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Ronnie Hillman needed to do was show up and be average while not
missing any blocking assignments and he would have fallen into
a productive fantasy campaign. Instead, heís done OK and
fumbled at crucial moments to cast serious doubt in the eyes of
the coaching staff. Rookie Montee Ball clearly demonstrates running
ability, but his pass protection will still keep him off the field.
Knowshon Moreno? At least he has been through the trenches alongside
Manning and not completely fallen on his face. In a week where
fantasy owners are expecting to see the final preseason tune-ups
from the starting units, the Broncos backfield situation looks
muddled as ever.
Jacob Tamme returned and reminded everyone that Peyton Manning
still looks his way. Tamme will likely retain his status as the
top TE on the team, but Julius Thomas will also see the field.
Both guys figure to be too far down in Peytonís Manningís
passing attack to be a reliable starter but one could emerge by
the time bye weeks begin to be a useful plug and play option.
expected, the Chiefs spent more time working through the air.
Alex Smith completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for one
touchdown showing fantasy owners that he will be a definite upgrade
at the QB position over last season. Dwayne Bowe took center stage
of the passing attack hauling in 6 of 8 passes to lead the Chiefs
with 73 receiving yards. Keep in mind that Bowe could have left
Kansas City as a free agent but opted to stay with the team. Boweís
59 receptions in 2012 were his lowest since 2009. However, he
missed the final three games of the regular season and caught
only 51 percent of his targets due to poor quarterback play. Fantasy
owners should expect a solid rebound to make Bowe a strong WR2
Kansas City also traded WR Jonathan
Baldwin to the 49ers, clearing the path for Donnie
Avery to start opposite Bowe. Averyís fantasy value is probably
capped as a bye week replacement for 2013 but he now becomes more
attractive in deeper leagues. Dexter
McCluster missed some practice time with the flu this week
but he should anchor a strong return game with Knile
Davis once the season begins.
they head down the stretch it is Terrelle Pryor getting the starting
nod for the preseason finale. Part of the decision was based on
Matt Flynnís shoulder tendonitis returning. Flynn will rest
and be re-evaluated for the season opener. If Pryor can go out
and play well heíll probably get the starting nod for Week
1, however the coaching staff has not made a decision just yet.
If tabbed the starter, Pryor would represent an interesting flier
in deeper formats due to his running ability-he rushed four times
for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. The passing attack
under Pryor isnít likely to post big numbers, rendering
all Oakland wideouts less than ideal for fantasy purposes.
McFaddenís shoulder is the latest ailment to hinder the running
back. Although the injury isnít considered serious itís just another
reminder of how fragile the Oakland running back truly is. Backup
RB Rashard Jennings did not mind as he rushed 12 times for 35
yards and caught two balls out of the backfield. In the event
of an injury to the Raidersí lead back, FB Marcel
Reece would also factor into the mix.
San Diego Chargers
Mathews posted another solid outing to build from heading
into the 2013 season. More importantly, he is running hard and
was able to get the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Injury risks and an uninspiring offensive line persist, pushing
him down most drafts boards. Nevertheless, he is becoming valuable
considering other injury plagued players such as DeMarco
Murray and Darren
McFadden are going a round earlier. Danny
Woodhead returned this week and heíll begin working his way
back into the mix with Ronnie
Brown and Fozzy Whittaker. Whittaker tallied 54 total yards
and looks like a solid bet to make the team.
Philip Rivers isnít going to be an elite quarterback this
season but there are flashes of potential in the new Mike McCoy
system. The injuries at the wide receiver position have certainly
been felt but Rivers isnít forcing throws and taking as
many sacks. The short passing game is being utilized to keep an
up-tempo, move the chains approach. TE Antonio Gates will see
his share of targets, but I fear that the rest of the passes will
be spread between the running backs and receivers resulting in
less favorable fantasy output.
DeAndre Hopkins (concussion) sat out this weekís game. He
hasnít passed the first of five phases per NFL protocol
so monitor his status as your draft approaches. In other injury
news, Ed Reed is going to have his hip evaluated by a specialist
this week. If he has progressed as expected, Reed will get some
practice in and be on schedule to play for the Texans in Week
1. Of course, the biggest injury status in Houston belongs to
Arian Foster. Houstonís feature back was able to practice
in full late last week, but the Texans are not going to push him.
His ADP has slipped to about 8 overall and that is still pretty
high for a player that has missed all of training camp and half
of the preseason. In Fosterís place, Ben Tate showed why
running the football for the Houston Texans is a good gig to have
piling up 74 rushing yards on 11 carries. Tate would be a low-end
RB1 if Foster misses any time.
Cushing (knee) returned to the field for his first game action
since Week 5 of last season and promptly registered a sack. He
not only adds to the attractiveness of the Texans defense as one
of the first three units off the board, but is going to be working
his way back up the IDP ranks.
Luckís blindside takes a hit with starting LT Anthony Castonzo
suffering a MCL sprain this week. Luck completed 64 percent of
his passes versus the Browns and seems to have a good handle on
the offense. Darrius
Heyward-Bey was more involved this week, but T.Y.
Hilton appears to have better chemistry with Luck, making
him the better fantasy asset to own in 2013. The Florida International
alumnus should provide reliable WR3 production in most formats
with some upside if Reggie
Wayne ever slows down.
The Colts also cleared up some congestion in the backfield by
trading RB Delone
Carter to the Ravens. Ahmad
Bradshaw and Vick
Ballard are atop the depth chart with Donald
Brown serving as the teamís third RB. Bradshaw (foot) returned
to practice this week but did not participate in the teamís third
preseason game. Expect the ex-Giant to be handled in similar fashion
as recent years. That means he wonít practice much, be a permanent
fixture on the injury report and provide inconsistent production.
The overall numbers may add up to a decent RB3, but he will be
a headache to own. That could lead to some fluctuation in Vick
Ballardís production as well.
Shorts (calf) returned to practice this week and did make
a nice catch during the teamís game against the Eagles. Heís going
to have some value out of the gate in deep leagues due to Justin
Blackmonís suspension. However, Blackmon will undoubtedly
be the primary weapon in the passing game upon his return. Provided
he keeps himself out of further trouble he could easily wind up
being a valuable WR4 to fill in during bye weeks and possibly
flex when the matchup is favorable. The QB situation is still
a work in progress while Blaine
Gabbert waits for his broken thumb to heal. Heís expected
to start Week 1.
Jones-Drew looks as healthy as he has been and if it werenít
for his quarterback situation, heíd have more upside. Jordan
Todman made a strong case to be MJDís backup with a nice 63-yard
touchdown scamper. Justin
Forsett is slated to be the regular backup and MJD handcuff
but he is dealing with turf toe. Until he returns Todman and converted
Robinson are the best alternatives.
Locker continues to show modest improvement. He has plenty of
talent around him but the play calling seems to be helping as
well. If he can limit turnovers he should be good enough to make
Britt and company useful in the fake game. If he should falter,
Fitzpatrick has enough talent to keep the passing game afloat.
Two of his six completions went for touchdowns on short pass plays.
The running game rebounded with a decent outing. Chris Johnson
may not be the old ĎCJ2Kí but all signs point to him
posting solid yardage totals this season. Touchdown potential
limits his stock to being a RB2 but heís worth an extra
dollar or two in leagues that award bonus points for big plays.
Jackie Battle stepped up this week to post 41 yards on 13 carries.
Shonn Greene, who left last weekís game early with a foot
injury, will likely enter the season number two on the depth chart
but an injury to Johnson would probably result in Greene and Battle
fantasy owners take anything away from the Ravens in Week 3 of
the preseason, it should be that Ray Rice is one of the safest
fantasy picks in the first round. Bernard Pierce isnít ready
to eat into Riceís playing time after fumbling and netting
7 yards on his 10 chances to impress. Meanwhile, Rice looked good
during his 16 rushes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
In the passing game, Brandon Stokely is settling in as the teamís
slot receiver nicely while Jacoby
Jones is outlasting his competitors to hold on to the #2 WR
job. TE Dallas
Clark shouldnít be completely ignored on draft day. Although
he was held without a catch this week, he may end up starting
the season opener following Visanthe
Shiancoeís release this week. TE Ed
Dickson is starting to work his way back from a hamstring
injury but may not be at full strength for Week 1. Even if he
does, Clark could eventually become a TE2 as a reliable set of
hands on a team lacking other options right now.
Green showed no ill signs of a bruised knee that kept him
out of the first two preseason contests and looks poised to have
a great season. As a borderline first rounder for fantasy purposes
he is a safe bet to finish the season in the top 5 at his position.
Sanu and Marvin
Jones continue to be mediocre opposite Green. Jones did lose
a fumble and will probably find himself starting the season behind
Sanu; however both will see a handful of targets each game limiting
the value of both players.
Green-Ellis logged 278 touches last season, good for 8th most
in the league. Based on what we are starting to see this preseason,
the Bengals have no intention of letting The Lawfirm tote the
rock that many times in 2013. Rookie newcomer Giovani Bernard
looks like OC Jay Grudenís new toy in an offense that has lacked
a true threat out of the backfield in recent years. This week
Green-Ellis and Bernard received roughly the same amount of carries.
If this ratio carries over to the regular season, Bernard may
wind up being the better fantasy option of the two.
Weeden wasnít able to carry over the same success he had last
week, failing to complete 50 percent of his passes. Inconsistent
quarterback play can plague a teamís fantasy production (just
Jackson or MJD) so it is telling to see Weedenís struggles
translate into lackluster production from the rest of the offense.
Rolling with breakout tight end candidate Jordan
Cameron may net you a two touchdown performance one week and
a two catch performance the following week. WR Josh
Gordon has become the top receiving threat on the team but
his upside may be more limited than other WR3 options.
On a more positive note, Shayne Graham connected on both his
FG attempts, including a 50-yarder to get the Browns on the board
in the third quarter. Ultimately, any hope for a rebound in the
kicking game hinges on the effectiveness of the running game.
