2013 NFL Preseason Recap and Fantasy Football Notes: Week 2

**** NOTES FOR EVERY GAME WILL BE UP AS SOON AS I WATCH THEM **** Follow me @walterfootball for updates.



2013 Preseason Notes: Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
2013 Fantasy Football Stock Pages: Preseason Stock Week 4 | Preseason Stock Week 3 | Preseason Stock Week 2 | Preseason Stock Week 1 | Training Camp Stock





Redskins 24, Steelers 13

  • The most prominent story coming out of this second preseason game was Robert Griffin’s warmup. Griffin worked out for about an hour prior to kickoff and looked great by all accounts. Even Dr. James Andrews said “wow” while watching him sprint. Griffin, now expected to be cleared for Week 1, is worth drafting in the Round 5-6 range.

    Given Griffin’s status, it’s a bit ironic that Kirk Cousins suffered an injury of his own in this contest. Cousins had his ankle rolled up by Lawrence Timmons early in the second quarter. He finished just 2-of-3 for 19 yards with two scrambles for 14 rushing yards.

  • With no Griffin or Cousins, there isn’t much to say about the Washington fantasy players. Alfred Morris gained 12 yards on four carries. Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis each caught one ball for three and seven yards, respectively.

  • Washington’s defense was outstanding in this contest despite the absence of Brian Orakpo. Barry Cofield dominated the line of scrimmage, while Ryan Kerrigan caused a ton of havoc, including a pick-six and a strip sack. Unfortunately, Cofield broke his hand in this game.

  • One of the reasons the Redskins were able to be so overwhelming defensively is because Pittsburgh’s offensive line struggled mightily. The Steelers couldn’t block whatsoever, and the front line continuously made mistakes. An illegal formation wiped out a first-down conversion. David DeCastro and Mike Adams were called for holding. There was an illegal-use-of-hands infraction. Numerous sacks were allowed, including the aforementioned Kerrigan strip-sack. And all of this occurred in less than a half of action! Maurkice Pouncey was especially brutal. He couldn’t block Cofield whatsoever.

    Considering how poorly the line blocked, it’s pretty impressive that Ben Roethlisberger was able to go 5-of-6 for 66 yards. He was also pick-sixed, but that was more of a freakish play by Kerrigan as Big Ben tried to toss a pass to the running back in the flat.

    Here were Roethlisberger’s targets:

    Baron Batch: 2
    Antonio Brown: 2
    Jonathan Dwyer: 2
    David Paulsen: 1
    Emmanuel Sanders: 2

  • The Steelers needed some good news to counter the atrocious play of the offensive line. There was some potential, as Le’Veon Bell made his debut against Washington. Bell started off well with a 4-yard gain. He was given the ball four times on the first four plays, though he was able to muster just nine yards on those carries. He played on third down, but suffered a foot injury and had to leave the game. Bell, who looked like a typical Big Ten plodder, is starting to really worry me with these constant injuries.

  • Jonathan Dwyer was the first man off the bench at Washington after Le’Veon Bell exited with his foot injury. He looked like the superior runner, as he finished with 68 yards on 14 carries. Dwyer, who is in better shape this season, showed some shiftiness and elusiveness on his runs. He did lose a fumble, but I don’t think it would be crazy if the Steelers opted to go with him as their starting running back in the early stages of the season. Bell just hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

  • Bell struggled, but at least another rookie thrived in this game. First-rounder Jarvis Jones forced Rex Grossman into a fumble. Fourth-round rookie Shamarko Thomas also forced a fumble. Markus Wheaton, meanwhile, caught three passes for 52 yards, including a 45-yarder.

  • The Steelers have a great preseason record under Mike Tomlin, but it’s going to be tough for them to win with Landry Jones as the quarterback. Outside of one drive in this contest, Jones has been brutal this preseason. He went 9-of-22 for 111 yards and a touchdown in this outing. He was nearly picked on at least three occasions (one of which should’ve gone back for six). He plans to be a minister after his football days are over, so he’ll be venturing into that vocation quite soon because it’s very apparent that he’s not an NFL-caliber quarterback.

  • Today was Jon Gruden’s birthday, so maybe I shouldn’t make fun of him…

    Nah! The new 50-year-old offered up these two Gruden-esque gems during the broadcast:

    “I’d trade a first-round pick in next April’s draft for Kirk Cousins.”

    As CKane put it, “So that’s why he hasn’t found a new job yet.”

    “Grossman is proving he can still play.”

    Oh, yes, with a terrific showing in the preseason! What’s Grossman worth, a second-rounder?

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.





    Colts 20, Giants 12

  • So many players suffered injuries on Saturday, so it would’ve been nice to have a reprieve from that in this contest. That, unfortunately, was not the case. Two Giants went down. Victor Cruz was knocked out with a heel injury. Fortunately, X-rays were negative. He’ll be fine for Week 1. Center David Baas’ injury looked worse. An Indianapolis defender rolled into his leg. It turned out to be a knee sprain. He’ll have an MRI on his knee Monday.

  • As for the Giants’ actual offense, the team moved the chains well but constantly stalled inside the red zone. They had a turnover on downs and then had to settle for two field goals.

    Eli Manning went just 8-of-17 for 91 yards and a terrible interception. He did draw a 39-yard pass interference penalty on Greg Toler by airing it out to Cruz, though Toler later made up for it by picking off Manning. In Manning’s defense, he was constantly pressured on the right side because tackle David Diehl couldn’t block anyone. Also, Cruz leaving the game definitely had a negative impact on the offense.

    Here were Manning’s targets:

    Ramses Barden: 2 (1 end zone)
    Andre Brown: 1
    Victor Cruz: 1
    Kevin Hardy: 2
    Louis Murphy: 1
    Brandon Myers: 1
    Hakeem Nicks: 4
    Rueben Randle: 2
    David Wilson: 2

  • It’s ironic that Cruz was knocked out of the game with an injury because Hakeem Nicks didn’t get banged up in his preseason debut against the Colts. Nicks saw a team-high four targets and caught two of them for 40 yards. He’s always at risk to get hurt, but he appears to be fine for now.

  • I almost forgot Brandon Myers signed with the Giants. Through two games, he’s received only one target. Eli Manning threw to him in the red zone versus Indianapolis, but the two didn’t appear to be on the same page. This lacking chemistry is a big disappointment, as Myers projected to be a reliable intermediate target for Manning.

  • David Wilson once again started for the Giants and left the field on third downs. However, it was clear that Wilson was the superior runner. He ripped off a 21-yarder right away and did a great job of evading defenders all night. He had an amazing stop-and-start juke move on a Colt defender. He stepped out of bounds on the play, but he still drew “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. Wilson finished with 34 yards on eight carries to go along with two catches for 21 receiving yards. He’s so talented that it’s going to be difficult to keep him off the field.

    Andre Brown, meanwhile, gained 36 yards on eight attempts. He played on third downs and received a 4th-and-2 attempt on the first drive. He failed to convert, but later moved the chains on another short-yardage try. He’ll probably serve as the goal-line hammer.

  • The Colts didn’t have to worry about injuries. They were more focused on pleasing their owner. Jim Irsay expressed his frustration with last week’s loss on Twitter, so Indianapolis was on a mission to rebound.

    Things were rough for Andrew Luck early on. He endured a Coby Fleener dropped pass, and then he skipped a ball into Darrius Heyward-Bey and missed T.Y. Hilton downfield. He also lived up to his name and was very fortunate that Aaron Ross didn’t intercept what turned out to be a touchdown. Ross tipped the ball into the air twice, and it then sailed into Reggie Wayne’s arms. This, however, seemed to give Luck a ton of confidence. He was on fire after that, ultimately tossing another score – a beautiful ball that rainbowed over Jayron Hosley and right into T.Y. Hilton’s hands.

    Luck’s final numbers look like this: 9-of-13 for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 14-yard scramble. He’s obviously a strong QB1 who has the potential to be a top-five fantasy player at his position.

    Here were Luck’s targets:

    Donald Brown: 1
    Coby Fleener: 1
    Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4
    T.Y. Hilton: 3 (1 end zone)
    Reggie Wayne: 4 (1 end zone)

  • It was surprising to see Darrius Heyward-Bey actually play well. He caught three of the four balls Luck threw to him. He added a fourth catch from Matt Hasselbeck, giving him 42 yards on the night. He didn’t drop a single pass.

  • Speaking of drops, Coby Fleener had a very rough outing at New York. He dropped a pass and then failed to make a reception because he didn’t look back for the football. He ultimately exited with a mild knee sprain. Fleener has struggled mightily this summer, so you’re better off avoiding him in fantasy.

  • Reggie Wayne, on the other hand, is a safe player to draft as a WR2. He hauled in three of the four balls thrown to him for 37 yards and the aforementioned lucky touchdown. One of the other receptions was an impressive one-handed catch. He’s showing no signs of aging.

