« 10 Stats That Mattered From Week Two
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 third weekend of the preseason, and what they might mean for fantasy owners.
Arian Foster vs. Cowboys, 18-110-1 rushing; 4-16 receiving — Foster was expected to be merely a placeholder for Ben Tate, but when the rookie suffered a broken ankle a couple weeks back he became “The Man” by default. And then he dropped a buck-ten on the Cowboys; even better, he caught four passes—four more than supposed third-down back Steve Slaton (two carries, six yards). It’s unlikely you’ll be getting Foster at a sleeper value, but it does seem as if he’s the Texans’ go-to guy... for now.
Green Bay Packers vs. Colts, 59 points — This offense looks to be in midseason form, and while the Colts—who treat the preseason with the same disdain the French show for personal hygiene—aren’t exactly a rigorous test there’s something to be said for putting up nearly 60 points. A few notable stat lines: Aaron Rodgers, 21-29-195-3; Jermichael Finley, 6-85-1; Donald Driver, 5-35-1; James Jones, 4-30-1. Bring on the regular season!
Derek Anderson at Bears, 7-12-94-1; Matt Leinart at Bears 9-10-84-1 — The decision to start Anderson in what is generally regarded as the dress rehearsal for the regular season created more questions than it answered. Neither was that bad... or that good. If it’s a game manager the Cardinals are looking for as they transition to a run-oriented attack, Leinart was more efficient. From a fantasy perspective, neither look to offer much in the way of assistance.
Brett Favre vs. Seahawks, 16-26-187-0-2 — This wasn’t quite the coronation the Vikings had hoped for. Favre was picked twice—one that bounced out of Bernard Berrian’s hands and was brought back for a touchdown—and fumbled once while directing two scoring drives in two-plus quarters of play. On the bright side, he located new target Greg Camarillo (4-47) and old friend Percy Harvin (2-30), but in general he didn’t look like he was ready for a rematch with the defending Super Bowl champs in little more than a week.
Todd Heap vs. Giants, 6-69-1 — Apparently Heap isn’t going quietly into that good night, as was expected after the Ravens acquired Anquan Boldin and drafted two tight ends. Even more notable is that both Boldin (4-52-1) and Derrick Mason (5-35) put up numbers alongside Heap’s solid stat line. Maybe it’s too early to write Heap off just yet, and he’ll have some fantasy value for at least the first half of the season.
C.J. Spiller vs. Bengals, 12-52-2 rushing; 2-33 receiving — Let’s not hand the Rookie of the Year award to Ryan Mathews just yet. Spiller has taken full advantage of the injuries to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch to stake his claim not only on the Bills job but on a role as a legitimate fantasy helper.
Carson Palmer at Bills, 9-11-95-2 — While Cedric Benson (8-50) also looked good, Palmer continued to show glimpses of the former elite fantasy quarterback he once was. More importantly, he spread the ball around amongst what are expected to be his primary targets: Terrell Owens, 3-35; Chad Ochocinco, 2-23-1; even rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham, 4-45-1. Expect more balance from the Bengals’ offense, and maybe even something more than just backup fantasy numbers from Palmer.
LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Redskins, 11-86 rushing; 1-9 receiving — Maybe there’s something left in the tank after all. LT’s bottom line was bolstered by a 43-yard run, but he outperformed Shonn Greene (12-56). The Jets threw some pretty good money at Tomlinson this offseason, and he’s done nothing in the preseason to suggest he won’t be siphoning off touches from Greene; handcuff accordingly.
Thomas Jones vs. Eagles, 10-30-1 rushing; 4-16 receiving — The three yards per carry isn’t news, but the four catches are a new wrinkle. And when you consider that Jamaal Charles left the game with a shoulder injury after picking up 60 yards on seven touches, it’s looking more and more as if Jones needs to be handcuffed to Charles.
Neil Rackers vs. Cowboys, 2-2 FG (23, 23), 1-1 PAT: Kris Brown vs. Cowboys, 1-1 FG (22), 1-1 PAT — The battle for the right to tack on points for one of the league’s more potent offenses looks as if it will rage on right to the final cut. Gary Kubiak said the race couldn’t be closer and noted that kickoff distance could be the deciding factor. If that is indeed the case, note that Brown outdistanced Rackers against Dallas, averaging 73 yards on his three kickoffs while Rackers mustered a shade over 69.
« 10 Stats That Mattered From Week Two