BOSTON (CBS) – Every year, it never fails. There are at least a handful of “preseason heroes” that get selected in fantasy drafts way too early, because some owners believe it’s an accurate depiction of what’s going to happen when the regular season starts. Well, 90% of the time, it’s not.
Now, that’s not to say that the preseason is worthless when you’re evaluating talent, because it’s not. It’s completely logical to believe that Jamaal Charles is more valuable this season than last, because he’s started and received the majority of carries compared to Thomas Jones this preseason. When it comes to veteran players battling for spots, it means something.
But, when Horatio Hornblower comes up with 5 catches and 100 yards in the fourth quarter against another team’s third string, don’t think that guy is a WR2 for your fantasy team. If a rookie looks exceptional , make sure you check who he’s playing against. If Mark Ingram looks good in the first quarter, running with the ones, it’s entirely different than if he looks good running against a guy who might be working as a waiter next week (not that there’s anything wrong with waiters! You get my point).
Another thing, don’t go too crazy if an expected stud looks like he’s mediocre in preseason game number three. As much as Adrian Peterson wants to get into shape and ready to play football, neither he nor anyone else should be concerned if he runs for 20 yards on 10 carries against the Buccaneers in a game that means nothing. AP is AP and you draft him in the top five, no matter what he looks like before the games count.
On the other side, preseason should give you an indication of whether or not someone is aging in football terms. For example, we all remember Joey Galloway when he joined the Patriots. Many believed his value was good because he had Tom Brady as his quarterback. The majority of fans thought, “he’d get it”…eventually. But what many overlooked was that Galloway was old and looked every bit of it, in that preseason. How many owners selected Galloway that year in the middle rounds because of their initial delusions of grandeur, without seeing the reality on the field? Too many. Those owners paid the price.
Finally, the most important thing to keep an eye during the preseason, especially this season, is injuries. Don’t overplay “tweaks”, but make sure you’re aware of lingering bumps and bruises or any serious issues. You also want to make sure guys that are coming off injuries, look healed and ready to go. Don’t draft a guy in the top five, if he had knee surgery last year and has yet to touch the field in the preseason (cough, Maurice Jones Drew, cough). Just too much risk there for a high pick.
All in all, the preseason does have some importance when it comes to fantasy. Just make sure you’re looking for the right things and why you’re looking for them.