  • Many people, including myself, criticized the Colts for overpaying Erik Walden this offseason, but the former Packer rush linebacker registered a sack. It should be noted, however, that he beat David Diehl, who is a human turnstile at this point in his career. Rookie Bjoern Werner later had similar success against Diehl. Werner also made a great tackle for loss on David Wilson in the red zone.

  • El Guapo with an observation about one of the new FOX Sports football analysts: “Randy Moss’ jacket looks too big. I think they just threw jackets on them that were there.” I’d guess so. With all of these new analysts they’ve hired, I imagine that all of the jackets that were Moss’ size were taken. Perhaps FOX should’ve spent some money on a tailor. They could even put him on the air. Given that they now have 5,000 analysts, I doubt anyone would notice.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.





    Bengals 27, Titans 19

  • Saturday evening was a bloodbath in terms of players suffering injuries, and this contest was no different. Kendall Wright caught a pass in the 2-minute drill, but limped to the sidelines after getting up. There was some speculation that he tore a ligament, but he only sprained his knee. There’s a good chance he’ll play in Week 1, so the Titans dodged a major bullet.

    Wright tied for the second-most targets from Jake Locker, who had a solid outing. He went 12-of-20 for 116 yards. He did a good job of releasing the ball quickly and making hasty decisions. Locker has always had issues with consistency, so it’ll be nice if he plays well again next week.

    Here were Locker’s targets:

    Kenny Britt: 4
    Jack Doyle: 1
    Shonn Greene: 1
    Chris Johnson: 2
    Nate Washington: 6 (1 end zone)
    Kendall Wright: 4

  • Kenny Britt continues to struggle. He saw four targets go his way, but came up with just one reception for 13 yards, thanks in part to a dropped 15-yard potential catch that hit him right in the numbers. It’s disappointing that Britt has never developed the mental aspect of his game.

  • There was some speculation that Nate Washington would be phased out of the offense this year, but he led the Titan starters in targets (6) against the Bengals. He hauled in four of those balls for 44 yards. I would’ve given him a major bump had Kendall Wright suffered a major injury, but Washington should still serve as a decent fantasy backup.

  • Chris Johnson was phenomenal last week. He didn’t match those numbers (60 rushing yards) because he didn’t break a long gain, but he still managed 30 yards on seven carries to go along with two catches for 16 receiving yards. He has a good chance to be a top-five fantasy back this year.

  • As for the Bengals, Andy Dalton was under heavy pressure to start the game. There were defenders in his face on two of the first three plays. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey came up with a strip-sack when Dalton attempted his second pass. However, Dalton, who didn’t have the services of A.J. Green, managed to steady the offense and finish 9-of-14 for 115 yards and a touchdown. The score was a beautiful fade to Mohamed Sanu. Dalton just missed a second touchdown, as Sanu was tackled at the 1-yard line.

    Here were Dalton’s targets:

    Giovani Bernard: 2
    Tyler Eifert: 1
    Marvin Jones: 5
    Mohamed Sanu: 4 (1 end zone)
    Brandon Tate: 1

  • Mohamed Sanu caught three of the four balls thrown to him against the Titans, accumulating 36 yards and a touchdown. His best reception was a 24-yarder in which he held off a tackler with a nice stiff-arm. Sanu is worth a look in the very late rounds, as he’ll be Cincinnati’s No. 2 wideout across from A.J. Green.

  • Marvin Jones actually led all Cincinnati starters with five targets. He hauled in three of them for 28 yards. One of the incompletions was dropped. Jones is behind Sanu on the depth chart, so ignore him in your fantasy league.

  • Speaking of drops, Tyler Eifert had a ball sail through his hands from John Skelton. Eifert logged three receptions for 32 yards. The bulk of his yardage (25) came on a nifty tight end screen.

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis sat out the second preseason game, giving Giovani Bernard the start. Bernard was very impressive, gaining 37 yards on just seven carries. He also converted at the goal line with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. His best play came when he showed nice hands on a high pass and then used his great speed to sprint 22 yards down the sideline. Bernard is very talented, so the Bengals won’t be able to keep him on their bench for long. He’s an RB3/flex with definite RB2 potential, especially in PPR leagues.

  • The Bengal announcers highlighted Devon Still. The former Penn State defensive tackle logged a sack and frequently pressured the Tennessee quarterbacks.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.





    Texans 24, Dolphins 17

  • I wanted to get to this game first Sunday morning because I had to address Dustin Keller’s injury. Keller took a fierce hit to the knee from rookie safety D.J. Swearinger in the middle of the second quarter. Keller was down for a while and had to be carted off. He’s out for the season with a torn knee ligament. It’s a shame because he signed a 1-year “prove it” deal this spring.

  • Ryan Tannehill will have to find a new intermediate target to throw to. He struggled the first two weeks because he barely had any time in the pocket, but was much better in this contest, going 10-of-15 for 141 yards and a touchdown. Blocking was a problem early on when Antonio Smith sacked him on Miami’s second offensive play. Tannehill later took another sack and was nearly brought down by two players on a third occasion, but somehow got away.

    Tannehill got into a groove after that though, connecting with new wideout Mike Wallace on several instances. He lobbed a perfect, 33-yard rainbow to Wallace and then hit the former Steeler with a bullet for a 9-yard touchdown.

    Here were Tannehill’s targets:

    Brandon Gibson: 3
    Brian Hartline: 2 (1 end zone)
    Dustin Keller: 2
    Marvin McNutt: 1
    Lamar Miller: 3
    Daniel Thomas: 1
    Mike Wallace: 3 (1 end zone)

  • As mentioned, Mike Wallace and Ryan Tannehill finally got on the same page at Houston after struggling with chemistry earlier this summer. Wallace caught all three balls thrown to him for 58 yards and a touchdown, including a 33-yarder in which he beat Johnathan Joseph. His big-play ability will allow him to have some monstrous games, but he’ll be very inconsistent. He’s still being overdrafted.

  • Looking at the box score, Daniel Thomas (4 carries, 25 yards) outplayed Lamar Miller (5-10, TD). Thomas did have a nifty 13-yard scamper, but both backs were about equal, save for a Miller drop for a potential first down. Miller had 17 rushing yards wiped out by two holds (Michael Egnew, Dion Sims). Miller should remain the starter, but it’s a shaky situation.

  • Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis nailed his only attempt from 43 yards. He’s now 3-for-3 this preseason, which is good because the Dolphins cut Dan Carpenter because they wanted to go with him.

  • There was another notable injury in this contest. DeAndre Hopkins’ helmet hit the turf hard after a reception at the end of the first quarter. He was diagnosed with a concussion. What’s more significant for the short term is that Hopkins was targeted twice in three drives by Matt Schaub. He’s a borderline WR3.

  • Schaub, meanwhile, missed some practice this past week with a death in the family. He was shaky on his first two drives, so perhaps there were some lingering effects. He was picked off on his third pass when he threw behind Hopkins. He looked shocked when walking off the field. Schaub then took a sack on 3rd-and-11 on the second drive. Cameron Wake easily blew by right tackle Derek Newton, who has been struggling all preseason.

    Schaub did manage to bounce back though with a touchdown drive on the third series. He finished 8-of-11 for 92 yards, a touchdown to Owen Daniels and the aforementioned pick.

    Here were Schaub’s targets:

    Owen Daniels: 3 (1 end zone)
    Garrett Graham: 2
    DeAndre Hopkins: 2
    Lestar Jean: 1
    Andre Johnson: 1
    Ben Tate: 2

  • Arian Foster continues to miss action with multiple injuries, allowing Ben Tate to start the second preseason game. Tate gained 12 yards on four carries. What’s important though is that Matt Schaub targeted him twice on three drives. He hauled in both passes for nine yards.

  • Swearinger, who knocked Keller out of the game, had a solid performance. He made sound tackles and broke up a possible first-down conversion. Both announcers said that it’s likely he’ll start the season opener.

  • Speaking of the Texans’ broadcasters, the play-by-play guy called Lamar Miller “Jamar Miller.” Something more amusing was when he made fun of people for being on their “mobile devices” instead of watching the game. Here’s what he was looking at:



    I hate when people are on their cell phones when with someone else, so screw you, hot chick, cool dude with the backward baseball cap and the lesbian wearing a tight, white t-shirt (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I have to wonder though why the serial killer on the lower right wasn’t on his “mobile device.” Probably because he’s a serial killer, right?

    The announcers also read some tweets from the fans. This one stood out:



    TEXANS LOGO POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Meanwhile, the officiating in this game was brutal. There were several missed calls, and the refs had long conferences after every flag. If you haven’t heard, the NFL is trying out new officials this week to eventually groom some of them as successors. I’m guessing this guy isn’t going to make the cut. Like the replacement refs last year, he faced the wrong way when making an announcement:



    Ah, fond memories of 2012.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.





    Packers 19, Rams 7

  • I had my choice of which non-televised game to watch after Broncos-Seahawks, and I chose this contest because I wanted to see Eddie Lacy. The highly regarded rookie has enjoyed a great training camp, so I was curious if he’d be able to parlay that into an impressive debut.

    Eddie Lacy was unbelievable in his first outing. He opened up with an 8-yard run in which he utilized a spin move to evade a tackler. His next carry saw him break five tackles to rip off a 15-yard gain. Later on the opening possession, he bounced a 7-yard burst outside on a 3rd-and-1, though it was called back because of a penalty. Lacy also caught a pass for 11 yards. He used another spin move to get away from Trumaine Johnson. Lacy finished with 40 yards on eight carries. He’s looking like a very strong fantasy RB2.

  • Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, was outstanding, as usual. He went 10-of-12 for 134 yards despite not having Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb at his disposal. His only blemish of the night was missing a potential touchdown to Jermichael Finley on the second drive.

    Here were Rodgers’ targets:

    Jarrett Boykin: 2
    Jermichael Finley: 5
    James Jones: 3
    Jeremy Ross: 1
    D.J. Williams: 1 (1 end zone)

  • I hate to say this because I’ve been fooled before, but Jermichael Finley might actually be a solid producer this season. Finley saw a team-high five targets go his way, as he caught four balls for 78 yards, including a 33-yarder. He’s playing for a new contract, so he has added incentive.

  • I monitored how rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari fared last week. He did a solid job of protecting Rodgers’ blind side. He had a quality outing in this contest until Robert Quinn beat him for a sack in the beginning of the second quarter. Still, Bakhtiari did a commendable job considering that he’s a mere fourth-round rookie.

  • Like Rodgers, Sam Bradford had a solid performance. He went 8-of-12 for 156 yards, including a perfect, 57-yard bomb to Chris Givens. Considering that three of his incompletions were dropped, Bradford did a great job with his accuracy against the Packers. Unfortunately, the other misfire was a poor throw that ruined a potential touchdown on the second drive. Tavon Austin was wide open for a score, but Bradford just missed him.

    Here were Bradford’s targets:

    Tavon Austin: 7
    Jared Cook: 1
    Chris Givens: 2
    Isaiah Pead: 1
    Daryl Richardson: 2

  • Tavon Austin didn’t catch a single pass in his preseason debut, so the Rams made it their mission to get him involved early and often against the Packers. Austin, who played outside and in the slot, was targeted seven times, catching four balls for 28 yards. However, he dropped two balls and was whistled for a hold on a 9-yard run. On the bright side, he was open for a touchdown (Sam Bradford missed him) and later nearly scored again, but was tackled at the 1-yard line.

  • Like Austin, the newly signed Jared Cook didn’t do anything in his initial appearance with St. Louis. He wasn’t nearly as involved as Austin, but he did have a 37-yard reception in which he quickly galloped down the field. Cook has unbelievable athleticism, so it’s easy to see why so many people are in love with him. It’s worrisome, however, that he’s been targeted only once in two games.

  • Isaiah Pead struggled mightily last week, so the coaching staff perhaps wanted to give him some confidence by starting him in this contest. Jeff Fisher is a genius because it worked. He ripped off a 10-yard gain on his first carry and later had a great blitz pick-up that helped set up Bradford’s aforementioned 57-yard bomb to Givens. Daryl Richardson, who officially logged nothing but a 24-yard reception, will remain the starter. It’s notable that Richardson had a 9-yard rush wiped out by a hold and a 14-yard reception eliminated by an illegal formation.

  • You know who has it rough? NFL preseason announcers. The job is so taxing that they have to take off. Sure, they only broadcast four games, but they need a vacation! Marshall Faulk took one this week. The Rams’ play-by-play announcer informed the audience at the beginning of the telecast, “Marshall Faulk has the week off.” I really hope Faulk relaxed this Saturday night.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Seahawks 40, Broncos 10

  • Peyton Manning didn’t have much of a chance to work with Wes Welker last week, so this was a good test for him, as Seattle has one of the top defenses in the NFL. Manning played well, but only had seven points to show for his effort, thanks to a pair of lost fumbles.

    Manning went 11-of-15 for 163 yards and a touchdown. One incompletion was dropped. Some of Manning’s attempts showed off quality arm strength, so that shouldn’t be a concern. He’s a solid Round 3-4 fantasy prospect.

    Here were Manning’s targets:

    Montee Ball: 1
    Eric Decker: 3
    Demaryius Thomas: 6
    Julius Thomas: 3
    Wes Welker: 3

  • Welker received three targets from Manning in a quarter-and-a-half of action, snagging three balls for 31 yards and a touchdown. Demaryius Thomas will continue to be Manning’s primary read on the majority of plays, but Welker should be able to put together a WR2-type campaign.

  • Demaryius Thomas was thrown to six times against the Seahawks. He caught three of them for 52 yards. He did fumble, but otherwise looked very dominant. He’s definitely matured and is poised for a monstrous 2013 campaign.

  • Julius Thomas is a very athletic tight end. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He hasn’t done much yet, but it appears as though the light is starting to come on. He saw three targets from Peyton Manning at Seattle and ultimately finished with four grabs for 70 yards. He’s a high-upside TE2 to consider near the end of your draft.

  • Montee Ball may have officially passed Ronnie Hillman, though it didn’t have anything to do with how they ran against the Seahawks. Hillman (13 carries, 34 yards) fumbled twice. The refs ruled that he was down by contact on the first occasion, but it was clear that he coughed it up. His second fumble came at the goal line, which was returned 106 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Browner (who had a huge game). Hillman was not seen after that. Ball took over exclusively after that, mustering 28 yards on just six attempts. He screwed up as well, failing to pick up a blitzer and was consequently responsible for Manning getting drilled. But with Hillman in the doghouse and Knowshon Moreno nursing a knee injury, Ball appears to be the favorite for the starting job now.

  • Speaking of Knowshon Moreno, the veteran back missed practice all week with a knee bruise. With both Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman screwing up against the Seahawks, Moreno missed a golden opportunity to seize the starting job. Injuries have always been a problem for him, however, so this is obviously not a surprise.

  • A scary moment for the Broncos occurred in the first quarter when starting defensive end Derek Wolfe was down on the field for nine minutes after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit. He was placed on a stretcher and driven off in an ambulance. He was being evaluated for a spinal injury. Hopefully he’ll be OK.

  • A note on another Denver defender: Champ Bailey, who was torched mercilessly by Torrey Smith in the playoffs, once again looked slow in his attempt to cover Golden Tate.

  • Brock Osweiler went 9-of-14 for 66 yards and a pick. Most of his completions were of the short variety. His long passes were overthrown. His interception was especially bad, as he threw late across his body into the end zone.

  • As for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson was highly efficient, going 8-of-12 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The first score was amusing, as Wilson fumbled the snap, but still had enough composure to find Jermaine Kearse for a 12-yard conversion. The second touchdown came after Wilson had an impressive 26-yard completion on a 3rd-and-14. Wilson is going way too late in drafts and provides great value with his eighth-round ADP. He’s one of my top fantasy football sleepers.

    Here were Wilson’s targets:

    Doug Baldwin: 2
    Arceto Clark: 1
    Cooper Helfet: 1
    Jermaine Kearse: 3 (1 end zone)
    Sean McGrath: 3 (1 end zone)
    Golden Tate: 2
    Spencer Ware: 1
    Stephen Williams: 1 (1 end zone)
    Luke Willson: 2

  • Golden Tate saw just two targets in a half of action, but caught both balls for 42 yards. It’s noteworthy that he had his way with Champ Bailey. He also took a punt back for 33 yards.

  • Another wideout who also contributed on special teams was Jermaine Kearse. He snagged the aforementioned 12-yard touchdown and also scored on a 107-yard kickoff return.

  • Marshawn Lynch barely played. The Seahawk announcers joked about him having one token carry in this game. He actually rushed twice for one yard, as the Seahawks know that they have to preserve him for the regular season. Robert Turbin (9-35) saw most of the first-team action.

  • As mentioned, Brandon Browner enjoyed a dominant performance. He made several pass break-ups and forced a fumble. Most notably, he also took a fumble return 106 yards for a score.

    Oh, and Browner took a shot at the Charger fans when discussing the 12th Man: “It’s a lot bigger fans and lot more people than it was in San Diego.”

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Jets 37, Jaguars 13

  • One may ask why the NFL Network would decide to make Jets-Jaguars its featured game in the middle of their Saturday triple-header. I can think of one reason: pure comedy. With Mark Sanchez battling Blaine Gabbert, there would bound to be butt-fumbling, eye-closing hijinx to make everyone laugh and forget about their worries.

    Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Mark Sanchez actually had a relatively decent performance early on, which is huge for him because an injured Geno Smith was ruled out. Basically, all Sanchez would have to do is not screw up to keep the job. However, true to form, he ultimately self-destructed.

    Sanchez went 13-of-23 for 169 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Two of his misfires were actually dropped by Stephen Hill and Clyde Gates. Another was thrown away. It was funny because the crowd sarcastically cheered when Sanchez tossed the pass aside, happy that he did this in lieu of having another butt-fumbling incident. Hilariously though, Sanchez tossed a pick in the end zone two plays later, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd.

