As was noted last week,
fantasy football managers neither overreact nor disregard what takes
place on the field during the month of August. That being said,
Week 3 of the preseason is typically a dress rehearsal for the regular
season opener, so we pay more attention to what just took place
this weekend than we do all else that occurs during the preseason.
So, what happened out there Friday through Sunday that is worth
our attention? Let's dive in...
1. Cloudy With a Chance of McFadden
For those that have been riding the Joseph Randle bandwagon all
summer, it may be time to cool the jets. Darren McFadden looked
like the more effective running back on Saturday night and is
now running neck and neck presumably for touches in Big D. Move
Randle down a bit in your rankings and move McFadden up. I still
think Randle deserves to be the first Dallas RB picked, but it's
a muddled situation at present.
2. Fly Eagles Fly
Chip Kelly did some wacky stuff personnel-wise this past offseason,
but the mad scientist is beginning to look like King Midas if
this weekend is any indication. Sam Bradford executed the offense
almost flawlessly throwing three first half touchdowns as Green
Bay struggled to slow the Eagles down. Yes, the Packers rested
a few starters, but it was still a clinic by an offense that is
on the rise. Like McFadden, Bradford has to be drafted with caution
due to his health history, but he's got more upside right now
than any other quarterback outside the top ten. Don't be afraid
to pick any Eagles’ players this week in your drafts.
3. Sophomore Sensations
How about three sophomore quarterbacks? Teddy Bridgewater completed
every pass he threw, Blake Bortles was sharp and decisive, and
Derek Carr put up high yardage totals as each led their teams
this weekend to high efficiency performances. Much like Bradford,
I'm starting to think that Bridgewater is moving towards borderline
QB1 status heading into drafts, while Carr and Bortles make solid
backups with upside at the position. I am excited to see how these
three offenses improve in 2015.
Despite all the additions this offseason,
Jarvis Landry remains the lead dog in the MIA receiving corps.
4. Another Sophomore...on the Verge of
a Breakout Season
DeVante Parker has real upside. And, it will be nice to see how
Kenny Stills develops in a new offensive system. But, the real
story in Miami is shaping up to be Jarvis Landry. Landry hauled
in 5 passes for 84 yards in limited action on Saturday and his
stock continues to shoot through the roof heading into the regular
season. If you're drafting for a PPR league this weekend, consider
Landry among the top 15 WRs in your draft. Even in a non-PPR,
his projected output is top 20 worthy. It's looking more and more
like Landry is in for a huge year so don't miss out on grabbing
him on draft day.
5. Bizarre Happenings in the Big Apple
It was supposed to be the Giants boasting a high-octane offense
in New York this season, but it was the Jets this weekend that
looked like a team ready to begin the season. Chris Ivory is running
with conviction and the well-travelled Ryan Fitzpatrick showed
tremendous chemistry in hooking up with veterans Brandon Marshall
and Eric Decker. Sometimes, we overthink a team as offensively
challenged and thus write them off for a stretch of several years.
These aren't Rex Ryan's Jets. It appears they are capable of actually
moving the ball downfield consistently. As for the Giants, it's
been a rough preseason. I would be cautious taking anyone from
their squad whose last name isn't Beckham.
6. The Tier of Tight Ends behind Gronk
is Bigger than You Think
Most fantasy magazines and websites have declared Jimmy
Graham to be in a tier of his own beyond the long shadow of
Gronkowski entering this season. The performances of Greg
Olsen (6 catches, 51 yards), Travis
Kelce (42 rec. yards, 1 TD), and Martellus
Bennett (7 catches) this past weekend suggest that to be faulty
logic. Don't get me wrong: I think Graham has a chance to shine
in Seattle, but Olsen, Kelce, and Bennett can probably be had
a round or two rounds beyond Graham and offer similar value. It
could be argued that each is going to be their quarterbacks first
option. Look to get your starting tight end from this trio.
7. If Only You Weren't Doing Drugs…
It's a shame that Martavis Bryant's substance use/abuse issues
are getting in the way of him playing a full season in Pittsburgh.
Bryant caught three balls this weekend, but it was his whopping
46 yards per reception including a touchdown that got our attention.
Bryant has the potential to be devastatingly good, particularly
in non-PPR leagues. But, he comes with risk, especially in keeper/dynasty
drafts. I would suggest that he's still worth a mid-round selection
given his high ceiling and is certainly worth picking before Markus
8. Please Have Your Way With Us
Talk about a couple of lousy defensive performances. If the Steelers'
and Titans' efforts this past weekend meant anything, I would
suggest circling the names of every one of their opponents this
year and reaping the benefits of the matchup. The Steelers made
the four-headed monster that we call the Bills' quarterback situation
look like four Hall of Famers (30-33, 395 yards, 3 TDs) while
the Titans allowed Alex Smith and Aaron Murray (31 completions,
317 yards, 4 TDs) the same free reign. It would be easy to get
excited about what the Bills and Chiefs did. Don't. These were
two horrific defensive performances and they should be viewed
as just that and not much more. Yuck.
9. The Winston Effect
Nothing we've seen this preseason gives me confidence in Jameis
Winston having a successful first season in Tampa Bay. He completed
only 40% of his passes on Saturday night (not good) and generally
looked lost against the Browns defense. Mike
Evans and Vincent
Jackson are still getting drafted high based on their individual
talents, but definitely take into consideration the situation
they find themselves in before drafting them over the course of
the next week. This offense is going to struggle and the wide
receivers in particular are rated way too high for what they are
likely to produce. Buyers beware.
10. Who in the World is Zach Zenner?
Rising from the midst of Ameer
Abdullah and Joique
Bell this weekend was mighty rookie fullback, Zach
Zenner. I still think Abdullah and Bell will share carries
evenly this season, but Zenner's performance (80 plus yards, 10
plus yards per carry) illustrates just how confusing tracking
preseason action can be. Viva La Zenner!
Honorable mentions: Steve
Smith showed some fire this weekend, both in terms of his
play on the field and his willingness to mix it up with defenders
in between plays. We like what we saw. He'll be more valuable
early in the season than late when his legs give out, so drafting
him to a roster alongside a guy like Martavis
Bryant makes a lot of sense...also, performances by Matt
Jones (Washington) and Ronnie
Hillman (Denver) make them high ceiling handcuffs to consider
late in your drafts…and finally, wasn't it nice that no draft-worthy
skill position players were seriously injured this weekend (hoping
Cobb’s minor shoulder injury is just that)? Here's hoping
that trend continues into the month of September.
Well, if you haven't already drafted, the time has come. Hope
this look at the third week of preseason gives you some valuable
insight into what and what not to do in the days ahead. Best of
luck as you put together your ideal squad!