Meaningful or meaningless? Starts, per usual, played only sparingly in the opening act of the Preseason, but several newcomers made statements, others underwhelmed in brief action. Below, Yahoo fanalysts Brad Evans and Liz Loza discuss guys moving up and down their cheat sheets.
The loudest BOOM from Preseason Week 3 came from ________.
Brad – CARLOS HYDE. Though the Niners offensive line has far more unanswered questions, the difference between Hyde and Jordan Howard isn’t substantial. Both play on likely basement dwellers. Both are tremendous pure running talents. Both are destined to face numerous negative game scripts. Both are unfairly dissed.
Once believed to be an ill-fit for Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone scheme, Hyde is an indisputable workhorse out West. The perennial Rodney Dangerfield All-Star sealed the deal on lead duties with a 7-19-0, 3-45-1 outing against the Minnesota Vikings. His shake and bake, underrated power and tacky hands deserve more love. He finished No. 3 in yards after contact per game, No. 7 in total evaded tackles and No. 9 in catch percentage in 2016. The dude can do it all. Essentially locked into at least a 75 percent opportunity share, Hyde, despite the appendage concerns, is grossly undervalued at his 44.8 ADP (RB19). It’s no hallucination he finishes near 1,400 total yards with 7-9 TDs.
Liz – DEVANTE PARKER. Upon Jay Cutler’s move to Miami, I was slow to immediately crown Parker. After two preseason efforts, however, I’m sold on the duo’s connection. The chemistry between this tandem became evident in the second week of the preseason when Parker was targeted four times during his new QB’s debut. On Thursday night the bromance continued to swell, culminating with a dime from Cutty followed by a catch-and-run by Parker for 72 yards.
The 34-year-old QB later likened Parker to Alshon Jeffery, who he force-fed while in Chicago. Unafraid to fire his cannon and let the explosive 24-year-old win 50/50s, Cutler appears to be the signal caller needed to unlock Parker’s big-play ability. With a current ADP of 70.8 (WR32), Parker is, at least for the moment, underpriced. A post-hype poster-boy, Parker possesses top-twenty-five potential. Expect his price tag to soar stat. FF: 80-1,120-8
Conversely, the biggest bust of Preseason Week 2 was ______.
Brad – ADRIAN PETERSON. Pumped up by Drew Brees, the Saints coaching staff and any gullible fantasy owner throughout the summer, Peterson didn’t exactly deliver earth-shattering results in his Preseason debut. Displaying the athleticism and lateral agility of a Bourbon Street drunkard, he circumvented few defenders and largely sloughed between the tackles. In the end, he compiled a ghastly 14 yards on seven touches. For those non-Mathletes in attendance, that’s 2.0 yards per touch. Gag me with a spoon.
To be fair, Mark Ingram wasn’t much better (4-9-0, 2-11-0), but he remains the Saints’ superior option, a player likely to garner at least 13-14 touches per game. Remember last season, the undervalued RB tallied a 79.3 catch percentage and ranked inside the position’s top-15 in total breakaway runs (15-plus yards) and evaded tackles. He was also effective at the goal-line.
Yes, it was Peterson’s first game action this season and the situation is ripe to produce — New Orleans was THE most efficient run-blocking unit in the league in 2016 — but it’s important to not underestimate his advanced age and high odometer reading. Without a shred of doubt, I believe he’s the second fiddle on the Bayou. Thoughts of an RB top-30 campaign is pushing it.
Liz – TYROD TAYLOR. From Buffalo’s infatuation with Nathan Peterman to Sammy Watkins’ exit from Orchard Park, things seemed over for Taylor before they even began. Suffering a concussion on Saturday night was just another nail in his fantasy coffin. Flailing throughout the preseason, the mobile QB failed to score a single touchdown and posted a paltry 3.4 YPA. Touted by some as a QB2 in deeper formats, Taylor may not finish out the year as the team’s starter. He’s outside my top-twenty players at the position.
Mining for gold, the one deep name who shined on screen was ______.
Liz – CHRIS GODWIN. A rookie who’s been compared to everyone from Allen Robinson to Roddy White, Godwin knows when to turn it on. From balling out at the Rosebowl to acing the Underwear Olympics, the Penn State product was one of the buzziest names heading into last April’s draft. After being selected by Tampa Bay in the third round, however, things quieted.
Buried on a depth chart brimming with talent it’s unlikely Godwin will make an immediate impact. But with Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both skipping Saturday’s preseason action, the 21-year-old led all receivers with four grabs for 56 yards (in the pouring rain). He was also second in team targets (5) just behind Cameron Brate (6). A versatile receiver with sticky hands, Godwin has the skills to step-in were the injury imp to hit the Buccs’ corps. Keep an eye on the tyro.
Brad – ARDARIUS STEWART. Someone on the Jets has to catch the ball, right?! With holes already dug halfway to China, New York could crank out a viable bench/FLEX receiving option, or two, in 12-team leagues. Robby Anderson is the most likely candidate, but Stewart is also worth entertaining.
Off a 5-82-2 performance against the Giants, Stewart is starting to turn heads. Ultra competitive, physical and tough to corral (Gained 70% of yards after the catch with ‘Bama last year), he plays much bigger than his 5-foot-11, 204-pound frame may indicate. If lined up mostly against Buffalo rookie Tre’Davious White Week 1, Stewart has fast-start potential.