    Sanchez continued to struggle after that. He had a wide-open Clyde Gates in the end zone on one occasion, but didn’t throw it for some reason. A few plays later, Sanchez held the ball way too long and let time expire; there were six seconds remaining in the first half when he snapped the ball, so he should have made a quick decision. He didn’t, causing the Jets to lose their chance to score at least three points.

    Here were Sanchez’s targets:

    Tommy Bohanon: 2
    Jeff Cumberland: 1
    Braylon Edwards: 5
    Clyde Gates: 1
    Stephen Hill: 4 (1 end zone)
    Jeremy Kerley: 3 (1 end zone)
    Bilal Powell: 2
    Konrad Reuland: 2
    Ryan Spadola: 1
    Kellen Winslow: 2 (1 end zone)

  • Stephen Hill saw four targets, which was good for the team lead among starters. However, he caught just one of those balls for 11 yards. He had a bad drop, though he did make up for it by drawing a pass-interference flag.

  • Braylon Edwards had five targets go his way, but don’t read into that at all. He didn’t take the field until after halftime. He made an impressive, 26-yard diving catch, but he later dropped a 3-yarder on the same drive.

  • The biggest take-away from the Jets’ perspective is the running back battle. Chris Ivory has been hurt, so he didn’t start against the Jaguars. He was mixed in with first-team snaps, but he was far inferior compared to Bilal Powell. Ivory gained just 13 yards on six carries, and didn’t look spectacular at all. Powell was much better. He ripped off a 37-yarder and ultimately finished with 68 yards on seven attempts. He took multiple direct snaps, so it’s clear that the coaching staff has plans for him this season. Downgrade Ivory immediately and try to draft Powell if he slips in your draft.

  • Last year’s first-rounder, Quinton Coples, suffered an ankle injury. He was examined by doctors and then limped into the locker room for an X-ray. Hopefully he’s OK.

  • As for the Jaguars, this game was proof that aliens do exist. I’m not sure how the aliens did it – whether it was creating a superior clone or shooting Blaine Gabbert with arm-bolstering lasers – but they transformed Gabbert into a very capable quarterback. I’m obviously kidding about this, but I’ve never seen Gabbert play this well. Not even close. He transformed from a skittish, inaccurate signal-caller to a confident, capable passer. He went 13-of-16 for 165 yards and a touchdown – and he was every bit as good as the numbers indicate.

    Gabbert opened with a dart to Ace Sanders for 35 yards. Jacksonville’s coaches then had Gabbert run bootlegs. He released the ball quickly and was super accurate on all of his throws. One preseason game is not going to change my opinion on Gabbert, but this is a very good building block for him. If he can play like this consistently, Jacksonville will definitely not be in the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    Unfortunately, Gabbert’s night ended on a bad note. His arm came crashing down on Muhammad Wilkerson’s helmet on his final attempt. He ran off the field shaking his hand in pain. He ended up spraining his thumb.

    Here were Gabbert’s targets:

    Justin Blackmon: 4
    Mike Brown: 3
    Maurice Jones-Drew: 1
    Allen Reisner: 3 (1 end zone)
    Denard Robinson: 1
    Ace Sanders: 2
    Jordan Shipley: 2
    Will Ta’ufo’ou: 1

  • Seeing his first action of the preseason, Justin Blackmon led all the starters in targets with four against the Jets. Blackmon will miss the first quarter of the season because of a suspension, but he’ll flirt with WR3 status upon his return, especially if Blaine Gabbert continues to show that he can be a functional quarterback. If you have dependable starting receivers, it might be worth it to take a gamble on Blackmon in Rounds 11-12 because you can use him in the event of an injury from Week 5 on.

  • Maurice Jones-Drew took the field for the first time since he suffered a leg injury in Week 7 of last season. He didn’t play much – he gained nine yards on three carries – but the important thing is that he exited the game without suffering any sort of malady.

  • Second-round rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien had a rough outing. He was flagged for defensive holding and pass interference. He was dealing with a hamstring earlier in the month, so perhaps that’s still hindering him.

  • I’d like to recommend two NFL rule changes:

    1. You should be able to advance a muffed punt. Why is this not allowed? I think the inability to do so is worse than the tuck rule (sorry, Raider fans).

    2. Once per game, the officials should be able to throw a red flag when a coach tosses his own red flag when challenging an obvious play. Rex Ryan did this when he thought Chad Henne fumbled the ball when hit by Quinton Coples. It was an obvious incompletion, yet Ryan wasted everyone’s time by asking the refs to review it. This would’ve never happened if the officials had their own red flag.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Cardinals 12, Cowboys 7

  • Arizona fans were pumped. With Carson Palmer making his first start at home, this was their first chance to see a professional quarterback play for their team since the Kurt Warner era.

    Palmer’s numbers weren’t very good – 7-of-15 for 66 yards – but he certainly didn’t disappoint. He had a 24-yard completion to Larry Fitzgerald wiped out because of a hold. He also did a good job of moving the chains, taking a drive that started at his own 11 all the way down to the Dallas 7-yard line (though the possession concluded on a turnover of downs). It’s a bit disconcerting that Palmer had trouble in the red zone because that’s always been an issue of his, but he’s still a massive upgrade over what the team had last year.

    Here were Palmer’s targets:

    Larry Fitzgerald: 5
    Michael Floyd: 3 (1 end zone)
    Rob Housler: 1
    Rashard Mendenhall: 1
    Patrick Peterson: 1
    Andre Roberts: 5
    Alfonso Smith: 1 (1 end zone)
    Kerry Taylor: 1

  • Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald already have great chemistry. Palmer targeted Fitzgerald five times against Dallas, and the future Hall of Fame wideout snagged three receptions for 44 yards in about a quarter-and-a-half of action. He also had a 24-yard catch wiped out because of a hold. Barring injury, it’ll be a major upset if Fitzgerald doesn’t finish as a top-10 fantasy receiver this year.

  • Michael Floyd was thrown to three times, but he made just one catch for two yards. Even worse, he fumbled inside the red zone. Despite this outing, Floyd is still a solid late-round fantasy flier, as he has potential with Palmer at the helm.

  • Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson played some offense in this game. He caught a wide receiver screen for six yards. He’s expected to see a few offensive snaps each week.

  • Speaking of Arizona defensive backs, rookie Tyrann Mathieu made a great play on the first defensive drive when he tackled Miles Austin-Jones short of the first-down marker. Another rookie, Kevin Minter, made several splash plays in the second half. The play-by-play announcer seemed to think that he has a good chance of starting early this season.

  • As for the Cowboys, it was more of the same from them. Dallas always has the same M.O. They look good, but always find a way to screw up. In this game, three lost fumbles by the middle of the second quarter did them in. Dwayne Harris, Lance Dunbar and Dez Bryant all coughed up the rock.

    Tony Romo, as a consequence, couldn’t put any points on the board. He was pretty damn sharp for the most part though. He went 7-of-10 for 142 yards. His only personal blemish was missing a wide-open Terrance Williams deep in the first quarter.

    Here were Romo’s targets:

    Miles Austin-Jones: 3
    Dez Bryant: 4
    Lance Dunbar: 1
    Terrance Williams: 2

  • As mentioned, Dez Bryant fumbled the ball away in the second quarter at Arizona. This ruined what was a flawless performance. He saw four targets come his way, and he caught all of them for 74 yards. He made a beautiful back-shoulder catch on Patrick Peterson on one occasion. Bryant is going to be a beast this year.

  • Miles Austin-Jones snagged two balls for 25 yards. He’s being drafted way too late. He’s a solid WR3, but is being picked like a WR4.

  • The Cowboys tried to improve their offensive line this offseason, but it’s not really showing. DeMarco Murray gained just 14 yards on five carries. He was stuffed on a 2nd-and-1 try in the first quarter.

  • Lance Dunbar lost a fumble, as I mentioned earlier. This came after a 43-yard reception in which he blew by all of the Arizona defensive backs. Once again, Dunbar was the first running back off the bench, with Joseph Randle nowhere to be seen until after halftime. Randle finished with 16 yards on eight carries.

  • Third-round rookie receiver Terrance Williams played with the starters, but didn’t do much. He was targeted twice, but came up with only one reception for five yards. The incompletion wasn’t his fault, however. He blew by corner Jerraud Powers, but Romo just missed him deep. Powers, by the way, would come back to intercept a Kyle Orton pass. Orton simply stared down his receiver.

  • Speaking of Orton, the Cardinals’ color analyst spent several minutes bashing him. He kept ranting about how Orton doesn’t have the leadership skills to be a starter in the NFL. “He has zero leadership ability, I’m serious, he cannot lead a team in this league,” the analyst constantly repeated himself. I’ve never heard anyone criticize Orton’s leadership; it’s more his arm that’s the issue.

