Fantasy Football 2022: 3 Sleepers Generating Buzz After Preseason Week 2
NFL teams always play things cautiously during the preseason, which can make it tough for fantasy managers to glean useful information from the games that don't count.
Still, usage rates—or, in some cases, even the lack of usage—can be helpful to project depth charts and roles going forward.
The following three fantasy sleepers are trending up after Week 2.
David Bell, WR, Cleveland Browns
A foot injury delayed David Bell's debut, but the rookie appears worth the wait.
In his first preseason action, Bell "led the team with 16 first-team routes and four first-team targets," as Nathan Jahnke noted for PFF.
Bell hauled in three of his four targets for a team-high 46 receiving yards on Sunday during Cleveland's 21-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, his primary competitor for the No. 3 receiving role, Anthony Schwartz, caught two of his three targets for 20 yards.
The Browns should want Bell to win this gig. While Schwartz may offer more speed, Bell brings superior talent and versatility. At Purdue, he scored 22 touchdowns in 29 career games.
Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
While Christian Kirk didn't score the summer's richest contract among wide receivers, his deal perhaps carried the biggest sticker shock.
The Jaguars caused plenty of turned heads and raised eyebrows when they gave Kirk a four-year, $72 million pact. Jacksonville apparently sees another gear for the fourth-year wideout, who has never had 1,000 receiving yards in a season and has 17 touchdowns in 56 career contests.
We can all debate whether he's worth the money, but that doesn't matter in the fantasy realm. The Jaguars clearly think he's worth it, and they'll surely give him every opportunity to prove it, as they showed during Week 2.
"[Kirk] played 33 of the 40 snaps that [Trevor] Lawrence took and saw eight targets on those snaps," Ben Rolfe wrote for Pro Football Network. "Those eight targets came on the first 24 passing plays, giving him a 33 percent target share. The Jaguars gave Kirk a massive contract, and there should be little doubt they expect to get their money's worth."
Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
Dameon Pierce didn't play in Week 2, and yet, you could argue he was the weekend's biggest winner.
How is that possible? We'll let Fantasy Pros' Matthew Freedman explain:
"Dameon Pierce balled out in Week 1 (5-49-0 rushing)—and then he didn't play any in Week 2, while veterans Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead did. Inference: The Texans don't need to evaluate Pierce any more in the preseason because they already know that they like him, and they don't want to risk him getting injured in the preseason because they know that he will be an important part of their offense in Week 1."
Pierce, a fourth-round rookie, appears to have already seized control of Houston's backfield, and he might widen the gap between him and everyone else. Neither Mack (eight carries for 29 yards) nor Burkhead (two carries for five yards, three receptions for nine yards) did much with their opportunities in Pierce's absence.