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Preseason Week 4: Monday Morning Takeaways

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Jacksonville 24, Atlanta 14

Jacksonville

Jacksonville was one of a number of teams who opened the game with its first string offense on the field, while playing into the second quarter. It’s worth recognizing that Blaine Gabbert spread the ball around to multiple players, but heavily targeted both Mike Thomas and Justin Blackmon. Blackmon is the receiver to own.

Rashad Jennings had a tough go with 11 carries for a meager 34 yards. With Maurice Jones-Drew’s prolonged absence [Editor's Note: MJD reported to camp on September 2nd], Jennings has serious value after being named the Week 1 starter, and beyond. Jalen Parmele filled in for Jennings ripping off a few big runs, adding a 14-yard touchdown.

Atlanta

Jacquizz Rodgers is one of a handful of players who has risen from the ashes to have serious fantasy relevance. Against Jacksonville, Rodgers took first-team reps, including a 5-yard touchdown run around the edge while breaking down the safety. Rodgers is a must handcuff to the fading Michael Turner, but also worth a late-round flier even if you don’t land Turner.

Detroit 38, Buffalo 32

Detroit

The Lions wanted to put their newest running back on full display, giving Mikel Leshoure 15 carries. Leshoure found it tough running as he was only able to muster 43 yards but did manage a short yardage touchdown after a Bills turnover down near the goal line.

I shouldn’t need to inform you that Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are really good, but I can’t help myself. The two connected for a 24-yard touchdown on the Lions’ opening drive. The Bills had excellent coverage on the play with two defenders blanketing Johnson, but that didn’t stop Stafford from throwing the pass, nor did they stop Johnson from catching the pass. Owners of both players are in store for another outstanding season.

Buffalo

C.J. Spiller kick started the Bills' opening drive by running between the tackles while gaining big yardage. Spiller also put on display the same elusive running style that landed him as a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Make sure to handcuff Spiller to Fred Jackson.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson finally got on the same page, connecting for a back of the endzone touchdown on a fade pattern. Johnson is being drafted as a high-end WR3, which is excellent value.

Green Bay 24, Kansas City 3

Green Bay

Oddly, the Packers opened this game with all their starters on the field as Aaron Rodgers threw a terrible interception negated by a Chiefs penalty. Over the three preseason games we have noticed the Packers offense has been inconsistent, but I’m not worried.

We should note that Cedric Benson took all the first-team carries but also left the game once the starters were pulled. This is a clear indication the Packers view Benson as the lead ball carrier entering the new season.

Kansas City

The Chiefs offense came out of the gate running, running and running some more. Peyton Hillis continues to take the first carry of the game, then giving way to Jamal Charles. Hillis nearly doubled Charles’ yards per carry in the game as the Chiefs backfield is certainly headed for a 50/50 time share. Hillis is the better value because he is a much later selection. My only concern with both players is the continued presence of third-stringer Shaun Draughn running with the first team offense. It is hard enough getting solid fantasy production in a two-headed running back by committee, as Draughn only adds to the confusion.

Washington 30, Tampa Bay 3

Washington

Last week we witnessed Alfred Morris put together an impressive 107-yard performance against the Indianapolis defense. In typical Mike Shanahan fashion, this week it was running back Evan Royster starting for the Redskins. Royster performed well including 44 yards and a short yardage plunge for a touchdown. Soon after, Roy Helu Jr. entered the game. Helu also ran with speed and conviction tearing through Tampa Bay’s third string defense for 90 yards and two touchdowns. At this point no Redskins running back should be trusted, in typical Shanahan fashion.

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers are one of a handful of teams who started their entire third-string offense. I couldn’t find one single tidbit of useful information to relay.



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