For NFL players the preseason is for getting timing down, getting rookies used to the team and getting into shape.
For fantasy owners, the preseason is a sneak peak at who will put fantasy teams on their shoulders and carry them to the promised land. Certain players showing us incredible upside are late round fliers so savvy owners are going to try and draft them a round or two early. But because you are reading the great advice at Top Fantasy Football, you are going to get a leg-up on the competition and find out where you should really be drafting certain preseason heroes.
We also need to watch for players who aren't performing up to expected levels or guys moving down on the depth chart. Those kind of players are guys we want to lower on our draft sheets. Some of them we should try and avoid completely.
Chris Henry has the upside of a WR2 but is available very late in the draft. Drafting him after pick 100 is just highway robbery.
JaMarcus Russell (ADP 149, TDP 150+)
Who else is being grabbed around pick 150+? Vernon Davis, Nate Burleson, Devery Henderson
JaMarcus was starting to get a little hype going this preseason, ya know? Chaz Schilens looked good in the first preseason game and Darius Heywood-Bey is a great talent for Russell to utilize. Russell was even a manageable 6-9 when he played against Dallas. Things were finally looking up for the Raiders.
Then Chaz Schilens had to go break his foot. One of Russell's better weapons might be out for a couple months and it might take him another month to recover 100% from the injury.
On top of everything, the former number 1 pick must compete against the feisty veteran Jeff Garcia. Garcia is probably one of the last QBs in the NFL to go down in this competition without a fight. If Garcia keeps performing well in camp, you might not see Russell on opening day.
Devin Hester (ADP 89, TDP 70)
Who else is being grabbed around pick 70? DeSean Jackson, Lee Evans, Anthony Gonzalez
Does Devin Hester qualify as a post-hype sleeper now? Just two years ago Hester was the most exciting player in football but since the 2006-07 season we have seen Hester struggle to transfer his skills to wide receiver.
The struggle ends this season.
I don't want to take anything away from Kyle Orton but Jay Cutler and his monstrous arm will finally turn Hester into a deep threat every play. Not only does Hester's speed make him such a threat to defenses but Cutler is going to target Hester more than any other receiver on the team. In the first preseason game for the Bears, Hester was targeted 6 times (in one quarter).
The Bears realize what kind of athlete they have with Devin Hester and now that Hester has a year of wide receiver under his belt he will break loose this season.
Matt Cassel (ADP 86, TDP 110)
Who else is being grabbed around pick 110? Eli Manning, Trent Edwards, Matt Hasselbeck
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
I think this is the perfect way to put how fantasy owners are going into the 2009 with Matt Cassel. Last year Cassel came out of no where to be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league. No one expected him to play so well.
This year people are expecting similar numbers from Matt Cassel but he was a product of his environment last year. Bill Belichick is a mastermind coach and he knew exactly how to use Matt Cassel. This year Matt Cassel is going to play in an offense with only one offensive weapon: Dwayne Bowe. With Tony Gonzalez gone now, Kansas City has little to offer Cassel in terms of firepower.
To make matters worse for Cassel, Todd Haley has admitted Brodie Croyle has performed better than Cassel in training camp. This could be Haley's attempt to motivate Cassel or it could be true. Either way, this is not what you want to hear about your starting QB.
Expect Cassel to perform a little better than Tyler Thigpen from last year. I'm guessing 20 TDs and 15 INTs.