With the start of the 2010 NFL season just around the corner, we’ve put together a list of players that have seen their fantasy stock rise during the preseason.
Washington has been working with the Seahawks’ first team in practice this week and we like his chances to earn more playing time and possibly open the regular season as the starter. He’ll be in some kind of backfield timeshare with Justin Forsett and Julius Jones, and while committee backfields can limit fantasy value, we still consider Washington a nice late-round sleeper pick.
Derrick Ward was the No. 2 tailback for the Bucs heading into training camp, but after two dreadful preseason games he’s on the hot seat and may not even make the team. Huggins has been promoted to the No. 2 spot on the Bucs’ depth chart and we like his chances to cut into Cadillac Williams’ touches during the season. Huggins is worth a late-round flier in all leagues at this point.
Due to a season-ending injury to rookie Ben Tate, Foster is soaring up fantasy draft boards as he’s locked up the starting RB spot in Houston. Steve Slaton will still be in the mix, but he’ll likely do most of his damage in passing situations, with only marginal value in PPR leagues. We like Foster as a No. 3 fantasy RB with huge sleeper potential.
Welker has returned to action much quicker than expected and it appears he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Assuming he experiences no setbacks during the remainder of the preseason, Welker is a solid No. 2 fantasy WR and worth an early round pick, especially in PPR formats.
The Bengals released Antonio Bryant, which further solidifies Owens’ starting position opposite Chad Ochocinco. Owens’ fantasy value continues to rise as he has been Carson Palmer’s go-to receiver during the preseason. Owens is a decent No. 3 fantasy WR option and we like his chances of a rebound year in 2010.
Preseason injuries to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch have vaulted Spiller up the Bills depth chart and he’s on track to enter the season as the Bills’ starting tailback. While his fantasy value will take a hit when Jackson and Lynch return, he could make a strong case for more touches if he plays well early in the season. We consider Spiller a No. 3 RB option with a great upside.
While we are not usually a big fan of rookie wide receivers, its hard to ignore what Williams has done this preseason. He has come out of nowhere to grab a starting job for the Bucs and has been working his way up fantasy draft boards. We like Williams as a decent late-round sleeper in deeper leagues, but his early-season production could suffer if Josh Freeman misses time due to a thumb injury.
It sounds like Vincent Jackson’s holdout is for real and all reports are saying that he will not play for the Chargers again. This leaves Floyd as the Chargers’ No. 1 receiver and Philip Rivers’ go-to guy downfield. Legedu Naanee will also see a bump in value, but Floyd will be a more reliable week-to-week WR3 option during the season.
With Darrius Heyward-Bey only seeing limited action this preseason because of fatigue, and a knee injury to Chaz Schilens, Miller will likely be a popular target for new QB Jason Campbell, who liked to throw to Chris Cooley in Washington. Miller managed to put up decent numbers during the JaMarcus Russell era, so even the slightest upgrade at QB gives Miller a chance to crack the upper tier of fantasy tight ends.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed Tuesday that Derek Anderson will start the Cardinals’ final preseason game. Matt Leinart has not had a good preseason and his release remains a possibility. Anderson has not played much better, but he is the clear favorite to start Week 1. While neither of these players will be nothing more than a QB2 fantasy option, Anderson is the better option.
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