NFL Preseason - Fantasy football thoughts: Week 1
August 15, 2012 @ 00:22:55 PDT
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Joe Flacco has a chip on his shoulder again this year and his play showed it this time out. He made smart decisions and was more aggressive pushing the ball down field. He hit 75 percent of his passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Show me more, Flacco, and you might be a top-end backup to fringe starter this year.
New England Patriots backfield: I'm a big Stevan Ridley fan, but I need to see more. He saw the majority of the work with the first-string, posting a 8-40-0 stat line. Shane Vereen ran mostly with the second-string unit, posting 11 carries for 64 yards to go along with 17 yards receiving on two receptions. This situation is far from settled.
Robert Griffin III hit four of his six passes for 70 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike to Pierre Garcon, who finished with three catches for 58 yards. RG3 also lost a fumble. It's just one game and a handful of snaps, but the initial look is promising. I'd still rather RG3 as a backup fantasy option; Garcon looks the part of a WR3 with plenty of upside.
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith notched 28 yards rushing on five carries. If he can stay healthy, he would be in the buying category. I just can't count on that. Loved what I saw out of running backs Joique Bell (5-11, 220) and Keiland Williams (5-11, 230). Williams saw a first-quarter touchdown run while Bell beat up on the backup defenses to the tune of 89 yards on 16 carries. Those who have followed this series over the years know I'm a big Bell fan. Detroit might give him the best opportunity for a shot this year. Neither are worth a flier unless in incredibly deep leagues; I recently took a flier on Bell in my dynasty league as my seventh tailback.
Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown put on a nice showing, catching four passes for 81 yards and a nifty 27-yard touchdown. He showed decent hands, some elusive play and a knack for coming up with a big play. I know Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal are new additions this year, but I think Brown is going to find a way to work into consistent playing time. He's worth a gamble as a WR5.
Evan Royster started at running back for the Redskins, toting it seven times for 21 yards with a long of 12. Nothing to write home about and this situation is far from settled.
Third-year receiver Emmanuel Sanders had two catches for 19 yards, including a two-yard touchdown reception. With Wallace away from the Steelers, Sanders could play himself into more playing time with some good preseason showings.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (knee, toe) probably should be in the "I'm selling" list after missing the game with knee and toe injuries. In his defense, this was the Saints second preseason game. However, I'm not seeing the toughness out of this second-year back I was hoping to. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for a week or two.
Steelers rookie Chris Rainey has been a talk of camp. He only had one yard rushing on four attempts, but broke off a 57-yard touchdown reception on a screen. Good field vision and strong legs. I'm a fan but not enough to invest a draft pick.
Dolphins third-year receiver Roberto Wallace can make a name for himself on a receiver-starved team. Wallace (6-4, 222) had four receptions for 71 yards. Some additional strong showings might put him in significant conversation for regular playing time. There's no fantasy football draft value yet, but stay tuned.
The Giants don't use the tight end a ton, but it can be an effective weapon for them each week. Martellus Bennett has teased us for years in Dallas. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder has the size to be dangerous. He had three receptions for 27 yards, including a 12-yard score. He's worth a flier as a backup with upside.
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini serves as VP of technology for KFFL's parent company, USA TODAY SPORTS. Bonini was named the 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA and received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA. Follow @RyanBonini
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