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Rivers, Flacco look sharp in first preseason games


I wasn't having a very good sports night on Thursday. Actually, sports have been kind of a drag since Garret Richards shutout the hated Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. But just as the Boys in Blue pounded the Angels into submission on Thursday night, who would be there to save the day but none other than Blaine Gabbert.

Just when I was at my lowest, I was able to watch some Blaine Gabbert lowlights. It was amazing. You can have "The Bachelor," "Duck Dynasty," "Big Brother" or any other reality TV show. But Blaine Gabbert is true train-wreck TV. Like a different variation on the "Biggest Loser" but without the obesity. That would be a great post-career game plan for Blaine Gabbert; gain a (expletive)-ton of weight and then follow in Scott Mitchell's footprints. Actually, a Scott Mitchell-like production on the football field would also be a step up. (I'll stop pretending you kids know who Mitchell was. But trust me, the comparison was apt. APT!)

Gabbert also has put Jim Harbaugh's quarterback genius label to the test, too. You don't want to cast a guy off because of one poor effort, but dang, that just wasn't good. That was C.J. Wilson-level of ineptness right there. Sorry, I'll drop the Angels analogies right there. This is a fantasy football column (allegedly), so I will do my best to get on point.

Oh, and you can check out my latest Like/dislike for Week 1 of preseason. (Editor's Note: Talk about not being on point.) Without further ado, here's a look at what has been going on in training camp for August 8th.

» Chargers running back Branden Oliver sure looked like a stud compared to my guy Marion Grice. Oliver was in the mix for San Diego and looked great. But before we get too excited about this, remember, Oliver looked good against the backups of the worst defense in the league. Ugh, so what does that say about Grice?

» Ryan Mathews was in mid-season form with a fumble on the goal-line. I keed, Ryan. He's a good kid. I won't worry too much about this because coach Mike McCoy is committed to give Mathews the football. Well, for right now. But Mathews is the most maligned guy in fantasy football. This will actually help you get him at a great value.

» Philip Rivers again seems poised to have another great season with McCoy. If you are inclined to wait on a quarterback, may I present Mr. Rivers to you.

» Dynamo De'Anthony Thomas looks pretty sweet for the Chiefs. I loved the guy in college and I'm convinced he could still be somebody to make an impact in the NFL this season. And really, he wears No. 1. This is so rad. The NFL really needs to let running backs and receivers wear single-digit numbers. I felt this way going back to when Keyshawn Johnson had to switch from No. 3 to No. 19. But his No. 19 was one of the reasons receivers were allowed to wear numbers in the teens. So Keyshawn did something valuable!

» As our fantasy editor Marcas Grant noted, when Snoop Dogg gives you your nickname (and Snoop called De'Anthony Thomas "Black Mamba") you know he's legit. Word Marcas, word.

» San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde looked rather impressive in his debut. There is still some work to be done for the 49ers, but you can imagine 'Los is going to be in the mix for some carries. Although, doesn't it seem we always predict doom-and-gloom for Frank Gore and then he puts up another solid season? Because of this, I like Colin Kaepernick a bit more this year, too, because he's going to be asked to carry the offense a little more. 

» Chiefs' first-round pick from 2013 Eric Fisher did not look so good in his first action at left tackle. He was overwhelmed early and it's got me concerned. You won't drop Jamaal Charles down your draft boards. But when you have four guys at the top of the draft (along with Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson) all at relatively equal value, you need to pay attention to stuff like line play. Plus the Chiefs are one of those team poised to "Make the Leap" back this season, it's a worry.

» Ray Rice looked a little better, not that I would have him on my team. Bernard Pierce looked pretty good, too. Pierce is like the People's Champ of this backfield. The player everybody will draft and root for. Well, root for is kind of a surprise. He is a Raven, after all.

» Joe Flacco looked pretty good, too. It's a point we brought up on NFL Fantasy LIVE last year. Offensive coordinators who want to become head coaches again will throw their way to their next job. Kind of like the way Ken Whisenhunt used Rivers to get the Titans' gig. We could see a more aerial attack from the Ravens this year. Or maybe they just want to be justified for the money Flacco is making.

» Oh, and for the record, I told you. I told you when Flacco signed his deal, it would be a non-factor in a few years as other quarterbacks get paid. And now look at it. Everybody is upset about Red Dalton getting paid. (I have more thoughts on that in Like/dislike this week.) But Dalton did look all right when he hooked-up with A.J. Green on a big Gloria gainer in their limited action. (Don't bother with the Google; that was a fun reference.)

» Speaking of Whisenhunt, wideout Justin Hunter continues to make highlight reel catches according to reports. I'm telling you, as I've told you all offseason, you want this guy, not Kendall Wright. Trust me.

» Dude! My man C.J. Anderson left Thursday night's game with a concussion. Huge bummer. I really like Anderson. I'm not going to lie to you folks (at least not more than usual). But I watch tons of Pac-12 football, so I will lean that way. (Same with SEC, too.) So I'm kind of pulling for Anderson. But damn, Juwan Thompson looked rather legit.

» Chris Ivory started for the Jets. And he got hurt, as expected. Just kidding, Chris. You know he started 15 games last year for the Jets after he played just 12 in the previous two seasons with the Jets. But neither Ivory nor Chris Johnson were particularly impressive on Thursday night.

» For the record, Jets team doctor Rex Ryan said Ivory will be fine. Oh wait, Ryan isn't the team doctor? Well, he was the one who delivered the prognosis. Ryan went on to say he hated fantasy football because he wants to shuffle Ivory, Johnson and Bilal Powell. Yeah, that'll happen.

» Matthew Stafford hasn't thrown an interception in practice this year. I know, I get wary of tall tales from training camp. But I'm looking for any reason to justify my love of Stafford this year. Megatron. Bush. Golden Tate. There is no way you can't tell me Tate's hands won't be a boon. NO WAY!

» Cecil Shorts will not play for the Jaguars on Friday night. This will be a big game to see who can emerge as the team's leading receiver. That race is wide open. But seriously, this is going to be a good night for the folks in Duval County!

You can follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. Just be warned, things get a little weird around Midnight because he's always playing in the @midnight #HashtagWars. Wait, it gets a lot weird.