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Fantasy Football 2019: 5 Players Generating Buzz Entering Preseason Week 1

Jake RillAnalyst IAugust 6, 2019

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) during an NFL football training camp practice Sunday, July 28, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Most fantasy football players easily know who they should be drafting in the first round or two of a draft. But what about in the mid-to-late rounds? Who are the best players to rely on while trying to win the championship of your league?

That's why research is so important ahead of your fantasy football drafts, as those later rounds can make a difference in which team goes on to win the league.

With the first full week of preseason games set to begin Thursday, here's a look at a handful of players who are generating buzz with a month to go before the regular season—and the fantasy season—gets underway. These are players who could be vital to some fantasy teams' success this year.

  

5 Players Generating Fantasy Buzz

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin is having an impressive training camp for the Bucs, and he should build off his success from last year. In 2018, his second season in the NFL, Godwin had 842 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries no longer in Tampa Bay, there should be a lot more passes headed Godwin's way, especially with how he's performed in camp, where he is meeting the expectations of first-year Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians.

"Yeah, it's exactly what I expected of him," Arians said, according to the Tampa Bay TimesEduardo Encina. "Just continuation of growth from last year, playing in the slot, playing outside and being a go-to guy down the middle."

Godwin is ranked at No. 51 in ESPN's 2019 PPR Rankings, but he could be worth selecting a round or so ahead of his projection with the uptick in production he should have this year.

Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins

Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Redskins have a bit of a crowded backfield with veteran Adrian Peterson, Guice and Chris Thompson. But Guice, who missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL, should have the highest ceiling among the group.

Guice was selected by Washington in the second round of the 2018 draft, and he could develop into its primary running back of the future. At the least, he'll be sharing carries with Peterson while Thompson could see more action in third-down situations.

But there's also the chance that the 34-year-old Peterson starts to slow down this season and won't be able to repeat some of the success he had last year, his first with the Redskins. In that case, Guice could start to get more carries and turn that into a breakout season.

Either way, Guice is a running back you don't want to miss when the fourth or fifth round rolls around.

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Another running back who dealt with injury last season is Johnson, who was limited to 10 games in his rookie campaign. He had 641 yards and three touchdowns while splitting snaps with LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick.

But Johnson had moments that showed he's capable of becoming an every-down back, as he rushed for more than 100 yards in wins over the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. However, he didn't play after Nov. 18 due to a knee injury.

Johnson is ready for a heavier workload. Should he get it, then the Lions' running back is poised to be a breakout player for fantasy teams this season.

"I'm healthy, that's all [head coach Matt Patricia] needs to know, he's going to give me the ball as many times as I can take," Johnson said, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. "I mean, he's going to be smart about it, but I'm a running back. They pay me to run the ball. I love to run the ball. I play football to run the ball, so that's what I'm going to do."

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Not many tight ends are worth considering in the first few rounds of fantasy drafts this year, but Kittle is one of them.

Last season, Kittle had a breakout year, totaling 1,377 receiving yards and five touchdowns. As quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns from injury, he'll likely be relying on Kittle a lot, which could lead to more touchdowns for the third-year tight end.

That makes Kittle an intriguing fantasy player, putting him with Kansas City's Travis Kelce and Philadelphia's Zach Ertz as the only tight ends worth considering early in fantasy drafts.

His receiving yards total last season set the NFL record for a tight end. He also broke a 49ers record for a tight end with 88 receptions. It's possible Kittle could set new records this year.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

Nam Huh/Associated Press

Jordan Howard is gone. Tarik Cohen isn't going to play every down. So, there are carries to be had in Chicago this season.

Montgomery, a rookie out of Iowa State, is the most likely candidate to receive them. He was selected by the Bears in the third round of the 2019 draft, and it's possible that he could turn out to be a steal for that late of a pick.

"Nothing is going to change from what we saw on tape at Iowa State," Chicago second-year head coach Matt Nagy said, according to the Associated Press' Gene Chamberlain. "He has some of the best vision that I've seen in a long time. He feels where the defenders are before they show up."

Montgomery won't be one of the first running backs off the board in your fantasy draft, but he's one worth keeping an eye on around the fourth-to-fifth round.