Monday Morning Takeaway: Preseason Week 1 (Cont.) fantasysharks.com May 24 '78
New York Jets 6, Cincinnati 17
The Jets offense was hard to watch, and even harder to write about. The blocking performance from the offensive line was awful in both the pass and run game as starting quarterback Mark Sanchez was unable to generate consistent production.
Shonn Greene continued his usual plodding style picking up a meager 11 yards on five carries. I was hoping so badly for Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight to jump off the screen and take over the Jets backfield. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
The highlight of the night for the Jets was two longer runs by Tim Tebow, immediately followed by a terrible interception. Even more goofy was watching Tebow run down on punt coverage.
I'm not sure any Jets player is worthy of drafting.
Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton picked up right where he left in 2011 with solid decision making, accepting what the defense allowed him, while managing his team on long sustained drives. Dalton made it a point to include both AJ Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham. Overall a decent outing for the Bengals' passing game.
As expected, BenJarvis Green-Ellis started in the Bengals' backfield. More of a straight line runner, the Law Firm displayed his usual powerful running style with soft hands while excelling in pass blocking. As one of the league's few 3-down running backs, the Law Firm is deserving of upper RB2 value garnering early 4th round consideration.
The lowlight for the Bengals were numerous injuries including; starting left guard Travelle Warton, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga.
Miami 7, Tampa Bay 20
David Garrard will be lost for the preseason after undergoing a surgical procedure on his troublesome knee. Stepping in as the Miami starting quarterback was Matt Moore. In my humble opinion Moore is the Rodney Dangerfield of football, brimming with talent, but having played for terrible football teams under constant turmoil. Moore didn't let me down opening the game with two solid drives while delivering the football with velocity and accuracy. Moore carries zero fantasy value due to a lack of team talent at the wide receiver position.
After going 14-for-21 with 167 yards and one touchdown, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has gained rave reviews in the media postgame reports. Although impressive for a rookie performance, Tannehill's production didn't begin until late in the 3rd quarter against the Bucs 3rd string defense. Don't be confused by the statistics as Moore remains the better quarterback.
Reggie Bush continued where he left off last season as a dynamic runner showing tremendous agility and surprising toughness. Bush only played one series and was quickly pulled from the game to avoid any unnecessary injury. Daniel Thomas replaced Bush, but was relatively ineffective. Bush remains a solid pick with an ADP in the late 3rd round.
Tight end Anthony Fasano caught the first pass on both the Fins opening two drives. Playing inside the famed west coast offense Fasano should remain on our "watch list" in the coming weeks.
Chad Johnson's lone target was a badly dropped ball that would have converted a crucial 3rd down. UPDATE; Johnson has been released by the Dolphins after an altercation with his wife. Johnson's NFL career could be coming to a close.
The biggest question we've been asking ourselves all offseason is, "Who will start at running back for the Bucs?" LeGarrette Blount opened the game in the backfield running hard while gaining tough yardage including a few longer runs. The Bucs even lined up Blount on the outside as a wide receiver for a bubble screen (and they said he didn't have good hands). We should also note that Blount took four straight carries at the goal line on the opening drive before finally leaping over the pile for a Bucs TD. Blount was pulled from the game after the opening drive further indicating Tampa Bay views the big man as the primary ball carrier.
Doug Martin did see action as the Bucs third down back early in the game, also garnering a short yardage touchdown of his own after Blount was removed from the game. As stated, Blount looks to be the primary ball carrier at this juncture.
Freeman also looked solid standing tall in the pocket spreading the ball around efficiently. Backup QB Dan Orlovsky also had a solid outing hooking up downfield for multiple receptions with former Patriots' wide receiver Tiquan Underwood. Underwood caught a three passes totaling 76 yards, and emerged as one of the more impressive players on the night.
Notably absent was newly acquired tight end Dallas Clark. Those with visions of Dallas Clark becoming a viable fantasy sleeper have been squashed for the time being.
New York Giants 31, Jacksonville 32
Although no individual performance really stood out, nothing has changed in New York. Ahmad Bradshaw started in the backfield, Eli Manning was under center and Victor Cruz was his preferred target. We should note that Hakeem Nicks was absent while still recovering from a foot injury.
