Why Pre-Season Football ROCKS!

This weekend the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints take part in the NFL Hall of Fame Game, the first preseason game of the 2012-13 NFL season.  Many of you will watch the first 2 maybe 3 series of the game, until the starters are pulled, and then tune out.  Who could blame you?  You’v got the Olympics to watch, and no one knows any of the players on the field anyway.

I used to be like many of you.  Preseason football was just a waste of time till the regular season started.  It was just the period you have to pray through, hoping your first round fantasy draft pick does not get injured.  But things have changed for me, and I’ll tell you when it happened.

Two years ago, The New York Jets were playing the New York Giants in the first preseason game of the year, a game which normally means nothing.  That game was the first official NFL game at the New Meadowlands Stadium and a break out performance for someone no one would hear about for the next 12 months.  Victor Cruz caught 6 balls that day, for 140 yards and 3 touch downs.  Cruz would not contribute to the club in any substantial way in 2010, but he was clearly on the radar for 2011, when he became the Fantasy Break Out player of the year.

Victor Cruz is not the only example of preseason performances that led to regular season success later in their careers.  Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs showed his talent for running the ball in the final preseason game of 2008, by the middle of 2009 he was a fantasy superstar.  Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers is another preseason success story.  Prior to his 2010 success he caught 8 balls, averaging over 20 yards per catch.  Danny Woodhead did the same thing with the Jets in 2010 before being released and signing with the New England Patriots. Now not all players who show promise in the preseason will become Fantasy Football studs, but, the preseason is the best time to see what they can do, and start setting up your sleeper draft for next year.

Players who performed well last preseason that may be poised for a break out.

Ryan Williams- RB – Arizona Cardinals – Averaged over 5 yards per carry prior to knee injury in 2011.
Jacquizz Rodgers – RB – Atlanta Falcons – Averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2011 preseason.
Jared Cook Jr – TE – Tennessee Titans – 8 catches 100 yards, above average run blocking.
Greg Little – WR – Cleveland Browns – 7 catches 68 yards and a TD, excellent blocker at WR position.

Now no one is saying these 4 players will have break out years, but I can state with reasonably high certainty that at least 3 of these players will be on a fantasy football team in your league after the second week of the season has been completed.  (shhh, Greg Little is the pick to go after)

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