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Montee Ball had an emergency appendectomy early in the week. He
has been released from the hospital and recovering. Ball will
miss most of the preseason but should be available for the season
opener. Ronnie Hillman was tabbed the starter for Denver’s
preseason opener and he responded with a touchdown. C.J. Anderson
however only rushed the ball once and has since been held out
of practice this week with a concussion. For now Hillman has value
as a potential Week 1 starter and handcuff to Ball.
Emmanuel Sanders has been dealing with a strained quad and personal
issues over the past several days. His injury isn’t considered
serious so expect Sanders to be more involved next week. Peyton
Manning picked up right where he left off going 10 for 13 in the
passing game. Similarly, Demaryius Thomas paced the receivers
with five catches on six targets for 52 yards.
seems like the Chiefs always have an explosive return game. Over
the past decade or so the “Human Joystick” Dante Hall
and Dexter McCluster have made just enough plays to stay on the
fantasy radar in deep leagues. With McCluster now departed to
Tennessee, it is rookie De’Anthony Thomas making splashes
early. The fourth round selection out of Oregon returned a punt
80 yards for a touchdown in the Chiefs preseason opener against
the Bengals. Just like the guys that came before him in KC, Thomas
offers some late round appeal in leagues using return yardage.
Ultimately, it’s hard to ignore the Kansas City defense/special
teams unit in your upcoming fantasy drafts with the quality of
return game. Cyrus Gray got most of the work in the backfield,
scoring from two yards out in the fourth quarter. Unless you adhere
to a very strict handcuff policy or play in a very deep league,
there isn’t any reason to own Knile Davis or Cyrus Gray
with Jamaal Charles getting fed the ball in this offense.
the words of their new starting quarterback, the Raiders first
installment of the preseason could be summed up with the words
“pretty sloppy.” Both Matt
Schaub and rookie Derek
Carr failed to impress against the Vikings this week. In fact,
Schaub’s first pass was almost intercepted and he ended up completing
only three passes in the first quarter. When most teams are playing
their first team starters only a series or two, Oakland felt it
necessary to leave their starting quarterback in the game for
an entire quarter. It’s too early to write off this team’s offensive
potential for fantasy purposes but the play at the quarterback
position needs to improve before anyone else can become a solid
weekly starter on fantasy squads this season. Despite the fact
Jones-Drew started the game, Darren
McFadden reminded everyone that he is still capable of being
the lead man by ripping off 23 yards on his only rushing attempt.
Both running backs are likely to share duties in the Oakland backfield
this year, marginalizing the fantasy value of each player.
San Diego Chargers
Chargers completed 14 of 16 passes to eleven different receivers
against the Cowboys. That is the same type of efficiency that
helped Phillip Rivers to post a 69.5 completion percentage in
2013. Rivers’ best throw was a 20-yard completion to TE Ladarius
Green. Other than a Ryan
Mathews fumble in the end zone, the running game was also
very effective. Branden Oliver’s 16-yard touchdown scamper put
the Chargers on the board in the second quarter while rookie Marion
Grice carried the ball 14 times. Overall, the depth of the
Chargers stood out and that bodes well for the fantasy producers
in Mike McCoy’s offense.
in Week 1 of the preseason, it’s troubling to see a team fail
to score a single point. Veteran quarterback Ryan
Fitzpatrick played the entire first half and failed to complete
half of his passes. There seems to be some bugs to work out in
Bill O’Brien’s first year with the team. He has three more weeks
to turn around a squad that wants to erase an abysmal 2-14 2013
season. In the backfield, Jonathan
Grimes and rookie Alfred
Blue were featured. Neither of them excelled while Arian
Foster sat out with a “minor” hamstring issue. Houston will
play it extremely safe with any Foster ailment, keeping their
fingers crossed that it won’t pop up in the regular season. Still,
fantasy owners will want to check back next week to see whether
or not his status changes. Andre
Johnson also sat out of the game with a “minor” hamstring
issue. It’s hard to tell whether his veteran status and the fact
that it is early in preseason are contributing to the decision
to keep him out of practice or whether he actually has an injury
that requires some time off. With Johnson missing time, DeAndre
Hopkins continues to be the talk of the offense this preseason.
Until Ryan Fitzpatrick shows more consistency and Andre Johnson
returns, it is tough to determine Hopkins’ ceiling for 2014. Regardless,
the future looks bright for dynasty owners looking to snatch up
the next big thing at the wide receiver position.
Luck was efficient in leading the offense for one series,
completing four of five passes. He remains a solid fantasy choice
after the position’s elite names are called. Hakeem
Nicks is playing but he doesn’t appear to be the same player
he once was. If Nicks leaves the door cracked open, Da’Rick Rodgers
Moncrief may just kick it open. Both players are gaining traction
as deep sleepers and should be monitored going forward. Outside
of one eight-yard run, Trent
Richardson was ineffective. He is one more lousy performance
away from seeing his stock plummet further. After missing most
of 2013 with a torn pectoral muscle, Dan
Herron performed very well in his bid to make the team. He
racked up 62 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches. With former
Ballard (Achilles) out for the season and Chris Rainey cut
from the team there is a giant opportunity awaiting Herron.
doesn’t take much to inspire the Jacksonville fan base. After
Bortles have a solid outing in his first game action, HC Gus
Bradley has already had to remind fans that Chad Henne is the
starting quarterback. However, the larger issue for either quarterback
is finding a reliable target in the passing game. Marqise
Lee's effort is already being questioned by the coaching staff
Shorts is out with a hamstring injury. Shorts is ahead of
schedule with his rehab but is not expected to play next week.
Gerhart missed time this week dealing with a hip flexor so
Todman was given the starting nod. Fantasy owners shouldn’t
be too worried about Gerhart unless he misses multiple weeks.
Meanwhile, Todman failed to impress in his opportunity, rushing
for five yards on five carries.
Titans battled the Packers in a preseason monsoon that didn’t
really provide much insight for fantasy owners. Plenty of fumbles
and a ground game that saw Shonn
Battle and Bishop
Sankey (through the air) reach pay dirt was about all there
was to glean for fantasy purposes. Sankey toted the rock a team-high
thirteen times but only managed 37 yards. He also had a few receptions,
one going for 23 yards and another for a 5-yard touchdown. The
good news appears that Sankey is definitely the lead runner heading
into the season and a dual threat with plenty of fantasy potential.
However, Shonn Green is still around as a potential touchdown
vulture. In the passing game, Jake
Locker led the huddle eight times, fumbled twice and completed
one of two passes before being pulled from the game in an effort
to prevent injury. We’ll have to punt and wait for a better assessment
of Locker next week. Charlie
Whitehurst provided the team with solid backup play as the
rain calmed. Rookie Zach
Mettenberger had a couple of turnovers in his first game action
but he is more of a project that shouldn’t show up on fantasy
radars for another year or two.
big news affecting fantasy owners after the first week of the
preseason is Ray Rice’s suspension. Rice got the starting
nod against the 49ers but didn’t do much with three carries.
Rice is splitting time with Bernard Pierce in practice and some
say he has looked like the better running back. Rice’s leash
won’t be nearly as long in 2014 as it has been years past
making Pierce, who is set to start at least two weeks, an upside
pick this season.
The first installment of Gary Kubiak’s offense was a hit and
it might just revitalize Joe
Flacco. Considering the addition of Steve
Smith and return of Dennis
Pitta to the offense, fantasy owners may want to take a second
look at their ranking of Baltimore’s veteran signal caller. However,
it was Tyrod
Taylor that turned the most heads against San Francisco. Taylor
completed 13 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown through the
air and added 59 rushing yards.
Dalton signed a six-year extension and looked good on the
opening drive of the game against Kansas City. He hit stud fantasy
Green for a 53-yard strike that led to a field goal before
watching the rest of the game from the sidelines. Backup Jason
Campbell was shaky offering up two interceptions that went
for touchdowns. The running game offered fantasy owners their
first looks at Jeremy
Hill. The rookie turned six carries into 36 rushing yards.