  • The two Arizona announcers weren’t on the same page. On a Drew Stanton strip-sack, they had the following exchange:

    Play-by-Play Guy: That looks like a fumble.

    Color Analyst: I don’t know about that.

    Play-by-Play Guy: You don’t think that’s a fumble?

    Color Analyst: It looks like it’s coming out. Looks like a fumble.

    The color analyst also did his best Matt Millen impression, discussing towel boys, football players looking like centaurs and mentioning meat products…

    Color Analyst: He’s the meat-grinder, and he’s the beef!

    Play-by-Play Guy: Uhh… what?

    Unfortunately, this color analyst didn’t refer to anyone as “100-Percent USDA Man.”

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    49ers 15, Chiefs 13

  • Did you know there was a ton of hype for this preseason game? It’s true. That’s what the cute Chiefs’ sideline reporter – here’s her Twitter account – noted before the game because Alex Smith was set to battle his old team. “He knows there’s a lot of hype surrounding this game,” she said.

    Well, considering that I didn’t even know the 49ers and Chiefs were battling each other until Friday night, I’d have to disagree. But I appreciated her energy and enthusiasm nonetheless.

    So, how did Smith fare? Well, he really had no chance battling a tough 49er defense without his top weapon, Jamaal Charles. Smith, who constantly had pass-rushers in his face, went just 7-of-16 for 62 yards. He wasn’t as bad as those numbers indicate because there were three drops by Jon Baldwin, Travis Kelce and Cyrus Gray. One pass was thrown away as well. Still, the Chiefs mustered just six points in a complete half of action – a sign of things to come if Charles ever goes down.

    Here were Smith’s targets:

    Jon Baldwin: 2
    Dwayne Bowe: 1
    Knile Davis: 3
    Anthony Fasano: 4
    Cyrus Gray: 1
    Travis Kelce: 1
    Dexter McCluster: 1

  • With Charles out, Knile Davis was given most of the first-half workload. He gained 37 yards on 10 carries and also caught three balls for 31 more yards. His most memorable moment was when he converted a 4th-and-1 on the opening drive by making a nice spin move to evade a tackle for a loss in the backfield.

  • Dwayne Bowe just saw one target go his way against the 49ers. He and Alex Smith just don’t seem to have any sort of chemistry thus far. Bowe has been way overdrafted in every fantasy mock draft I’ve participated in this summer.

  • The other starting wideout, Jon Baldwin, was targeted twice. He was booed by the crowd on both occasions. The second target was a dropped pass, resulting in stronger jeers from the fans. Baldwin is a bum and probably shouldn’t be on the roster.

  • I’ve been told that Eric Fisher has not enjoyed a solid training camp. He didn’t look very good in this contest either. He was beaten on a couple of sacks, including one by backup Parys Haralson. On one occasion, Fisher was helped with a double team on third-round rookie Corey Lemonier.

  • It’s worth noting that the two new members of the Kansas City secondary – Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith – both made big plays in this contest. Robinson broke up a Scott Tolzien pass on fourth down, while Smith intercepted a weak attempt by Colt McCoy.

  • Speaking of McCoy and Tolzien, the two quarterbacks rotated every single possession from the second drive on. That’s right – Colin Kaepernick was on the field for one series. I’m not sure if Jim Harbaugh was confused and believed that this was the first week of the preseason. It was just very odd. Kaepernick went just 1-of-2 for minus-3 yards.

    Here were Kaepernick’s targets:

    Chad Hall: 1 (1 end zone)
    LaMichael James: 1

  • The 49ers were still able to score three points despite Kaepernick’s non-existent stat line because of a 52-yard run by Frank Gore. The veteran back looked bottled up in the backfield, but he was able to bounce the play outside and sprint downfield. He finished with 54 yards on two attempts.

  • Phil Dawson is my top fantasy kicker. He’s a great kicker to begin with; now he’ll have way more opportunities. Dawson went 3-for-3 in this contest, nailing two from 55 and one from 42.

  • As you can tell, there’s nothing to really note about the 49ers’ offense because the unit was on the field for just one drive. It’s a strange strategy by Harbaugh, but the fans should trust him.

  • Oh, and one final thing. If you want fantasy football advice from someone else, how about the Chiefs’ play-by-play announcer? His tip: “You might want to draft Alex Smith on your fantasy team!”

    You heard the man – get Smith on all of your teams because he’s such a fantasy stud!

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Saints 28, Raiders 20

  • Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints’ offense is like a machine now that Sean Payton is back on the sidelines. I suppose it’s easy to look dominant when going up against the pathetic Raiders, but Brees was completely unstoppable in this contest. Meeting very little resistance and having almost no pressure in the pocket, Brees was able to go 14-of-18 for 202 yards and a touchdown in just one half of action without Marques Colston in the lineup.

    Here were Brees’ targets:

    Jed Collins: 1
    Jimmy Graham: 4 (2 end zone)
    Mark Ingram: 1
    Lance Moore: 1
    Darren Sproles: 5
    Kenny Stills: 5 (1 end zone)
    Nick Toon: 2

  • With Marques Colston out, Brees’ starting outside receivers were Kenny Stills and Nick Toon. The latter caught just one pass, but it was a 56-yarder when he beat Tracy Porter downfield. The homer play-by-play analyst got super excited and shouted, “Sing me a song down at the 2!” It’s only preseason, bud. Calm down.

    As for the former, I was happy to see Kenny Stills bounce back from a brutal preseason debut. He was much more reliable and didn’t make any mistakes. He caught four of the five balls thrown to him for 64 yards and a touchdown. I wouldn’t recommend drafting him, but he’s worth monitoring.

  • Mark Ingram rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown on nine carries to go along with an 11-yard reception against the Raiders. Ingram looks a lot quicker than he was last year. He’s finally healthy, though that can change very quickly.

  • I expect Saints’ defensive end Cameron Jordan to make the Pro Bowl this year. He dominated Oakland’s defensive front. He lined up everywhere, and the Raiders simply had no answer for him. He tallied just one sack, but pressured Matt Flynn quite frequently.

  • Speaking of Flynn, this was a highly discouraging outing for him. The numbers don’t look bad – 12-of-16 for 124 yards and a touchdown – but he made several mistakes. He missed an open Jeron Mastrud 30 yards downfield on the opening drive. He was nearly picked at the end of the first half. He also quarterbacked the team to four consecutive three-and-outs.

    Flynn’s not a good quarterback, but he can’t shoulder all the blame. Not even close. He took a whopping five sacks in the first half. His offensive line is a disaster. It might be one of the worst front lines I’ve ever seen. The play-by-play guy had this to say at one point: “Cameron Jordan came by so free that he was confused by the blocking scheme.”

    Here were Flynn’s targets:

    David Ausberry: 3
    Brice Butler: 3
    Rashad Jennings: 3
    Jeron Mastrud: 1
    Darren McFadden: 1
    Denarius Moore: 3 (1 end zone)
    Mychal Rivera: 2

  • Flynn also has nothing to work with. His primary reads were players named David Ausberry and seventh-round rookie Brice Butler. He didn’t connect with Denarius Moore until the final drive of the first half, though he did lob a nice, 18-yard touchdown to him.

  • Darren McFadden rushed for 17 yards on five carries at New Orleans. He was stuffed on a 4th-and-1 on the opening drive. As I wrote last week, it’s impossible to tell if McFadden has explosion or not because his offensive line can’t open up any holes for him. He’s just going to suffer an injury anyway, so do yourself a favor and stay away from him.

  • Terrelle Pryor was the first Raider quarterback off the bench. He went 1-of-5 for nine yards. Like Flynn, he received zero pass protection. He did have two nice passes and a rushing touchdown that were wiped out for different reasons, however. Tyler Wilson didn’t play. Matt McGloin was the third quarterback, but didn’t fare very well. He nearly heaved a pick right away and then lobbed an interception on an overthrow.

  • Two Raiders got hurt in this contest. Ausberry, who tied all Raider starters with three targets, injured his arm. Tracy Porter was also knocked out of the contest.

  • The South is an awesome place. The girls are hot and the weather’s warm. Oh, and there are also very strange companies willing to advertise at sporting events. Did you know that the Saints’ red zone is brought to us by the “Slap Ya Mama Cajun Products?” No, I’m not kidding. Here’s proof:



    It’s only a matter of time before annoying protesters with sand in their vag complain about this because it promotes female abuse.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Bills 20, Vikings 16

  • I was excited to watch E.J. Manuel. Prior to kickoff, the Bills’ announcers said, “Kevin Kolb will get his shot tonight.” I assumed they meant in the second half, or something. Nope. Kolb started the contest. And he was predictably awful.

    Kolb short-hopped his first attempt to C.J. Spiller, prompting the crowd to shower him with boos. He then had an interception forced into Marqise Goodwin and a late pass that was nearly pick-sixed. There were other several poor throws, most of which were behind their intended targets. Some passes were high. The jeers continued.

    The final stat line looks like this: 13-of-21 for 111 yards and an interception. That doesn’t seem too bad, but all of Kolb’s passes were of the short variety, so Buffalo had trouble sustaining drives.

