2009 NFL Preseason Recap and Fantasy Football Notes

**** Unlike the Preseason Week 1-3 games, I did not watch all of these contests because some of them featured no starting players. I watched only a few games, instead focusing on Week 1 of the regular season. However, I’ve still compiled a write-up for each contest. ****


Chargers 26, 49ers 7

  • Excluding Frank Gore and Isaac Bruce, San Francisco’s entire starting offense was on the field to open the game.

  • Shaun Hill played just one series with the starters and finished with an unspectacular 3-of-4 for 20 yards against San Diego’s starting defense. Hill emerged as a solid fantasy option at the end of the 2008 campaign, but that guy has been MIA this preseason.

  • Josh Morgan was targeted on each of the team’s first two drives, making catches of 4 and 9 yards. Morgan is a solid WR4 in most leagues, but won’t be anything more than that until the 49ers have a solid quarterback at the helm.

  • Glen Coffee opened the game with four carries for 19 yards and a 6-yard reception. Given Frank Gore’s injury history, Coffee is one of the better handcuffs out there.

  • The Chargers sat most of their offensive starters. Darren Sproles wasn’t even in the game.

    Cowboys 35, Vikings 31

  • Barely any starters played in this game on either side of the ball. Jon Kitna and Tarvaris Jackson were the two quarterbacks to open the contest.

  • One guy to keep an eye on is Kevin Ogletree. The rookie wideout started this contest and was targeted twice on the opening drive by Jon Kitna. Ogletree pulled in both balls for 14 yards and a touchdown. No Cowboys receiver after Roy Williams has impressed the coaching staff this preseason, so if Ogletree gets a chance in the regular season, he could put up some solid numbers.

    Texans 27, Buccaneers 20

  • Houston’s starting offense and defense sat out this game. Tampa Bay’s starting offensive unit was also on the sideline. The Buccaneers’ first-string defense was on the field, but nothing of fantasy relevance happened.

  • One thing worth noting is that Josh Freeman was 7-of-17 for 85 yards, one touchdown and two picks. Freeman performed well on his scoring drive, but he once again made one too many mistakes. Save for Antonio Bryant and Derrick Ward, the Buccaneers are pretty much a fantasy graveyard.

  • Rex Grossman went 9-of-16 for 197 yards and two scores, out-performing Dan Orlovsky (5-of-7, 51 yards, 1 INT). This means nothing in the grand scheme of things; if Matt Schaub gets hurt, you’re probably screwed either way.

    Jets 38, Eagles 27

  • This was the most intriguing game of the weekend because of a certain demented psychopath the Eagles signed. Kevin Kolb started the game, but Andy Reid ruined Kolb’s rhythm by constantly rotating in QB Dog Killer. I have to say that I was thrilled when QB Dog Killer fell flat on his face on an attempted first-quarter scramble.

    QB Dog Killer later threw an interception in the second quarter. Once this happened, Herman Edwards, the color analyst for the Eagles Television Network, exclaimed, “This is good. This is good. This is good. This is good for Michael Vick. He knows it. It’s good!” A lot more on Herm later.

    QB Dog Killer didn’t look terrible running the ball, finishing with 35 rushing yards on seven carries. He also ran in for a touchdown from two yards out. However, QB Dog Killer was absolutely abysmal as a passer, going 7-of-11 for 26 yards (2.4 YPA) and the aforementioned pick.

    QB Dog Killer also had two fumbles and made a number of other mistakes. He launched a deep pass into double coverage that should have been picked. He also took a 22-yard sack because he kept running around in the backfield, trying desperately to make a play. This prompted Herm to shout, “But remember, he hasn’t played!”

  • Moving on to a real quarterback, Mark Sanchez looked very sharp on his only drive. Granted, it was against the Eagles’ second-stringers, but all of his throws were sharp and accurate. Sanchez was 5-of-5 for 67 yards and a score. Sanchez went to Dustin Keller three times until finding Jerricho Cotchery in the end zone.

  • Before moving on to Herman Edwards, let me give major credit to the Jets fans for booing QB Dog Killer every time he was on the field. Eagles fans should take note so they don’t humiliate themselves again on Sept. 27.

  • Time for some quotes from Herman Edwards! Herm is really making a push to be the next Emmitt.

    – After a Jason Babin sack: “Here’s the key now! Here’s the key! Uhh… ummm…”

    – After a poor play by QB Dog Killer: “That’s good. That’s good. That’s OK. That’s good. That’s OK.”

    Lions 17, Bills 6

  • Matthew Stafford played against Buffalo’s backups and went 5-of-9 for 81 yards. Stafford had a touchdown wiped out by a penalty, but also had two turnovers (interception, fumble) on his first two drives. It’s worth noting that the pick was not Stafford’s fault; Keary Colbert slipped on his route (shocker). Stafford was also sacked twice on the opening possession by a second-string defense. Hmm… maybe the Lions should have drafted a left tackle… Nah, that’s just crazy.

  • Calvin Johnson turned four of Matthew Stafford’s targets into two receptions for 56 yards. One of the incompletions was a 34-yard touchdown wiped out by a Daniel Loper holding penalty. Megatron played just two drives.

  • Most of Buffalo’s starters sat out, so nothing to report here.

    Ravens 20, Falcons 3

  • Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White played only one series. They drove down to Baltimore’s 34, but were forced to punt, as Ryan was sacked by Terrell Suggs on a 2nd-and-2.

    Ryan was just 1-of-1 for 13 yards. White caught that pass. Turner, meanwhile, gained 12 yards on his only two carries.

  • Two of Baltimore’s starting defenders played, but the first-unit offense was nowhere to be found. Willis McGahee didn’t even play. John Beck was under center the entire game.

    Bengals 38, Colts 7

  • Cedric Benson and Chris Henry were the only Bengals of fantasy relevance playing in this game. Henry was targeted three times, but could only come up with one catch, which happened to be a 7-yard touchdown. Of course, Henry didn’t have much of a chance with Jordan Palmer at quarterback. One of Henry’s intended passes was picked off.

    Meanwhile, Benson rushed for 35 yards on two carries and also had a 9-yard reception. Benson pretty much had no resistance, as Indianapolis’ backup defense was on the field all night.

  • The Colts didn’t play any of their offensive starters. Donald Brown didn’t even see any action.

    Patriots 38, Giants 27

  • Eli Manning played only one series. He led the Giants on a five-play, 73-yard scoring drive, culminating with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Sinorice Moss. Manning’s other two completions went to Kevin Boss for 53 yards. New England’s backups clearly didn’t offer any resistance.

  • Brandon Jacobs gained just four yards on four carries. Ahmad Bradshaw entered the game on the third drive and compiled 31 yards on nine rushes. I didn’t really understand why Tom Coughlin played his two stud backs; it’s not like they had anything to prove against the Patriots’ second-string defense.

  • Hakeem Nicks was targeted four times by David Carr and Andre’ Woodson. Carr found him for a 64-yard score. Woodson, meanwhile, failed to complete a pass to him. By the way, Woodson was an abysmal 6-of-19 for 98 yards and a pick. Nicks left the game in the third quarter with a minor injury.

  • No New England starters were in the game, though Ben Watson managed to catch a 9-yard pass. He could be cut by Saturday.

    Jaguars 24, Redskins 17

  • Jack Del Rio clearly wanted to win this game because David Garrard played four drives and finally came out in the middle of the second quarter. Garrard finished 10-of-13 for 95 yards and a touchdown.

  • David Garrard went to Troy Williamson three times. Williamson hauled in all three passes for 20 yards. Williamson later had a 15-yard reception from Todd Bouman.

  • Torry Holt managed only one reception for 31 yards. However, the good news is that David Garrard targeted Holt two more times.

  • Mike Walker saw his first preseason action and led the Jaguars with 63 receiving yards on four receptions. Before you decide to draft him, keep in mind that only one of those catches came with David Garrard under center.

  • Maurice Jones-Drew actually played, though he was in on only one drive. Jones-Drew had five carries for 11 yards and a 3-yard reception. He left the game with a shin bruise. Nothing serious.

  • Unlike Maurice Jones-Drew, Clinton Portis did not play. Ladell Betts took three carries for seven yards.

