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FF Brainwave – 8/10

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The first night of preseason action is in the books but already fantasy owners are feeling the aftermath both good and bad. Injuries to key players will have use scrambling to update our cheat sheets or possibly hoping to land a deal with a fellow owner to fill the void left by stars like Ryan Mathews and Desmond Bishop.


ILB Desmond Bishop Down

For those of you that play IDP fantasy football you know Desmond Bishop has been one of the premier linebackers in the game since taking over a starting job a few years ago. Bishop’s rare ability to make big plays and yet remain solid in pass protection makes him a valuable part of the Packers defense and his knee / hamstring injury on Thursday night, made many fantasy owners and Packers fans hearts sink.

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This isn’t the first-time Bishop has missed games, as he was out for a few games last year. In that time then rookie D.J. Smith filled in well and there was talk he could push A.J. Hawk for a starting job this summer.



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As you can see from Aaron Nagler’s response to my question, we should expect Smith to see an expanded role and will likely be a three down starter. While the Packers are holding out hope Bishop won’t miss the entire season, it’s probable he will be out for an extended amount of time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually admit he’s done.

Obviously this makes Smith an instant IDP fantasy sleeper but his production will be crucially important for the Packers defense to remain a top ten fantasy unit.

With Dom Capers running the show, we should expect this group to continue to make plays and Smith should be prepared, but it doesn’t help their odds of finishing as one of the elite defenses from a statistical standpoint.

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James Starks Continues To Struggle

In my latest mock draft results I commented that we needed to see Starks show production in preseason action because he’s struggled in camp.

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So far, so bad for Starks and while he should begin the season as a starter, when Alex Green is ready he will have every opportunity to take the job. Still, it is good to hear Nagler report that Starks was solid in pass protection. This will help him stay on the field, if he can show continued improvement. Expect the Packers to remain a pass heavy offense.


Michael Vick’s Thumb Injury

Vick thumb injury gave us a scare, especially after he told reports he thought he broke it and heard a “pop” when hit.

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For now, I still have Vick as the No.6 quarterback, but we need to be concerned that this injury could hurt his accuracy through the season. Remember, Vick is left handed so a thumb injury to the throwing hand can linger for some time.


Julio Jones Outstanding First Quarter

It was easy to see by the numbers Julio Jones put up at the end of last year, he was the No.1 receiver to start in fantasy leagues down the stretch.

Jones has had a terrific camp and the way the Falcons came out throwing the football, suggest they will in fact support a pass happy offense. Jones was featured, mainly on the strong side of the offensive formation as the Z receiver.

With White likely asked to beat press-coverage, it will be interesting to see how long it takes opposing teams to figure out Jones is the receiver they need to roll coverage on.

Playing off the line, Jones will have a chance to build up speed and he has an extra gear when he needs to go get the football. He’s also going to be one of the better receivers in the game when it comes to boxing out defenders and snatching the football out of the air.

White may still get consideration as the first Falcons receiver off the board in PPR leagues, but in standard and performance leagues, go with Jones as a top five option. His upside in this offense could make him the next-best thing after Calvin Johnson. It’s time to believe!

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Ryan Mathews Goes Down On First Carry

Darn! This summer I drafted Ryan Mathews in my sixteen team IDP dynasty league and it’s going to suck not having him to start the year. According to Jene Bramel (I respect his opinion on these matters) we could see Mathews out up to eight weeks with this injury.

Turner still expects a four to six-week time frame, and he could be right. Still, what we need to be worried about is the Chargers are likely to ease a running back into a full load with an injury like this.

It will be interesting to see where Mathews falls, because his upside when healthy is a top five fantasy back. If you can get him third round down he’s worth a look, but I wouldn’t take him higher than that at this point.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick & Bills Spread Offense

Had a chance to watch the start of the Bills game and dang do they love to use the spread offense! Unfortunately, defenses have figured out that the Bills mainly run short routes with everyone, because Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles with deep accuracy.

Another problem is that the Bills offensive line has had changes in personnel, and they looked off in the first series, allowing Fitzpatrick to be hit on the first three plays.

Fitzpatrick’s accuracy has been up and down in camp and while Stevie Johnson remains a solid WR3, it’s hard to trust anyone else as a depth option in leagues with 12 teams or fewer.

Expect the Bills to rely on the short passing game and a large helping of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller on the ground. Ball control will be important with a budding defense that can make plays and shut offenses down, as chemistry builds through the season.

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