Saints 40, Raiders 20
Drew Brees was in mid-season form going 15-for-23 for 189 yards. Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas each scored on one yard touchdown runs and you have to wonder if they’re going to each zap some value from each other this season. Thomas looked like a man forgotten earlier this offseason, but it’s clear he’s still in the plans for the Saints. One comforting thing for Saints fans is the ability of Chase Daniel – he’s developed into a nice backup quarterback. Joique Bell also likely did enough to make the team.
For the Raiders, Derek Hagan was the star of the night, posting 121 yards and a score on six receptions. Long time dynasty leaguers will remember Hagan from his days with the Dolphins or even earlier at Arizona State University. While his talent has never been questioned, he’s always been up and down with his commitment and effort. This effort will make it tough for the Raiders to release him, but it’s tough to get your hopes up for a guy who has constantly underachieved.
Elsewhere, Taiwan Jones looked good late by posting 81 yards and a score on just 13 carries. He should make the team as depth behind Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and is still a valuable dynasty league commodity. Jason Campbell also looked very comfortable for the silver and black.
Bucs 17, Dolphins 13
Chad Henne has looked much better in the last two contests, giving Dolphins fans hopes for a 4-12 season! In all honesty, Henne should be commended for working hard and not giving in to criticism or trade rumors. He finished the night going 10-for-13 for 175 yards, including a 60 yard touchdown strike to Brandon Marshall. The Reggie Bush hype train came to a bit of a stop last night as he lost a yard on five total carries. He did add 23 yards on two catches, but it was a disappointing effort. Daniel Thomas continued his awful preseason with a 16 yard performance on seven carries – it’s time to start getting a little concerned.
For Tampa, Josh Freeman’s slow start continued as finished just 12-for-23 for 149 yards. It’s no time to panic, but this Bucs offense hasn’t looked very explosive thus far. LeGarrette Blount had just 10 yards rushing on five carries, but did catch a 52 yard pass. All in all, it would have been nice to see a little more from Tampa to inspire the same confidence we had late last season.
Bills 35, Jags 32
Fred Jackson started over CJ Spiller and that’s likely the way it should be into the regular season. Jackson responded with just 33 yards on nine carries, but did catch a 30 yard pass on the first drive. The star of the game for the Bills wasMarcus Easley, who got the start with Donald Jones out and posted five catches for 51 yards and a score.
The Jacksonville quarterbacks have just not played well this preseason. Blaine Gabbert and David Garrard combined to complete just 50% of their passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mike Thomas did play well, catching five passes for 40 yards.
Steelers 34, Falcons 16
If the preseason is any indication, the Steelers are primed for a nice season. They moved the ball at will against the Falcons defense, led by Antonio Brown’s four catch, 137 yard, two touchdown performance. He’s covering for Emmanuel Sanders right now, but last year’s playoff hero is making a case to pass him on the depth chart.
The Falcons gave up running the football early as Matt Ryan threw 42 passes in the first half alone. Roddy White led the receiving corps with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Michael Turner was only able to muster 19 yards on seven carries against the Steelers defense. All in all, it was a disappointing night for the Falcons.
Lions 34, Pats 10
Many preseason scores don’t mean much, but this one does. The Lions first team whipped up on the Patriots in the first half to a tune of a 27-10 halftime lead. Their defense was all over Tom Brady, holding him to 12-for-22 passing for just 145 yards, most of those coming on one long touchdown pass to Wes Welker, who subsequently left with a neck injury.
Matt Stafford looks like an absolute superstar at the moment. So far this preseason, he’s gone 24-for-31 for 356 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions, thus proving his 12-for-14, 200 yard, two touchdown performance in the first half last night was no fluke. If he can stay healthy, the Lions are simply a different team.
Cowboys 23, Vikings 17
Donovan McNabb solidified his starting role, but still hasn’t looked great. He finished the game last night going 12-for-18 for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Simply put, nobody has stepped up to the challenge behind him.Adrian Peterson had a nice night with 81 yards on 14 carries. Bernard Berrian caught a 49 yard touchdown pass, but pardon me as I wait for someone else to pick him up off the waiver wire.
