The NFL preseason may not hold a lot of weight as it pertains to the regular season, but you better believe it holds a wealth of importance in the world of fantasy football.
Writing off the preseason as meaningless is a good way to lose your league. Each year rising stars emerge, but it takes a certain skill to separate the lucky performances from the ones that are an indicator of elite fantasy play to come.
It was easy in the 2012 preseason to dismiss the stellar performance of New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. If you accredited that to soft competition, you missed out on over 1,200 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.
The same goes for Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris. If you dismissed his brutal mowing down of defenders as rookie luck, you missed out on over 1,600 yards rushing.
Don't make the same mistake this year. Here are a few rising stars you need to grab as soon as possible before their ADP skyrockets.
Note: All ADP info is courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Phillip Tanner, RB, Dallas Cowboys
It's not often you will see a running back considered fourth on the depth chart as a player to grab, but that's how well Phillip Tanner has played in Dallas so far this preseason.
Tanner had an outstanding showing in the Hall of Fame game, where he posted 59 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Week 1 of the preseason saw him take seven more carries for 25 yards to lead the team in rushing.
As of now, Tanner finds himself behind DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar and rookie Joseph Randle on the depth chart.
That could change in a hurry.
Randle is obviously unproven. Dunbar seems to have a lock on the No. 2 spot, but Tanner could push if he continues to play at this level. Then you have Murray, who has missed nine games in two seasons thanks to injuries and has never taken more than 163 handoffs in a season.
Tanner has a nice shot of sneaking on to the roster and could see serious playing time if he keeps it up. He is not listed as far as ADP goes right now, so go ahead and grab him late before he hits the charts and begins a steady climb.
Fred Davis, TE, Washington Redskins
Entering the 2012 season Fred Davis was a hot pick as a sleeper candidate because of his nearly 800 yards receiving and three scores in just 12 games the year prior.
Instead of breaking out like he is more than capable of doing (he likely would have even exceeded expectations with Robert Griffin III having a breakout year himself), Davis crumpled in a heap with a torn Achilles after seven games.
Davis is hot on the comeback trail now and is once again firmly a sleeper pick, especially with RGIII looking healthy as well.
Week 1 of the preseason saw Davis catch two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. Not only that, Mike Jones of the Washington Post continues to say that Davis is a bright spot in training camp.
Right now Davis is the No. 14 tight end coming off the board in 12-team leagues with an ADP of 12.06. That's criminally low for a guy more than capable of over 1,000 yards and multiple scores as the No. 1 tight end on a passing offense headed up by RGIII.
As long as the health of both Davis and RGIII holds up, Davis should be taken much higher and will begin to see his ADP rise. Act fast.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns
It was a long time coming and predicted by many, but Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron made it official in Week 2 of the preseason—he's one of the tight ends to own and is a legit No. 1 option.
Cameron exploded against Detroit, reeling in three receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
The question was never really placed on Cameron's ability. Rather, his production was in doubt because of his quarterback situation. That issue, at least through two weeks of the preseason, has seemingly been put to bed as Brandon Weeden has looked sharp.
Not only has his quarterback played at a high level, Cameron also has the advantage of playing for an offensive coordinator in Norv Turner who is known for making stars out of tight ends because of the way he runs his offense.
Cameron is that next star, but you certainly would not know it considering ADP-wise he is the No. 15 tight end off the board with an ADP of 12.08.
The hype has turned to reality and Cameron's ADP is about to skyrocket. Stay ahead of the curve and get him while you can.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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