- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
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Here's a fantasy-style look at the final week of preseason games.
Tennessee 30, Green Bay 14: Vince Young completed 11 of 16 attempts for 96 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for an 8-yard score. He did lose a fumble that was returned for a score, but Young was poised and very effective for the most part, and heads into the new season looking like a very good fantasy starter. Young also threw and ran for a score in the previous exhibition game against Buffalo. LenDale White rushed for 58 yards on 15 carries, including a 21-yard run, and appears to have sewn up the starting RB job. He also caught a 19-yard pass. Chris Brown rushed for 42 yards on seven carries, so he is also sure to see a lot of action after having a strong camp. Brandon Jones caught a 6-yard touchdown pass and also had a 20-yard reception. He enters the season as a quality fantasy reserve. Brett Favre completed eight of 10 attempts for 82 yards and a score, and remains a good starter against weak opponents. James Jones caught five passes for 37 yards and is a top sleeper you should grab if he is still available as a free agent. Noah Herron suffered a sprained knee, and with Vernand Morency (knee) and Brandon Jackson (concussion) also out, rookie DeShawn Wynn rushed for only 54 yards on 21 carries.
Jacksonville 31, Washington 14: David Garrard completed seven of 10 attempts for 77 yards. He was rewarded today with the starting quarterback job, while Byron Leftwich's future is now in doubt. Garrard has been a good fantasy reserve and spot starter in the past. Reggie Williams caught three passes for 61 yards and a score, but he simply solidified his hold on a roster spot and will not be in the Jaguars' starting lineup. Jason Campbell completed all five of his attempts for 54 yards and a score. He looked very sharp and efficient and is going to be a top fantasy reserve in 2007.
Denver 21, Arizona 3: Broncos running back Selvin Young, an undrafted rookie, rushed for 49 yards and a score on 12 carries. Young had a good preseason and the Denver Post is now reporting that he is the No. 2 running back on the depth chart behind Travis Henry. Time to adjust your handcuffs. Matt Leinart looked shaky as he completed only two of six attempts for 13 yards. Leinart will certainly have some good games this year, but should be rotated with another quarterback and used only when the matchup is friendly. Marcel Shipp rushed for 37 yards on four carries and is set to open the season as the No. 2 running back and top goal-line option for the Cardinals.
Seattle 19, Oakland 14: Daunte Culpepper completed 11 of 19 attempts for 108 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Overall, he looked more energetic and productive than Josh McCown, who completed five of 11 attempts. It would be a mild surprise to see Culpepper not open the season as the starter, and he has played well enough to be considered a good backup in larger leagues. Dominic Rhodes was held to 29 rushing yards on 10 carries and was tackled for a safety. He won't be much of a fantasy producer even when he returns from his suspension to open the season. Nate Burleson caught a 34-yard pass and added a 6-yard touchdown reception. D.J. Hackett caught only one pass for 15 yards and appears to be in serious danger of losing the starting split end job.
San Diego 16, San Francisco 13: Alex Smith completed only three of eight attempts, and threw an interception and lost a fumble. He's a top-quality fantasy backup, but he will still struggle at times and isn't quite ready for a breakthrough year. Rookie Thomas Clayton rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries and could emerge as a respectable option if Frank Gore goes down at any point. Craig Davis caught a 40-yard touchdown pass and appears to be set as the Chargers' No. 2 wide receiver for now with Eric Parker out. He is certainly worth a roster spot as your fourth or fifth fantasy wide receiver.
Pittsburgh 19, Carolina 3: Ben Roethlisberger completed both of his attempts for 16 yards. The Pittsburgh quarterback heads into the season in good health and ready for a rebound season. He'll be a respectable fantasy starter. David Carr completed eight of 12 attempts for 85 yards, but also threw an interception, and he doesn't quite appear to be ready to challenge Jake Delhomme for the starting job. Keary Colbert caught two passes for 24 yards and appears set to open the season as the Panthers' No. 2 wide receiver, but he won't be reliable when play begins for real. Rookie Dwayne Jarrett caught a 46-yard pass and is capable of taking Colbert's job.
Tampa Bay 31, Houston 24: Rookie Jacoby Jones caught a 3-yard touchdown pass, his second consecutive week with a scoring reception. Jones is another top sleeper to add in your league if he is still available. Keenan McCardell caught one pass for 16 yards and is no lock to make the final roster. Luke McCown threw three touchdown passes with one interception and appears to have gained a firm hold on the backup job to Jeff Garcia. Jerramy Stevens caught seven passes for 100 yards, and should be the team's top tight end even if he doesn't open the season as a starter. Keep a close watch on Stevens as a possible free-agent addition during the season.
