Preseason Week 2 Fantasy Recap
With the preseason halfway complete, we’ve seen a good degree of separation in a number of the training camp battles around the league. We’ve also seen some battles opened up due to injuries or general ineffectiveness.
Here’s where things stand heading into the third week of the preseason:
In Buffalo, an injury to rookie E.J. Manuel will cost him the rest of the preseason, which means Kevin Kolb, who also missed time to injury, will open the season as the starting quarterback. Don’t get carried away with your expectations, though. Manuel is the future for the franchise. He’ll be in the lineup sooner rather than later this season, especially if the Bills struggle as expected.
In Houston, Arian Foster was supposed to be the man at running back. But he’s been dealing with a back issue that is now causing him pain in his legs as well. That usually means there’s a disc issue, which isn’t good. Ben Tate is Foster’s backup
In Chicago, the Bears have been working Matt Forte in goal-line situations, giving him all three attempts thus far in the preseason. That’s excellent news for him. Michael Bush had handled a lot of those duties in 2012. If Forte, who has been a yardage and PPR stud, gets all or most of the short-yardage carries, bump his value up.
In Green Bay, running backs coach Alex Van Pelt raved about Eddie Lacy’s pass protection ability last week. That’s usually the final piece of the puzzle for rookie running backs and means that Lacy will in all likelihood be the man in Green Bay.
In San Francisco, the 49ers are still looking for wide receiver help and just traded for Kansas City’s Jon Baldwin. They dealt disappointing A.J. Jenkins. With Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham both out of action to open the season, Baldwin, who has been a disappointment in Kansas City, gets new life in San Francisco.
In New England, Kenbrell Thompkins continues to work with the first-team offense at wide receiver in New England. The undrafted rookie has been one of the surprises of New England’s training camp and is looking like a nice sleeper in 2013 with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Tight end Zach Sudfeld is also looking like a viable fantasy starter at tight end.
In New York, the Jets quarterback situation got a little more clear thanks to an ankle injury that sidelined rookie Geno Smith. Mark Sanchez hasn’t been great, but he’s the leader by default. Meanwhile, at running back, a hamstring injury has slowed Chris Ivory, opening the door for Bilal Powell to shine. Powell had seven carries for 68 yards last week.
In Baltimore, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson have done nothing to take the No. 2 receiver job away from Jacoby Jones, who hasn’t done much, either. The Ravens are thin enough at the position behind Torrey Smith that they decided to sign 37-year-old Brandon Stokley. But he’s little more than a No. 3 slot guy. Look for Jones to hold on as the starter.
In Cincinnati, the running back position didn’t open camp as a competition between BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Giovanni Bernard, but it’s certainly turned into one. Bernard has been the more dynamic runner in the preseason and adds more in the passing game. Look for Bernard to be the more valuable fantasy back, even if BGE handles short-yardage duties.
In Philadelphia, it should come as no surprise that Michael Vick has excelled in Chip Kelly’s offense. It suits him far better than immobile Nick Foles. Kelly hasn’t officially said it yet, but it would be a shock if Vick isn’t the starter. Meanwhile, in the battle for the No. 2 wideout spot opposite Desean Jackson, Jason Avant was far more active against Carolina last week than any of the others, catching a team-best four passes for 42 yards.
In St. Louis, Daryl Richardson has done nothing to lose the starting running back job to Isaiah Pead. In fact, if anything, he’s strengthened his hold on the job with Pead fumbling last week against Green Bay. Zac Stacy is still in the picture, but Richardson is the man, at least for now.
In Oakland, Matt Flynn continues to hold onto the starting job ahead of Terrelle Pryor. Flynn played the first half last week, with Pryor coming into the game in the second. It seems pretty cut and dried, even though an official starter has not been named.