NFL Preseason - Fantasy football thoughts: Week 2
August 20, 2012 @ 00:40:27 PDT
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I haven't been happy with Carson Palmer's completion percentage in the first two preseason games. He hit 13 of 24 passes for 107 yards and an interception against the Cardinals Friday. In his defense, the Raiders have struggled keeping their top receivers healthy.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert ripped apart the New Orleans D Friday. He finished the day hitting 13 of 16 passes for 112 yards and two short touchdowns, including a 16-yarder to rookie Justin Blackmon (4-48-1). He won't be on any of my fantasy teams this year, but it's encouraging to see progress out of him considering everyone has written him off for dead.
A week ago I was giddy over the play of Bucs runner LeGarrette Blount. He struggled against the Titans, managing just 11 yards on eight carries and hurt his groin in the process. Rookie Doug Martin, who seems to be running away with the starting gig, had seven carries for 23 yards. I'm still drafting him as a RB4 or RB5, but I'm less comfortable with it than I was a week ago and the injury doesn't help matters.
Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams found the end zone against the Raiders Friday, finishing with five carries for 25 yards and the score. Really need to see more out of him. He's a talented second-year back, but he's recovering from a significant knee injury that will likely prevent his throttle from every going full bore this year.
Christian Ponder had a good showing for the Minnesota Vikings. He hit 10 of 13 passes for 136 yards, including a short touchdown pass. He showed good mobility and control of the offense. Not really in fantasy conversation right now unless you're in the deepest of leagues, but I'm finding more room for optimism here.
Seattle receiver Terrell Owens dropped a 46-yard touchdown pass, which didn't do any favors for quarterback Matt Flynn. Flynn went Owens' direction five times, but none of the passes were completed. Flynn finished hitting 6 of 13 passes for 31 yards, but his numbers could have been a lot better had TO helped his cause.
Speaking of the Seahawks, rookie Russell Wilson continues to look sharp in the preseason. He hit 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards with two touchdowns. He also picked up 33 yards rushing on five attempts. He'll likely be the team's No. 2 quarterback, but it'll be interesting to see what kind of lease Flynn, who is projected to be the starter, has with the offense.
I have a hard time writing this, but Indy running back Donald Brown (6-30-1) has looked really sharp this preseason. He's picking his spots, hitting holes quickly and running stronger than I've seen in the past. Hat tip, Brown, keep it up. He has RB3 value written all over him if he continues strong.
I also liked what I saw out of Chicago rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery (3-62-0). The big guy (6-3, 216) showed some sound moves after the catch. He's a reserve option for your team, but his ceiling just went up a couple of notches.
Raiders receiver Rod Streater (7-43-0) is this year's Denarius Moore. He led the team in receiving and it wasn't even close. Jacoby Ford (ankle) is injured again. Shocker. Moore can't even get on the field. Streater could see a chance for ample playing time this year if he keeps up the strong preseason and training camp. I'm not buying ... yet.
Randy Moss had three catches for 24 yards and saw enough work with the 49ers first-string offense. I still worry this offense isn't the style that will work to Moss' favor as he tries to resurrect his career. I just feel the opportunities for consistent success won't be there on a run-dominated offense.
I was high on Jake Locker last year; at one point I said he had the brightest future of all of the QBs taken last year (maybe I shouldn't admit that considering how good Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have looked?) and a big part of me still agrees with that. I dig the Titans let him start versus the Bucs, but I really expected to see a LOT more out of him. He made some bad decisions, including one horrible, cross-body throw that resulted in a pick. He finished 4 of 11 for 21 yards with the INT. Matt Hasselbeck didn't do much, but was effective in a game-manager role by hitting 4 of 5 passes for 29 yards in limited play. UPDATE: The Titans, however, apparently saw enough out of Locker in practice because he has been named their Week 1 starter. He's no better than a mid-range No. 2 fantasy quarterback in my mind right now and he's going to have his bumps in the road.
I'm still looking for some statement plays from Jonathan Baldwin, of the Chiefs. He had one catch on three targets, but also lost a fumble. With Dwayne Bowe back from his holdout, I'm hoping to see Baldwin really show he's capable of being the primary target in this passing game. He's available incredibly late in drafts, so his risk remains low.
If the Detroit coaching staff is reading (as they should be, of course), please let Joique Bell run with the first-string offense one day. He consistently looks like a beast in the preseason against backup defenses.
Kirk Cousins looked really good for the Redskins. He hit 18 of 23 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but don't expect his strong showing against the Bears to alter the depth chart for the Redskins any time soon. This is Robert Griffin III's team. Griffin didn't look nearly as sharp. He hit 5 of 8 passes for 49 yards and also lost a fumble.
In two preseason games, I still haven't seen what I wanted to out of Robert Meachem with the Chargers. He was the target of two passes from Philip Rivers against Cowboys, with one of them being intercepted. I was a huge fan of Meachem in New Orleans, but his less than dependable hands have lessened my interest. He'll have some huge games with the Chargers; I just also see a lot of inconsistency. I'll give him one more week to change my opinion.
Sam Bradford showed more signs of life, which is a good thing while he rebuilds his confidence. He hit 6 of 9 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs, including a 23-yarder to second-year tight end Lance Kendricks. Bradford was high on the radar for many last year, but is largely ignored this year, which might end up being a mistake.
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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