    Here were Kolb’s targets:

    Tashard Choice: 4
    Marcus Easley: 2
    Marqise Goodwin: 3
    Chris Gragg: 1
    Chris Hogan: 4
    Lee Smith: 2
    C.J. Spiller: 1
    Frank Summers: 2
    Robert Woods: 2

    I posted, “Kolb is terrible” in the forum. JLash replied:

    Oooh ooh, I know this game:

    Water is wet.

    That’s how it goes, right?


    My response: Nah, water can dry or turn into vapor. Kolb sucking is absolute.

    Indeed, E.J. Manuel strengthened his hold on the starting quarterback position by not even taking the field. He was greeted with cheers when he entered the game right after halftime. He immediately converted a third-and-medium with a slant to Marcus Easley. Most of his attempts were of the short variety again, but this is all by design. The important thing is that Manuel looks poised and comfortable in the pocket.

    Manuel finished 10-of-12 for 92 yards and one touchdown. One incompletion was thrown away, so he really had just one true misfire. There’s no reason why Kolb should’ve started this contest. Manuel needs the reps with the first team. He should’ve had them.

    Here were Manuel’s targets:

    Zach Brown: 1
    Marcus Easley: 1
    Chris Hogan: 2
    Brandon Kaufman: 1
    DeMarco Sampson: 2
    Brad Smith: 1 (1 end zone)

  • C.J. Spiller didn’t have the long runs like last week, but despite six yards being his best carry, he gained 27 yards on seven attempts. This includes a carry in which he smacked safety Jamarca Sanford with a fierce stiff-arm.

  • With Stevie Johnson out, young wideouts Robert Woods and Marcus Easley had a chance to shine. Woods caught a 22-yard pass and also took a punt back 33 yards on a shifty return. Easley once again led the team with 46 receiving yards on three catches.

  • I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Jerry Hughes was a monstrous force. No, really. He registered two official sacks (I feel like he should’ve gotten a half for helping Marcell Dareus) and a forced fumble. Oh, and it’s not like he did this in the second half versus scrubs. He legitimately beat starting left tackle Matt Kalil, who had a solid rookie campaign. Indianapolis fans watching this had to feel pretty pissed.

  • Rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins was 2-of-2 in this contest, nailing attempts from 39 and 35.

  • I discussed how impressive Jeff Tuel was last week. He didn’t have much of an opportunity to do anything in this contest because Kolb and Manuel were given extensive action. Tuel was 2-of-3 for 24 yards. On one occasion, Tuel had to take a while to line everyone up correctly. He then went on to have a nice completion to wideout Brandon Kaufman. I look forward to seeing more of him over these next two weeks.

  • I mentioned earlier that Jerry Hughes had his way with Matt Kalil. The Vikings’ offensive line had major issues in general. Christian Ponder was sacked thrice in the first quarter. There was also a bad snap that went over his head. Ponder, who didn’t have the luxury of seeing the defense respect Adrian Peterson (he sat out again), went just 5-of-12 for 53 yards. I’d chide him for this bad stat line, but like I said, he didn’t have any help from his offensive line. It didn’t help that Kyle Rudolph dropped a pass as well.

    Here were Ponder’s targets:

    Toby Gerhart: 1
    Greg Jennings: 4
    Kyle Rudolph: 4
    Jerome Simpson: 1
    Jarius Wright: 2

  • Greg Jennings saw four targets go his way in his first preseason game with the Vikings. The result? One catch for five yards. Ponder has a limited skill set, while Jennings took the money and ran to play with an inferior quarterback. It’s safe to say that he’s going to have a very disappointing 2013 campaign.

  • Like Jennings, Rudolph had four targets to tie for the team lead in the second exhibition contest. He managed to grab three balls for 39 yards, with the fourth pass being a drop. Despite the error, Christian Ponder seems locked into Rudolph.

  • I was disappointed that Cordarrelle Patterson didn’t have a reception until the third quarter. He finished the game with just two catches for 19 yards. He’s playing behind Jerome Simpson for some reason, which is just inexcusable. He needs to be on the field.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Patriots 25, Buccaneers 21

  • All eyes were on Tom Brady in this contest. It seemed like the world was coming to an end when Brady suffered a knee injury in Wednesday’s practice. It was later announced that he would start this game and play a couple of series. So, how did he fare? Well, based on his performance, it’s as if Nate Solder actually made his body stronger when he crashed into him Wednesday afternoon.

    Tom Brady finished 11-of-12 for 108 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. He was unstoppable. He went 7-of-8 for 65 yards and a score in the preseason opener, so he’s now 18-of-20 for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns through two games. It’s almost as if he hasn’t lost anyone this offseason. Brady looks like he’s on a mission. Don’t have any reservations about drafting him in Rounds 3-4.

    Here were Brady’s targets:

    Danny Amendola: 7 (1 end zone)
    LeGarrette Blount: 1
    Josh Boyce: 1
    Justin Edelman: 1
    Zach Sudfeld: 1 (1 end zone)
    Shane Vereen: 2

  • It’s almost as if Danny Amendola and Tom Brady have been playing together for a decade. The two were incredibly in sync against the Buccaneers. Brady threw to Amendola seven times on two drives, and the former Ram came up with six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. If Amendola can stay healthy all year – a big if – he’ll definitely be a top-10 fantasy receiver.

  • Rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins had a semi-disappointing evening with one catch for three yards. I say “semi” because he still played ahead of Aaron Dobson. He was on the field with Brady, but Brady was just so locked into Amendola.

  • Zach Sudfeld, a rookie tight end who has been nicknamed “Baby Gronk,” snagged two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. Not included in this stat line is an impressive, leaping grab over a couple of defenders on a two-point conversion attempt.

  • Speaking of rookies, third-round corner Logan Ryan pick-sixed Mike Glennon. Ryan jumped the route, though it helped that Glennon stared his target down. More on Glennon later.

  • Tim Tebow had another disappointing outing. If you’re a Tebow supporter, don’t look at this stat line because you may cry: 1-of-7 for minus-1 yards and an interception that was a horrific overthrow. Of course, the game wasn’t on the line, so Tebow wasn’t going to be at his best. He also had six carries for 30 rushing yards. It just seems like he’s thinking too much. He needs to just react.

  • With some being concerned about Brady’s knee, the only major injury to occur in this contest actually happened to a Buccaneer. Doug Martin was knocked out of the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a concussion. He looked woozy heading into the locker room after he took a knee to the helmet.

    Given that Martin was no longer on the field, Josh Freeman struggled to move the ball. He completed two of his three passes, but only for eight yards. He also took a whopping three sacks in the opening quarter.

    Here were Freeman’s targets:

    Tom Crabtree: 1
    Mike James: 1
    Kevin Ogletree: 1

  • Martin barely played, allowing rookie running back Mike James to get most of the first-team workload. James had some tough runs, gaining 81 yards on just 15 carries. Peyton Hillis (18-73) also moved the chains effectively, but James was much more impressive.

  • There’s not much else to say about the Tampa skill-position players because they didn’t do anything, so I’ll just jump to Glennon. The third-round rookie signal-caller had the aforementioned pick-six when he stared down his target. However, he bounced back and hit Derek Hagan with a 43-yard bomb on the next play. The catch was nullified by offensive pass interference, but it was a beautiful throw.

    Glennon finished 12-of-22 for 121 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned pick. He also had two long completions wiped out (offensive pass interference, bogus incomplete ruling). There was way more good than bad from him, but Glennon’s issue has always been consistency. The key for him will be taking this performance and parlaying it into another strong outing next week.

  • While we’re on the subject of Buccaneer quarterbacks, Ronde Barber, a new FOX Sports analyst, had this to say about his former teammate at halftime:

    “Josh Freeman can’t carry the offense by himself. We all know that. He’s prone to mistakes.”

    Wow. Are any of us sure this wasn’t Tiki in disguse? I mean, these people all look the same. What? I mean twins!

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Ravens 27, Falcons 23

  • Even with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, this was a good test for Matt Ryan, given that Baltimore’s defense still has a ton of talent on it. Ryan was sharp in this contest, going 8-of-15 for 97 yards and a touchdown despite not having Tony Gonzalez at his disposal. The completion percentage doesn’t look very good, but he threw a few passes away because of pressure.

    Here were Ryan’s targets:

    Chase Coffman: 2
    Kevin Cone: 1
    Drew Davis: 1
    Harry Douglas: 2
    Steven Jackson: 1
    Julio Jones: 4 (1 end zone)
    Jacquizz Rodgers: 2
    Antone Smith: 1
    Roddy White: 2 (1 end zone)

  • Julio Jones was the only Falcons’ starter who saw more than two targets go his way at Baltimore. He snagged three of the four balls for 55 yards and a touchdown. Jones is set to have a monstrous campaign.

  • Steven Jackson looked a bit slow in his preseason debut, but he had a stronger showing in his second contest. He rushed for 42 yards on eight carries. He also recorded a 13-yard reception in which he broke a Michael Huff tackle. Jackson will have plenty of goal-line opportunities this year, making him a consensus first-round fantasy pick.

  • Jacquizz Rodgers definitely wants to beat Jackson out for the starting job. It’s not going to happen, but Rodgers ran very hard against the Ravens. The numbers don’t show it (10-28, TD), but he was pretty impressive. He had an amazing juke on Courtney Upshaw in the backfield to turn nothing into a 6-yard gain.

  • Joe Flacco was selected after Ryan in the 2008 NFL Draft, so it’s only natural that he had the worse night. His stat line doesn’t look too bad – 7-of-9, 118 yards, one touchdown, one pick – but the bulk of his yardage (77) came on an intermediate slant to Torrey Smith; the speedy receiver did the rest, beating Asante Samuel. The pick was a deflection, but Flacco forced the issue into double coverage.

    Here were Flacco’s targets:

    Billy Bajema: 1
    Damien Berry: 1
    Jacoby Jones: 2
    Ray Rice: 2
    Visanthe Shiancoe: 2
    Torrey Smith: 2

  • Ray Rice didn’t have any running lanes against the Falcons, making it the second week in a row that he couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Rice gained just 10 yards on eight carries, as the blocking simply wasn’t there. A frustrated Rice even yelled at right tackle Michael Oher for missing a block in the second quarter, resulting in a 4-yard loss. On the bright side, Rice shared the team lead in targets with two.

  • As mentioned earlier, Torrey Smith was responsible for the bulk of Flacco’s yardage. He beat Asante Samuel on a slant and outran him into the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown. He finished with two grabs for 85 yards.

  • Nothing from Dallas Clark yet, who didn’t suit up. Visanthe Shiancoe was targeted twice, but couldn’t haul in a single reception.

  • Several notes on various Baltimore defenders:

    – Former Jaguar Daryl Smith was very impressive. He broke up a screen attempt on the Falcons’ second drive. He later deflected a pass in the beginning of the second quarter to nearly give Corey Graham an interception.

    – Another inside linebacker, second-round rookie Arthur Brown, displayed great instincts in this game. He made several outstanding plays and looks like he’ll be a stud in the middle of Baltimore’s defense for a long time. If it weren’t for injuries, he would’ve been picked in the first round for sure.

    – Other young players weren’t as good. Matt Ryan torched former first-round cornerback Jimmy Smith mercilessly. Julio Jones abused him, which was understandable. However, Kevin Cone and Drew Davis also were able to beat Smith. He stinks.

    – Courtney Upshaw doesn’t appear to have a bright future ahead of him. As mentioned, Jacquizz Rodgers juked the hell out of him, prompting the Baltimore homer announcers to laugh at him. Upshaw had issues getting off blocks the entire evening.

  • Speaking of the Ravens’ announcers, color analyst Qadry Ismail made the following comment in the first quarter: “Jimmy Smith is a premier corner in this league.”

    A premier corner in this league? Smith has five freaking starts in the NFL and couldn’t even keep up with the likes of Kevin Cone and Drew Davis! Yeah, sounds like a premier corner to me.

  • Oh, and forum member Clov pointed this out Thursday evening: “The cameraman in the Ravens game literally just got an upskirt on a cheerleader for 10 seconds. Focused directly on her panties.”

    I replied, “Now that’s my type of cameraman!” I was curious to see this for myself, and sure enough, Clov’s post was entirely accurate. Here’s proof:



    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Browns 24, Lions 6

  • I heard that Trent Richardson had an excellent performance in this contest, so I couldn’t wait to watch it. Indeed, Richardson dominated the Lions, as he showed off his power, speed and elusiveness. He rushed for 33 yards on just six carries, including a 17-yard run that he was able to bounce outside. Richardson looks completely healthy, so he can safely be chosen with a top-five fantasy selection.

  • Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden continued to thrive under Norv Turner’s tutelage. He was poised and accurate for the second week in a row, going 8-of-12 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, he was playing a pathetic Detroit defense, but Weeden looks like a completely new quarterback with Turner and Rob Chudzinski patrolling the sidelines.

    Here were Weeden’s targets:

    Jordan Cameron: 3 (2 end zone)
    Josh Gordon: 4
    Dion Lewis: 2
    Greg Little: 2
    Chris Ogbonnaya: 1
    Trent Richardson: 1

  • Josh Gordon is a stud. He saw more targets than any other Cleveland starter (4) against the Lions. He snagged three of those balls for 72 yards, as Brandon Weeden’s only misfire to Gordon resulted in a near-acrobatic, one-handed catch. Gordon will miss the first two games of the season, but he’ll serve as a potential WR2 the rest of the way.

  • Jordan Cameron had a rough exhibition debut, so it was nice to see him rebound versus Detroit. He saw three targets and caught all of those passes for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner coaching him up, Cameron is poised to have a break-out campaign.

  • The Browns, looking for a replacement for long-time kicker Phil Dawson, saw Brandon Bogotay nail his only attempt from 43 yards. Bogotay, however, strained his groin and had to leave the game.

  • Barkevious Mingo didn’t do much in this contest because of a bruised lung. The announcers (more on them later) made it seem like it wasn’t very serious. They were more concerned with a leg problem that guard Jason Pinkston sustained. The worst injury of the night, however, came when Dion Lewis fractured his fibula. Lewis had flashed as an intriguing handcuff for Trent Richardson, but he’ll be out for a few months. What a shame.

  • The Lions struggled on both sides of the football in this contest. Their offense couldn’t sustain drives because Calvin Johnson was out. With no deep threat, Matthew Stafford kept dumping it short to Reggie Bush and Brandon Pettigrew, as you’ll see below. Stafford finished 11-of-16 for just 74 yards.

    Here were Stafford’s targets:

    Nate Burleson: 2
    Reggie Bush: 7
    Patrick Edwards: 3
    Brandon Pettigrew: 4

  • Reggie Bush didn’t run very well against the Browns – eight carries, 15 yards – as the offensive line didn’t get much of a push. However, Bush caught five of seven balls thrown to him for 44 receiving yards. Bush will have tons of opportunities to accumulate aerial yardage with defenses focused on Calvin Johnson.

  • Outside of Bush, Brandon Pettigrew saw more targets (4) than any other Lion. He caught three balls for 20 yards. It’s worth noting that he dropped a pass -something he’s had an issue with his entire career. More on this later.

  • The Detroit kicking battle continues. Both David Akers and Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland are 3-for-3 this preseason. Akers nailed a 48-yarder, while Rugland was true from just 33.

  • The Lions have had issues with discipline over the past couple of seasons, as they always seem to commit dumb penalties at the worst moments. It seems as though they haven’t shored up this issue. Ndamukong Suh was whistled for a late hit on the quarterback. Later on, Reggie Bush was flagged for a personal foul on D’Qwell Jackson for hitting him way after the play was over.

  • Speaking of penalties, it seemed as though the NFL brought back the replacement officials in this game. The ref was someone I’ve never seen before. He seemed unsure of himself when addressing the crowd, often pausing and closing his eyes. On one instance, he said, “Personal foul, dead-ball foul, on the offense, 15-yard penalty, half the distance to the goal!”

    The Browns’ announcers picked up on this, commenting, “The referee is struggling mightily tonight. You have to learn to be on the mic!”

  • Oh, and yeah, I have to get to the Browns’ announcers. I was excited to hear Bernie Kosar after the flak he caught this week from Jeff Fisher, but it was the play-by-play guy who was more noticeable at first. He was shouting incoherently the entire time. He opened with: “This Cleveland Browns’ ginger report is brought to you by Toyota!” Maybe he meant to say “injury report,” but then again, Weeden’s hair color…

    Later on, the play-by-play guy offered up this gem after Brandon Pettigrew’s drop: “Brandon Pettigrew, normally a sure-handed tight end out of Oklahoma State!”

    Pettigrew, a sure-handed tight end? You mean the guy who tied for third among tight ends in drops (9) last year?

    This play-by-play guy was speaking so quickly that it sounded like he was on coke or something. Kosar, meanwhile, seemed drunk, as he was slurring his words and saying weird things. Here are two of his quotes:

    “Reggie’s speed and athleticism could… add another… umm… option to this Detroit…”

    That’s it. “This Detroit.” This Detroit what? Then there’s this from the first quarter:

    “There’s the… uhh… press coverage that we… I’ve… been talkin’ bout the last couple of games…” Last couple of games? There has only been one game so far, Bernie! I’m sure all of that alcohol makes it seem like you’ve broadcasted a couple of games, but that is sadly not the case.

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Eagles 14, Panthers 9

  • The two Eagles’ announcers opened this game by excitedly shouting, “We’re seeing Chip Kelly 2.0 today!” What did that mean exactly? Well, it involved Nick Foles running the read-option and nearly taking a sack in the end zone on his first play. It also meant Brian Baldinger shouting at the chain gang for not moving quickly enough to keep up with Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense.