New Orleans 7, Miami 0: Dolphins rookie John Beck threw a pair of interceptions. He is unlikely to make an impact in yearly leagues, but has a lot of promise in dynasty leagues. Lorenzo Booker rushed for 11 yards on seven carries and isn't ready to be the top backup and will be merely a change-of-pace option for Ronnie Brown. Marques Colston returned to action and caught two passes for 17 yards. He looked ready for the regular season. Robert Meachem had one 8-yard reception. He is still on the mend from a recent knee procedure and is buried on the depth chart.
Minnesota 23, Dallas 14: Brooks Bollinger completed nine of 15 attempts for 109 yards and a score, while new Viking Kelly Holcomb completed five of eight attempts for 59 yards and an interception. Bollinger may have outplayed Holcomb, but Holcomb would be a more solid choice as a starter if Tarvaris Jackson cannot get the job done. Robert Ferguson caught a 38-yard pass and is worth watching as he continues to get comfortable with his new team.
St. Louis 10, Kansas City 3: Larry Johnson rushed for 12 yards on three carries. After missing considerable preseason time with a holdout, Johnson looked good in his brief appearance and should be well-rested for the regular season. Backup Kolby Smith had a 55-yard run, but will remain behind Michael Bennett (20 rushing yards on four carries) on the Chiefs' running back depth chart.
Cleveland 19, Chicago 9: Charlie Frye completed only two of five attempts for 19 yards, but appears set to open the season as the starter ahead of Brady Quinn, who completed nine of 14 attempts for 64 yards and was intercepted once. You can still expect Quinn to start at some point during the regular season and he'll be a decent fantasy backup in larger leagues. Braylon Edwards caught two passes for 22 yards and is ready for his true breakthrough season.
N.Y. Jets 13, Philadelphia 11: Kellen Clemens completed both of his passing attempts for 12 yards, and it's very likely we will see him get a chance to replace Chad Pennington at some point this year. Keep a watch on Clemens as a possible free-agent addition in larger leagues. Rookie Kevin Kolb completed 22 of 33 attempts for 220 yards and a score. A.J. Feeley broke a bone in his left hand, and Kolb will become the top backup to Donovan McNabb if Feeley misses any time. Kolb should eventually take the backup job from Feeley, anyway, and he is a great dynasty league prospect.
New England 27, N.Y. Giants 20: Eli Manning completed five of eight attempts for 58 yards and is looking good entering the regular season. Even if he doesn't maintain his current level of play, he should start off well early in the schedule. Brandon Jacobs rushed for a score, but totaled only 21 rushing yards on eight carries. He has not been very impressive during the preseason in terms of yardage but should finish off a lot of scoring drives for the Giants this season. Jeremy Shockey caught four passes for 47 yards and is ready to start the season in prime form.
Buffalo 16, Detroit 13: Trent Edwards completed 18 of 24 attempts for 182 yards, and after a good preseason, he has a very good chance to lock up the backup quarterback job. He's looking like a great dynasty league prospect. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 9 yards on six carries. After a disappointing preseason, you should hold him out of your lineup until he shows signs of running with more authority.
Atlanta 13, Baltimore 10: Demetrius Williams caught a 59-yard touchdown pass. Williams is a good fourth fantasy receiver who will be Baltimore's top downfield threat in 2007. He'll fill in well for bye weeks and in good matchup situations. Willis McGahee rushed for 12 yards on four carries. Don't expect him to get off to a fast start, as the offensive line still must fully mesh as a unit. Jerious Norwood scored on a touchdown reception for the second consecutive week, this time on a 16-yarder. Even with Warrick Dunn still in the picture, Norwood is looking like a fine, versatile flex option for 2007.
Cincinnati 14, Indianapolis 6: Kenton Keith rushed for 36 yards on seven carries. He will open the season as the primary backup to Joseph Addai, and is a natural add if you want to complete the "handcuff." Rookie Anthony Gonzalez caught one pass for five yards. It will take at least a few weeks before he becomes a true weapon in the Colts offense. Tab Perry caught two passes for 13 yards. He's not going to be useful in most fantasy leagues this season. Don't hesitate to cut him if you still have him.
Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.
Scott Engel recaps the action from Week 4 of the preseason.