Preseason Stock Watch Part 2

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The preseason dress rehearsals are in the books.  Let’s take a look at how the Week 3 action is going to affect player values in your football drafts.  If you have already drafted this will be an opportunity to fine tune your roster before the season starts.  In case you missed it, be sure to check out the Preseason Stock Watch Part 1.

Stock Up

Christine Michael
Here we go again.  Another week without Thomas Rawls meant another week where Christine Michael got his.  Michael will continue to see work in Seattle’s run-friendly offense even once Rawls returns.  Although Michael’s stock has climbed steadily all preseason it is important to keep his performances in perspective as now there is a danger of overpaying.  Keep in mind that while his preseason has been impressive he is playing against vanilla defenses and Rawls will, in fact, return at some point and C.J. Prosise figures to take the passing down work.

Tajae Sharpe
If you didn’t add the rookie Sharpe to your roster last week, please open up another window, or bring up your fantasy football app of choice and check your league’s waiver wire.  Tajae Sharpe looked impressive again in Week 3.  Although he lacks elite speed he still had an impressive catch and run for a 60-yard gain.  This kid is the real deal and looks to be the Victor Cruz of this preseason.  Even in this run-first offense, the Titans will have to throw the ball eventually and I haven’t seen anything from the veteran WRs on this team that would make me think that Sharpe won’t get plenty of opportunities.

Mike Wallace
I cannot believe that I am about to endorse Mike Wallace but he actually looks like a good professional wide receiver.  Yeah I know, it is gross.  But the veteran WR was targeted by Joe Flacco 6 times and caught 3 of them for 37 yards.  Their miscues were due to miscommunications that you can expect from new teammates in the preseason.  We may be surprised by Wallace’s success in limited work, but Flacco certainly wasn’t.  For weeks Flacco has been raving about Wallace, proclaiming that he is going to be a “big hit”.  In a Marc Trestman offense that finished with the most pass attempts in the league last year, being Flacco’s primary WR means Wallace could be in store for big things.  He was going undrafted but is definitely worth at least a pick in the double digit rounds if the preseason success is to be believed.

Melvin Gordon
Last year Melvin Gordon disappointed the fantasy community by failing to deliver on the hype.  In fact, Gordon failed to score a single TD last year.  Going into his second season on a knee that has presumably been repaired, Gordon looks different.  He is running with more power and decisiveness than we saw last year.  Since many feel burned by Gordon’s poor first season, they have been hesitant to trust him this year.  However, Gordon has put together several impressive games this preseason, has scored twice and has been involved in the passing game. Additionally, backup RB Branden Oliver has suffered an Achilles injury, meaning that Gordon will dominate the between the tackles work for San Diego. Listed as a breakout candidate in the Ultimate Draft Kit, make sure you get your hands on some shares of Melvin Gordon before others in your league catch on.

Kenneth Dixon
Dixon looked great in this game against Detroit, seeing work ahead of Buck Allen and Terrence West, with the first team offense.  He gained 50 yards on his 7 touches and even got a carry on the goal li- … oh! Oh no…

Stock Down

Kenneth Dixon (continued)
Sadly, on Dixon’s goal line carry his leg was rolled up on and he sustained an MCL injury that is expected to sideline the rookie 4 weeks.  This will put a serious damper on the value of the talented rookie.  The Ravens have plenty of other options at RB though, so while Dixon looks to be done, for the time being, you may still be able to find value in Allen or West.

Latavius Murray
The Oakland Raiders just don’t like Latavius Murray.  Last year he was repeatedly benched in the second half of games but still managed a massive workload because the Raiders simply didn’t have any other options behind him on the depth chart.  In Week 3, Murray started the game, but when the offense moved the ball inside the 10-yard line he was pulled for FB Jamize Olawale who got two unproductive carries. Then instead of going back to Murray, the Raiders went with Deandre Washington who was able to punch it in.  The Raiders’ treatment of Murray is puzzling at best.  If you were banking on Murray based on his status as a bell cow back you may want to lower your expectations.

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Frank Gore
Similar to Latavius Murray, Gore’s fantasy value has been more closely tied to his role in the offense than it was his game-breaking skills.  The aging back just doesn’t appear to have “it” anymore.  This preseason Gore has managed just 11 yards on his 5 touches.  I may be making the same mistake of counting Gore out as many fantasy players have done for years, but it isn’t just Gore’s tape that makes me nervous for his value this season.  The Colts offensive line is a disaster, as a unit, they seem incapable of pass protecting, and unwilling to run block.  In combination with an aging back, this poor offensive line play means Gore is in for a rough season.  Additionally, the Colts made headlines by making the mediocre veteran signing of the week on Sunday as they added RB Stevan Ridley.  While Ridley does not figure to have any standalone fantasy value, it is possible that he grabs a few goal line carries and vultures a couple TDs on the season.

DeVante Parker
The hype this offseason has been for Parker to have a breakout season as the “X” WR in Adam Gase’s offense.  However, this preseason has shown that perhaps Parker isn’t quite ready to take on this role.  Of his 8 targets this preseason, Parker has only managed to catch 4 of them for a total of 24 yards.  His yards per reception has been lower than that of Jarvis Landry, and that’s saying something.  What’s worse is that Kenny Stills has emerged as the downfield threat in this offense.  Stills’ stat line of 8 receptions for 124 yards and 2 TDs is what many people expected to see from DeVante Parker.  Parker is still the WR of the future for Miami, but it might not be this year.  I would be hesitant to draft him at his current 7th round price.

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