Every year, players dominate the preseason, but rarely do they make an impact in fantasy land. However, with so many teams running with a committee in the backfield and holding on to those extra receivers to spread the field, some of these guys might actually be able to help during the regular season.
Blake Bortles - The #3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft completed 63% (7) of his 11 attempts, gained 117 yards (31 long) and was sacked once. Scouts loved his performance. The Jaguars intend on keeping him benched the entire season behind Chad Henne.
Johnny Manziel - It won't be Week 1, but it could be as soon as Week 5 (Browns have Week 4 Bye) that Manziel is starting for Cleveland, sending Brian Hoyer to the bench. His 1st NFL start was OK, going 7-11 with for 63 yards and did not get sacked. He gained 27 yards on the grond, including a long of 16.
Teddy Bridgewater - The Vikings rookie QB completed just 6 of his 13 attempts and picked up just 49 yards while being sacked twice. Matt Cassel will have to be dreadful for Bridgewater to start a game for the Vikings this season.
Jimmy Garoppolo & Ryan Mallett - Garoppolo shined in his NFL debut while Mallett looked like a career backup. Jimmy completed 9 of his 13 attempts for 157 yards and a touchdown, including a 53 yard play to Brian Tyms, who later caught the TD from 26 yards out. Mallett was 5 of 12 for 55 yards against the Redskins.
Jimmy Clausen - If Jay Cutler misses time in 2014, Clausen is the man. Last season Josh McCown became a household name thanks to Marc Trestman, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. Bears fans better hope he was a product of a system! Claussen hooked up with TE Zach Miller twice in the endzone, 2 of his 7 completions for 150 yards. 3 plays went for more than 20 yards.
Drew Stanton & Logan Thomas - Stanton completed 11 of his 17 attempts for 152 yards and a touchdown while Thomas connected on 11 of his 12 attempts for 113 yards and a score. Thomas took 2 sacks. If Carson Palmer misses time, one of these two will be looking to connect with Andre Ellington, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
So far just 20 RBs have have seen 10+ handoffs, including Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Bryce Brown & Anthony Dixon who have played in two games.
Rashad Jennings & Andre Williams - The New York Football Giants look like a different team running the football early in the Preseason. Both Jennings and Williams have combined for 191 rushing yards on 26 attempts against the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. Jennings busted a 73 yard touchdown run against the Steelers. As a team, they have rushed for 292 yards on 69 carries. The Giants have to run the ball effectively during the regular season if they want to win a division title. Teammate Michael Cox has rushed the ball 15 times, for just 7 yards. Yikes!
Bryce Brown - Brown is trying to jump in the Bills rotation with C.J. Spiller & Fred Jackson. 104 yards on 18 carries will get him some regular season snaps. He is ahead of Anthony Dixon right now who rushed for just 43 yards on 13 carries, but has scored a TD. Brown has added 4 catches out of the backfield.
Lorenzo Taliaferro - This beast of a back is going to fight Bernard Pierce (37 yards on 10 carries) for playing time with Ray Rice sidelined for the first 2 Baltimore Ravens games. The 4th round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina is 6'0 226 lbs and could be valuable at some point this season if Rice can't return to form, or if Pierce suffers an injury. Remember this name!
Cyrus Gray - There is no room for a RB on the Kansas City Chiefs behind Jamaal Charles thanks to Knile Davis, but Gray has gained 55 yards on just 10 carries. Gray has just 16 carries over his first 2 NFL seasons.
Devonta Freeman - This is someone you will hear about all season long. The Atlanta Falcons have Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers, but Rodgers is not an everydown back so if SJax should msis time, Freeman is the guy add! 50 yards so far on 10 carries.
Dan Herron - The Indianapolis Colts need Trent Richardson to figure out how to run forward for more than 3 yards at a time. Behind him is an injury plagued Ahmad Bradshaw. With Donald Brown a member of the San Diego Chargers, that role could be Boom Herron's at any given point in this season. He caught 6 passes for 36 yards and scored a TD.
Terrance West - The Cleveland Browns added Ben Tate this offseason, and figure to run the ball a ton with an iffy QB situation in Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, and the eventual loss of Josh Gordon. West was rumored to be having a great camp and could take snaps from Tate, but his first 10 carries have gone for just 22 yards, including a 10 yard run!
Tre Mason - The Rams rookie gained 51 yards on 15 carries, including a 20 yard dash.
13 players have caught 5 or more passes, only 8 WRs
Robert Woods & Chris Hogan - The Buffalo Bills have a better group of WRs than you might imagine. Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams were added in the offseason, and even though Stevie Johnson is a member of the 49ers, Woods had a good rookie campaign and Hogan is a freak of an athlete. They have combined for 13 catches and 135 yards and a TD. In leagues deeper than 12 teams, I can guarantee one of these guys will be on a roster during BYE weeks.
Brittan Golden & Josh Brown - Behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, the Arizona Cardinals are looking for that 3rd receiver. Andre Roberts is now sitting on the Redskins depth chart and he managed to catch 43 passes for 471 yards and 2 scores last season with Carson Palmer. Ted Ginn Jr. is on the roster but not a legit WR threat, more of a special teams player. Jaron Browns caught 11 of his 18 targets last season and scored a TD. Golden and Josh Brown could win the position battle, they have combined for 12 catches and 132 yards.
Brandin Cooks - This is what the New Orleans Saints & fantasy football owners everywhere wanted to see, 5 catches for 55 yards and TD. He is the new Darren Sproles, and could be PPR gold!
Brian Tyms - The Patriots have a ton of receivers on the roster, but only Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola (when healthy have assigned roles. Tyms is looking to battle Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson for playing time. 5 catches for 119 yards (2 for 20+, 1 for 53 yards) and a TD will get you noticed. Last season he caught 2 passes for 12 yards as a member of the Browns. He is suspended for the Pats first 4 games of the regular season.
Zach Miller - Miller is filling in for the suspended Martellus Bennett. He has 6 receptions for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fantasy owners should pray for that success with Jay Cutler and Bennett.
Alex Bayer - The 6'4 rookie out of Bowling Green caught 5 passes for 71 yards, including a 42 yard gain. Odds of him having an impact during the regular season are slim with Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks on the roster.
Zach Ertz - The Eagles plan on using Ertz, a lot, especially in the Red Zone. He caught 4 passes for 60 yards, including a 34 yard gain.