Risers & Fallers

Preseason Week 3 Winners and Losers

By Jared Smola and Kevin English 9:08am EDT 8/29/16

Winners

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers

Winston diced the Browns defense for 259 yards and 2 TDs on 16-of-25 passing in just 1 half of action. He hooked up with WR Mike Evans 5 times for 115 yards and a score and also connected with RB Charles Sims for a 3-yard TD.

If Winston is done for the preseason, he finishes with a 59.1% completion rate, 8.7 yards per attempt, 4 TDs and 1 INT. There’s breakout potential here if Tampa lets him chuck it enough.


Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott’s 1st pro appearance turned up 48 yards on 7 carries. The rookie showed an ability to rack up yards after contact, while he excelled on runs to the perimeter. Elliott also looked excellent in pass protection.

Recent hamstring trouble adds some extra risk here, but there’s no doubting Elliott’s talent.


Jared Cook, TE, Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers’ first 2 passes of the preseason went to Cook: 1 complete for 19 yards, the other incomplete. (Cook hauled in 3 more passes for 35 yards from QB Joe Callahan.)

We’ve heard that Cook and Rodgers have quickly formed a strong rapport. If that’s the case, his ceiling extends all the way into TE1 territory.


Losers


Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers

We’ll leave the National Anthem fiasco alone. Kaepernick looked just as foolish when he took the field behind QB Blaine Gabbert. (OK, maybe we won’t leave it completely alone.)

He completed just 2 of 6 passes for 14 yards in 3 series. He picked up 18 yards on 4 carries but didn’t look anywhere close to being ready to be San Francisco’s starter.

Gabbert will open the season under center for the Niners. Kaepernick might not even be on the team.


Sammie Coates, WR, Steelers

The good: Coates hauled in 2 balls for 66 yards and a score in Friday night’s game against the Saints.

The bad: Both of those catches came from QB Landry Jones and the 2nd-team offense. Coates played clearly behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Eli Rogers. It doesn’t look like he’ll open the season with a starting job.

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