Fantasy Football: Ranking the Biggest Winners and Losers Following Preseason

Daniel Stack@@stacdemonContributor IISeptember 3, 2012

Fantasy Football: Ranking the Biggest Winners and Losers Following Preseason

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    Every year—rightly or wrongly—many jobs and many futures are decided based on how a particular player performs in training camp.

    The four preseason games can go a long way in determining how a player will be used in the regular season. In many instances, these players can make a significant impact on their fantasy football prospects ahead of Week 1. On the other hand, they could be a complete bust.

    In this slideshow, I will highlight the biggest winners and losers of the preseason in that regard.

Biggest Winners:

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    Here is a look at the biggest winners this preseason:

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    This offseason, the Seattle Seahawks signed Matt Flynn. The former Green Bay Packers quarterback was meant to lead the offense while third-round pick Russell Wilson learnt from the sidelines.

    However, despite his small stature, Wilson impressed Pete Carroll enough in the preseason that the Seahawks named him the starter over Flynn.

    Quite simply, Wilson makes plays. Despite his size, the former Wisconsin Badgers signal-caller has a great arm to go along with an athletic skill set.

    In fantasy, Wilson has positioned himself as a late-round flier as a backup quarterback with upside.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

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    Trying to figure out who Mike Shanahan will lean on as his No. 1 running back is an exercise in futility.

    With that being said, rookie Alfred Morris did well enough in the preseason that he could be counted on to take lion’s share of the carries in Washington this year.

    The team cut Tim Hightower last week, which means the Redskins running back job will now come down to Morris, Roy Helu and Evan Royster.

    It will be difficult to handicap whoever Shanahan ultimately leans on in the backfield, but Morris is firmly in the mix following his performances in camp.

Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    As Rashard Mendenhall works his way back into the mix after a major injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers will need to rely on someone else to carry the load in the early stages of the season.

    Isaac Redman was the early candidate to take hold of that role, but Jonathan Dwyer did enough in the preseason to make an impression.

    Redman may still initially be given that role. However, his grip is hardly firm.

    Expect Dwyer to get a few carries early on. He has enough potential to overtake Redman permanently.

David Wilson, New York Giants

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    Make no mistake, Ahmad Bradshaw is still the New York Giants' starting running back.

    With that being said, considering Bradshaw’s propensity for getting hurt, Wilson will no doubt be a featured part of the offense going forward.

    Wilson showed great speed and burst out of the backfield in camp. In doing so, he showed why the Giants spent a first-round pick on him in the 2012 NFL draft.

    Wilson proved enough that the Giants released D.J. Ware. He is now the prohibitive favorite to get the bulk of the carries behind Bradshaw.

    At the least, a timeshare will be something the Giants will likely employ.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Perhaps no player is ascending draft boards as much as rookie Doug Martin this draft season.

    Last week, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano named him the starter in Tampa over incumbent LeGarrette Blount.

    With that move, and the way he played this preseason, Martin has moved into the third and fourth round in most drafts.

    The upside is tremendous for Martin and he is worth the high draft pick.

Biggest Losers:

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    Here are the biggest losers of the preseason:

Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks

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    Wilson's gain is Matt Flynn’s loss.

    Although Flynn did not play terribly in the preseason, Wilson simply did more. Flynn will now be relegated to the sidelines with a cap and a clipboard.

    If Wilson struggles, there is a chance that Flynn could take over as the starter. However, for the time being, he is not worthy of being drafted.

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Considering quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was likely to lean more on Antonio Brown this year as it was, Mike Wallace did himself no favors by holding out of training camp this summer.

    The Steelers hired new offensive coordinator Todd Haley this offseason, and Wallace will now have to catch up with a new playbook.

    Who knows how long it will take Wallace to adapt to the new changes in Pittsburgh?

    Wallace is still worthy of a high draft pick, but you should exercise patience if you choose to select him.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys

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    After he didn't play in a single preseason game this August, Miles Austin’s stock has been taking a nosedive on draft day.

    Austin is listed as probable for Wednesday night’s opener against the Giants (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram), but he has a lot of ground to make up for before fantasy owners can trust and pencil him into their lineups.

    As with Wallace, you must preach patience with Austin, as he may come out of the gate rusty.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

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    The New York Jets offense is a complete mess, and with Tim Tebow in the shadows, Mark Sanchez’s draft stock is almost at nil these days.

    For a quarterback who was among the top 10-15 in standard scoring last season, Sanchez is persona non grata for most fantasy owners in 2012.

    He did nothing in camp to help his cause, either.

Santonio Holmes, New York Jets

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    Due to the issues at quarterback in New York, Jets wideout Santonio Holmes has seen his draft stock plummet as well.

    The Jets are geared toward being a more ball-controlled offense in 2012, which means the exploits of Holmes will likely get lost in the shuffle.

    For a guy who was the No. 2 wide receiver at times last year, Holmes is nothing better than a fourth or fifth wide receiver for fantasy purposes nowadays.


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