He is ahead of Benjarvus Green-Ellis on the depth chart and that
isn’t going to change so long as he stays healthy. Giovani
Bernard got a few token carries and caught one pass in this
game. Bernard will open the season as the starter but buyers need
to pay attention to Hill as the preseason plays out. If the teams
choose to limit Bernard’s touches closer to the 15-16 mark he
would be overvalued at his current ADP. However, if given a true
lead role, he would have a chance to eclipse 100 total yards in
hype surrounding Johnny
Manziel was at a peak leading up to the Browns’ first preseason
game. He looked quick but he also looked to run quickly out of
the same pistol formation that head coach Kyle Shanahan used with
Robert Griffin III a year ago in Washington. Brian
Hoyer, still the team’s starter, looked like the same guy
we saw last season - a pocket passer who looks far more boring
than a scrambling Manziel. Hoyer will have a tough time earning
the job without help from his receivers. The contrasting styles
seem suited for the growing trend of using running quarterbacks
a few series each game. For now, fantasy owners will just have
to wait and see whom HC Mike Pettine chooses as his starter. Running
Tate and Terrance
West gave the Browns solid production. It’s not clear how
the carries will be split, but the rookie showed nice patience
and burst through the holes to be productive should Tate miss
good news is that the offense moved the ball well enough to allow
Suisham to hit on all three of his field goal tries. The bad
news is that the offense failed to find the end zone in the team’s
first preseason contest against the Giants. With Ben
Roethlisberger leaving after only one series, Bruce
Gradkowski completed eight of his twelve passes. Second-year
Jones continued to struggle with accuracy issues proving he
has a ways to go in his development as a NFL passer. Le’Veon
Bell didn’t do much but did finish the game without injury
so that’s a plus considering the expectations of the running game
this season. Outside of rookie Dri
Archer’s 46-yard catch from Roethlisberger early on, the passing
game was pretty tame. Rookie wideout Martavis
Wheaton and Antonio Brown all registered catches. The trio
should give the team its best set of receivers since Mike
Wallace departed. Heath
Miller is a year removed from an ACL injury and looking fully
healthy in practice.
stable of capable runners might make it tough on fantasy owners
this season. Bryce
Brown led the way against the Panthers, rumbling for 64 yards
on 11 carries. Building off his performance against the Giants
in the Hall of Fame game, Brown looked explosive. He should provide
the team with plenty of energy when his number is called. C.J.
Spiller and Fred
Jackson are healthy and chipped in with a few carries. Fantasy
owners will want to watch Spiller in the coming weeks as he presents
a potential value going outside the top 15 at the position with
plenty of upside. Rookie WR Sammy
Watkins made his debut and he connected with QB EJ
Manuel twice against the Panthers. Manuel was better in his
second showing but isn’t winning over many fantasy owners early
First impressions of Bill Lazor’s offense in Miami were positive.
Tannehill’s six-for-six stat line reflected the type of command
expected from a franchise quarterback. He heads into his third
year after just missing the 4,000-yard passing mark in 2013 and
could move up a few ADP spots if he can build off of this outing.
Wallace has missed multiple practices due to a hamstring injury
and did not play against the Jets. Those owners expecting a rebound
from Wallace will want to make sure he returns to practice this
week as expected. In the running game, Knowshon
Moreno (knee) was taken off the PUP list. Moreno faces a tough
challenge in getting his job back from Lamar
Miller prior to the start of the season. Miller played well
with the first team and will is looks like the favorite to open
the season as the starter. How long he can keep the job remains
to be seen.
The Patriots were described as being very intense in their practices
with the Redskins last week. Despite the focused approach from
Brady he opted to sit out the actual game against Washington.
In his stead, rookie Jimmy
Garoppolo shined as one of the few bright spots for the Patriots.
He looked good in the pocket and made quick reads. Ryan
Mallett on the other hand, was unable to lead the offense
effectively. The third year pro out of Arkansas was never comfortable
in the pocket and was missing as many throws as he was making.
So long as Tom
Brady is healthy, fantasy owners shouldn’t be worried. A lot
of people touched the ball but wide receiver Brian Tyms had the
best performance. The 25-year-old was signed during training camp
and Garoppolo found him on several plays. One of those plays was
a 26-yard touchdown reception late in the game to put New England
on the board. He’s still considered a long shot to make the team,
but he just earned a longer look.
Smith started the Jets’ game against the Colts and had a nice
two series before exiting with 33 yards passing. He didn’t do
anything to really stand out, but also didn’t do anything to lose
his status as the team’s starter under center. Michael Vick’s
performance was similar. He used his legs and arm to work his
way down the field that ultimately led to a Chris Johnson 1-yard
touchdown plunge before the end of the first half. With one week
in the books, New York’s quarterback play looks to be improved
from a year ago. Whether that is enough to make Eric
Decker anything more than a flex option remains to be seen.
Decker has been slowed by foot and hamstring issues this week
but did manage to catch a couple of passes before exiting. He
is one player fantasy owners will need to monitor over the next
few weeks with his value likely to be much greater in PPR leagues.
The aforementioned Chris
Johnson may have tallied a score, but he was far from impressive.
Three carries to produce one-yard reeks of fantasy bust, not fantasy
Ivory posted a typical stat line rushing for 17 yards on 7
carries and a rib injury. Ivory’s history with injuries will limit
his workload even if he makes it to the regular season healthy.
Powell remains on the fringes of fantasy rosters, yet has
never been a bell cow on an offense desperately hoping Chris Johnson
will take the lead.
- Wk 1