Chad Johnson hurt and other updates from the weekend

Tonight’s game between the Browns and Giants will wrap up week two of the preseason, but before we jump into week 3, here are some reactions to the games that took place over the weekend…

  • Detroit 27, Cincinnati 10: While the Bengals might be a tiny bit upset that they lost a preseason game, the most painful outcome of this game was that their star wide receiver, Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, sprained his shoulder while trying to make a catch early in the game. Right now coach Marvin Lewis is saying that he believes Johnson should be ready for the start of the season, but we’ll keep an eye on the situation. Right now I’m probably dropping him down a few spots on my rankings until I know more about the injury.

    As for the rest of the game, the poor play of the Bengals added insult to injury, with quarterback Carson Palmer playing badly (6 of 13 for 50 yards and an INT) and no one of fantasy relevance doing anything great for Cinci. There was one guy on the team though that took advantage of the Johnson injury, plus a hamstring injury to T.J. Houshmandzadeh that kept him out of this game. The Bengals second round pick in this years draft, receiver Jerome Simpson, finished the game with five receptions for 114 yards. As with many preseason one-hit-wonders though, make this guy become a repeat performer before even considering him on draft day.

    As much as this game sucked for the Bengals, it was a great game for the Lions, especially their passing game, which seems to have hit the ground running since the beginning of this preseason. Jon Kitna completed all three of his pass attempts for 76 yards, including a 27 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson (who finished with three catches for 76 yards). The Lions running game is still a bit mysterious, but rookie Kevin Smith looked good in limited action (four carries for 19 yards) and should still be considered the front runner to win the starting job come opening day.

