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10 Stats That Matter From Week Two of the Pre-Season
John Tuvey
August 23, 2010
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Ah, the preseason—full-price tickets for a quarter or two of starters, followed by a glorified scrimmage between a bunch of guys who’ll finish the month with a bunch of NFL t-shirts and some great memories to tell their friends.

Some memories—say a kick return for a score or two short-yardage touchdowns  in the fourth quarter of a meaningless game—are better than others. But some performances might actually open eyes, influence coaches, and earn players playing time—playing time which can be turned into fantasy productivity.

Here’s a look at some of the more notable performances from the second weekend of the preseason, and what they might mean for fantasy owners.

Brandon Jackson at Seahawks, 11-80-1 rushing, 1-9 receiving — Aaron Rodgers (8-11-116-2) looked to be in midseason form, and he definitely has an affinity for Jermichael Finley (4-48-1). However, the performance of Jackson not only solidifies him as the backup to Ryan Grant (who both fumbled and was injured in the preseason opener) but also might buy him a bit more time as a change-of-pace and third-down back in Green Bay.

Leon Washington vs. Packers, 4-19-1 rushing, 1-6 receiving  — While the Seahawks passing game received much of the attention—Matt Hasselbeck went 11-for-15 for 127 yards and a TD while T.J. Houshmandzadeh (4-60) and Mike Williams (4-44) both turned in solid efforts—it was Washington’s Seattle debut fantasy owners should be paying attention to. Washington looked all the way back from his broken leg in averaging almost five yards a carry, including an 11-yard TD run in which he scooted untouched into the end zone. He looks ready to contend for carries behind Seattle’s Alex Gibbs-led line, likely at the expense of Julius Jones.

Jahvid Best at Broncos, 8-49 rushing, 2-10 receiving — The Detroit rookie’s stat line is notable primarily in comparison to that of Kevin Smith (3-6 rushing, 2-13 receiving). Halfway through the preseason it’s looking more and more like Best’s gig with a smattering of Smith. Fantasy owners will want to note not only the two catches (a PPR helper) but the six-yards-per-carry average as well.

Reggie Bush vs. Texans, 7-49-1 rushing; Joseph Addai at Bills, 2-13-1 rushing, 2-23 receiving — The notable stat for each of these backs is the touchdown, the second red-zone score in as many games for both Bush and Addai. Neither is considered a goal-line back, nor are they going off the board as an RB1 or even a primary RB2. However, their scores with their respective first-team offenses suggest that they may be in line for opportunities that could reward an astute fantasy owner who jumps on them a round or two ahead of their ADP.

Chad Henne at Jaguars, 11-14-151-2 — Henne more than lived up to his billing as a preseason fantasy sleeper in slicing and dicing the Jacksonville secondary en route to two touchdowns, both by tight end Anthony Fasano (2-66-2). Henne also directed four passes at new target Brandon Marshall (4-65), completing two. Marshall also caught the eye of Miami backup Chad Pennington, who entered the game after Henne’s second score and promptly threw three passes at Marshall, including a 37-yard completion.

Kareem Huggins vs. Chiefs, 8-44 rushing — A second strong showing from Huggins has Derrick Ward (5-11) worrying not only about his backup job but also his roster spot. Though he didn’t catch a pass in this game Huggins could be playing himself into the Bucs’ third-down role as well as the primary backup to oft-injured Cadillac Williams (2-7). He’s already crept into the late rounds of some industry drafts; don’t be surprised if he pops up in yours as well.

Carson Palmer vs. Eagles, 15-23-169-0-2  — While the two picks aren’t exactly what Bengals fans and fantasy owners are looking for, Palmer’s strong preseason showing indicated Cincy—while perhaps not the aerial circus they were a few years ago—will have more balance to their offense. Of particular note among Bengals receivers: Cedric Benson, who added 5-29 receiving to a pedestrian 10-30 rushing performance; and Terrell Owens (3-67), who again received more attention than Chad Ochocinco (2-29) and appears on his way to usurping 85 as Palmer’s top target.

Michael Turner vs. Patriots, 8-32- rushing, 2-9 receiving — It wasn’t so much that Turner hammered out four yards a carry against New England; that’s hardly newsworthy. But the fact that the Falcons threw to Turner twice has to capture the attention of fantasy owners in PPR leagues who are used to harshly downgrading Turner because of their scoring format. Consider that the two grabs accounts for exactly 40 percent of Turner’s reception total from a year ago and you can see why there might be a fuss. At that rate, Turner would increase his pass-catching production by more than 600 percent from a year ago—and add the equivalent of another five touchdowns to his PPR bottom line.

Aaron Hernandez at Falcons, 4-46-1 receiving; Rob Gronkowski at Falcons, 4-38-1 receiving — While all eyes were on Wes Welker (2-20) and his miraculous comeback from a torn ACL, there were other beneficiaries of Tom Brady’s solid 10-12-85-1 outing. You know how the New England offense loves its tight ends, and in Hernandez and Gronkowski the team has a pair of quality rookies at the position. It’s notable that while bothHernadez and Gronkowski started, Hernandez caught two passes (including the TD) from Brady; Gronk caught one from Brady, two from Brian Hoyer (including the touchdown) and one from Zac Robinson.

C.J. Spiller vs. Colts, 10-54-1 rushing, 1-2 receiving — With Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch out, Spiller took advantage of the opportunity to flash the speed and elusiveness that led the Bills to spend a first-round pick on him. The highlight was a 31-yard touchdown run in which Spiller evaded one would-be tackler in the backfield, juked another at the line of scrimmage, then made a defensive back miss on the five yard line going in. With Buffalo’s line still a work in progress Spiller will have to get much of his yardage on his own, but as he demonstrated Thursday night he’s more than capable of doing so.

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