Fantasy football notes from the weekend

Here are some fantasy football thoughts regarding the preseason games that took place on Saturday…

  • San Diego 31, Dallas 17: Both starting quarterbacks looked sharp in this one, with Tony Romo completing 3/3 passes for 33 yards, and Philip Rivers completing 5/6 passes for 54 yards. As usual, LT sat out in a preseason game, but the search for his new backup didn’t seem to clear up all that much. However, Jacob Hester, who is projected to be the fullback for LT, played well as a tailback, rushing for 49 yards and two TD’s.  At receiver, Chargers receiver Chris Chambers seems to be playing well also, catching three passes for 34 yards in about one quarter of action.
  • Washington 17, Buffalo 14: Not much to report from this game, as there were very few players expected to be on a fantasy roster on the field for much of the game. JP Losman played well (7/9 for 73 yards and a TD) at quarterback for the Bills, while Trent Edwards (1/5 for 18 yards) seemed to struggle, which moves us closer to another season of wondering which quarterback will start for the Bills from week to week. Clinton Portis had a rushing touchdown in this one, which is good to see, while our sleeper pick James Hardy, the rookie wide receiver for the Bills, had his first reception and touchdown of his NFL career (even if it is just the preseason).
  • Carolina 23, Indianapolis 20: It’s a bit early in the preseason to read too much into it, but DeAngelo Williams had a solid game for the Panthers, rushing for 55 yards and two touchdowns on 9 carries, while rookie Jonathan Smith was held out of the game as he recovers from toe surgery. Marvin Harrison seems to be healing well from offseason surgery, as he caught three balls for 22 yards, while the Panthers second year receiver, Dwayne Jarrett, looked good with three catches for 43 yards. Also of note in Carolina was that Steve Smith got knocked out of practice with a concussion yesterday (which shouldn’t be too worrisome at this point, considering he won’t even start until week 3 of the regular season).
  • Tennessee 34, St. Louis 13: With poor performances out of both starting quarterbacks (Vince Young and Marc Bulger), it was the Titans running game that dazzled. FFGeekBlog sleeper pick Chris Johnson, backup running back for the Titans, rushed for 77 yards on six carries, including a 66 yard touchdown scamper (terrible quality video, but he does look FAST!). He’s nearly a must-own at this point for LenDale White owners, although White was pretty solid himself, averaging 5.5 yards a carry as he rushed for 33 yards on six carries. And just because everyone else was tearing up the Rams run defense, even Quinton Ganther, a 2006, 7th round draft pick of the Titans, who has 0 career rushing yards, went off for 115 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries (but I wouldn’t draft him quite yet, as he’s buried on the depth chart at this point).
  • Tampa Bay 17, Miami 6: With Chad Pennington not starting for the Dolphins, Jeff Garcia not starting for the Bucs, and Earnest Graham not having a rushing attempt, it’s hard to pull too much from this contest. Backup running backs for both teams played pretty well, with Ricky Williams going for 31 yards on five carries and Michael Bennett gaining 74 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while Dolphins starter Ronnie Brown was held to four yards on three carries in limited action. If you’re a Brown or Graham owner, you’re going to want Williams or Bennett on your team for sure.
  • Jacksonville 20, Atlanta 17: Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan played well in this one, completing 9 of 15 throws for 113 yards and a touchdown, but that doesn’t mean he should be anywhere near your fantasy roster until otherwise stated. Psuedo-rookie Michael Turner, the Falcons new running back, ran for 22 yards on five carries, while the Jags tailback, Maurice Jones-Drew, ran for 23 yards on five carries. It appears that Roddy White has picked up right where he left off last year, catching five balls for 47 yards and a score in this one. The good news is that both potential starters for the Falcons, Ryan and Chris Redman, threw to Roddy White with success, which should help those of you who aren’t quite sure about White this season, even after a breakout campaign last year (1,202 yards and 6 TD).
  • Houston 19, Denver 16: Starters Jay Cutler (8 of 10 for 50 yards) and Matt Schaub (4 of 5 for 29 yards) looked solid in this one, showing no reason why either of there names shouldn’t be prefixed by a “QB:” come week 1 of the season. The Broncos running game is poised to be as big a mystery as always, with Selvin Young, Andre Hall and Michael Pittman all getting their chances in this one. Young still should be the starter at this point, but I’m not confident that he’ll stay there for more than half the season at this junction in time. Amazingly, the Texans running game could be even more screwed up than the Broncos this season. Starter Ahman Green is already out with a groin injury (not supposed to be that severe, but it’s his groin, so I’m sure he’ll take it pretty easy for a bit), while backup Chris Brown missed the first game with a back problem. With those two out, no one else the Texans threw out there to run the ball seemed to do anything special, so avoid this running back situation if possible. Tony Scheffler of the Broncos continued his quest to become one of the better tight ends in the league, wth a three catch, 47 receiving yard performance.
  • In other news, tonight we will see the beginning of the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay, as the Packers take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of week 1 in the preseason. What better way to prove yourself to all the doubters than to go up against what was one of the worst pass defenses in the league last year?
  • Also, Willis McGahee has decided to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee, with the hope that he can return for the start of the season. The fact that he’ll miss nearly an entire month of practice and preseason games is a bit worrisome and is reason enough for us to drop him down a few slots on the power rankings. It also makes backup Ray Rice all that more important as a handcuff for McGahee owners.
  • For all of you who were targeting Bobby Engram in your draft, think again. Engram left Friday’s preseason game with a shoulder injury and it turns out that he has a broken bone in his shoulder and will miss six to eight weeks. He’s no spring chicken, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll be back that early. Even if he does though, that positions him to miss the first two to four games of the season, moving him down quite a bit on our wide receiver power rankings, while Nate Burleson moves up a bit (just like when we found out that Branch would be out for some extended time).