Tony Romo looked solid for Dallas, throwing for 141 yards on 15-for-20 passing. Dez Bryant looked the part last night, catching five passes for 67 yards in the first half. DeMarco Murray finally made his preseason debut and ran for 32 yards on seven carries – it’s just too late for him to challenge Felix Jones for meaningful touches.
Texans 30, 49ers 7
If the preseason is any indication, Jim Harbaugh may still get to coach Andrew Luck again. The 49ers offense looked awful again with Alex Smith finishing 2-for-6 for 17 yards and an interception. Colin Kaepernick didn’t fare much better, throwing for just 52 yards and tosses a pick of his own. The Texans owned the clock for most of the game against the overmatched 49ers defense, but 69 total passing yards for the 49ers in what amounts to a dress rehearsal is alarming. To make things worse, Frank Gore didn’t play and his contract situation is getting ugly.
The big news for the Texans is the re-aggravation of the hamstring injury suffered by Arian Foster. While he walked off the field and wasn’t limping into the locker room, he was visibly frustrated. The good thing for Foster owners is the fact he has two full weeks to get back to full strength – that’s what it took him to get back from the original injury. He’ll certianly work to get back to full strength and sounds hopeful for the opener.
If he can’t go, it looks like a platoon of Derrick Ward and Ben Tate for Houston in week one. Ward was actually the first player in after Foster went down and promptly scored on a one yard plunge. However, he finished the night with just 13 yards on six carries. Tate looked good yet again, rushing for 52 yards on just 11 carries. If Foster can’t go, it looks like Tate would be the one to own, but don’t forget about Ward, either.
Titans 14, Bears 13
For the Bears, most of the offense was well distributed. Matt Forte did have a nice night with 74 rushing yards, 15 receiving and a touchdown. Earl Bennett had six catches for 89 yards. There was one item to note, though - Kahlil Bellhas passed Chester Taylor on the depth chart and could make for a nice handcuff if Marion Barber is sidelined for long.
For the Titans, Jamie Harper started and scored a touchdown. He finished with just 36 yards on 13 carries. Nate Washington had 66 yards on four catches, reminding us that someone in your league will pick him up, just don’t let it be you. Matt Hasselbeck has looked efficient throughout the preseason, but this team is obviously going to struggle without Chris Johnson.
Broncos 23, Seahawks 20
The Seahawks proved that alternating series with bad quarterbacks can still make them both look terrible. To his credit,Tarvaris Jackson did have a touchdown pass, but he still looks tentative in the pocket. If I own Sidney Rice, I’m getting pretty worried – he finished with just 11 yards on two catches. This year may be simply a year for him to learn the offense and get back to 100% health, hoping for a quarterback change next season.
For the Broncos, their running game looks solid. Knowshon Moreno had 47 yards on ten carries, but again had a touchdown vultured by Willis McGahee. He’s going to churn out a lot of yards this season, but expecting more than five or six scores may be asking too much. Tim Tebow played over Brady Quinn and led the Broncos to the win, going six-for-11 for 93 yards and adding another 25 yards on the ground.
Chargers 34, Cardinals 31
The Chargers offense looked to be in mid-season form with Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates andVincent Jackson all contributing in the first half. It won’t be surprising if they lead the league in offense again this season.
For the Cardinals, Chris Wells looked good with 63 yards on ten carries – he’s primed for a big season if he can stay healthy and motivated. Kevin Kolb again looked average, but Larry Fitzgerald owners have to be happy since he’s just going to force feed him the ball on every possession. Fitzgerald finished the night with 108 yards on just three catches, including an 80-yard touchdown.
Rams 14, Chiefs 10
Steven Jackson looks fresh so far, rushing for 72 yards on just 15 carries. Cadillac Williams has actually looked capable as well, as he gained 53 yards on 12 carries. The evolution of Sam Bradford continues, though you have to really wonder if this receiving corps isn’t going to stunt his growth a little. It looks like Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibsonand Danny Amendola are the team’s top three. That may leave Danario Alexander, Donnie Avery, Mardy Gilyard, Austin Pettis and Greg Salas fighting for either two or three spots. Meanwhile, Lance Kendricks looks to be a serious dynasty treasure – he caught yet another touchdown in the game.
