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Week 1 – On Second Thought…

As I watched the end of the Seattle Seahawks-Oakland Raiders game last Thursday and thus the end of preseason, I can honestly say that I’m glad I am not an NFL head coach right now. Though most of us think we would love to have that job, there are some times that those guys really earn their money. The end of preseason is one of those times.

The decision to cut 22 guys off your team that you have grown close to and that have shed blood, sweat and tears for you has got to be one of the worst days of the season every year for any head coach. On the other hand, they also undoubtedly had some easy decisions. Some players look so good and fit into the given system so well that the only decision that needs to be made is how many of their jerseys to put into the team stores.

As fantasy owners, we have some last minute decisions to make as well, whether you still have your draft coming up or you are checking out the waiver wire for some last minute lightning in a bottle, I, like you, still have questions. So I took a second look at five different Week 3 preseason games, you know, the week that matters. As I started watching the film on these 10 teams, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about them. Well, on second thought …

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans

I thought the
Steven Jackson
hype was just that, hype. I thought he was getting up there in age and mileage. As far as
Chris Johnson
goes, I thought that this year was going to be the return of Johnson. I now believe I was wrong on both of those. Though Jackson is three years older and considerably slower than Johnson, he consistently hit the hole harder and faster.

It is also very obvious that the Falcons have no problem keeping him in on third downs. As long as Jackson’s mileage does not end up equating into an injury, he is going to have one of the best years of his career. Johnson, however, is looking at another year of games where he disappears one week and then flashes his brilliance the next. Been there, done that. I’d rather go with Jackson.

Other relevant fantasy tidbits from the game film included:

Matt Ryan
Julio Jones
seem to be in mid-season form already.

Matt Ryan
also has reunited seamlessly with his release valve
Tony Gonzalez
. It’s almost like he never retired. Oh wait …

– For what it’s worth, the Tennessee defense looks really sharp.

– Surprisingly enough,
Jake Locker
looks as good as I’ve seen him since he was running all around the Pac-12 in purple and gold. I also forgot how great of a scrambler he is. If he turns out to be fantasy relevant at all it will be in no small part due to his legs, which equals yardage and touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings

I spent all summer watching the roster moves of these two teams such as
Greg Jennings
to the Vikings and
Anquan Boldin
to the 49ers with great interest. I had talked myself into targeting players such as the aforementioned as well as
Colin Kaepernick
, Frank Gore,
Vernon Davis
and others. I now believe I was wrong about that as well.

With the exception of
Adrian Peterson
, who should go first in every draft no matter the format, I do not think there is one player on either of these two teams that will produce value at their current average draft position.

I am not saying that there aren’t good fantasy players on these two teams, I just believe that Kaepernick, Gore, Jennings, Boldin, Davis and all the others worth putting on your roster on these teams are going earlier in drafts than I would take them.

The Vikings will give Peterson the lion’s share of touches and the rest will have to be divvied up to the others by Christian Ponder. Sorry, I don’t trust that scenario at all.

As far as the 49ers go, Kaepernick has been a starting quarterback in less than half a full NFL season (seven regular season starts). Opposing defensive coordinators have had a full offseason to figure him out. He will have a sophomore slump and it will bring down the value of himself and those around him. Let the 49ers hate mail start.

Other relevant fantasy tidbits from the game film included:

– The 49ers defense looks outstanding but as I never take defenses early and suggest you do not either. In order to get this defense you will have to draft them in the single-digit rounds, which to my point exactly, is too early.

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