Posted: Tuesday August 14, 2012 1:44PM ; Updated: Tuesday August 14, 2012 1:44PM
Eric Mack

Preseason Week 1 fantasy observations (cont.)

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"Some days were better than others, where I'd be kind of wondering why," Benson told the paper of his sitting around. "Putting too much thought into trying to figure out why or why it hadn't happened. So I would struggle with that and put that behind me and staying positive and looking forward to something happening."

The wait looks like it could really be worth it for fantasy owners.

Benson won't play Thursday, but watch him closely in the important third preseason game. If he starts for the Packers, he just might warrant being picked as a starter for fantasy owners.

The ugly: Cardinals quarterbacks

The John Skelton vs. Kevin Kolb starting quarterback duel looks like a battle of attrition through preseason Game 2 for them (they played in the Hall of Fame game). That is bad news for Larry Fitzgerald owners and those intrigued with rookie Michael Floyd. The Cards QB situation is a mess right now.

They really need to show something next time out to trust Fitzgerald as a second-round pick, or Floyd at all.

Emack's observations


Joe Flacco played into the second quarter, looked good and hit tight end breakout candidate Ed Dickson for a TD.

Tim Tebow ran well, but he looked undraftable as a fantasy QB, completing just 50 percent of his passes and throwing a pick.

Brandon Weeden, 3-for-9 for 62 yards with an interception and a fumble, looked undraftable in fantasy, too. "I know my numbers didn't look good, but I'm not a numbers guy," said Weeden, the 22nd pick in April. "This was my first time out, and there was some good and some bad."

• With David Garrard (knee) out for a month, Ryan Tannehill proved capable of winning the starting QB job over Matt Moore. The Dolphins are best served in the long term opening the season with Moore and going to Tannehill later, but the rookie clearly is in the mix to start now. Neither of the Dolphins QBs should be picked outside of deeper two-QB formats.

Colin Kaepernick's impressive 78-yard TD run might have earned him some potential time in wildcat formations, if the 49ers choose to use those. He at least looks like a lock to back up QB Alex Smith, who might never stop having to look over his shoulder.

Derek Anderson outplayed Jimmy Claussen, which is only noteworthy because of Cam Newton's running opening him up for hits other QBs don't have to take. No one will care who the Panthers backup QB is, unless Newton gets hurt and you are a Steve Smith owner.

Matt Hasselbeck's two picks might have helped turn the tables in Jake Locker's favor. Locker clearly is the more intriguing of the two, but watch this battle closely this weekend. Locker can lock it up.

• Rookie Russell Wilson played well enough to really muddle the Seahawks' three-headed QB battle. Tarvaris Jackson will play next week, as will Matt Flynn. This one, unlike the Cardinals, actually is a battle because of good play.

Running backs

Jamaal Charles proved healthy coming off ACL surgery, rushing three times for 12 yards and going for 11 yards on a reception. He is a viable first-round pick now, too.

Adrian Peterson (knee) is off the PUP list and running some limited reps with the first team now. It looks apparent he can appear in the preseason, giving him a shot to play Week 1. Coach Leslie Frazier is preaching caution right now, though, so consider Peterson better suited as a second-round pick, until we see more.

• The LeGarrette Blount vs. Doug Martin starting RB battle looks interesting. Both ran seven times apiece and scored a TD, although Blount started and topped Martin in rushing yards 30-20. The early guess here is Blount starts and Martin spells him and serves as the third-down back.

• The Redskins appear convicted in their favoring of sophomore Evan Royster over sophomore Roy Helu as the backup to Tim Hightower, assuming the latter proves healthy this preseason. Helu should no longer be drafted as a starter, even if he probably still should go ahead of Royster until we learn more.

• Richardson's Browns absence opens up some potential early value for RB Chris Ogbonnaya, Montario Hardesty or Brandon Jackson, likely in that order. Watch this battle in the coming weeks for late-round options.

Kevin Smith looks like he will open the season as the Lions' lead back. Move him up your lists. Drop Jahvid Best (post-concussion syndrome) and Mikel LeShoure (Achilles').

Julio Jones is already and obvious monster, but backup RB Jacquizz Rodgers looks like the handcuff of choice for 30-year-old breakdown candidate Michael Turner. Rodgers could be an important late-round pick.

Chris Rainey is a game-breaker as proved on his 57-yard TD catch-and-run. He is going to be used in Todd Haley's offense like Dexter McCluster was in Kansas City. Rainey is faster and far more intriguing for fantasy owners because of the Steelers' running back focus and Rashard Mendenhall (knee) likely to open the year on the PUP list. Rainey won't push starter Ike Redman but he can be a huge factor on third downs.

• It should be noted Knowshon Moreno looked decent, if not better than Lance Ball. Rookie Ronnie Hillman was held out with a nagging injury. Fox hates Moreno for some reason, but the disappointing back ran five times for 20 yards, while Ball went seven for 16. Ball remains the likely backup and Hillman is the rookie everyone loves as a change-of-pace back, but Moreno proved healthy here and capable of changing minds as we move along this preseason.

Bilal Powell had drawn camp raves from coach Rex Ryan, but he wasn't impressive with five carries for 16 yards. Veteran Joe McKnight and maybe even rookie Terrance Ganaway might be better handcuff options for Shonn Greene (contract year).

• Many are loving the hype laid on rookie Robert Turbin as Marshawn Lynch's backup, but Leon Washington outrushed Turbin (26-24) on half the carries (five to 10). Cool the love affair on Turbin some.

Wide receivers

• Everyone is loving Brandon Lloyd with Tom Brady and the Pats, but Lloyd's early targets showed he didn't get any separation. Brady didn't like that about Ochocinco last preseason either. We should fully expect Brady's top targets to remain Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in that order. Don't fall in love with Lloyd in drafts until we see some separation from defenders.

Antonio Gates and Vincent Brown showed well. Gates is healthier this preseason than he has been in years and Brown looks capable of replacing departed deep threat Vincent Jackson. Head coach Norv Turner said Brown will "figure real strongly in what we do" after the game. "He's had a great offseason, he's in the middle of having an outstanding training camp, and he obviously is a playmaker," Turner said.

• Another Giants rookie, WR Rueben Randle, also reeled in a TD reception, which can push him ahead of Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden as the Giants' third WR behind Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (foot), who notably has come off the PUP list and looks on target for Week 1. Keep Nicks in the top 10 among WRs. Randle is merely a late-round flier.

• Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery registered in his debut. He won't start, but Jay Cutler can help Jeffery make a fantasy impact at some point this season.

Braylon Edwards reeled in an impressive pass from Wilson. Edward just might hang on, but he probably still shouldn't be drafted in standard leagues. Owens is the better option, sight unseen.

Tight ends

• As was stated above, Jacob Tamme and Eric Decker were targeted multiple times by Manning. Watch this as the preseason moves along. A healthy Manning will make those two huge sleepers, particularly since everyone is so in love with Thomas' talent. Manning tends to play favorites, a la Brady-to-Welker, though. Tamme received the first two of Manning's targets, by the way. Decker's receptions came on check downs.

• Rookie David Wilson broke off a 26-yard run and had a 16-yard pass reception, but TE Martellus Bennett might have made a more significant jump in fantasy value. He reeled in a TD pass and can be a decent late-round option as a backup TE, if you even slot one of those on your draft roster.


Alex Henery hit a 51-yard game-winner. The sophomore just might be this year's top scoring kicker.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for You find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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