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Hello Rotoworlders and all the ships at sea. Welcome to our new column titled Weekend Winners, where I will look at the, uh, weekend winners in fantasy for the, um, weekend. But this first installment will take a look at the Training Camp Winners without any regard whatsoever to the day in which the game was played. So without further ado!
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David Wilson: Wilson finished the preseason with 24 carries for 179 yards for a lofty 7.46 yards per carry and one touchdown, along with seven receptions for 31 yards. He played with his normal explosiveness and had zero fumbles. Of course the news that Andre Brown has a fractured leg bumps up his projected touches even more and shoots his draft stock way up, but it was already pretty high based on the facts that Wilson was already sharing goal line work with Brown and was playing on a different level than him before the injury.
Eddie Lacy: Lacy came into training camp in what many thought would be some kind of committee between him and Johnathan Franklin, but Franklin didn’t do much to separate himself while Lacy did. It took him a while, and his stock started to plummet with a hamstring injury, but he quickly healed and looked in top form in week two of preseason rushing for 40 yards on 8 carries and catching a 11 yard reception, all the while running through would-be tacklers. He was also praised for his pass protection in camp and his “handcuff” DeJuan Harris was injured and put on IR. There’s not much holding him back this season.
Giovani Bernard: We didn’t get to see much of BenJarvus Green-Ellis this preseason, but he did rush 10 times for 35 yards with zero targets for zero receptions and looked about as good as his stats do. On the other hand, Bernard rushed 27 times for 116 yards and 3 touchdowns, catching 7 of 9 targets for 71 yards. And if you take into account all three of his touchdowns were of the one-yard variety, you get a player who is making a good case for every down duty.
Kenbrell Thompkins: He wasn’t flawless, but looked strong in each game and has clearly won the X receiver position for the patriots, a coveted fantasy spot. He finished with 20 targets catching 13 of those for 142 yards. His footwork and ability to fight for the ball elevated him over Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson and if he can stay consistent his upside is sky-high.
Jordan Cameron: Cameron had a ton of expectations heaped on him due to his athletic ability and new coaching staff and he didn’t do much to squelch those expectations as he caught 6-of-8 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns. All signs are pointing to Cameron being a big part of the improved Browns offense.
Zach Sudfeld: He did have a ball stripped from him, but all and all he played well, catching 8-of-11 targets for 101 yards and a touchdown while also leading the team in tight end snaps. He has no tight end competition in New England save Rob Gronkowski and if he can prove himself while Gronk is out, there’s a good chance he can take on Aaron Hernandez’s role from last season even after Gronk returns.
Quinton Patton: It took Patton a little bit to get going after fracturing his finger, but when he did, we saw what he can do. In two preseason games and 46 snaps he caught 6 of 7 targets for 87 yards and two touchdowns and looked good doing so. He’ll start the season as the #3 receiver based solely on his lack of playing time so far, but that should change soon enough as he moves up to #2 and will battle Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin for targets this year.
Christine Michael: Michael showed this preseason that he is the future starter for the Seahawks rather than Robert Turbin. Turbin is a quality player, but Michael is a step above. For the preseason he ran 27 times for 186 yards and looked like an elite back. He’s the guy you want handcuffing Lynch based on upside alone.
Kenny Stills: After Joe Morgan went down for the season, Stills stepped up and more than filled his shoes, catching seven passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He also took on some seasoned veterans in the process like Johnathan Joseph, so it’s not as if he was playing against 3rd stringers the whole time. His speed makes him dangerous with the ball. We’ll have to see what kind of consistency he receives target-wise, but his ability is evident.
Marlon Brown: Brown had a nice preseason, but the lack of wide receivers for the Ravens is what really makes him a winner this preseason. He finished with 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns and ran with the starters in the third preseason dress rehearsal. The Ravens are severely lacking in the receiving department and if Brown can seize this chance, he could have value.
Cierre Wood: You might remember an undrafted free agent taking over for an injured early round draft pick and going on to become the #1 fantasy player in the universe. Yes, that was Arian Foster and Ben Tate and now we have yet another UDFA playing well for the Texans named Cierre Wood. Wood was the underdog to win the Texans #3 running back position but rushed 35 times for 191 yards and caught all 5 of his receiving targets for 49 yards. He’s of course still third on the depth chart, but in the Texans offense the third string running back has value in deep or dynasty leagues as long as he has upside and Wood does.