Packers 24, Colts 21
Aaron Rodgers was surgical yet again, going 19-for-23 for 204 yards and one touchdown in one half of football. The bad news is the offensive line is getting him hit far too often – that needs to clean up or A-Rod is going to be facing another concussion. Ryan Grant started yet again and looked somewhat pedestrian, gaining 16 yards on six carries. James Starks had his own issues in pass protection, but did gain 38 yards on five catches. He looks like the better back thus far, but this is a timeshare through and through. Jermichael Finley continues to show he’s back to full strength with a touchdown and 41 yards on just four catches. He did tweak his ankle, but it’s nothing serious.
The Colts are still in serious trouble if Peyton Manning can’t play in the opener, but at least Curtis Painter showed enough life to make the team. He still gets an itchy trigger finger when pressure comes, but he did go 11-for-21 for 171 yards and two scores. The running back situation seems to be settled here as well. Addai is the clear starter and he’ll be backed up by a combination of the underwhelming Donald Brown and Delone Carter. Darren Evans and Chad Spann look to both be practice squad material at this point unless the Colts keep four running backs or release Brown, which are both unlikely.
Ravens 34, Redskins 31
John Beck and Rex Grossman are still battling in the worst quarterback competition of all time. You have to give some respect here, though. They’ve both looked pretty good as of late. Nobody really separated themselves this week, but the Shanahans seem to be sold on Beck. Tim Hightower is looking the part of a RB2 at this point as he gained 56 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. I’d be selling him if I owned him, knowing how fast of a hook Shanahan has at that position, combined with Hightower’s tendency to fumble. If I could get RB3 value, I’d probably take it. Roy Helu looks to be a nice future option for Washington. His recent performance will likely push Evan Royster to the practice squad. Terrence Austin is a name to keep in mind – he may have made the team with a 5 catch, 71 yard night that featured a touchdown reception.
For Baltimore, Lee Evans continues to look like the player they needed to open up that offense. He’s freed up Anquan Boldin by taking deep attention from the safeties. Evans finished with 60 yards and a touchdown, while Boldin finished with 73 yards and a score of his own. Ray Rice looks primed to return to his 2009 form as he finished with 84 total yards and a touchdown in just one half. Props to Tyrod Taylor who has likely made this team as the backup to Joe Flacco. The former Virginia Tech hero has played well in every preseason game thus far and looks to have the athleticism and intelligence to be successful if ever given the chance.
Bengals 24, Panthers 13
Andy Dalton finally showed some life, going 11-for-17 for 130 yards and one touchdown. That should give him the boost he needs to hold off Bruce Gradkowski. Cedric Benson looks primed for a 300 carry season, but I have my doubts he’ll hold up all year. AJ Green looks like he has elite talent, as indicated by his 40 yard touchdown grab – it’s just going to be tough to rely on him in this youthful offense. The best thing for him would honestly be to have somewhat of a redshirt year production wise and have the Bengals position themselves for Andrew Luck.
Cam Newton looks nowhere ready to start for Carolina after going 6-for-19 for 75 yards. He did add 49 rushing yards and a score, but his inaccuracy is going to hurt the season of Steve Smith. The Panthers have gone too far down the road to make Jimmy Clausen the starter, but it’s probably the right thing to do. It certainly looks like this offense will revolve around DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Greg Olsen.
Eagles 24, Browns 14
Colt McCoy came back to earth, going 9-for-18 for just 89 yards and one interception. He’d been so good that we probably should have expected a little bit of a dropoff. There’s still little doubt he’ll be a much better quarterback in reality and fantasy this season. Montario Hardesty played and looked ordinary, gaining 15 yards on five carries. Peyton Hillis is going to get a monster workload this season. Greg Little has already moved into the starting lineup, giving himself an opportunity for an early career breakout.
Michael Vick still doesn’t look the same. The Eagles offensive line needs to improve quickly because he’s getting uncomfortable in the pocket. LeSean McCoy had a nice game with seven catches in just one half – he’s going to be a PPR nightmare this year.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK