Preseason games have one main purpose - to help teams determine which 53 players they want to keep on the active roster for the regular season and what the depth chart will be for every position. Within that there are a lot pf performances in the preseason that are surprisingly big or small and yet they mean absolutely nothing. Unless you view the games and stats with some wisdom and care, you could end up worse than had you never watched anything. Bottom line - for every good performance there are defenders to be released for allowing it to happen. For every bad performance, it may mean nothing more than getting a running back or receiver a few game reps and then getting them out before the blocking gets any worse.
But - there are some significant stats generated that actually do mean something for fantasy football. Let's see what came out of last week you should know.
Felix Jones vs. Titans- 5-17, 1 TD rushing, 2-47 receiving: Jones missed most of his rookie season but is healthy again and looking very sharp. Notable here - his touchdown was a 1-yard run at the goal line where he wasn't invited last year and he only had two catches all of last year. Use Jones as a receiver and he might be worthy as a starter in deeper leagues.
Tony Gonzalez at Rams, 3- 32, 1 TD : This made us feel a little more comfortable that Gonzo was starting to mesh with Matt Ryan despite reports that he was mostly blocking in practice and still learning the offense. Have to figure that Ryan tops every other quarterback that Gonzo played with other than maybe Trent Green.
Laurent Robinson vs Falcons, 5-65 : The #2 in St. Louis is currently the #1 until Donnie Avery gets back and he's showed up big in practice and now in games. Granted - the Rams look horrible so far but within that could be a lot of trash time catches, yardage and scores. Every week maybe.
James Davis vs Lions, 12-116, 1 TD rushing, 2-11 receive: The rookie has been impressive in mini-camps and training camp and now just ruined your hopes of picking him up in the 22nd round of your draft. It was just the second string Lions and Davis remains #3 on the depth chart but he'll likely be the replacement for Jamal Lewis who is 30 years old and almost certain to hit the wall face first.
Troy Williamson vs Buccaneers, 3-147, 1 TD : Yeah, we've all been burned by Williamson in the past but he faced a decent secondary and actually looked good. The Jaguars have stripped the depth chart for wideouts and added Torry "AARP" Holt. There is plenty of room for a receiver to step up and make a difference on this team. Gotta watch this more closely to see if he's worth being fantasy depth or not.
Jermichael Finley vs Bills, 3-46 : His first two receptions came with the first team and Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to a guy he said was "uncoverable" in training camp. This is an offense that could use a receiving tight end and Finley is now worthy of being your backup tight end.
Robert Meachem at Texans, 2-29 : Sounds small enough but he also had three catches for 77 yards last week as well and has been one of the most used receivers by the Saints so far. And all but one of the passes thrown to him came from Drew Brees. Maybe he really isn't a bust and he just needed the typical two years under his belt.
Glen Coffee vs Raiders, 16-129 rushing : That comes on the heels of him running for 67 yards on 14 carries against the Broncos. Coffee is looking very sharp and will be the primary backup for Frank Gore. He's a handcuff the Gore owner should consider and he's earning a draft pick in most leagues already.
LaDainian Tomlinson at Arizona, 8-18 rushing, 2-18 receive : No, it wasn't a great performance but he actually ran well considering the blocking. But it was that he was on the field at all. The Chargers want him to hit the ground running in week one instead of shaking off the rust like usual. It is also a sign that they are no worried about the toe and groin problems of last year.
Justin Forsett vs Broncos, 7-18 rush, 7-58 receive : Forsett actually gained that in the second and third quarters with much coming from Hasselbeck. The Seahawks are entering the season with a committee of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett but there is always room for a speedy change of pace guy like Forsett. Granted, he may do nothing more than decrease what Jones and Duckett could have done. But he's the most dangerous looking running back in Seattle since the heyday of Shaun Alexander.
Leon Washington at Ravens, 8-48 rushing, 2-35, 1 TD receive : Washington was nothing short of impressive in Baltimore playing against the first team Ravens defense. He's always been considered too small for much use but he played like a fulltime back for the first half and the Ravens could barely contain him. He has to be buying more playing time in what will be a committee backfield.
Remember - week three is always the one week you have to watch. It is the time when almost all teams run the first string for the first half and see what they have for the season. The final week is purely to determine who stays on the 53 man roster but next week is going to be the best view of what to expect for the season.