Even with a handful of Week 1 2012 NFL Preseason games to go, a lot of key fantasy football players are currently in the news;
Trent Richardson has undergone knee surgery, Ryan Mathews has a broken clavicle, and Cedric Benson has signed with the Packers.
Find out how all this evolving information affects fantasy football draft preparation!
Is Trent Richardson’s knee surgery an issue?
Trent Richardson, due to his recent knee scope, has been falling quite a bit in fresh 2012 fantasy football mock drafts. Should fantasy owners be scared off by this new injury development? Sure, it’s only natural to worry about knee issues, especially for a rookie who now will have just that much more catching up to do… Still, even though some reaction is warranted, I’d caution anyone away from overreacting. He may, or may not, miss Week 1, but even if Richardson can make it back by Week 1, the Browns will likely ease him into action, so it could be a couple weeks before Richardson starts getting starter-type carries. If Richardson rushes back early, and the team throws him to the wolves, not only will Richardson likely hit a rookie wall come Week 10 or 11, he is quite a bit more susceptible to injury; easing the rookie into Weeks 1 and 2 is the right move for Cleveland. As for where to rank Richardson right now, he has only moved down to the No. 8 running back slot on our 2012 Fantasy Football Rankings, so clearly we still believe in the rookie on the year!
Will Ryan Mathews be a bust in 2012 after breaking his clavicle?
Ryan Mathews, who recently broke his clavicle, was initially expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but recent reports have suggested that the Chargers’ rusher will be out at least six weeks – We agree! In fact, it’s time to start calling Mathews what he is… a big-time risk given the value. His ADP has dropped significantly in a few early mock drafts we’ve seen, but in 2-3 weeks from now, Mathews will likely be a late second-round staple… honestly, that’s still way too high for my taste. My advice to fantasy owners this year is to pass on Mathews in upcoming 2012 fantasy football drafts, unless of course you can land him in steal territory, and I just don’t think that’s going to happen very often. My advice isn’t much different from the dynasty perspective; if you own Mathews, I’d recommend shopping him, but only after he gets back on the field and plays a few solid outings… don’t sell too low.
How much value will Cedric Benson have in Green Bay?
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that free agent running back Cedric Benson is in Green Bay and is set to sign with the Packers. Before anyone starts counting on Benson as anything more than flex-worthy, let’s keep in mind that Benson won’t likely just be handed the starting gig. We don’t like James Starks all that much at this point, but Benson is 29, so maybe the real player to watch in all of this is Brandon Saine (or Alex Green, although he is coming off ACL surgery, so his upside is kind of limited). If you have already drafted, and your league allows for add/drops, grab Benson, no question, just curb expectations a bit and let’s see how this plays out.
Other Early Preseason Notes
Doug Martin looked rather explosive in his preseason debut on Friday, rushing seven times for 21 yards and a score. While I don’t always put a lot of stock into preseason play, especially when a player doesn’t do much in a game, it’s nice to see some players in action. Martin looked quick, explosive, and I firmly believe he is as good as advertised. Even though Trent Richardson remains locked into our top 6RBs for the future, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Martin finish as the top fantasy football rookie rusher in 2012. For more on this, check out our Upside Board, which talks about Martin.
David Wilson had a nice preseason debut on Friday, running the ball seven times for 43 yards; keep an eye on Wilson, he could have a big role in that Giants’ offense by mid-season!
Jamaal Charles, despite returning from ACL surgery, looked solid in his preseason debut; he rushed three times for 12 yards and pulled in one pass for 11 yards. That said, read our recent “Don’t Tear Your ACL After 23 Years Of Age” before you invest in Charles in 2012 fantasy football drafts!
Tim Tebow threw an interception during his debut on Friday, but he was 4-of-8 for 27 yards and ran the ball four times for 34 yards. We project Tebow to steal the starting job away from Mark Sanchez rather quickly. For more on Tebow heading into 2012, and why we have him pegged as a nice sleeper/value grab, read here.
Bilal Powell could be a nice sleeper grab before we head deep into the rest of the 2012 NFL Preseason, as Shonn Greene continues to lack explosiveness heading into yet another season; Greene had just 11 yards on five carries during his preseason opener against the Bengals.