Fantasy football preseason first impressions

We finally got a look at some live football over the past week and there were a lot of things to take away. Here are a few thoughts as we look back at the first full week of games, and look forward at what’s to come:

Golladay puts fantasy owners on notice

Kenny Golladay might not be a sleeper anymore. He would have been a nice receiver to stow away late in your drafts but probably not now after catching two touchdown passes in his preseason debut. Golladay is going in the 14th round currently, but he likely moves up if he keeps it up.

Foreman to be more than a handcuff?

D’Onta Foreman looked great in his debut, busting out on a 41-yard run and averaging 8.4 yards per carry. Lamar Miller will start, but if Foreman continues to impress it will be hard for the Texans to keep him off the field.

Let these rookie QBs play

Deshaun Watson was 15 of 25 for 174 yards and rushed for a touchdown for the Texans. Mitch Trubisky had a dream debut for Chicago as he went 18 of 25 for 166 yards and a touchdown. And Patrick Mahomes has already moved up the depth chart to No. 2 behind Alex Smith. They all looked good, but they need to be named starters before you make any plans with them in mind.

When does Rico Gathers officially become fantasy-relevant?

Rico Gathers had four catches for 47 yards and scored for the second straight game in the preseason. With Jason Witten in front of him on the depth chart, does that mean he’s not going to contribute this year? He passes the eye test, though, and if he can carve himself a red zone role then it’s possible he makes it on some fantasy rosters.

RELATED: Fantasy football rankings: Top 250 (and more).

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Monitor these running backs

These backs aren’t currently the apparent starters on their teams. But that could change soon:
De’Angelo Henderson, Broncos: He had 54 yards and averaged 7.7 yards per carry in the first preseason game. The Broncos backfield is somewhat unsettled, though C.J. Anderson looks to be the starter.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers: He’ll actually start the first four games for the suspended Doug Martin and it’s possible he could keep the job outright if he performs well.
Joe Williams, 49ers: Carlos Hyde is looking like he’ll keep his job, but Williams busted out for 60 yards on seven carries after it was reported he was having a bad camp.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks: When Eddie Lacy signed with Seattle it was assumed he’d take over as the featured back. Rawls is hoping to hold him off, however, and started the first preseason game.
Dion Lewis, Patriots: Lewis was once considered a solid, versatile running back before injuries stalled his development. He looked good in the first week of preseason, gaining 55 yards on 11 touches. If Mike Gillislee struggles with his hamstring for long, Lewis could make a comeback.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 13 recap and waiver wire suggestions

As most leagues closed in on the fantasy football playoffs, Week 13 of NFL action went a bit haywire. Other than the usual high scores from David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, a lot of the usual top performers fell flat. Sure, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers were all OK, but Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick probably dashed playoff hopes for some fantasy owners.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Brees threw for over 300 yards but added three interceptions and zero touchdowns while Kaepernick completed just one pass for four yards before getting benched.

The biggest games by quarterbacks were recorded by Derek Carr, Carson Palmer and Matt Stafford. Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton offered surprising performances from the position as well.

Flacco threw for over 300 yards for just the third time this season while throwing four touchdowns for the first time this year.

Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammates wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 and quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with teammates wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 and quarterback Joe Flacco #5 after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Dalton threw for more than 300 yards and at least two touchdowns for the first time since Week 6. It was quite an impressive performance from a quarterback missing a key running back, Gio Bernard, and his top receiver, A.J. Green.

Johnson, Bell and Melvin Gordon all continued to produce like usual. Devonta Freeman, Spencer Ware and Latavius Murray recorded big games. LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard and Thomas Rawls rounded out a good week for running backs.

Howard had his biggest game since Week 8, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 117 yards. McCoy had his second straight 100-yard rushing game after not having one since Week 6. He had a great game despite Mike Gillislee taking away two short-yardage touchdowns.

Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs for some yards while being chased by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Gerald Hodges (51) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) during the third quarter on Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs for some yards while being chased by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Gerald Hodges (51) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) during the third quarter on Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Thomas Rawls finally broke out for owners who have waited on him all season. He may have a tough Week 16 matchup, but not before having two good matchups in the next two weeks.

The biggest rushing disappointments were Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley and Jonathan Stewart.

Other than Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, the top wide receivers in Week 13 were most likely riding the pine for owners. Tyler Lockett, Ted Ginn, Albert Wilson and Brandon LaFell would all have been strange starts heading into the week.