  • Jason Campbell played only one drive. He went 4-of-6 for 33 yards versus Jacksonville’s starters.

  • With Santana Moss out, both Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas were able to start. Kelly saw one target, which he converted for an 11-yard reception. Jason Campbell threw two passes to Thomas, who came up with both balls for 12 yards.

    Bears 26, Browns 23

  • Thursday night was yet another instance of Eric Mangini being Eric Mangina. Despite having a fierce quarterback battle on his hands, Mangina decided to settle it by not playing either. What a cunning move.

  • Mohamed Massaquoi started for the Browns and received two targets from Brett Ratliff. Only one was complete for a 7-yard touchdown.

  • With Braylon Edwards out, Brian Robiskie started opposite of Mohamed Massaquoi. Brian Robiskie was targeted four times and was able to come away with three catches for 36 yards. Robiskie also scored a touchdown, but had it wiped away on a challenge because the officials said he didn’t break the plane of the goal line. Robiskie has some upside as a late-round fantasy sleeper in deep leagues, but you can probably find someone better.

  • James Davis tore it up for the Browns, compiling 37 yards on five carries. It’s encouraging that Davis didn’t receive much work; Eric Mangini clearly wanted to save him for the regular season. Expect Davis to be starting soon.

  • Save for Earl Bennett, who caught only one pass, all of Chicago’s prominent starters sat out. Juaquin Iglesais had five catches for 72 yards, but didn’t see his first target from Caleb Hanie until late in the second quarter.

    Titans 27, Packers 13

  • I was surprised to see that Aaron Rodgers played in this contest, albeit for only one series. Rodgers, playing Tennessee’s starting defense, went three-and-out on 2-of-3 passing for 7 yards. Rodgers’ sole incompletion was a deep shot to Jordy Nelson.

  • Like Green Bay’s starting offense, Tennessee’s first unit played only one series itself.

    Chris Johnson opened things up with three carries for 13, -1 and 11 yards. He then left the game.

    Kerry Collins, meanwhile, was 0-of-3. He targeted Justin Gage twice and Kenny Britt once. Britt later caught a 7-yard pass from Vince Young.

  • Two other things of note here:

    Vince Young went 7-of-12 for 85 yards. He also rushed for 38 yards on five carries and scored two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing).

    Jordy Nelson garnered 50 yards on three catches. Once again, pick him up if either Greg Jennings or Donald Driver suffers an injury.

    Rams 17, Chiefs 9

  • With Matt Cassel out, Brodie Croyle started but didn’t fare too well, going just 5-of-16 for 85 yards. Still, his performance was much better than Tyler Thigpen’s; Thigpen finished 2-of-7 for 49 yards and two picks. Maybe Scott Pioli can get a 19th-round pick for Thigpen now.

  • Larry Johnson ran impressively against the Rams’ starting defense, though St. Louis has made every opposing running back look great this preseason. Johnson managed 58 yards on five carries, including a 41-yard gainer. Jamaal Charles received two carries on the opening drive, but didn’t do anything after that. Charles lost two yards on his pair of touches.

  • Dwayne Bowe caught no passes, which is astonishing. Why is that? Because Brodie Croyle targeted him a whopping seven times. Bowe has never played with an above-average quarterback, and that looks like something that won’t change in the near future.

  • Most of St. Louis’ first-string offense sat out. Even Kyle Boller left the game before the first quarter was over.

    Dolphins 10, Saints 7

  • Chad Pennington and the Dolphins’ first-string offense saw tons of action tonight. Going against New Orleans’ starting defense, Pennington was 8-of-11 for 57 yards, leading Miami to three points in the first quarter.

  • Greg Camarillo started across from Ted Ginn, with Davone Bess in the slot. Camarillo saw two targets from Pennington: a 17-yard reception and an incompletion.

  • Though the Miami Herald reported that Brian Hartline would start for the Dolphins, the rookie wideout came off the bench and dropped a pass.

  • Chad Pennington predictably targeted Davone Bess more than any other receiver. Bess turned his three Pennington targets into three receptions for 23 yards. Bess may just be a slot receiver, but he’s a good backup to have in PPR leagues.

  • Another poor outing from Ted Ginn. Chad Pennington targeted Ginn only once, which happened to be a 3-yard reception. Ginn later had a 23-yard catch from Chad Henne, but the fact remains that Ginn has done nothing the past three games with Pennington at the helm.

  • Save for Lance Moore (no receptions), no one of fantasy relevance played on the Saints offense tonight. Billy Miller, who was a decent TE2 last year, suffered an Achilles injury. Hopefully it’s not serious.

  • If there was still any doubt that Sean Smith would start opposite of Will Allen on opening day, it’s pretty much gone. Smith made a one-handed interception in the end zone off a Mark Brunell pass in the first quarter.

    Steelers 21, Panthers 10

  • Ben Roethlisberger played only one drive and threw just one pass – a 7-yard completion to Mewelde Moore.

  • Speaking of Mewelde Moore, he once again took a third-down touch away from Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall started, but played only one series, finishing with two carries for one yard.

  • No surprise that Jake Delhomme failed to lead the Panthers on any scoring drives. Delhomme played two possessions, going 2-of-4 for 19 yards. Delhomme targeted Muhsin Muhammad on three of those throws. The other was a short pass to DeAngelo Williams.

  • Like Jake Delhomme, DeAngelo Williams played only two series. He finished with seven yards on two carries and a 9-yard reception.

  • Two weeks ago, Stefan Logan wowed Steeler fans by averaging 12 yards per punt return and 39 yards per kickoff (four kickoff returns). On Thursday, Logan took a punt 80 yards to the house. With a dangerous return specialist, the Steelers defense should get a boost in your rankings, though someone will probably take them too early in your league.

    Broncos 19, Cardinals 0

  • I’ve been down on Kurt Warner all preseason, and Thursday’s performance didn’t do anything to change my mind. Warner, who played three series, was just 2-of-7 for 48 yards. One of his completions, a 36-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, was a short pass that Fitzgerald was able to turn into a long gain. Warner’s other completion was a screen pass thrown to Chris Wells that turned into a 12-yard reception. Making matters worse, Warner tossed a pick on his final attempt. As I’ve said all summer: Avoid the 38-year-old man coming off hip surgery.

  • A week after throwing for 360 yards in a half, Matt Leinart was just 1-of-4 for 4 yards and an interception. After the game, Leinart talked things over with Nick Lachey, who told him everything would be OK.

  • Oh, I almost missed the lead. You read that correctly in the first paragraph – Chris Wells actually caught a pass. Don’t get used to it though; Wells should start, but I expect Tim Hightower to be used as the third-down back. Wells finished with 11 yards on three carries. Hightower, meanwhile, mustered just seven yards on three rushes.

  • Larry Fitzgerald had just one reception – the aforementioned 36-yard catch. Anquan Boldin was once again out of the lineup.

  • Kyle Orton was out, so Tom Brandstater (16-of-30, 187 yards, INT) played most of the game. Nothing else of note happened with Denver’s offense, save for the 24 yards on three carries by Correll Buckhalter, and of course Dick Quinn’s 7-yard reception. Hooray for blocking tight ends being taken in the second round!

    Seahawks 31, Raiders 21

  • Good to see that the Raiders put forth some effort after their 45-7 shellacking last week. They did a great job keeping this game close.

  • The big news in this game is that Edgerrin James actually played. James kicked things off with gains of 4 and 7 yards on the ground against Oakland’s starting defense. Unfortunately, that’s all we saw out of the veteran running back. Still, this is an encouraging sign that James will take over for the pedestrian Julius Jones sooner rather than later.

  • Matt Hasselbeck started this contest, but by design, did not throw any passes. Instead, rookie Mike Teel played most of the game. Teel was brilliant, going 11-of-19 for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Teel cemented his standing as the No. 3 quarterback on the Seahawks and a potential successor to Matt Hasselbeck in the distant future.

  • JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden played only one series. Russell took a sack on first down; McFadden gained four yards on his only rush; and Russell threw a 4-yard screen pass to Michael Bush on 3rd-and-11.

  • Aaron Curry had four tackles, one sack and a forced fumble in this game. Playing the Raiders can have that sort of effect.


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