Now that we’ve gotten through three preseason games, it’s time to set our sights on the real thing. The final preseason game doesn’t mean a whole lot, so we have a pretty good read on players at this point.
I thought I would take a look at some players that will likely be on the waiver wire in a majority of leagues as the season kicks off. These are guys that have made an impact this preseason but aren’t sure-fire fantasy contributors right now, so they’re still out there for the picking.
We all know there will be another LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Lloyd, so it’s never too early to try and identify them. I’ll be back with the Feeding Frenzy after Week 1 when we really get into the meat of the waiver wire process but for now here a few names to keep an eye on:
John Beck, QB, Washington – Sometimes we need to change our preconceived notions of a player or a situation. I’m not quite ready to call Beck an elite fantasy quarterback but he should be on your radar after a strong preseason.
Coach Mike Shanahan says he won’t name a starter until right before gametime against the New York Giants but it would be an upset if the strong-armed Beck didn’t get the nod.
Speaking in fantasy terms, the Redskins have some nice skill players. Guys like Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Chris Cooley, Fred Davis and Tim Hightower could all have strong fantasy seasons if Beck brings stability to the quarterback position. Moss, in particular, could be a draft day steal if he finally has a quarterback that can deliver him the ball on a consistent basis.
Obviously you already have or will draft a quarterback that is rated higher than Beck, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have value. Remember, people weren’t expecting much from Kyle Orton last year either. Watch Beck early in the season and see how he performs. He could end up being a valuable fantasy backup.
Most Likely Scenario: Beck is named the starter and has a decent fantasy season. Look for him to put up numbers similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick last year, making him a nice second quarterback in most leagues.
The rookie out of Clemson has been impressive in both training camp and preseason games so far. The problem with Harper is if Ringer is healthy enough to play in Week 1, he’ll likely get a majority of the carries between the 20s, with the bigger Harper handling more of the short yardage work.
According to Flea Flicker, Harper is only owned in 3 percent of fantasy leagues right now. If you own Johnson and Ringer isn’t available in your league, it makes sense to grab Harper at this point.
Most Likely Scenario: Johnson misses the first game or two and Harper becomes the Titans’ short-yardage back. Once Johnson returns, Harper’s fantasy value will start to diminish unless Ringer continues to be dinged up.
McFadden is the unquestioned No. 1 back in Oakland right now. Coach Hue Jackson and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders plan on using McFadden a lot this year. Michael Bush will also get his share of carries and would take over the lead back role should McFadden go down.
However, Bush isn’t the same kind of player as McFadden. Jones, on the other hand, can do a lot of the same things McFadden does in the Oakland offense. That’s why the Raiders drafted Jones. McFadden has dealt with injuries in the past, and should that happen again this season, Jones will have fantasy value.
Bush is a solid back in his own right and he’ll get most of the carries and scoring opportunities. Where Jones would be a factor is in the passing game. With Jones’ blazing speed and ability to catch the ball, expect the Raiders coaching staff to try and get Jones out in space like they do with McFadden.
Again, Jones isn’t worthy of a roster spot right now but if McFadden goes down, he should be a hot waiver wire pickup.
Most Likely Scenario: Jones contributes more on special teams as a rookie. If McFadden is injured, Jones will have value in points per reception leagues as he takes over as the primary receiver out of the backfield.