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Mirage Or Reality?

Aaron Rodgers went 21-for-29 for 195 yards and three scores Thursday night.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While I will continue to repeat my annual message of not overvaluing preseason results, there are some interesting items to note as we get ready for the NFL's regular season and our fantasy drafts.

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers (RapidDraft ADP 16.8) and Tom Brady (ADP 46.6) are ready for big seasons. While this is not breaking news, as both are among the top-five at the position, it's always nice to see that they are going to open the season well.

Rodgers went 21-for-29 for 195 yards and three scores in his abbreviated game last night while Brady was a stunning 18-for-22 for 273 yards and three scores.

On the other hand, I'm not happy with what I've seen of Joe Flacco (ADP 76.6), Kevin Kolb (ADP 80.8), Donovan McNabb (ADP 141.5) and Matt Leinart (ADP 166.9).

Many experts think Flacco will get more opportunities to throw with the addition of Anquan Boldin to the offense. However, we have yet to see this Ravens' offense open up. That could just be head coach John Harbaugh using a "vanilla" game plan to not give anything away, or it could be a precursor to emphasizing the running game and running backs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.

Kolb has moved the ball fairly well, but if he can't get it done in the red zone (no touchdowns in the first two exhibition games), then he's not going to be as valuable as I thought.

My concern with McNabb is health related...again. He is already struggling with injuries and we haven't even played the first "real" game. How in the world can you expect him to play a 16-game schedule?

Experts were already scared of what an ineffective Leinart could do to the fantasy values of Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Tim Hightower and nothing we have seen in preseason has alleviated those fears. In fact, Derrek Anderson is set to start the third preseason game. At this time, you can't draft Fitzgerald in the second round which is where you would have to based on his RapidDraft ADP of 13.2.

Running Back

The three leading rushers in yardage after the first two weeks of exhibition are Anthony Dixon, Joique Bell and Michael Bennett. Like I said, don't trust preseason results.

However, Matt Forte has looked much better than his ADP of 38.6. He's apparently healthy and could end up performing closer to his 2008 numbers than last year's disappointing results. Consider him undervalued in the fourth round and make it a point to add him to your roster.

Barring injury, it appears that San Diego Chargers rookie Ryan Mathews will be a workhorse this year. He's already been getting over 10 carries-per-game in around a half of work during preseason.

Javon Ringer has looked good as the backup to Chris Johnson and should definitely be handcuffed to the superstar. If Johnson couldn't start, it appears that Ringer (6.2 ypc) could get the job done, at least on a temporary basis. The same could be said for Bernard Scott (5.7 ypc) in Cincinnati.

Arian Foster is firmly entrenched as the starting running back in Houston. Meanwhile, last year's starter Steve Slaton hasn't run the ball very well (2.7 ypc) and is still fumbling. As of August 23rd, Foster's ADP has jumped to 77.2 from 150.7 in late July.

Wide Receiver

Victor Cruz leads preseason receiving with 175 yards and three scores. Odds are he doesn't make the Giants Opening Day roster. New Orleans second-year receiver Adrian Arrington is third in receiving with 158 yards, but when the "real" play begins he'll be watching Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson catching all of Drew Brees' passes.

Jabar Gaffney is the No.1 receiver in Denver and a "steal" in the ninth round (ADP 118). He's just continuing the way he finished last season and those drafting Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas in front of him are fooling themselves. Kyle Orton and Gaffney are the combination in the "Mile High" city.

Randy Moss (ADP 9) is ready to go and could have a big season. He didn't miss a practice in training camp, he's signing autographs and he's been seen and not heard. Must be a contract year! Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter as long as Moss is putting up the fantasy numbers.



Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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