The biggest surprise was Danny Ware taking second team reps at the running back position for the Giants, and not David Wilson. In fact, even 3rd stringer Andre Brown entered the game before Wilson. Buried on the depth chart, Wilson's ADP in the late 8th round appears to be a reach until further notice.
Tight end Martellus Bennett continues to be a player of intrigue after catching a 12 yard TD pass in the second quarter. Bennett could emerge as a solid red zone presence playing alongside an elite quarterback.
If you didn't see Isaiah Stanback's one handed snag in the back of the end zone then you missed one of the best plays of the preseason.
Receiving much criticism last season (and rightfully so) Blaine Gabbert played on the opening drive, finally stepping into his throws while hitting Mike Thomas early and often. He also tossed a nice fade pattern to the back pylon connecting with Cecil Shorts for a touchdown. Gabbert has very minimal fantasy value, but does lend credence to whichever wide receiver leads the Jags in targets (my bet is on Laurent Robinson).
In the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville started Rashad Jennings in the backfield. Jennings performed admirably showing great burst and running with downhill power. He is worth a flier in the later rounds, and a must handcuff to MJD.
Detroit 17, Cleveland 19
Much like the Giants, the Lions appeared content taking the conservative route. Stafford remains a solid quarterback hooking up with Calvin for two catches totaling 36 yards. He also made it a point to get tight end Brandon Pettigrew involved in the passing game. Pettigrew should be viewed as a low end TE1 still fighting the presence of Tony Scheffler.
Kevin Smith started in the Lions' backfield and looked explosive as usual. No question that Smith is loaded to the hilt with talent, heart and toughness, but his durability has been a reoccurring problem in the past. However, with an ADP in the 9th round Smith is worth the flier. Keiland Williams entered the game as the Lions secondary ball carrier scoring a goal line TD. Williams was also impressive between the twenties picking up 71 yards on nine carries.
As usual, Shaun Hill played exceptionally well for a backup QB. This is reassuring for those who draft Megatron should Stafford incur injury during the season.
Starting under center for the Browns was rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. On the opening drive Weeden displayed excellent touch dropping a long pass into the hands of Travis Benjamin. The remainder of his performance was rather ordinary, perpetuated by a number of drops from his wide receivers. We should also note that Weeden spread the ball around to multiple wide receivers instead of locking on to one favorite target. Which Browns' wide receiver to trust is still a mystery.
In the absence of Trent Richardson the Browns started Montario Hardesty in the backfield. A second round pick in 2010, Hardesty revealed earlier in the week that his 2011 performance was hindered by an infection in his surgically repaired knee. Now fully healthy, and one year removed from his ACL surgery Hardesty was impressive running with decisive moves and downhill power. He is a must handcuff to Richardson and is now planted on our "watch list". We should also note that Brandon Jackson came in as the Browns 2nd RB.
Tight end Jordan Cameron made a number of eye popping receptions including a 42-yarder down the middle of the field. As we know, any tight end playing in a west coast offense is worth monitoring.
Browns wide receiver Mohammad Massaquoi received a devastating blow to the head. On the heels of his 2011 concussion he will certainly be absent for an extended period of time.
Arizona 17, Kansas City 27
In the wake of last week's performance John Skelton was given the nod over fellow quarterback Kevin Kolb. Despite one interception, Skelton continues to impress moving quickly through his progressions while throwing into tight windows with conviction and accuracy. Those drafting Larry Fitzgerald should pray Skelton is the Cards starting quarterback Week 1.
LaRod Stephens-Howling opened the game as the Cardinals' running back, but was quickly replaced by Alfonso Smith. Smith found it tough sledding against a stiff KC front five as the blocking up front was less than desirable. The Cards' offensive line is worrisome.
Kevin Kolb did enter the game but played downright awful. It should speak volumes that the Cardinals' coaching staff only provided Kolb two series before turning to 3rd string quarterback Ryan Lindley. In his defense, Kolb was playing alongside the Cardinals 2nd string offense. Looks like Arizona may have been duped by Andy Reid.
Alarm bells should begin to sound as neither Beanie Wells nor Ryan Williams has seen action in two games. I'm avoiding both like a two dollar buffet.