RB Trent Richardson failed to record at least 18 touches in a
game only three times during his rookie 2012 season (not counting
week 17 when Richardson didnít play). Richardson is healthy,
rushing the ball 7 times for 31 yards last week, and in line for
plenty more work in 2013.
Bellís foot has Steelers fans and fantasy owners concerned.
Bell wonít need surgery but the earliest return date is probably
Week 6. Whoís next? It wonít be LaRod
Stephens-Howling as he is dealing with a sprained MCL. Isaac
Redman is capable when healthy but a stinger has hindered
his ability to win the job. Jonathan
Dwyer has a chance but heís not a long term answer. Enter
Jones, obtained in a trade with Eagles and immediately thrust
into action. Jones actually led the team in carries despite not
knowing the playbook. This looks like a RBBC comprised of less
talented running backs clinging for a roster spot. The picture
will only get blurrier as players start returning from injury
so proceed at your own risk!
A rather bland rushing attack left Pittsburgh quarterbacks exposed
to the tune of five sacks allowed. Antonio Brown will be the lead
man in the passing game and is a good bet to eclipse 70 receptions
for the first time in his young career. He should get plenty of
action as the running game sorts itself out but he will need to
make a leap in the touchdown and yardage before being trusted
as a fantasy WR1.
names like Leinart and Beck are being thrown around, you know
things are not good. Such is the case in Buffalo as Kevin Kolb
couldnít manage to hold down the starting job for a week.
Kolb is experiencing concussion-like symptoms and his status for
opening day and perhaps his career isnít looking good. EJ
Manuel had minor surgery this week and figures to work his way
back into the starting lineup at some point during the first half
of the season. In the meantime, QB Jeff Tuel and Matt Leinart
will get the reps with the top unit and Kolb will undergo more
tests. No doubt defenses will be gearing up to stop the run when
the season begins.
The rushing game that will be vital to the Bills playoff chances
this year took a scare when C.J. Spiller clutched his knee following
a TD run. However, it was in response to a cut he suffered from
another playerís spike and not related to anything structural.
He was deemed OK and fantasy owners should still be investing
a first round pick on him.
Lastly, the Bills released long-time kicker Rian Lindell in favor
of rookie Dustin Hopkins. A 6th rounder from Florida State, Hopkins
is far from a sure thing and Buffalo is not likely to produce
a high scoring kicker this year.
people talk about Daniel
Thomas being a threat to Lamar
Millerís touches this season I just glance at Thomasí 256
career carries, 906 rushing yards and a whopping 4 touchdowns.
His outing versus the Bucs this week was even less impressive
as he managed 3 yards on 7 carries. Miller remains unproven, but
he is hands down the main guy in Miami rushing for a respectable
35 yards on 8 carries. Brandon
Gibson led the Dolphins with 8 targets and 43 receiving yards.
He and Brian
Hartline should see a few more targets as Miami moves on from
the loss of TE Dustin
Keller. QB Ryan
Tannehill has been effective thus far in the preseason and
thatís all fantasy owners should be hoping for from the second
year quarterback. Mike
Wallaceís 3 for 31 stat line might be a familiar one if he
fails to connect on at least one deep ball a game.
Freeman was sacked five times by a Miami pass rush that looked
fast and hungry. Fantasy owners going with a defense by committee
approach may want to give Miami an extended look.
the Patriots struggled against a hungry Detroit defense, Kenbrell
Thompkins continued to stand out for this offense. Against
the Lions this week he was targeted 12 times by New England quarterbacks
in route to 116 receiving yards on the day. At this point he has
separated himself as the second best fantasy wideout on the team.
Heís still an afterthought in most drafts, but steady looks from
Brady give him enough upside to warrant a look during the
end game of your draft.
New Englandís defensive unit has shown glimpses of improvement,
especially in the secondary where the team ranked 29th against
the pass in 2012. Improved coverage will translate into more sacks
and less third down conversions. For owners that choose to wait
on a defense, keep the Patriots in mind
TE Rob Gronkowski is being slotted as the consensus #2 TE this
draft season despite lingering injury concerns. The latest update
has Gronk on schedule for a mid-September return that would coincide
with Week 3 of the regular season. His recovery has progressed
well enough to see him avoid the PUP list; however prospective
owners who take on Gronkís risk/reward will need to roster
a second TE heading into the season.
Jets are on Broadway again, as their quarterback battle takes
on another turn. Mark Sanchez injured his shoulder this week and
while X-rays were negative, itís safe to say that he isnít
likely to play in the teamís final game of the preseason.
Geno Smith did not impress following Sanchezí injury but
he will be the starter to close out the preseason. Even with a
strong week of practice, Sanchezí shoulder is likely the
only hope Smith has to start the season under center when the
team suits up for Week 1.
Running backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory shared the workload
as expected. Running room was scarce but Powell did manage to
find pay dirt from 2 yards out. WR Santonio Holmes was removed
from the PUP list and placed on the active roster. He isnít
pain free following surgery on his foot but has been working out
for awhile now. Holmesí return, or lack thereof, has been
criticized so it will be interesting to see how he performs this
week in practice. Even the best of scenarios paints a gloomy picture
for Holmesí fantasy outlook so it is best to let someone
else gamble on him.