NFL Preseason Week 1: Fantasy Football Player News
We finally get to stop talking about what rookie did what in college and what this player can do with his new team. With preseason action upon us, we can finally start talking about performances. Let’s take a look at Fantasy Football player news according to what happened this weekend and how it affects your Fantasy drafts.
Fantasy Football Player News: New Teams
Cedric Benson, RB, GB: Looks like the Packers will be locking up the free-agent running back this weekend. This is obviously bad news for James Starks’ Fantasy value, as well as the sleeper chances of RB Alex Green. Consider Benson an RB3 and Starks as an RB4 for now.
Peyton Manning, RB, DEN: The biggest free agent to hit the market in 20 years looked good in limited action with his new team. The real news here is that his throws were crisp despite a year away from the game with a neck injury. The risk is still there, and I’m still not looking to draft him as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback. That likely means I won’t own him this year.
Terrell Owens, WR, SEA: Your draftmates could look at this news two ways – 1. You might have a guy in your league that drafts based on numbers from 2008 that takes T.O. in the middle rounds. 2. Your owners are quick to mock, making ballsy picks on players like Owens a risky endeavor. That means he could be yours in the late rounds, which is an appropriate spot to take him.
Fantasy Football Player News: Rookies
Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS: His first action in the NFL went well, and he led the Redskins on a first-quarter, 80-yard scoring drive against Buffalo. He even threw a 20-yard TD pass to WR Pierre Garcon. Great to see he didn’t have a disastrous start, which can do some damage to a young player’s confidence, but this isn’t enough to make me draft RG3 as a Fantasy starter just yet.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA: Not a bad first effort from the Texas A&M product. David Garrard is out a couple weeks after knee surgery, so Tannehill and Matt Moore will see more preseason action than originally planned. Both played well Friday night, but it was against the Bucs, who had the worst defense in the league last season and is still horrible at tackling. Expect Tannehill’s Fantasy profile to get better as “Hard Knocks” continues. He’s still not worth drafting in yearly leagues, however.
Brandon Weeden, QB, CLE: Not a great preseason opener against the Lions, but Weeden has already been named the Browns’ starting QB. The 28-year-old rookie is still someone to think about in dynasty leagues only.
David Wilson, RB, NYG: The rookie out of Virginia Tech rushed for 43 yards on seven carries against the Jaguars. Understand, though, that it was mostly in the second half against the Jaguars’ backups. (Use that last tidbit of info to discourage other drafters. I like Wilson a lot as an RB4 with big upside. He had 145 all-purpose yards in the game, and he could be a big part of the Giants’ offense this year – even as a backup RB.
Doug Martin, RB, TB: You’re going to hear a lot about how LeGarrette Blount had 30 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries. But don’t get too discouraged about Martin. Blount’s carries went like this: 1 yd, 7 yds, 16 yds, 1 yd, 2 yd, 2 yds, 1 yd (TD). The Bucs rushed him four straight snaps from the Miami 6-yard line, including on fourth down, to get the touchdown. His seven-yard/16-yard rushes were nice to see, as was his one catch when he moved out to flanker on one snap, but don’t jump on the Blount bandwagon just yet. He still tippy-toed up to the line, and Martin made a couple nice blocks in pass protection – something Blount can’t do. Martin also had a nice 10-yard run in the second quarter, when he looked down after a tackle, but was able to keep himself up by getting a hand on the ground, for extra yardage. If drafts were held this week, I imagine Martin would drop a round or two from his standard third-round ADP, but I still see him having a great RB2 season – especially in PPR leagues.
Fantasy Football Player News: Injuries
Michael Vick, QB, PHI: After smacking his thumb on an opponent’s helmet Thursday, Vick is expected to return to practice Saturday, according to CSNPhilly.com. The freak injury aside, Vick is known for getting banged up, which makes sense considering how much he’s out of the pocket. He’s the sixth QB taken in most drafts right now, usually in the fourth round. If he drops a couple rounds in your draft, then maybe that’s a better move for your team. There’s too much talent at the position to worry about Vick week in and week out.
Ryan Mathews, RB, SD: The San Diego Union Tribune notes that an independent orthopedic surgeon thinks Mathews will miss six weeks with a broken clavicle, rather than just four. Ronnie Brown becomes a nice RB4 to look at, considering even when Mathews returns, he’s still a player that has missed an average of three games in his past two seasons.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN: The Vikings might get Peterson (knee) into the team’s third preseason game, so he can get used to hits again, but as of now, he’s still unable to practice. Let others deal with this injury. They’re going to take him in the second and third rounds of your drafts, and that’s crazy talk. Toby Gerhart, meanwhile, had five carries for 31 yards against San Francisco. Grab him before his current ADP of Round 8.
Jamaal Charles, RB, KC: The Texas product played in two series Friday against Arizona, with three carries for 12 yards and one catch for 11. J.J. Zachariason loves J.C. in the second round, and as other players get injured this preseason, I’m becoming a fan of taking him there as well. He even took a hit to his knee Friday, but was able to bounce back up without issue.
Beanie Wells, RB, ARI: Wells (ankle) came off the PUP list earlier this week, but he sat out Friday’s game against the Chiefs. He hopes to play in the second preseason game Friday against Oakland. Ryan Williams (knee) was also out Friday. William Powell had a big game Friday, with nine carries for 92 yards and a touchdown. He did all of that damage in the second half, however. I’m likely staying away from all Cardinals running backs this season.
Trent Richardson, RB, CLE: Richardson had some clean-up surgery this week, but the Browns expect him to be ready for Week 1. The top rookie running back in Fantasy preseason rarely ends up being the top rookie running back by season’s end. People have drafted him in the second round all year, and he was inching his way up into the first round, but that’s a big mistake. The only problem with my plan is that pretty much every running back in the second round is a question mark. But I like Montario Hardesty more and more as a late-round pick. He had four carries for 16 yards Friday.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI: A hamstring injury kept the Eagles WR1 out Thursday against the Steelers. This is a tough situation for Fantasy owners, just because he’s going off draft boards in the fourth and fifth rounds for most leagues. It doesn’t sound too serious, but this combined with Vick’s bad thumb will make you swallow hard before drafting the former Missouri Tigers wide receiver.
Jimmy Graham, TE, NO: After landing badly on his back in practice Wednesday, Graham was held out of Thursday’s preseason game against New England. He should be fine for the start of the season, but once again, it’s more bad news for probably second-round picks.