  • Tampa Bay 27, New England 10: Without Tom Brady behind center, the Patriots are a completely different team (and a team that I wouldn’t want to draft any of the players from for my fantasy squad!) The Bucs won handily in this one, although there is very little to report in terms of players making a fantasy impact. Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham did little to justify his new contract, rushing for 13 yards on five carries, but he did score the teams lone rushing touchdown, while the dynamic receiving duo for the Patriots, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, combined for 50 yards on five catches. Laurence Maroney also looked unimpressive in this one, rushing for a whopping 15 yards on seven attempts. With both teams starting quarterbacks not playing though, I wouldn’t read too much into this one (and wouldn’t let it affect your cheat sheets either.)
  • Tennessee 17, Oakland 16: The JaMarcus Russell to tight end Zach Miller connection has begun in Oakland, with Russell finding Miller four times in this contest for a team leading 48 yards and a touchdown. For those of you who pass on the upper echelon of tight ends, make sure to consider taking Miller late in the draft. I have a feeling he’s getting ready for a big season. Other than Miller though, the passing game for both teams looked pretty shaky in this one and should be avoided in your draft if at all possible. In terms of the running game, it’s almost a complete 180. The biggest problem with both of these teams is that they have too many quality running backs to split the stats between. Titans runners LenDale White (4.9 ypc) and backup Chris Henry (5.6 ypc) played well, while rookie speedster (and one of our personal favorites to win the starting job at some point) Chris Johnson (5.8 ypc) impressed again, most likely pushing him to the brink of even being considered a “sleeper” anymore in some leagues. On the Raiders side of the ball, Darren McFadden looked great, rushing for 44 yards on six carries, while Michael Bush ran for 59 yards on 14 carries. The only running back that seemed to have difficulty in this one was Justin Fargas, the incumbent starter in Oakland, which only raises the stock for DMC going into your draft.
  • St. Louis 7, San Diego 6: Not much happening in this barn burner, with Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson and Torry Holt not seeing the field. All that you should take from this game is that Rams quarterback Marc Bulger looked shaky again (7 for 14, two INT and two sacks) and it appears that Jacob Hester (12 carries for 59 yards) is probably going to be LT’s backup going into the season. I’m avoiding Bulger (and his 0 TD, 3 INT preseason skills) like the plague at this point in my drafts…maybe you should as well!
  • Washington 13, New York Jets 10: Brett Favre (5/6 for 48 yards and a TD) seems to be settling in nicely with the Jets, throwing his first touchdown in a Jets uniform in this one to rookie tight end Dustin Keller. It appears you can put those “tired arm” worries to rest as I’m pretty sure Favre will be back in the swing of things by the start of the regular season. For the Redskins, Portis didn’t play and the rest of the team didn’t do anything impressive enough to warrant mention here.
  • Minnesota 23, Baltimore 15: Nothing great from Adrian Peterson in limited action here, rushing for 30 yards on eight carries…I’m still taking LT with the number one pick. For the Ravens, rookie running back Ray Rice ran (that’s a lot of R’s right there!) well with 77 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while McGahee sat this one out recovering from knee surgery. Rice is an essential handcuff for those who take McGahee as one of your top RB’s. At quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson is doing his best to quiet the doubters (myself included), throwing for 82 yards and a score (7 for 9 on passing attempts). My breakout candidate, Vikings WR Sidney Rice, only had three catches for 31 yards in this one though, which is a bit dissappointing.
  • Miami 19, Jacksonville 14: Ricky Williams scored a touchdown and rushed for 43 yards on ten carries, showing that he’s back and ready for action (and a very necessary handcuff for Ronnie Brown drafters). The Dolphins new quarterback, Chad Pennington, played pretty well as the starter, completing five of six passes for 55 yards. Not sure what was going on with the Jaguars offense in this one though, as expected fantasy producers Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, and David Garrard all had sub-par outings…but I’ll throw this one out the window and assume they’ll do better next time.
  • Indianapolis 16, Atlanta 9: Looks like Michael “The Burner” Turner is ready to prove to the world that he was more than just a speedy backup for LT, ripping it up for 113 yards on just four carries, including a 63 yard scamper. With Peyton Manning sitting this one out, there is no reason to elaborate on the poor play of every other quarterback in this game. Obviously you’re staying away from Atlanta quarterbacks in your draft (unless you’re a HUGE Boston College homer.)
  • Houston 31, New Orleans 27: Pretty solid showing from all of those expected to be on a fantasy roster at the beginning of the season in this one (save Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out with a sore groin.) Drew Brees (12 of 17 for 147 yards and 2 TD) and Matt Schaub (14 of 16 for 187 yards and 2 TD) played great, while Reggie Bush and Marques Colston of the Saints, along with Kevin Walter of the Texans, all had receiving touchdowns. In case you were interested, Walter, who caught six balls for 100 yards in this one, had the greatest receiving game of Texans preseason history. Rookie running back Steve Slaton (13 carries for 57 yards and a TD) of the Texans played well too, helping his cause to at least be the primary backup for Ahman Green this season…if not completely taking over the starting role at some point.
  • Arizona 27, Kansas City 17: As expected, the Chiefs passing game was again sub-par in this one, with Brodie Croyle (7 of 13 for 38 yards) being someone you want to stay far away from on draft day. Larry Johnson on the other team played pretty well, rushing for 61 yards on 14 carries. For the Cardinals, Matt Leinart played well (7 of 11 for 62 yards and a TD) and seems to be cementing his position as the teams starting quarterback for at least the first portion of the season. Larry Fitzgerald also had a solid game, catching four passes for 46 yards. While running back Edgerrin James averaged 5.0 yards per carrry, backup Tim Hightower looked alright in the second half and scored a touchdown. He’s definitely someone to handcuff if you’ve drafted Edge.
  • Seattle 29, Chicago 26: Looking for a sleeper kicker pick? Me neither. But just in case you were, keep the name of rookie kicker Brandon Coutu in the back of your mind, as he kicked five field goals for the Seahawks in this one, while the rest of the team not named Justin Forsett (15 rushes for 136 yards and a TD) did little to nothing. With quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on the bench resting his tight back, backup Charlie Frye played the entire game, completing a little over 50% of his passes and throwing three interceptions. Bears rookie running back Matt Forte (7 attempts for 17 yards) did little to make me believe that the running game in Chicago will be any better than it was last season with Cedric Benson. Devin Hester caught two balls for 22 yards as well…in case you were really interested.
  • San Francisco 34, Green Bay 6: If this was the final score to this game in the regular season, I think the National Guard would have to be sent into Green Bay to quell the pro-Favre riots. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not look especially sharp in this one, completing 9 passes out of 16 attempts for just 58 yards, while being sacked 4 times. Not much else of interest went on in this one though, but Frank Gore (6 carries for 29 yards) played fairly well (handcuff DeShaun Foster got a touchdown), 49er’s rookie receiver Josh Morgan caught five balls for 114 yards and a TD, and a guy with the last name “Lumpkin” ran the ball 10 times for the Pack (Ryan Grant didn’t see the field in this one).
  • Denver 23, Dallas 13: It definitely is a bummer that Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be missing at least the first two games of the season with suspension, because it’s pretty apparent that Jay Cutler loves throwing him the ball (6 receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown). I have to imagine that Marshall will go though the necessary counseling to get his suspension knocked down from three to two games, as he’s primed and ready for quite a season. If you think you can survive the first few weeks without him, don’t be afraid to “reach” for him in the third or fourth round. Jay Cutler is also looking pretty good at this point and I am gladly taking him late in the draft, after a lot of teams have used an early pick on a supposed better quarterback. Another important note from this game is that while Selvin Young started at running back for the Broncos, Andre Hall got the goalline carry for the touchdown. For the Cowboys, Tony Romo was unimpressive in limited playing time, while none of their running backs or receivers did anything worth mentioning.