2012 Fantasy Football: Preseason Fantasy Stock - Week 1
With preseason underway, there will be updates daily to this 2012 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock page. Games will be added as I watch them. Adjustments will be made on my 2012 Fantasy Football Rankings accordingly. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
DeMarco Murray had just two carries in the preseason opener. He failed to gain a single yard. Murray is really going to struggle this year behind Dallas' inept interior offensive line. The group, which was downgraded this offseason, as I noted constantly the past couple of months, really struggled at Oakland. Combine that with Murray's durability issues, and I would stay away from him in fantasy drafts because he's going way too early.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
Darren McFadden had just three touches in the preseason opener, but he looked great. He had a gain of 18 yards on a screen pass and then followed that up with a 16-yard rush. He can easily lead the league in rushing if he can stay healthy for a change.
Brian Quick, WR, Rams
Brian Quick had a disappointing debut. His one and only catch came from Kellen Clemens, which was a 9-yard slant. He was targeted only one other time.
Steve Smith, WR, Rams
Steve Smith could be a nice PPR option late in the draft. He saw more targets from Sam Bradford in the preseason opener than any other Ram (3). He caught two of them for 14 yards.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Andrew Luck went 10-of-16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns (along with a 9-yard scramble) in his debut. He was amazing. He showed great poise in the pocket, played mind games with the Rams' safeties and converted plenty of third downs, leading the Colts to three trips into the end zone in four possessions. Luck is a stud and is fully capable of posting low-end QB1 numbers as a rookie. Feel free to draft him as a high-upside backup.
Donald Brown, RB, Colts
Donald Brown was the recipient of Andrew Luck's 63-yard touchdown in the preseason opener. He had just two carries for two yards (one was a 5-yard loss in which the offensive line was blown up), but none of the other running backs stood out, so Brown should be able to keep his job.
LaVon Brazill, WR, Colts
Rookie receiver LaVon Brazill caught all three balls for 38 yards in his debut. He saw more targets from Andrew Luck than any other Colt, save for Austin Collie. Brazill isn't worth picking in re-draft leagues, but he should be added in dynasty and keeper formats.
Austin Collie, WR, Colts
Austin Collie was Andrew Luck's favorite target in the preseason opener, as he was thrown to more times (4) than any other Colt. Collie caught three of those balls for 45 yards and a touchdown. With Luck looking awesome, Collie is now very relevant in fantasy again.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
What a disappointing performance by Chris Johnson in the preseason opener. Seriously, what happened to all of that talk about focusing this year with a full offseason under his belt? Johnson dropped two screens and ran with zero decisiveness. This helped him on a wild 9-yard scamper, but he constantly danced around the line of scrimmage and couldn't find any running lanes behind his anemic offensive front. He finished with eight rushing yards on five carries. I'm willing to give Johnson another week to prove himself before I shoot him way down in my rankings. He's getting a slight reduction for now.
Nate Washington, WR, Titans
Matt Hasselbeck's favorite receiver in the preseason opener was Nate Washington; he targeted him four times. Washington caught three of those balls for 24 yards. He can be started as a WR3 or flex as long as Kenny Britt is injured and/or suspended.
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
Jake Locker seemed to like throwing to rookie wideout Kendall Wright, who caught all three targets thrown his way for 47 yards in the preseason opener. There's little doubt that Locker will be named the starter sometime soon, which bodes well for Wright's fantasy prospects.
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions
Make sure you get Kevin Smith on your fantasy roster. With Jahvid Best still suffering through concussion symptoms and Mikel Leshoure suspended, Smith will start for the Lions in the early part of the season. He looked great against the Browns, making nice cut-backs and displaying great shiftiness. Of course, it helped that he had outstanding run blocking in front of him, allowing him to rush for 28 yards on five carries.
Randy Bullock, K, Texans
Randy Bullock drilled both of his field goal attempts in the preseason opener, including one from 52 yards.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Cam Newton went just 2-of-6 for 17 yards with 16 rushing yards on two scrambles in the preseason opener. Houston's defense did a terrific job putting pressure on Newton; he constantly had defenders in his face and could only break free once for a 15-yard scamper. One of Newton's incompletions was a Mike Tolbert drop, but another was nearly intercepted because Brandon LaFell ran a sloppy route. Newton projects as a top-five fantasy quarterback because of his rushing potential, but his passing numbers diminished toward the end of the 2011 season, thanks in part to his anemic receiving corps. Newton can't rely on anyone except for Steve Smith, who may regress this year because of age. Don't be surprised if Newton suffers a sophomore slump.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
Jamaal Charles looked explosive in the exhibition opener. He seemed to have all of his burst, and he was also able to carry some defenders and move the pile. Charles had just three carries for 12 yards to go along with an 11-yard reception, but Romeo Crennel was probably limiting his workload so he could save him for the regular season.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs
Peyton Hillis played a big part in the Kansas City offense during the first two drives of the preseason opener. He rushed for 41 yards on four attempts and also caught an 11-yard touchdown. Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles split carries evenly two years ago, and it appears as though Hillis and Charles will have a 50-50 share of touches this season. Hillis definitely deserves a stock up.
Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Chiefs
It's really nice to see that Dexter McCluster is finally being utilized correctly. Stationed in the slot during the preseason opener, McCluster caught three balls for 45 yards. He was his explosive self, breaking big gains after catching the football. He could be worth drafting as a reserve, especially in a PPR league.
David Wilson, RB, Giants
David Wilson had a good showing in his debut. He rushed for 43 yards on seven carries, headlined by a 26-yard burst up the middle, thanks to outstanding blocking. Wilson broke some tackles on numerous touches, which includes his two catches for 26 receiving yards. Wilson is a good handcuff to own because of Ahmad Bradshaw's durability issues.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars
Maurice Jones-Drew is still holding out, which allowed Rashad Jennings to start against the Giants. He impressed, rushing for 56 yards on 12 carries. He didn't score, but he received touches inside New York's 5-yard line. Jones-Drew will eventually end his holdout, but Jennings is worth drafting late because he'll produce if given the chance.
Laurent Robinson, WR, Jaguars
Laurent Robinson led the tean with five targets from Blaine Gabbert in his debut with Jacksonville. That's the good news. The bad news is that he converted only one of those targets for seven yards. He just looked out of sync with Gabbert. For example, he ran the wrong route on one play. He was open on another, but Gabbert didn't see him. Avoid this guy in your fantasy draft.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Christian Ponder seemed most comfortable throwing to Kyle Rudolph. The second-year tight end caught two balls for 22 yards in the preseason opener. Rudolph was plagued by a hamstring injury last season but is now completely healthy. He should have a big year as Ponder's No. 2 target behind Percy Harvin.
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
Josh Freeman played just one drive in the preseason opener, but that's all he needed because he was able to lead his team down the field and into the end zone. Freeman went 4-of-5 for 41 yards. He was really sharp. It's still early, but it appears as though the undisclosed personal issues that plagued Freeman last year are history.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
Despite reports that Doug Martin was the star of Tampa's training camp, LeGarrette Blount drew the start in the preseason opener and didn't disappoint. Blount ran with great power and broke numerous tackles. He rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown (coming via 4th-and-goal at the 1) on seven carries. Blount even caught a 3-yard pass, though he did lose a third-down rep to Martin. Still, Blount's surprise performance puts him back on the fantasy radar.
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
It was a really disappointing turn of events in the preseason opener for Doug Martin fantasy owners. Martin has had the superior camp, but he watched LeGarrette Blount start and impress with several tough runs. Martin also performed exceptionally well, most notably gaining 10 yards after somehow cartwheeling and staying off the ground after being tackled. He finished with 21 yards on seven carries, as well as a 1-yard touchdown. Yes, Martin was used on the goal line, but only because Blount was already out of the game. Martin will be really useful in PPR leagues because he'll play on third down, but it appears as though his breakout season won't come to fruition, barring a Blount injury.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were partying in the preseason opener like it was 2010. In addition to LeGarrette Blount running really well, Mike Williams also appeared in shape. Williams saw two targets compared to Vincent Jackson's zero. He caught one of them, an 18-yarder in which he avoided the arms of the pathetic Sean Smith.
Chad Johnson, WR, Dolphins
Chad Johnson predictably flopped in the preseason opener. He saw just one target go his way - an easy catch on third down to move the chains - but he dropped it. Johnson is a bum and most likely will not make the roster. Don't draft him.
Anthony Fasano, TE, Dolphins
Anthony Fasano tied for the team lead in targets (Davone Bess) from Matt Moore in the preseason opener. New head coach Joe Philbin wants to incorporate the tight end more into the offense, so Fasano could have his best statistical season yet. He might be a decent TE2.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals
BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 22 yards on seven carries in the preseason opener. He's getting an up arrow for two reasons. First, he was the only back on the field with the first unit. And second, he was utilized on third down, catching a pass over the middle for a gain of 18 yards.
Robert Griffin, QB, Redskins
Robert Griffin went 4-of-6 for 70 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener, but every single pass he attempted should have been completed (two drops). Griffin showed great poise in the pocket. He went through all of his progressions and even forced the Bills offside on one occasion. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was watching a 5-year veteran.
Roy Helu, RB, Redskins
Roy Helu didn't see any action with the first-team offense in the preseason opener. He rushed the ball just four times for 17 yards, though it must be noted that he had two gains wiped out by penalties. It's not a good sign for Helu though because the coaching staff continues to believe that he's just a change-of-pace back. The coaches told the media that their concern with Helu is his inability to break through tackles. It doesn't look like they'll be changing their mind anytime soon.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins
Pierre Garcon appears to be Robert Griffin's favorite receiver. He saw four of Griffin's six attempts go his way, catching three of them for 58 yards and a touchdown in just one quarter of action of the preseason opener. It's a small sample size, but Griffin really seems to favor Garcon, so he definitely deserves a stock up arrow.
