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Sunday, August 24, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL PREASEASON WEEK 3 WRAPUP: MATT RYAN/DREW BREES READY FOR SEASON

                                                        
 
-Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was completely locked in during his final preseason tune-up Saturday night as he completed 18-of-23 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Ryan carved up the Tennessee Titans with little difficulty and it was very encouraging that he had time to throw given the fact LT Sam Baker was lost for season last week.  Altogether Ryan finished the preseason completing 28-of-37 for 314 yards and two touchdowns with no picks.  I have spoken very highly of Ryan the last few years and remain very bullish on him for 2014 due to the explosive weapons at his disposal and for having the pass-loving Dirk Kotter as his OC.  With Ryan having the Saints in Week 1 and their shaky secondary, he should be in position to get off to a solid start.

-Despite missing the first two preseason games with an oblique injury, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees didn't miss a beat Saturday as he completed 9-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.  Showing no signs of the injury, Brees fired scoring strikes to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham.  Colston remains underrated as many have starter moving away from him due to turning 30 but Brees will likely focus in on him and Graham more than any other receiver in the offense.  Brees is likely the only QB in fantasy football who could finish as the number 1 scorer in the game over Peyton Manning.

-Knowshon Moreno opened eyes in his first action of the preseason with the Miami Dolphins Saturday as he rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries despite Lamar Miller getting the start.  The caveat is that his work came against the awful Dallas Cowboys defense.  Still Moreno is more talented than Miller and he should eventually end up with the majority of work before too long.  He just has to stay in shape and stay healthy which has been a challenge in his career.

-It was more of the miserable same for Colts RB Trent Richardson who rushed for only 14 yards on 4 carries Saturday.  For the preseason Richardson is now averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry which he did for all of 2013 as well.  This honestly can't go on much longer when it comes to Richardson as the worst starting running back in football and that means Ahmad Bradshaw has to start taking on more appeal. 

-Julio Jones was the best wide receiver by a wide margin the first month of 2013 before another broken foot finished him off early.  While the injury risk is as high as it is for any big name player in the game, Jones looks ready to build off of that September as he scored a 52-yards catch./run against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.  Jones for the game caught two balls for 63 yards and the one touchdown but the biggest development is that he is healthy from what we can see.  There is extremely high upside here and Jones is well worth the risk again.

-Potentially big problem for Zac Stacy owners as Benny Cunningham got the start in the all-important third preseason game.  This could be an indictment over the awful summer Stacy has had as he is averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry after gaining only 11 yards on 5 carries during the game.  Meanwhile Cunningham has averaged more than 5.0 yards a carry and seems the much better option at this point.  While we won't jump to conclusions yet and say a change is being made, this bears big time watching over the next week or so to see if the pecking order has been muddled.  After the game Fisher poured some cold water on the situation in saying he just wanted to see how Cunningham would be with the starters.  Still the fact he even wanted to take a look there is telling. 

-Mark Ingram is begging to be a factor this season in fantasy football after three washout years prior.  Ingram is averaging over 7.0 yards a carry as he gained 4 yards on only 8 carries Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts.  Ingram has even scored on a touchdown catch this season after he was a virtual nobody in the passing game after being drafted.  Right now one has to think Ingram is set for a nice increase in work this season given what we have seen and his value in standard formats is growing quickly.
 
-Matt Prater getting suspended for four games due to a banned substance gives us the rare chance to discuss a kicker in fantasy football terms.  Prater and the New England Patriots' Stephen Gostowski are the top two rated kickers this season from this peanut stand and the Broncos veteran missing four games is a bit of a problem for his owners.  Chief among them are holding a roster spot for Prater for a month before he returns.  His points total is tremendous in the Broncos offense so you can't just cut him loose but again holding two kickers on a rosters is a terrible way to manage it.  Tough call.
 
-Already a popular sleeper going into the season, Emmanuel Sanders all of a sudden could see his value go through the rook due to the latest concussion hitting Wes Welker.  With Welker now likely to miss at least a few weeks and maybe more (more on this in an Injury Fallout piece later), Sanders would move to the slot in his place and see a boatload of catches from Peyton Manning.  Sanders gave a glimpse of this Saturday by catching five balls for 128 yards and two big touchdowns.  It was a heck of a debut for sure and gives an idea of what Sanders could do with Welker out.  I already did a sleeper post on Sanders earlier in the summer and with Welker's injury it is probably a good idea to push up the numbers. 

There you have it.  As always let us hear what you think about what went on.

 

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