So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
2012 Fantasy Football: Preseason Fantasy Stock - Week 3
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.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
Jonathan Stewart was carted off with an ankle injury in the first half at New York. He'll probably be out several weeks.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
DeAngelo Williams struggled against the Jets. He rushed for 28 yards on seven carries, but fumbled twice. He also dropped a pass. Despite this, he's getting a stock up because Jonathan Stewart suffered an ankle injury. Stewart's ankle twisted scarily when he was tackled by LaRon Landry. He then had to be carted into the locker room. X-rays were negative, but I suspect that Stewart will be out for several weeks. Williams has suddenly become an intriguing fantasy RB3 option.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
Michael Crabtree was the only Niner to see more than one target from Alex Smith against the Broncos, catching all three of them for 21 yards. It was a small sample size, but it's an indication that Smith still prefers throwing to him over anyone else despite all of the additions the front office made this offseason. Miguel Lobsterbush is going really late in fantasy drafts, so he provides some good value in the double-digit rounds.
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
Manning finished 10-of-12 for 122 yards and two touchdowns in just one quarter of work versus San Francisco. He had just one true misfire; the other was a Joel Dreessen drop. It must be noted that the 49ers were missing some key defensive personnel, but it was still encouraging to see Manning bounce back after getting hit hard. He responded with a completion to Willis McGahee and an ensuing touchdown to Eric Decker. There's still a bit of a concern about if his neck can hold up the whole season, but Manning can be drafted as a lower-end QB1. The problem is that he's being taken much earlier than that. He went in the fourth round of one of my fantasy drafts this past weekend, which is just way too early.
Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
Willis McGahee reported to training camp in great shape, and that has carried over to the field in the preseason. McGahee ran with great burst and strength, rushing for 27 yards on seven carries and catching a 14-yard pass. Thanks to a very pedestrian fantasy running back corps, McGahee projects as a solid RB2.
Eric Decker, WR, Broncos
Though he was guilty of his usual drops against the 49ers, Eric Decker gets a stock up. Peyton Manning was very sharp, opting to go to Decker twice in the end zone. Decker finished with four catches for 38 yards and the two scores.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos
Everyone seems to be drafting Jacob Tamme, but Peyton Manning has been throwing to Joel Dreessen more often this preseason. Both tight ends will cancel each other out, meaning neither will be a dependable fantasy starter.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
Despite missing Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin-Jones, Tony Romo was perfect against the Rams. Literally perfect. He went 9-of-13 for 198 yards and two touchdowns in just one quarter of action. A pair of his incompletions were dropped (John Phillips, Kevin Ogletree), while the other two were thrown away. Romo hit wideout Dwayne Harris for touchdown bombs of 61 and 38 yards. He's firmly locked in as a third-tier fantasy quarterback, alongside Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and perhaps Philip Rivers.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
DeMarco Murray looked really good in the third preseason game, albeit against the Rams. He rushed for 26 yards on five carries and also had two catches for 16 receiving yards. Murray would be a first-round pick if he didn't have such an extensive injury history.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
Mikel Leshoure actually saw most of the first-half action at Oakland, rushing five times but for only one yard and catching a pass for six receiving yards. The numbers stink, but it's still encouraging that he was actually able to suit up and take some hits. And besides, Leshoure's meager 0.2 YPC still dwarfed the injured Kevin Smith's zero (3 carries, 0 yards).
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions
Kevin Smith suffered an injury to his right ankle in the third quarter - the same body part that kept him out of several games last year. X-rays were negative, but this is still a huge concern, especially considering that Mikel Leshoure played well ahead of him in this contest.
Taiwan Jones, RB, Raiders
Taiwan Jones spelled Darren McFadden and then received a bunch of touches once McFadden was pulled against the Lions. It was astonishing how fast he was; he blazed for 50 yards on 10 carries. He should be heavily considered as a McFadden handcuff because he'll be a big producer if given the chance.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
Darren McFadden received most of the carries in a quarter and a half of action. He showed great burst whenever he had running room and was given all of the carries at the goal line. He was stuffed inside the Detroit 2-yard line twice, but scored on his third try. McFadden, who finished with 27 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, should definitely be considered over Chris Johnson in fantasy drafts. I'd rather have 9-10 weeks of great production over 16 weeks of potential mediocrity.
