It’s the most important week of the preseason (if there really is such a thing) as teams typically treat this weekend as a dress rehearsal of sorts. For dynasty enthusiasts, this promises us our most extended look at our shiny new rookies and veterans who have changed places in the off-season. As always, we’ll be updating the action each day and giving you our takeaways to keep you as informed as humanly possible. We complete our coverage with a look at Sunday’s action.
Houston at New Orleans
A lot of nothing to really report in Houston outside of a rookie receiver.
At quarterback, Brian Hoyer has already been named the week one starter and both he and Ryan Mallett looked fair at best. Drew Brees could struggle this year missing both Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham, but something tells me he’ll still be a top eight passer nonetheless. I was interested to see rookie quarterback Garrett Grayson today and he looked relatively comfortable in the pocket but completed fewer than 50% of his passes.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
In the running game, none of Houston’s backs had much luck on the day, although presumed starter Alfred Blue did have a short touchdown dive. Chris Polk carried the ball 11 times but could only muster 22 yards. For the Saints, Edwin Baker broke out for a 45-yard touchdown run on one of his two carries while Marcus Murphy churned out 43 yards on eight carries. The return of Tim Hightower was good to see and he ran for 24 yards on six carries. Mark Ingram played, but only carried the ball four times for 13 yards in limited action.
Not a lot of clarity from today’s game as far as depth chart receivers go, but Jaelen Strong did find the end zone again on one of his five receptions. He notched 40 yards on the day leading all Texans receivers. For the Saints, Marcus Murphy led all receivers as a running back, pulling in all three of his targets for 67 yards. The rookie runner may have turned heads with his performance. He’s undersized at 5’9″ and 195 pounds but showed he’s got speed to the outside and decent hands. Brandon Coleman, the Saints’ presumed WR3, caught one of three targets for 27 yards while Willie Snead saw a team high six targets, collecting four of them for 56 yards.
Arizona at Oakland
A somewhat entertaining game to end the week.
Both starters struggled on the day, but Oakland’s Derek Carr did find a rhythm later while Carson Palmer looked altogether terrible. It wasn’t Palmer’s fault as Oakland’s defensive unit was pressuring him at every turn. Khalil Mack was a defensive standout, sacking Palmer twice. Palmer would endure one additional sack as well while completing only eight of 22 passes for 103 yards and two interceptions. The Arizona offensive line looked porous and overmatched. Derek Carr, for his part, passed for 213 yards and a single interception. Neither slinger will be pressured on the depth chart.
Much like Palmer’s difficult night under center, the running backs shared in the misery. Andre Ellington averaged a meager 2.1 yards per carry on nine rushes. Kerwynn Williams did rush for 16 yards on four carries but Arizona just couldn’t consistently move the ball on the ground. David Johnson was arguably the standout. While he ran for -2 yards on four carries, he did secure four receptions, totaling 40 yards and a touchdown. He looks to be a force out of the backfield in the passing game. The aforementioned Williams reeled in two receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown of his own. For Oakland, we have a Trent Richardson sighting. He’s said to be on the roster bubble and he responded with 19 yards on five carries, although 15 of them did come on a single carry. No other back stood out for the Raiders, including Roy Helu who rushed for just eight yards on four carries. Again, I was interested to see if rookie Michael Dyer would be get touches, but in the end, he received only two which he turned into -3 yards. Even starter Latavius Murray could only muster one yard on seven carries. It was a poor effort on the ground by both teams. As for Oakland’s RB2, it’s anyone’s guess, but I don’t believe Richardson will make it through final cuts.
There’s not a lot of mystery with the Cardinals’ receivers until you start looking at the WR4. Look for Jaron Brown to once again hold that honor even though he had no receptions in this game. The Cardinals are badly in need of tight end production and rookie Ifeanyi Momah did provide a spark catching three passes on four targets for 61 yards. For the Raiders, Amari Cooper was targeted often (nine times to be exact), but could only secure four for a total of 62 yards. He should easily lead Oakland in targets in 2015. Kenbrell Thompkins and Rod Streater both saw a volume of targets as well, with six and seven respectively. Thompkins would only reel in one on the day while Streater secured three. It would seem tight end Mychael Rivera will keep his TE1 role, at least early in the year. While there has been no official word, nothing has been shown to make me feel otherwise. On the day, he saw four targets, catching three of them for 42 yards.
Hope you’re getting excited for the start of the season. It’s just around the corner!
Follow me on Twitter: @DLF_Jeff
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff