Which player(s) helped their draft stock the most in the first week of the preseason?
Saints come marching in
I'm going to New Orleans, where Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks both looked spectacular ... but are they real? (No, I'm not talking about Teri Hatcher.) Ingram, who has been a bust at the NFL level, rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams while sharing first-team reps with Khiry Robinson. Cooks, who has been the talk of Saints camp, posted five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown of his own. Let's start with Ingram. Keep in mind that his long touchdown run came against a backup defense, and both Robinson and Pierre Thomas are going get their touches. Still, it's good to see Ingram making plays. He's got a shot to be a decent late-round bargain. As for Cooks, his stock is soaring. And while I temper expectations for rookie wideouts, I wouldn't be shocked to see him have a rookie season comparable to that of Eddie Royal. He's well worth a look in the earlier stages of the late rounds.
Blue and Brown
Rashad Jennings has done a lot to mitigate my offseason concerns about his usage and role in the New York Giants' offense. He has run hard and showed the same burst and vision he had relieving Darren McFadden in Oakland. His current ADP is Round 5, and if he continues performing in the preseason, I would be inclined to grab him a round earlier. Likewise, Andre Williams is proving he'll be not only a capable handcuff, but could have some fantasy relevance of his own in the Giants' backfield.
Let him Cooks
Sometimes it's hard to separate training camp hype from training camp reality, but everything we heard about Brandin Cooks appears to be the truth. The rookie receiver has terrorized his defensive teammates in practice and did the same to the Rams defense on Friday night. As the summer has progressed, my fantasy crush on Cooks has only grown. Nothing I saw this weekend did anything to diminish that. Of course we've preached ad nauseum about the danger of ranking rookie receivers too highly ... that certainly applies to Cooks. But the young man from Oregon State could be a featured player in one of the league's most high-powered offenses. He has the potential to be a nice WR4 option with production similar to what we saw from Cordarrelle Patterson last season.
Targeting an Archer
Dri Archer -- I was already ridiculously high on the diminutive Steeler running back, first because of his Chris Johnson-like 40 time at the combine and second because of his YouTube highlights, but then this happened and the Kent State product went from unknown, waiver-wire, super-duper sleeper to "am I really going to spend a ninth round pick to make sure I get this guy?" fantasy option.
I don't know if Archer will play "Willie Paker" to Le'veon Bell's "Jerome Bettis" but I do know Archer is an absolute natural catching the ball, and with Emmanuel Sanders gone, I can easily see him slipping to the slot and catching 50 balls. You add the potential special teams touchdowns, to me, his floor is a flex starter in 12-team PPR leagues and we'll go from there. Spending a 10th round pick on the guy in deeper leagues could yield high profits.
Enjoy your Freeman
Well since it is MCM (man crush Monday), it's worth pointing out Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has threatened to push aside Terrance West as the apple of my fantasy football eye this summer. Freeman has been given an opportunity to showcase his talents in the wake on Steven Jackson's injury during training camp. Freeman had a monster game in his debut with 107 scrimmage yards, which makes me feel better about my John Cena shoe challenge. (If Freeman doesn't get 200 touches this year, I will purchase a pair of these shoes to wear on NFL Network.)