Preseason football is a tough nut to crack in terms of gauging how teams or star players are going to perform once the regular season starts. What’s a little easier is evaluating rookies against tougher competition than they faced at the college level only a few months ago.
In that regard, the 2014 season has been invaluable to fantasy owners. Whether you are looking for that sleeper who could make an impact this season or you are trying to find some nice stowaways for your dynasty league, plenty of younger players have stepped up and wowed us this summer.
Here are a few who caught my eye:
John Brown, Wide Receiver, Cardinals — The Pittsburg State product has been must-see T.V. this preseason. He has 10 catches for 165 yards and one score, but it’s watching him play that get me more excited. I see him as the Brandon Cooks of the west, with Bruce Arians drawing up specific plays and packages to get this kid the ball this season. Given the presense of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, I have to assume Brown is going to have room to roam and do damage in the secondary in 2014.
Andre Williams, Running Back, Giants — Rashad Jennings will be the starter for the Giants on paper, but I haven’t seen anything that tells me the Giants won’t use a running back-by-committee strategy in 2014. Williams is sure to be a part of that, based on not only his stats (33 carries, 151 yards, 2 touchdowns) but his burst through the hole as well. He is a much more natural runner than Jennings and, given Jennings’ injury history, it’s not out of the question to assume Williams will be the feature back in the offense before season’s end.
Jace Amaro, Tight End, Jets — There were whispers that Amaro was not living up to the hype early in camp, but from what I’ve seen so far, Amaro looks the part. He’s on the field plenty and seems to have drawn even with Zach Sudfeld for the starting role. Even if he doesn’t win the job outright, Amaro is going to see significant playing time and a fair share of targets in a passing game with few other options.
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Eagles — After disappointing opening outing, Matthews bounced back in the second game and cracked the century mark. He looked like the No. 1 receiver many thought he could eventually be. I wouldn’t let the dip in numbers during the third game scare you. Matthews has the size and skill set to eventually overtake Riley Cooper in Chip Kelly’s offense. He’s worth a late round flier in all formats.
Zach Mettenberger, Quarterback, Titans — Sometimes you just know. Watching Mettenberger, he just looks like he fits in an NFL huddle. He makes every throw. He’s calm in the pocket and he has the characteristics of a natural leader. Oh, and by the way, he’s thrown for more yards than any other quarterback this preseason. With the emerging talent the Titans have at the receiver position, it looks like Mettenberger is in the perfect place to flourish and grow with young and talented squad in Nashville.