There are many fantasy nuggets you can get out of preseason football, but you have to be selective and even then you can’t be 100% sure what you see will translate into the regular season. Take for instance Victor Cruz. The man has shown he can compete in the NFL. It’s been amazing to see him take his shot and run with it. I am not here to tell you the guy can’t play in this league, but unless you are in a deep dynasty league, there is no reason to even think about drafting him right now.
Take a look at all the receivers in front of him. He just won’t have the opportunities it takes to be fantasy relevant. This is usually the problem that pops up. Can the preseason star find playing time? Another example of this is Stephen Williams of the Cardinals. All indications out of training camp were that he was the real deal. Then he gets into preseason games and just continues to shine. He even does it with the first team because Larry Fitzgerald has been hurt. I got to see the guy play live and I believe the hype, but will he play?
Williams outplayed Early Doucet who was poised to take a step this season. He’s right up there, but we have to look at the bigger picture. Larry Fitzgerald will be back for opening day. Steve Breaston may not be the next Jerry Rice, but he is a talented player who is seasoned in the offense and trusted by the coaches. And the same holds true for Doucet as well. Add to that the questions surrounding Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson and you just don’t have a recipe for success at this point. Williams has the ability to make an impact this season if everything falls into place, but there is no need to draft him.
Then there are players that show their stuff in preseason and at the same time find their self with an opportunity to win the starting position. Arian Foster fits that bill to a tee, but he may be a little obvious at this point. Jabar Gaffney may be a better example of a player having a good preseason that looks like it could translate into regular season production. Coming into this season the Broncos wide receiver situation has been extremely difficult to decipher. It’s still pretty muddled, but Gaffney has been targeted by Orton the most out of all his receivers. When playing time is up for grabs like it is in Denver these preseason numbers can be helpful. Another Bronco receiver could easily shine and move ahead of Gaffney, but right now the #1 job is his to lose.
So when looking at preseason numbers always look at their context. Did that player gain all those yards in the 4th quarter against 3rd stringers? Was the starter out with an injury that they will be healed from by the start of the season? Preseason is a great time to pick up dynasty league fliers. If I am in a deep dynasty league I am all over Stephen Williams, Victor Cruz and company! But don’t wast fliers in normal sized redraft teams on guys that wont have much of a chance to break into the starting lineup.