Fantasy notebook: Tracking preseason developments

The second week of preseason is almost complete, and several stories and scenarios that will have major draft implications have developed. As a result, our Monday version of the FantasyTraining Camp Notebook will focus on a checklist of the top 20 news bits that will affect fantasy football drafts.

» 1. Donovan McNabb looked fabulous in his first start since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last November. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 138 yards and led the Eagles offense to 10 points in four possessions. The veteran quarterback is still a risk-reward selection, but this performance was a real positive. He's well worth as much as a fourth-round selection.

» 2. Travis Henry injured his knee in Saturday's 31-20 loss to the Cowboys, but the ailment doesn't seem to be too serious. An MRI revealed no structural damage, and Henry was diagnosed with a sprain. The injury shouldn't affect his value, but it does show the importance of the draft handcuff. As a result, owners who choose Henry also need to take Mike Bell in the middle to late rounds.

» 3. Rookie standout Adrian Peterson rushed for 70 yards on eight carries in Minnesota's preseason win over the N.Y. Jets on Friday night. His longest run was a 43-yard scamper in which he lowered his shoulder and barreled into David Barrett before going out of bounds. While he will still lose some work to Chester Taylor, Peterson is clearly the Vikings' back to target.

» 4. Reports out of Washington indicate that Clinton Portis, who is dealing with a problematic knee, would have started over the weekend had it been a regular-season contest. He's been participating in light practice drills, but the Redskins are being cautious with their stud runner. Barring setbacks, Portis should still be considered a No. 2 fantasy runner and worth a second-round pick.

» 5. Laurence Maroney, who has been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, will no longer wear the red, non-contact jersey in practice. The Patriots have been cautious with their featured back, but it appears that Maroney is now ready to take the next step in his recovery. A borderline first- or second-round draft pick across the board, Maroney should have a breakout season in 2007.

» 6. Believe it or not, the Miami Dolphins' official website suggests that Ronnie Brown must compete with Jesse Chatman for the top spot on the depth chart. While Brown is still the clear favorite, Chatman has looked terrific in camp and knows Cam Cameron's offense well. Brown is still a solid No. 2 fantasy back, but owners should keep tabs on Chatman's role the rest of preseason.

» 7. Reports out of Dallas indicate that Terrell Owens has had one of his best training camps ever at the NFL level. The talented wideout is back to 100 percent after offseason finger surgeries, and he'll be a real focal point of the team's offensive attack under new coordinator Jason Garrett. Considering his rapport with Tony Romo, T.O. could surpass his impressive 2006 totals this season.

» 8. One of NFL.com's top sleeper candidates, Brandon Jackson is now the clear-cut favorite to open the regular season atop the Packers depth chart. The rookie out of Nebraska still has to work on his pass protection, but he has shown some real flashes of potential in preseason action. Owners in seasonal formats should consider him in the middle rounds as a No. 3 fantasy runner.

» 9. A few days after Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin suggested he didn't have a No. 1 running back, LaMont Jordan took steps to earning that role. He rushed for 67 yards on eight carries and scored on a 3-yard run in Saturday's preseason 26-21 loss to San Francisco and now has the edge over Justin Fargas and Adimchinobe Echemandu. Jordan is a viable No. 3 fantasy back, but remember that his role will decrease when Dominic Rhodes returns from suspension.

» 10. Vince Young completed just 5 of 17 passes for 102 yards and ran for nine yards in his first preseason start. Pressured by an aggressive Patriots defense, Young showed some rust but still almost found the end zone on his final play in the contest. While his numbers didn't show it, Young remains a valuable asset and will no doubt show statistical improvement in his next exhibition start.

» 11. It appears that the backfield situation in Big D will remain a committee situation with Julius Jones and Marion Barber sharing the workload. The duo combined to rush for 88 yards and three touchdowns over the weekend against the Broncos. Jones even saw action near the goal line, scoring on a 4-yard run. Barber remains the more valuable fantasy back, but Jones could also be a terrific middle-round bargain.

» 12. With Jerious Norwood and Warrick Dunn out of action, rookie Jason Snelling got the start for the Falcons in a 13-10 win over Buffalo. He rushed for 50 yards on 12 carries and looked impressive before fumbling after a catch on a short pass from Joey Harrington. A big, bruising back, Snelling is in line to see short-yardage and goal-line work even when Norwood and Dunn return. He could be worth a late-round flier in larger formats.

One of the most respected fantasy football minds in the business, Michael Fabiano is here at NFL.com. In addition to providing first-class fantasy analysis, Fabiano will answer your fantasy questions in his weekly mailbag. Got a question for Mike? Click here to submit it.

» 13. Titans RB LenDale White appeared to be the favorite to open the regular season as the starter for head coach Jeff Fisher, but he missed this weekend's game against the Patriots with an injured ankle. Now there's word that he as a swollen knee, but White believes he'll return to practice this week. Considering Chris Brown's solid performance in the contest, White needs to get healthy and back on the field if he has any chance to win the top role.

» 14. Jason Campbell suffered a scary-looking knee injury in a 12-10 loss to Pittsburgh, but it appears that the ailment isn't too serious. Diagnosed with a bruised knee, Campbell could miss Washington's next preseason game but should be fine for the start of the regular season. Fantasy owners should still consider him a nice sleeper candidate and worth a late-round flier.

» 15. Reports out of Philadelphia indicate that L.J. Smith's status for the start of the regular season could be in question. Smith, who was recovering from offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia, injured his groin in practice earlier in the month. With no concrete timetable for his return, the talented Mr. Smith is now worth little more than a late-round flier as a No. 2 fantasy tight end.

» 16. Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt told Matt Leinart he needed to step up his game, and that's exactly what the quarterback did against the Houston Texans. Leinart completed 7 of 7 passes for 70 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Edgerrin James, in the 33-20 loss. A terrific breakout candidate in an offense loaded with weapons, Leinart is worth a middle- to late-round choice as a borderline No.1 or 2 fantasy quarterback.

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One of the most respected fantasy football minds in the business, Michael Fabiano is here at NFL.com. In addition to providing first-class fantasy analysis, Fabiano will answer your fantasy questions in his weekly mailbag. Got a question for Mike? Click here to submit it.

» 17. Vincent Jackson caught three passes for 23 yards including a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers, in San Diego's 30-13 win over St. Louis. A tremendous fantasy sleeper, Jackson should be a popular target for Rivers in the red zone due to his size and skills. While Antonio Gates remains the first option in the pass attack, Jackson will see an increased role and should post career bests in all statistical categories.

» 18. Despite the absence of Plaxico Burress, Giants quarterback Eli Manning still posted solid numbers in a 13-12 win over Baltimore. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 114 yards and threw one touchdown pass, a 10-yard connection to rookie Steve Smith in the second quarter. Manning's value is down after an inconsistent 2006 season, but he can still be a valuable option for owners who don't draft a true No. 1 fantasy quarterback.

» 19. Larry Johnson still hasn't ended his holdout, and Priest Holmes has yet to return to practice for the Kansas City Chiefs. Holmes said he wasn't medically cleared to practice Sunday, but head coach Herman Edwards said Holmes didn't practice because he wasn't physically ready to participate. As it stands, veteran runner Michael Bennett is atop what is a questionable backfield depth chart.

» 20. Brady Quinn looked terrific in his NFL debut, completing 13 of 20 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns against Detroit. While the performance came against a group of third-and fourth-string Lions defenders, Quinn still looked far more impressive than Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye. If he can play well against a first-team defense in the preseason, Quinn might yet have a chance to have some fantasy relevance in seasonal formats.

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