The third week of preseason is always the best to glean fantasy information, so let’s dig into some of the standouts.
Doug Martin: Well, unless you are playing fake football in a league full of morons (and yes, I understand you may be) your chances of getting Doug Martin at a discount are now gone. He started ahead of LeGarrette Blount and played on every down in the first quarter, including around the goal-line, when he got into the end zone on his only attempt.
Martin finished with a respectable line of 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown, including 3 receptions for 12 yards. He’s obviously the passing down back and will be a PPR contributor, but now we can be much more confident that Blount won’t be taking away goal-line carries.
I’ve moved him up to the 12th running back in non-ppr and the 11th in ppr. That puts him firmly in the second round. I think he can still be had in the third round, which may leave you more flexible to grab a top quarterback or Jimmy Graham in the first or second. I believe he’ll be hard to get at the end of the third in hoity-toity “industry” leagues, but in normal leagues he makes for a perfect 3rd or 4th round grab.
Russell Wilson: So Wilson has been putting on a show this preseason, and last night he continued against a good Chiefs defense. He went 13-of-19 for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also rushing twice for 58 yards. He went through his progressions and kept his eyes downfield. Nothing seems to disrupt him.
He has the starters job locked up. If Pete Carroll doesn’t name him the starter there is something wrong in Whoville. He of course isn’t proven enough to be considered for starting on your fake football team, but he sure has the upside to be an intriguing back up. His ability to run should keep him in fantasy consideration.
Torrey Smith: I have not been a Torrey Smith fan. Mostly because I haven’t been a Joe Flacco fan, but both have put together a strong preseason in a more up-tempo offense. He had 8 catches for 103 yards and looked great doing so last night. Add to that, he’s by far the best receiver on the team which should put him in line for a goodly amount of targets.
David Wilson: With Ahmad Bradshaw out with a hand boo-boo, Wilson rushed five times for 49 yards and caught two passes for 26 yards. He looks like the better back at the moment, but Bradshaw knows the playbook better and will be the starter. But there’s a decent chance Wilson starts splitting carries fairly evenly and soon.
Justin Blackmon: He caught 4 passes for 72 yards and is by far the best Jaguars’ receiver and it’s not even close. He will get force-fed the ball this season. He will most likely have some trouble racking up touchdowns, but I could see 80 receptions this season.
Stevan Ridley: Ridley rushed 16 times for 87 yards and a touchdown and had three receptions for 17 yards. He has been the lead back all preseason and can now securely be drafted as such. Taking a Patriots running back is risky, but you want the guy who will be the short-yardage back and that’s Ridley. He’s a much better all-around back than BenJarvus Green-Ellis who didn’t have a single run over 18 yards last season, whereas Ridley had multiple runs over 18 yards on a lot less carries. He has much more upside to gamble on.
Cedric Benson: I hate to do it, but I had to move Benson up in the rankings after his impressive first preseason game. The Packers are the first team Benson has been on that is a pass first team, which should open up a lot more space for him. He won’t be a workhorse, but should be productive. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, but for where you can usually draft him I’d take the harakiri plunge.
Jamaal Charles: It was good to once again see JC Superstar making people miss on strong cuts and accelerate at will against the Seahawks last night. Add that to a lackluster preseason for Peyton Hillis and he’s looking good going into drafts.
Robert Turbin: He looked great against the Chiefs. Showed power and hit holes decisively while rushing 14 times for 93 yards and a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t had too many injury issues in the past, but Turbin is a high upside handcuff.
Julio Jones: Jones just continues to dominate. He’s been the focus of the offense all preseason and unstoppable at the same time. I was worried about him in PPR, but he’s catching the ball all over the field and doubling up Roddy White in targets so far. Don’t feel bad “reaching” for him in the second round.
Aaron Hernandez: I’ve been high on Hernandez this preseason and now I’ve taken a few more hits off the Hookandez and I’m floating. Gronk will most likely beat him in touchdowns again, but Hernandez is going to be playing all over the field getting targets galore and Gronk might have to block a little more this season. Anyway you slice it, he’s set up for a big year if he can stay healthy.