5 Fantasy Lessons We Have Learned So Far This Preseason
By Guest Writer Ryan Gerrity:
1. Giovani Bernard will get a lot of touches in Cincinnati
On HBO’s Hard Knock’s the Cincinnati Bengals are the team that is being followed 24/7 by cameras and microphones. I know this should not tell you a lot about fantasy football, but what happened in the first two episodes translated to the field against the Atlanta Falcons. In training camp and on HBO, Bernard has been receiving a lot of attention from the veterans, and the coaching staff making sure that he gets a lot of touches, and realizes that if he wants to stay on the field, he cannot get tired. Giovani Bernard got the most carries in the 34-10 win against the Atlanta Falcons with 10 carries for 28 yards. If Bernard can show Jay Gruden the Offensive Coordinator for the Bengals that he can produce and run north-south, not east-west, more carries will come his way.
2. EJ Manuel will be the starter in Buffalo
Kevin Kolb has been hurt the past couple of weeks with an injury, and he admitted that he knows he is behind in the race for the starting job for the Buffalo Bills. Kolb did not play in the preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts with a score of 44-20. Manuel looked pretty impressive going 16-21 for 107 yards and 1 touchdown pass. When watching the game I was surprised at how well he could run the ball, he had 3 carries for 28 yards and a long 24 yard run. In a deep league for fantasy football, Manuel could become a sleeper especially if he can stay healthy and produce throwing and running the ball effectively.
3. The Jets Starting Quarterback is still unknown
The race between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith is getting tighter and tighter because no one is separating themselves. Mark Sanchez is the veteran but we need to remember that this is Sanchez’s 3rd offense that he is learning in his early career so the edge does not necessarily go to the veteran for knowing the playbook. In the 26-17 loss against the Detroit Lions Sanchez went 10-13 for 125 yards, a brutal interception returned for a touchdown by a defensive lineman, and a touchdown pass to help save his first preseason game performance. Geno went 6-7 for 47 yards and he looked like a NFL quarterback doing so. He showed great arm strength and showed he could run this style of offense with this roster. Later on Smith rolled his ankle and did not return to the game, and is still recovering from the injury in practice this week. At this point do not draft either quarterback for your fantasy team, unless you are in a deep league and need a back up for a bye week filler QB.
4. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady
The New England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 31-22 in the first week of the preseason, and Tom Brady made it look so easy. It really does not matter who is around this quarterback because he still will find ways to score. Josh McDaniels also does not have trouble changing the offense around which showed when Shane Vereen was split out wide and scored on a fade route in the corner of the end zone. Brady went 7-8 for 65 yards and a touchdown pass. I still would take Rodgers, Brees, and Manning before Brady this year but after this performance in the preseason he may even be ahead of Newton in my rankings next week.
5. James Harrison looks good in Orange and Black
James Harrison is not used to having this much attention and camera’s in his face, and you can tell he does not like HBO’s Hard Knock’s if you watch the show. He has also been seen getting rides from random strangers from the practice field to the locker room which is funny but he needs to help the Bengals defense this year. It was definitely a shock to not see Harrison wearing Black and Yellow, but he made an impact against the Falcons even though he only had one tackle. Harrison is transitioning from being an outside linebacker in a 3-4 to being an inside linebacker in a 4-3 defense and so far the transition is going well. He showed he still has the speed, aggression, and power to break up any play. The defense is new to him and he still needs to work on his coverage, but he was in the backfield disrupting some run plays during the game which is promising for the Bengals defense.