Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Recap
The camp and preseason battles have pretty much taken shape now, just in time for most fantasy leagues to hold their drafts.
Here are some of the last-minute changes you should take note of.
In Detroit, an injury to the right ankle of would-be starting running back Kevin Smith has opened the door for Keiland Williams to pick up the slack. Mikel Leshoure is suspended for the first two weeks of the season, meaning Williams could be a sneaky pickup in late rounds – particularly if you are waiting for Maurice Jones-Drew to report or Adrian Peterson to work his way into full game shape.
In Tampa Bay, rookie Doug Martin looks to have won the starting job with a 53-yard effort on 13 carries against the Patriots. Martin also had three receptions, something LeGarrette Blount wouldn’t have provided, anyway. Martin could wind up being a decent No. 2 running back in PPR leagues, provided Blount doesn’t vulture his touchdowns.
Speaking of the Patriots, it looks like Stevan Ridley will be the starting running back over Shane Vereen. Of course, Bill Belichick can be maddening with the way he uses his running backs, but if you must have a New England back, Ridley is the guy to have.
In Jacksonville, Rashad Jennings should be moving up your board with Maurice Jones-Drew still holding out. At this point, even if MJD does report, he would likely share carries with Jennings at first. If MJD starts missing games, Jennings could have some nice value.
In Arizona, it appears Ryan Williams will be more valuable to own than Beanie Wells. Williams has more speed than Wells, who also can’t seem to stay healthy. Williams is no sure thing either, but he’s better than Wells. The team has yet to name a starting quarterback between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb. Perhaps the answer is none of the above. But with one preseason game remaining, the Cardinals are the only team without a starter in place. The best guess is that Kolb will be the starter, but the coaching staff won’t be married to that decision. Draft accordingly.
In Pittsburgh, I’ve been told that even though Rashard Mendenhall has been activated off the PUP list, that is for practice purposes only. The Steelers don’t expect him to contribute until after their bye in Week 4. But he was ready to practice, so they activated him. Isaac Redman will still be the starter, but keep an eye on Jonathan Dwyer, who has looked good this preseason both running and catching the ball, particularly since Redman has been nicked up all preseason. Even when Mendenhall comes back, he won’t carry a full load.
In Buffalo, it doesn’t appear that C.J Spiller will eat into Fred Jackson’s carries too much. The Bills will use Spiller as a receiver and running back and get him his touches in that fashion. Jackson will get 20 touches per game.
In Oakland, with placekicker Sebastian Janikowski now down with a groin injury, rookie Eddy Carmona is the only healthy kicker the Raiders have on the roster. If Janikowski is going to miss serious time, the Raiders could look for veteran help.
Editor's Note: Raiders HC Dennis Allen just came out and said Janikowski's injury is "no big deal" and he should be good to go for Week 1.
In Detroit, keep an eye on Titus Young moving into the No. 2 spot behind Calvin Johnson ahead of inconsistent Nate Burleson. Young had 84 targets last season as a rookie, resulting in 48 catches and six TDs. He’ll likely get 120 or so targets this year. You can do the math.
In Seattle, Russell Wilson has surprisingly won the starting quarterback job – at least for now. The Seahawks gave Matt Flynn $10 million in guaranteed money this offseason, but Wilson won out. Wilson doesn’t have great size, but he could be RGIII light. There will be some rookie struggles, though.
In New York, veteran kicker Josh Brown is out, having been beaten out by incumbent kicker Nick Folk. Given the Jets’ trouble getting into the end zone in this preseason, Folk could get quite a few field goal chances.
In Baltimore, Billy Cundiff is out as the Ravens’ kicker. The Ravens are handing the job to rookie Justin Tucker. In his two full seasons as Baltimore’s kicker, Cundiff had 29 and 37 field goal attempts, so Tucker could be busy.
In Washington, Neil Rackers got the axe on Monday, meaning the Redskins will go with Graham Gano as their placekicker again this season. Gano was 31 of 41 in 2011. The running back position got a little more clouded – thanks Mike Shanahan – with Tim Hightower coming back against Indianapolis from his knee injury that had kept him out of the preseason. Hightower had 28 yards on five carries as both Evan Royster and Roy Helu sat out with injuries. You can now also throw Alfred Morris into the mix. Morris’ biggest advantage? He’s healthy. But Royster is expected to be ready to go in the opener and has gotten the most work this preseason.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter