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Saturday, August 23, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL PRESEASON WRAPUP: WEEK 3

                                                          
 
The all-important third preseasons games took place around the league Friday as starter's played into the third quarter in their highest number of snaps this summer.  Let's see how they did.
 
-Seattle Seahawks WR Percy Harvin has remained healthy this summer and that is always the biggest hurdle for the speedy wideout.  Harvin caught three passes for 61 yards, to go along with a 46-yard kickoff return during the team's game Friday against the Chicago Bears.  While the Seahawks don't throw the football as much as other teams, Harvin figures to be heavily involved all over the field with his highest value coming in PPR formats.  Projections have been all over the map this summer but if Harvin can scratch out at least 14 games, 80 catches is possible for over 1,000 yards and 5-7 scores.
 
-Speaking of the Seahawks, Russell Wilson continues to defy his height as the Super Bowl champion comes off a nearly flawless preseason.  Wilson completed 15-of-20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns Friday to go along with four rushes for 23 more yards.  Coming off a 28-TD season and with a minimum of turnovers to his name, Wilson is clearly in the QB-picture.  However I have downgraded more than most due to the fact the Seahawks remain one of the biggest run-heavy teams in the NFL and Wilson in turn doesn't throw the football nearly as much as some of the other QB's in his draft tier.  That puts a ton of pressure on Wilson to replicate last season's 28 TD's which is possible but also a bit shaky.  Still Wilson does give you bonus stats on the ground so really it comes down to personal preference. 
 
-Lots of talk going around whether or not Alshon Jeffery could take over the number 1 receiving spot in the Chicago Bears passing offense over Brandon Marshall.  Marshall caught 4 balls on 7 throws Friday while Jeffery saw 8 throws and 4 catches from Jay Cutler.  Jeffery clearly is the downfield guy and the better red zone option while Marshall is the best possession receiver in football.  Cutler and Marshall the best chemistry of any QB-WR in the NFL so the latter should still come close to 100 catches like usual while Jeffery inches toward 90 with more yardage possibly.  Either way feel lucky if you own either guy.
 
-Speaking of Cutler, not his best night which is understandable coming against Seattle.  He threw a pick and failed to toss a touchdown pass but overall Cutler was overall sharp this summer.  We have been waiting for Cutler to explode for years but my goodness does he have sleeper value this season with Jeffery and Marshall as his wideouts, to go along with Matt Forte out of the backfield.  Overall Cutler went as a backup guy in single-QB formats and in that scenario he could be a huge value.
 
-It was the second half of 2013 all over again for Julian Edelman on Friday as the slot dynamo caught 8 passes for 99 yards.  Both Aaron Dobson and Rob Gronkowski missed the game which is why Edelman was targeted so much but even with a fully healthy stable of receivers, the speedy wideout should be a lock for 90 catches as Tom Brady clearly loved throwing to him.  PPR gold.
 
-Chad Henne was officially named the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting QB late Friday as was Geno Smith of the New York Jets.  No surprises in either development.  Rookie Blake Bortles outplayed Henne this preseason but the coaching staff wants to shield their prized draft pick for the time being.  Meanwhile Smith was solid but unspectacular against the New York Giants on Friday and remains one of the lowest-rated starters in football in single-QB formats.
 
-Running the football has never been the problem for New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley as he picked up 28 yards on 8 carries Friday night.  The biggest storyline is that Ridley did not fumble and with rookie James White doing little, the veteran should be locked into his starter's role.  Ridley is right in the realm of Alfred Morris when it comes to having value in standard but a whole lot less in PPR.
 
-Speaking of PPR, Shane Vereen is going to be a potential monster in that format as he showed Friday night when he caught 5 balls for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns while also rushing for 18 yards on 6 carries.  Vereen is going to be heavily involved in the passing attack and so some running as well.  All he has to do is stay on the field which has been a decent problem for him in the past.
 
-Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings will both have their chances to pick up numbers in the New York Giants offense this season.  The rookie Williams was good against the tough New York Jets defense Friday in rushing for 49 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.  Meanwhile Jennings picked up 67 yards on 13 carries of his own and overall the veteran will be a solid PPR bet as well due to his receiving ability of which Williams has little. 
 
-Victor Cruz finally caught a pass on Friday night after being shut out in the team's previous three games.  Overall Cruz hauled in 4 balls for 61 yards.  You figure Cruz should be very good in the new West Coast offense for the Giants but clearly there are kinks that need to be worked out.  A slow start could be possible.
 
-Starting to think Carolina Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin could have an Anquan Bolding-like rookie season.  Now he may not catch 100-plus balls like Boldin did that season for the Arizona Cardinals as a second-round pick but clearly Cam Newton is already locked into his new receiver toy.  Benjamin caught 5 balls for 47 yards Friday night and with the Panthers lacking any semblance of help there, more of that is likely to be on tap. 
 
-Maurice Jones-Drew has looked spry this summer as he rushed for 45 yards and a score on only 3 carries Friday.  He is slated to start ahead of Darren McFadden and has some low end RB 2 value in PPR formats.  Still age is a big question here as Jones-Drew looked like a shell of his former self a season ago.
 
-Ton Brady is ready to go as he completed 17-of-21 passes Friday night for two touchdowns.  We have seen Brady's fantasy football value drop to the point he is being picked as a backup in some leagues this season off a 26-TD campaign but again the Patriots never had anyone healthy for him in 2013.  With everyone back and healthy for the time being, Brady could easily sail past the 30-TD mark again with little effort.  Great value potential which is nuts to say about Brady no matter how old he is.
 
 

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