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Paul Maland | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Training Camp Report - NFC
News, Notes and Post-Game Report for Preseason Week 3

Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | AFC - Week Three



Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals played against the Bengals in their regular season dress rehearsal. After a hot start to the preseason, quarterback Carson Palmer struggled to find much success through the air. He connected on just 7-of-19 throws for 92 yards and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. 43 of Palmers passing yards came on a first quarter strike to Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald totaled three catches for 71 yards on the night. Behind Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, the number three receiver role appears to be locked down by rookie John Brown. Brown has been running with both first and second string squads and has drawn numerous praise reports from camp. Brown notched another highlight this week with a 30-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Drew Stanton. Staying true to their word, the team continues to find ways to get the ball in the hands of starting running back Andre Ellington. Ellington took nine carries for 46 yards and caught a single pass for 1 yard. The shifty back continues to flash big play ability in space, but he could lose goal-line touches to either Jonathan Dwyer or Stepfan Taylor.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams came out victorious in their third preseason outing against the Browns 33-14. With the team entering the red-zone early in the game, the stadium went quiet as the ball fell incomplete to the turf. Quarterback Sam Bradford lye on the ground clutching his previously injured knee before leaving the game under his own power. Bad news arose the next day as the injury was diagnosed as a torn ACL, effectively ending Bradford’s season. Before exiting the game, he showed great chemistry with wide receiver Kenny Britt on a 36-yard jump ball. Unless a trade is made, you can pencil in veteran backup Shaun Hill as the starter. Britt is a low-end WR3 but his upside could be hindered with uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position. Tavon Austin failed to make a catch on his lone target and continues to see his draft stock plummet. After his performance camp being called “quiet” by multiple reports, Austin is a late round boom-or-bust selection. Wide receiver Brian Quick had a team high six targets hauling in four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Zac Stacy has fully secured the feature back role despite coming off the bench this week and will see the bulk of carries. Benny Cunningham looks to have solidified himself for backup duties behind Stacy.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers overcame early game struggles to defeat the Chargers 21-7. Unfortunately, the starters haven’t been able to gain any momentum this preseason as quarterback Colin Kaepernick has yet to throw a touchdown through three games. Kaepernick finished 6-of-12 for 59 yards against the Bolts and struggled against their mediocre pass rush as he was sacked once and stripped shortly after. The unusual part of the matter is that head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t seem apt to leave his starters in the game for an extended duration despite their lack of success. Rookie running back Carlos Hyde continued making his strong case for a share of the workload as he took six carries for 38 yards. Frank Gore is the starter and is viewed as a workhorse entering the season, but the fresh new set of wheels behind him could compel the team to give him a breather more often. The receiving corps is finally coming together for San Francisco with Vernon Davis back from holdout, Anquan Boldin returning, and Michael Crabtree fully healthy. With a talented backfield and a wealth of talent to throw to, Kaepernick will have all the keys to put together a solid campaign.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks dominated at home this week defeating the Bears 34-6. Perhaps no one player had a better performance than quarterback Russell Wilson. Completing 15-of-20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns and adding one rushing touchdown, Wilson is adding to his fantasy upside. Wide receiver Percy Harvin hauled in three passes for 61 yards as he continues to solidify himself as a WR2. Jermaine Kearse led all receivers with four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Kearse is the team’s top red-zone threat but is struggling to hit the fantasy radar as the third receiver in a run-first offense. After being claimed by head coach Pete Carrol to be the most improved player of the year, running back Christine Michael carried three times for 28 yards and added three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. Michael continues to make his appeal to unseat Robert Turbin as the backup to Marshawn Lynch.


Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons fell late in the game to the Titans 24-17. Despite the loss, Matt Ryan demonstrated proficiency going 18-for-23 for224 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan, currently ranked as the sixth quarterback on, found a new weapon this week in Devin Hester. Hester caught four passes for 56 yards and showed blazing speed taking a slant route 31 yards for a touchdown. Julio Jones continued to prove his full recovery as he broke multiple tackles on his way to a 52-yard touchdown. At 6’8”, starting tight end Levine Toilolo boasts red-zone appeal, but has yet to find fantasy relevance after totaling two receptions this preseason. Steven Jackson missed his third straight preseason game, but the team remains confident that he will be ready for Week 1. In his absence, Jacquizz Rodgers led the team in rushing with eight carries for 33 yards while adding five receptions for another 31 yards.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers were routed by the Patriots this week as they didn’t find themselves on the scoreboard until 1:12 left in the game. Cam Newton continued his struggles, completing 8-of-12 passes for 88 yards. Under constant pressure, Newton took three sacks and couldn’t muster up a score on any of his five drives. The lone bright spot in this offense right now appears to be Newton’s favorite new target Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin is building steam heading into the season with another five receptions for 47 yards. Benjamin showed great concentration while making clutch catches in traffic. The teams’ top two running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for ten carries while gaining just 20 yards. The Panthers are expected to play their starters in their preseason finale as they attempt to find their rhythm. After the game, reports surface that Cam suffered a hairline fracture to one of his ribs. Newton will continue to find fantasy value from his athletic ability alone, but his lack of production since coming back from injury could merit a serious caution flag.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints got their much awaited return of Drew Brees this week as he led them to victory 23-17 over the Colts. Although he only played for three drives, Brees went 9-of-15 for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He looked more than comfortable showing off his mobility and precision on a 13-yard touchdown strike to Marques Colston. Brees also hit his favorite target Jimmy Graham perfectly in stride for 38 yards as the two look to build upon their success from last season. Running back Mark Ingram continued his strong preseason taking eight carries for 46 yards. Ingram, who has claimed he wants to be more involved in the pass game, appears to be in line for the bulk share of carries in this backfield. Fellow running back Pierre Thomas however, saw five targets hauling in four of them for 66 yards. If Thomas solidifies himself as the passing down back, he could leach some of Ingram’s newly found value.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In their third preseason outing the Buccaneers held off a sputtering Bills team 27-14. Quarterback Josh McCown led a pair of scoring drives completing 13-of-16 passes for 112 yards. His lone touchdown pass of the night was a 24-yard connection to rookie wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans caught all three of his targets for 44 yards and one touchdown. With his current ADP in the tenth round, Evans has tremendous upside as he finds rhythm in this offense. Vincent Jackson also caught all five of his targets for 43 yards and remains a solid WR2. Running back Doug Martin has found himself in a workhorse role after injuries were sustained by teammates Charles Sims and Mike James. Martin is steadily climbing the rankings and looks to be a prime fantasy bounce-back candidate. He carried twelve times for 38 yards and one touchdown while adding a pair of receptions for 27 yards.


Chicago Bears

The Bears suffered a brutal 34-6 loss in Seattle this week, as the “Legion of Boom” made their presence known. Unable to hit the scoreboard, the starters did muster up a couple of good drives and had a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett reviewed and called short of the goal-line. While attempting to punch it in, Jay Cutler was picked off in the end-zone. Cutler finished the night 12-of-20 for 157 yards and one interception. His favorite two targets Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for 15 total targets. Each caught four balls apiece while totaling 82 yards. Despite the lackluster numbers, there is confidence to be taken from these catches as the playmakers will not face a tougher defensive challenge than they did in this outing. Running back Matt Forte carried three times for 17 yards in his most productive preseason outing yet. Forte is a lock as a top-five fantasy running back and his 75 receptions last season make him attractive in all formats. Shaun Draughn appears to have won the No.2 running back job behind Matt Forte but isn't a true handcuff.

Detroit Lions

The Lions mustered up a win this week against the Jaguars in a 13-12 game. The Lions success was highlighted by an 86-yard touchdown dash by running back Reggie Bush. There is no denying Bush’s big play ability, but the presence of goaline shark Joique Bell severely hinders his fantasy value. Quarterback Matthew Stafford had limited success completing 10-of-16 attempts for 98 yards and one interception. Despite the sub-par outing Stafford is a strong QB1 option in this pass-first offense. Calvin Johnson played this week making two receptions for 27 yards. Lining up opposite Megatron, Golden Tate hauled in three of his four targets for 36 yards as he continues to gain traction in this offense. Rookie tight end Eric Ebron had a pair of receptions for 27 yards but it remains to be seen just how the team will utilize him. The presence of Pettigrew continues to limit Ebron’s fantasy upside.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers continued to gain steam as they topped the Raiders 31-21 this week. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the starters on three scoring drives, throwing for two touchdowns and handing off to running back Eddie Lacy who blasted in for another. Rodgers finished the game completing 9-of-20 passes for 139 yards. Lacy carried six times for 36 yards on the night as he continues to prove his position as the sixth overall ranked back according to Richard Rodgers looked to earn himself a starting job at tight end by hauling in two targets for 40 yards, while veteran Andrew Quarless caught just one pass for a six yard touchdown. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams were targeted three times apiece, but neither was able to yield a reception. Although the third receiver spot appears to be Jarrett Boykin’s spot to lose, it remains worth watching to see if Adams can unseat him. Any starting receiver in this pass happy offense will merit a late-round value.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings came out victorious in their 30-12 game against the Chiefs this week. Matt Cassel started the game again and threw a beautiful 53-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson early in the game. Cassel finished 9-of-17 for 152 yard with one touchdown and one interception and has been named the starting quarterback for Week 1. Despite limited action with the backups, rookie Teddy Bridgewater completed 4-of-7 passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns to seal the victory for the team. Patterson is the clear cut top receiving option here and boasts a WR2 status but continues to climb draft rankings. Backup running backs Matt Asiata and rookie Jerick McKinnon both looked confident and explosive as they continue to fight for the title of Adrian Peterson’s backup. Peterson, who didn’t play a single snap, still finds himself in the top-three ranks as he primes for another big year. Breakout candidate Kyle Rudolph hauled in two targets for 38 yards in limited action.


Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys fell late in the game to the Dolphins and have yet to hit the “W” column this preseason. The alarming point to take note of was the constant pressure on Tony Romo. Romo got sacked three times in the first half, but still showed some productivity going 10-of-18 for 87 yards. Although he didn’t put up huge numbers in this outing, he made tough throws hitting Dez Bryant along the sidelines and again on fourth down in traffic. Bryant led the team in receiving with four grabs for 32 yards. Romo is a high-end QB2 option as he continues to prove his health after his second back surgery. DeMarco Murray remains amongst the top ten fantasy backs in the latest rankings, but is still a risk as he has yet to make it a full season healthy. Murray carried six times for 18 yards against Miami and added one reception for six yards. Terrance Williams appears to be high upside WR3 this year, but saw just one target on the night. Despite being the number two receiver, he remains third in pecking order for targets behind Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.

Philadelphia Eagles

Notching their first victory of the preseason, the Eagles downed the Steelers on Thursday night. Philadelphia caught fire with their starters rallying for three scoring drives under quarterback Nick Foles. Foles went 19-of-29 for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His lone touchdown throw was a quick dump to LeSean McCoy who found the edge and took it 22 yards to pay-dirt. McCoy added four carries for 24 yards while fellow running back Darren Sproles took six for 33 yards and a touchdown. Both of these backs are going to have fantasy value in this fast paced offense, but it remains to be seen just how sparingly Sproles will be used to freshen the legs of Shady. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was targeted a team high eight times on the night, reeling in six of them for 43 yards. Coaches, teammates, and fantasy owners alike held their breath as Maclin dropped to the ground after buckling his surgically repaired knee on a route break. He later rejoined the team and appeared to have caught a lucky break on a major setback. Both tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz caught a pair of balls on the night, but Ertz remains the better fantasy bet based off playmaking ability alone.

New York Giants

The Giants added their fourth straight preseason victory this week against the crosstown rival Jets in a 35-24 game. Despite being undefeated this preseason, the record is quite misleading. Eli Manning has yet to gain full traction in the new Giants offense and continues to sputter. Manning consistently sees pressure from first team opposing pass rushers and was sacked twice in the first half. To his credit, he did have his most successful outing of the preseason this week going 12-of-21 for 139 yards and hitting Reuben Randle for a 15-yard touchdown to close the first half. Randle was praised by head coach Tom Coughlin Saturday, saying that Randle has a chance to shine this year. While he does possess red-zone size, fellow receiver Victor Cruz consistently proves to be the most targeted man on the team. Cruz led the team with seven targets hauling in four of them for 61 yards. One piece of the attack that seems to be catching on is the ground game. Rashad Jennings looked dominant again while gaining 67 yards on just thirteen carries. Draft Jennings as a confident RB2. Backup Andre Williams carried eleven times for 49 yards and punched in a fourth quarter go-ahead touchdown.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins lost 23-17 in Baltimore this week as Robert Griffin III continues to struggle. Griffin has not looked dangerous in any part of his game since shedding the knee brace that was “holding him back”, and is starting to fall on draft boards. I’m not saying to avoid drafting him, but I will say temper your expectations. After being sacked three times he finished 5-of-8 passing for 20 yards with one interception. The pick came while attempting to hit running back Alfred Morris on a check-down. Morris carried six times for 29 yards and looks to be ready for a big year. He remains an RB2, but could see high-end numbers if the Redskins can figure out ways to sustain drives and keep RGIII off his back. Despite not being able to haul in either of his targets, DeSean Jackson continues to make his case as a strong WR2. If RGIII can get his confidence back, there are few others in the league who can throw the deep ball better, making Jackson an upside big-play selection. Keep in mind he is sharing targets with Pierre Garcon who should grab another 100 passes this season.

AFC Camp Report - Wk 3