Evan Silva

Draft Analysis

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Top 20 Recommended Targets

Thursday, August 25, 2011




17. Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings - Whether or not Maurice Jones-Drew (knee) makes it through a full season, the Jaguars' coaching staff has big plans for its backup tailback. Jennings has earned it. Excellent in pass protection and as a receiver, Jennings is averaging 6.28 yards per touch in his last six games, and for good measure tacked on 4.67 yards per carry against the Patriots' first-team defense in the preseason opener. This isn't a player to be taken lightly. Because of his three-down tools, it's not crazy to think Jennings will make the Jags' backfield a committee this year. He's that good, and the team must find a way to lighten Jones-Drew's load.

18. Texans RB Ben Tate - If you watched Houston's second preseason game, you know already: Tate is a powerful tackle breaker with surprising speed. Last year's 58th pick in the draft, Tate gives the Texans more of a bulldozer off the bench than Derrick Ward, making him a better fit as a change-up back for elusive Arian Foster. Tate has a ways to go to lock down the No. 2 back job, but early momentum is swinging in his favor. The Texans have arguably the best run-blocking line in football. If Tate beats out Ward and Foster gets injured, here's your new RB1.

19. Patriots RB Stevan Ridley - You look for lottery ticket RB5s in the late rounds, and Ridley is as good a bet as any. New England's backfield is awfully muddled, but Ridley has had the best preseason of all the backs and he's a more gifted, versatile version of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Should Green-Ellis get hurt or the Pats turn over the reins to a more skilled option, Ridley will become a borderline every-week starter with double-digit scoring potential. Through two exhibition games, Ridley has 222 total yards, 10 receptions, three touchdowns, and a 4.93 YPC average.

20. Titans TE Jared Cook - Cook's playing time skyrocketed in the second preseason game, leaping from 33 percent of the snaps played in the opener to 61 percent last week. Often lining up in the slot or out wide, Cook also more than held his own as a blocker -- a trait that will lead to increased action. Cook was an immature 22- and 23-year-old in his first two seasons, but he's a man now at 24. Jake Locker already locks onto Cook, and Matt Hasselbeck will soon, too.

Bonus Three-Pack:

** 49ers RB Kendall Hunter - Take this to the bank: Lots of NFL teams will be kicking themselves in a few years -- or possibly a few months -- for passing on Hunter in the draft. A big-play back with dangerous acceleration and a second gear in the open field, Hunter easily beat Raiders CB Walter McFadden (4.39 40) to the house on his 53-yard TD in the second preseason game. Current Frank Gore backup Anthony Dixon is no slouch, but Hunter is likely to receive the majority of the touches should Gore go down. He's good enough to be worth a pick in all leagues.

** Falcons WR Harry Douglas - Facing first-team defenses, Douglas has compiled 134 yards and two TDs on five receptions through two weeks of preseason. We've seen the games, and Douglas is for real. He'll offer sneaky WR3 value in an offense that skews more toward the pass, and potentially flirt with every-week starter status if Julio Jones or Roddy White goes down.

** Eagles QB Vince Young - Don't laugh. Michael Vick was in a similar situation last year, and exploded on the scene as -- by far -- the highest scoring fantasy quarterback in points per game after Kevin Kolb got hurt. V.Y. has been expectedly slow to pick up Philly's West Coast offense, but his talent will ultimately win out over Mike Kafka. We're looking at a top-ten fantasy QB if Vick gets hurt.


Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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