Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
There may not be a Week 3 preseason game with more fantasy subplots than the contest in the Mile High City between the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos.
For the Rams, the battle in the backfield appears to be tilting heavily in the favor of Daryl Richardson. The second-year pro has already been named the Week 1 starter, according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, but that isn't exactly a surprise with Isaiah Pead serving a one-game suspension.
However, Richardson has significantly outperformed Pead in the preseason, and Richardson could strengthen his grip on the top job with a strong showing against the Broncos.
In fact, Phil Clark of Fantasy Knuckleheads sees Richardson as a huge value in fantasy drafts right now, writing that the 23-year-old is worth a pick three rounds earlier than his current average draft position.
If Richardson is going too late, then rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin and tight end Jared Cook are going too soon, at least based off of their production so far in the preseason.
Austin, who is being taken as the first Rams pass-catcher of fantasy draft boards, is averaging a paltry seven yards a catch on four receptions. Cook has made only one catch in two games.
Granted, it's too early to hit the panic button on either player, but if neither pro makes a dent against the Broncos, concerns about their fantasy prospects will only grow.
There's plenty of fantasy drama in Denver as well. Running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman are in a tight race to start at tailback. Hillman appeared to have taken the lead, but as Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post reports, a goal-line fumble in last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks may have set the second-year man back.
It will be very interesting to see how the carries on the ground are divided between the pair, or if Knowshon Moreno works back into the mix now that he's back at practice.
Also, Saturday's game will be our last chance to see how Peyton Manning distributes passes to his talented trio of wide receivers.
To this point, Eric Decker has been the odd man out, making only one catch for 10 yards. Meanwhile, tight end Julius Thomas has come from nowhere to lead the team in receiving.
Should Decker's fantasy owners be worried? Is Thomas the real deal and a legitimate fantasy sleeper?
Hopefully Saturday will provide some clarity in this regard.