Stock Up: the following guys have moved up our rankings over the past week.
Colt McCoy, QB, Browns
It's getting tougher and tougher to ignore McCoy. Through 2 preseason games, he's racked up 231 yards and 4 TDs, while completing 68% of his passes. He looks to be in total command of HC Pat Shurmur's West Coast Offense. McCoy is still just a low-end QB2, but he's definitely moving up our QB rankings.
John Beck, QB, Redskins
Making his preseason debut on Friday night, Beck completed 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards. Meanwhile, QB Rex Grossman connected on just 7 of 12 attempts and tossed a pick. Beck clearly looked like the better QB and is once again the heavy favorite to open the season as Washington's starter. He's still not a recommend fantasy option though.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars
The rookie has been seeing more and more 1st-team reps and is reportedly pushing for the starting job. "I can say with 100% certainty that Gabbert and Garrard are in a competition to be the Jaguars' starting QB," beat writer Tania Ganguli wrote on Wednesday. If we had to bet, we'd still say Garrard gets the nod for Week 1, but Gabbert may end up starting more games this year.
Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys
Felix is zooming up our rankings. HC Jason Garrett revealed that Jones won’t be on a touch count this year, and owner Jerry Jones confirmed that Jones will see more touches this year. He looked strong in the preseason opener, picking up 23 yards on 3 carries and another 16 yards on his 1 reception. We’re loving Felix as a RB2 with top-15 upside.
Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
It sounds like rookie RB Ryan Williams is done for the year with a torn patellar tendon. That makes Wells the Cardinals' clear-cut lead back. He should see 250+ carries this year and can be considered a RB2 in fantasy.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins
The Dolphins are serious about giving Bush a sizeable workload. He was the feature back in Friday night's preseason game against the Panthers. While the 1st-team offense was on the field, Bush carried 8 times for 48 yards and caught 2 balls for 33 yards. Meanwhile, RB Daniel Thomas rushed 9 times for 36 yards. This is shaping up to be a true committee attack.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots
He gets another bump up our rankings as RB Shane Vereen continues to miss time. Ridley is looking like the Patriots rookie RB to own this year, although we still wouldn’t count on consistent production.
Javon Ringer, RB, Titans
Ringer becomes more attractive the longer Chris Johnson’s holdout lasts. He’s a capable RB who could step in as a RB3 or flex play if CJ misses games.
Leon Washington, RB, Seahawks
HC Pete Carroll said the team wants to get Washington more offensive touches this year. But that might be tough consider Lil’ Leon is the #3 back on an offense that doesn’t figure to have the ball in their possession too often. We bumped Washington up our rankings, but he’s still borderline undraftable.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles
Maclin has passed a battery of medical tests and has resumed running and lifting weights. If all goes well, he’s expected to return to practice in about a week. We’re still a bit concerned because doctors never discovered what was ailing Maclin. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him, but it looks like he’ll be ready for Week 1.
Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons
H-Doug has had an impressive preseason, compiling 134 yards and 2 scores on 5 catches. QB Matt Ryan named Douglas as the one player he thinks is ready to breakout this season. Now fully recovered from 2009’s torn ACL, Douglas is worth a look in the late rounds of your draft.
Steve Smith, WR, Eagles
We’re finally starting to get some encouraging updates on Smith’s rehab from offseason microfracture surgery. The Eagles believe Smith could get back on the practice field by Week 1 and avoid the PUP list. He’s still unlikely to make an early-season impact, though, and we continue to avoid Smith in fantasy drafts.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders
With both Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens banged-up, Heyward-Bey seems like a lock to open the season in Oakland’s starting lineup. It’s a big opportunity for the former 7th-overall pick, but we’re not confident he’ll take advantage.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Buccaneers
Starting in place of WR Arrelious Benn (knee), Briscoe reeled in 4 balls for 60 yards in the team's preseason opener. He was targeted 5 times and looked imposing working the middle of the field. The #2 WR job still belongs to Benn if he doesn’t suffer a setback in his recovery, but Briscoe looks ready to take on a sizeable role as Tampa’s 3rd WR.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
He’s had an excellent August, shining in camp, drawing praise from QB Ben Roethlisberger, and totaling 5 catches for 93 yards and a score in his first 2 preseason games. Emmanuel Sanders is still this team’s #3 WR when healthy, but Brown has definitely earned a role in 4-WR sets. And he could even start the year as the 3rd WR if Sanders can’t shake the rust.
Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants
The Giants are considering using Hixon out wide in 3-WR sets, pushing Mario Manningham into the slot. It’s still a fluid situation, with Victor Cruz and Jerrel Jernigan also in the picture, but Hixon is officially on the fantasy radar.
Donald Jones, WR, Bills
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick singled out Jones as the guy capable of replacing WR Lee Evans' production this season. Jones got the start in Buffalo's preseason opener, but finished without a catch. While it's always nice for a WR to be shown some love by his QB, we just can't get excited about Jones. He's a middling talent who will be the 3rd or 4th option on a mediocre passing offense.
Legedu Naanee, WR, Panthers
He’s been running with the 1st-team offense and appears to hold the edge on Brandon LaFell for Carolina’s #2 WR spot. But there’s still no upside here.
Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders
The rookie 5th-round continues to make waves. He’s been the star of Raiders camp and racked up 41 yards on 3 catches in the preseason opener. With both Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy dealing with injuries, Moore could be thrust right into a sizeable offensive role to start the season. He’s starting to look like a worthy late-round flier.
