NFL Preseason Games: Must-See Players to Gauge Fantasy Value

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass the ball against the St. Louis Rams during a preseason NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL’s preseason is a rather painful experience to watch, but it’s a necessary evil for fantasy owners to gauge how rookies and aging veterans are looking early on.

In Week 1 some looked great as they didn’t look overwhelmed, and let their natural abilities take center stage. Others struggled to do much of anything without looking severely lost. But the sample size is miniscule, and it’s still too early to make any final decisions.

Here are three players to watch in Week 2 of the preseason that can end up having a huge impact on your fantasy team once the real season begins.


Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

He was unbelievable in his debut, throwing for 188 yards and two touchdowns. His team won 38-3 over the St. Louis Rams, and he registered a 142.6 quarterback rating.  

Luck showed the world why he was so highly coveted and it’s time to see how he fares now that teams have film on him in the NFL.

Considering it’s a Sunday night affair against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I have a feeling we’ll get a much better idea of where Luck stands after this one.

Another strong performance or two could make him one of the best back-up fantasy QBs in the league.


Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders, WR

The undrafted rookie came out of nowhere to notch six receptions for 66 yards while receiving eight targets in only one half of football against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.

With the inconsistencies across the board at the position, the former Temple Owl will get a real shot to nab one of the starting positions when the season begins.

Friday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals should provide a great opportunity to see if Streater is a one-hit wonder or a legit fantasy sleeper entering the regular season.


Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

His debut in rainy conditions against the Chicago Bears certainly wasn’t spectacular (4 of 7 for 44 yards and one interception), but this week against the Seattle Seahawks should provide us with more than just one drive to gauge his progress.

It didn’t appear that his neck injury bothered him a bit last week, and he threw a vintage Peyton strike to Eric Decker that registered a first down when it was 3rd-and-17. The interception was off a deflection.

Saturday will give us a bigger sample size of him moving in the pocket, making precise throws and communicating with his teammates to decide if he's still one of the top-five fantasy QBs in the league and worth a high-round draft selection.