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As we end our preseason analysis and start to transition to Week 1, we start looking really hard for the diamond in the rough we may have missed. We’ve been telling you about sleepers, breakouts and busts for two months now, but we’re still digging for one last gem to unearth. This past week has given us several possibilities — some rookies, some vets who have never put it all together. Will any of them make an actual difference this season?
Dak Prescott is a perfectly adequate replacement for Tony Romo .
When Tony Romo’s latest injury was announced we immediately had to scramble to determine the impact on the value of Dez Bryant and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys offense. Prescott doesn’t have to be Romo for the rest of the offense to maintain it’s value, but he can’t be awful either.
The general consensus seems to be that he won’t be awful. The evidence is in his preseason performance. Prescott’s 454 passing yards leads the NFL this preseason. He’s done it with remarkable efficiency, completing 78 percent of his passes at a clip of 9.1 Y/A. That doesn’t guarantee that Prescott will be good in the regular season, but it should ease concerns about him being awful.
Verdict: Don’t believe it. I’m not saying Prescott will definitely be bad, but I’m saying we don’t know yet. His numbers resemble the preseason numbers of many good quarterbacks over the past five years. They’re also not that far from numbers posted by EJ Manuel , Sam Bradford and Drew Stanton just to name a few.
That uncertainty is what has caused me to lower Dez Bryant in my rankings and refuse the urge to drop a player I drafted for Dak Prescott. I still see Bryant as a borderline No. 1 WR, but I can’t draft him in the first round. As for Prescott’s value, I think Robert Griffin III is a good indicator. If Griffin is on your waiver wire, Prescott should be too.
T.J. Yeldon is actually the running back to own in Jacksonville.
|RUSH YDS: 740||REC: 36||REC YDS: 279||TOTAL TD: 3|
When the Jacksonville Jaguars added Chris Ivory in the offseason, there were a couple of assumptions most of us made. The Jaguars didn’t see Yeldon as their back of the future and Ivory would be the best back to own because he would score all of the touchdowns. The results through the preseason seem to suggest otherwise.
While Ivory has seen more snaps in the red zone, he has not gotten anywhere near 100 percent of the touches. Yeldon has also seen more snaps and been more effective in the passing game. Considering Yeldon is still the cheaper back to acquire in this offense, I think it’s pretty clear that Yeldon is the better back to own.
Verdict: Believe it. It looks more and more like Ivory was brought in to keep Yeldon fresh and not to completely supplant him. I could still see an argument that Ivory will be more valuable because of touchdowns, but that would assume that the Jaguars are going to have a lot more success running the ball in the red zone than they did last season.
I’d project Ivory to score 3-4 more times that Yeldon this year, but Yeldon should have more receptions and more total yards. In a situation where I expect playing time to be pretty close to equal, I’d much rather bet on yardage than touchdowns, which can be fickle.
Will Fuller will give the Houston Texans a viable option on the other side of the field.
The Texans’ addition of the Lamar Miller in the offseason meant they were left wanting for just one more weapon for Brock Osweiler . That was the starting wide receiver opposite DeAndre Hopkins . The way Will Fuller has played in the preseason, you may think they’ve found it.
Fuller has caught three passes of more than 20 yards and it looks like there are very few corners who will be able to match his speed. With DeAndre Hopkins on the other side, you can’t send safety help that direction either. Fuller could have a season similar to Ted Ginn ‘s last year where he’s a boom or bust No. 3 WR who can win you a week if you start him at the right time.
Verdict: Don’t believe it. I used the Ted Ginn comp for a reason. It took him nine years in the league to top five touchdowns and that was only the second time he reached 700 yards. If you look for the reasons Ginn struggled, you’ll see a list of things to worry about with Fuller.
Quarterback play and hands are the first two things that stick out. Ginn was catching passes from Cam Newton last year, which helped mightily, but he still struggled with drops as Fuller has in the preseason. Ginn also had the luxury of not much competition for targets outside, which will not be the case for Fuller.
I do see Fuller as boom or bust. He’s just going to bust far more often than he booms. He’s a third option in a run-first offense with a below average quarterback and below average hands. This is not the sleeper you’re looking for.
Kenny Stills is the best value in Miami.
|REC: 27||YDS: 440||TD: 3|
Stills has clearly earned a spot ahead of DeVante Parker , especially as Parker works through another injury. Stills is a veteran who has primarily been used as a deep threat but now looks like he may be in a position to be the No. 2 target in Miami. At his ADP, that’s the best value in the Miami Dolphins passing game.
Verdict: Believe it. If only because Stills’ ADP is almost non-existent. Parker’s value has plummeted and I’m only interested in Jarvis Landry in a PPR league. To be clear, I don’t like the odds of Stills or Parker finishing as a top 30 wide receiver, but Stills has the better chance than Parker, and he’s far cheaper.
Virgil Green could be a surprise No. 1 TE.
Denver’s young quarterbacks seem to be fond of the tight end position, and there should be plenty of room over the middle with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders outside. While Green will likely be touchdown dependent, the same goes for most any tight end you’re drafting outside of the top 10. Green’s worth a chance at the end of the draft on the off chance he finally lives up to his potential.
Verdict: Don’t believe it. We all agree that Thomas is a No. 1 WR and Sanders is a borderline top 30 option. Bad quarterbacks don’t produce two top 30 wide receivers and a top 15 tight end very often. The only way Green becomes a reliable option is if one of the Denver Broncos two wide receivers gets hurt and Green has an extremely fortunate year in terms of touchdowns.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Believe It or Not 5.0: Sleepers flying up rankings