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Fantasy Football Today

Thursday night preseason review

By Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer

Bernard Pierce ran well against the 49ers on Thursday. (USATSI)
Bernard Pierce ran well against the 49ers on Thursday. (USATSI)

The first full week of preseason action got started Thursday night with six games. We'll take a look at some of the action as it relates to relevant Fantasy options this year.

Here we go ...

Ravens 23, 49ers 3

Ray Rice, who is facing a two-game suspension to open the season, started the game, but he split time with Bernard Pierce on the first-team offense. And both guys did a nice job.

On Baltimore's opening drive, Rice had three carries for 17 yards, which was his only work of the night. Pierce had two carries for 9 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown. He would stay in the game with the second-team offense and finished with 10 carries for 37 yards.

If Pierce can establish himself during the two games Rice is out then he could make this a shared backfield. Rice's Average Draft Position is currently No. 52 overall. Pierce, by comparison, is No. 114.

On a side note, rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro was impressive with 13 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, but he was fourth on the field behind Rice, Pierce and Justin Forsett. Taliaferro is someone to monitor in dynasty leagues.

For the 49ers, rookie running back Carlos Hyde started with Frank Gore resting, and he had five carries for 39 yards. He looked great on a 19-yard run and is well worth his current ADP at No. 126 overall. Don't be surprised if Hyde plays a big role for Fantasy owners this year.

Jets 13, Colts 10

Chris Ivory started the game and finished with seven carries for 17 yards before leaving in the second quarter with a rib injury. Coach Rex Ryan said Ivory will be fine, but with his injury history this is worth keeping an eye on.

Chris Johnson took advantage of Ivory being out and also Bilal Powell (hamstring) not playing. Johnson had four carries for 2 yards and a 1-yard touchdown and two catches for 16 yards.

It will be interesting to see if Johnson gets work at the goal line this year when Ivory is healthy, and Powell should play a role in the passing game. Fantasy owners who covet Johnson will get excited that he scored, but we wouldn't overrate the touchdown under the circumstances.

For the Colts, Trent Richardson was underwhelming with five carries for 13 yards. The worst part was he ran with little authority, which was the knock on him last year once he came to Indianapolis. Now, in his defense, the Jets should be stout against the run, but Richardson is going to have to be better than this for Fantasy owners to trust him with a pick in Round 5.

Redskins 23, Patriots 6

There's not much to take from this game with the main Fantasy weapons for both teams because so many regulars sat out. For the Redskins, the noteworthy player was Roy Helu, who had five carries for 14 yards and two catches for 23 yards before leaving with a knee injury.

It was deemed minor, but Helu is trying to hold onto his role as the No. 2 running back behind Alfred Morris. His work on passing downs helps his cause, but Lache Seastrunk (12 carries for 63 yards) and Silas Redd (nine carries for 45 yards and two catches for 18 yards) looked good with the third-stringers.

For the Patriots, all the running backs were active with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and James White. All eyes were on White, who played behind Ridley and Vereen, based on the early buzz.

He had four carries for 9 yards, and he'll need to be better moving forward to warrant Fantasy owners buying in with a late-round pick.

Also, don't get overly excited about Brian Tyms catching five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. He'll have a hard time making the final roster since the Patriots have plenty of depth at receiver this year.

Chiefs 41, Bengals 39

This was an entertaining game with three interceptions returned for touchdowns (none from Andy Dalton or Alex Smith) and a punt return for a touchdown. Dalton also connected with A.J. Green on a 53-yard bomb.

For the Bengals, Jeremy Hill, as expected, was ahead of BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the No. 2 running back behind Giovani Bernard. Hill had six carries for 36 yards, and he's definitely worth drafting with a pick in Round 11 based on his ADP.

For the Chiefs, one of my favorite deep sleepers in Travis Kelce looked good with two catches for 73 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown. He should be the second-best receiving option behind Dwayne Bowe, and he opened some eyes tonight with his athletic ability after sitting out his rookie year in 2013.

Chargers 27, Cowboys 7

The Cowboys didn't play Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Lance Dunbar in this game, so really the only thing of note was Joseph Randle had 13 carries for 50 yards. If Murray got hurt, Randle and Dunbar would share rushing duties for the Cowboys, and Randle would be worth adding off waivers.

The Dallas defense was as bad as advertised, and Chargers marched down the field on their lone drive with the starting offense. Philip Rivers was 4-of-4 passing for 61 yards, including two nice plays to Danny Woodhead for 25 yards and Ladarius Green for 20 yards. Green started with Antonio Gates resting.

Ryan Mathews ran well with five carries for 19 yards, but he lost a fumble on a goal line dive, which was disappointing but likely won't matter much. Donald Brown didn't see time with the first-team offense, so Mathews remains a No. 2 Fantasy running back this year.

Broncos 21, Seahawks 16

Peyton Manning looked much better this time around against the Seahawks than he did in the Super Bowl, which obviously doesn't matter much given the change in circumstances, but his offensive line looked great with Ryan Clady back and Orlando Franklin at guard. Manning was 10-of-13 passing for 78 yards, and he hit Demaryius Thomas for five passes for 52 yards on six targets. Wes Welker also was stopped on the 1-yard line, which led to a Ronnie Hillman 1-yard touchdown.

Hillman started with Montee Ball (appendectomy) out, and he had six carries for 15 yards and the touchdown and one catch for 5 yards. C.J. Anderson had one carry for 5 yards and two catches for 9 yards, but he left in the second quarter with an apparent concussion. Hillman remains in the lead to back up Ball this season.

For the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch was out for this game, and Robert Turbin started over Christine Michael. Turbin had four carries for 5 yards and one catch for 3 yards, but Michael had seven carries for 16 yards and a touchdown with the starting offense. He also had three catches for 12 yards.

We have no doubt Michael would benefit the most if Lynch got hurt, and he's worth drafting in Round 10 based on his ADP.

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