Rod Streater, WR, Raiders
It's time to really take this Rod Streater thing seriously. Streater once again led all Raider receivers in targets with seven, finishing with five catches for 56 yards against the Lions. He should have had an even better night, but Carson Palmer missed him on a couple of passes that would have given him about 40 more yards. The Raider play-by-play guy addressed Streater twice: "It's quite obvious the Raiders are gameplanning for Rod Streater to be a part of their offense." And then: "This guy's going to be a chain-mover. It's obvious they're going to look for him on third downs this year." Streater absolutely has to be considered as a late-round sleeper at this point.
Brandon Myers, TE, Raiders
Brandon Myers saw nine targets versus Detroit. Myers caught five of those balls for 41 yards. I wouldn't advise drafting him quite yet, but he's worth monitoring as an injury replacement or a bye-week filler.
Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers
Though he looked slow and sluggish, it was nice to see Isaac Redman on the field. He rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries at Buffalo. He suffered an injury in the first quarter, but came back on the field later. He's still projected to start while Rashard Mendenhall is out, so he's worth drafting around Rounds 8-10.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
Antonio Brown led the Steelers with seven targets from Ben Roethlisberger against the Bills. Though he dropped one pass, he managed to haul in seven grabs for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Brown scored just twice last year, but that's clearly going to change. He's a strong WR2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
The Bills wanted to see something positive out of Ryan Fitzpatrick because he struggled last week at Minnesota. Fitzpatrick disappointed, unfortunately, going just 7-of-18 for 89 yards. He had three passes batted down, one of which was nearly picked off by LaMarr Woodley. Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson weren't on the same page on several occasions, which was odd to see because they've been playing together now for a few years.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
Fred Jackson received most of the first-quarter work against the Steelers, including a goal-line carry, which he converted. Finishing with 34 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, Jackson was much more successful than C.J. Spiller, whose 10 yards on four attempts (including two yards of the Wildcat) were overshadowed by a lost fumble in the second quarter. Jackson will be the main back for the Bills, barring another injury.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Drew Brees was incredibly sharp versus the Texans, going 17-of-25 for 179 yards and two touchdowns. What those numbers don't include are a pair of drops, a pass-interference penalty drawn by Jimmy Graham and a 57-yard completion to Graham that was wiped out by an illegal-touching infraction. It does not look like Brees will be slumping this year because of Bountygate.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
With the Saints showing no visible signs from the Bountygate ramifications, Jimmy Graham looks like he's poised for a monstrous 2012 campaign. He saw eight targets from Drew Brees in one half of action against the Texans, hauling in three of them for 48 yards and a touchdown. Graham dropped two balls, but drew a pair of pass-interference penalties (one was called; one wasn't despite Bradie James' mugging). He also had a 57-yard completion wiped out because of an illegal-touching infraction.
Donald Brown, RB, Colts
Donald Brown rushed for eight yards on seven carries. His offensive line could not open up any holes for him. This is going to be a theme all season. It's also worth noting that tight end Dwayne Allen converted a short-yardage carry when he lined up at fullback.
Donnie Avery, WR, Colts
Donnie Avery paced the Colts with seven targets, catching six of them for 38 yards. Someone had to assume the concussed Austin Collie's role, and it appears as though that's Avery. However, he's just a late-round flier in PPR leagues at best.
Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins
Tim Hightower rushed for 28 yards on five carries versus the Colts in his first action back from an ACL tear. He's worth drafting late because he could easily be Mike Shanahan's starter.
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
Evan Royster was out of the lineup with a minor knee injury, allowing Alfred Morris to start against the Colts. Morris made the most of his opportunity, rushing for 107 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He ran with great power and broke a number of tackles. He was highly impressive, and I'd now recommend drafting him in the later rounds. Of course, no Mike Shanahan running back should be chosen before Round 10; his backs could start during any week without notice.
