NFL Preseason - Fantasy football thoughts: Week 2

      August 20, 2012 @ 00:40:27 PDT

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Fantasy football drafts are ongoing across the nation and the NFL Preseason's second week of action is largely put to bed. Starters saw more snaps this week than they did a week ago, but most didn't play too much into the second quarter.

Next week will help answer more questions, as most starting lineups will play into the third. While starters remained limited, there was plenty of solid football action to enjoy -- and, more importantly, plenty of thoughts to come away with.

If you missed my fantasy football thoughts from the first week of preseason play, you can access them here.

Here's what caught my attention from a fantasy football perspective during the second week of NFL action:

I'm buying

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan continues to shine in preseason

Matt Ryan (18 of 21, 174 yards, one touchdown) finds his way in this category for the second consecutive week. He looked sharp against the Cincinnati Bengals and its obvious the Atlanta Falcons aren't going to be shy about putting the ball in the air early and often. He's moving up my fantasy football draft board and he should be moving up yours, too.

My fears around Jamaal Charles and his surgically repaired knee are just about over. He looked close to his old self once again, rushing for 17 yards on three carries. He's going to split time with Peyton Hillis (5-11-1), who continues to look pretty solid behind the Kansas City offensive line. There should be enough rushing attempts between these two for them both to be fantasy relevant each week.

Jay Cutler looked good slinging the pigskin for the Chicago Bears. Hitting 7 of 13 passes, Cutler threw for 122 yards. His chemistry with receiver Brandon Marshall is as sound as ever; really looking forward to seeing these two play this season. Cutler is a high-end QB2 entering the year; if the offensive line can keep him upright (and the Bears did a good job hiding their deficiencies here against the Redskins) he should play to QB1 potential.

Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden has looked so explosive in his first two preseason games. I'm almost giddy about his potential ... then I remember he's going to limp off the field any second now. I'm all in on DMC this year, but every part of me knows I'm going to regret it around Week 8. He finished with 34 yards on nine carries and added a 17-yard reception.

Toby Gerhart looked good for a second consecutive week for the Minnesota Vikings. He's running strong and seeing the field well. I'm not buying the whole Adrian Peterson (knee) will be close to 100 percent for Week 1 thing....

Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck didn't have the same showing against a tough Pittsburgh D that he did against the Rams in the first preseason game, but the numbers weren't that bad -- he finished hitting 16 of 25 passes for 175 with two picks and rushed once for a questionable 1-yard touchdown. He still pushed the ball down field aggressively, largely made good decisions with the football (one of the picks was on the receiver, not Luck) and showed good control of the offense. I'm OK with the growing pains; this guy is going to be a special quarterback quickly.

Andy Dalton (8/14, 125 yards, one touchdown) looked sharp and showed nice touch on some deep balls. He hit A.J. Green, another guy I can't have on enough fantasy football teams this year, on a nice 50-yard touchdown and just over-shot him on another at the back of the end zone. He's still QB2 material, but I'm seeing strides as he enters his second year.

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (10-46-2) looked strong running on the outside against the Bucs Friday. Part of it was Johnson, part of it was a bad Buccaneers run D; either way, it's encouraging to see the Titans using Johnson in space. With the lack of feature backs, Johnson is definitely back in RB1 conversation and should bounce back this year.

Calvin Johnson (5-111-1) is simply amazing, but you should already know that. He and quarterback Matthew Stafford are very much on the same page again. The two hooked up on a pretty 57-yard reception and followed it shortly later with a well timed 18-yard touchdown. As John Madden would say: Boom! If you were to ever take a receiver in the first half of the first round, he's the only guy I wouldn't argue with.

I recently listed Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (3-43-0) as one of my six receivers to target late in fantasy football drafts. He had some big catches Friday. The dude is simply fun to watch; he hurdled yet another defensive back. Once his suspension is over, he's going to be a key part of this offense. Snag him as your WR4 or WR5.

Greg Olsen (2-33-0) is largely ignored in fantasy football drafts, which is a mistake. Snag him as your TE2. Remember, Jeremy Shockey isn't in town anymore and Ben Hartsock isn't going to compete for a lot of targets.

Andre Johnson is healthy (for now) and it showed Saturday, as he caught two passes for 49 yards, including a 43-yard reception. He looked like the Johnson of old. You know, the dominating healthy Johnson who isn't always limping off the field. Hopefully it stays that way.

Word has it that Drew Brees guy is pretty good. He looked the part again Friday, which should be the norm regardless of the day this year. In limited play, he just hit 10 of 13 passes for 133 yards and an 8-yard score to Devery Henderson (4-31-1). Yup, he's still QB1 material in your fantasy football draft.

Reggie Wayne won't be a sexy pick in your fantasy football draft, but the veteran will be one that largely outplays his draft position. The Colts are going to pass a lot under rookie Andrew Luck, and Wayne is going to be on the receiving end of many of them. The Colts were moving him around versus Pittsburgh and Luck is already has chemistry with No. 87.

Bears runner Michael Bush (5-21-2) had two rushing touchdowns against Washington. The first was a 1-yard plunge. The second was a nifty 8-yard run, where Bush showed he can be elusive in addition to being a power back. Look for him to see the strong majority of the rushing scores and short-yardage work for the Bears, which limits the value of Matt Forte.

Broncos running back Willis McGahee looked strong again, rushing for 28 yards on eight carries, including a 1-yard touchdown. Don't ignore him on draft day.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub looked healthy and pushed the ball downfield. This offense has the potential to be one of the most balanced and dangerous in the league and Schaub is often overlooked during fantasy football drafts.

In the rare kicker comment: David Akers hit three field goals, including two from at least 50 yards out. It's rare I advocate taking a kicker earlier than the tail end of a fantasy draft, but I'm not afraid to go kicker a little earlier -- not a lot earlier, mind you -- than normal for Akers.

Which situations and players do we need to see more out of? Read on to find out....

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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

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.

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