Happy Thursday everyone. Let’s take a look at the latest news as we enter the final week of the preseason. Only one more week until we have real NFL games. Oh happy day!
News out of Pittsburgh is that Isaac Redman is actually going to be the starter in week 1. He is just a guy though and doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. He has been solid in a backup role but when given an opportunity for significant work he has mostly disappointed. Le’Veon Bell was also seen without his walking boot on and could be back sooner than expected. I still can’t advocate drafting him though and feel the Pittsburgh running back situation is one to completely avoid for fantasy purposes.
From the “well duh” newsdesk today we have news out of Washington that Robert Griffin III is on track to start in week 1. Reports have been positive all offseason and this is something everyone knew already but it is nice to finally have confirmation. Continue to draft him with confidence.
There’s been a lot of talk recently out of Chicago, that with Marc Trestman’s new offense, the Bears will spread the ball around more this season. There is some fuel to that fire in that AlshonJeffery is having a fantastic preseason and is ready to emerge opposite Brandon Marshall. That’s all well and good, but I just don’t see Jay Cutler changing the way he plays when protection breaks down. Marshall likely won’t see the ridiculous 192 targets that he received in 2012, but I don’t think 170 is out of the question by any means. That all hinges on his ability to stay healthy though. There are reports leaking out of Bears camp that Brandon Marshall is not happy about where he is with his hip after having surgery on it seven months ago. This is likely a non issue, but it’s enough for me to move him down to the bottom of that tier of receivers that also includes Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, and Julio Jones.
In Buffalo things are a huge mess right now at the quarterback position. EJ Manuel needs to be cleared to practice by Wednesday September 4th after hurting his knee in week 2 of the preseason. Kevin Kolb’s career is in jeopardy after getting a concussion in week 3 of the preseason. That leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel as the starter in week 1 against the New England Patriots if Manuel can’t get on the field. Needless to say, the Patriots defense should be a target in drafts as they could start the season against a Tuel led Bills in week 1 and a Geno Smith led Jets in week 2. Defensive matchups don’t get much juicier than that.
One last thing I’d like to discuss before we head into the final stretch of fantasy drafts; in most cases your most important drafts. While the Denver running back situation is one that I have been avoiding, there is a forgotten man named Knowshon Moreno that could emerge again, just as he did for the final 6 game stretch of 2012 when he was a borderline fantasy RB1. Ronnie Hillman can’t seem to hold on to the football, having fumbled in his last two preseason games. Montee Ball can’t pass block and missed a key block in preseason week 3 that got Peyton Manning crushed. If neither of these guys can get it together than I can totally see Peyton and coach John Fox just putting in the guy that while isn’t going to blow anyone away isn’t going to fumble and is by far the best running back on the roster in pass protection. In a Peyton Manning led offense pass protection is the most important skill for a running back to have. To that end, I think Moreno is worth a flyer anywhere in the 12th round or later. If he doesn’t do anything the first couple of weeks or if it looks like it actually will be one or both of Hillman and Ball you can drop him, but based on what Knowshon Moreno was able to do in weeks 11-17 last season he is worth a late pick until we know for sure that he won’t be the guy.
Enjoy today’s games everyone and I'll see you tomorrow with another edition of Dynasty Spotlight.