Evan Royster, RB, Redskins
Evan Royster may have lost his starting job. Alfred Morris piled up 107 yards and a score against the Colts. Tim Hightower also looked healthy in limited action. Royster is currently nursing a minor knee injury.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins
Pierre Garcon continued to serve as Robert Griffin's primary receiver. He was the only Redskin to receive more than three targets against the Colts. He saw six balls come his way, catching three of them for 29 yards. Two of the other misfires were deep downfield, where Griffin just barely overthrew him. The two will eventually connect on those as they continue to play together.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
Santana Moss caught a 4-yard touchdown versus Indianapolis, but I'm giving him a stock down because Robert Griffin has simply not looking in his direction this preseason.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Julio Jones had another monstrous game. He saw 10 targets at Miami, catching four of them for 90 yards. Those numbers could have been so much better; he nearly made a diving catch in the end zone for what would have been a 31-yard touchdown, but the ball was slightly overthrown. Later on, Ryan barely missed Jones for another long gain, slightly underthrowing him. The two did connect for a 49-yard bomb, however.
Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins
Davone Bess is the only Miami receiver who played well against the Falcons. He showed nice rapport with Ryan Tannehill, catching four of the five passes thrown to him for 59 yards. Unfortunately, he's just a bench option in deep PPR leagues at best. There's just no touchdown potential with him.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Kyle Rudolph saw four targets go his way against the Chargers. He snagged three of them for 36 yards. The outlier resulted in a defensive holding call. The most notable thing that occurred was something the Viking announcers said when the team ventured into the red zone: "This is Kyle Rudolph territory." I like Rudolph as a sleeper tight end, so hopefully that means he'll score a decent amount of touchdowns this season.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots
Stevan Ridley drew the start at Tampa Bay and was on the field for the first two possessions before giving way to Shane Vereen on the third drive. Vereen suffered an injury, however, so Ridley received most of the carries after that. Almost on cue, Ridley had a 30-yard burst a couple of plays after Vereen got hurt. It's hard to trust Bill Belichick will running backs, but Ridley deserves a huge stock up because Vereen can now be labeled unreliable because he constantly has health issues. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Ridley ran really well (16 carries, 87 yards, one touchdown).
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
While New England's running back situation is still a bit cloudy, Tampa Bay's has pretty much cleared up. Doug Martin drew the start and received most of the carries against the Patriots, including two inside the New England 5-yard line. Martin converted from the one, which can only help keep LeGarrette Blount on the sideline. The only action Blount saw with the starters occurred on the third drive when he had two carries. He wasn't on the field after that until the backups entered the game. This is obviously huge for Martin, who can now be considered a high-end RB2.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Russell Wilson finished 13-of-19 for 185 yards and two scores in his first-ever professional start. He also rushed for 58 yards on two scrambles. At this point, I'd be shocked if he's not named the starter over the mediocre Matt Flynn. Wilson will be worth drafting as a QB2 because of his rushing potential.
Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks
With Marshawn Lynch out again at Kansas City, Robert Turbin started and performed well, rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Keep him in mind as a waiver-wire addition if Lynch misses regular-season action.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe suited up for the first time this preseason. He didn't start against the Seahawks, but he entered the game on the second drive. He nearly came up with a 15-yard reception on the team's third possession and then later dropped a ball. The only target he actually converted was a 9-yard sliding catch. I'm not a fan of Bowe this year; he held out for so long and it looks like that's going to negatively impact his 2012 campaign.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Chiefs
I liked Jonathan Baldwin earlier in the summer. He had an outstanding training camp, but hadn't lived up to it in two preseason contests. That changed against Seattle, as Baldwin was targeted nine times. He caught six passes for 37 yards and also drew two pass-interference flags. He's worth a late-round flier.
Dexter McCluster, WR/RB, Chiefs
I mentioned Dexter McCluster last week as a possible PPR flex option. I'm going to bring him up once again because he led the Chiefs with 10 targets versus the Seahawks. McCluster, who caught seven balls for 61 yards and a touchdown, is finally being utilized correctly in the slot. Matt Cassel loves throwing to him, so make sure you get McCluster in the final couple of rounds in your PPR league.
Josh Gordon, WR, Browns
With Greg Little dropping passes, Josh Gordon stood out as Cleveland's top receiver against the Eagles. He caught three of the four balls thrown to him for 50 yards. I wouldn't draft him, but he's worth monitoring as a possible waiver-wire pickup.
