For many NFL players, preseason games can make or break their futures for an upcoming season. Some will improve while others will fall. For fantasy football fans, players with better-than-expected preseasons will find their fantasy values on the rise.
Here’s a look at some players to include in this category for 2013.
Michael Vick (QB Philadelphia Eagles) – It was just a few months ago that Vick was battling Nick Foles for the starting role. He emerged as the winner and over the preseason, he showed why, even at age 33.
From his three preseason games, Vick went 28-of-38, 383 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He had a 10.1 yard per average and reminded everyone he can still run by adding 73 ground yards from nine carries.
Welcome back Michael Vick.
David Wilson (RB New York Giants) – The Giants enter the season with some challenges: trying to fill offensive line holes and wondering if starting quarterback Eli Manning can get his mojo back. Factor in an injured running back Andre Brown (broken leg) who will be out from four to six weeks, and that leaves few positives to positive to brag about.
But there’s one, Wilson.
Entering his sophomore season, he was recently named by the team as its starting running back, elevating his fantasy status. This came from preseason play that included 142 yards in Week 3 against the New York Jets, explosiveness (7.4 yards per carry), Wilson’s ability to tackle as well as take on a greater workload.
Eddie Lacy (RB Green Bay Packers) – The rookie who enters the season with high expectations appears to be coming through. Lacy has a chance at the starting role thanks to the DuJuan Harris knee injury and a struggling Johnathan Franklin. With a new commitment by the Packers to its running game, he should get a lot of the workload and see plenty of action at the goal line.
Montee Ball (RB Denver Broncos) – This second rookie came to the NFL with an accomplished college career and expectations to be starter. Fellow running back Ronnie Hillman started the preseason at the top of the depth but thanks to his fumbling issues, his allure has fade. Ball’s challenges with the pass protection don’t look so bad anymore and now the rookie is moving up to see more playing time.
So much for coach John Fox not being big on freshman players.
Jared Cook (TE St. Louis Rams) – Cook recently got some love from SI.com’s Peter King, who referred to him as the “single-best player” he watched during his 2013 NFL training camp tours. He’ll get a fresh start this with the St. Louis Rams after spending four unremarkable seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
So far so good for the athletic player as he had five receptions for 87 yards with one touchdown in the preseason. He also already appears to have some good chemistry with his new quarterback, Sam Bradford.
Alshon Jeffery (WR Chicago Bears) – Change has come for the Chicago Bears and sophomore receiver Jeffery could have a busy season. While his teammate Brandon Marshall is still the top dog, Jeffery had a good preseason including Week 3’s seven receptions for 77 yards. This helped raise expectations for the season.
Recently his quarterback Jay Cutler said to ESPN regarding Jeffery that he “probably had the best camp out of everybody on offense. He’s done a great job this offseason of getting better, getting physically stronger and gaining my trust. I love throwing it to him.”
This should bode well for the season and for fantasy points.