In Friday night’s Week 2 preseason contest against the Saints, Titans WR Justin Hunter pulled in five balls for 111 yards and 2TDs. Despite 1INT, Zach Mettenberger looked fantastic throwing for 269 yards and 2TDs. Mark Ingram ran the ball five times for 19 yards and pulled in a 23-yard touchdown reception. Joe Morgan pulled in three balls for 108 yards, showing incredible speed on a 52-yard stretch play. Jimmy Graham scored twice and pulled in five balls for 48 yards.
SMITTY: Sleeper alert ladies and gentlemen! Justin Hunter has held some serious upside heading out of last season, which was his rookie year. He only pulled in 354 yards and 4TDs last season, but he had two super-impressive 100-yard, 1TD games in the second-half of the season, and the brilliance was showcased in those performances. I love the kid. My only concern has been what happens if Jake Locker gets hurt, but Zach Mettenberger actually looks efficient enough, and word is that he has been tossing the ball 75 yards with ease in practice. I love both Hunter and Kendall Wright — these are two very good young receivers. Jimmy Graham is just insane and easily worth that high-second round ADP he appears to be locked into. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?
According to reports, 49ers rookie RB Carlos Hyde has looked solid so far in camp. With Kendall Hunter (ACL) done for the year, LaMichael James (elbow) out 4-6 weeks, and with Marcus Lattimore (knee) still unproven health-wise, the team fully expects to lean heavily on Hyde in 2014.
SMITTY: Carlos Hyde could quickly look like a strong flex play in early 2014; he has much more upside as the season rolls along, too. Hey Frank Gore owners, get your ear muffs on! Gore is 31 and has 2,189 regular-season rushes to his name. Runners usually start dropping off talent-wise at about 2,000 carries, so Gore could fade in a big way this year, especially from mid-season on. This makes Hyde a MONSTER “down the stretch” sleeper candidate, where he could crank out fantasy RB2-type numbers during the span of games he essentially gets starter-type carries. Now, Marcus Lattimore might have something to say about all of this, but he is a wait-and-see type prospect until he proves (on the field) otherwise. Looking for Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?
According to NBC Sports, 49ers RB Kendall Hunter is still the primary back-up to starter Frank Gore. According to the report, Hunter has the “trust of the coaching staff” and “thoroughly understands the team’s pass protections.”
SMITTY: It’s certainly possible that Kendall Hunter would start for the 49ers if Frank Gore ever went down, but my money is still on Carlos Hyde emerging should the team’s first- and second-down duties ever be up for grabs due to a Gore-related injury. It sounds like Marcus Lattimore still has a ways to go before he can near even a glimpse of his old self (prior to his knee injury), so it appears that the 49ers back-up running back battle, for this year anyway, is between Hunter and Hyde. Having a strong grip on third-down duties won’t automatically hand Hunter the starting gig if it suddenly became available. While anything can happen, Hyde is the handcuff to own if you’re a Gore owner (especially in dynasty formats), and the truly crafty non-Gore owner will scoop up just Hyde right about when their yearly-league draft(s) starts sniffing double-digit rounds. Want fantasy football projections for all three rushers (based on your scoring)? Launch our Draft Analyzer:
According to tennessean.com, Titans WR Kendall Wright is set on improving his game in 2014: “I have to break that tackle and get way more yards than I did. And that is what I am working on — my explosiveness. It is great to get 1,000 yards. But I want to do a whole lot more after the catch. I need to make more guys miss.”
SMITTY: It’s great to see the dedication with this kid, as he is underrated and has huge upside. Old reliable has pulled in 158 catches and 6TDs in his first two seasons, and he pulled in 94 receptions for 1,079 yards last season. He only had 2TDs during last year’s campaign, but I can easily see Wright pulling in more scores in 2014 (should he stay healthy). The shaky Titans QB situation is the only real downside when it comes to Wright. On a side note, Justin Hunter also has tons of sleeper appeal given his ADP — If only the Titans could just provide consistent QB play.
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