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So week 2 of the preseason? Only slightly more informative than Week 1. We got to see a few guys that we hadn't seen yet, and we got a little better idea of who are the "#1s" on each team, but all-in-all we're still pretty limited as to what we can take away from each of these games. We'll go into depth on a couple of stories on our next podcast tomorrow, but here's a couple of quick hits from each of the games over the past weekend:
Ravens 27, Falcons 23: Steven Jackson looked much better here than he did in Week 1. 9 touches, 55 yards against a pretty good defense is nothing to laugh at. I continue to like Jackson as a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick and a RB2. Tyler likes him significantly more but I'm not anointing him as a fantasy RB1 just yet. Torrey Smith made a big play...that's kind of what he does. Other than that, nothing really stood out.
Panther 14, Eagles 9: We now know that Michael Vick is the starter, so there's not much more you can take away from this. I maintain that LeSean McCoy (8/47 + 3 catches) will have a huge year in Chip Kelly's offense, and I still think Damaris Johnson is an interesting deep sleeper at wideout with the Maclin injury.
Browns 24, Lions 6 : I said this on the iHeartRadio channel Friday - it was really encouraging to see Reggie Bush get 7 targets in the passing game. I won't be surprised if he catches 60-70 passes this season, and there's value in that as a low-end RB2. For the Browns, the big story is obviously Jordan Cameron and his 2 TDs. He should definitely be drafted, and of the guys that are kind of end-of-the-draft tight ends (Cameron, Cook, Bennett, Brandon Myers)...I like Cameron significantly more for the upside
Bears 33, Chargers 28: Jay Cutler threw 5 passes. Brandon Marshall had 5 targets. That's really all you need to know here. Marshall and Matt Forte are still the only Bears players I want on my team. I do think Ryan Mathews ran pretty well, and I think he might be being undervalued just a little bit at RB #25 in ESPN ranks.
Bills 20, Vikings 16: EJ Manuel looked good, but still unspectacular - and unfortunately we won't get the chance to see him again until the regular season. I think Manuel is still a year or two away from being relevant in fantasy. I didn't really see anything in this game that made me change my perceptions about either of these teams or the players on them.
Saints 28, Raiders 20: I admittedly didn't watch this game, because I frankly don't care, but all reports out of Saints camp are that Kenny Stills is cementing the 3rd receiver role. We've talked about this before - whoever wins that job between Stills and Nick Toon has flyer value in that offense. Looks like that'll be Stills. I still hate Mark Ingram. And I still hate Darren McFadden.
Patriots 25, Buccaneers 21: I think I have the answer here to "Who is the other Patriots' receiver to own" question. And the answer is: nobody. I know it's nice to think that the Pats will have someone of fantasy relevance other than Danny Amendola. But think about it...when was the last time they REALLY had a 2nd relevant fantasy wideout? When Welker and Moss were together probably? I like Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, and I think Thompkins might be a hare better, but frankly I don't think either will be consistent enough to matter in a standard league. I think there will be Thompkins games, I think there will be Dobson games. I think there will be Julian Edelman games....I just don't feel comfortable drafting any of them.
49ers 15, Chiefs 13: Well, neither team looked particularly good. We talked a little last week about Knile Davis as a Jamaal Charles handcuff, and I continue to think he's just not good enough to own, even if something happens to Charles.
Cardinals 12, Cowboys 7: I watched this whole game, and I have to say, I'm starting to like Rashard Mendenhall more. And it has nothing to do with how well Mendenhall is playing (he's not), but more to do with how poorly the other Arizona runningbacks are playing. I don't think Mendy has much competition for the job, and I think even a back as washed up as him can have success with as much work as he's about to get. For Dallas, I continue think a) that Dez Bryant might actually have it together now and b) Lance Dunbar is the DeMarco Murray backup.
Bengals 27, Titans 19: I'm starting to jump on the Gio Bernard bandwagon (you're welcome, Tyler). I don't think I'll end up owning him because he's going to get drafted way before I'm comfortable taking him, but I do think he's going to be a big part of what the Bengals do offensively, and he's got the home run capability to make that worth something. For Tennessee, I was encouraged to see Chris Johnson run well again (7/30 plus 2 catches). I think he's another guy that's being undervalued and I wouldn't be mad at using a early to mid-2nd round pick on him.
Jets 37, Jaguars 13: Well, we found at team that the Jets are better than. Bilal Powell had a nice game. Chris Ivory did not. I don't care because the only thing that's worse than the Jets offense is the Jaguars' Defense. Justin Blackmon remains an interesting late sleeper despite the suspension. He's got a ton of upside, especially if Blaine Gabbert channels a decent starting quarterback at some point this year.
Texans 24, Dolphins 17: I thought Lamar Miller looked awful here. The Texans D is good, but I also think that Miller is being waaaaaay overhyped. I think he's okay as a runningback, but I don't think he's got the guaranteed Top 20 upside that some guys think he has. I'm also starting to believe the Ryan Tannehill hype - not to the point that I think he's a fantasy stud, but to the point that I hate Mike Wallace less.
Packers 19, Rams 7: Kind of a whatever result here. I do think Eddie Lacy looked pretty good - he's got some injury issues to deal with, but I think he is very clearly the #1 runningback on a Green Bay team that desperately needs a running game. I'm also starting to buy into the Jermichael Finley reincarnation just a LITTLE bit. I was a huge Finley believer three years ago, and it paid off up until he hurt his leg that year. He hasn't done much since, but reports out of camp are that he's slimmer, working better with Aaron Rodgers, and might be due for a breakout. For St. Louis, it's a good thing that Daryl Richardson is the starter because Isaiah Pead is frickin terrible. I'm also not all the way sold on Tavon Austin yet. I like the talent and the 7 targets he got here. I don't love the fact that he only gained 28 yards on 4 catches and plays on the same team as Sam Bradford.
Seahwaks 40, Broncos 10: So Russell Wilson is pretty good - with or without Percy Harvin. I think after Sidney Rice, Golden Tate might be worth a late round flyer, as he's got the talent to take it to the next level in his contract year. Julius Thomas, the big tight end for Denver, had a second straight decent game...he's still allegedly behind Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreesen on the depth chart, but file that away. Thomas is an athletic freak who's battled injuries for the first couple years of his career. I like his talent, just not the situation. Let's see if that changes.
Colts 20, Giants 12: Andre Brown and David Wilson each had 8 carries at about 4.5 yards per carry here. I think both have value, but I think if I had my druthers, I'd rather Andre Brown, who I think is the better value in the 10th round than Wilson in the 2nd. Darrius Heyward-Bey led the Colts in targets, and as of right now is listed as the #2 receiver. In the 15th round, he's a guy that I like because if he ends up being passed up by T.Y Hilton (which he might), it doesn't hurt your feeling to drop him. Donald Brown is still stupidly bad.
Redskins 24, Steelers 13: You know, even if this Le'Veon Bell foot injury isn't serious, this is now his 2nd injury in the preseason of his rookie year. I'm getting a little bit worried, and I think I would move him down in the low 20s among RBs if I were re-doing my rankings right now. He's got capable backups and I'm not entirely sure that Bell plays every game this year. Also, as much as some experts like Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, I'm not quite as sold. I think Markus Wheaton and Jerricho Cotchery will stil be involved, and Heath Miller will lead the team in red zone targets. I'm just kind of blah on all the Steelers receivers. For Washington, kind of ho hum here.
Tomorrow on the podcast - wide receivers! Plus a couple of targets for your drafts coming up this weekend and a few players to avoid as well. Talk to you then!