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Saturday, August 29, 2015

FANTASY FOOTBALL THIRD PRESEASON GAME WRAPUP: T.J. YELDON WORKS AS WORKHORSE BACK

Third preseason games are always the ones to focus on the most as these are dress rehearsals for the real thing in Week 1.  Let's get right to the news:

-After hardly playing the first two games, the Jacksonville Jaguars unleashed rookie back T.J. Yeldon with the starters Friday night.  Yeldon struggled as he ran for only 10 yards on 8 carries but he did score a touchdown and catch a pass.  The former Alabama star has been plagued by a finger injury in camp and looked tentative and rusty with the football.  Still the positives to take out of this is that Yeldon was used as the workhorse back and stayed in on third downs.  Yeldon has the ability to be a terrific PPR guy as he can catch the football and he figures to make hay in standard formats as well since he has the size to be the goal0-line runner.  Denard Robinson looks more like a complement which means Yeldon is worth drafting as a RB 2.

-The New England Patriots signed Reggie Wayne due to the fact they might have to place Brandon LaFell on PUP with his ongoing foot injury.  LaFell is still not close to returning as the Pats look like they will begin the season with Wayne joining Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in three receiver sets. 

-The story of the summer has been the spectacular play of Detroit Lions rookie running back Zach Zenner who locked up a roster spot with his terrific outing Friday night.  Zenner ran for 85 yards and a score on only 8 carries, showing the decisive cuts and burst he has shown all summer long.  He has now averaged almost 6-and-a-half yards per carry and also has caught 6 passes in preseason games.  Joique Bell and fellow rookie Amid Abdullah are ahead of him on the depth chart but Zenner is almost forcing the Lions to have a role for him.  I don't think Zenner is worth picking up right now but he absolutely deserves to be watched from here on out.

-Golden Tate is showing that his career year in 2014 was not based solely on Calvin Johnson's injury last season.  Tate caught three passes for 91 yards and a score Friday night, which was his second score of the summer.  While this is encouraging work by Tate, Megatron is still the major top dog in the Lions passing attack. We all know how fragile Johnson is however so Tate is well worth drafting as a solid WR 2 with the upside to be a 1 if his counterpart gets hurt. 

-Without Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton almost has to force the football to tight end Greg Olsen.  Olsen caught 6 balls for 51 yards Friday night.  Rookie WR Devin Funchess will be force fed into the passing game this season but Olsen will be targeted as heavily as any tight end in the game this season.  90 receptions is very possible. 

-Jeremy Maclin is a popular bust candidate this season now that he has left the potent Chip Kelly offense and has a very long history of injuries.  However Maclin seems intent on writing his own narrative as he caught 7 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown Friday night.  QB Alex Smith clearly loves his new receiving toy and it looks like Maclin is primed to make good on his WR 2 draft status.  I always worry about the injuries but even I have to conceded that I am impressed with the way he is being used and is playing right now. 

-The New England Patriots seem like they will give the old Shane Vereen pass catching duties to Brandon Bolden this season, while Jonas Gray handles the running.  Obviously you have to know your league settings before investing in either one with Gray being for standard leagues and Bolden for PPR.  Consider this a minor knock on LeGarrette Blount. 

-Kirk Cousins will start Saturday for the Washington Redskins as Robert Griffin III is still in the concussion protocol.  If this continues on any longer, the Redskins might have no choice but to turn to Cousins going into the season.  Either way you want to avoid this scenario altogether. 



 

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