For those who were not with us last season, there’s a new password each week for the weekly player rankings.
Unfortunately, this current setup is the best I can do in order to separate the free content on 5thdownfantasy.com from the premium content. Substack does not allow me to embed HTML code, which is needed for the rankings and the mock draft simulator.
However, I am looking into a solution that would give each paid subscriber their own membership login on 5thdownfantasy.com, which would allow more convenient access to all premium content on one single page.
So, I’ll put it to a vote. If you’re a paid subscriber, let me know what you’re preference is!
OK, on to the good stuff. Thanks again for your support!
Best - Justin
Training camp risers and fallers
A few preseason happenings we’ve been tracking at 5thDownFantasy.com…
📈 Kyren Williams looks like he is currently the front-runner to be the Rams’ pass-catching back. Cam Akers is the running back ahead of him and will also take most of the carries. But Sean McVay loves a committee system so don’t count Williams out.
📉 Jerry Jeudy had to be carted off the field Thursday after suffering a hamstring injury. He’s expected to be out for several weeks, which means that he’s probably going to have to miss the first week or two of the regular season at the very least.
📈 Ezekiel Elliott has reportedly been getting more work as a pass catcher, and that could lead to him actually having some real value in PPR leagues.
📉 Quentin Johnston has been “inconsistent” in his performance while struggling with drops throughout training camp. Johnston has potential to be a star WR in the NFL, but he will need to be more consistent to earn the trust of Justin Herbert.
📈 Kenneth Gainwell has been “getting the steadiest work” in training camp so far of the Eagles’ running backs. It looks like Philadelphia is headed towards a committee, with Gainwell leading the way.
📉 Trey Lance is heading to the Cowboys in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick. Behind Dak Prescott, he is nothing more than a stash in superflex dynasty formats.
We’re pumping out several insider tidbits from training camp every day on 5thDownFantasy.com. Click here for the latest.
3 breakout wide receivers to target
Chris Olave (NO)
Chris Olave gets an upgrade at QB in veteran Derek Carr. While Carr isn’t a former MVP like Rodgers he is a massive upgrade over the red rocket Andy Dalton as Carr will push the ball downfield more often which is one of the strengths of Olave’s game. Since 2020 Carr has never finished below QB15 in air yards per attempt. With Carr, New Orleans should pass more often which means more opportunities for Olave. In Andy Dalton’s 14 starts last year he only attempted more than 34 one time, Carr passed this number 9 of his starts.
Garrett Wilson (NYJ)
Last year’s offensive rookie of the year already looked like a breakout after playing at pro bowl levels with Mike White at quarterback. Now the New York Jets have helped him out by bringing in former MVP Aaron Rodgers to lead the passing attack for the J-E-T-S. There will be an obvious boost on the field from the QB upgrade, but we also expect Wilson to mature at a rapid rate this year with Rodgers able to help him develop faster by passing along his wealth of knowledge and expertise.
D.J. Moore (CHI)
Another wide receiver breakout with a new QB, this time with a whole new team as well. D.J. Moore slots in as the Bears’ No. 1 wide receiver after he was traded with a package for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft (showing how much the Bears coveted him). He will look to help his ascending QB breakout at the same time (shades of Stephon Diggs helping Josh Allen or AJ Brown helping Jalen Hurts), with Justin Fields primed to be the best QB Moore has gotten to catch passes from.
More fantasy wide receiver analysis on 5th Down:
2023 player rankings update
Our 2023 fantasy football re-draft and dynasty rankings for PPR, Half-PPR, and Standard scoring will update throughout the pre-season.