Fantasy Football: Preseason Quick Hits

Bennett should be on your radar

– We implore you not to overlook Rams WR Drew Bennett. With a knee injury suffered last season still nagging him, formerly elite fantasy WR Torry Holt seems like a prime candidate to take a few steps down in production this year (which is a shame, because we’re fans). Isaac Bruce has looked fantastic in training camp, but turns 35 in November. Bennett is 6-5, has great hands, and is a legitimate WR3 on your fantasy roster even when Holt is active. If he’s out, the former Titans wideout is a fantastic WR3 and solid WR2, yet guys like Devin Hester, Ted Ginn Jr., and Amani Toomer are commonly taken ahead of him. That’s just silly.

– ETB has collectively completed six fantasy drafts at this point, and we’re still seeing people spend high mid-round picks on kickers and defenses. Don’t you make this mistake as well. Once again: after the Chicago, Baltimore, New England, and maybe San Diego D’s have come off the board, you’re better off either not drafting Defense until the last pick or not taking one at all. Despite preseason indications, there’s no way of knowing which team defenses are going to be the most fantasy friendly outside of The Big Three. You’re better off stocking up on running backs and wide receivers while you can, then adding, dropping, and plugging in defenses with favorable matchups during the season.

The same goes for kickers–anyone remember who the “stud” kicker was last year? Robbie Gould, who probably wasn’t targeted in many preseason drafts in ’06. And the year before that? Neil Rackers, who dropped off last season. The point is that, yes, Adam Vinatieri is a pretty sure thing and so are a few other guys, but there’s a good chance that a major points contributor will be waiting on waivers. And, at the end of the day, there’s very little that separates most kickers. Don’t waste one of your valuable mid-round picks on this position.

– He was a popular sleeper pick for your ETB friends last season, but then-Patriots rookie Chad Jackson never got on track as he battled a series of injuries. With Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker joining the WR battalion this season, it now looks like the team is playing it safe with Jackson and that we’ll have to wait another year to see if he can develop into a fantasy-relevant wideout.

– Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones will reportedly have his foot examined on Thursday to help determine whether or not the team should put him on the active roster or send him to the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Tom Kowalski has more on this developing story. If Jones isn’t ready to go for at least the first six weeks, Tatum Bell will get the “lion’s” share of carries and catches in the potentially explosive Lions offense.

Currently going in about the middle of the 11th round in Yahoo! drafts, Bell is an okay RB2 and great W/R play during Jones’ absence. Push him up your cheatsheet some and grab him anywhere after the 6th round; in ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza, he went 74th overall. As for Jones, he went one round later at 94th overall. It’s a bit of an investment, but anyone who takes Bell would be wise to draft KJ as well.


Kevin Jones has been removed from the PUP list and is now participating in team practice daily. He likely won’t play in week one, or be a factor in week two, but the removal from the PUP list likely means the Lions think Jones can contribute in weeks three through five. He’s worth making an offer for now, as he was a phenomenal RB3 and very strong RB2 in Mike Martz’s system when healthy last season.

– Clinton Portis has returned to the practice field. He’s still a major player on our Fantasy Football Pariahs list, however, and his backup, Ladell Betts, remains a running back we recommend targeting in the middle rounds. Book it: Betts will get more carries this season than Portis. And will notch more fantasy points.

The former LT backup might steal carries--or maybe the starting job--from Ronnie Brown

– Players we’ve become bullish on the past few weeks: WR Jerry Porter, QB J.P. Losman, WR Demetrius Williams, QB Alex Smith, WR Patrick Crayton, RB Jesse Chatman, WR Dwayne Bowe, RB LaMont Jordan, and WR Brandon Marshall (who Denver teammates have been calling “Baby T.O.” in camp, presumably because of his talent).

– There’s a few really painful (read: forced) attempts at humor throughout, but this analysis of a fantasy draft is probably still worth a read after the inevitable 1:30pm work boredom sets in.

– Potential rookie RB fantasy stallion Brandon Jackson gave owners (like me) a scare earlier this week when he suffered a mild concussion, but his chances of starting the team’s season opener have improved. That’s great news as we think at least one TD could be in the offing at home against Philadelphia.

– Keep your eye on second-year Eagles WR Jason Avant, who will start the season third on the depth chart behind Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. He’s got a lot of talent and has had an impressive camp, and could make some noise if either guy goes down and McNabb stays healthy.

This is one of the biggest reasons why Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson is climbing his way up just about everybody’s draft board. There’s certainly reason to be excited, but temper your enthusiasm some as Chester Taylor, for now, is still the starter and not exactly a pushover.

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