Fantasy News  


Maurice Jones-Drew among top fantasy preseason stories


If you're like me, you're really starting to ramp up for the start of your fantasy football draft season. With just a few days before we start the 2012 NFL campaign, you're likely shuffling through player rankings, cheat sheets, depth chart, sleepers, busts and whatever other information you hold dear to your heart in an effort to dominate your competition. (Remember, you can get everything you need to have a successful draft in our in-depth and up-to-date fantasy draft kit right here on

To further assist you in that quest for a league championship, I've put together a little fantasy football checklist of all the major news that's happened between the start of the preseason and now. Print this out and bring it to your draft -- and may all of your picks turn into Matthew Stafford 2011!

Arizona Cardinals

The quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton remains muddled. Neither should be considered more than a late-round flier. ... Ryan Williams has averaged five yards per carry in two preseason games and is creeping up rank lists. He could put a dent into Beanie Wells' workload in 2012. ... Andre Roberts is listed as the team's No. 2 wide receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. Rookie Michael Floyd is fourth.

Atlanta Falcons

Play fantasy football on
Why play fantasy football anywhere else? This season, GO LEGIT with the official free fantasy football game of the NFL.

Matt Ryan has recorded a passer rating of 103.0 or better in all three of his preseason starts. He could emerge into terrific fantasy draft bargain (79.95 ADP). ... Michael Turner has averaged 3.5 yards per carry or worse in preseason action. Don't reach for him based on name alone. ... Julio Jones averaged more than 18 yards per catch in two of his three preseason contests. He's in line to break out in 2012.

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco threw the football 36 times in what should be his final preseason start, while also utilizing the team's no-huddle offense. He could turn into a nice draft bargain in the late rounds. Remember, Flacco is in a contract year. ... Bernard Pierce appears to have the edge in the battle for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. He has little value unless you're in a deeper league and want to handcuff Ray Rice.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills traded for Tarvaris Jackson and have released Vince Young. Neither will have fantasy appeal behind Fitzpatrick. ... Fred Jackson has 16 touches in the last two preseason games, while C.J. Spiller has just seven. I still see Jackson as the featured back and a potential fantasy draft bargain. ... Stevie Johnson is dealing with soreness in his surgically-repaired groin but should be OK for Week 1.

Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Stewart suffered a sprained ankle against the New York Jets. While X-rays were negative, this is a situation to monitor. DeAngelo Williams would see a spike in value if Stewart were to miss time. ... Steve Smith (foot infection) hasn't seen much preseason action, but the ailment is not expected to keep him out of action once the regular season starts. ... Greg Olsen could be a late round bargain.

Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler has completed 16-of-34 passes for 218 yards with one touchdown in preseason action. The team's questionable offensive line is the lone concern in terms of his 2012 fantasy appeal. ... In his last preseason game, Brandon Marshall was targeted 10 times and scored a touchdown against the New York Giants. He has clear-cut No. 1 fantasy wideout value with Cutler throwing him the football once again.

Nam Y. Hu/Associated Press
Will Matt Forte and Michael Bush form one of the better running back duo's in fantasy football this season?

Cincinnati Bengals

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been dealing with a foot ailment, but he's expected to be fine for the start of the regular season. He's coming off the board in Round 8 on average on, making him a viable flex starter. ... Jermaine Gresham suffered a sprained knee in the second game of the preseason. However, he should be ready to go in time for Week 1. He's worth a late-round look as a No. 2 tight end.

Cleveland Browns

Brandon Weeden will open the season as the team's No. 1 quarterback, but he has limited seasonal draft appeal. ... Browns GM Tom Heckert has confirmed that Trent Richardson has a "pretty good chance" to be ready for Week 1. The rookie, who underwent a knee scope earlier this month, shouldn't fall past the third or fourth round in most re-drafts. ... Greg Little looks like Weeden's favorite offensive option.

Dallas Cowboys

Miles Austin continues to deal with a hamstring ailment, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects him to be ready for Week 1. Austin, who has had hamstring issues in the past, is a risk-reward fantasy wideout. ... Dez Bryant has dealt with a knee injury throughout the preseason, but he is expected to play in the opener against the New York Giants. ... Jason Witten (spleen) is very questionable for Week 1.

Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning completed 10-of-12 passes for 122 yards with two touchdowns and recorded a passer rating of 148.6 in his last preseason start. ... Both of his scoring passes went to Eric Decker, who is emerging into a potential steal in fantasy drafts. ... Demaryius Thomas has just five catches in his last two preseason contests, but he has the athleticism and strength to make a serious impact in 2012.

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford injured his left (non-throwing) hand in his third preseason start, but he's in no danger of missing Week 1. ... Jahvid Best (concussions) has been placed on the PUP list and will miss the first six games of the season. ... Kevin Smith hurt his ankle against the Oakland Raiders, but the ailment isn't considered too serious. Still, his lack of durability makes Mikel Leshoure more valuable.

Green Bay Packers

Cedric Benson appears to have passed James Starks and Alex Green on the depth chart and looks poised to be the team's No. 1 running back this season. He could turn into a viable flex starter in an offense that wants to establish the run to complement Aaron Rodgers and what is an elite pass attack. ... Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson could both post top-12 fantasy numbers at their position in the 2012 campaign.

Houston Texans

Arian Foster has averaged close to 4.7 yards per carry in the preseason and is locked and loaded as the top running back in fantasy football. Ben Tate is not a serious threat to his workload. ... Andre Johnson appears to be over his groin ailment and will be ready for Week 1. He remains a top-five fantasy wideout, albeit a risk-reward one. ... Lestar Jean would be a player to watch if Johnson has any setbacks.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck completed 40-of-64 passes (62.5 percent) for 514 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first three preseason starts. He also rushed for 18 yards and a score. Consider Luck a high-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback. ... Donald Brown has established himself as the team's No. 1 running back, but he's more of a fantasy flex option. ... Austin Collie (concussion) should be OK for Week 1.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew continues to hold out and is danger of missing Week 1. He's a major risk-reward selection. Rashad Jennings is a must-have handcuff if you do decide to draft "Pocket Hercules." ... Justin Blackmon has recorded eight catches for 120 yards with one touchdown in his last two preseason contents. He is the first rookie wideout to target in drafts. ... Laurent Robinson has one preseason reception.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles has looked no worse for wear coming back from a reconstructive knee procedure, averaging a solid 5.1 yards per carry. Consider him a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy runner in the second round. ... Dwayne Bowe ended his contractual holdout and is back with the team. He could have a slow start to the season due to his limited preseason work, but Bowe remains a viable No. 2 fantasy wideout in most formats.

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill should open the season as the team's No. 1 quarterback, but he has little re-draft value. ... Reggie Bush averaged just three yards per carry in the preseason, but he's still the lone member of the Dolphins with surefire draft value. ... The release of Chad Johnson leaves Legedu Naanee, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Roberto Wallace battling for targets. Bess is the best of the bunch in fantasy land.

Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson will not play in any preseason games, though reports suggest he should still be back in time for Week 1. Coming off a late-season ACL and a major reconstructive procedure, he's a serious risk if drafted before the third or fourth round. Toby Gerhart remains his handcuff. ... Kyle Rudolph had a solid training camp and has the potential to be a solid late-round bargain in most fantasy football leagues.

New England Patriots

Stevan Ridley has posted 152 yards (4.4 YPC) in the preseason and appears to have taken over the top spot on the Patriots' depth chart among running backs. He has middle- to late-round value as a No. 3 runner with upside. ... The Boston Globe reports that Aaron Hernandez, who just signed a six-year extension, has "ascended to (Tom) Brady's No. 1 option" in the pass attack. He could be a steal in drafts this season.

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees completed 27-of-38 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in his last two preseason contests. It doesn't appear that the absence of coach Sean Payton will alter his fantasy appeal. ... Darren Sproles has missed some preseason work with a knee ailment, but he is not expected to miss Week 1. ... Mark Ingram (knee) is back at 100 percent and is a good bet to lead the Saints in carries.

New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw (hand) is expected to be back in plenty of time for the team's regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He's a legit No. 2 fantasy runner. ... David Wilson was impressive in Bradshaw's absence against the Chicago Bears, averaging 9.8 yards per carry. He's worth a middle- to late-round pick with upside. ... Hakeem Nicks (foot) is almost 100 percent healthy and appears safe to draft in all formats.

New York Jets

The Jets have gone three full preseason games (a span of 35 possessions) without scoring a single touchdown. ... Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow have done anything to prove they'll have fantasy value to this point. Both should be avoided in most 10-team leagues. ... Santonio Holmes had one catch for eight yards in his preseason debut against the Carolina Panthers. In a run-based offense, his stock is tumbling fast.

Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer hasn't had a passer rating better than 53.5 in his three preseason starts. He's also failed to throw a touchdown pass and has been intercepted four times. ... Darren McFadden is at 100 percent and could sneak into the first round of drafts. He's a top-five fantasy runner if he can avoid injuries. ... Denarius Moore has missed the preseason with hamstring injury, but he's expected to be back for Week 1.

Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick played in two preseason games and suffered two different injuries. He's still a No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but there is clearly some risk involved in drafting him. ... Jeremy Maclin is back at 100 percent for the first time in the last two years. He could turn into a tremendous draft bargain across the board. ... Barring setbacks, Brent Celek (knee) should be back in time for the start of the regular season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Rashard Mendenhall (knee) has been activated from the PUP list, but he's not expected to be ready for regular-season action until October. Don't draft him until the late rounds, if at all. Isaac Redman has been unimpressive in training camp and is likely to end up in a committee with Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Rainey until Mendenhall returns. ... Mike Wallace (contract holdout) is expected to be back with the team soon.

San Diego Chargers

Ryan Mathews is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a fractured clavicle, but he's still almost certain to miss the start of the season. His upside still makes him worth the risk in the third to fourth round, barring setbacks. ... Vincent Brown (ankle) will miss at least the first five to six weeks, leaving Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd to start. ... Antonio Gates is at 100 percent and could be a draft value.

San Francisco 49ers

Frank Gore will continue to start, but the Niners look closer to moving toward a committee with Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon and LaMichael James. Brandon Jacobs (knee) will also be involved once he's back at 100 percent. ... Randy Moss could end up seeing limited snaps behind Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, so don't reach for him based on name value alone. ... Vernon Davis could be a steal at his sixth-round ADP.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson has won the No. 1 quarterback spot ahead of Matt Flynn, but he's not going to be worth more than a late-round look in most re-drafts. ... Marshawn Lynch has missed time with a back injury, but it's not expected to keep him out of the lineup in Week 1. ... Sidney Rice and Braylon Edwards look like the top two wideouts on the depth chart, but Doug Baldwin is still the receiver to target from their pass attack.

G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press
Russell Wilson has electrified the Seattle Seahawks offense, but will he have an impact in fantasy land?

St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford hasn't shown anything to suggest he'll make the leap to high-end No. 2 quarterback level in the preseason. ... The Rams will continue to be the centerpiece of the offense, but he's no more than a No. 2 fantasy running back. ... Steve Smith and Danny Amendola will top the depth chart at wide receiver with Austin Pettis likely at the third spot, so rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens don't have much value in re-drafts.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin has been named the starting running back for coach Greg Schiano, so the rookie out of Boise State is now in a position to find success. He's going to be worth as much as a third- or fourth-round selection in 12-team re-drafts. ... LeGarrette Blount is no more than a late-round flier. ... Mike Williams has been solid in training camp and is worth a late-round look, but Vincent Jackson is the Bucs wideout to target in 2012.

Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker has won the top spot on the depth chart and should be considered a tremendous sleeper candidate. He's worth a late-round selection as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback with upside. ... Chris Johnson has had an up-and-down preseason, but it's going to be tough to pass on him if he falls into the second round. ... No decision has been made on Kenny Britt's potential suspension. ... Rookie Kendall Wright now has late-round value.

Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III has had a strong preseason and is a No. 2 fantasy quarterback with upside. ... Rookie Alfred Morris appears to be the favorite to start for coach Mike Shanahan, but with the Redskins you never know what is going to happen in their backfield. Roy Helu and Evan Royster are no more than late rounders at this point. ... Leonard Hankerson seems to have the No. 2 wideout spot won, with Santana Moss working out of the slot.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!


Fan Discussion