Well, the first batch of preseason games are in the books, and that means were a week closer to the start of the regular season. Suffice to say, the regular season canâ€™t come here soon enough.
The first week of preseason action provided us with our first real look at some of the players weâ€™ll be drafting in the coming weeks. Not all studs played, or if they did, they only played a minimal amount of time, so itâ€™s still hard to gauge who you should put stock in.
That all said, some players did improve their stock, while others saw some of their value dip a bit. So, here are your Week 1 preseason biggest risers and fallers.
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T.Y. Hilton: Indianapolis Colts
This yearâ€™s viral sleeper has to be Hilton, as seemingly everybody is talking about him. Hilton is set to take his game to a new level this year and if his game (three receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown) against the Bills on Sunday is any indication, he is just starting to get warmed up.
Chris Givens: St. Louis Rams
A deep sleeper to keep your eye this summer is Ramsâ€™ deep threat Chris Givens. Givens got loose for a 59-yard bomb, while racking up 82 yards and a touchdown on three receptions in his game against the Browns on Thursday night. Sam Bradford is going to love throwing the ball to Givens this year.
DeAndre Hopkins: Houston Texans
This rookie is starting to perk the ears of a lot of fantasy players, as he is quickly showing he is ahead of the curve. Hopkins showed some amazing athleticism in hauling in a tremendous touchdown catch in his game against the Vikings. In that game, Hopkins had four receptions (on four targets) for 52 yards and a touchdown. Playing opposite Andre Johnson, Hopkins could perhaps have a similar season to the one Julio Jones had in his rookie season playing alongside Roddy White.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Minnesota Vikings
Patterson is another rookie receiver who is turning some heads this summer. Patterson is still a bit raw, but his natural, God-given abilities are off the charts and he showed them off in his game against the Texans, recording four receptions for 54 yards. Watch for his development, as he could be a nice late-round sleeper. He is already an obviously great selection in keeper leagues.
Christine Michael: Seattle Seahawks
While we know that the Seahawks bell-cow back is no doubt Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael could be the back to handcuff with Lynchâ€”not Robert Turbin. In his first preseason action against the Chargers, Michael rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries. Turbin may remain No. 2 on the depth chart, but Michael should be monitored this preseason nevertheless.
LeGarrette Blount: New England Patriots
While itâ€™s hard to imagine Blount leapfrogging both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen on the Patsâ€™ depth chart, nevertheless, he looked great in the Patriotsâ€™ preseason game against the Eagles, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. You never know how Patsâ€™ coach Bill Belichick will split the carries in New England, as he has been known to shake things up.
Stepfan Taylor: Arizona Cardinals
Although running for 64 yards on 20 carries is not all that impressive, it was nice to see Taylor (the Cardinals 2013 5th round pick) handle the load. With Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams nursing injuries, Taylor may just do enough to eventually steal the job away from them at some point this year.
Green Bay running backs
With Eddie Lacy sidelined, it opened the door for guys like James Starks, Alex Green and fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin to step up. However, all three were hardly impressive as they combined to rush for just 68 yards on 25 carries. This has the looks of a completion that will go down to the wire in camp.
Denver running backs
What was just said about the Green Bay backs can be applied to the Denver backs here. The role as Broncosâ€™ lead back was supposed to be a fierce battle between rookie Montee Ball and incumbents Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno, but after their first preseason game against the 49ers in which all three combined to rush for a pathetic 41 yards on 14 carries, no one is separating themselves from the pack just yet. Someone will eventually break out of this group and the one who does should have great value on draft day.
Rams running backs
Seeing a theme here? Although favorite Daryl Richardson showed some explosiveness in the Rams preseason game against the Browns, Zac Stacy and Isaiah Pead (who lost a fumble) left a lot to be desired. The three backs combined to rush for a modest 65 yards on 14 carries in their game against the Browns.
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