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Sunday, August 17, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL PRESEASON WEEK 2 WRAPUP: SATURDAY

                                                   

Tons of games to discuss as fantasy football 2014 gets closer and closer. 

-Lots was made yesterday.....and rightly so.....when Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles compared tight end Zach Ertz to Rob Gronkowski.  Minus the injuries of course.  Anytime an upstart player gets compared to a monster fantasy football producer at his position, it is a take notice moment.  We have talked all summer about the sleeper status of Ertz which has done nothing but explode since the games started as he has grabbed 6 passes and a score while serving as the prime red zone receiver for the explosive Eagles offense.  That of course is much the same way the Patriots have always used Gronk, with Brady pairing up with his favorite receiver for massive touchdown production.  Ertz is truly the breakout of all breakouts among tight ends this season and the public is catching on.  His draft price has skyrocketed since July and will likely continue to do so.  He is worth the long look.

-It looks like the worst fears for Le'Veon Bell owners is being realized as both he and LeGarrett Blount were listed as co-starters for their game Saturday night.  And things got only worse as Blount handled the short-yardage and goal-line work, while Bell was used primarily between the 20's.  This is nothing but awful news for Bell and his fantasy football production and certainly unexpected since he scored touchdowns at a very nice slip as a rookie.  Downgrading Bell is the only way to go in standard formats, as this pushed him down from a clear 1 to a low end 2.  Bell remains viable in PPR formats due to his receiving ability of which Blount has none but even there he sees some erosion in expected numbers.  Not good.

-On the flip side of the Bell situation, Cincinnati Bengals second-year man RB Giovani Bernard answered some questions about his goal-line prowess Saturday night as he scored from the goal-line doorstep against a very tough interior New York Jets defensive line.  It certainly helped that rookie bruiser Jeremy Hill exited with a shoulder injury.  Overall Bernard rushed for 22 yards on 7 carries and the score while also making one catch for six yards.  If Bernard can do the Matt Forte 2013 Leap To Goal-Line Production, than a monster season will be in play.  Remember that in the 2014 Fantasy Sports Boss Draft Guide, Bernard was the guy I said was the most likely back to take the leap to top five overall guy. 

-All fantasy football owners of Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan could not be happy seeing LT Sam Baker carted off with a knee injury.  After seeing how besieged by the pass rush Ryan was a year ago and how it didn't allow him to throw down the field at times, the last thing the Falcons need is more offensive line issues.  The team did beef up that part of the team in the offseason, drafting college star tackle Jake Matthews who will shift to the left side if Baker needs to miss games.  Something to watch. 

-Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice had X-rays done on his injured shoulder late Saturday night that came back negative.  Bernard Pierce is slated to be the starter the first two games when Rice is suspended and could earn a chunk of the work even after if he plays well. 

-Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo answered a lot of questions in the affirmative during his preseason debut Saturday night, completing 4-of-5 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown to Dez Bryant.  Altogether Bryant caught three of Romo's throws and that connection could be among the most potent in the NFL this season.  The best sign is that Romo didn't seem inhibited at all with his throws in returning from back surgery and his fantasy football value has been grossly underrated for years.  With new pass-loving OF Scott Linehan in town, Romo and Bryant should both have significant seasons.

-Buffalo Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins was a guy I told you all not to draft this season and in fact sided with Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans, and even Kelvin Benjamin over him when it came to possibly 2014 production.  As talented and athletically gifted as Watkins is, he can't throw the football to himself.  QB E.J. Manuel is among the worst starting QB's in the NFL and the bad weather in Buffalo won't help either.  Nothing but a WR 4 in my opinion for the entirety of the season.

-Aaron Rodgers is still good.  The Green Bay gunslinger completed 11-of-13 throws for 128 yards and a score as he looked like he was toying with the St. Louis Rams.  Rodgers only has to stay healthy for his monster numbers to return.  There is solid risk with Rodgers due to his annually awful protection but he is the clear number 3 guy behind Peyton Manning and Drew Brees since he doesn't toss the ball as often as those two.
 

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