Greg Little, WR, Browns
Greg Little saw five targets from Brandon Weeden versus Philadelphia, but came up with just one catch for three yards. Little is such a frustrating, inefficient receiver. He has loads of potential, but just can't seem to live up to it.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Jay Cutler struggled versus the Giants. The horrid pass protection affected him, but he missed open receivers all evening. There was one sequence where he underthrew Matt Forte and then threw behind his starting running back. Cutler went just 7-of-17 for 72 yards in the first half against the New York starters.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants
Eli Manning was incredibly sharp against the Bears, going 17-of-21 for 148 yards and a touchdown despite once again missing Hakeem Nicks' services. He was pretty much perfect; a couple of incompletions were thrown away, while another one was a Victor Cruz drop on what would have moved the chains on third down.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
I'm giving Ahmad Bradshaw a stock down because David Wilson was outstanding versus the Bears. Wilson will undoubtedly eat into Bradshaw's workload, but it's going to take an injury to the latter for Wilson to break into the starting lineup.
David Wilson, RB, Giants
Starting for Ahmad Bradshaw, who was out with a hand contusion, David Wilson rushed for 49 yards on five carries, but even those numbers don't do him justice. He showed great quickness and tackle-breaking ability on runs of 20 and 15 on the second drive. He later caught a pass and took it for 29 yards. Wilson is not going to take over Bradshaw's job this year (barring an injury) because Tom Coughlin is not going to trust him to pass protect, but it's looking like Wilson will definitely take a good chunk of Bradshaw's workload.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert seems pretty comfortable throwing to Justin Blackmon, who saw a team-high eight targets at Baltimore. Blackmon caught four of those balls for 72 yards. Gabbert may really struggle at times this year, but it appears as though Blackmon will still be capable of posting solid fantasy numbers.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
Joe Flacco was terrific against the Jaguars, going 27-of-36 for 266 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that was the result of an attempted Hail Mary at the end of the first half. With Torrey Smith emerging as a stud receiver, Flacco's fantasy potential has never been higher. He's become an intriguing QB2 option.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens
Torrey Smith dominated Jacksonville. The secondary had no answer for the second-year wideout, who is not just a burner anymore. Smith now runs a variety of routes, which means he's probably going to have a huge season if you factor in his pure talent level. It's no coincidence that Smith had 12 targets, eight catches and 103 yards in two-and-a-half quarters of action. He's a stud. Get him on your team.
Cedric Benson, RB, Packers
I can't believe I'm saying this, but Cedric Benson ran really well against the Bengals. No, really. Appearing in terrific shape, Benson rushed with burst and broke plenty of tackles. He collected 38 yards on six carries to go along with a 10-yard catch despite hearing a chorus of boos coming from the Cincinnati crowd. With Alex Green looking sluggish (5 carries for 10 yards) and James Starks nursing yet another injury, Benson is shaping up to be a solid flex/RB3 option.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
Andy Dalton had a really poor outing versus the Packers, going 5-of-17 for only 40 yards. Though he rushed for 36 yards on three scrambles, Dalton was awful. He was almost picked on a fade route to A.J. Green in the end zone. Green expressed his frustration by motioning at Dalton. It wouldn't get any better, as Dalton had Green wide open deep downfield just a bit later, but overthrew him. I've seen Dalton drafted in the Round 11-13 range as a backup quarterback, but he just doesn't have the upside to be a fantasy QB2.
Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals
I have to mention Andre Roberts. He has more targets this preseason (15) than Larry Fitzgerald (11). He finished this game with five catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. With Michael Floyd struggling, Roberts is worth a very late-round look in deep PPR leagues.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
Chris Johnson ran well last week, but struggled versus Arizona. He tallied only 27 yards on 13 carries, and if you take away a 9-yard burst in which he received good blocking, Johnson's line would be 12-18. He runs too indecisively. He's waiting for holes to open up, and it's just not happening. Even more disconcerting is the fact that he lost third-down reps to Javon Ringer in this contest. That happened a bit last year, but it's still bad news for his PPR potential.
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
Kendall Wright looks really good. He caught four of the five passes thrown to him for 44 yards and a touchdown. His best play was a 29-yard leaping grab. He's the real deal and is worth taking in the final rounds as a high-upside flier. Jake Locker really looks comfortable throwing to him.