Fantasy Football 2012: Preseason Stock Report
With two weeks of exhibition games in the books, we can begin to accurately assess whose stock is rising and those whose value is plummeting.
As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, the stock of several key fantasy performers will take a drastic turn before the season starts, as we are right smack dab in the middle of fantasy football draft season.
So, in this slideshow I will point out six players whose stock is on the upswing and in the second portion I will label six players whose stock is dropping like a stone.
The following six players have seen their stock rise since the beginning of training camp:
Chris Johnson: Tennessee Titans
After last year’s protracted holdout, Johnson disappointed many fantasy owners en route to his worst season as a pro.
But after a year of workouts and the preseason to get back acclimated to things, Johnson looks refreshed and raring to go.
He should be looked at as top-six selection this year, as he looks like he has that old swagger back.
Shane Vereen: New England Patriots
With the corresponding news that Stevan Ridley is suffering from a knee injury, it has opened the door for Vereen to ascend his way up the Patriots’ running back depth chart.
Vereen has looked great thus far, rushing for 128 yards on 22 carries yards in his only preseason game against the Saints last Thursday. Vereen is also a great pass-catcher and makes for an excellent selection in PPR leagues.
Perhaps a good barometer of things to come is how Vereen does in his exhibition game against the Eagles on Monday night.
Antonio Brown: Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s becoming apparent with each day that Mike Wallace holds out that Brown will be Ben Roethlisberger’s main man in the passing game.
While Brown has adapted to Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley’s new playbook, Wallace will behind the curve when he returns (granted he finally does). So, expect Roethlisberger to look more to Brown than Wallace
Brown has looked good so far and is fresh off a fine performance on Sunday night when he caught two passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Rashad Jennings: Jacksonville Jaguars
Who knows how long Maurice Jones-Drew will hold out, but as long as he does, the value of Jennings will keep going up and up.
Jennings has made good on his opportunity and has rushed the ball 23 times for 118 yards in two preseason games thus far.
If you plan to draft MJD, be sure to at least handcuff him with Jennings. Even on his own merit, Jennings deserved to be drafted in case Jones-Drew’s holdout lasts into the regular season.
Antonio Gates: San Diego Chargers
With Vincent Jackson’s departure, Philip Rivers will be relying on his big tight end target a lot more than usual.
One of Gates’ biggest holdups has been his health, but so far Gates has looked great in the preseason.
After Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham come off the board, Gates might just be the next best choice at tight end.
Peyton Hillis: Kansas City Chiefs
Regardless of how well Jamaal Charles does in his return from his knee injury, it’s becoming apparent that Hillis will be a featured part of the Chiefs rushing attack—especially at the goal line.
In two preseason games Hillis has nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Hillis is also not that far removed from his career year in 2010 and now that he is part of a new offense, expect Hillis to have a revitalized campaign in 2012.
The following six players have seen their stock drop since the beginning of training camp:
Santonio Holmes: New York Jets
Between Holmes’ current back injury (and other assortment of injuries) and the fact that the Jets’ quarterback situation is one hot mess, Holmes is dropping like an anchor on draft day.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Jets have no playmakers opposite Holmes and what you have is a recipe for “bust soup.”
Roy Helu: Washington Redskins
We all know Mike Shanahan is public enemy No. 1 when you own his running backs.
And if that weren’t bad enough, Helu is now suffering from an Achilles injury, which could sideline him for a few preseason games.
Right now Helu is behind Evan Royster (and possibly even Tim Hightower) on the Redskins’ running back depth chart.
So, between his injury concerns and Shanahan’s shenanigans for rotating his running backs, Helu’s value is losing a lot of its luster.
Mike Wallace: Pittsburgh Steelers
As I pointed out before in the Brown section of this slideshow, each day Wallace misses it negatively affects his draft status.
Clearly Roethlisberger is favoring Brown right now, and that’s not likely to change even when/if Wallace reports to camp. Besides, Wallace is the not the most consistent wide receiver, as he is a boom or bust type of receiver who is more of a home-run threat than anything.
Wallace is still worthy of being drafted in the middle rounds, but with his holdout he has gone anywhere as a solid second or third-rounder to a fifth or perhaps sixth-rounder now.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Jacksonville Jaguars
What I just said about Wallace can be said about Jones-Drew here too.
Contract holdouts are never good a good thing. See Chris Johnson last year.
Jones-Drew would have been a slam dunk top-five selection if he didn't hold out. But with a holdout that apparently has no end in sight, Jones-drew is dropping to the third round in some drafts.
Stevan Ridley: New England Patriots
Vereen’s gain is clearly Ridley’s loss.
Ridley obviously has a ton of talent and he should be a fixture in the Patriots’ offense this year, but he could be in for a slow start. His injury is scaring off a lot of owners right now.
Because of that, expect Ridley’s value to drop down a notch on draft day.
Miles Austin: Dallas Cowboys
If you are suffering from an injury (hamstring) that could knock you out for the entire preseason, well then you most definitely will have your value severely decrease.
Word out of Cowboys’ camp is that Austin will miss the entire preseason and as a result, Austin’s stock is tumbling.
Austin will likely fall behind Dez Bryant in the target pecking order for Tony Romo and no matter where you select him, there will be a certain measure of risk attached to Austin’s name on draft day.
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