Peyton Manning dominates, Cam Newton returns in Sunday's action
A look at Sunday's preseason action
Sunday's two preseason games were definitely interesting, but for varying degrees. We had four playoff teams with Denver at San Francisco and Kansas City at Carolina.
The Broncos spoiled the NFL debut of the 49ers new stadium with a 34-0 victory. And Cam Newton came back from his offseason ankle surgery to knock off the rust against the Chiefs in a 28-16 win.
Here's what matters to you ...
Peyton Manning is ready to go. He was 12 of 14 passing for 102 yards and a touchdown, which was a 17-yard pass to Julius Thomas. Manning is the No. 1 quarterback on Draft Day, but let him fall to the end of Round 1 at the earliest. His Average Draft Position at No. 5 overall in standard leagues is too high.
The running backs were of interest for Fantasy owners, and Ronnie Hillman started again with Montee Ball (appendectomy) out. Hillman had four carries for 19 yards and one catch for 6 yards on two targets. He's a late-round flier in all leagues, even when Ball is healthy.
C.J. Anderson got some work with the starting group, but he was second behind Hillman. Anderson had nine carries for 29 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 11 yards on two targets. Anderson would only be worth drafting if Ball remains out and Hillman gets hurt.
The good news for all Fantasy owners is Ball could return to practice this week. He's worth drafting in Round 1 in all formats.
Rookie receiver Cody Latimer won't make much of an impact this season barring an injury to Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker or Emmanuel Sanders, but he showed off his big-play ability with a 33-yard touchdown catch from Brock Osweiler.
For the 49ers, it was a long day, and this was not how they hoped to open Levi's Stadium. Good thing it was just the preseason.
Colin Kaepernick was just 5-of-9 passing for 39 yards but don't be concerned. He's still a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback this year worth drafting with a mid-round pick.
Michael Crabtree made his preseason debut after sitting out with a hamstring injury in the preseason opener against Baltimore. He had no catches on just one target, but he remains a low-end No. 1 receiver worth drafting in Round 4.
Frank Gore also made his preseason debut, and he had two carries for 12 yards. Gore remains a No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 5, but make sure you handcuff him with Carlos Hyde, who is a sleeper on his own.
Hyde came in after Gore and had four carries for 11 yards and one catch for 9 yards. Hyde is worth drafting in Round 9.
There were three things to take away from the Chiefs, who were without Jamaal Charles (foot). Charles is expected to be fine, so don't panic.
1) If Charles were to miss time, Knile Davis would flirt with Top 10 running back status. He'd get plenty of work, and in Andy Reid's offense he'd shine. Davis had nine carries for 30 yards and three catches for 26 yards. He's an easy choice with a late-round pick, especially if you draft Charles.
2) Travis Kelce better be on your radar. He had his second touchdown in as many games, and he finished with four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, which was a 43-yard play from backup Aaron Murray. Kelce is still technically behind Anthony Fasano on the depth chart, but consider Kelce with a late-round pick in all leagues. He's definitely on the rise.
3) Dwayne Bowe was a favorite target for Alex Smith. He had five catches for 62 yards on six targets. Bowe will miss the season opener after being suspended, but he could still be in line for a rebound season. He's worth a late-round pick as a No. 4 or 5 receiver in all leagues.
The Panthers got Newton back, and he looked shaky at times, as did his offensive line. He finished 4-of-9 passing for 65 yards and was sacked twice. He also missed Kelvin Benjamin on a wide-open throw down the left side, which might have resulted in a touchdown.
The best news is Newton came out of the game without any issues, and he remains a low-end No. 1/high-end No. 2 quarterback in all leagues. He's worth drafting with a pick after Round 9, but don't consider him the same guy as last year with the changes at offensive line and receiver.
Benjamin did nothing to hurt his stock. He only had two catches for 41 yards, but he led the Panthers in targets with four. Greg Olsen (calf) was out, but Benjamin could be Newton's best weapon this year.
DeAngelo Williams started at running back and finished with three carries for 9 yards and one catch for 5 yards. He's a low-upside reserve running back with a mid-round pick.
But Jonathan Stewart showed what he's capable of when healthy, which is always a risk. Playing behind Williams, Stewart had four carries for 26 yards and two touchdowns. His first run was 17 yards, and both touchdowns came from inside the 3-yard line.
The Panthers will use Williams, Stewart and Mike Tolbert, which hurts all three, but Stewart is worth drafting with a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
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