2013-08-20 11:00:00 EDT
Tomorrow begins the most important weekend of preseason action around the NFL. The third game is the unofficial warm-up for teams all across the league, and that’s when we’ll get our most lengthy and reliable look at the starters–which should tell us all sorts of interesting things about the upcoming fantasy campaign. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy happenings out there this morning.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: Cruz is coming off an injury to his heel in Sunday’s preseason game against the Colts. Things looked pretty bad when he showed up to do interviews yesterday sporting a boot and crutches, but owners shouldn’t be overly concerned. The crutches were simply a precautionary measure, designed to help him keep weight off his heel. Cruz’s MRI came back negative, so there’s not much danger of him missing the opener.
That’s good news for one of the top-tier WR names in fantasy. You should be able to find Cruz just outside the top 10 among those at his position.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: As yet, we don’t have an iron-clad timeline for Bell’s recovery, but the latest reports don’t sound too good. He’s got a mid-foot sprain, and though that’s not the worst thing that could have happened to him, he’ll still reportedly be out “a while.”
In Bell’s absence, the Steelers will likely go with a combination of Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling. In the meantime, we’d keep him stashed in fantasy leagues until we get more information on his recovery time, but he’s not quite the intriguing sleeper he was a few days ago.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders: This hasn’t quite developed into a worrisome situation just yet, but those who own or are targeting McFadden should take note anyway. He was reportedly dealing with a minor shoulder injury early this week in practice, but as yet he’s been able to work through it. The plan remains to get McFadden on the field in Week 3, when we’ll get a better idea of how he’s going to function in this offense.
McFadden is a nice fantasy pick based on where he’s going in drafts (mid-30s or so overall), but he carries some injury baggage that could hinder his play. If he can stay healthy, he should thrive in the Raiders’ power-rushing scheme. That’s a big “if,” though.
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Zach Sudfeld, TE, New England Patriots: Here’s a name to watch, especially considering the very thin TE market in fantasy this year. Sudfeld has reportedly gotten into the swing of things in the Pats’ offense very quickly, and has turned heads with his solid play thus far in the preseason. He could end up getting quite a few snaps, even when Rob Gronkowski returns from his forearm/back issues (which will probably be Week 3 or 4).
The drawback with Sudfeld is that he’s gone through multiple injury issues in his football career, including surgeries on his wrist, knee, shoulder and leg. That said, he might be a nice sleeper pickup as a No. 2 or 3 TE later in the draft.
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