Well, week 3 of the preseason is where we get the best look at the fantasy players from each team (if healthy) before the season. And while many people don’t like to use the preseason to impact their rankings, I feel this week is one of the best indicators you can find before your draft.
Packers vs. Colts
Well this was a hell of a game to watch. You usually don’t get to see quite so many sparks fly in the preseason, but with these two high powered offenses playing for around 3 quarters… It was bound to be a fun one to see. Since all the insanity with Favre and now Sidney Rice being out half the year I have to think the Packers are now the favorite to win their division. Rodgers looks like an MVP candidate so far, and Jennings has been much more active in the passing game than last year. He (Jennings) could rack up 1400 yards and 10 TDs no problem this year.
As for the Colts, no need to be concerned. They had some rough spots caused by, what seemed to me, deliberately pushing the limits of the new ball spotting system. I hope that the Reggie Wayne doubters have been paying attention, because I think he has had a VERY strong preseason and he will remain my number 3 WR. Garcon has done a good job separating himself from Collie and Gonzalez and in doing so he earned a bump in my rankings. Also I am starting to have some concerns about Addai. He is in a contract year, and the Colts drafted Donald Brown for a reason. I think if Addai misses just one game he will lose his job permanently to Brown. The Colts will not want to pay to re-sign a back in his decline.
Cowboys vs. Texans
It is no surprise that the offensive line is the biggest area of concern for the Cowboys offense this year, but even so, Romo spent too much time on his back this week. If they play this poorly during the season Romo will not be able to stay healthy. Austin and Witten will maintain their production through these issues, but I am concerned for Felix Jones who seems to get injured a lot as is.
Arian Foster became the first Houston Texan to break 100 yards rushing in a preseason game this week and moved up quite a bit in my ranks as it is becoming clear he will see the vast majority of the carries. Seeing Slaton back to return kicks shows that they don’t intend to use him like they used to by any means. Jacoby Jones also had a strong showing in this game, helping his cause for becoming the #2 guy over Kevin Walter.
Bears vs. Cardinals
So far this preseason we really hadn’t seen a glimpse of last year’s Jay Cutler, until this week that is. The bottom line is with this guy, is he is a gunslinger that makes some bad choices. You need to expect around 20 interceptions from Cutler this year but you can also expect 30 TDs and around 4,000 yards. Johnny Knox and Chester Taylor both looked very strong in this game as well but I don’t quite give anyone a bump in the rankings.
Oh Arizona… I thought you were finally going to be a good team, but now there are rumors flying around about them trading away Matt Leinart or cutting him altogether. It is definitely time to downgrade all the Cardinals in our rankings. Beanie Wells can’t be productive in an inconsistent offense that can’t convert on third downs and between the injury and the QB situation I am afraid that Fitzgerald will have a very bad season (at least by his standards). Tim Hightower is falling too far in the drafts that I have seen, he will still be their third down guy and if he is hot they will certainly not be afraid to let him get some carries.
Chiefs vs Eagles
First thing first, Jamaal Charles is fine, no worries for fantasy owners here. He is not supposed to miss any time in the regular season. After he left the game Thomas Jones did a great job filling in for him, but I still think he will be inconsistent behind a worse offensive line and might actually be more productive as the number 2 with fewer carries and hits taken. It was good to see Dwayne Bowe get involved a bit more too, he remains a sleeper of mine for the middle rounds.
I remain convinced that the success of the Eagles offense hinges on DeSean Jackson. So, it was not much of a surprise to me that they did not do well without him after he left very early. As with Charles, no concern here for fantasy owners… he will be back by week 1. LeSean McCoy ran well, but did not see a lot of carries. No adjustments to my rankings for any of these guys.
Other Notable Performances
LaDainian Tomlinson – Gotta start calling him a sleeper. Watching Hard Knocks may be tainting my reaction here, but I just keep hearing Rex Ryan say “I love being right”.