    As bad as that sounds, the Eagles actually had a solid offensive outing. Nick Foles started and looked excellent on his first drive, making quick reads and completing his first six passes. He finished the possession off with a terrible end-zone interception that he forced into double coverage, but bounced back to put together a drive that culminated in a touchdown. Foles finished 6-of-8 for 53 yards and the pick. He also ran twice for 13 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

    Here were Foles’ targets:

    Jason Avant: 4
    Brent Celek: 1
    Riley Cooper: 2
    DeSean Jackson: 1 (1 end zone)
    Zach Ertz: 1

    QBDK entered the third drive and posted better numbers than his counterpart. He misfired on just one pass, which was a Hail Mary attempt that was picked off. His final numbers were 9-of-10 for 105 yards and the interception. He also rushed twice for 20 more yards.

    There’s no doubt that QBDK is the better fit for this offense, but we know what’s going to happen – QBDK will have some ugly games against smart defensive coordinators and then he’ll suffer an injury before Halloween. The Eagles are better off sticking with Foles so they can learn what they have for the long term.

    Here were QBDK’s targets:

    Jason Avant: 1
    Riley Cooper: 1
    Emil Igwenagu: 1
    DeSean Jackson: 4
    LeSean McCoy: 3
    Chris Polk: 1

  • LeSean McCoy made his preseason debut against the Panthers. He looked outstanding. He rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, including one run in which he made three jukes to burst for 21 yards. McCoy solidified his standing as a first-round fantasy stud.

  • Rookie tight end Zach Ertz made a 15-yard reception from Foles on the first drive. However, that was the only target he received from either quarterback in the first half. He shouldn’t be drafted in normal leagues.

  • A Riley Cooper update: When the controversial wideout caught his first ball, there were a few boos from the crowd. The same people then cheered when he snagged his second catch. It appears as though this is a non-issue going forward.

  • First-round rookie tackle Lane Johnson has enjoyed a solid preseason, but he was beaten horribly by someone named Wes Horton in the 2-minute drill to conclude the first half.

  • Speaking of rookies, Matt Barkley went 8-of-4 for 72 yards. He had some nice passes, but his lacking arm strength was apparent again. He also threw behind two of his intended receivers on intermediate attempts.

  • As for Philadelphia’s defense, the Panthers don’t have the rushing attack to take advantage of its weaknesses like the Patriots did last week. Having said that, it had to be discouraging for Eagles’ fans that pedestrian wideouts like Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn were getting wide open on the initial drive. Philadelphia has a miserable secondary, so this will be a theme all year.

  • Carolina’s offense was pretty sloppy in this contest. Blocking was an issue. Procedure penalties were paramount. Cam Newton, meanwhile, missed open receivers and nearly threw an interception to go along with his mediocre stat line against the Eagles: 8-of-17, 112 yards. It’s been two weeks now, and Newton just hasn’t looked very good. Perhaps this will change once the games actually mean something, but it’s a reminder that Newton is learning under a new offensive coordinator this year. He’ll still get his rushing touchdowns, but I’d try to avoid him in fantasy leagues.

    Here were Newton’s targets:

    Ted Ginn: 3
    Brandon LaFell: 1
    Greg Olsen: 1
    Steve Smith: 7 (1 end zone)
    Brandon Williams: 1
    DeAngelo Williams: 1

  • There’s not much to say about the Panthers’ skill-position players. Steve Smith saw most of the targets, as expected. He caught three balls for 34 yards. Brandon LaFell was thrown to only once. He’s not a fantasy option.

  • DeAngelo Williams was the primary running back with Jonathan Stewart out again. He gained just 39 yards on 12 carries, as the blocking simply wasn’t there. The interior of Carolina’s offensive line was constantly getting zero push in the trenches.

  • Speaking of interior linemen, first-round rookie Star Lotulelei made a great play when he blew up a screen pass. However, he was offside later on during a 3rd-and-7. He was taken out of the game and scolded on the sideline.

  • I mentioned last week that Roger Goodell has found a way to profit off his new bag rule. If you haven’t heard, the only big bags fans are allowed to bring into the stadium are these clear, plastic ones with team logos on them, which is what the male sideline reporter is holding in this picture:



    Of course, Goodell is also brainwashing us with these hot chicks, like that girl and this cheerleader:



    Roger, you sly bastatd…

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    Bears 33, Chargers 28

  • With several receivers sidelined and a new group of offensive linemen trying to gel together, battling the Bears’ stop unit was a good test for San Diego’s offense. So, how did the Chargers fare? Well, if this contest is any indication, it’s going to be a long season for the Bolts.

    The Chargers committed four turnovers in the first half, three of which came from the starting unit. Philip Rivers was sacked three times in just over a quarter despite the fact that Julius Peppers and Henry Melton were out. Both starting tackles were each beaten for a sack, one of which led to a lost fumble. Rivers went 5-of-9 for 50 yards and an interception. The pick wasn’t Rivers’ fault; there was a blatant, uncalled pass interference on Keenan Allen. Furthermore, the replay showed the ball hit the ground, but the officials didn’t reverse the call.

    It’s worth noting that Danny Woodhead was sidelined, but it doesn’t really matter; the Chargers will have issues sustaining drives because they can’t pass protect.

    Here were Rivers’ targets:

    Keenan Allen: 1
    Antonio Gates: 5
    John Phillips: 1
    Fozzy Whittaker: 1

  • Antonio Gates was the only Charger starter who had more than one target from Philip Rivers in the second preseason game. He was thrown to five times. With San Diego now concentrating on a short, quick passing game, Gates’ receptions are sure to rise. He’s still a risky player because of his durability issues, but he’s worth snagging in Rounds 8-9.

  • No Danario Alexander, no Malcom Floyd, so Vincent Brown was expected to be the star wideout in San Diego’s offense in the second preseason game. Brown, however, wasn’t targeted on a single occasion. Philip Rivers didn’t have much time in the pocket to find Brown downfield – a theme that’s sure to continue throughout this entire season.

  • I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Ryan Mathews looked good in his second exhibition contest. He ran hard and tallied 45 yards on just nine carries. Mathews will eventually miss time with an injury, but if, by miracle, he can manage to stay healthy, he can definitely be a top-15 fantasy running back.

  • Rookie wideout Keenan Allen had a rough outing. He was responsible for Philip Rivers’ interception – though I thought pass interference should’ve been called – and then he muffed a punt. I’m not sure why the slow Allen is returning punts. San Diego’s special teams in general were disastrous in this contest. The team allowed a 100-yard kickoff return and had a punt blocked, among other things.

  • The Chargers’ first-round rookie, D.J. Fluker, had a mixed performance. He was not very good in pass protection, as Corey Wootton easily beat him for a sack. However, he blasted open a big running lane on a second-quarter goal-line carry that resulted in a touchdown for Fozzy Whittaker.

  • As for the Bears, they seemed to alternate a terrible series with a great series. For instance, the first possession was comprised of three plays: a tackle for a loss on Matt Forte, a strip-sack on Jay Cutler and then another sack. Cutler then responded with a solid touchdown drive. After that, he tossed an ugly interception that he forced to Brandon Marshall. On his fourth and final possession, he led the Bears into the red zone, allowing Forte to run in for a touchdown.

    None of this should be a surprise. Cutler is as inconsistent as they get, so expect more of this throughout the year. Projecting as a solid QB2, Cutler finished 4-of-5 for 38 yards, one touchdown and the aforementioned pick.

    Here were Cutler’s targets (it’s semi-amusing):


    Brandon Marshall: 5 (1 end zone)

  • Jay Cutler threw five passes in his second preseason game – all of which went to Brandon Marshall. That’s not a good sign for Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett, but Cutler had just two drives in which he attempted more than one pass. It’s still too early to tell if those other two players will be big factors or not in Chicago’s offense.

  • Matt Forte looked great against the Chargers, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, thanks to a 58-yard burst. This performance was encouraging, considering the problems Chicago has on its offensive line.

  • I mentioned last week that rookie linebacker Jon Bostic made some great plays in his exhibition debut. He had a monstrous hit on receiver Mike Willie in the third quarter, which forced a drop. However, Bostic was partly responsible for a touchdown later when he turned the wrong way.

  • Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer were the announcers in this game. Dilfer, taking after Jon Gruden, praised every single player on the field. He gushed over Charlie Whitehurst and even called Eric Weems a “great player.” Eric freaking Weems!

    Follow me @walterfootball for updates.


    2013 Preseason Notes: Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
    2013 Fantasy Football Stock Pages: Preseason Stock Week 4 | Preseason Stock Week 3 | Preseason Stock Week 2 | Preseason Stock Week 1 | Training Camp Stock







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    2013 Fantasy Football Articles:
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    2013 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 8/30 (Walt)
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    2013 ESPN Fantasy Football Magazine: 10 Reasons Not to Buy It - 8/21 (Walt)
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    2013 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/17 (Walt)
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    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


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