2010 second round pick Ben Tate has looked impressive thus far in the preseason. Tate has amassed 147 rushing yards on just twenty carries to go along with a touchdown.
Analysis: Houston’s top back Arian Foster tweaked his hamstring for the second time this preseason last night against the Niners. Hamstring injuries can linger and the fact that Ben Tate is only owned in thirty to forty percent of fantasy leagues is shocking. Tate is 220 pounds and has sub 4.4 speed, he’s the real deal. His season ending injury last year wasn’t even knee related, it was ankle ligaments. In addition to Foster’s hamstring “tweak” we also have to consider how many backs have come off of 393 touches and maintained their numbers the following season… very few. Foster is a top three or four back but he is not the number one back and the second hamstring injury in just a few weeks span is extremely concerning. Ben Tate may just be a depth back right now but if Foster goes down you can expect RB2 numbers. I’d feel comfortable taking Tate as a top 45 back or before pick 135. Considering the lack of tail back talent to come out of college this year coupled with Tate’s hype completely gone from his injury last year, he certainly is a must own and you can get him on the cheap.
As good as Greg Jennings is, there is no way he puts up the same numbers he did last year. A 2010 line of 1,265 receiving yards and twelve touchdowns is impressive, however, he is not a top four fantasy wide out this year.
Analysis: Perhaps the biggest hit to Jennings’ fantasy value will be the return of stud tight end Jermichael Finley. Remember that Finley put up over 300 receiving yards in just four games last year, two of the games being of the one-hundred yard variety. Jennings isn’t a big target at just 5’11” and the 6’5″ Finley will snag his fair share of red zone targets in 2011. We also have to consider that Ryan Grant was going into last year as a back-to-back 1,200 yard rusher. The Ryan Grant/James Starks ground combo will play a huge role in the Green Bay offense. With these key additions another 1,200 yard/twelve touchdown year for Jennings seems highly unlikely. In many drafts nationwide Jennings is being taken before Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Both Johnson and Fitzgerald will dominate in the red zone for their teams especially with improved quarterback play from a healthy Stafford and Kolb.
Jennings is a top six or seven wide out but he isn’t elite as many experts would have you to believe.
With rookie quarterback Andy Dalton at the helm of the Cincy offense, AJ Green’s 2011 season has disappointment written all over it.
Analysis: AJ Green’s ADP has been in the 87-97 range as about the 32nd wide out being taken off the board. Last year wide outs in standard leagues had to put up about 750 yards with six scores just to be a top 30-35 wide out. At Green’s ADP does he offer any upside? Well, with Andy Dalton at quarterback- absolutely not. Dalton thus far in the preseason is 19-34 with three picks and zero touchdowns. He has a quarterback rating of 30.9 and is also averaging just 4.6 yards per pass attempt. To put it in perspective, Jimmy Clausen averaged 5.2 yards per attempt last year. Andy Dalton would have to play some pretty special football to give AJ Green the numbers to make his draft position worthwhile. Wide outs like Mike Thomas, Mike Walker and Malcom Floyd make the most sense at this point in a draft and can be had a bit later on in most cases. Do not trust any Bengal receiver or tight end until Andy Dalton proves otherwise. Green is a great talent and will one day become a WR1 in all formats, however, this year he offers no upside at all.
With rookie running back Ryan Williams potentially out for the season with a right knee injury it’s time to assess Beanie Wells’ fantasy value.
Analysis: With Tim Hightower now on the Redskins roster and Ryan Williams potentially gone for the season, Beanie Wells just may put up RB2 numbers this year. Still, it’s hard to trust Wells considering his dismal 3.4 yards per carry average last year on just 116 carries. Wells has not carried the ball 200 times in a season in his young career and he offers next to nothing in the reception department for PPR leagues. However, there is not a back nearly as talented as Wells on the roster and a potential 1,000 rushing yard season is likely. Considering there is a threat of an air attack this year in Arizona, there will not be eight men in the box as much as there was last year for their offense. Beanie will also have a monopoly on the goal line carries and that could mean a double digit touchdown season. It’s hard to trust Beanie at this point but if he can stay healthy he can put up RB2 numbers and you can get him at his respectable ADP in the 75-85 range.
Cedric Benson is being taken as the 25th back off the board in fantasy drafts but taking him as a borderline RB2/RB3 is a huge mistake.
Analysis: Cedric Benson fumbled the ball seven times last year, losing five of them- that’s not what you want from a “reliable” fantasy back. Benson also carried the ball 321 times last year yet his longest rush was only twenty-six yards. We also have to consider that in two of the last three years he’s avergaed just 3.5 yards per carry and he’s caught more than twenty balls just once in his career. At this point in his career it does not appear that Cedric Benson is improving in any facet of his game.
Rookie Andy Dalton will not keep that eighth man out of the box like Carson Palmer could and the slow Benson may have even more problems breaking off long runs. The problem with Benson is you do not want him as your RB2 but you’ll waste a pick drafting him early as your RB3. Consider BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Daniel Thomas at this point in your fantasy draft, certainly not Cedric Benson. Also, a back like CJ Spiller offers more upside fifty picks later.