With this week’s set of preseason games being the last good look we will get at some studs, it’s going to be a critical time to assess the value of several key fantasy players.
Considering that the third week of preseason is when teams usually showcase their talent and play their regulars an extended period of time, this is a good time to assess the value of some players’ fantasy worth.
With that said, the following players bear monitoring this weekend.
So far, so good for Charles in his return from a torn ACL, as he looks to be relatively healthy this preseason.
However, people who want to invest in Charles want to see results. Charles did not play a lot in last week’s game against the Rams, only rushing for 17 yards on three carries (although 5.7 YPC is encouraging).
This week Charles and the Chiefs will take on the Seattle Seahawks. It will be interesting to see how Romeo Crennel incorporates Charles into the game plan, while also throwing Peyton Hillis into the mix.
If healthy, McFadden is a flat-out stud.
Of course, that’s a big “if”, but thus far in camp McFadden looks refreshed and energized. Last week McFadden had a so-so game, only rushing for 34 yards on nine carries.
Without Michael Bush to cut into his carries, McFadden looks to be an excellent pick to target in the later portion of Round 1.
When McFadden and the Raiders take on the Lions this weekend, we should get a good look at how the Raiders will lean on their stud running back this year.
A lot of people are worried about Johnson’s health, and rightfully so considering Johnson missed nine games last year and is nursing a groin injury this summer.
However, Johnson looked good last week when he recorded two catches for 49 yards in a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
No one can deny Johnson’s talents, and it appears that Johnson is getting past his injury concerns and reestablishing his rapport with Matt Schaub. A good indicator of things to come is how Johnson does in this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
With injuries to Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, Romo’s stock is plunging this preseason.
While it may be a bit of an overreaction, Romo has some ground to make up. Romo should be fine going forward, as Bryant and Austin both look like they might be back for the season opener.
Romo could quell some doubters with a good showing on Saturday against the Rams when he has to connect with some lesser-tier receiving targets.
We all know that Forte is the Bears’ bread and butter on offense.
That being said, it should be interesting to see how the Bears will be using Forte and newcomer Michael Bush in the backfield. Forte has been OK in the preseason, while Bush has been overshadowing him.
With Forte expected to get a lot more reps in Friday’s game against the New York Giants, it should be a good time to truly evaluate how Forte looks and how he will be used going forward.
Considering that the Cowboys are down Bryant, Austin and Witten right now, Dallas could be leaning on Murray to jump-start their offense in the early stages of the season.
Murray possesses a phenomenal skill set, and when the Cowboys feed him the ball, good things happen. Last year, when the Cowboys gave Murray 20-plus carries, they were 5-0.
Saturday’s game against the Rams could give us a revealing look at how the Cowboys will use the explosive Murray on offense.
Even though Bowe just returned to the team on Monday, Crennel has already stated that Bowe will play in Friday’s game against the Seahawks.
Bowe is also another stud who is dropping on draft day. If Bowe can put all distractions aside and play up to his potential, he could prove to be a great value pick on draft day.
How Bowe plays on Friday could help sway owners' opinions of him.
Many people are forecasting a big decline for Jackson this year. Truth is that Jackson has had a lot of wear and tear on his body trying to carry the Rams offense over the years.
All that being said, Jackson’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. Jackson looked fantastic in last week’s exhibition game against the Chiefs, rushing for 49 yards on just seven carries.
The Rams offense figures to be much improved this year, and if Jackson shows the same burst and strength on Saturday against the Cowboys that he did last week, he could climb up some draft boards.
With the Dolphins void of any real legitimate fantasy options outside of Bush, it could get very difficult for Bush to carry the Dolphins this year like he did last year.
Bush is coming off a career year in which he rushed for 1,086 yards while also racking up 296 receiving yards and scoring seven total touchdowns.
With Friday’s game against the Falcons being the Dolphins’ dress rehearsal, we could get a good grip on how Bush will be used and if he can still get his numbers despite playing on an at-best-mediocre offense.
Perhaps the biggest wild card in fantasy this year is the value and relevancy of Moss.
Moss comes with a lot of question marks. Is he finally happy in San Francisco? Can he develop a solid rapport with Alex Smith? Will there be any significant rust after sitting out all of last year?
In last week’s preseason game vs. the Texans, Moss was solid in limited playing time, hauling in three catches for 24 yards.
When the 49ers play the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we could get a good look at how Moss fits into the 49ers' plans.
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