Fantasy Football 2014: Takeaways From The Hall of Fame Game


Aug 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib (9) passes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The New York Giants won 18-13. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was only one, pretty much meaningless preseason football game, but my oh my it was glorious.

Football is back and we couldn’t be happier. Now, thanks to the ongoing evolution of fantasy football, even preseason games have some meaning to us — FANTASY SCOUTING!

In the limited action we saw from players on both sides, there were some things that stuck out to me from a fantasy perspective:

Andre Williams is a stud — It was impossible not to notice how business picked up the moment the Boston College rookie entered the game and took his first handoff. I wondered all throughout the offseason leading up to the draft why people weren’t high on him, so I was guilty of following the flock and not giving him much thought. He looked comfortable from the start, running with the same power and confidence that made him the leading rusher in college football last year. If your dynasty league draft was today, his stock is shooting sky high.

Sammy Watkins won’t take over the league overnight — Watkins was targeted three times and none of the targets were a threat to be completed. A couple of reasons for that would be that everyone knew Buffalo wanted to showcase their new toy and the fact that there was an above average NFL corner (Prince Amukamara) shadowing his every move. Watkins is going to be a stud eventually, but he’s going to have to learn a trick or two about getting open against NFL corners that he didn’t need in the ACC. At the same time, Doug Marrone and the Bills’ staff are going to need to find creative ways to get him the ball.

Ryan Nassib has “it” — I’ve said all offseason that both Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning are on the hotseat this year. Depending on how the Giants start the year, Coughlin might not make it through the season. If that is the case, Manning may not make it through the year as the starter — especially if he is a common denominator in the Giants’ struggles. Enter Nassib, who looked calm, collected and totally capable of running an NFL huddle. This is all about the eye test, but he has the look of an NFL starting quarterback. I don’t think that day is too far off, and I’d highly recommend grabbing him late in most dynasty league drafts.

EJ Manuel looked shaky — Forget 2 of 7 for 19 yards, a guy his size shouldn’t have two passes batted down at the line in one quarter. He stared down every primary receiver on every route and seemed oblivious to where Buffalo’s defenders were on most pass plays. I don’t care if he was playing against the starters or not, he looked the most uncomfortable out of the Buffalo signal callers.

Bryce Brown is a penny stock waiting to explode — We’ve heard whispers that Buffalo wanted to work Brown into the mix with Spiller and Jackson — eventually grooming him to become the primary back on first and second down. We saw what looked like the beginning of that process tonight. Brown is that throwback, big-bodied workhorse that a team can rely on to control or close out a game — something that Spiller and Jackson have never been. Keep your eyes on that situation throughout preseason.