Fantasy Football 2013: What Did We Learn from Friday's Preseason Week 2 Games?
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Each week we learn a bit more about the fantasy players we're all aiming to draft in relatively short order (or in some cases, right now).
Week 3 of the preseason may be the most important one, where the starters play the longest, but there are still developments that occur in Week 2 that are worth keeping track of even if the fantasy stars aren't on the field as much.
Many backups emerge in the preseason who end up taking on significant roles as the regular season wears on, while some position battles start to take their final shape.
So what did we learn from Friday's action? Let's take a look.
Tom Brady Is Fine
Earlier this week, Patriot fans and fantasy owners were given a bit of a scare when Tom Brady went down with a knee injury.
More than likely both parties flashed back to 2008, also known as "The Year of the Cassel."
Flash forward to Friday night and a collective sigh of relief could be heard from Patriots fans as he went 11 for 12 for 107 yards and a touchdown.
The knee looked fine, but more importantly, Brady and the New England offense looks fine as well.
It looks like you don't need to worry about his production any time soon and it doesn't matter who he has to throw to.
Still, as long as we're talking about it, there's one guy who is certainly becoming Brady's favorite target.
Danny Amendola Is Going to Be Pretty Good
It's not just Danny Amendola's six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. It's the fact that just two weeks into the preseason, Amendola and quarterback Tom Brady seem to be in perfect synchronicity.
Sure, Week 1 was quiet for the pair, but they more than made up for it this week. While Amendola isn't going to be a No. 1 fantasy wide receiver, he could put up some pretty impressive numbers. And with the lack of quality targets on the roster for Brady to throw to, he will see plenty of passes come his way.
Doug Martin Leaves Game with a Head Injury: Should You Worry?
Nobody likes to see a player get hurt and certainly fantasy owners hate to see one of the rare elite running backs in the league go down.
Yet that's what happened when Doug Martin left the field early in the game against the New England Patriots on Friday night. Martin took a knee to the helmet, had to leave the game and did not return.
Is it time to panic? Well, we'll hear more for sure this weekend but more than likely it's not a large concern. Martin told Tampa Bay Times' reporter Stephen Holder after the game that he did not sustain a concussion. Regardless, Martin's injury likely means two things:
First, that he will miss most, if not all, of the rest of the preseason.
Second, that he will probably be ready to go in Week 1.
So unless something very shocking is revealed later, draft Doug Martin after the events of Friday night just as you would have before them.
UPDATE: Saturday, August 17 at 8 a.m. by Paul Mueller
Martin's head injury does not appear to be serious, according to Bucs head coach Greg Schiano (via Adam Schefter).
"Doug is going to be fine. He got hit in the head, but he cleared really quickly," Schiano said.
-- End of Update --
Matt Flynn Will Be a Terrible Fantasy Quarterback
At this point, it's awfully hard to imagine a situation where having Matt Flynn on your fantasy roster is worth the effort.
That's not a knock on Flynn though. We still have barely enough film to look at to even begin to break down his potential.
No, it's an indictment on the offense around him, especially the offensive line.
The Raiders allowed Flynn to be sacked five times in the first half Friday night.
Despite this, he had decent numbers and acquitted himself well, but so far this offensive line isn't giving him the time to do anything but end up on his back.
Flynn was probably no more than a late draft flier for you, but at this point it looks like your roster spot might be better utilized by someone who won't end up crushed by linebackers every other down.
EJ Manuel Should Be the Buffalo Bills Starter
Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is raw and a bit inconsistent.
That said, if he's not starting Week 1, he will be by mid-season.
This is less about Manuel and his potential (which is pretty significant) and more about how bad Kevin Kolb looked. Yes, he finished strong but his interception was painful to watch and overall he just looks average.
Meanwhile, Manuel continues to improve and even if he is far from perfect himself, his upside is still a mystery.
Kolb's upside isn't a mystery. He doesn't have one. Manuel should win the job outright, so stash him on your bench. His mobility and arm could make him an effective fantasy sleeper.
Knile Davis Is Your Jamaal Charles Handcuff
You never know how things will shake out with injuries (especially this year with the rash of torn ACLs) so it's always smart to think about handcuffing your studs.
Luckily for us, we got a chance to see rookie Knile Davis instead.
Davis looked sharp against the San Francisco 49ers and looks like the favorite to back up Charles. He ran with power, showed some nice speed and overall looked like a pretty good back. On top of the 10 carries for 37 yards, Davis caught the ball three times for 31 yards.
You might not need him, but he is certainly a solid upside pick late, just in case.
Marcus Easley Might Be the True No. 2 in Buffalo
A lot has been made about the potential of the Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver trio of Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Da'Rick Rogers.
Earlier, I mentioned in an article that we shouldn't overlook second year receiver Marcus Easley.
Easley looked good last week and followed it up with a three catch, 46 yard performance Friday.
It's still early, but he has certainly made a case for himself. Keep watching him because the second receiver in this offense could have a lot of fantasy value across from Stevie Johnson.
Cordarrelle Patterson Is the Vikings Receiver to Own
While Greg Jennings will have his moments on the field, Cordarrelle Patterson is the receiver you should endeavor to own in fantasy leagues.
At this point, the "raw" label might not apply to him as his route running and overall mechanics look better and better each week. While tight end Kyle Rudolph will once again serve as quarterback Christian Ponder's comfort blanket, Patterson will be a big part of the offense.
That's the ceiling on Patterson.
Ponder likes to get his receivers the ball and let them do the heavy lifting to add yards, something Patterson will excel at.
Kyle Rudolph Will Be a Top Five Tight End This Year
If it wasn't for the "2012 Adrian Peterson Campaign of Awesome" we might be talking more about Kyle Rudolph's amazing year.
Last season, Rudolph was targeted 93 times, more than any other Vikings offensive player. Percy Harvin would have beaten him had he not been hurt (another reason to love Cordarrelle Patterson) in Week 9, but nobody else was close.
We know that quarterback Christian Ponder looks for him in the red zone (17 times in 2012) when the team isn't shoving Peterson down a defense's throat and that resulted in nine touchdowns last season.
Rudolph will see more of the same this year and with so many new weapons around him (Patterson, Jennings) as well as returning and developing players (Jarius Wright) defenses will not be able to sit on Rudolph and shut him down.
The tight end has the opportunity and the ability.
It's going to be a big year for Rudolph.
Josh Freeman May Not Have Much of a Leash
Mike Glennon has a strong arm, but lacks consistency. That's what dropped him in the 2013 NFL draft and why I've never been a big fan.
That and the fact that he looks like a stiff wind will knock him over.
However, he is doing just well enough to where Josh Freeman and any of his fantasy owners should be nervous. It's no secret the Buccaneers are not all that excited by Freeman's lack of progress so far, no matter what they might say publicly.
While he had some poor moments, Glennon's 121 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts was a strong outing.
If you were thinking Freeman might be a nice candidate for a quarterback by committee situation, you might want to rethink that thought. While he's not in immediate danger, if Glennon continues to look good and Freeman struggles, he might find himself out of a job.
And then you'd be out at least one backup quarterback.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.