The NFL preseason is now in full swing. The starters get a little more time on the field, and we get a little more clarity in the fantasy realm.
As you likely know, preseason performances should always be taken in with at least some cynicism. Similarly, these observations should be taken with a grain of salt.
Which players helped themselves last week? Who looks less likely to help your fantasy team? Click through to find out.
Last week was a coming-out party for tight end Jordan Cameron, whose fantasy stock rose the most after his big two-touchdown performance against the Lions.
The Browns offense has clicked thus far in the preseason, and Cameron might just be the biggest beneficiary of the boost this season. Quarterback Brandon Weeden looks good, and he seems to trust the third-year tight end.
Just look at the first of two touchdown passes Weeden threw to Cameron, a high pass only the former basketball player could snag. It's just the preseason, but he looks quite capable of cracking the top 10 in fantasy scoring at his position.
It was quite the miserable debut for quarterback Kevin Kolb in Buffalo. But what else is new for him?
Kolb was given the opportunity to start and show his stuff with the first team after missing Buffalo's first preseason game. He took the opportunity and ran with it...before tripping after two steps. He missed on eight of his 21 pass attempts and threw one interception.
Fortunately for Kolb—and unfortunately for the Bills—over the weekend, EJ Manuel injured his knee enough to require surgery, per CBS Sports' Will Brinson, after all but winning the job, leaving Kolb as the de facto starter. Perhaps Manuel will reclaim the role as soon as he gets healthy, but the Bills might be keen on keeping their prized rookie healthy.
Where Manuel increases fantasy value of those around him—particularly C.J. Spiller—Kolb does the exact opposite. Fans and fantasy owners should be rooting for a speedy recovery for Manuel.
Andrew Luck is pretty good. But is he being underrated this season? Considering how well the second-year quarterback played against the Giants in Week 2 of the preseason, that very well could be the case.
Granted, his first touchdown pass was nothing short of lucky, a poor pass that should have been intercepted by Aaron Ross. Instead, Ross tipped it to Reggie Wayne for a spectacular touchdown catch.
Aside from that throw, Luck simply dazzled. His rookie season saw some inefficiency, mostly because he was asked to make a ton of tough throws. He made plenty of those last week, and they looked darn good.
You know things aren't going the right way when your presumptive No. 1 and 2 running backs are having nights like Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball did against the Seahawks.
Hillman fumbled twice—once into the end zone—and Ball is lucky quarterback Peyton Manning's surgically repaired neck held up after he got crushed on the rookie's missed blocks.
Both backs took a step backward last week, perhaps opening the door a crack for the ever mediocre Knowshon Moreno.
If you happen to already own quarterback Russell Wilson in your fantasy league, you might have lit a cigarette after his incredible first half against the Broncos. He completed eight of his 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilson led the Seahawks to a rout as the whole team looked like it was in midseason form. So far, it certainly looks like his rookie year was no fluke. If he continues to perform the way he did in the second half of 2012, you might be looking at the top fantasy quarterback of 2013.
Mikel Leshoure's draft stock is plummeting so fast that we don't even have a picture of his only carry against the Browns last week. He gained exactly zero yards on the play. His only other outing this preseason saw him run for an unimpressive 24 yards on six carries.
A one-time backup and potential goal-line vulture for running back Reggie Bush, Leshoure has fallen behind Joique Bell on the depth chart. He has surely failed to catch up after a dismal preseason.
The Dolphins took long enough to unleash receiver Mike Wallace this preseason. In Week 2, we finally got a taste of what we might see from him in Miami this season.
Wallace got off to a slow start with the Dolphins thanks to a nagging injury. He was invisible in Miami's second game against the Jaguars. The same was the case against the Texans, at least for the first two offensive series.
Then quarterback Ryan Tannehill found Wallace for a 16-yard catch on a comeback route. Soon after that, Wallace caught a deep ball and capped his 58-yard drive performance with a touchdown on a laser from Tannehill.
If that drive was any indication, Wallace is in for a nice season after all.
Not that you were spending too much on quarterback Philip Rivers to begin with, but the hits keep on coming for him and the Chargers.
His receivers must be on some sort of voodoo hit list—it seems like a new one goes down every week. Only Danario Alexander has been lost for the season, but the only healthy one at the top of the depth chart right now is Vincent Brown, who just got back from a broken ankle.
It's not just a weakened arsenal that will fell Rivers; his offensive line is rather abysmal. Stay away at all costs.
Before the Packers took the field against the Rams, DuJuan Harris was still the starter in name. Mike McCarthy might be rethinking that as the preseason wears on.
Harris has the title because he showed something last season and is a veteran. But running back Eddie Lacy is coming on strong. It's only a matter of time before the rookie overtakes Harris for the starting gig, at this rate, anyway.
Lacy looked good against Rams, racking up 40 yards on eight carries. Don't go crazy in drafts, but Lacy will be a valuable fantasy commodity if he does win the starting gig.
Week 2's contest between the Bills and Vikings needed a warning label—the game should have been billed as a quarterback slapfest. But we still watched, whether due to morbid curiosity or our need to sate the football thirst.
Christian Ponder tried to out-Kolb Kevin Kolb last week, and he was nearly successful, going 5-of-12 for just 53 yards (but no interceptions). Questions about his effectiveness as a starter linger, and he could have an issue hanging onto his job if the Vikings stumble early.
If you have watched Michael Vick this preseason, you know his fantasy stock is on the rise. He has simply looked excellent in Chip Kelly's new offense, even if Nick Foles hasn't been far behind.
Vick has done well enough that he recently took most of the the first-team reps in practice. With the sheer volume of plays the Eagles will run and Vick's massive upside, things are looking up for Vick's fantasy stock. That's especially true if he keeps playing well, as he did against the Carolina Panthers when his only incompletion was on a hail Mary interception.
Of course, Vick might be on a short leash, so to speak. One or two bad games could get him yanked, which is why his fantasy stock isn't soaring too high. Still, taking him later and pairing him with a guy like Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning—all while stockpiling talent at more precious positions like running back—could be a winning strategy this season.
If you are looking to draft a top fantasy defense, you might want to think twice before snagging the Broncos.
At one point during the offseason, the Broncos looked capable of challenging the top dogs at the position. They have an up-and-coming unit featuring outside linebacker Von Miller and the Sacks (led the league in 2012), after all.
Unfortunately, injuries and a big, looming suspension have derailed the notion they will be a great unit, at least during the first half of the season.
Miller might miss the first half of the season, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter—at this point it seems like a given he will miss a significant amount of time—due to a suspension, and key defenders are dropping like flies. Champ Bailey has a foot injury, while Derek Wolfe suffered a scary spinal injury.