Golden Tate seemed to benefit the most from the Lions’ matchup with the Saints. He caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) pulls in a touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints cornerback B.W. Webb (28) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) pulls in a touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints cornerback B.W. Webb (28) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The good news kind of ends there in what was supposed to be the most productive matchup of the week for fantasy scoring.

If you started a Saints skill player not named Coby Fleener, you were disappointed this week. Brees, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower all had games to forget.

Rather than talk about the worst performances this week by starting wideouts (Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans), I’d rather talk about the return of the high-scoring tight end.

Ladarius Green, a preseason sleeper who finally woke up, caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had his third straight 100-yard game while Dennis Pitta scored twice on his way to 90 yards receiving.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) crosses the goal line for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) crosses the goal line for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Cameron Brate, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and Fleener all had big days as well. One disappointment was Martellus Bennett, who is taking over for an injured Rob Gronkowski. He had just two catches for four yards.

To add to a bizarre week, Stephen Gostowski and Matt Prater scored more points than a lot of receivers and running backs this week. Gostkowski connected on four 40-plus-yard field goals while Prater made five field goals, including a 52-yarder.

On the defensive front the Broncos had a great game, as did the Ravens. Denver logged a touchdown, two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery. The Ravens had three picks and two sacks while allowing just six points.

Waiver wire suggestions:

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith, Chiefs (He has two good matchups before Week 16.)

Running backs

Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Just in case.)

Mike Gillislee, Bills (Vulture opportunities, plus a favorable schedule.)

Wide receivers

Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers (Three straight games with a touchdown.)

Tight ends

Ladarius Green, Steelers

Fantasy football Week 2 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit in your upcoming fantasy matchups.

Starts

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks — Seahawks-Rams likely will be a low-scoring affair as neither offense has looked great. The Seahawks will try to control the clock with their running game, especially with Russell Wilson dealing with an ankle injury. Rawls had nearly as many touches as Christine Michael last week and was named the starter for Week 2.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants — He had 19 touches last weekend in the win over the Cowboys and finished with 78 total yards. This week, he gets to face a Saints defense that is second worst in points allowed to running backs. I bet he gets into the end zone.

New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) breaks a tackle attempt by Dallas Cowboys' Sean Lee (50) to gain extra yardage on a run as defensive tackle Terrell McClain (97) gives chase in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) breaks a tackle attempt by Dallas Cowboys’ Sean Lee (50) to gain extra yardage on a run as defensive tackle Terrell McClain (97) gives chase in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles — The play of Carson Wentz last week against the Browns made Matthews a top-six receiver in fantasy scoring. They’ll face the Bears, who are 23rd in points allowed to receivers.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers — Melvin Gordon scored twice last week? Well, Woodhead had more touches and more yards from scrimmage in addition to one score. Last year without Keenan Allen, Woodhead led the Chargers in receptions.

San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns — He had a breakout season last year, but his dismal start last week might have you ready to cut ties. Don’t be so hasty, though. He had Robert Griffin III at the helm in the opener, but with Josh McCown now starting, Barnidge may have new life. They have a solid rapport going back to last year.

Sits

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers — The “slimmed-down” talk ended after it appeared that he had trouble getting a lot going against the Jaguars last week. He had just 15 touches and will face a Vikings defense that allowed only 45 yards rushing in the opener.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers — Last year, he killed the Vikings to open the season. This year, he scored twice against what was thought to be a solid Rams defense. I’m not a believer yet, and he faces a Panthers defense that looks to bounce back after giving up a great game to C.J. Anderson.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley, top, and defensive tackle Cam Thomas (92) tackle San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley, top, and defensive tackle Cam Thomas (92) tackle San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs — I wouldn’t count on him having 363 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Texans, who are eighth best in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals — He faces a good Steelers run defense and hasn’t fared well against it in the past. Jeremy Hill probably has more of an opportunity to score should the Bengals get into a goal-line situation.

Any receiver facing the Ravens, Seahawks or Panthers — Got a Browns wideout? Leave him on the bench. Tavon Austin owner? Maybe next time, pal. Hopeful for points from Torrey Smith? Give it up.

No man’s land

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams — There’s no way you can sit Gurley, but you really wish you could, given that his team’s one-dimensional offense has to face the Seahawks. If the passing attack doesn’t take the pressure off of him, it could be a long day.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Mike Purcell (64) and safety Eric Reid (35) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Mike Purcell (64) and safety Eric Reid (35) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys — You probably used a first or early second-round pick on him and, as a result, have to start him. Dak Prescott makes no bones about hitting the check-down receiver instead of taking chances on his biggest playmaker so you’ll just have to cross your fingers.