Preseason is now in full swing and when you watch preseason games after days and days of research and analysis and writing, you often revel in the good things “your” players do and try to find a way to dismiss the things they do wrong. Jamaal Charles and Dez Bryant have been “my” guys for a long while now and they confirmed that love I have deep in my heart.
Yes preseason gets boring in the second half or earlier, but as long as the starters and some fantasy “sleepers” get out on the field I’m more than happy to tweet about them. So let’s take a look at some of the happenings from week one of the fake games for fake football.
Jamaal Charles: Chiefs fans should be pretty excited about what they saw on the first drive of 2013 and that is eight touches for JC Superstar. He only played on that first drive, but was targeted three times in the passing game, catching all of them for a total of 27 yards. Last season he only topped three receptions in three games. If he can get three on one drive in Reid’s offense AND get a one yard rushing TD on that same drive (which he did), well, there’s no telling how far he can go this year.
Dez Bryant: He looked like a man among boys last night as he dominated the Raiders secondary, catching three passes for 55 yards in very limited playing time. The Raiders secondary doesn’t look all that stout of course, but Bryant is going to be multiple handfuls for every secondary in the NFL this season. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to put up huge numbers.
Cordarrelle Patterson: All the talk about Patterson has centered around his amazing ability in the open field and it showed against the Texans last night. He caught four passes for 54 yards and also had a 50 yard kick return. It is going to be difficult keeping Patterson off the field even while he is still learning some of the fundamentals.
DeAndre Hopkins: DeAndre “Manly” Hopkins has been putting on a show in training camp, drawing rave reviews from even head coach Gary Kubiak. He didn’t stop the show in his first preseason game as he caught four passes for 52 yards including a 20 yard touchdown catch that shows off his body control, strong hands and concentration. It really was poetic in a footbally way. Take a look, he’s the real deal. Of course he is still on a run first offense with Andre Johnson across the field from him. That doesn’t bode well for consistent fantasy production, but he will have his games.
Carson Palmer: The Cardinals passing game looked about forty bazillion times better than at anytime last season. The biggest question is going to be the Cardinals o-line and Palmer’s health. Otherwise, they looked like a legitimate offense for the first time in a while. Palmer has some good upside with Bruce Arians at the helm and Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are two of my favorite players this season.
Dustin Keller: Keller was a nice pick up for the Dolphins and is showing that he could be Tannehill’s go to guy. Against the Jaguars he caught two passes for 46 yards and a touchdown and very easily could be an oft-targeted Dolphin in the end zone this year with Mike Wallace and Brain Hartline ill equipped in that part of the field.
Bryce Brown: After Chris Polk has been running with the starters in practice and inpreseason, Brown finally showed up to fight for his number two running back position. He ran the ball five times for 22 yards, but one of those carries was a nice eight yard touchdown run. He also caught two passes for 19 yards. On the other hand, Polk did very little with his time on the field, running four times for seven yards. Brown should end up winning the #2 job.
Kenbrell Thompkins: The fight for the #3 receiver in New England is now being won by Thompkins by a very slim margin. Thompkins caught four of five passes for 23 yards while Dobson caught two of seven targets for 35 yards. Dobson was my pick and I still like his upside as a red zone threat, but this situation isn’t going to clear itself up anytime soon and I could see Belichick muddying it up even more.
Michael Vick: Both Vick and Foles had decent nights all around, but Vick had the better night by completing four of five passes for 94 yards including a 47 yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson. All the good money is on Vick to start the season as the Eagles quarterback and that means he’s worth owning. Oh, and draft DeSean Jackson while you’re at it.
Marquess Wilson: The Bears rookie had a nice game with four receptions for 82 yards. The biggest knock on him right now is his thin build, but if he can keep making strides, he has the talent to make this team and move up as the season goes on.
Christine Michael: Young Christine had some new adventures as he rushed 16 times for 89 yards in his first “NFL” game. The talk has been all buzzy about Michael and his shot at beating out Robert Turbin for the #2 running back position and with a game like this and the fact that Turbin has been hurt, we have ourselves a battle.
Julius Thomas: Thomas caught the first pass of the game from Peyeton Manning for a short gain. It’s nice to see him starting and getting looks from Peyton. He ended up catching four passes on four targets for 35 yards. If Thomas could beat out Tamme we might have something on our hands.
Brandon Weeden: The old guy who is younger than me had a productive game, completing 10 of 13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He has sneaky upside under Norv Turner in his good matchups this season.
Roy Helu: He rushed 13 times for 57 yards and showed that his Achilles and toe are fully healed. He is most likely going to win the third down duties in Washington and with Alfred Morris not catching any passes to speak of, he could have very good value in PPR leagues.
Chris Givens: Sam Bradford loved hitting Givens for 50+ yard gains last season and they picked right back up from where they left off with a 59 yard hook up. He totaled three receptions for 89 yards on the night and it’s hard to fight production when analyzing these Rams receivers and Givens continues to produce.
Steven Jackson: All of these other players did something positive to grab our attention, but Jackson made me notice just how slow he was. Maybe the Falcons have some Michael Vick curse on them that makes their running backs eat, roll around in and run as fast as molasses. Of course this is a small sample size and the blocking wasn’t good, but I’ll need to see something from him soon or my SJax love will wane.