Fantasy: Takeaways from Friday’s preseason games

Get ready for your season with theScore’s 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

Every game night during the preseason, theScore gets you caught up on the most important fantasy performances from around the league.

Hunt takes over as Ware carted off

Preseason injuries are the source of nightmares for fantasy owners and unfortunately we saw not one, but two stars go down with potentially season-ending ailments Friday night.

Kansas City Chiefs lead back Spencer Ware had his leg buckle while fighting for extra yards and immediately grabbed at his knee in pain. He wasn't able to put any weight on the leg before being carted to the locker room. After the game, head coach Andy Reid referred to the injury as a knee sprain and reports suggested he avoided any damage to his ACL. While we hope for good news and a speedy recovery, we also have to consider the fantasy ramifications.

Third-round pick Kareem Hunt was already challenging for touches and if Ware is sidelined for any amount of time, the rookie will take this job and never look back. Hunt has performed well in the preseason, racking up 111 yards on 21 touches and is more than capable of handling a starter’s workload.

Hunt and rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes are the future of the Chiefs' offense and that future might be arriving sooner than anyone expected.

We'll know more on Ware's diagnosis over the weekend, but Hunt's ADP is rising as we speak. If he enters the season atop the depth chart, Hunt will be worth taking in the third round alongside fellow first-year backs like Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, and Joe Mixon. This also puts Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller on the fantasy radar in deeper leagues.

Edelman’s season in doubt

The Patriots were the second team hit by a major injury Friday, when Julian Edelman was forced to the locker room after his leg gave out underneath him. It was a non-contact injury, which instantly raises concerns and reports surfaced after the game that the team fears the veteran receiver tore his ACL.

The Patriots aren’t short on weapons, so there will be a plethora of receivers ready to be the next man up. Chris Hogan was the beneficiary against the Lions, scoring two quick touchdowns, including a beautiful contested catch between two defenders. He ended the night with four receptions for 70 yards.

If Edelman does miss the season, Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski will see slight upticks in their target totals, but Hogan turns into a WR3 in fantasy and would be an intriguing mid-round pick in drafts.

Anyone worried that this might hurt Tom Brady‘s value, should take a deep breath and remember who they are talking about. Even if Edelman is out, Brady remains the second best fantasy quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers.

Instant Impressions

  • Mike Gillislee is finally carrying the ball for New England after being sidelined with a hamstring injury the last couple weeks. He totaled 38 yards on eight rushes, averaging 4.8 yards per carry thanks to a 27-yard gain. He also walked into the end zone untouched off the right side for his first score in a Patriots jersey, then earned two more points right after on a successful conversion using the exact same play. Bill Belichick isn't giving us any clues as to how he plans to dish out backfield touches this season, but this is a sign Gillislee might be able to win the LeGarrette Blount role, which resulted in 18 touchdowns last season.
  • With Thomas Rawls not suiting up, it was rookie Chris Carson, and not Eddie Lacy, who stood out with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ first-team offense on Friday. Technically Lacy was the “starter” in the game, however, it was Carson who stole the show once again with eight carries for 46 yards and two receptions for 44 yards. Rawls should be the first Seattle back drafted in fantasy, but Carson could find his way into the lineup if injuries or ineffectiveness strike in the regular season.
  • Ameer Abdullah made his case for getting a bigger workload in 2017, turning 16 touches into 99 yards against the Patriots. Abdullah is by far the most talented back in Detroit, and if the Lions are committed to getting him the ball he could return RB2 value for fantasy owners who select him in the fifth or sixth round.

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