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Stock Up

It’s tough to predict much based on the preseason. Most top players only get a few series per game, and even then it is hard to tell much. But there are some players who look very sharp, and as a result, they see their fantasy draft stock rise. Here is a list of players who are looking very good and are moving up draft boards.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Rodgers has looked very sharp in the preseason and I am confident that he will end the season as one of the top fantasy players. If he continues to look this sharp, it is going to be hard to keep him out of the top 3 QBs in the rankings.

QB Tony Romo (DAL): Just in case you forgot, Romo is a very good QB. WR Terrell Owens certainly made him better, but Romo will still do very well even without TO. He has looked good so far and should play very well this year, despite the fact that DAL wants to focus on the running game more.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA): After a miserable 2008 season marred by injuries all across the board, Hasselbeck has looked very sharp this year. Besides being healthy, Hasselbeck is now throwing to newly-acquired WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, a healthy (for now) WR Deion Branch, and impressive rookie WR Deon Butler. Plus, second-year TE John Carlson looks to build on a solid rookie campaign. I do not expect Hasselbeck to be among the top-scoring fantasy QBs, but he does present a very nice value in the later rounds as a backup who could post solid numbers in favorable matchups.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): Count me among the skeptics. And by that, I mean I am not one who expects DeAngelo to continue his unreal performance to end 2008. However, I am reconsidering that position, because DeAngelo has looked very good this preseason, and RB Jonathan Stewart cannot seem to stay healthy, which is an issue he has dealt with since his college days in Oregon. If Stewart’s injury issues continue, DeAngelo’s stock goes way up. But even if he returns, I think we can expect DeAngelo to do quite well in 2009.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): Obviously, McFadden is not going to average 8.5 YPC all year. But that is what he is doing in the preseason. Which shows that he has big-play ability. I am still worried about him as a full-time RB, but OAK runs the ball enough and will use him out of the backfield as a receiver to allow him to post pretty solid fantasy numbers.

RB Ray Rice (BAL): Rice has been steadily rising up draft boards for awhile. Which kind of worries me. I liked him a lot more before when he was undervalued. I think the hype surrounding him now could push him high enough where he is borderline overvalued. Either way, his stock is going up, because he seems to be ready to handle the load in BAL. RB Willis McGahee will still get some carries, and LeRon McClain is always a threat to steal TDs. But Rice is the best all-around RB on the roster. And it was nice to see him get a 3-yard TD against NYJ. It was also nice to see him as the only RB to get carries with the 1st team offense.

RB Cedric Benson (CIN): I am aware of his past, but he seems to have found a new home in CIN. And, if nothing else, he is set to get a lot of touches in what should be a much-improved offense. He should be a solid RB3 and you can get him very late in most drafts.

RB Leon Washington (NYJ): This guy is extremely fast/quick and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. I think RB Thomas Jones is on the way out, but I am not convinced that RB Shonn Greene is the answer. Instead, I think NYJ will try to get Washington the ball more often and let him work in space.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): Grant teased us with a great finish in 2007, only to limp through 2008 with an injured hamstring after holding out all through camp. But Grant looks much quicker and faster this preseason, which makes me think he is ready to regain his late-2007 form. Plus, the GB offense looks very sharp and primed to score a ton of points. And you have to love a guy who is not part of a RBBC, even if he is not all that dynamic.

WR Troy Williamson (JAX): Thus far in his career, Williamson has been known mostly for not being able to catch the ball. But this preseason, he is actually becoming known for making catches. In fact, he leads all WRs in the preseason with 221 yards (on only 7 catches). He is still considered a very deep sleeper, but he could be worth a roster spot if he can keep, you know, catching the ball.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Speaking of reviving your career, Robinson has been playing well in STL. WR Donnie Avery is recovering from a foot injury, allowing Robinson some more reps. And Robinson has been taking advantage of the increased playing time. As with Williamson, Robinson is still a sleeper and is only worthy of a bench spot in deeper leagues. But keep an eye on him and see how STL uses him.

WR David Clowney (NYJ): Clowney might as well be called “Mr. August”. After leading the NFL in receiving yards during the preseason in 2008, Clowney has played very well again this year, scoring 2 TDs already. But it is worth noting that, after playing well in the 2008 preseason, he only had 1 catch for 26 yards in the regular season. His stock is certainly up due to his play, but do not get too excited. Especially with a rookie QB under center.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry has finally (or so they say) cleaned up his act and is ready to play football. The guy is freakishly athletic and is a favorite target of QB Carson Palmer, which could work out very well for him if he can keep his head on straight. I think the CIN offense is very underrated, so Henry could end up posting some very solid numbers.

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