2013-08-12 08:00:00 EDT
The second wave of the week 1 preseason games are complete and fantasy football fans better keep their eyes open for those unhyped and under the radar players. After these games, it would appear the first place to look for these “super sleepers” is New England. Despite all the criticism from the Fantasy Sports World, the Patriots went out and lit up the scoreboard against the Eagles.
Living up to the Hype
Jamaal Charles – Kansas City’s offensive starters only played one series, but it was an impressive series. And if this one drive was any indication how important Charles is going to be to this offense, then fantasy owners need to consider moving him to, dare I say it, the top of the board? Charles had 3 catches for 27 yards and 5 rushes for 13 yards with a TD. While those are not jaw-dropping numbers, it needs to be noted that he got the goal line carry. Andy Reid has stated that Charles is gonna be the spark plug that keeps this offense moving, and he definitely lived up to that hype on Kansas City’s first preseason drive.
Shane Vereen – The Patriots’ offense put on a show in their first preseason game. Was this offensive explosion an indicator of how good they will be or how bad the Eagles’ defense will be? Regardless of the answer to that question, Shane Vereen made the highlight catch of the night. Brady tossed the ball into the corner of the end zone, and Vereen made an incredible catch under much duress from the Eagles’ defender. Vereen grabbed the ball with one hand, and maintain control while getting his foot and knee down just inside the line to stay in bounds. His overall numbers were not impressive, but it’s catches like this that have made him one of the most hyped sleepers in fantasy football.
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Left Fans Disappointed
Bears Offense – The entire Bears’ offense left much to be desired after their first attempt at real-time game action in 2013. Their first offensive play of the preseason was something that Bears’ fans have grown extremely tired of seeing, Cutler throwing an interception. The Bears’ starters struggled their entire time on the field. The offensive line did not give Cutler much time to throw. Cutler was able to complete some passes, but they were all quick three-step drops. The Bears did not do much on the ground either as Forte had 1 rush for -1 yards. For a team that has two potential second round fantasy draft picks, this was a very discouraging performance.
Packers Offense – The most discouraging thing about the Packers first preseason game was the lack of players on the field. Fantasy owners across the globe had to halt their anticipation of a running back showdown between Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. Lacy was held out of the game, which is not an encouraging sign to fantasy owners, and Franklin did not do much as he had 6 carries for 14 yards. The night was not a complete bust for Aaron Rodgers, though. Rodgers hooked up with James Jones on a nice 50 yard pass, which will help Jones creep up fantasy draft boards. Despite this one highlight play, the Packers were shutout and Aaron Rodgers and company were stuffed on the goal line 4 times. Fantasy owners should not be scared by this lackluster performance, and they should expect a better show next week.
Tom Brady – How does Tom Brady make a “non-hyped” list? Because fantasy experts the world over are all saying he will not put up the same numbers he has the past few seasons and that the Patriots as a whole are very vulnerable. Well, Brady put a huge damper on that argument with the Patriots’ first two offensive drives. The Patriots ran the ball every play on their first drive which led to a Ridley touchdown. Their second possession was vintage Brady as he completed passes all over the field and the drive ended with the highlight catch of the night by Vereen. There was no Gronk, Hernandez, or Welker on the field, but it did not matter because Brady had Thompkins, Dobson, and Amendola.
Carson Palmer – Palmer used to be among the top fantasy quarterbacks, but he has fallen to the ranks of the undraftable over the last few seasons. While there has been quite a bit of hype around the resurgence of Larry Fitzgerald this year, there has not been much talk about Palmer returning to fantasy prominence. Palmer looked very good in the Cardinals first action of the preseason. He was very comfortable in the pocket and it appears he has developed a solid rapport with his receivers. He connected with Andre Roberts on a beautifully thrown ball for a 38 yard touchdown. Palmer finished the game completing 4 of 6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. If he plays this well the rest of the preseason, then fantasy owners should consider him a great backup QB with the potential to be a starter.
Another Performance to Note
LeGarrette Blount put on a show against the Eagles. Not only did he have a very impressive 51 yard touchdown run, but he also had a few runs with the starters on the Patriots first drive. Blount’s final stat line for the night was 101 yards on 11 carries with 2 touchdowns. Blount is a player to watch the rest of the preseason, especially if he can earn goal line carries.