Jordan Norwood, WR, Browns
Norwood appears to be locked-in as Cleveland’s slot man. While he’s yet to catch an NFL pass yet, Norwood is worth monitoring in PPR formats. The slot WR tends to play a big role in HC Pat Shurmur's West Coast Offense. In fact, Amendola caught 85 balls in that spot with the Rams last year.
Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams
We heard glowing reports on Kendricks for the past few months. Then he went out in his NFL debut and caught 5 balls for 47 yards and a score. This kid is for real and is well worth a late-round pick as a TE2 with upside.
Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
With Chris Cooley struggling to return from offseason knee surgery, Davis is worth a look as a late-round flier. He’s got plenty of ability and racked up 386 yards and 5 scores in 9 starts back in 2009. He’d be a borderline TE1 if Cooley misses times.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Rudolph is picking up extra reps with the 1st-team offense while TE Visanthe Shiancoe sits out with a hamstring injury. Shank is still the favorite to open the season as Minnesota’s #1 TE, but we’re betting on Rudolph having the better numbers by year’s end.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens
He got another bump up our rankings this week. After an impressive showing in his first preseason action, Pitta has been splitting 1st-team reps with TE Ed Dickson. This competition is wide-open.
Stock Down: the following guys have moved down our rankings over the past week.
David Garrard, QB, Jaguars
Garrard’s grip on the starting job isn’t as strong as we thought. Beat writer Tania Ganguli is convinced that Garrard and rookie Blaine Gabbert are in a competition for the starting spot. Expect both guys to start games this year, making it a situation to avoid in redraft leagues.
Rex Grossman, QB, Redskins
Grossman was out-played by QB John Beck in the team's 2nd preseason game. He completed just 7 of 12 passes for 88 yards and an INT, while Beck went 14 of 17 for 140 yards. Grossman will start the year as Washington's backup.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
We’re officially worried. Johnson seems to be digging in for a long lockout as he pursues a huge contract. Even if he reports before the start of the regular season, he'll be an injury-risk after a lost offseason. Johnson slipped from #2 to #4 in our RB rankings. He could slide further if he still hasn’t reported by this time next week.
Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals
The rookie went down in the 3rd quarter of Friday night's preseason game with a knee injury. He was carted off the field, and the team believes that he ruptured his patellar tendon. That'd knock Williams out for the year and put his status for the start of the 2012 season in question.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins
Thomas looks to be in a full-blown committee with RB Reggie Bush. In the team's preseason game Friday night, Bush carried 8 times for 48 yards and caught 2 balls for 33 yards with the 1st-team offense. Over the same time, Thomas rushed 9 times for 36 yards. Sharing the workload, the rookie is just a RB3.
Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins
Recovering from a broken hand, Torain got back on the practice field Tuesday but still hasn’t been cleared for contact. He’s now missed both of the team’s preseason games and has clearly fallen behind Tim Hightower for the starting RB job. Torain is hardly worth a look in fantasy drafts at this point.
Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
The rookie has missed a big chunk of training camp with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to make any kind of early-season impact.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Rams
Sims-Walker suffered a groin injury in the team’s preseason opener. It's not serious, but any injury is a concern when we're talking about MSW. He can’t afford to miss much time as he works to learn a new offense and fend off a slew of competitors for a starting spot.
Louis Murphy, WR, Raiders
Murphy has been ruled out for Week 1 after undergoing surgery on his hamstring this week. He's been out since early in training camp, and no timetable has been set for his return. We like this guy's skill-set, and he could make an impact later on this season. But this news makes Murphy undraftable.
Chaz Schilens, WR, Raiders
Schilens sprained his right knee in the team's 1st preseason game. It's believed to be minor, but any nick or scrape is worrisome when we’re talking about the fragile Schilens. Oakland’s WR depth chart is still fluid, but Chaz needs to stay healthy if he wants to earn a role.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Chiefs
He’s had a horrible camp and is now done for the rest of the preseason after injuring his thumb in a locker room brawl with RB Thomas Jones. Baldwin is a longshot for any kind of fantasy impact this year.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers
He’s been passed by WR Legedu Naanee on the depth chart. LaFell will likely slot in as Carolina’s #3 WR this year, making him a fantasy afterthought.
Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins
Cooley is expected to miss another few weeks with that bum knee, and HC Mike Shanahan admitted that his TE isn’t a lock to be ready for Week 1. We’d only take a shot on Cooley if he drops into the late rounds of your draft. The TE position is just too deep to be rolling the dice on a guy struggling to return from offseason knee surgery.
Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Vikings
Shank has missed time over the past week with a hamstring injury. It’s given rookie TE Kyle Rudolph a chance to see more time with the 1st-team offense. Shiancoe will still likely open the season as Minnesota’s starter, but Rudolph is going to take a big bite out of his production.
Ed Dickson, TE, Ravens
Dickson is back from the hamstring injury that cost him about a week. He’s splitting 1st-team reps with TE Dennis Pitta now though. This battle will go down to the wire, although both guys will likely see plenty of action this season.
John Carlson, TE, Seahawks
He’s missed time this week with a shoulder injury. Even when he’s healthy, Carlson isn’t a fantasy option after Seattle added TE Zach Miller.
Zach Miller, TE, Jaguars
Miller is expected to be sidelined for 2 weeks with a knee injury. Miller has mouth-watering talent as a pass-catcher, but durability has been a major problem thus far in his NFL career. And with the emergence of TE Marcedes Lewis, Miller is a longshot to make a fantasy impact this season.