Coming into week three of the preseason certain player positions are starting to shake out, and there have been some surprises on the field and in the rankings. Let’s take a look at the movers and shakers who are on fire and worth picking up.
Mark Sanchez, QB, NYJ ~ Dirty Sanchez got good news this week when, as expected, coach Rex Ryan announced the rookie had won the non-existent starters competition. Not much of a surprise there, but at least now you can move him up a few tics on draft day as a potential break-out candidate or #2 QB.
David Clowney, WR, NYJ ~ Sticking with the Jets, Clowney has been a real standout through two preseason games with five catches for 135 yards and two scores. He’s pretty much sewn up the #2 WR slot, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. His competition for the job, Chansi Stuckey has two catches for a dozen yards. Temper your enthusiasm with the fact that this is a run-first team.
Chris Henry, WR, CIN ~ You’d have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to have noticed Chris Henry this preseason, he’s only had 13 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns (one in each preseason game). The kid who only started one game last season may be coming into his own this year. I would easily draft him ahead of Laveranues Coles. He won’t be a sleeper to steal much longer. Now if Henry can keep his constant legal woes off the field, and keep his head (and body) in the game, he could finally fulfill his potential, which has been wasted up till now.
Mike Bell, RB, NOS ~ Major sleeper alert. Too late, he woke up already. With injuries to Reggie Bush, and Pierre Thomas (who is now out for the remainder of the preseason) Mike Bell has made the most of two preseason games with 100 yards on 10 carries and one TD. The former Broncos running back did not start a game in 2008 for the Saints, but news out of New Orleans is Bell will spell Thomas and pilfer some goal line carries in 2009.
“If you ask me what his strengths are I’d say Mike Bell is an upright runner who stays the course,” Coach Sean Payton said. “He’s pretty physical when he hits the hole. I think he has pretty good acceleration. He can lower his pads. Those are some of the things if you are paying attention to practice and watching us, you can see it in the goal line. Those are some of his strengths.”
Let’s face it, there will be injuries at running back for the Saints regardless. It may be a good idea to stash Bell now, especially with Coach Payton bandying goal-line nuggets like the one above.
Troy Williamson, WR, JAX ~ The former Minnesota Vikings bust has found new life with the Jags. Through three preseason games Williamson has eight receptions for 232 yards and one TD. The yardage is triple the next closest “receiver”, Maurice Jones-Drew who has 4 receptions for 79 yards. Williamson was fairly quiet in the third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, collecting only one reception for 11 yards, so either he’s fallen back to earth or simply had a quiet night. Right now he’s a very late round upside pick, but watch the last preseason game against the Washington Redskins to see if he lights it up again. Right now he seems almost a lock ahead of Mike Walker for the #2 receiver role across from Torry Holt who has done nothing the preseason.
And here’s an extra Defense/Special Teams bonus:
Green Bay Packers, DST ~ If you read my 2009 Fantasy Football Team Defense Rankings then you already know I think these guys are movin’ on up. Dom Capers brought in the 3-4 defensive scheme and through two preseason games, the Pack are eating it up. They shutout the Cleveland Browns in week one, holding them to only 59 yards rushing and 132 yards passing. In week two against the Buffalo Bills starters they shut them down for two quarters and 18 yards total offense. Mind you it was just the Bills and Browns, but the new Packers defense also managed seven sacks and six interceptions.