Fantasy team of the week: Jerome Ford and Raheem Blackshear both stake claims

Who makes our team of the week after Week 1 of the NFL preseason? Could any of the performances translate to fantasy relevance in 2022?

With NFL preseason Week 1 in the books, it’s time to look back at who made our fantasy football team of the week. While many of you likely did not dabble in fantasy for Week 1 of the preseason, it’s still intriguing to review who stood out in terms of their fantasy output and whether any of it could mean more.

Of course, preseason football should be taken with a pinch of salt by fantasy managers. The rise up draft boards of Ty’Son Williams last year or Darwin Thompson a couple of years ago should be a stark reminder not to overreact. Still, there’s no harm in looking back at who stood out, while also shining a light on some younger or lesser-known players that had good performances in their fight to make the roster. Let’s examine who performed well and whether any of them should be on your radar for fantasy football drafts in 2022.

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Top fantasy team of the week

QB: Bryce Perkins, LAR | 25.22 FPts

It was a mixed day’s work from Bryce Perkins in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL preseason. He makes our team of the week thanks to finding the end zone three times, twice through the air and once on the ground. Perkins finished the week with 25.22 fantasy points but only completed 58.8% of his pass attempts. However, he made some very entertaining plays with his legs during this Los Angeles derby.

Fantasy managers will be keeping half an eye on the Los Angeles Rams this preseason as Matthew Stafford battles an elbow injury. If Stafford misses time, it would likely be between Perkins and John Wolford as to who starts at QB. For now, Perkins is generally viewed as the third option on the depth chart. However, more multi-touchdown performances could see him challenge Wolford as Stafford’s backup.

RB: Jerome Ford, CLE | 24.2 FPts

It was so nearly a perfect day for Jerome Ford in his first professional game action. The rookie out of Cincinnati took his 10 rush attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown. He added 45 receiving yards and a TD on four receptions from five targets. That left Ford with a nice line of 102 yards and two touchdowns with 14 touches. Meanwhile, his rival for the third spot on the depth chart, D’Ernest Johnson, fumbled on one of his three touches.

Unfortunately, Ford somewhat took the shine off his performance with a fumble of his own. There appears to be a legitimate contest for the third spot on the RB depth chart in Cleveland. With questions around Kareem Hunt‘s presence on the Browns, the winner of this contest could have fantasy relevance as a handcuff to Nick Chubb.

RB: Raheem Blackshear, BUF | 23.1 FPts

Undrafted free agent Raheem Blackshear put together a strange-looking outing to make our team of the week. He managed just 11 rushing yards on six carries but found the end zone twice. Blackshear then made some nice plays in the passing game, finishing with 60 yards on four receptions, including a longest reception of 32 yards.

The Buffalo Bills RB depth chart is intriguing this preseason. Blackshear appears to be in a four-way competition for the third spot among the group. The expectation is that James Cook will slot into a pass-catching role and serve as the backup to Devin Singletary. Meanwhile, Zack Moss, Duke Johnson, Taiwan Jones, and Blackshear are all fighting for roster spots. We did not see Jones in this game, while Blackshear and Johnson both saw offensive and special-teams opportunities.

Whoever gets that third spot will initially have limited fantasy relevance. However, with injuries always prevalent at the RB position, they could be a name to monitor for later in the season.

WR: Lance McCutcheon, LAR | 27.7 FPts

In a very stripped-back Rams lineup, Lance McCutcheon started and made the most of his opportunity. He reeled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Perkins in the second quarter before adding an 11-yarder in the fourth. He finished with 87 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.

The Rams WR depth chart appears pretty locked out at this point. The likes of Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, and Brandon Powell did not see the field as they are viewed as the fourth, fifth, and sixth receivers, respectively, on the depth chart. McCutcheon made a nice start to life in professional football, but he’s not even a certainty to make the roster, let alone to have any fantasy value in 2022.

WR: Michael Bandy, LAC | 20.3 FPts

In the same game, Michael Bandy also staked a claim for a role in a LA offense. While Bandy did not start, he made the most of his opportunity once it came. He saw 11 targets, which he turned into seven receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.

This performance was intriguing because the players projected above Bandy on the depth chart had their struggles. Jalen Guyton caught both of his targets, but for just six yards. Meanwhile, Joshua Palmer didn’t reel in a single one of his four targets. However, another potential competitor for the fourth or fifth receiver role, Joe Reed, had his own good day. Reed had 61 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.

Bandy is a long way from being fantasy relevant, but he like took half a step closer to at least making the roster with this performance. Both Bandy and Reed played on special teams and demonstrated they could be potential options to make the 53-man roster.

TE: Devin Funchess, DET | 11.9 FPts

It was not a great weekend overall for tight ends in preseason Week 1. However, making our team of the week is converted WR Devin Funchess following his performance for the Detroit Lions. He pulled in all four of his targets for 19 yards and an all-important — when it comes to fantasy scoring at least — touchdown.

Funchess has a shot to claim the second tight-end role in Detroit. However, even if he does, his fantasy relevance would only be in very deep, TE premium leagues. Even then, Funchess would be a tough player to rely on outside of T.J. Hockenson missing time.

FLEX: Kendric Pryor, CIN | 18.9 FPts

Just battling off Tom Kennedy and Lil’Jordan Humphrey for this Flex spot in our fantasy team of the week for preseason Week 1 is Kendric Pryor. The rookie drew the start with the top four receivers on the depth chart all absent. Pryor took advantage with 89 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown on four receptions from seven targets.

Unfortunately, with the Bengals, the WR depth chart is loaded. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are all locked in as starting options. Pryor is fighting with the likes of Michael Thomas and Stanley Morgan to be the next man up if any of those three were to miss time with injury. For now, Pryor’s a long way off fantasy radars, but he could creep into next-man-up territory with some more strong preseason performances.

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor and the Fantasy Football Director at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN

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