Scott Chandler, TE, Bills
Scott Chandler caught two balls for 32 yards in the preseason opener. He's worth noting for two reasons. First, he was targeted four times, which is more than any other Bill, save for Steve Johnson. And second, both of his grabs were really impressive, as he extended his arms way over his head and secured the ball despite taking a hit each time. Chandler's a decent backup tight end.
QB Eagles No. 7, QB, Eagles.
Something that Andy Reid didn't want to see in the preseason opener was an injury to his quarterback, but that's precisely what transpired. QB Eagles No. 7 (3-of-4, 6 yards) hit his hand on center Jason Kelce's helmet on the second drive and had to leave the game. The good news for Eagle fans is that x-rays came back negative. The bad news is that this was yet another reminder that QB Dog Killer will miss plenty of time this year because he's so fragile. Draft him at your own risk. I'm not touching him in the first eight rounds.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots
Stevan Ridley handled all of the first-team reps in the preseason opener. He ran really well, though it helped that he had terrific blocking in front of him. He rushed for 40 yards on eight carries. He didn't receive any goal-line opportunities, but only because the Patriots weren't in a position to score a close touchdown when he was on the field. He'll likely assume BenJarvus Green-Ellis' role as the goal-line hammer.
Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
Shane Vereen didn't play until the second half of the exhibition opener, but he was exceptional. He displayed great quickness and cutting ability, gaining 64 yards on 11 carries. He can serve as a dangerous weapon for Brady out of the backfield, so he needs to be on the field more often with the first-stringers. I can't imagine Bill Belichick keeping him sidelined for long. He's just way too talented.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Matt Ryan was on fire versus Baltimore's defense in the preseason opener. He went 9-of-13 for 155 yards, one touchdown and a pick in just one quarter of work. The interception was bad; he stared down Roddy White deep in Ravens' territory. He was flawless otherwise though and looked like he was made for Dirk Koetter's offense. Ryan is definitely right with Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers as one of the third-tier quarterbacks.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Even with all of the injuries, the greatest take-away in the Baltimore-Atlanta contest is Julio Jones' breakout performance. Jones is a stud. He's big and fast, and he makes unbelievable catches and breaks tackles. He led the team with seven targets, catching six of them for 109 yards and a touchdown. Keep in mind that Jones' numbers were in just one quarter of work. Just for fun, if those stats are expanded over a full game, that's 24 receptions, 436 yards and four scores. Jones could very well be the No. 2 fantasy wideout this season behind only Calvin Johnson.
Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
I thought Willis McGahee looked really good in Denver's preseason opener. He had just four carries (16 yards), but he seemed like he was in great shape. He could score a ton of short touchdowns this year if Manning's neck holds up.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
Alshon Jeffery had a really good debut. Playing with the second-string offense, he caught four balls for 35 yards. He also drew a pass-interference penalty. He should be able to break into the starting lineup sometime soon.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
As I posted on Twitter @walterfootball: "Ryan Mathews with a broken clavicle. Out for six weeks. Shocker. He's made out of glass."
Ronnie Brown, RB, Chargers
With Ryan Mathews out for six weeks, Ronnie Brown will be the opening-day starter. He's worth drafting around Round 10. Mathews will be back around Week 3, but he'll get hurt again. He always does.
Vincent Brown, WR, Chargers
Vincent Brown is a stud. He caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener. Most of this was in the second quarter from backup quarterback Jarrett Lee, but he definitely showed off his superior athleticism. It's just a matter of time before he's in the starting lineup ahead of Robert Meachem.
Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
Antonio Gates looks great. He's completely healthy for the first time in years. He caught both of his targets in his preseason debut, collecting 29 yards and a touchdown. He's bound to have a big season - until his annual injury, of course.
John Skelton, QB, Cardinals
John Skelton saw limited action in the Hall of Fame Game, but was much better than his counterpart, going 4-of-6 for 32 yards. There is no doubt that Skelton will be the starter at some point during the season. It needs to happen in Week 1.
Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
Michael Floyd made a really nice 15-yard reception in the Hall of Fame Game, but caught that from third-stringer Richard Bartel. He did nothing else, and he was clearly playing behind Andre Roberts. Floyd will pass Roberts eventually, but that may not happen until the middle of the season. Don't draft him as a fantasy sleeper.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
Mark Ingram ran really well in the Hall of Fame Game, gaining 14 yards on four carries. More importantly, he was used twice inside the 5-yard line, scoring from the 1. He's been going way too low in fantasy mock drafts - click the link to see a bunch of them - so try to target him around Round 6. He won't get too many carries because of Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, but it appears as though he'll be New Orleans' goal-line hammer. He could hit double-digit touchdowns.